Letters, Spellings and Sounds: The Nameberry 9

For this week’s Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain’s Abby Sandel looks at x-names, o-beginnings and endings, and other letter and sound matters.

 My favorite find of the week isn’t a name. It’s a random name generator, at a website called Roses and Cellar Doors. (Hat tip to Ren for the link.) The generator apologizes that “on occasion, a ‘real’ name might be generated.” Most of the results are rarities that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear in real life.

A few minutes of clicking created Loralyn, Kayabella, Annla, Annraya, Madalee, and Briabella for girls. For boys, I found the generator slightly less successful, but Mathan, Keedon, Jarison, Dasen, Jaxin, Zaylen, and Caydran all seem both unusual and perfectly possible.

Randomly generated names aren’t my style, but it is easy to see that we’re attracted to certain letters, syllables, and sounds. A name that seems outlandish at first glance might work if it contains a desirable letter or two. Our focus on x and y, k and o is sometimes called the Scrabble effect, but I think it goes deeper than just respelling a familiar name.

This week’s baby name news was filled with choices that make good use of letters:

AjaxAlex made room for Axel. Could Ajax be far behind? This name made the list about a year ago when mom-to-be Marni Kostak arranged to deliver her firstborn at Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn as an exhibit called “The Birth of Baby X.Baby X has now celebrated his first birthday – where else? – at the Microscope Gallery. Yes, there’s the cleaning product, but there’s also the Trojan War hero.

Orion – Speaking of heroic names, For Real Baby Names spotted Orion twice – on a boy called Elijah Orion, and a girl named Iris Orion Evelyn. Actor Chris Noth welcomed Orion Christopher in 2008. The name has been slowly climbing in use since the 1990s.

Dex – Have you noticed that Dex seems to be emerging as a new nickname for new Irish favorite Declan? Parents on Swistle listed it as a possible combination, and I’ve heard it on the playground, too. He could stand alone, too, just like Jax and Max.

Zane – This one has me fascinated. Soap opera star Heather Tom played Kelly Cramer on One Life to Live. Tom’s character gave birth to a son called Zane in 2006. Just last week, Tom welcomed a son in real life – also called Zane. Coincidence?

Thiago – Soccer star Lionel Messi chose the lively, ends-in-o Thiago for his firstborn. Messi is a native of Argentina, and plays for Barcelona. Santiago has held the top spot in Messi’s home country, and is popular in Spain, too. Tiago is popular elsewhere in Latin America and Europe. The Thiago spelling is unusual – for now.

WellsWelcome to the world, Owen Wells Kleon, son of writer Austin Kleon. Owen’s o is stylish, but I’m beginning to think the letter w is equally appealing. Wells is also the name of maternity concierge Rosie Pope’s middle son, and a name that I’m hearing more and more on message boards, along with Wesley and West.

Hallow – If w is popular in the first spot, the letter is also at the end of stylish surname choices Harlow and Marlow. Isadora has me convinced that Hallow could be an auspicious choice for a child, rich with meaning.

OfeliaBaby Name Pondering recently discussed Ofelia and Ophelia. Mad scene aside, I’m struck by her resemblance to Olivia, Amelia, and Sophia. She’s little used, but 2006’s dark fairytale of a movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, included a heroic girl by the name, and is often cited as a reason to reconsider Ofelia.

G.R.A.C.E. – Instead of ending with one name, how about five? Nancy reported on the Ferraro quintuplets of California. Together, their given names – Gabrielle, Riley, Cooper, Emerson, and Addison – spell grace. Pretty clever, huh? The quints joined big sister Gianna.

Are there sounds and letters you truly love in names? Are they the familiar X, Z, and O, or do you find yourself drawn to something else? And could you spell a word from your favorite names? That last one has me stumped!

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20 Responses to “Letters, Spellings and Sounds: The Nameberry 9”

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LivyToo Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 1:13 am

haha I tried out that name generator site and I found the names Jender and Layzey. Really? Gender and Lazy?

Very entertaining!

bluejuniper Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 2:20 am

Dex as a nickname for Declan? Love it!!

