The Nameberry Nine: Embracing the Modern

The Nameberry Nine: Embracing the Modern

Nameberry Nine columnist Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain trolls the web this week in search of the newest, most modern monikers.  Here, her report.

The arrival of Blue Ivy, firstborn daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z, was a signal for every commentator to discuss wacky celebrity baby names once again.  It is a topic that never seems to grow old, though many name cognoscenti rated Blue as relatively tame, perhaps even less original than we’d expected from the stylish duo.

Ellen DeGeneres congratulated the couple, then revealed their secret – The Celebrity Baby Name Generator, issued to every star.  While Ellen and her partner Portia and childless, she gave the BNG a spin to see what they’d name their twins.  The answer?  Banjo Fire Escape and Elbow Gas Lamp – the latter, she quipped, obviously a boy’s name.

Despite all of this gentle mockery, I’ve fallen in love with modern word names over the past few years.  Maybe it is because of all those blog babies with such adventurous appellations:  Reverie, Morrow, Drummer, Glow.  Based on the chatter on the forums and in recent blog posts, I’m not alone at Nameberry.

This week’s Top Nine suggest that world is adapting to a much broader pool of given names:

King – American parents might choose this regal name in memory of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.  But he made headlines last week as one of the names most frequently rejected by New Zealand naming authorities, along with fellow royal titles Prince and Princess, plus noun name Justice.

Caliber – This name popped up on Twitter last week.  It sounds like he’s another lil’ gun-slinger, but I liked the idea that he could be another modern virtue choice, a brother for Merit.

Miro – Marginamia ran a great post on Finnish names earlier this week.  Miro is a vibrantly international choice, worn by Spanish artist Joan Miro and also heard as a short form of Miroslav.  Actor Lucy Lawless has a son called Judah Miro.  If Leo and Milo are current, Miro could be, too.

Anden – Name Station wrote about this compromise by a pair of figure skaters.  She’s from Texas and grew up as one of many girls sharing the name Jennifer.  He’s from Russia.  Jennifer Wester and Daniil Barantsev wanted a name that would travel across cultures well but also be decidedly different.  Anden was their choice – somewhere between the Russian form of Anthony and the oh-so-popular Aiden.

Hawk – On his own merits, Hawk seems aggressively masculine.  But an expectant mom on Nameberry’s Nametalk forums is considering Hawk as a middle name, in honor of family surname Hawkins.  Suddenly, Hawk feels less like giving your son the middle name Danger and more like an inventive reboot of a find from the family tree.

Royce – Baby food cookbook author Liza Huber – a starbaby in her own right, the daughter of soap opera legend Susan Lucci – is mom to daughter Hayden and sons Brendan and Royce.  Surname Royce isn’t new – he’s appeared in the US Top 1000 since the nineteenth century – but suddenly stylish moms seem to be considering him.  Is it the name’s subtle connection to luxury cars, thanks to Henry Royce, co-founder of the venerable automobile brand Rolls-Royce?

Aston – While we’re on the subject, Names4Real spotted a baby Aston.  Another British luxury race car brand, the Aston Martin is best known as the preferred ride of super-spy James Bond.  Are Royce and Aston echoes of baby Bentley, made famous by Teen Mom, or is something else driving this trendlet?

Eleven – With celebrities choosing numerically-themed middles, from Harper Seven to Blue Ivy, it is no surprise Name Soiree spotted a lovely little one called Esme Eleven.  No word on her parents’ inspiration, but Eleven strikes me as a surprisingly wearable choice for a daughter.

Isabelline – An unexpected color name suggested by Dantea, Isabelline is a pale grey-yellow shade.  It might relate to the name Isabella, or maybe to a word referring to the color of a lion’s coat.  Either way, it could make for a staggeringly pretty elaboration of the oh-so-common Isabella.

How do you feel about newer names?  Do you prefer to stick with more established choices, or are adventurous appellations like Eleven and Caliber exactly what you’re looking for?

Photo by  jACK TWO via Flickr

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.