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 RussiaJennifer 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


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18 Responses to “The Nameberry Nine: Embracing the Modern”

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lara_jane Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 12:03 am

Not my style. Not even vicariously.

Trustedwriter Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 12:09 am

I actually like several of these! Not my style AT ALL, but kind of cool. I might use them on a book character, for instance, but not my child. Caliber? Awesome. And lately I’ve been liking Merit.

Numbers used for child’s name strike me as so cold and impersonal. I know most parents use numbers that are significant to them (Eleven, for instance, would be the day of the month we were married!) but it still makes me think of a dystopian novel where people are called by numbers, not names. In one of my futuristic books, there is a character called Eleven, as a division number and not a name. I guess “Eleven” IS significant to me! 😀 But I’d never give my child a number name, personally. Too sci-fi for real life!

agirlinred Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 12:23 am

These types of names aren’t my style at all, but I do enjoy diversity in the naming world. 🙂

Tandy Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 2:08 am

For me when I see Eleven I think of Dr. Who This is the number of the recent actor to portray the British Icon Time Traveler.

mariahsweet Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 2:24 am

Eleven = Spinal Tap reference, I’d bet…

lemon Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 3:14 am

Off this list, I really like Royce and Miro. Miro has that worldly charm to him, yet he feels down-to-earth and easy-going. Royce is just all old-school handsomeness to me!

Overall, I don’t know that these names are my style, even though I do like many word names. Or maybe more surnames – I love Merritt, but Merit seems incomplete and a little odd.

I also love that you noted Isabelline – how stunning is she? Okay, perhaps a little over-the-top, but so pretty. Other color names like Amaranth, Celadon, and Russet (all also word names!) seem particularly usable to me, as well, with easy nicknames like Ami, Mara, Amara, Cece, Celie, and Russ.

A pet peeve of mine mentioned here? Title names, like King! And Prince and Princess and Knight and Kingsley and Knightley and all that sort of thing. Don’t like ’em at all.

babyoneday Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 6:43 am

I actually teach two little Aston’s a boy aged 6 and a girl aged 8 and have heard the name used on a baby recently too. I forget that it is a type of car, instead I see it as a slick and fresh take on the tired Ashton.

Abby Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 9:23 am

@Babyoneday – that’s a nice point, and I do think Aston is fresher than Ashton. I can’t hear Ashton without mentally adding “Kutcher” – is that just my weird tick?

@Lemon – I know what you mean about title names, though I do adore Kinga.

Names4real Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 10:39 am

If parents always played it safe, then I would have given up my hobby of reading birth announcements a long time ago.

I do like a lot of these modern name choices too, except I don’t like most title names. The other day I was reading the BA’s from the London Telegraph and it mentioned baby Countess and I was like ugh. Then I read the whole thing and she actually was a Countess. Ha! I forgot where I was looking. Countess Kinvara Lisetta Mimi to be exact. So lovely.

It’s funny. I saw your tweet on Caliber and then I found a baby boy named Caliber. His twin, Gauge. I would have preferred Merit.

Have a good week and thanks for the mention.


lemon Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 11:30 am

@Names4Real – Wow. Caliber and Gauge? I suppose the pairing works well because both names feel very strong, but Gauge always reminds me of “gouge.” Hence why I prefer Gage. Also, Lisetta is gorgeous!

miloowen Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 12:12 pm

NOTD is what I say to most of these names….Caliber and Gauge sounds as if he belongs in a construction company!

There are many title names down here in lower Alabama. I’ve taught: Sir Charles, Lord and Sir Jones, Judge, King Richard….These names are ridiculous, although King is for the surname, not the title.

laurann Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I feel like in today’s day and age, when everything is over-branded. Beyond commercials every 30 seconds of actual TV shows, to brand names on soccer (futbol) jerseys, laid on the fields tripping up players, scoreboards, even commentaries “brought to you by X”… (and that’s just in the sports realm), I can’t imagine “branding” my child with a product name. I know I may get some flack for this, but I could just never personally use Mercedes, Bentley, Aston, Cadillac, etc for my child (especially when I’m not getting a cut of the royalties for doing so) 🙂

However, names like Royce or Lincoln, something that may not immediately be associated with the brand seem more acceptable… although even then I’d probably only use it if I had a personal connection, i.e. family name or maiden name.

hmm007 Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Not my style, but it’s nice to expand the pool a bit. That being said, it seems like there have been a lot of modern and unique posts lately. I understand classics can only be talked about so much, but I miss exploring vintage names and under-used classics.

pam Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Never fear, Hmmm 007. Tomorrow it’s back to under-used classics….though many may feel as outrageous as these.

Poppy528 Says:

January 16th, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Isabelline is so obnoxious. I like most -line names but this sounds so made up. I know it’s a real color, but save it for your Quarter Horse.

Royce is cute. I also like the names Duke, Earl, Contessa, and Saint.

minipig Says:

January 18th, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I’m not a fan at all! I much prefer classic name names.
Very glad to live in NZ where the ridiculous title names are rejected.
miloowen – goodness how do you keep a straight face in your class?

mrstrivette Says:

May 2nd, 2012 at 11:14 am

If I were having another boy, I would totally suggest Caliber to my hubby!

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