Aurra Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 7:25 am

I’m going to reconsider Declan if Dex is a valid nickname. I love Dex, but it doesn’t seem substantial enough to be used as a name by itself, and Dexter just makes me cringe.

Mego0801 Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 7:28 am

I have a love/hate relationship with ‘P’ names, and I really like the ‘O’ sound (I blame my nickname!).

aunt_ning Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 7:41 am

I love that the quintuplets names spell out Grace, its quirky and meaningful and unless you look at their first initials most people wont catch on.

erin13 Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 11:36 am

I have a liking for names ending in -o at the moment. Jago, Milo, Arlo, Nico, Matteo, Rio…all names on my list. I also have a particular soft spot for names with the ‘eye’ sound in and names with L.

This was an interesting post. I love the nn Dex for Declan and the G.R.A.C.E thing is cute…a different way to tie together sibling names I guess! 🙂

dayjoysky2815 Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 11:52 am

Novabelle and Bririe are too names I got from the generator which are super cute and seem useable…of course I wouldn’t use them, but still.

mdcmom Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Aurra, I have a five-year-old named Declan, and his nickname has been Dex from day one. The nickname Dex is so fun and spunky, but I too, hate the name Dexter.

laurakatex Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Dex is definitely a nn for Declan, my friend is called Declan, and I hardly ever call him Declan, it’s always either Dex or Dexter.

Entangler Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I love Dex for Declan, too cute!

I got Novalie from that name generator. How pretty!

Names4real Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I love the Grace idea for the quints.

I got Graylie & Hayson in the generator and I’ve seen both in birth announcements.

ebenezer.scrouge Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Dex is a character on Home and Away and Zane could catch on as a variant spelling of Zain and Zayn due to Zayn Malik of 1D without the vain and pain teasing being so obvious. I have also seen an Orion in Perth Birth Announcements: phoenix Orion (a boy by the way) so it could be catching on here aswell

littlebrownpony Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I did the generator on that site, and the first boys name that popped up was SATAN. LMAO.

For girls, I got Jadabella, which–while kind of terrible–sounds totally plausible.

littlebrownpony Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

For all of you getting “Nova-” names on the generator, I have a friend whose daughter’s name is Novella, which I LOVE. They call her Novi.

Abby Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Novalie is great! I can see Jadabella popping up on a birth announcement. No to Jender … And Satan? Whoa! That trumps Lucifer’s recent appearances in the tag cloud …

@littlebrownpony – Novella is lovely!

Dex for Declan seems to be getting a lot of love … mdcmom, I think “fun and spunky” is the way to describe it.

Sassy Says:

November 5th, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Natalie Portman’s character in “Where the Heart Is” was called Novalee.

I like G.R.A.C.E. I’m sure there is a personal reason behind this. I like the subtleness. 🙂

I also like Orion but I’m not sure I’d use it.

estelluxx Says:

November 6th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Just a warning: I live in a rural area of the mid-west and I know 5 boys under age 8 named Zane, and I know a baby boy named Orion. So those names might not be so unusual as one hopes! Just for the record haha

katybug Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I know a 5-yr old Zayne, so it doesn’t feel that unusual or fresh to me either. More like a Shane alternative.

sstaggs Says:

December 11th, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Hi, my daughter’s name is Hallow. You blogged about it shortly after she was born (word names) Another name blogger Cherry Picking found it in the birth forum I posted on. I am so flattered. I just wanted to explain the meaning behind the name. I did in fact name her after the Deathly Hallows because I am a dork. I wish that I could say the name was a grandmother’s or associated with something spiritual, it isn’t. The name came to me pretty early in my pregnancy. I think I was around 3 months pregnant. I was at the midnight showing of the first installment of Deathly Hallows, dressed like a Griffindor student, surrounded by my friends who also dressed as students. The theme music began and I got teary eyed and thought, “Wow, these books and movies have been such an amazing and meaningful part of my life for almost 15 years” Next, “The Deathly Hallows” came across the screen and from that moment on I knew her name was going to be Hallow. Perfect. To me the name “Hallow” sounds like magic because to me, she is magic.

marinapini Says:

January 9th, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thiago is very popular here in Brazil. Even more so than the Tiago spelling, I think.

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