Name Shame and other Baby Name News of the Week

December 5, 2018 Clare Green

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes the alphabetical name everyone’s talking about, a creative junior, names from video games, and the latest trends from Italy.

Name shaming: Abcde and Brenda

If you’ve heard one name in the news this week, it’s probably Abcde, pronounced “Absidy”. This alphabetical name is not as rare as you might think: it’s been registered on 373 girls – some of them now women – since 1990. Airline staff were caught laughing at the name on a 5-year-old girl’s boarding pass, in the child and her mother’s hearing.

It’s pause for thought, isn’t it? It’s fine to have opinions on names. If we didn’t we’d never make any decisions, or be able to give advice to people who ask for it. But when a name belongs to a person? Most of us know that if you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Especially not in front of them, and not in public.

Some people didn’t get the memo. Dick Van Dyke shut down Piers Morgan for ridiculing his name (and people who care about gender equality) on Twitter. And Mark Hamill joked that it was a “crime” that parents had called their son Luke Sky Walker. So…there’s still some work to do.

Even with friends, you’ve got to be careful. Brendan Fevola, an Australian radio presenter, trolled his co-host by telling her that his new baby’s name was Brenda, after dad. She laughed, he acted hurt, cue awkward backpedaling. Later he confessed that the name is really Tobi. Tricky one: it’s absolutely funny to wind people up with unlikely names – but if in doubt, would you rather be gullible or risk mocking a baby?

Which reminds me of another wind-up, this time in fiction. Der Vorname (“The Name”) is a new German comedy film in which an expectant father tells his family that the baby’s name will be Adolf (it won’t really), and chaos ensues. It raises interesting questions of when it is and is not ok to keep your views to yourself.

Starbaby boys: Leafar, Max and Jace

On a lighter note, in the celebrity world we’ve seen several new baby boys, two with short sweet names and one junior with a twist.

Eddie Murphy chose a friendly classic name for his son, Max Charles. Jana Kramer also gave her baby boy a monosyllabic name: Jace Joseph. She’s said she liked the “healing” meaning (of long form Jason) for her rainbow baby.

Creative couple Kat Von D and Leafar Seyer have named their son Leafar after dad…or rather, after dad’s stage name. Leafar Senior’s birth name is Rafael Reyes (read it backwards). It’s cool that he has a name that also works the other way around. I don’t think I could get away with using my name backwards, Eralc. How about you?

Tech baby names: Fortnite and Twitter handles

You might have seen the story a few months ago that some parents are choosing their children’s names based on which web domains are free. I didn’t pay much attention, because it was based on a small poll commissioned by GoDaddy, who sell domain names. Vested interest much?

But it was interesting to read about a mother who really did pick her daughter’s middle name based on the available Twitter handles. As the article also says, there’s no denying that social media really can help with choosing a name. Instead of relying on the close circle of people you know, nowadays we have instant access to communities of interested and experienced name-lovers who can give advice and, if wanted, opinions.

At this time of year we see a lot of round-ups of the biggest pop culture baby name trends. Game of Thrones and Star Wars are old news, but this is the first time I’ve seen any mention of names from the video game Fortnite. The ones gathering interest apparently include Ramirez and Bunny (both very rare), Rogue and Leviathan (both rare but rising). A glance through a list of skin names (skins change the appearance of a character, yes I’m so down with the kids) shows several more that have potential or are already popular, like Magnus, Maverick, Rex, Castor, Fortune and Omega.

Romance names: Sierra and Sofia

Now for names in the news from France, Italy and the Spanish language.

Spanish nature name Sierra isn’t as popular as it was twenty years ago, but it’s still a solid Top 500 choice. It featured in the news when a Tennessee mom used it as her daughter’s middle name, after the police officer who delivered her.

Italy has released its most popular names of 2017, and the top of the list is fairly stable and just as glorious as last year. Francesco and Sofia remain numero uno, and below them on the Top 10 you’ll find beauties like Ginevra, Beatrice, Lorenzo and Matteo. For the biggest climbers and fallers, read this handy Twitter thread by international name data wizard @maybeitsdaijiro.

Meanwhile in France, another name dispute. Parents who want to name their son Griezmann Mbappé after two soccer players in France’s winning World Cup team will have to wait for a court decision on whether this is allowed, or if it’s against the child’s interests and infringes the players’ rights to protect their family name. Now that’s a complaint I haven’t heard before about surname names.

You’ll probably know that the US doesn’t have as many restrictions on names as some countries – but did you know that some states are especially liberal? According to this article, in Oregon and Kansas you can register names with diacritics, like Zoë and André, while in Illinois it’s theoretically possible to use a number – good news if you’re considering K8ie or Ke2rah.

And if you use those names, no one should mock them.

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles


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