International Name News: From Hollywood to London to Moscow

International Name News: From Hollywood to London to Moscow

This week’s news includes bold celebrity baby girl names, rare names from Russia, and names that feel at home all over the world.

Bold first names: Gio and Story

One name you may not have heard of before is Gio. That’s all changed now that Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo have named their new daughter Gio Grace. Many of us thought Dusty’s sister might get another retro name, but instead (apparently without help from Ellen DeGeneres this time) the couple chose a tiny name that barely ranks in the US. It’s only ever made the girls’ charts once.

The first reports had it spelled Geo (as in the earth), but the i-spelling is much more snappy. It can be a diminutive for Italian names like Giovanna, Giorgia and Giordana (and boys’ names beginning with the same sound). Although it’s rare for anglophones, it feels like a natural member of the gang of modern girl names ending in -o, like Juno, Clio and Indigo.

Another category that’s distinctly modern is literary word names. Many of us go misty-eyed over names like Sonnet, Fable and Poet, but few take the plunge and use them. (Lyric, which is in the top 1000 for both sexes, is an exception.) One couple who did is Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul and his wife Lauren Parsekian – their new daughter is Story Annabelle. Like Gio Grace, full marks for a daring first name and a more grounded middle name.

Bending the theme: Cass Rooney

Starbabies aren’t the be-all and end-all of name news, but I can’t let this week pass without mentioning another long-anticipated sibling name. British football couple Wayne and Coleen Rooney have astonished us all by breaking their alliterative theme for their fourth son. Kai, Klay and Kit’s little brother is Cass.

Ok, it’s just a spelling technicality. In all other ways, his one-syllable name matches his siblings perfectly. The family are boxing fans, so like his brother Klay, Cass’s name may be inspired by Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali). His middle name, Mac, reportedly honors his mother’s family name, McLoughlin. Maybe the C initial is a nod to that side of the family too: Coleen’s mother is Colette.

(Special mention here to another Mac middle name: weather presenter Ginger Zee welcomed a son called Miles Macklin earlier this month.)

If you like the name Cass for a boy or girl but feel it needs a little more, other longer options include Casper, Charles, Cassidy, Cassandra and Jocasta. Do you have a favorite Cass-name that I’ve missed?

Rare Russian names

Back to names that may not be on your radar. Last year in Moscow, some of the most unusual baby names registered included Franklin, Orpheus, Patrikei and Velesvet for boys; and for girls, Agrafena, Iskra (meaning spark), Ladislava and Zlatozara. Some are Slavic constructions, others are inspired by historical and literary figures. Apart from Franklin, which we’ll take as a given is usable, would you consider any of these?

Unlikely royal baby names: Prince Bradley?

Bets on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s next child’s name continue, The bookies’ favorite has suddenly changed to Mary – but Eleanor Nickerson has already explained why that’s unlikely as a first name. It’s a lot more likely, though, than most of these auspicious names for the baby’s Chinese zodiac sign, which some newspapers have suggested. Prince Sylvester or Bradley, or Princess Almond or Heather? Probably (maybe sadly) not.

Multicultural names: Reena and Kai

Are you a fan of chameleon names? That’s what Reena Gupta calls names that have roots in lots of different cultures, in this article about fitting in (or not) with the dominant culture. An Australian of Indian heritage, she’s been told by people from around the world that her Indian name, Reena, comes from their country.

If you want your child to feel at home everywhere, there are lots of names with multiple origins. They tend to be short and without consonant clusters, like Mai, Kai, Dara, Mina… the list goes on!

The forecast for Jackson’s brother

What would you name a brother for Jackson (and Doppler the dog)? Dan Zarrow, a meteorologist from New Jersey, is holding a contest to guess his next son’s name, or suggest the best name. So what will it be – something close to Jackson in popularity, like Aiden or Logan? Another surname, like Hunter or Grayson, or maybe even another presidential surname? If you’re guessing in earnest, the competition ends today so you’ll have to be speedy.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at