Popularity, trends and a new baby Princess
There’s a new royal baby in Europe! No, not that royal baby. This week Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her husband Christopher O’Neill welcomed their daughter Adrienne Josephine Alice. While her name isn’t distinctively Scandinavian, it has a classic pan-European style – which is what we’d expect for Leonore and Nicolas’s little sister (all shown).
Her middle names come from the royal side of her family, and the word is that Adrienne is a name her parents just liked. In the US, Adrienne is languishing in the 800s, but it might appeal to parents who can’t choose between Audrey and Vivienne.
Meanwhile in the UK, royal baby name speculation continues. The latest sensible weigh-up of the possibilities (so not the bookmakers’ odds) comes from Nameberry’s Abby: check out her guesses for a prince or a princess.
Finnish name trends: international and unisex
Elsewhere in Scandinavia, it seems that names in Finland are becoming more diverse. Just like in other countries, the pool of baby names grows year after year. One reason is that Finnish parents have adopted names that are popular in other countries: in 2016, Sofia was the #1 name for girls, and Oliver was #5 for boys.
Another trend is native names that work in different languages – so most umlaut-heavy names are out of style, as are names with an “r” sound that is hard for non-Finnish speakers to pronounce.
The article also mentions a few unisex word names, which I include for your enjoyment. If there’s one Finnish name you know, it’s probably Lumi (meaning snow), which leans more girl. Rauha (peace) is also used more for girls, Sulo (grace) is more boy, and Tuisku (snow flurry) is about even between both genders. It might make a bold middle name for a winter baby?
If you can’t get enough Finnish names, try reading this list of the most accessible ones.
Popular vs “weird” names
Parents who use the most popular names fall into two camps: those who choose the name not realizing how popular it is, and those who know and don’t care because they love it.
These stories from parents of girls called Sophia (or Sofia, Sofija or Sophie) show this perfectly. Some saw it as a blank slate, as they didn’t know any adult Sophias. Others thought it was strong and timeless, or had good nickname options, or liked its associations with glamorous Sophia Loren, saucy Sophie Tucker, and The Golden Girls.
Not everyone would agree with these opinions: is a name timeless if the vast majority of its wearers are aged under 20? Is it nickname-rich compared with, say, Elizabeth? But the takeaway from this is that there’s nothing wrong with using a popular name, if it’s the one you love.
At the other end of the scale, there are the names that almost no one recognizes. This essay by Daryl Sztuka about “embracing the weirdness” of her name isn’t new, but Abby shared it this week and it’s worth sharing again.
It’s the classic life cycle of an unusual name: disliking the attention as a child, being mistaken for the opposite sex, never getting the right name on your coffee cup, and finally coming to accept and even enjoy having a name that no one else has.
Names from the moon and beyond
Moon is one of those names that lots of name-lovers talk about and some parents use as a bold middle name, but which doesn’t get much love in the first spot. Unlike its Latin counterpart Luna, which has, er, rocketed in the last few years, Moon has never been used for more than 13 babies total in a year.
Celebrities who have used Moon as a middle include Kevin Durand and Pink. Two more couples in the public eye followed suit this week. Bernard Moon, nicknamed Barney, is actress Bridget Regan’s new son, and pro wrestling couple Mike and Maria Kanellis will soon welcome a daughter called Fredricka Moon.
If you’re looking for a cosmic name for your baby, you can check its popularity in this Huffington Post article. They’ve done a neat round-up of how many children in 2016 were called Nova, Orion, Galaxy, Saturn, Celestial, and more. There are even more out-of-this-world names in this Nameberry list. Or what about the names of other planets’ moons, like Oberon, Io and Cressida?
The people have spoken: in a Twitter poll on which name Fixer Upper couple Chip and Joanna Gaines should choose for their fifth child (and third son), the winner was Deacon. Chip is on board with nickname Deke – not surprisingly, since it’s so similar to his older sons’ names, Drake and Duke. Mom wasn’t so keen on Dragon, which was another option in the poll.