Name Nerds: Do you qualify?

Name Game

Although I’ve written ten books and a hundred or more nameberry  blogs on the subject, I’m happy to say that I still learn something new about names almost every day.  And a lot of it comes from our very own nameberry boards.

Often, as my work day is winding down, I’ll spend some time meandering around different forums, and sometimes will be lucky enough to come upon an exchange that I find particularly enlightening or entertaining.  This happened the other night when I encountered this post by Christy from several months ago which I found so sharp and funny that I had a ‘wow!-wish-I-had-thought-of-that’ moment.  So, rather than have it moulder in the archives, I thought it deserved to be put out here for everyone to share.

Sure Signs You Are a Name Nerd

You may be a name nerd if . . .

  • You are already planning your 2010 SSA Names Release Day party (to be celebrated with your name obsessed friends).
  • While flipping through your old daytimer, you find 20 plus lists of names and combos.
  • Whenever someone brings up one of your favorite names, you give them a detailed description of the history of its use.
  • You dress up as Michael Shackleford for Halloween (as an homage).*
  • You write a complete list of your favorite names in calligraphy, frame it, and put it in your bedroom.
  • You give people who are not expecting baby name books as gifts. (Always keep a few on hand!)
  • You are trying to bring back the name Etheldreda, and take every opportunity to convince people of its antique charm.
  • You say the Pledge of Allegiance (U.S.): “With liberty to name your kids anything you want, and justice for all.”

*In case you’re not name-nerdy enough to know this, Michael Shackelford was responsible for creating  the Social Security baby name popularity lists.

Of course this inspired a whole bunch of other opinions on the qualifications for name nerdom, such as:

  • You may be a name nerd if you are in your late 40’s, expecting grandchildren but cannot pass up any new name book that becomes available at the bookstore.
  • You may be a name nerd if you have named every one of your goldfish in your aquarium even if some look so much alike you can’t tell them apart.
  • When you find yourself visiting other people’s genealogy trees to find a cool name, then you know you are a NAME NERD! (unicorngal)
  • When visiting your mother in the hospital, before going up to her hospital room, you ask the front desk if they have a list of birth announcements for the hospital. When she says no, it’s for privacy, you sigh and walk away. (rachelmarie)
  • When, 3 months after your daughter’s birth, you have a panic attack, realizing that the name you slaved so hard to “perfect” has now ruled out other beloved combos for as-yet-unconceived siblings.  This sudden epiphany keeps you awake 4 nights in a row. (punkprincessphd)

There are lots more ideas at nametalk, but better still, why don’t you tell us your own sure-signs-you’re-a-name-nerd qualifictions?

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39 Responses to “Name Nerds: Do you qualify?”

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Amy Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 4:31 am

I think I definitely qualify as a name nerd – I spend so much time on Nameberry at school that half my year group thinks I’m pregnant! I also do a fair few of the other things on that list 😛

Pamela Redmond Satran Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 7:18 am

You’re definitely a name nerd if (like me) you’re lying in bed reading the nameberry blog before you even have your coffee!

Lola Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:04 am

Does name nerdery count if your pets all have had multiple middle names (more than even your kids)? 🙂 If so, I’m in!

Then again, I name everything: the car, the house, the electronics… you name it.

phaedra Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:21 am

You consider having more children just because you have favorite names you haven’t used yet!

Charlotte Vera Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:33 am

When someone tells you the names they’re considering for their child you nod and immediately discuss the meanings of all the names on the list (which you know by memory).

Emma Louise Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:43 am

I’m not even pregnant yet but keep constantly writing an ending to a christmas or birthday card including my latest fav baby names

lots of love
Emma, husband, child 1, child 2, child 3 & child 4

Am married by the way, haven’t dreamt up a husband as well!

Patricia Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 9:43 am

I’m wondering how the term “name nerd” came about. Does anyone know?

I’ve also seen the term “name enthusiast” (NE). I like that one better.

Which would I choose for myself? I’ve been interested in (and at times obsessed with) names for several decades. What I’ve found most compelling about researching names and naming patterns are the history and ‘stories’ of individual names — including a new interest in a name I’ve never thought much about before (just looked up Dorcas); naming patterns and sociology of names; name popularity stats — particularly in the US and other English-speaking countries and how the popularity of a name in one country often influences the rise of the name in another.

So I guess I think of myself more of a name historian/researcher than a name “nerd” — although I know that my interest in names may sometimes seem “nerdy” to others. 😉

LucyJane Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 10:10 am

Pamela Redmond Satran.. I had to laugh, I do the same thing every morning. My eyes half open, I roll over looking for my blackberry saying “You need to wake up and read the nameberry blog!”

Abby@AppellationMountain Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:10 am

LOL – Phaedra! Exactly!

Bella Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:11 am

you are a name nerd if all your un-conceived kiddos have names that fit ‘their personality’ or ‘physical appearance’

Just to clarify I plan on waiting until he/she is in my arms to name them, but I already have the list! We’ll just pick off that based on name influence.

I am a proud name nerd! Hallelujiah!

