Newsy Names this Week: Aberdeen, Hercules and Via
Names from the movies: Solo and Shuri
If you’re a movie-goer, you might have already clocked some great names in cinemas this year. To refresh your memory, here’s a lovely long list of stand-out character names from recent and coming-soon films.
But others could be ones to watch. Carlyle (from The Greatest Showman) and Reynolds (Phantom Thread) are both underused surnames. Mera (Aquaman) and Via (Wonder) are tiny rare names that are showing signs of rising.
Many name-watchers believe that Black Panther will have an impact – but whether parents will feel inspired to use T’Challa, Shuri or a name no one expects, we won’t know until the 2018 statistics come out next year!
“Tell us your baby’s name already”
Would you – or did you – tell anyone your baby’s name before it was born? There are good reasons for and against, and every parent has their own story about how it worked (or not) for them.
You may sympathize with this article – “Stop with the unnecessary secrecy, and just tell us your baby’s name already” – if you know someone who’s expecting and you’re desperate to know what they’ve picked. Those monogrammed gifts aren’t going to order themselves! However. When parents-to-be are exercising their right to secrecy, savvy name nerds have strategies to talk names without pressing for a reveal. Repeat after me: “So, how would you describe your naming style?”
On the other side, this mother regretted sharing her top contenders with her family before her children were born. It didn’t change their choices, but the negative reactions gave the parents extra stress they didn’t need.
It’s no secret that name nerds love poring over the latest name data. They’re a good way to see which first names are popular, but they don’t tell us why parents choose names, or which first-and-middle combinations they use.
Here are some stories that fill in the gaps and show us the babies, and parents, behind the names.
Of all the parents who used Sebastian, I wonder how many named their son Sebastian Giovinco, after the Italian/Torontonian soccer player. These parents did, honoring the only player who gets mom interested in watching the game.
Meanwhile in Scotland: calling your son Thor is one thing, but calling him Thor Hercules takes it into new realms of epic. If heroic names are your thing too, you might like these mythological names for boys and girls.
Ultra-Violet was another name that stood out in Scotland’s 2017 data. Now you can read more about why her parents chose the name (short answer: they’re science lovers), and how much they love it – and her big sister’s name, Raven.
Place names tend to be more popular away from those places – like how Brooklyn is big pretty much everywhere except New York. One mother in Scotland bucked the trend by calling her daughter Aberdeen, making her the only Scottish baby with this name since 1974. Her mother fell in love with the city when she moved there from Thailand. Aberdeen is fairly rare in the US too – it was only given to 12 babies in 2016 – so it’s an option if you’re looking for an underused city name. It has a gender-neutral feel too, with echoes of both Dean and Adeline.
Why go gender-neutral?
Unisex baby names always seem to be in the news right now. I like that this article features real-life parents explaining why they chose names that don’t lean one way or the other. Some are raising their child gender-neutral in all ways; others came to the names by accident.
But what feels unisex to one parent might not to another. Some of the names mentioned – like Avery, Riley and Lennon – are indeed in the top 1000 for both boys and girls. But Sigrid? It may not sound traditionally feminine to English speakers, but it’s only ever charted for girls in the US. I suspect Scandinavians would see it as firmly female.
Celebrity name theft
Finally, another naming dilemma: you’ve found the perfect name for your child. It’s unusual but not too out-there, it’s stylish but not too trendy…and then someone high-profile uses it. What do you do?
If, like this mother of a boy called Cass (like Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s fourth son), your child is already out there in the world, there’s not much you can do except congratulate the stars on their good taste. And maybe steer away from repeating siblings’ names. And remind your kid that at least they don’t share a name with a voice-activated gadget. Or Harry Potter. Or Lord Voldemort.