Newsy Names this Week: Aberdeen, Hercules and Via

By Clare Bristow

This week’s news includes names from this year’s biggest movies, inspiration from cities, soccer players and mythical heroes, and the perennial question: when to reveal the name?

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.

Some of them seem optimistic. In all the years the world has loved Star Wars, neither Han nor Solo has ever seen much use. Will another sequel really change that?

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.

If you want to moot your favorite names without making your granny roll her eyes, good news! The Nameberry forums are here for you.

Name stories: Thor and Aberdeen

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.

Statistically in 2016, the names with the most even gender split were Charlie, Finley and Skyler read the full list here.

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.

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5 Responses to “Newsy Names this Week: Aberdeen, Hercules and Via”

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Eliane Says:

March 29th, 2018 at 10:38 am

Good god Sigrid is not a feminine name! In Norse mythology there’s the hero Sigrid.

IslandMoon Says:

March 29th, 2018 at 12:54 pm

@Elaine As far as I can find, Sigrid is only a feminine name. The hero I assume you are referring to is named Sigurd.

IslandMoon Says:

March 29th, 2018 at 1:19 pm

I don’t know if I like Aberdeen as a name or not. It’s a nice enough city, but I don’t really like the sound.

I do like Thor though. I think it’s worth noting that while Loki has been used more every year than Thor for the past few years (3 in 2017, 5 in 2016, 6 in 2015), where Thor has only been used for 1 each year, it hasn’t dropped like Loki has, and lots of variations of Thor are used every year, whereas the only variation of Loki used in those three years was Loke, and that was last year.

CocoaPuff Says:

March 29th, 2018 at 3:14 pm

Sigrid is a feminine name in Norway, for instance, the novelist Sigrid Undset from the early twentieth century.

Leorising Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 3:09 am

As someone who lives in Aberdeen, I don’t think I could use it because to me, it’s just the city- but I can see the appeal. I think it’s a sweet story and hope to run into baby Aberdeen one of these days! I have found many Scottish villages have great names that could be used as firsts though.

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