Auntie_A Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:27 am

You are a name nerd if you ask your younger brother (since he’s the only one around at the time) about names & if he can see that name on a baby, teen, & adult.

You tell your married sister that she should have another baby soon & you know exactly what she should name it to fit with her other child. 🙂

You read a book just because you like the name of one of the characters & want to see what their personality is.

k_lareese Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:33 pm

You know you are a name nerd when nameberry is the first place you visit in the morning and the last that you visit before bed, despite the fact that you are not even sure you will have another child.

When all of the sweet teen name nerds you meet bring back fond memories of your youth.

When, like Phaedra, using a particular name is one of the motivations for having another child… OR… knowing that your DH really likes a name that you dread causes you to reconsider having more children (My DH loves Kairi…ugh…video game names!)

When you keep a baby name book close at hand so that you can look up names when you hear them on TV, when reading a book, or any other time that you hear names.

andreachristine Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 1:00 pm

you know you’re a name nerd when you read that Pamela Redmond Satran posted a comment to this blog and get star struck – i’m dressing up like her for halloween!! beyond jennifer and jason was my first (when i was 12) and is still my favorite baby name book of all time! i’m still devestated i lent it to someone and they lost it 🙁

Courtney W. Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I certainly qualify as a name nerd. Last week I snapped at my husband for changing the channel while movie credits were rolling. DH: “The movie is over.” ME: “But, I was reading the names!”

luckymomma Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 2:34 pm

My 4-year-old son and I fought over who got to name the GPS. I finally prevailed on the first name, but let him add a last. So she’s Penelope Batman!

belatrix Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I’m a HUGE name nerd, and here’s the proof:

I have EXCELLENT penmanship 🙂 Why? Because the first thing I ever wrote myself was a list of the names in my preschool class 🙂 It just went on from there. I used to make lists of names for easily 6 hours a day while normal kids were out playing. As a result of hours and hours of name writing, I have mighty fine handwriting!

Just as a tangent, this name list habit of mine is something Dakota Fanning did as a child as well. She mentioned it once on a late night interview (maybe on Letterman?). It made my day to know I wasn’t the only name obsessed crazy child in the world.

LyndsayJenness Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Emma Louise- I do that too!

pam Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Wow, Andrea Christine, dressing like ME for Halloween? Hope you don’t scare any small children. I bought some original Beyond Jennifer & Jasons for myself via amazon!

peach Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 5:37 pm

A very entertaining post! I think I qualify not only because I spend so much time online reading about and discussing names but also since I periodically send out my name list (including origin, meaning, stories behind each name) to my friends and family for feedback, even though we are not expecting.

Boston Girl Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Do I qualify? Witness the following:

I read the backs of paperbacks to see not only what the story is about, but what the main characters’ names are. If they have names I don’t like, I usually pass on the book. If they have names I love, I’ll probably buy the book.

Making sporadic lists of my top-ten favorite boys’ and girls’ names (though I don’t write them down because I can’t really assign a particular order to them; I just know what the number-one spots are, generally).

Knowing exactly what I would name my fantasy kids, even though I’m now in my mid-40s and my chances of parenthood are steadily diminishing.

Silently passing judgment on what other people have named their kids.

Reading movie credits, hunting for my favorite names and for new and unusual names to add to my stock. (I found the name “Maurella” that way.)

Naming the children of characters in my stories (and the characters themselves) almost as carefully as I would name my own kids if I had them, because I don’t want to be stuck having to endlessly type a name I absolutely can’t stand… 🙂

LyndsayJenness Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 6:30 pm

AndreaChristine- I lent mine to someone (AND Cool Names!) and I never got them back either! I think it’s because she assumed I don’t need them anymore since I’m not pregnant!

BostonGirl- My mom just met an old lady named Maurdella, people call her Big Mouth Maurd.

Oh, and wait… normal people don’t do all this stuff? Haha

salifer Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 6:50 pm

You know you are a name nerd if…

-When required to write a report about a hero, you choose the person with the most interesting name.

-After hearing a parent call a child’s name, you whisper it to yourself and contemplate names for siblings.

-You have named your iPod, musical instruments, shoes, feet, camera, phone, teapots, saucepan, clothes, and any other inanimate object around.

-Your favorite part of shopping is looking at the names of the articles of clothing.

-You flip through the wedding section/obituaries and only read the write-ups for the couples with interesting names.

All true! 😀 I loved reading these comments!

Laura Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I can’t believe no one has mentioned Excel yet – I import the SSA lists so I can track the growing or diminishing popularity of my favorite names, and then sort my own master list based on my own criteria. Different colors! Different fonts! Ahh… I highly recommend.

Jill Says:

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:28 pm

You know you’re a name nerd when you break up with a boyfriend and your main source of comfort is the knowledge that your favorite names didn’t sound all that great with his surname, anyway. 🙂

Great topic! 🙂

danielle8933 Says:

March 4th, 2010 at 12:55 am

Jill, love yours!

