Italian names are really hot at the moment, and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jionni LaValle are helping to fuel the fire. Both their older children’s names, Giovanna and Lorenzo, climbed in popularity in the years after they were born. Now they’ve welcomed a third baby, a son called Angelo James. Angelic Angelo is a classic that’s been in the Top 400 for more than a hundred years – but maybe the showbiz couple’s endorsement will give it an extra boost.
Fun fact about Giovanna: there were 33 different spellings of the name registered last year, and an astonishing 88 spellings of the male version Giovanni. I can see there are several openings for alternative spellings – Giovani, Giavanny, Jovannee – but wow, 88?
More cases in point: a character from Geordie Shore (Britain’s answer to Jersey Shore) has named her son Ricardo, and musician Tyler Hubbard is planning to call his son Luca Reed. Luca is partly inspired by the family’s love for Italy.
Sticking with reality couples – whether you like them or not, their babies make the headlines – Bachelor pair Lauren Burnham and Arie Luyendyk have gone Italian with a twist for their daughter’s name, Alessi Ren. They warned the world months ago that they’d chosen something “unique”, and for once that’s not too far off. Alessi has been used just enough to make it into the charts a handful of times in the last ten years.
Yet it doesn’t feel too far-out, for several reasons. Add one letter and you get the more familiar Alessia, another fast-rising Italian name. And there are other names in the charts with a similar streamlined, slightly unisex, feel, like Alani and Amari, which is in the Top 400 for both girls and boys. There’s also Alexi, like Seth Meyers’ wife Alexi Ashe.
Let’s take a quick road trip and look at some newsworthy names spotted around the US this week.
Who knew there were so many great place names in Maine? I love this list of names inspired by the Pine Tree State, including Corinna, Holden, Monroe, Sullivan and the wild card Dirigo – that’s the state’s Latin motto, meaning “I guide”.
Looking for middle name inspiration? There are some interesting ones in these announcements from North Dakota, including Ferdinand, Maiken, Merlin, oh and Amari again! Not to mention our own Nameberry reader announcements, with middles like Lyra, Wren, Everest and Rohan.
You might have seen the Saybie in the news. It’s a rare name for a rare girl: the smallest ever surviving baby went home this week. It sounds from some reports like her care staff gave her the name and it stuck. It’s never appeared in the US charts, but I wonder if we might see a few on the records in 2019.
And to round off our trip, a stylish sibset in Rochester, New York: Jupiter, Phoenix, Lakota and Donna. Ok, so they’re peregrine falcon chicks, not human babies – but the first two are especially good as spirited unisex baby names.
Royal baby round-up
One lucky British woman has good reason to talk. While the rest of the world was betting on names like Arthur and Albert, she placed a bet that the royal baby’s name would be Archie, like her grandson who was born on the same day. The odds were in her favor: she won thousands of pounds!
Namesakes around the world have had their moment in the media, including a 71-year-old Canadian man called Archie Windsor, and a New Zealand family with children named Charlotte, Harry, George and Archie. Another Archie in New Zealand believes he may have inspired Harry and Meghan to use the name when he met them last year.
Baby Archie already has a non-human namesake too, as a yellow chrysanthemum has been named after him. Chrysanthemum is one of those poor flowers that is beautiful but hardly ever used as a name. Any takers?
In other royal news, Prince William was overheard calling Charlotte a very cute nickname, Mignonette. The sweet French girl name is also a fragrant flower, and would be rather lovely as a standalone name, n’est-ce pas?
Name tips for the forgetful
Are you terrible at remembering names? Even name nerds can struggle, but here’s one solution.
David Colman has more trouble with names than most. After many years of awkwardness and anxiousness, he now addresses everyone as Steve, Stevie or Wendy: names that very few people have bad associations with. (The story is in the New York Times, so you may have a limited number of free views. Use them wisely!)
I’m sure he’s not the only one. Many of us know people who call everyone “honey” or “mate”. But the interesting bit is that he sees skipping names as a shortcut to avoiding uncomfortable introductions and getting to what you really want to talk about, “the linguistic equivalent of taking off your uncomfortable work shoes and pulling on your favorite sneakers.” Agree? Or do you prefer to know people’s names first?