Noun Names for the New Year: Dahlia, Deacon, Dior and Velvet

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

We’re just days into the new year, and there’s so much to anticipate.

What will Zara Phillips Tindall, the least conventionally named of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren, name her first child?  When the 2013 data is released, will Jacob still be the most common name for boys born in the US, or will Mason unseat him?  Which fictional character names will take us by surprise?

But this week, I’m thinking about a very specific question: of all the unconventional word name possibilities, which will go from sounding wacky and way out there to mainstream in 2014?

Kids called Willow, River, Scarlett, Genesis, Serenity, and Cash are nothing new, but not so long ago those all sounded as outlandish as Apple or Bear.

Earlier this week The Tennessean reported that the majority of Americans are completely fine with kids called Messiah.  That’s pretty tolerant – if we can handle Messiah, surely Pilot is no big deal.

And yet, I wonder about the power of noun names to influence our choices.  Nancy recently shared a quote on nominative determinism – an elaborate way of saying that your name determines your future.

Will calling your child Forest make him outdoorsy?  Will Aria love to sing?  Can Cash expect to hit it big on Wall Street – or maybe Vegas?  Is Valor brave and Honor honorable?

Plenty of parents must be hoping this is true.  Or at least they’re untroubled by the possibility.  Because we’ve been borrowing from the dictionary with abandon as 2013 slipped into 2014.

Crimson – If Scarlett and Ruby are mainstream, why not Crimson?  I think it works well for a daughter or a son, though this week’s uproar is about a newborn boy named Krimson Tyde.  Yes, the parents are huge University of Alabama football fans, and they’re hoping that junior shares their loyalties.  It is easy to be dismissive of choices like this, but let’s face it – an awful lot of kids are named after coaches and quarterbacks.  Crimson fits with color name trends, and even Krimson isn’t so crazy in our age of Kayden and Kroy.

VelvetAustralian actors Zoe Tuckwell-Smith and Damon Gameau recently shared their new daughter’s luxe name – Velvet.  Once I’d have dismissed Velvet as showy and over-the-top, but my reaction to the news was positive.  (Aussie baby name blogger extraordinaire, Anna Otto, agrees.)  Scarlett, Violet, Velvet.  A dozen girls received the name in the US in 2012, so she’s an under-the-radar possibility for daring namers, or Elizabeth Taylor fans.

Dahlia RaeTop Chef judge Gail Simmons is a new mom!  She and husband Jeffrey Abrams went with the vintage, lady-like botanical Dahlia for their new daughter.  The flowery first name is punched up by gender-neutral modern middle Rae.  It’s a great combination, and one that hits the familiar-but-not-common sweet spot.

Dior – I know.  You’re not convinced.  The first 2014 baby born in Connecticut was named Dior.  (Am I the only one who spends January 1st waiting to hear stories of New Year babies for the names?) Dior is one of those extravagant choices, like Chanel or Armani.  And yet, forget the designer label and isn’t her sound attractive?  Harper, Piper, Summer, Juniper … why not Dior?  On sound alone, j’adore Dior.

Deacon – Looking for proof that wacky celebrity baby names become totally mainstream?  Look no further than custom art from Small Words.  Kim recently painted a piece for Deacon.  I remember hearing comments like, “Ava is a nice name, but what was Reese thinking when she named her son Deacon?”  Now he seems right at home with Turner and Cash and Anna Rose and Will Ford, all names appearing on Small Words’ artwork in recent weeks.

Fox – First there was the character from The X Files.  Then maternity concierge Rosie Pope helped out the parents of a baby boy called Fox on her reality show.  Now it seems like Fox is the new Max and Leo combined.  Bree recently spotted this name on her wanderings at Apartment Therapy, that bastion of stylish nurseries and nicely named children.

Ava Blue Beyonce and Jay-Z have not stopped parents from considering Blue for their babies.  Ava Blue appeared in a recent birth announcement.  When it comes to choosing middles, Rose might be most parents’ go-to, but Blue is the bolder possibility of the moment.  Which reminds me … in a few weeks, we enter the Year of the Horse on the Chinese Zodiac, but did you know it will be the Year of the Blue Horse?  Even more reason to consider the colorful middle.

Ara – Traditions change, not only in the US, but all over the world.  Korean families once delegated name-choosing to the grandfather, but these days the parents are exercising their own creativity, especially when it comes to naming girls.  Ara means sea, and was chosen by one couple for their daughter’s name.  It’s quite lovely, and if we’ve adopted Kai for boys, wouldn’t Ara make an interesting sister name?

