Two Celebs Chose Cosima
Is it a coincidence that Sofia Coppola and Claudia Schiffer both picked the same unusual (in the U.S. anyway) name for their baby daughters almost simultaneously—or is it a signal that it’s about to enter the mainstream?
Cosima (accent on the first syllable) derives from the Greek Kosmos, and refers to the order and harmony of the universe. It’s a logical choice for both of these moms in terms of their roots: there could be a Cosima on Coppola’s family tree and it’s also often heard in Germany, where Schiffer was born. Cosima is used in Greece as well, and by upper class Brits: English celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has a daughter named Cosima, while Marissa Ribisi and Beck used the male form, Cosimo, for their son. The most famous bearer of the name in history is a woman with strong musical ties—Cosima Wagner was both the daughter of composer Franz Liszt and the wife of composer Richard Wagner.
With her third child, Claudia Schiffer has continued her previous pattern of choosing a distinctive, cutting-edge name starting with her own first initial, “C,” as she did with older daughter Clementine and son Caspar. Clementine, although it hasn’t made it onto the popularity lists yet, is rapidly becoming a favorite of both nameberries and celebrities . Kirstie Alley first revived it in the late 70s, and it’s since been chosen by Ethan Hawke and Rachel Griffiths.
Caspar has been slower to catch on, but may well follow in the wake of cousin Jasper, if it can finally shake the friendly ghost association. Romy, the name of Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars’ first daughter, is also beginning to be heard more and more.
Several other celebs have followed Claudia’s practice of serial-initializing, often repeating their own name’s starting letter. There are, for instance, Tarian, Tristan and Tyler Tritt (sons of Travis); Corde, Cordell and Cori, children of Cordozar Calvin (Snoop Dogg) Broadus; Scarlet, Sophia and Sistine Stallone, who all share the middle name of Rose; and—the grand prize winner—director Robert Rodriguez, who named his five children Racer, Rebel, Rocket, Rogue and Rhiannon.
But getting back to Cosima—does it have the potential to move out beyond the celebrisphere? Especially since it could be limited by some possible pronunciation problems –as in coz-EE-ma.
What do you think?
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on June 28th, 2010 at 12:22 am
There’s actually a third Cosima of note born during the last month. Lady Cosima Rose Alexandra Windsor, daughter of Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster, and his wife Claire, was born on May 20 in the UK. She’s 22nd in line for the throne. Her mother is a doctor. I wondered if they might have chosen the name knowing that Cosmo is the patron saint of physicians.
on June 28th, 2010 at 4:40 am
Wasn’t it Cybill Shepherd with a daughter called Clementine?
That said, I LOVE Cosima.
on June 28th, 2010 at 6:36 am
I love the name Sistine! Beautiful. Cosima is also nice, though I wouldn’t use it personally.
on June 28th, 2010 at 6:58 am
I think Coh-SEE-ma sounds much nicer than COH-si-ma
on June 28th, 2010 at 8:03 am
I spent almost the entire blog wondering why anyone would pick this name. I didn’t think it sounded pretty at all in my head – and then you remarked that it would be mispronounced as “cozEEmah”, which meant my brain had been mispronouncing it (illustrating your point very well, by the way). “COsihmah” is much better, and very pretty.
on June 28th, 2010 at 8:57 am
Cosima’s quite lovely and I’m thrilled to see it being used so prominently. I never will. Plain ol’ Cosmo will always have my heart.
on June 28th, 2010 at 9:02 am
This has been on my long list and I hope it does not become popular. I just find it so sweet and elegant.
I too thought Cybill Shepherd had a Clementine. Another sweet name, but I still don’t see it get used by the mainstream.
I doubt Cosima would become popular in the States and this is why, other than Emma, -Ma names just seem to have a dowdy and stodgy feel to most American ears. Names like Wilma, Velma, Hilma, Helma, Thelma etc are often considered the quintessential old farmer’s wife name that parents these days would never dare use on their daughters. I would think that maybe Cosima might have the same feel. However, I can definitely see it catching on in the Scandinavian countries where -MA names are quite the rage. Wilma/Vilma is very popular in both Norway and Sweden and so are a bevy of other female names ending in the suffix of -ma.
on June 28th, 2010 at 9:20 am
It’s too odd to ever be popular in the U.S. and the people who’ve picked it aren’t likely to inspire tons of namesakes. Claudia Schiffer is German and it’s known and used more often in Germany. People aren’t likely to name their kids because Claudia Schiffer named her daughter something. I’ve always associated it with the daughter of Claus von Bulow, which is a sad association. That may be a fairly common association in the U.S., at least with people my age or older.
on June 28th, 2010 at 9:28 am
I love the name but think if it leaps the pond, it’ll be some years yet down the road. I can see it taking off in the UK, though.
on June 28th, 2010 at 10:12 am
It’s a beautiful name. I think it could gain acceptance here eventually. After all, Seraphina is now being used. Not widely (only about 90 girls last year), but still…
on June 28th, 2010 at 11:25 pm
I think the name looks very pretty, but sounds too clunky. Co- and -sima are too dissimilar to make an elegant name. I always thought it was pronounced Cah-sima, which I think is lovely.
on June 29th, 2010 at 9:11 am
So now I’m confused about the pronunciation. Can somebody share that with me?
is it coh-SEEM-uh, COH-sih-muh, or COH-see-muh?????
on July 5th, 2010 at 3:55 pm
It’s COH-sih-mu, at least that’s how you’d pronounce it in Germany.
on July 6th, 2010 at 5:00 am
my sister is named Cosima and i have always loved it.
on April 8th, 2013 at 12:24 am
Nigella Lawson’s daughter is named Cosima. I like it, but it’s a bit Italian for my taste. I pronounce it “COH-see-muh”.
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