Category: unusual baby names

Nick Berry Juice profile image

Presidents Day Baby Names: The Veeps

posted by: Nick View all posts by this author

An FBF look back at some of the often-forgotten Vice Presidents’ names.

By Nick Turner

It’s no surprise that U.S. vice presidents don’t get a lot of respect in history books. The job doesn’t confer much actual power (unless the commander-in-chief comes to an untimely end), relegating most VPs to the footnotes of American statesmanship.

But when it comes to baby-name inspiration, VPs may actually be No. 1. The men who served as second-in-command have had some truly extraordinary monikers — both first and last names — and several of them could work nicely on a 2017 newborn.

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Gender-Bending Baby Names

unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Down at the very bottom of the Social Security extended list of baby names, among the hundreds of names given to only five babies in that particular year, are a few dozen names that have radically crossed gender lines.

I’m not talking about unisex names like Charley or Emerson that are widely used for both girls and boys. I’m not even talking about those names like Addison, say, or August, that are occasionally used for babies of the opposite sex but are predominantly given to children of a single gender.

I mean names that are universally considered boys’ names or girls’ names — except for the handful of parents who chose to use them for babies of the nonconforming gender. Girls named Eric, for instance, or boys named Karen.

Baby names crossing gender lines is nothing new — US records from the 1880s list girls named John and boys named Mary — but sometimes it’s all a mistake. Maybe the recording official noted the wrong gender or misspelled the name. Or perhaps the parents are from another culture and don’t understand that in the US, Louie is generally considered a boys’ name while Lucy is for girls.

But in this age of Social Security registration for newborns and digitized records, errors are less common and it’s more probable that those parents, for whatever reason, chose to name their baby daughter Oscar and their son Alice.

People, particularly people who happen to be berries, often have very strong feelings about this kind of thing. Keep names attached to their traditional gender, many say, including boys “taking back” traditionally-male names such as Madison that have become used mostly for girls. Other people feel that gender is an artificial construct and that names can and should be used free of gender considerations, as long as it’s done even-handedly.

But a lot more people still think that it’s cool for girls to “steal” boys’ names — as in the celebrity fad of naming girls James — but not okay for boys to be named Sue.

We want to know your thoughts on this issue. But first, the names from the 2015 Social Security list that were radical gender-benders:

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So You Want A Unique Baby Name?

unique baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

A lot of people say they’re looking for unique baby names, but what do they really mean? A lot of the names tagged as unique often are anything but, including popular choices from Avery to Zoey.

So does unique mean different, as in names that depart from the traditional lexicon? Or maybe unique indicates names that have become widely-used only recently. Or names that are spelled differently from how anyone else has ever spelled them. And of course many people simply use unique to mean unusual.

But what if unique really means what it says: names that are literally one-of-a-kind. As in, no other babies were given this name, at least at this moment in this country. In the case of the US, that means names that don’t even make it to the Social Security complete list of names given to at least five babies.

The baby names here make that cut. So yes, theoretically, some of these names may have been used for two or four babies in the United States in 2015. And some of them may have been used for zero.

The point is, if you’re truly looking for unique baby names and want to make sure that nobody else has your name, then you’ll look to this list. Or to the thousands of other names on Nameberry that are authentically unique.

To hunt down unique baby names, check your favorites against the Social Security complete list, which you can download here by clicking on National Data. You can also find thousands of unique names in our book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names.

Once you find a unique baby name you love, then the question becomes: Do you really want to use it? Do you want your child to be the only person anyone has ever met with that name? For your child to spend a lifetime explaining and spelling and pronouncing his or her name? For there never ever to be a license plate on the rack that spells out that maybe-too-special name?

Maybe the answer is yes, and you feel that the advantages of a unique name — always standing out from the pack, feeling special and well, unique — outweigh the disadvantages. If so, you may find inspiration in the 40 truly unique baby names here.

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E. Wittig Berry Juice profile image

What to Name Your Libra Baby

posted by: E. Wittig View all posts by this author

By E. Wittig

Autumn is here, and with it has arrived the first astrological sign of the season: Libra. Lasting from September 23rd to October 22nd, Libra’s totem is the scales of balance, the only nonhuman or animal object in the zodiac. Libras are elegant, charming people, well balanced and versed in relationships.

Austrina – Our sister planet Venus rules the scales, shrouded in sulfuric acid and named for the goddess of love. Though moonless, the planet has numerous geological features with real-world names Austrina is a valley on Venus, as well as Venus’ Latvian name. Anthony, Theodora, and Guinevere are the more classic of these; less familiar choices include Morrigan, Wilde, Ayrton, and Merak.

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Abby Berry Juice profile image

Unusual Baby Names: A search for the unique

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

They’re looking for a bold name for baby number two! Can you help brainstorm unusual baby names–word names or vintage gems that are seldom heard in real life – but still sound like names? 

Nikki writes:

My daughter will be 2 years old when this baby is born in late October.

Her name is Arliss Lorraine. I have a great aunt named Arlys but never really met her … that was random! I got the name from the little boy in Old Yeller. I knew that was THE name when I saw the movie as a child. It is unisex and we didn’t find out the sex of the baby so it was perfect. Lorraine is a family name on both sides, but honestly, I just like it – it’s a bonus that people thought it was in honor of them!

Our second child is another delivery surprise.

If it is a boy, I love word names, but my husband has said NO to a lot of them – Thief, Sweep, Season, month names. The middle name for a boy will be David.

For a boy, we’re considering Sterling – but is it too ritzy? We also like Revere, as in Paul Revere. But it doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

Roane is a family name on my side. It’s pronounced row – ane, like Jane or rain. It was my late grandfather’s name, but I think it would work for a boy or a girl.

If it is a girl, we like Maple, Mabel, Ardelle – another family name, but just like Arliss, not really naming her after anyone, and Mora Gene, a Southern double name. (We live in the South.) Another middle name option is Story.

Rudolph is our last name. Yup, like the reindeer.

I’m drawn to A, M, and S names. Marlowe and Sloane were both on the list at one point. I like water names, but I don’t love Lake, and River is too popular.

Having a name that no else has is a big thing for me. I’m not a huge fan of nicknames.

I love that I have a story about naming Arliss, and I’m kind of sad that I don’t have that for this one!

The Name Sage replies:

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