The Nameberry Nine: The week’s newsiest names from Athena to Ysabeau

The Nameberry Nine: The week’s newsiest names from Athena to Ysabeau

For her Nameberry Nine this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel  combs the celebrity pages in search of interesting choices.

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 TwilightDeborah 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.

As May draws to a close, here are the Nameberry nine baby names most in the news last week:

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 MatthewYsabeau – 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, PhoenixPhoenix has gone from a wildly out-there appellation to a modern standard.

Wyatt LillyWyatt 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 AudreyJenna 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.

Have you seen What to Expect, the movie?  Was there any baby name chatter?  And what do you think of Wyatt and Gray on girls?

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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.