Tutti-Frutti Names: Fruitful Baby Names

fruit baby names

When the latest unusual starbaby name hit the headlines last week–extreme adventurer Bear Grylls’ son Huckleberry–maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised.  After all, a previous celebrity couple, Kimberly Williams and Brad Paisley had named their son William Huckleberry, and are known to call him Huck.  But with people still commenting on Apple, maybe it’s time to look at the whole category of  fruit names.

APPLE.  Unlike some other starbabies, Apple Martin has not inspired many namesakes, probably because of all the ridicule it received and despite mom Gwyneth Paltrow’s defensive statement that “apples are so sweet and they’re wholesome and it’s biblical..I just thought it sounded so lovely and clean.”  In fact, since Apple‘s godfather Simon Pegg was quoted as saying she’d be using her middle name when she starts school, we don’t see much chance of it ever catching on.

BANANAEven less likely.  Japanese novelist Mahoko Yoshimoto adopted the pseudonym of Banana because she considered it “cute and purposely andgrogynous”–which it is–but for pen name purposes only.

BERRY. Has long been used as a unisex name, reaching a high of #435 in 1909 and staying in the Top 1000 till 1971, having  two famous namesakes–Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr. and Berry Berenson (born Berinthia), photographer/actress and widow of Tony Perkins who died tragically on 9/11.  It’s a choice that just might come back as a green name which is less elaborate than the other berry names.

CHERRY.  Another fruit name that’s had some popularity before it  disappeared in the 70s, along with Merry, Kerry, Sherri and Terry–possibly because of its embarassment potential for a teenage girl.  Don‘t see this one coming back.

CLEMENTINE.  Partly because you wouldn’t immediately tag it as a fruit name, Clementine is a real winner, which could return to popularity for the first time in over a century, helped by its usage by celebs Claudia Schiffer and Ethan Hawke.  Pronounced with either a teen or tyne ending, it has historical ties to Mrs. Winston Churchill, is feminine, stylish and substantive ,and has long since shed its clunky ‘Oh my darlin’ image.

HUCKLEBERRY.  Has two main obstacles—the close association with Huckleberry Finn and with the cartoonish Huckleberry Hound.  Mark Twain told an interviewer that he picked it to describe “a boy of lower extraction”  Huck is a pretty cool nickname though.

LEMON.  You wouldn’t guess it now, but Lemon was once a fairly well used male name–as in the legendary blues singer Blind Lemon Jefferson, and it still has some potential as a unisex name.  When Alex Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock calls Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon by her last name, it makes it sound like a very plausible first.  LIME might be a middle name possibility.

MANGO. Bizarre Chris Kattan SNL character.  Let’s leave it there.  Papaya and Kiwi too.

PEACHES.  Old-time chorus-girly nickname name revived by rocker Bob Geldof for his daughter Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa, who has been adament in her resentment of it, saying “My weird name has haunted me all my life.”  Let that be a lesson.

PLUM.  A lot prettier and more usable than Peaches, associated with British-born writer Plum Sykes, whose birth name was actually Victoria–the nickname arising from the species  known as the Victoria Plum.

STRAWBERRY.  This cousin of Huckleberry is another rarity, given to the granddaughter of writer William Saroyan, who says grew up in a community of kids named Shelter, Wonder and Raspberry, and with a sister named Cream.  After changing her name briefly, she came to see the advantages of its uniqueness.

And how do we feel about fruit names?  Well, we did call our site Nameberry!

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23 Responses to “Tutti-Frutti Names: Fruitful Baby Names”

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lyndsay jenness Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 10:52 am

I’ll probably be the odd man out here, but I like fruit names! I think Apple is a sweet name, I would probably consider it in the middle if people didn’t hate it so much, it would actually have a lot of meaning for me. I love Pomeline even more though!
Peaches sounds like a stripper, but I love Peach. If my baby-to-arrive-soon were a girl, her middle name would have almost certainly been Peach.
My favorite Japanese name is Ichigo, which means strawberry.
I don’t mind Huckleberry, it’s not something I’d ever use, but I think it’s kinda cool. What Mark Twain said about it kind of kills it’s literary connection, at least for me.
Oh and lastly, I adore Clementine.

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 12:14 pm

In French, Myrtille (blueberry) is not uncommon, and Mirabelle (a kind of plum) is sometimes used. Pomeline is also said to come from apple, and is the third name of Princess Charlotte of Monaco. Cerise means cherry, and is easily adaptable to English. Mela is Italian for apple, and I’ve met a little girl with this name.

Clementine is the best of the bunch for me, and use as a name antedates the fruit.


Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 12:18 pm

In French, Myrtille (blueberry) is not uncommon, and Mirabelle (a kind of plum) is sometimes used. Pomeline is also said to come from apple, and is the third name of Princess Charlotte of Monaco. Cerise means cherry, and is easily adaptable to English. Mela is Italian for apple, and I’ve met a little girl with this name.

Clementine is the best of the bunch for me, and use as a name antedates the fruit.

peach Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 2:40 pm

My screen name comes from one part of my double middle name, the Chinese word for “Peach.” I was born at home in the summer and there was a peach tree in our back yard.

When it has a special meaning, fruit names can be appropriate, particularly as middle names. My husband happens to love the name Clementine. I’ll be watching it’s popularity trend.