Zephyr – Let’s end with a name from British Baby Names’ 2013 round-up of Telegraph and Times birth announcements – the mythological Zephyr, the gentle west wind.  With choices like Zachary and Xavier in the US Top 100, Zephyr starts to sound more approachable.  Zeph reminds me of Jeff, now firmly in dad-name territory, and Zephyr shares his –r ending with Carter, Parker, Hunter, and lots of other mainstream choices for boys.  Zephyr is still a daring, eyebrow-raising kind of choice – but so are plenty of other names that wear well in 2014.

Which noun and word names do you think we’ll hear more of in 2014?  Are there word names that you might use?

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22 Responses to “Noun Names for the New Year: Dahlia, Deacon, Dior and Velvet”

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Allypallysmith Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 1:46 am

Fox is pretty cool. If I were a cooler person I could probably pull it off. Lol I imagine a really progressive couple into rock music with tattoos and dark clothes naming their son Fox. Neat, I like it.

banomi Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 2:47 am

I LOVE Velvet! That one’s going straight on my Guilty Pleasures list!

Krimson Tyde just calls to mind that euphemism for the menses… Or maybe that’s just me?

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 2:56 am

I think nominative determinism seems to indicate that your name *might* influence what you do in life for a career, not what you are, or your character. So maybe Forest will be a woodsman, but I don’t think Honor will necessarily be honorable – everyone I know called Grace is exceptionally clumsy (even by my standards, which are low). And I think the research shows that it is your surname which is the important part rather than your first name.

I love the name Zephyr, and am seeing quite a bit of it. I have also seen a Krimsin (girl), and a boy called Kai Blue recently, so colour names do seem the rage.

Rapoport Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 5:13 am

Ava is becoming very popular in Europe, it is also a very new first name in France.

Charshi Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 7:02 am

I know both a Velvet and a Dior, strangely enough! Their names suit both of them very well but I’m still not entirely on board with the whole luxury items as names trend. Fox and Dahlia, however, are both wonderful!

BabyNameCrazy95 Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 8:30 am

Dahlia Rae – I had this on my list for a long time and still love t shame it is going to be so well known x

ScarlettsMom Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 9:41 am

“On sound alone, j’adore Dior.” You stole the words right out of my mouth, Abby! Those commercials with Charlize Theron make it seem impossibly glamorous.

Krimson Tyde… While I certainly can’t judge people for naming their child something sports related, I still cringe at the spelling. But I saw an article that another family had a son named Crimson Tide and a daughter named Alleigh Bama, so… they’re not alone.

I do like Fox, even if I could never use it myself. And Ara is gorgeous! I’m reading it like “ARE-uh” is that right?

littlewren Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Oooh, Crimson. I really like it (with the correct spelling only) but was afraid of the teasing potential… maybe by the time I have kids it’ll be a bit more mainstream and less problematic?
I also like:
Zephyr (I also like Zephyrine for a girl)

Entangler Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Crimson tide is definitely a euphemism for having ones menses. Awkward. Do not like.

Dahlia is beautiful and fox is quirky and cute in the right ways. I also like Zephyr and Ara. How do you say it? Ay-rah or ah-rah?

Velvet does not seem glamourous to me at all. It’s like naming your child silk (which I actually might prefer). Something about this name feels distinctly cheap, akin to Dior (though the sound of this is more appealing) or naming a child Mercedes. No offense.

Deacon is fine, fits right in with the others and Ava blue is just meh.

MaryKathryn Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Fox is my absolute favorite boy name and I’m so excited that it is finally being noticed, though I wish it could stay all mine and I would be the only one to use it. I am actually quite angered by that “What does the fox say” song because I feel that if I use it to name my son, I would hate for him having to grow up being made fun of due to that song.

tori101 Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Crimson – Not keen to be honest if I stumbled across this name in ‘real life’ rather than ‘nameberry life’ I would laugh. Same goes for Velvet but maybe not as extreme, I don’t know whether my immediate reaction would be laughter. But hey there could be worse in my little brother’s class he goes to school with a girl called Hunnie (like Honey but with text language as official spelling).

Dahlia Rae – I love this sooooo elegant.

Dior – Oh c’mon if this was in reality and you saw some kid called Dior my initial thought is ghetto!!

Deacon – Yeah I like really like Deacon, he’s handsome and sounds very strong. An effortless vibe. I also like that Deacon doesn’t feel obviously word like Crimson. Deacon stylistically feels more masculine.

