Unusual Baby Names: Eclipse, Pancake and Pip

Names in the news this week!

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.

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11 Responses to “Unusual Baby Names: Eclipse, Pancake and Pip”

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NaomiNY Says:

August 23rd, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Eclipse… I may add that to my list of favorite girl names 🙂

lesliemarion Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 12:24 am

Eclipse is a cool word and who am I talk when I have a hidden passion for Florida, Tangerine, and Eureka?

So many names I would not use myself, but would love to meet someone named.

Pancake… Great word. The girl will need to develop a good sense of humor! Can Stilton, Profiterole, and Brulee be far behind?

Myosotis Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 5:13 am

I think Eclipse has quite a pleasant sound. It used to be one of my favourite guilty pleasure names. Alizabeth is worse imo.

TheNameWitch Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 8:16 am

Can I be forgiven for kind of liking Pancake as a middle name? After all, it isn’t the first name and Pancake is an actual surname (Ann Pancake, Breece D’J Pancake) ! So, I guess it also kind of works as a surname name. I think it is cute and a little whimsical.

jame1881 Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 8:56 am

I saw a picture going around facebook that said, “Today a baby will be born and the rachet parents will name that poor innocent child…Eclipse.” And I thought to myself, “They could do a lot worse.” It’s definitely not a bad-sounding word, and unique enough that it allows the child to create the meaning for it. (Apple, for example, is always an apple because it’s so common. Grace, on the other hand…) It’s also got a nice unisex sound.

I’d vote for a nn of Echo, though!

loverofnamesX Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 8:59 am

I was born on Shrove Tuesday which in the UK is commonly referred to as Pancake Tuesday. Because of this my older brother who was seven at the time tried everything in his power to name get my parents to name me Pancake (as a first name!). Thankfully they did not give in and give him his own way.

rosemilk Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 9:10 am

There are definitely worse names out there than Eclipse! My kid was created during a European eclipse, literally made in an IVF lab as the moon blocked out the sun. We were going to use the name Luna if it had been a girl…

SparkleNinja18 Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 12:28 pm

As a Kansan from the Kansas City area, I am not shocked at all that someone named their son Royal after the baseball team. I know at least three little boys with the middle name Kauffman after the stadium.

Also, surprisingly love the name Eclipse!

stephaniebrooke Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Went to high school with a family of girls who all had “R” first names (I think the parents both had “R” names as well) Most had uncommon but recognizable names with unusual spellings (Rachel, Raina, Rosalyn, Riley, I used the common spellings to protect their privacy) but the standout was Royal, who also had a unique spelling.

Janie_Larkin70 Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 1:15 pm

The sister of a young acquaintance named her baby girl, born as the eclipse was underway, Blakely August Soleil Lastname. The “Soleil” part was added because of the day on which she was born; had she been born on her actual due date, which is this weekend, they would not have included the second middle. I love the name August for a girl, too! Or, Augusta. My daughter was born in August, but I didn’t think to incorporate that name, or even use it outright. My great grandmother’s middle name was Oktavia, which would be another spectacular name for an August baby girl. Wish I could get a do-over!

jessiemay Says:

August 24th, 2017 at 10:37 pm

I love Soleil as a nod to the day of birth! Mia Pancake reminds me of my good friends who very nearly named their baby girl Lucy Waffle, but decided against it at the last minute.

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