Lola Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Clementine’s my #3 name for a girl, Pomeline’s on my list too, but in #10 spot, she rhymes with my existing daughter. I like most fruit names, Apple didn’t go over well with me as a first name, but I wouldn’t mind it in the middle. Nor Banana. (Even though my brain forgets when to stop with the nananananas, you know?) 😀 I adore Myrtille (but then, Myrtle also appeals to me). Strawberry is one that tears me.. half of me thinks “Ooh, Beatles” the other half of me, sports: Daryl Strawberry. So I go waffly there. I generally like fruits on girls and nuts on boys (pardon the pun) Filbert anyone? ;D

Ibex Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I actually think Papaya and Mango would make the best choices? They just sound like exotic names. Papaya nn Pappy or Pippy? I wouldn’t ever use them but thats just my thing. Papaya for the world :D. Anyways..I truly think Clementine is the best

linda Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 9:36 pm

I don’t know how I could have forgotten Mirabelle–it’s a real favorite of mine.

caitlin Says:

January 21st, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I’ve heard of two baby huckleberries in the past two years, and not even celebrities. I think it’s coming in with the crowd that’s naming their kids harper, thelonius, etc. And olive, although that one’s seems to have a quite broad audience, actually. Oh hipsters. Gotta love ’em.

I predict clementine to hit it really big. Possibly through association with “eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”? It’s definitely in the air, in any case.

linda Says:

January 22nd, 2009 at 2:00 am

It’s funny–I was just on a New Zeland radio show and at the end they asked me to name one really cool name–and I came out with CLEMENTINE. It’s really in the air.

Tirzah Says:

January 23rd, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I went to grad school with a woman named Papaya.

The problem with Clementine is that it gives the nickname Clem, which reminds me of Phlegm. The problem with Huckleberry is that it gives the nickname Huck, which reminds me of …, uh, well, a rhyming word.

If Clementine comes back into fashion, maybe Penelope will too. Clementine and Penelope just seem like folksy girl names of lore.

linda Says:

January 23rd, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Just curious–do you know where Papaya was from?

Paige Says:

January 23rd, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Great post!
I really like:
Clementine. It just is so classy and regal, yet not too prententious. Also, it has the cute potential nns Clem and Kit.
Pomeline. This is an offbeat alternative to Caroline, and it has the cute nn option Poppy.
Plum. This IS pretty, with a deep purple hue and a short, sonorous sound.
Strawberry. I’ve met a real Strawberry! She was our very nice waitress at an Easter dinner. This would make a spunky, offbeat middle name choice. Though I’m not sure about using it as a first name!
and for boys…
Huckleberry. The nn Huck is too cute to ignore, and the lit ties make this country-style name a winner in my book.

Cait Says:

January 23rd, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I love Clementine! The only disadvantage is a lack of nicknames – I don’t like Clem or Clemmie much. Someone recently suggested Minnie, Minty or Cleo to me, which I do quite like!

Emz Says:

January 24th, 2009 at 9:10 pm

I love the suggestion of Kit as a nickname for Clementine!

From the list above, my own favourite is Plum. It’s almost phonaesthetic and they’re one of my favourite fruits (fried in butter and brown sugar, mixed with cream and served on toast. Mmm).

How about Quince? It’s not so ‘out there’, given current trends.

Briar Rose

Technically not all fruits but it’s late and I don’t care.

linda Says:

January 24th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Here are a few more obscure ones:


Tirzah Says:

January 24th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Papaya was American, Caucasian. I don’t remember what state she was from. She had red hair, so she must have been a strawberry papaya!

Tirzah Says:

January 25th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I found Papaya! She was practicing law in NY, but apparently not any more.

linda Says:

January 25th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Good work! I wonder how she feels about her name. We’re actually looking for someone who hates his/her really unusual name to interview for an article we’re doing for Reader’s Digest.

Tirzah Says:

January 26th, 2009 at 11:41 pm

I don’t know if she likes her name. I didn’t actually know her; I just noticed her name. The info I found on her isn’t current, so I’m not much help. Sorry.

I haven’t found a correlation between how much a person hates his or her name and the uniqueness of the name itself. The two people I know who changed their names legally were named Jennifer and Roberta. They did really really hate their original names. (I also know an Asian attorney who changed his name to Andrew after noticing that the judges couldn’t remember or pronounce his Asian name; that’s not the same though since he doesn’t hate his original name.)

Alicia Says:

January 27th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

I didn’t think Apple was so shocking, perhaps because I’d already known an Apple (she was 3). I do have a hard time picturing it on someone over the age of 7.

I LOVE Plum though. It also happens to be my favorite color. I tend to prefer it as a mn for something longer though, like Evangeline Plum

Damson Says:

February 14th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

just wondering if there is anyone else out there called damson as i am the only person i have come across. i never thought if your name was victoria you would call youself plum. i love my name but lots of folks have given me the nickname plum

destiny Says:

July 2nd, 2009 at 10:21 am

i’m going to name my baby girl clementine, it’s just hard to pick a middle name; but i love the name, eventhough a lot of people don’t(:

abbie wesson Says:

March 1st, 2011 at 11:01 am

Our daughter who is 6 on March 5 2011 is called Damson Lily Bluebell

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