Fox – I can totally see the appeal in Fox it’s quirky, wholesome, and has a great nature appeal. Yet I think you’d have to be ‘cool’ parents too pull this one off. Like @allypallysmith said the parents would have too be covered in tattoos and wearing black, looking cool and off beat just like Fox. Ordinary folk (I don’t think) could pull this off.

Ava Blue – I like Ava she’s pretty. Blue is a quirky middle name. Good combination.

Ara – Looks attractive unsure on pronunciation?

Zephyr – Intriguing choice. Looks unusual and sounds handsome.

: )

MichelleKaye Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I love Crimson and Fox.

There is a little boy at the preschool I work at named Zephyr and he is the sweetest thing! The name has a positive association for me.

indiefendi Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Crimson would be fine if it wasn’t with that K. Good Lord! Ugh. I’m a big Alabama fan myself but Krimson? Next there’ll be Kinnamon–pronounced like Cinnamon.

I love Deacon, it’s like Dean, it’s kind of noble in a way.

I’m waiting for the Ava train to stop.

Zephyr sounds like depression medicine to me.

I’m not one for naming kids after designers but Dior is better than Chanel in my opinion. It’s pretty like Alaia.

Fox? Fox??? Well there’s already some established people named Wolf, Tiger, and Bear, next it’ll be Lion?

Velvet is very soft-sounding I actually kinda like it. I’d never use it myself though.

MissTrash Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 4:50 pm

I like Ara. I also love Kai! They would definitely make a cute sibset.

I like most names on this list apart from Dior and Deacon.

Zephyr is pretty cool.

VegasCountryQueen Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Crimson would be a nice way to honor my man because the colors of the college he went to were crimson and cream. Since Crimson ends in -son, I would use it for a boy.

Velvet is cute. Right now, my favorite kind of lotion is called Velvet Sugar. It smells amazing, so I can associate Velvet with that. It’s similar to Violet, so it could work.

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Deacon seems to have gotten a push over the past year or so from the show Nashville, which has a major character named Deacon. I liked the name before the show, I never thought it was odd but once the show started, I absolutely fell in love with it (despite his issues).

Krimson Tyde – I agree with banomi… It does kind of sound like a lady’s days euphemism. Though, I didn’t think about it until I read you say that! 🙂

The only other names I really like on this list, other than Deacon, is Dahlia and Ava.

Giinkies Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I know a female Dion (but it is more popular as a boys name) so why not Dior?

Abby Says:

January 6th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

@CsprsSassyHrly – Thanks for the tip on Nashville! I’m sure you’re right about that.

@Glinkies – A nice point about Dion.

Interesting to hear the divide on Crimson.

Not positive how to pronounce Ara – I’ll have to ask – but I’m saying it like Clara.

tfzolghadr Says:

January 7th, 2014 at 12:17 am

I’m not understanding the blue horse thing… 2014 will be the year of the Wood Horse, which is associated with blue… but also green. I’ve never heard it called the “blue horse”, or even seen it depicted as being blue.

tfzolghadr Says:

January 7th, 2014 at 12:20 am

I Googled it just to be sure… the Malaysians are calling it the Green Wood Horse. Maybe a regional thing???

Abby Says:

January 7th, 2014 at 10:49 am

@tfzolghadr – Hmmm … must be regional. If you watch the Korean news story about Ara, they refer to it as the Blue Horse – though yes, I’ve seen Wood Horse, too …

RainbowBright908 Says:

January 7th, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Krimson Tyde? Ok, I can get on board with naming your kid after a favorite coach or athlete, even though I’d never do it. Several PPs have noted that Crimson Tide is a euphemism for “that time of the month.” Lots of sports teams have some questionable names- Hokies, Redskins, etc that would not be wise to bestow upon a child. I could accept naming a kid Crimson. But not followed by Tide. Or Tyde. That’s just cruel.

Dior sounds lovely. However, I’d advise anyone against naming their child after luxury products.

I know some awesome folks with middle names of Fox, Blue, and Rae. I prefer Fox to Bear. Fox is a fairly common surname, and surnames as first names are popular. While it is an animal name, it’s also a surname. I’ve known people with a surname pronounced “Bear” but it was always spelled Bair or Bayer.

I love the sound of Deacon. It’s got very strong Christian connotations. Beacon (like Deacon with a B) is one of my guilty pleasure names my husband would never let me use.

Ara would be lovely if you dig the name Ava but want something a little more unique.

Zephyr… love it! It’s distinctive but familiar. I don’t see how it would raise eyebrows anymore than Deacon. Zephyr has spiritual connotations for many people.

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