Menu

Gossip Girl (and Boy) Names

Gossip Girl (and Boy) Names

In a desperate attempt to bond with the teenagers in my family, I have become a devoted watcher of Gossip Girl. And as I take in the adventures of these upper-crusty New York teens, I can’t help but ruminate on their names.

What’s remarkable is not so much the names of the characters – BLAIR, the name of the series’ Queen Bee, is the only one that truly fits the mold – but the names of the actors who play them.

No fewer than five of the actors with major roles have names that are eighties-style upwardly-mobile surname-names, perfectly in tune with the style of the show:

BLAKECHACELEIGHTONPENNTAYLOR

(For the uninitiated, Blake, Leighton, and Taylor are girls, Chace and Penn are boys.)

Two other actors have names in the same vein, but not quite as stereotypical:

CONNORKELLY

Other names that fit this mold, now more commonly heard on twenty-something interns and junior editors and gallery assistants than on babies, include:

ASHLEYBRITTANYCAMERON

CARTERCOURTNEYDEVIN and DEVONJORDANLINDSAY and LINDSEYMORGANTYLERWHITNEY

The idea of these names was to impart a veneer of upper class style by appropriating a tony-sounding surname as a first. While the 1980s was one heyday of this trend, it wasn’t the first. Immigrant parents in the 1920s U.S. used British surnames for their sons in order to make them sound classy. Unfortunately, by now, these names sound anything but:

BURTONIRVINGIRWINMARSHALLMELVINMERVYNMILTONMONROEMORRISSEYMOURSHELDONSHERMANSHERWINSIDNEYSTANLEY

The use of the classy-sounding surname-as-first, for girls and for boys, is only getting more pervasive today. Some newer examples

ADDISONAINSLEYAVERYEMERSONEMERYEVERETTFINLAY and FINLEYHARPERHAYDENKENNEDYLANELOGANMASONPAISLEYPARKERPAYTON/PEYTONPRESTONQUINNREAGAN and REGANREESEROWANSAWYERSKYLAR and SKYLER (and even the original SCHUYLER)TEAGAN

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.