Nameberry Nine: Trendy with a twist


This week, in her Nameberry Nine round-up of the latest newsy names, Abby Sandel, of Appellation Mountainlooks at recent celebrity and other interesting name sightings. Also, take advantage of our CyberMonday Nameberry ebook special! Buy our ebooks for just $3.99 today only, in our store.

If you’re an avid follower of all things onomastic, chances are you can spot names evolving in real time.  Emily fades, but Amelie rises.  Quick, list a dozen other options for parents who want something like Emily, but a little different.

Easy, right?

It must be surprising – even overwhelming – to those who haven’t been paying such close attention.  Parents often lament, “We thought that Logan (or Ava or Isaiah) was so different, but now we hear it everywhere.”

Stories of grandparents surprised by the next generations’ names abound, too.  Last week, Nameberry explored the Top 10 Names You’re Going to Have to Explain to Grandma, packed with everything from Brooklyn to Ranger to True.  They all sound novel, even bizarre, if the last time you checked everyone was naming their kids Jennifer and Jason – or Lisa and Mark.

This week’s list is all about names that fit with current trends, but represent something just a little bit different.  They might surprise Grandma, but they would fit right in on the playground today.

HudsonCelebrity chef Curtis Stone and actress Lindsay Price have welcomed a son called Hudson.  Like Brooklyn, there’s something New York-specific about this choice, but Hudson also nods to all of those other –sons currently in favor: Jackson, Carson, Grayson.

KennedyCountry music’s Justin Moore and wife Kate announced the birth of daughter Kennedy Faye, a little sister for Ella Kole.  Surnames aren’t just for boys, and while Kennedy has yet to reach the heights of Taylor or Madison, she’s no longer a surprise when heard on a girl.  Spelling variants like Kennadi are common, too, and open the gates to new surname variations for daughters.  Kherington, anyone?

Baxter – Yet another celebrity surname pick, this time from Australia, where radio’s Kate Dimond and Sam Cavanagh have named their new baby boy Baxter.  An occupational surname, Baxter also shares that attractive letter x.  He’s less common than Hudson and Kennedy, but with choices like Dexter and Archer gaining more attention, Baxter is one to watch.  Kate and Sam plan to call him Bax – which also brings to mind nouveau coinage Jax.

ZanderThe evergreen Alexander typically shortens to Alex, except in recent years, thanks to a television character nicknamed Xander in the 1990s.  Model Maggie Rizer and husband Alexander Mehran passed on dad’s family name to their new son, but announced that junior will answer to Zander.  The modern moniker fits in with other shortenings of traditional choices, like LiamCould Topher and Bastian be next?

Radko – The first few names on this list aren’t truly surprising.  But Radko?  That’s a new one, spotted by Names4Real earlier this week.  Did Christmas ornament designer Christopher Radko inspire a fan?  Or maybe the family was simply passing on a Slavic heritage choice.  Radko is a Czech diminutive, derived from names like Radomir and Radoslav.  He fits in nicely with ends-in-o choices for boys, like Leo and Hugo.

AvonleaAnother one from Names4Real.  Take the oh-so-stylish Ava, add in a beloved literary heroine, and Avonlea seems inevitable.  Other Av- inspired names spotted in recent years: the botanical Aven, used by actor Matthew Settle, and the Arthurian AvalonAvonlea also fits with the ends-in-lee (and –lea and –leigh) trend from recent years, just like Hayley and Kaylee and Everly.

Everald – Parents have embraced Genevieve and Evangeline and Evelyn.  Could the next Eva name to catch fire be this forgotten saint’s name?  Spelling variants are plentiful.  Zeffy at Names from Yesteryear spotted Everald, but I’ve seen Everild most often.  There’s also Averil – which might appeal to the same parents considering Avonlea, too.

Truxtun – Here’s one I spotted on a toddler, and assumed was invented.  Not so.  Sarah pointed out that Thomas Truxtun was an American naval officer in the post-Revolutionary War period.  A series of US Naval ships have been named in his honor – the most recent in 2009, probably just about the time little Truxtun arrived.  It is the kind of surname that would’ve felt out of place as a given name just a few years ago, but today seems exactly on trend – almost painfully so.

Isadora – Let’s end on a high note.  Earlier this week I met a tweenaged IsadoraIsabella was rising rapidly when she was born, but this similar-sounding choice remains distinctive, with ties to the legendary Isadora Duncan as well as a few early saints.  Call it proof that looking for something just a little bit different can result in a classic name that still makes others pause and think how nice it is to hear the name in use.

Did you spot any interesting names this week?


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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz