Outlandish Baby Names: Cisco, Buttercup, North

The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

Has the world gone mad?

The latest celebrity baby name to make headlines feels like more of a punchline.  Most parents rule out names that fit a little too well with their surname, like Fox Hunter or Blue Greene. 

Even though the new mom denied the rumor earlier in her pregnancy, it appears that Kimye has doubled down on the directional names, calling their new daughter North West.

At first glance, it seems absurd. 

And yet, I’m drawn to the name North.  Nickname Nori feels very wearable in our Nora/Cora/Eleanor moment.

I’ve defended Pilot and Apple, Suri and Romeo.  This comment from Lyz Lenz at The Huffington Post sums it up perfectly: “… name diversity isn’t something to be feared, but embraced.”

Tom Scocca also took a measured approach to the famous duo’s choice in his article at Gawker.  Little Miss West’s name “… is probably not going to be one of the 200 most traumatic or weird or challenging things about this child’s life …” True enough.

My take on North?  It’s a great name.  It’s outlandish when paired with the surname West.  But it isn’t child abuse or irresponsible parenting.  It’s just an attention-getting name, like Rainbow Aurora or Apple Blythe Alison.  The same freedom that lets Kim and Kanye choose North creates space for us to use names like Rufus or Clio.

It felt like this week was all about stand-out names, the kind that you don’t hear much.  Or maybe ever.

The nine baby names in the news last week were:

North – I love his subtle virtue vibe, his nod to the natural world.  North reads masculine to me, but just like Wren or Cedar, I have a hard time assigning gender to noun names.

Nori – Yes, Nori is seaweed.  But I’m charmed by the way Kimye arrived at their daughter’s nickname.  She’s Kimberly Noel and he’s Kanye Omari.  Take the no from her middle name and add the ri from his, and there you have it – Nori, which just happens to pair up with North perfectly.

Quinoa – No, I don’t think you should name your child Quinoa.  But if you aren’t following Tiffany Beveridge’s My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter on Pinterest, you’re missing out.  Beveridge calls her fictional girl Quinoa, and has gives her friends names like Harrington, Chevron, Roylston, Booker, and Hallifax.  It’s laugh out loud funny.

Coco Frances – Speaking of funny, thanks to Nicole for pointing out this web series, Convos With My 2 Year Old.  Coco Frances is the actual name of web series creator Matt Clarke’s daughter.  Coco makes a cameo at the end of most episodes.  I love this combination – Coco is a little bit wild, but still very wearable, and Frances anchors the name.

Kaidence – I first heard Cadence in the late 90s, and yes, her dad was a drummer.  Take Cadence, mix in two scoops of Kayden, and now the most popular spelling for this musical moniker is Kaydence.  It was widely rumored that Kimye had settled on this name, but with yet another spelling.  Could Cadence/Kaydence/Kaidence be the new Mackenzie/Makenzie/Mckenzi?

Kalasin – Proof that plenty of families aren’t interested in naming their children Sophia and Jacob: the Offbeat Baby Names thread at Offbeat Families.  Kalasin and Kelandry, both from Tamora Pierce’s fantasy novels, got a lot of love.  Other stand-outs included Eithne, Seren, Zuzu, Zen, Tobin, and Wolfgang.

Buttercup – Could this be a great middle?  Ebsie has Eloise Buttercup May on her shortlist, a nod to the movie The Princess Bride.  It also makes me think of The Foundations’ upbeat single Build Me Up, Buttercup.  Buttercup is far more daring than Lily or Rose, but that’s the point this week.

Cisco – As in Cisco Systems?  The character from Grand Theft Auto?  San Francisco?  Or The Cisco Kid?  Never mind.  Because while the list of associations is long, I think Cisco’s sound is great.  I stumbled on him in this list of birth announcements at For Real Baby Names.  He’s a little bit techie, a little bit cowboy, a smidge alternative, too.  If your best friend just named her son Arlo, Cisco could be the perfect replacement.

Doone Isla – Let’s end with one more celebrity birth announcement, this time from swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Amanda Beard.  She and husband Sacha Brown have welcomed a daughter called Doone, a little sister for Blaise Ray.  I’m surprised by Doone, which makes me think of Lorna and beaches and Frank Herbert’s sweeping sci fi novel.  Then again, Sloane is on the rise, along with Blair and lots of other tailored names for girls.  Maybe Doone is just a midpoint between Delaney and June.

What do you think of daring, even outlandish names?  Are they unfair to the children?  Or just a preference of the parents?  Would you consider a name outside of the US Top 1000?

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24 Responses to “Outlandish Baby Names: Cisco, Buttercup, North”

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Netta5187 Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 1:54 am

North is cute as a middle name, imo. Especially if their is meaning behind it. I personally think they should have just used Nori as her first name, since it’s more feminine and that’s what they’re calling her anyway as a nickname.

jessieo Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 3:46 am

I just cant get past the nori seaweed association…I guess the upside is if North gets married one day she has the option of changing her surname.

ebenezer.scrouge Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 5:43 am

Ebsie is me thankyou for the link Abby. Its my mums favourite movie and I like the sound with Eloise even though I hate the movie.

Baby name obsessed mentioned on Nameberry | babynameobsessed Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 5:49 am

[…] feel like I have accomplished something finally. The post which covers outlandish names mentions me here: Buttercup – Could this be a great […]

MaScha2 Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 6:45 am

I just can’t get past North West. I just think they used their kid as a publicity stunt and it’s a little sickening to me. Why no middle name? That really bugs me and makes it even worse. Don’t really care for the nickname either. There were so many great options out there and they wasted a great opportunity. Naming a child is an honor, not something you do for money or publicity.

