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Unusual Baby Names: Eclipse, Pancake and Pip

August 23, 2017 Clare Green

By Clare Bristow

The names in the news this week include word names, bird names, and the top names in two European countries.

A girl called Eclipse

Did you watch the solar eclipse on Tuesday? I live on the wrong continent, but it was interesting to follow America’s reaction to it. The best news of all (for name-lovers) was that at least one baby was named Eclipse in honor of the occasion. Eclipse Alizabeth Eubanks was born in South Carolina a few hours before the eclipse. Her mother (who also has a word name, Freedom) said that the family might call her Clipsey for short.

She’s not the first baby to be called Eclipse. It’s never been used enough to make the charts, but we know of a few out there. A Harmony Eclipse was born in Oregon a few years back, and Nancy has found boys and girls named Eclipse as far back as the 1820s.

Other appropriately-named babies born eclipse day include Isabella Solei and Lena Ray. There was also Delilah Ray, born the previous day to The Hills star Jason Wahler – no news on whether her middle name is deliberately sun-themed.

Would you use any of these names to mark the event? If you prefer a subtle approach, there are lots of names relating to the sun, the moon and light – they’re pretty universal sources of inspiration. How about these sun and moon names for starters?

A girl called Pancake

If you think Eclipse is an unusual word name, what about Pancake?

There are several cake names that could also be baby names, like Florentine, Madeleine and Genoa, but I wouldn’t have put Pancake on that list. Earlier this year, a New York dad chose Pancake as his daughter’s middle name (her first name is Mia), after her nickname before she was born.

Another in utero nickname I’ve heard recently is the more conventional Pip. That’s the not-yet-born baby of British pop singer Heidi Range – and no doubt many more parents out there.

Long Maori middle names

If I asked you which names Pip could be short for, you might say Philip or Philippa, or maybe something more offbeat like Peregrine or Persephone. Would you think of Pipiwharauroa?

I came across it in an interview with a mother from New Zealand, who has a daughter named Margot Rae Pipiwharauroa. That second middle name, which honors a great-great-great-great grandmother, is a bird name. In English, it’s known as the shining cuckoo – perfect for a spring baby.

Maori bird names are a niche category, but some of New Zealand’s best-known birds could work as names elsewhere in the world. For example, there’s Kea (a species of parrot), Tui (a honeyeater, used as a girls’ name in NZ), and Moa (an extinct flightless bird, and a popular – and unrelated – Swedish girls’ name).

Switzerland and Slovenia’s top names

Moving back to the northern hemisphere, Switzerland has released its baby name statistics for 2016. These are always a treat, because we get stats for the four different language regions as well as the country as a whole. So while Noah and Mia stayed in the top spots nationally and for German-speaking parents, French speakers preferred Gabriel and Emma, and for Italian speakers, Leonardo and Sofia were top.

Switzerland’s tiny Romansh-speaking population use some interesting names you won’t find in many other top 10 lists. Names given to two or more children include Laurin, Flurin and Gion for boys, and Ladina, Lorena and Melina for girls.

A couple of countries away in Slovenia, short names are the order of the day. In the top 10 names of 2016, only two boy names and one girl name are more than four letters long. For girls in particular, zippy little names like Zala (a diminutive of Rozalija), Ema and Neža (a form of Agnes) would fit nicely into this list of rare short modern names.

Reasons for royalty

You’ll be aware that royal names are on the rise, including the name Royal itself. While some parents may choose it simply for its high-ranking associations, this baby called Royal has a little bit more behind his name. Royal Ace Ryder’s parents are fans of the Kansas City Royals baseball team. They also made the news last month when they asked their Facebook friends to vote on the order of their son’s names.

Wallpaper names

Finally, one for the home décor lovers: would you take baby name inspiration from wallpaper? This article is tongue-in-cheek (and trying to sell you wallpaper), but there are some genuinely good names there, from the popular (Everly and Paisley) to the exotic (Zen and Artemis) to true rarities (Samphire and Tallinn). You know, Eclipse wouldn’t be out of place on that list.

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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