Unusual Baby Names: The Nameberry 9: Girls named Zinnia and Lincoln
It’s easy to belittle a parent’s search for a unique name. Headlines call it self-centered and short-sighted. But if you went through school as Jessica or Jennifer, one among many, is it so wrong to want your child to be one of one, at least in her kindergarten?
This week was all about the quest for a distinctive name.
There was nothing truly surprising in the baby name news – no Buddy Bear Maurice or Rainbow Aurora. Instead, there’s been a treasure trove of very wearable names that all feel just a little bit different.
What makes them stand out choices? For some, it’s a high value Scrabble letter, like V, X, or Z. Others are super short, even brisk. And giving a masculine name to a daughter is always a sure-fire way to grab attention, for better and for worse.
Not every parent would – or should – consider every trend, but it is exciting just how many choices manage to be both unusual and perfectly normal at once.
The nine most intriguing options from this week’s baby name news are:
Dixon – Walking Dead fans will recognize this as the surname of brothers Daryl and Merle. It’s also the given name of Dixon Wilson, one of the main characters on the current version of 90210. With the letter smack x in the middle, Dixon makes for a cool update to Richard. He’s less common than Jaxon – and easier to spell, too.
Revere – Isadora’s round-up of unusual virtue names at Bewitching Names included this one, notable for many reasons. He’s the rare virtue name that works for a boy. Plus the v sound is downright dashing. Blogger Rebecca Woolf had this on her shortlist for a son before welcoming twin daughters Reverie and Boheme.
Zinnia – X and V are fine, but it is tough to beat the letter Z. Zinnia is a zippy, seldom-heard botanical that picks up where Olivia leaves off. Kelli mentioned this one in her post about The Sisters 8 series, a tale of mystery-solving octuplets with interesting names.
Veronica – Her heyday was in the 1970s and 80s. Today Veronica is back in the headlines thanks to the big screen version of Veronica Mars, successfully funded through a Kickstarter campaign just last month. Plus Kristen Bell, the actress better known as Veronica, made headlines as a new mom herself this week.
Lincoln Bell – Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are first-time parents to daughter Lincoln. Yes, a girl called Lincoln. Borrowing from the boys can be controversial, but some were quick to point out that Lin is a staple in girls’ names, making this one less outlandish than, say, Harvey or Todd. Plus mom’s maiden name makes for a very pretty middle.
Hartley Eric – Have you heard the story behind the baby name chosen by Veronica De La Cruz? The news anchor lost her brother Eric to a heart condition several years ago. Since then she’s raised money and awareness through a foundation. The tag “<3 Eric” – literally, heart Eric – inspired her newborn son’s name.
Ty – Sometimes less is more. Kelli suggested Ty on her round-up of baseball names. The legendary Ty Cobb was born Tyrus. Other names inspired by the major leagues include Nolan, Lofton, Mays, Shea, Catcher, and Cutter. But if short is the new long, Ty could be a star.
Cale Hutch – Does this sound like a storage cabinet for leafy greens? If Ty is the tiniest bit too brief, there’s no shortage of other possibilities. Cale Hutch appeared in a recent birth announcement. He’s short and almost choppy, but somehow the combination works. Others recently spotted: Brye, Jad, Lane, as well as more mainstream picks like Finn and Jude.
Ava Berlin – Let’s end on a high note. Hollywood loves an unusual place name, from Egypt to Milan to Bronx. But Jeremy Renner and Sonni Pacheco got it exactly right, balancing the Top Ten Ava with the daring Berlin in the middle spot.
What are some of your favorite name trends of the moment? Are you a fan of letters like X, V, and Z? How about place names? Short names?
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on March 31st, 2013 at 10:59 pm
Zinnia and Veronica are great.
Kristen Bell could have done worlds better, though – Lincoln for a girl is just straight up ugly and inappropriate, sorry!
on March 31st, 2013 at 11:21 pm
I love Lincoln—
for a boy!
This name seems strangely ungirly considering Bell is the middle name. The flow is off. The story about the car is weird too. While I like Ford for a boy, I am not sure I would name a boy Ford to honor the company.