MaScha2 Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 6:46 am

I just can’t get past North West. I just think they used their kid as a publicity stunt and it’s a little sickening to me. Why no middle name? That really bugs me and makes it even worse. Don’t really care for the nickname either. There were so many great options out there and they wasted a great opportunity. Naming a child is an honor, not something you do for money or publicity.

MaScha2 Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 6:46 am

I just can’t get past North West. I just think they used their kid as a publicity stunt and it’s a little sickening to me. Why no middle name? That really bugs me and makes it even worse. Don’t really care for the nickname either. There were so many great options out there and they wasted a great opportunity. Naming a child is an honor, not something you do for money or publicity.

MaScha2 Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 6:48 am

Sorry don’t know why that posted 3 times!

VelvetCrush Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 7:17 am

I’ve named my dog Buttercup in honour of the Princess Bride, but I don’t think I’d like it on a girl/woman. It’s a bit too cutsie.

bluejuniper Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 8:24 am

I had a look at Quinoa’s Pinterest page after you mentioned it on Facebook – it’s so fabulous!

Scarily though, the more I say it the more I think it could work as a name. Chevron too. Even though I know they were used because they are audaciously silly 😉

Aurra Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 8:41 am

I don’t see why in the world they went with North West EXCEPT for publicity. If they had named her Eleanor/Nora/Annora, I’d think that at least they weren’t that shallow. Snooki and Kim’s own sister managed to use classic, strong and meaningful names. But no, Kim and Kanye took this as a joke.

I love Tamora Pierce, and she comes up with cool names. If I have twin daughters, there is a good chance that their middles would be Sarai and Dove (the nicknames of Saraiyu and Dovesari of the two Trickster books- the first ones I ever read). Alanna is one of my favorite names even WITHOUT the connection. I also really like: Beka (my favorite spelling of Becca), Numair, Jonathan, Kelandry, Kalasin, Alianne, Lokeij, Aram, Cooper and more. However, most would be nicknames.

hazelgirl Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 8:44 am

I agree that North is a great name for a boy. But North West together and with no middle for a girl = terrible publicity stunt. So bad for so many reasons.

littlebrownpony Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 8:48 am

*sigh* I wish they had just named her Nori.

Brigid16 Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 9:04 am

Just a note–it’s Keladry, no N. I once nannied a charming kid by that name. We nicknamed her K.

Clemency Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 9:58 am

Okay, so in Kim & Kanye’s case, there’s at least a chance that the baby’s name is a publicity stunt. But I have known several regular, ordinary families who couldn’t resist making their kids’ names jokey like that. There have been more, but 2 I remember are a coworker of my husband who named her baby Justin Case; I also went to college with a girl named Holly Woods. Honest to goodness. Not urban legends. So, it happens, even among the non-famous. Not that I understand the urge myself!

OceaneBreeze Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 11:38 am

North West!?!? Thats just cruel. However, I do like the nam North, for a boy or a girl. And Clemency – I know someone named Thomas Thomas.

iwillpraise Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Clemency and OceaneBreeze ~

I also know some kids with funny names! One is Benjamin Good (I’ve Ben Good) and Benjamin Franklin P. There is a technician I know named Neal Neals. Talk about original, right?

I think Nori is kinda cute, especially after coming from her parents’ middle names (funny how they didn’t give her a mn and therefore deprived her of such an option when she has children!) — but as an avid lover of meanings of names and not just the name itself, it truly is lacking in that area!

Personally, I’m not a fan of North and if you absolutely can’t resist, at least use it for a boy.

habert Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I personally think it’s awesome that they named her North West. I mean, that just sounds so much like Kanye, it’s great.

She’s got one of a kind parents and she’ll definitely be one of a kind!

benjamelissa Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 7:37 am

I don’t like North, though I do like Nori. I had a great aunt Nora Elizabeth who went by Nori. But in Hollywood everyone is trying to one up the last person. I can’t wait until all these Hollywood babies grow up and go into the business. Won’t the headlines be fantaststic then! As for the double monikers, I know an Andrew Andrews and a Robert Roberts, Andy and Robbie. In Andy’s defense, he was #9.

opants Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I’m in agreement with other posters– should have just gone with Nori.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

June 26th, 2013 at 4:00 am

Buttercup is sweet in the middle, but I couldn’t see it in the first name position.

Doone reminds me just too much of the word “doom”.

North is surprisingly nice, and as others have said, it’s not even that weird to turn your kid’s name into a phrase or statement. Plenty of people do it, and this almost seems like a celebrity trend that’s “of the people”. Practically down home.

I don’t like the seaweed thing though. Now it seems like it’s about western seaweed.

K_Westie Says:

June 28th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

North West is just too…. “I want even MORE attention and I’ll use my baby name to get what I want!”

North would be a cute middle name if it had a meaning and not a direction as the surname already.

I genuinely don’t like Kim or Kanye, but I lost even more respect for them when it was announced that they really had used this name – I wanted to cry for the child!

EVERY SINGLE TIME the poor girl wants directions, people will take the mick.

Well done, Kim and Kanye; more media attention.

lalala__lauren Says:

October 13th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I loved Cadence when I was younger, and am sad to see it popularized with the Kay spelling. I’d never use it now because my SO was a percussionist, but still like it with nn Cady (pronounced like Katie). I’m pretty sure I first learned of it as a name from a video my sister had about a colonial family. Haha.

I have a friend named Francisco, nn’s Cisco and Fran.

Liztheartist Says:

November 24th, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Isn’t Cisco a brand of vegetable oil…

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