By Linda Rosenkrantz
2017 was an interesting though somewhat serene in the starbaby world, with few celebrity baby names crying out to be called outrageous.
George and Amal Clooney set the tone when they gave their twins non-attention-grabbing names Ella and Alexander—George suggesting that they would get enough attention as it is. And several other celebs followed suit with names high on the popularity list.
A few trends we’ve noticed: Several distinguished gentleman names made their entrances, including Beaumont, Montague, Robinson and Augustus. For girls there were sassy Sadies and Mabels and the resurgence of old classic names Jane, June, Jean and Joy.
Here are our picks for the outstanding starbabies’ names of 2017.
Alexis Olympia Jr. — Tennis great Serena Williams and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian made news when they dubbed their daughter Jr., with daughters named after their fathers still a rarity in any world, celebrity included. But the baby is called Olympia, an equally powerful nod to mom’s Olympic champion status. We approve of a name that even-handedly honors both parents.
August—Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan acknowledged the month of their second daughter’s birth, and also linked it to older sister Max(ima)’s name via its Latin roots, strong meanings and unisex vibes.
Birdie Joe—Actress/model/wrestler Brie Bella picked this stylishly chirpy vintage nickname name, pairing it with her grandfather’s nickname (and not feminizing it to Jo). She also kept her husband’s family’s B-name tradition going.
Bodhi Soleil—Twilight’s Nikki Reed and Vampire Diaries’ Ian Somerhalder were among the first to use for a girl this popular spiritual Buddhist name related to enlightenment. Her middle name is the radiant French word name for sun.
Calliope Maeve—Actress/web-series creator Felicia Day made a felicitous choice with this winning combo, pointing out that Calliope was the Greek muse of epic poetry and Maeve an Irish fairy warrior queen. Both names are on the upswing, with Calliope new to the Social Security list and Maeve #23 on Nameberry!
Domenica Celine—This stunning choice by food maven Daphne Oz is perfectly in sync with big sister Philomena Bijou’s name. Let’s hope it will encourage more use of this neglected Latin name sometimes given to babies born on Sunday. It just might be our #1 pick.
Odette Elliott—Sheer charm brings Supernatural star Jared Padalecki and wife Genevieve’s first daughter’s name to this list. Sophisticated Odette was also chosen by Mark Ruffalo for his daughter in 2007. Elliott is a recent gender crossover, gaining in traction for girls.
Remy Anne—For his third daughter, Billy Joel chose a stylish French (male) saint’s name that has gone unisex: it’s now number 717 for girls, in the Top 500 for boys, and part of the Romy, Remy, Rory boys and girls club.
Rumi—Yes, there was some momentary head scratching when this Beyoncé and Jay Z girl twin name was announced—it being that of a celebrated 13th century Persian male mystic poet (who Jay Z later declared was the couple’s favorite). But, easy to spell and pronounce, it fits in well with some similar girls’ names and is now getting a lot of love. As for her twin brother’s name, I’m afraid it’s no Sir.
Ford Douglas Armand Hammer—The newest member of Armie Hammer’s illustrious family rated an appropriately distinguished moniker. The strong surname Ford is becoming a celebrity fave, entering the pop list in 2014 and now at #712—and rising. (shown are Armie, wife Elizabeth Chambers, daughter Harper and baby Ford)
Grey Douglas—One of the softest and subtlest color names was chosen by Molly Sims. His name was the persistent preference of 4-year-old brother Brooks; another factor in the choice was that Grey was born on a rainy, grey day.
Hal Auden—Benedict Cumberbatch and wife Sophie went doubly literary with the name of their second son, combining the Shakespearean history-play name of Prince Hal, the nickname of the young Henry V, with the poet name Auden.
Memphis —Though country singer Jason Aldean isn’t even from Tennessee, his hero was a Memphis boy, and he said “I’ve kinda been infatuated with Elvis since I was a kid.” This cool Southern-accented city name was also chosen by Girls’ Jemima Kirke for her son and—back in the 90s—by Bono for his daughter.
Odie Sal—At first we feared that the baby born to sitcom star Ashley Williams and husband Neal Dodson might have been inspired by the cartoon dog in Garfield. But—whew—Odie’s first name is a tribute to Dodson’s great-grandfather, and his middle name is a sweet allusion to favorite children’s book classic Blueberries for Sal.
Revel James Makai—Glee star Matthew Morrison was articulate about the joyful impulse behind his son’s innovative name: “I revel in his bravery…with everything that’s going on right now, he’s so brave to come into this world. It’s a lesson in patience. I’m learning how to communicate with him about him and what every burp and fart means.”
Strummer Newcomb–Tag this choice of Julia Stiles as one of the most unusual and original names of the year. Though it wasn’t met with universal admiration, we like its ‘strummin’ on the old banjo’ feel, and also recalls The Clash’s Joe Strummer.
There were lots of other cool starbabies born this year—any you would add to this list?
Every Sunday, our acting head mod @katinka sends us a roundup of the most fascinating, engaging, and useful new threads on the forums. We love reading these and thought you might want to join in. Here, this week’s roundup:
—Does Luca sound masculine? Madison feminine? How where you’re from affects your gender perceptions of names.
–If you’re looking for a name that passes the Supreme Court Justice test, check out this discussion of names that sound smart.
—Rhyming can be a clever way to update names for a new generation. Perfect if you’re trying to honor someone you love who has a name you don’t.
—What good is a middle name? A discussion of the value of middle names.
—You know they’re odd or old-fashioned or impossible or impractical, but there some names you can’t help but love. Puck is mine. What about you?
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