The Nameberry Nine: The week’s newsiest names from Athena to Ysabeau
My week has been defined by two failures: first, I have not managed to see the big screen adaptation of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I’m not anticipating cinematic greatness, but I’m willing to sit through ninety minutes of movie for a few minutes’ worth of baby name talk. There must be at least a dozen infants in the flick! And yet, I know the names of not a single one.
Failure the second: I devoured A Discovery of Witches instead of saving it for my four-hour airplane trip later this week. Yes, it is a supernatural romance featuring vampires. No, it is not Twilight. Deborah E. Harkness slips in a few seriously killer lines about given names, so that made up for my lack of a rom-com baby name fix.
Happily, it was also a week packed with lots of new arrivals, plenty of them with newsworthy names. And yes, both Witches and Expecting managed to rank among the most intriguing appellations, too.
Ysabeau – Okay, A Discovery of Witches has been on the bestsellers list for months, but with the sequel set for a July release, maybe Ysabeau will get some more press. The main witch is Diana, and her love interest is Matthew. Ysabeau – a medieval forerunner of Elizabeth – is Matthew’s ancient vampire maman. Her full, and fabulously French name is Genevieve Melisande Helene Ysabeau.
Athena Marguerite Françoise Marie – Speaking of elaborate appellations, the new Danish princess was christened last week, and her full name officially revealed. Could Athena catch on? Tina Fey’s younger daughter is Penelope Athena, and Athena climbed to #313 last year. The goddess of wisdom seems like an auspicious inspiration for a child’s name.
Talia Serafina – If Natalie and Natalia can be popular names, how about Talia? Strictly speaking she’s a separate Hebrew name, or maybe even a streamlined version of Greek muse Thalia. Now Talia is also the name of actress Erica Cerra’s new daughter.
Kindred – Have you heard about the twins who played JLo’s baby in What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Brothers Samuel and Asher were adopted from Ethiopia by mom Meredith and dad Kindred, joining sister Emerson and brothers William and Carson at home. The boys are darling, but mostly I’m captivated by dad’s name.
Lukensia – No-nonsense trainer Jillian Michaels is a new mom. She and partner Heidi Rhoades adopted a daughter from Ethiopia. I’ve never heard Lukensia before, but with that –ia ending and possible nickname Lulu, she’s appealing.
Phoenix – No-nonsense trainer Jillian Michaels is a new mom – twice in one week! Just days after Jillian brought home daughter Lukensia, partner Heidi delivered their first son, Phoenix. Phoenix has gone from a wildly out-there appellation to a modern standard.
Wyatt Lilly – Wyatt is another modern standard, one of the most popular of the little cowboy names we’ve favored for sons in recent years. But last week Wyatt followed Maxwell to the girls’ side – at least for one girl. Rachel Uchitel – you remember her from the Tiger Woods scandal and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew – is the latest headline-generating mom to borrow from the boys. Wyatt is definitely an unorthodox choice for a girl, but paired with Lilly, she’s not the most masculine moniker we’ve heard a girl this year.
Gray Audrey – Jenna von Oy – remember, she played Six on Blossom? – has also welcomed a daughter with a gender neutral name. Gray keeps company with color names like Ruby and Violet, and also shares sounds with Grace. Plus with Grayson catching on, this could be quite the common name on kindergarten playgrounds in a few years – though somehow, Gray has always seemed more masculine to my ear.
London – Another week, another birth announcement for a baby called London. Former American Idol finalist Brooke White was inspired by husband Dave Ray’s English roots after a trip the couple took to London.
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on May 28th, 2012 at 11:25 pm
Wouldn’t have thought of Lulu as a nn for Lukensia, but probably/definitely wouldn’t use that name myself – sounds a bit like Leukimia, don’t you think? Double congrats to Ms. Michaels and her newly doubled family, though!
Normally, I’m all in favor of the ladies taking from the gents – but not this week. I’m more fond of Gray than I am of Wyatt, but I feel both of them are a bit too blue for a girl. Maybe because there doesn’t seem to be much good nn potential?