On plus side I like all of the other names on this post. Revere is awesome! Never thought of it, but now I love it. It’s good to have more virtue names for boys. I also like Veronica. Zinnia is ok. Ava Berlin is lovely! She sounds like a film noir heroine. I love that combo!
on April 1st, 2013 at 12:52 am
I know a girl, who is a teacher and should know better (insert rolled eyes) who named he son Lincon. So very youneek. It makes me think his name is Lin Con. At least Kristin Bell got the spelling right. Oh and Zinnia is gorgeous. My sister has a friend named Zinnia and she is just as sweet as her name.
on April 1st, 2013 at 1:11 am
I actually, at first, was afraid they named their daughter Liberty Bell! And now I can’t get that idea out of my mind. Lincoln on a girl is interesting, but, like Max and Maxwell, will never be feminine. Keep the boys names in the boy camp. It’s hard enough finding nice boys names!
Ava Berlin is lovely! Well done, them! And Zinnia is very nice.
I think after some consideration I could like Revere a lot. It’s a very good combination of sounds, and has a fabulously romantic American heritage… yes I think I like it very much.
Dixon, on the other hand…. I don’t think anyone in America outside of the South would be able to use this. And in the South it might be too obvious and hokey. So while it has a nice sound and otherwise be a nice name, I think it might ultimately be unusable for a lot of people.
on April 1st, 2013 at 1:45 am
There is nothing about Kristen Bell’s choice that I like. Lincoln for a girl is eye-rollingly trendy. And why does Mom’s surname have to be relegated to the little-heard middle? I will never understand why intelligent, accomplished women choose to give their children only their husband’s last name — I understand some individuals may have complicated personal reasons, but let’s face it, this is a pretty disgustingly misogynistic tradition. Why not hyphenate or choose an entirely new surname? At least Kristen didn’t change her own name…that would have been truly disappointing from girl heroine Veronica Mars (itself a fabulous name!).
on April 1st, 2013 at 2:24 am
I actually love Lincoln as a girls name.
I’m honestly at a loss as to why people are getting so worked up about it.
on April 1st, 2013 at 4:41 am
Ugh, not another Ava. Daring middles are all well and good but all people use in everyday life is the first name.
on April 1st, 2013 at 8:06 am
I can see Lincoln for a guy as a first name, but not a girl.
on April 1st, 2013 at 8:08 am
mckaylalove: the reason why I don’t like it is because when I think of Lincoln, I think of Lincoln Memorial, Abraham Lincoln and the car.
on April 1st, 2013 at 12:21 pm
I do not like Lincoln for a girl. I also do not like Maxwell Drew for a girl. There is something that just feels very sexist to me about giving names that are traditionally very much boys names to girls. Like the parents are trying to fool people or something. I had a great aunt named Frank. Her father named her that b.c she was supposed to be a boy and then had the nerve not to be. So it makes me think of that, like the parents are disappointed or something.
I like Zinnia and I actually really like Reverie, though I’m not sure about Revere. Though Rev is a cute nickname.
on April 1st, 2013 at 1:44 pm
I had a friend growing up, that came from a large family, and she was supposed to be a boy and her parents were going to name her Eric Ryan. Well, when she was born she surprised everyone by being a girl and they didn’t like “Erica” and had stuff that said Eric on it already so they named her Eric-Rose. I think if you’re going to give a girl a boy name you should at LEAST hyphenate it with a much girlier middle name that WILL be used in every day life instead of not like normal middle names.
on April 1st, 2013 at 1:53 pm
I was given the most common of common names when I was born – Jennifer – and went through school with dozens of other Jennifers. We all had to use our last initial and I believe I even signed my mom’s mothers day cards “Love, Jennifer M.” I can totally appreciate wanting to give your kid a bit more of an identity through a unique name. None of these names listed are TOO outlandish…Revere is just great! Please, for your kid’s sake, back away from Isabella and Ava, Jacob and Jack.
on April 1st, 2013 at 4:29 pm
I actually don’t mind Lincoln Bell. It’s traditional but different on a girl… but I am extremely curious to see what they call her. to be a fly on that wall!
I like Dixon, Zinnia, Ava, etc. wouldn’t probably use them. My friend named her baby Cale, and it’s grown on me.
I read the story about Hartley Eric in People mag… and it’s such a beautiful way to honor her brother.
I’m in love with Archer and Matilda right now… much to everyone’s dismay. 🙂
on April 1st, 2013 at 4:49 pm
I cannot stand the name Ava Berlin. It smacked me in the face when i read it. It makes me think of a certain Eva who was married in Berlin then changer her surname to Hitler. Bad association.
on April 1st, 2013 at 9:06 pm
I’m pretty neutral about Lincoln, but it’s always odd to see so many people get worked up about “boys'” names for girls on this site! First of all, Lincoln is a surname, which are … gender neutral, people! Secondly, why are people so defensive about this topic? Who cares if a girl has a “boy” name? There will always be more/different/recycled names. Girls are not “using them up.”
on April 2nd, 2013 at 8:43 am
I’m with Poppy58 having a Jewish mother and being raised in a interfaith family made that association jump out to me. Even though they probably didn’t think of this when naming their daughter I dislike it. I think Berlin sounds pretty but with Ava it’s bad.
