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Short and Sweet Celebrity Baby Names: Quinn, Art, Nell

February 8, 2015 Abby Sandel

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Do you prefer Olivia, or the spare Liv? Nathaniel, or just Nate?

If you’re drawn to Liv and Nate, you’re not alone.

Short names have come and gone over the years. Classics like John and Grace can be found throughout the centuries. Once-novel choices like Dawn and Jill, Todd and Scott, are now mom and dad names.

Today there’s a whole new crop of single syllable baby names, from surnames like Sloane and Grey to nature names like Skye and innovations like Jax and Jace.

Even as plenty of parents opt for long, lovely appellations like Sebastian and Isabella, others are keeping it simple.

This week’s high profile birth announcements were dominated by super-short baby names. Just one syllable, easy to spell, and no formal name required, thanks.

Let’s take a look at the newest baby names in the news, as well as other celebrity parents who have embraced this trend in recent years:

Tadhg – I know what you’re probably thinking. This name may be short, but it isn’t necessarily straightforward. Tadhg John is the new arrival for Irish singer-songwriter Una Healy Foden, member of British girl group The Saturdays. At home in Ireland, Tadhg’s name is perfectly straightforward. Una and rugby player husband Ben are also parents to the equally Irish Aoife Belle. As for pronunciation? Tadhg sounds like the first part of tiger – minus the er. File Tadhg with Maeve, Niamh, and a few other Irish heritage choices that are short and stylish.

Art – We’ve seen the regal Arthur make a comeback in recent years. Now Irish actor Chris O’Dowd and his wife, journalist and television presenter Dawn O’Porter, have gone with just Art for their new son. Art feels a little breezier and maybe more daring than the storied Arthur. And with playgrounds already filled kids named Jack, Max, and Gus, why not just Art?

HalArt reminds me of another high-profile birth announcement: Hal, son of Hank Azaria. Azaria was born Henry Albert, but if Hal has a formal name, Hank and wife Katie Wright have never shared it.

AceArt and Hal are grandpa names, newly cool for another generation of boys. Other choices are completely new names, custom-made for the twenty-first century. There’s high-flying Jett, royal Reign, and this name, chosen by Jessica Simpson for her son in 2013. Ace has associations with playing cards and airplanes, tennis and music. It’s a big, bold name in just three letters.

BeauJamieLynn Sigler gave this name to a son in 2013, and last year, Sarah Jane Morris welcomed a daughter named Beau. Respelled Bo, this name could be even more streamlined. But it is the French Beau that parents prefer. As of 2013, Beau ranked Number 270 for boys in the US, and was even more popular elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

LouHeidi Klum and singer Seal gave their sons elaborate names: Henry Gunther Ademola Dashtu and Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo. But when their daughter arrived in 2009, Heidi and Seal went with Lou Sulola. Heidi is also mom to Helene, called Leni. Leni and Lou are sweet names for sisters. Lou is a short, sleek name – and rather restrained compared to Heidi’s earlier choices.

Nell – Some short names sacrifice a degree of femininity – Lou could just as easily be Henry and Johan’s brother. Others are lady-like, even dainty. There’s Scarlett Johansson’s daughter Rose, Jimmy Kimmel’s Jane, and, of course, Helena Bonham Carter’s Nell. Helena and director Tim Burton are also parents to son Billy – not William – so it’s no surprise that they went with just Nell for their daughter. The name was inspired by the many women with Helen-names in mom’s family.

EveJust three letters, and yet Eve isn’t short for anything – though more elaborate names, from Eva to Evelyn to Everly to Evangeline, share the sound. Jessica Capshaw welcomed a daughter called Eve in 2010. Eve lags behind all of those names in terms of popularity, but it would be impossible to argue that this brief, elegant name is missing anything.

Quinn – Congratulations to journalists Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk on the arrival of their second, daughter Quinn Lily, a little sister for Harper Estelle. The duo reminds me of Shonda Rhimes’ daughters: Harper, Emerson, and Beckett. Quinn fits right in with surname choices for girls like Sloane, Blair, and Blake – simple, tailored choices that are more popular than ever.

What are your favorite short names? Are there any that you would use?

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

View all of Abby's articles

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