Category: baby name Olivia

Happy 100th Birthday, Olivia!

By Lauren Der

Olivia has been the second most popular girls’ name in the US for the two years running, and Golden Age Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland was one of the first people to bring it to prominence here decades ago. The last surviving star of Gone With the Wind, we salute her as she celebrates her 100th birthday today.

The name Olivia has long been popular apart from the actress’s fame. De Havilland’s actress mother named her after Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Her sister, actress Joan Fontaine, began calling her Livvie as a child, a nickname that stuck throughout her life. Despite the star’s popularity, her name didn’t spike through the height of her fame in the 30s and 40s, reaching the Top 10 only in 2001.

Here, a look at the names of the characters Olivia De Havilland played. Are any of them as appealing as Olivia itself?

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By Abby Sandel

There are so many ways to give your child’s name meaning.

An old standard can be meaningful, if John is named after your grandfather or Mary after a beloved friend.

Some of most interesting baby names in 2015 are rich with significance. They evoke peace or grandeur, music or the arts or faith.

High profile parents love these names, but this trend is not exclusive to Hollywood. Chances are that any playground will have at least one Lyric or Grace, Kingsley or Haven.

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The New International Names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

There was a time when the top baby name lists of different countries reflected their own distinctive native cultures. When John and Mary headed those of most English-speaking countries, just as Giovanni and Maria and Juan and Maria and Jean and Marie et al were in first place elsewhere.

But that has changed. With the homogenization of culture in general, with an increase in international travel, the spread of the internet and global audiences watching the same TV shows, we are no longer surprised to find the Irish appellation Liam ranking high on the list in Switzerland or the Old Testament Ethan suddenly Number 3 in Monaco. This is a moment when certain names, often in a variety of indigenous forms, are spreading epidemically across the world.

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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Would you pay tens of thousands of dollars to have a crack team of experts develop a one-of-a-kind name for your baby?

If you’ve got the cash, a Swiss firm has assembled the creative linguists prepared to do just that.  It isn’t clear just how many bespoke baby names the firm has created.

Here’s my guess: the number is small.

Because while many parents crave meaning, and want their child’s name to stand out, we don’t hear a lot of truly unique names that seem pulled from thin air, even in Hollywood.

Well … maybe Suri Cruise.

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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Here’s something I overheard recently:

Olivia’s a nice name, but Aria?  Who names a kid after Game of Thrones?

There’s something to that statement, isn’t there?  Olivia feels like a vintage revival, a literary choice thanks to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a wildly popular name for over a decade.  Aria is a newcomer, a noun name that leapt from obscurity to prominence thanks to more than one pop culture reference.  They’re very different names.

Yet on sound alone, Aria and Olivia are similar.  Reverse the histories – make Aria the Shakespearean choice and Olivia the twenty-first century television darling – and it is easy to imagine the statement reversed, too.  After all, five of the current US Top 20 girls’ names end with -ia.

Nouveau or traditional, popular or obscure, our favorite names tend to share sounds.

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