Short and Sweet Baby Names: The Nameberry 9

Short and Sweet Baby Names: The Nameberry 9

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel ‘s picks of The Nameberry 9 newsiest options focuses on the trend for  short and sweet baby names.

Are miniature names growing on you?  There have been Nameberry posts and discussion threads, and a steady uptick in birth announcements for children with very short names.

They’re not my style, but the more I hear them, the more I find them pleasing. I know a toddler called Royce and another named Nell. Then there are famous kids with bite-sized names, or nicknames – like Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey’s twins, referred to as Roc and Roe. Reducing an elaborate appellation like Araminta to something spare – Min, maybe? – feels rather elegant.

Mini names have their advantages. It is easier to fit Mia in a tweet than Isabella. Which reminds me – Twitter was founded by four men – Jack, Noah, Evan, and Biz. Biz is short for Christopher.

Are bare minimum names the next big thing? Hard to say, but they did seem to dominate baby name news this week.

Fia – Fiery Fiammetta is a lovely Italian option. Short form Fia shares something with two Top Ten favorites – Sophia and Mia. Sebastiane noted that Fia is a hit in the Faroe Islands. The islands are located halfway between Scotland and Iceland, making their given names an intriguing mix of Gaelic and Norse influences.

Scout – From the North Atlantic to the American South, is Scout following Harper and Atticus as the next big name from To Kill a Mockingbird? A recent post at Swistle resulted in twins named August Everett – called Gus – and Genevieve Scarlett – called Scout. The parents thought up their daughter’s nickname first. Other families are going the Bruce WillisDemi Moore route and penning Scout on their daughters’ birth certificates, or at least Name Soiree spotted a girl named Scout Lake in Australia. And here’s one more – an article about a family from Milwaukee. They’re clearly ahead of the trend, as their Scout Elizabeth is eight.

Kai – While we’re talking about short names, Kai is one that has taken my neighborhood by storm. I’m not sure if the statistics bear this out – Kai had yet to crack the US Top 200 as of 2010 – but in the ‘burbs of Washington DC, Kai feels like the new Jacob.

Caine – My favorite Biblical boys’ name has long been Abel, and I couldn’t understand how anyone would consider using Cain. Or even Kane, though I concede he’s a completely separate name. Then I watched the viral video about the enterprising young Caine Monroy, of Caine’s Arcade fame, and I wonder if it is enough to completely revise my opinion. I suspect it is enough to give that slightly elaborate spelling a boost.

Arden – Thanks to British American for pointing to a family with six nicely-named girls: Ophelia Chantelle, Lavinia Celeste Bailey, Helena Christelle, Evangeline Claire, Cosette Marguarite Constance, and new baby Arden Credence. While Arden fits in with her sisters’ literary names, it does feel like there’s a more tailored trend at play.

Rock – Would you let your sister-in-law name your baby? What if she insisted the name came to her in a vivid dream? Train frontman Pat Monahan and wife Amber went that route, naming their son Rock Richard after Amber’s sis, Summer, insisted it was the right choice. The couple is also parents to a daughter – Autumn, plus Pat has two older kids, Patrick, Jr. and Emilia. Madonna has a Rocco – and Johnny Knoxville has a Rocko – but could just Rock catch on?

Dylan River – While we’re talking about musicians and the monikers they choose, did you notice country crooner Joe Nichols and his wife Heather named their daughter Dylan River? Yes, their daughter. Both names have a history of use for girls, but the double-gender-neutral caught me by surprise. On reflection, maybe it is more like Arden – proof that boys’ names are getting shorter, and girls’ names are going frills-free.

Io – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is sending back impressive pictures, including some of Jupiter’s moon, Io. A nymph from Greek myth, Io has to be the ultimate miniature appellation – just two letters, but still two syllables. Nancy noted that it has been given to a handful of girls in recent years.

Tillman – At first glance, Tillman doesn’t seem like a short name. He’s two syllables, with plenty of letters. Like many an on-trend choice from recent decades, he’s a surname – inspired by former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Pat Tillman, who turned down a lucrative contract with the team to serve in the US Army Rangers. He died in service in Afghanistan. Today a series of charity events keep his name alive – and have inspired a boomlet in Arizona boys named Tillman. When shortened, Tillman becomes the intriguing Til – an update to Tim and Will, or a time name rich with meaning, a cousin to Ever?

Would you ever use a short name? How short could you go? If you wouldn’t put a mini name on your child’s birth certificate, could you embrace a very short nickname?

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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.