Names in the News: Bay, Blueberry and Bank
Super sibling patterns
In the celebrity world, Justin Bieber has a new half-sister, Bay. Justin’s dad Jeremy decided to break the J-pattern of his older children (Justin’s other sibs are Jazmyn and Jaxon) and use a tiny nature name that’s still under the radar for both boys and girls. Some are saying that Bay Bieber – or Bay B. as she might be known if there’s more than one Bay in her class – is a bit much. What do you think?
I spotted an interesting sibset in this homebirth story: Noah, Scarlet, Aquila and their new sister Selah. It looks like their parents got more adventurous with naming the more kids they had, which isn’t unusual. It’s nice that baby Selah’s name repeats the sounds of her older siblings’ names, and shares a biblical connection with Noah, so it feels like part of the set.
Another birth story from Germany shows a family with pairs of alliterative sibling names, rounded off neatly by baby number 6. The children are Johanna, Jonathon, Emanuel, Elisabeth, Konstantin, and their new baby brother Kiran.
Sports fans may know that the Asian Games are on now in Indonesia. When one local baby arrived a month early on the day of the opening ceremony, her parents named her Asian Games in honor of the event. They hope she’ll grow up to be an athlete.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Thai-Korean popstar BamBam explains his and his brothers’ names – they show rather different parental aspirations. All the brothers have a long Thai name and a shorter nickname for everyday use. The oldest is Beer, because dad wanted to name his first son after what he loved most. For the second son, mom vetoed another alcoholic drink and chose a name that she hoped would bring him money: Bank. Finally, grandma’s love of The Flintstones inspired BamBam’s name.
(PS did you know that Bambam is an Australian Aboriginal name too?)
Back to the States. I’ve never been to New Jersey, but if you know and love it, do any of these names appeal? From Franklin and Edison to Blueberry and Helmetta, the list caters to a wide range of tastes!
Or how about inspiration from the world of geometry? Last week, brand naming expert Nancy Friedman wrote about the Penrose tiling pattern, named after mathematician Roger Penrose. Penrose is a Celtic placename that has been used a handful of times for boys and girls over the years, but could really do with more love. What do you think?
Justice for baby names
Justice is one of the most frequently banned names in New Zealand. It’s because title names – which also include Major, Doctor and Prince – are not allowed, lest they cause confusion. (They’re also banned in Australia.)
But Justice is a tricky one, because it’s a virtue name as well as a title. Now a lawyer is campaigning for parents’ right to use it, and soundalike Justus. In the US, Justice is a top 600 name for both boys and girls – so you can see why Kiwi parents might feel aggrieved that they can’t use it too.
Want to know more about banned baby names? Check out other names that have been forbidden around the world.
If you gave your child an unusual name, only to find it suddenly got popular…you’ll relate to this article.
If you’re trying to avoid that situation, check the Nameberry chart to see which names other parents are eyeing. It’s not a failsafe predictor – we don’t foresee Rumi and Khaleesi leaping into the Top 50 in the near future – but it will give you an idea of what’s on people’s minds.
On the flipside, for many of us, personal meaning and just plain loving the name trumps any popularity considerations. Case in point: Lily is by no means a rare name nowadays. But when it’s shared by a newborn girl and her 96-year-old great-great-grandmother, that makes it pretty special.
The power of surnames
Finally, another legacy passed on in a name.
In this essay, Elamin Abdelmahmoud explains to his daughter why her full name is Amna Eliot Abdelmahmoud. Amna is an Arabic name meaning “safe”. Eliot is there for its literary connections, and in case she needs an “escape hatch” from Amna. And her surname? It was bestowed as a conscious burden and link to her father’s Sudanese roots:
“…every time someone asks can you spell that? you’re going to feel the sting of lineage, the gentle hand of ancestry…going through it every time means having to remind yourself of who you are, of how you got here, of the people who will never meet you but whose weight you carry nonetheless.”
If you have a “tricky” surname from your heritage, maybe you’ll agree with this choice…or not. Either way, any Nameberry reader will surely agree with what’s probably my favorite sentence in the piece: “We cannot be indifferent to names.”