Pet, Celeb and Other Baby Name News of the Week

Pet, Celeb and Other Baby Name News of the Week

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes family traditions, sticky dilemmas, an alphabet of winter storm names, and boy names you may never have heard before.

Family tree names: Union and Linton

In the hunt for name ideas, you might have turned to your family tree. Three sets of parents in the news this week did just that.

A week after their daughter was born, actress Gabrielle Union and basketball player Dwayne Wade announced her name: Kaavia James Union. Kaavia is so rare it’s never charted in the US (although Kavia occasionally appears). It seems to fit with Wade’s taste for unusual sounds: his older children are Zaire, Xavier and Zion. James honors a relative, making her the latest in a growing group of girls with James as a middle name. Union, her second middle name, is a happy coincidence of mom’s surname also being a meaningful word name. I don’t think you need a family connection to use Union – you could see it as a less gendered alternative to Unity.

Linton, one of triplets, is another family name that stands out. His sisters Amelia Ann and Olivia Maria have Top 10 names with middles honoring their grandmothers, but fourth-generation Linton got a name that’s used for less than 10 boys each year. Swap a couple of letters and you get Linden, a tree name that’s starting to climb for both sexes.

And another fourth-generation name! Tori Bates of the reality show Bringing Up Bates welcomed her son Robert Ellis IV…but he’ll be known as Kade. It’s a twist on the nickname Quade, meaning “fourth”, and a neat way to both follow tradition and give him a modern name  of his own.

Winter storm names: Avery to Zachary

Winter storm season has begun, with Storm Avery dumping snow over the north-east USA this week. After Avery will come Bruce, Carter, Diego, and more from this year’s list of winter storm names. The Weather Channel, who make the list, find that naming a storm helps them communicate messages about it more easily. Let’s see if any of the names on the list rise in popularity this year – maybe it’s a chance for Fisher, Lucian or Petra?

While we’re on weather names, remember Kylie Jenner’s daughter Stormi? She was very nearly called Stormie, but Kylie dropped the “e” at the last minute. Just so you know.

Naming dilemmas

Let’s look at some name issues that have made the news in the last few weeks.

Is it ok for initials to spell a word? A positive or neutral word is one thing (you may remember Ronan, whose initials spell RAW because he’s RAWesome), but when the initials spell LIAR? You probably need to change something, like adding an extra middle name.

If your co-worker named their baby Pheobewould you tell them they’d misspelled it?

And is it ever ok to reuse a name that’s a reminder of a family tragedy? This letter to a newspaper got a lot of attention when it was published back in the summer.

If you have a name dilemma of your own, don’t suffer in silence – try the collected wisdom of the Nameberry forums or ask the Name Sage.

Literally unique names: Axon and Ocelot

I was skeptical when I saw the headline “boy names that have never been used before”, but actually some of the names on this list really have never made the charts. Name your son Axon, Brodhi, Fenrir or Ocelot, and he could be one of a kind.

If you want a name that’s rare but not quite so out-there, never fear. There are plenty that have a long history of use but have fallen completely off the charts: take a look at the best baby names nobody is using.

Serenity’s story

Here’s a strangely appropriate name story. The first baby of the millennium in New London, Connecticut, was given the peaceful name Serenity. Nearly 19 years later, the local paper caught up with her. Sadly her early life was anything but serene, and she went by her middle name for most of her childhood. But as a young adult she’s starting to use Serenity again. It’s an interesting glimpse into how the names we use reflect changes and stages in our lives.

Pet favorite names

We know that the boundary between children’s names and pet names is blurry. For many of us, animals are our children too. If you know a lot of dogs, you may not be surprised that Bella is still the top dog name – there’s something about the mix of old-fashioned, cute and classy that makes it just right.

More evidence that dog and baby names are merging? Joe Biden’s new German Shepherd is called Major, which is a Top 400 name for boys but not on the doggo name chart…yet.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at