Lincoln is bad for a girl – handsome boy’s name dreadful for a girl what’s next having a daughter named James or William? Strong stereotypical girls names for girls and strong stereotypical boys names for boys.
Never liked Veronica.
Cale Hutch is okay has a southern vibe to it which is cool. Ty feels too nicknamey. Hartley Eric is fine but I wouldn’t give my son the name Hartley I’d prefer Eric Hartley. Love Dixon!
I’m unsure of Revere. Dislike the twin combination how strange! Zinnia is cute though.
on April 2nd, 2013 at 9:19 pm
Poppy528 I was thinking the same thing, but I thought her name actually was Ava, not Eva. I was wondering if Ava Berlin was some strange homage to Hitler. I would not even choose Ava because I thought it was Hitler’s girlfriend/wife.
on July 3rd, 2013 at 1:54 pm
I also had the same reaction to Ava Berlin. I can’t imagine they put two and two together when the picked the name but I have to agree that is more than inappropriate give the context. I actually like boy names for girls. Almost all the girls names on our list were once considered boy names (Charlie, Paige, Taylor, Peyton, Reagan.) I personally wouldn’t name my daughter Lincoln, but I don’t think it is the worst thing is the world. It is on our boy name list though. I am however, not keen on the latest trend to give girls very traditional boy names like James. I disagree with the person that thinks that parents are disappointed that they had a girl or that they trying to throw people off. I think people are just trying to be unique, which is good but only to a point.
on July 16th, 2013 at 10:19 pm
I really love the name Zinnia, though I think it’s really hard for girls to have Y or Z names. No matter how pretty I think they sound, when you give them to a baby, it just sounds awkward to me. Y and Z names (And oddly, T names, maybe it’s just me?) for Girls, usually fall under the category of ‘I like but wouldn’t give to a baby” This includes Tess(a), Yasmin, Yanna, Zelda, and unfortunately, Zinnia
I love the name Berlin and think it fits perfectly in the middle name slot. I knew a Berlin in second grade, and at the time, didn’t know it was a place-name. I just thought it was a “lynn” name (though it was spelled “lin”) something like Mary Lynn, Bethany Lynn, Etc. Lin could be a really cute nickname for those brave enough to use it as a first name- though it’s a pretty name either way. ^)
on October 1st, 2013 at 7:16 pm
We are considering Lincoln for a girl. Hubby brought it up almost a year ago, then I saw that Kristen Bell named her daughter Lincoln. I’m now 12 weeks pregnant. I don’t know the sex of our child yet, but if it is a girl, I’m pretty sure we are going to name her Lincoln Renee. Hubby and I both like it and could care less what others think! Besides, with all the girls running around with names like Reagan and Kennedy, I hardly see it as controversial!
on October 1st, 2013 at 8:46 pm
@LT2013 – An interesting point about Reagan/Kennedy – you’re quite right.
I tend to think that surname names and hero names should be considered gender neutral.
on October 6th, 2013 at 12:01 am
Zinnia is one of my guilty pleasures. As a lover of children’s books, I think of Matilda and Chasing Redbird… ** love ** love ** love ** that name.
As soon as it becomes a trend to name boys Elizabeth, Rebekah, or Sophia, I’ll learn to accept when parents name their girls James, Noah, or Lincoln. I don’t mind the idea of swapping a name’s gender, but I don’t understand why it isn’t acceptable yet to give a boy a traditionally female name. I’ve met a few women/ girls named Taylor, Charlie, and Billy. Never met a man named Emma, Susan, or Irene.
The first time I heard Lincoln Bell, I thought Liberty Bell. Like North West, I feel like sometimes two perfectly decent names don’t belong together. Ava Berlin… glad to know I wasn’t the only one to make the Hitler association.
on November 14th, 2013 at 6:39 pm
My name is Lincoln…yes I’m a girl! Lincoln Elizabeth, and everyone I’ve come in contact with for the past 18 years has absolutely loved it. It’s quite offensive how everyone is talking about the name. My name makes me unique and memorable, and I guess I’m girly and pretty enough to pull it off. Maybe you just have to know the person to know that it works for a girl.
on March 14th, 2014 at 1:48 pm
I don’t have anything to say about the names but oh my! That baby in the picture is soooo cute!
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