Regardless, lovely post (as always)! Happy Tuesday :3
on May 29th, 2012 at 7:32 am
Have to admit that I love the Wyatt Lilly, I think that it totally works. Someone I went to high school with named her daughter Athena, I thought it was a great choice and had no idea that it was as popular as it is (even though it’s in the 300s)
on May 29th, 2012 at 9:05 am
Ugh – Wyatt Lily is horrid. I still do not understand the appeal of this trend and I still don’t get the double standard of it being OK for girls but not OK for boys. The whole thing is rather insulting, to be honest.
Serafina and Athena are fabulous.
on May 29th, 2012 at 10:10 am
Is there someone who’d know if Athena is even used in Denmark?
on May 29th, 2012 at 10:41 am
Lukensia sounds too much like leukemia. I personally find Wyatt horrid on a girl.
Elisabeth Rae Said
on May 29th, 2012 at 11:06 am
Re: the movie, I remember Emerson Jane, Theo, Caleb, Jordan, and Henry pronounced like the French Henri as baby names.
on May 29th, 2012 at 1:56 pm
I haven’t seen the movie, but am definitely interested in the names they pick. Of the ones used this week, I like Athena. It is a bit of a ‘big’ name, but I think it works. I really hate London, but I like Gray (though more for a boy….I don’t mind it on a girl though.) I’ve never been a fan of Talia, either.
on May 29th, 2012 at 1:59 pm
I think Hello! magazine tells why Prince Joachim and Princess Marie chose Athena….Makes an interesting choice with older brothers Felix and Nikolai and Henrik.
As for the others, Ysabeau/Isabeau I’m familiar with — it’s the progenitor of Isabel, after all — but Wyatt and Gray for girls? And Lukensia is just weird. What’s wrong with Lucy/Lucia/Lucinda/ et al?
on May 29th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
I love Wyatt Lily and Phoenix. Gray is not my favorite mostly because Gray is such an unattractive color and I don’t like it for boys either. I wonder if Lukensia is her birth name, she’s from Haiti right?
on May 29th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
Talia and Athena- yes!
Wyatt on a girl? Awful. I don’t see any appeal at all. I would be saying ‘call me Lilly please!”
I don’t like Gray on a girl either. Gray Audrey sounds like you are describing Audrey as gray. Audrey Gray sounds better.
on May 29th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
Jillian Michaels went to Haiti to adopt her daughter Lukensia, but I have read that the adoption process was in the Democratic Republic of Congo, so I’m assuming that she just received the baby in Haiti and that the baby is Congolese, not Ethiopian.
Anne Marie, the youngest sister of the danish Queen Margrethe, is married to the former King of Greece Constantine II who ss also considered (and titled) a Prince of Denmark — at this point, all the royal families in Europe are related — so it’s not that bizarre that they chose Athena, a greek name, since there are certainly strong family ties between the 2 countries.
on May 29th, 2012 at 3:35 pm
And for the record, I think the Danish Royal family has some fantastic names in it:
Frederik, Christian, Isabella, Vincent, Josephine, Nikolai, Felix, Henrik, Athena, Benedikte, Elisabeth
with the possible lone exception being little Athena’s father’s name: Joachim
on May 29th, 2012 at 9:11 pm
I think that Lukensia is her birth name and that she was adopted from Haiti since the article I read about this mentioned JM meeting her in an orphanage there. I don’t know anything about Haitian names, but I am assuming that it sounds and looks different in Creole and I’m not sure how it’s pronounced. I am really glad that her parents kept her original name, though.
on May 29th, 2012 at 10:18 pm
I wanted to see What to Expect too just for the names (and because I’m also expecting) lol. We went to see Dark Shadows instead, some nice names but nothing I would use or found overly exciting.
I loved Discovery of Witches and can’t wait for the next one.
on May 30th, 2012 at 3:13 am
Talia also happens to be the name of actress Talia Balsam, currently playing Roger Sterling’s ex-wife on ‘Mad Men’ (while married to the REAL Roger Sterling, aka John Slattery). Oh, and she’s the only woman to have had the distinguished honor of once being Mrs. George Clooney.
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