Nameberry Nine: Trendy with a twist
This week, in her Nameberry Nine round-up of the latest newsy names, Abby Sandel, of Appellation Mountain, looks 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.
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.
Hudson – Celebrity 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.
Kennedy – Country 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.
Zander – The 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 Liam. Could 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.
Avonlea – Another 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 Avalon. Avonlea 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 Isadora. Isabella 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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on November 28th, 2011 at 4:26 am
Unfortunately, many would associate ‘Radko’ with ‘Ratko Mladic’, the man accused of war crimes during the Yugoslav War.
on November 28th, 2011 at 7:35 am
I rather like the more obscure surnames as first names as long as they remain on boys – Edison is on my own list.
Our oldest came home and was talking about his friend on the bus named “Abraham”, which just had me tickled pink.
on November 28th, 2011 at 9:51 am
I am completely feeling Baxter and Avonlea. I thought about Baxter maybe two years ago when I fell for Dexter. No one else was feeling it though. I hope it gets some real attention. Also, Avonlea is fabulous and has a great Anne Shirley connection.
on November 28th, 2011 at 10:13 am
Just saw on the Today show a little girl in the crowd that Al picked out, and her name was Avonlea!
on November 28th, 2011 at 11:27 am
I kinda dig Kennedy, but only on a boy. Not a huge fan of any of the other names.
on November 28th, 2011 at 11:29 am
Also I hate hate hate passing the same first name onto a son. It’s one of my pet peeves. It’s fine if it goes in the middle, but to give him the same first name imo is just cruel. He’ll have to always go by his nickname and never grow up because dad and maybe grandpa have the same name. Be a little more original parents…
on November 28th, 2011 at 12:39 pm
I am totally floored that Avonlea is on this list. A little over a year ago, when I was pregnant, this name came to me in a flash, and I had never heard it before. I thought I totally made it up! I came up with the spelling Avonleigh, but I actually prefer Avonlea. We ended up choosing another name for our daughter, but would likely consider Avonlea if we had another girl.
on November 28th, 2011 at 1:57 pm
I would’ve loved to see Aeson make the list. Although it’s not very common yet, I do see it being tossed around more and more. It’s an alternative to the older-style Jason and the still-trendy-and-overused Aidan.
I really do like Hudson. And I know plenty of little boys named Xander/Zander. Their names aren’t short for anything…those are their names.
on November 28th, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Isadora really should get more love than it does . . . It’s gorgeous, with spunky “Izzy” a nickname bonus.
on November 28th, 2011 at 4:57 pm
I love Isadora!
on December 30th, 2011 at 1:42 pm
They all kind of made me cringe…
on April 12th, 2012 at 9:52 pm
All the names you have mentioned here i have had on list for awhile in away excited but bummed I love Isadora !!! now it’s becoming more popular and Kennedy i love it spelled Kenadee
on August 11th, 2012 at 8:32 pm
As much as I watch the popularity of the names I like my top two choices at the moment are Isaac and Delilah.
I know Isaac is popular where I am but I’m hoping on the next 5-7 years it dies down a bit. Although if my fiance has his way he’ll become Zac which always seems popular. From the looks of it Delilah is on it’s way up but I’m hoping it doesn’t get too high on the charts. I’m sure my kids will be FN Last initial throughout school. *sigh*
I really do like Hudson and Kennedy though. Although Kennedy seems all boy to me.
on September 7th, 2012 at 4:18 pm
My friend in high school was supposed to be “Isadora!” but her dad kept calling her “Easy Izzy” to her mom, so she picked Beth. From one extreme to the other, I guess.
I have a cousin named Kenadi – totally suits here. And i know a 2 yr old names Kenley… a different take with a more feminine sound?
My goal in life is to never have FN Last Initial. I hated that, and so did my husband. His mom picked his name because it was popular (Scott in 1969) and my mom picked mine because she thought it wasn’t, but it was. There were 9 Erins, Aarons, Erics, and Ericas in my 10th grade Chemistry class. and the teacher mumbled. 3 of us sat together and it was mass confusion. I want my children’s names to be easily pronounced and spelled, but to be unique from everyone else. We named our son Weston in 2008. And while we don’t know any other Westons, everyone we know knows another Weston.
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