Laura, I have an excel sheet too! I used to just have a word document with my favorite names and then combinations, but I decided I wanted to get more organized and keep track of the meanings, possible nicknames, rankings, related names, etc. I do need to add origin though…

Charlotte Says:

March 4th, 2010 at 3:26 am

– You know you are a name nerd when at the age of fourteen you find yourself naming everything in sight to satisfy your cravings. This includes but is not limited to your iPod, computer, pencilcase, television, every single teddy bear and doll in the house and your cat (who, by the way, has four first names because you couldn’t make up your mind).

– You know you’re a name nerd when you know the middle names of everyone in your grade, plus ones that aren’t.

– You know you’re a name nerd when you have to write an argumentative essay, and for the subject you choose “that parents shouldn’t give their children “kre8tiv” names”. And get a good mark for it.

– You know you’re a name nerd when you refuse to like a television show or movie based on the names of the characters in it. I loved “Valentine’s Day”, but what kind of a name is Morely?

– You know you’re a name nerd when you read the above posts and analyse people’s usernames.

– You know you’re a name nerd when you are kicking yourself because you didn’t think of the idea of dressing as Pam for Halloween. So you decide to go as Linda (take that!).

Loved reading all the comments (:

Esme Says:

March 5th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

You know you’re a Name Nerd when you’re getting drunk in a bar and you casually ask everyone you meet if you can see their ID so you can check out their middle names!

Saranel Says:

March 5th, 2010 at 11:53 pm

You know your a name nerd when:

You are only excited about the 2010 census because you want them to update the 1990 list of most popular names in america.

When you were in grade school you used to get out you book of dog and cat breeds and name every dog cat and picture in the book.

Dove14 Says:

March 9th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

You know you’re a name nerd when your pregnant friends and relatives come to you for names advice, and despite the fact that they are keeping their chosen names a secret from everyone else, tell you them to double check their choices!

You know you’re a name nerd when you’ve spent enough time on the NameTalk boards to develop friendships with NameBerry posters and remember facts about their lives!

And, yes, I do know the meanings of most common names off the top of my head — my husband used to think it was hilarious but now doesn’t even blink an eye when I rattle off something about the meaning or history of a name of a person he met. 🙂

Hooray for name nerds!

Emmy Jo Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 4:30 pm

You know you’re a name nerd when you’re in the hospital in active labor, and all you can think about is, “This is a great opportunity to ask the midwives what interesting baby names they’ve come across and what the most popular names are at THIS hospital.”

peppersweet Says:

June 28th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

You know you’re a name nerd when you spend literally DAYS trying to pick out the exact right name for your character, and then name their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even sometimes GREAT-grandparents. With maiden names for the women. And then make a family tree.

I have done all of this in the past 3 days. Woo!

Sunshinetina Says:

July 8th, 2010 at 12:01 am

*Stands and raises her hand*

My name is Martina and I’m a name nerd.

Chloe Says:

July 16th, 2010 at 8:25 am

You’re defnitely a namenerd when all the websites under your “favourites” tab are name sites!

Cay Says:

August 17th, 2010 at 9:32 am

I am a name nerd, and proud of it! I even went so far as to name EVERYTHING in my aunt’s new house. Every time any of my friends are getting new pets, they come to me for name suggestions, which consist of gems such as Balthazar and Aphrodite. They usually give the pet some boring name like Jack after that. But, yeah, I’m a name nerd. 😀

Laura Says:

September 23rd, 2010 at 10:32 pm

You know you’re a name nerd when:

¤ you’re planning on writing your paper on what makes a good name
¤ you’ve got a list going of name combinations that pop into your head
¤ at least half a dozen name websites come up when you type “name” into your browser bar
¤ you’ve come up with a full name for one future child and a first name for another and no, they’re not negotiable
¤ the first thing you do after coming across a new name you is check the SSA list
¤ the release of the 2009 SSA list was one of the highlights of your summer
¤ you kept the program from your sister’s college graduation because there were some interesting names in it

Megan Says:

September 26th, 2010 at 3:25 am

Oh geez, I’m reading all this and nodding along. I’m not the only name nerd! I bought my first baby name book at around 16. My mother was horrified! But I love names! I keep picking out unusual names for my future children, only to have my partner give me horrified looks and wonder why, because I’m only 21 and we won’t be having children for several years (sadly). And sadly she keeps turning down some of my favourite names because they’re too weird, or spelt weirdly (like Caoimhe, pronounced Keeva or Niamh pronounced Neev.. Both are names of girls at the preschool I was just working at).
I’m constantly looking of names and have several books with lists of names in them. I’ve recently bought a small book that I can write all my favourite/new names in that I can carry around with me!
I’m also a big fan of boys names for girls, although if I were to name my girl a boys name I’d make sure their middle name was a girlier name so they had the option to use that one..

Andriana Says:

February 22nd, 2011 at 2:35 am

I love your lil nerdy girl image! soooooo cute!! did u create it?

Web Design CA Says:

August 14th, 2011 at 3:07 am

Web Design California…

Name Nerds: Do you qualify? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry…

psaul3 Says:

December 11th, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Where is the Nerd Girl image from? and if this is the original source, I would like to get in contact with someone to work with for using that image for commercial purposes. Thank you.

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