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Unusual Baby Names in the News

Soana, Spaceman and Squire

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes big bold word names, local name pockets, and names from France, New Zealand and 1950s New York.

Striking S names: Squire and Success

Another week, another awkward name controversy. A Reddit user shared an expectant mother’s post canceling her baby shower because of negative reactions to her chosen name for her son: Squire Sebastian Senator. I don’t have any response better than Abby’s wise comments about what to expect if you give your child a highly unusual name.

If this story has done one thing, it’s made me look at those names afresh. In this golden age of noble word names like Royal and Reign, Squire feels like a good fit: aristocratic with a touch of quaintness. But it’s very uncommon: it hasn’t been used enough to make the charts for twenty years. Meanwhile, Senator has barely been used at all…maybe it’s one to suggest for the next Kardashian name?

Another bold S name spotted recently: Success, for a boy. His mother, who lives in Nigeria, said in this interview that the name came to her as a unisex option before she knew if she was having a boy or girl. It’s very rare in the US, given to just 12 girls and 5 boys last year, but it would fit into these inspirational baby names.

Name data nuggets

We’ve had a few months to study the American 2017 name data, but there’s always more to discover. Here’s a fresh look (with infographics!) from the website AreaVibes. Amongst other things, it shows the most up-to-date distinctive regional favorites – such as Orion in Oregon, Adriel in Arizona, Ayla in Alaska, and Caroline in North Carolina.

At this time of year, hospitals start to release their local name rankings. It’s always interesting to see how they compare to state and national data, and if there are any name pockets. For example, this hospital in Iowa may be one of the only places you’ll see Kinsley and Everett in the Top 10 list. And in Madison, Wisconsin, the top names are Sophie/Sophia and Jack/Jackson/Jaxon (variants are combined) but statewide all the names are lower on the list.

International starbabies: Lyana and Soana

It’s also a time to look back at the celebrity baby names of 2018. From around the world, here are some you may not have heard of. Even if you don’t know their parents, the names make fun reading. French arrivals of 2018 include Claudia, Lyana and Roméo. In New Zealand, celebs have welcomed babies named Bloem, Fox, Joaquin, Soana, Tilly, Zaid and more.

Ancient names for Advent

More French names? Naturellement.

As a treat for us all, French baby name blog Jolis Prénoms is running an advent calendar of historic, vintage and bohemian names. So far we’ve seen such beauties as Honorine, Lucien, Zélie and Marius. What will be next? Two more are added each day, so keep checking back.

Names from TV: Midge Maisel and co.

Have you been watching The Marvelous Mrs Maisel? I haven’t seen it, but a drama about a 1950s Jewish housewife trying to make it as a stand-up comedian sounds interesting.

How is it relevant to names? The show’s creator is Amy Sherman-Palladino, and we know from Gilmore Girls that she and her team are massive name lovers. Case in point: Mrs Maisel’s first name is Miriam, or Midge for short. Other names from the show include Abe, Ethan and Zelda. Here are more.

Baseball babies: Scout and Spaceman

Baseball season has ended for the year, but it seems it’s always time to consider baseball-themed baby names. These suggestions from the Major League Baseball folks are tongue-in-cheek, but there are some eminently usable names there, like Ace, Chadwick, Robinson and Scout. Others, like Crush, Spaceman and Catfish, would be…for the boldest of namers only.

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6 Responses to “Unusual Baby Names in the News”

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tarahble Says:

December 13th, 2018 at 6:57 am

Where can one find the hospital name rankings? I would be very curious to see some, especially if any Canadian hospitals participate in this.

beynotce Says:

December 13th, 2018 at 8:59 am

I don’t mind Squire, Sebastian, or Senator. I don’t think anybody is objecting to those names. It’s the use of all three together as first names and mom’s off-the-wall behavior that are drawing the viral attention.

Anecdotally, Kinsley does feel wildly popular in Iowa. Perhaps parents choose it, consciously or subconsciously, as a feminine variation on Kinnick, as in the football stadium?

The marvelous Ms. Sherman-Palladino is such a delightfully thoughtful namer – her names make sense for the characters, their backgrounds, their ages, and the time periods in which they live. Even when she picks names that aren’t my favorite, they are pretty much always “right.”

I used to be acquainted with two little brothers named Thurman and Koufax. I didn’t “get” that Thurman was a baseball name until Koufax came along.

ClareB Says:

December 13th, 2018 at 7:28 pm

@tarahble They tend to appear in local media in December and early January, but alas it’s a bit unpredictable which places will release their top names. Google News is a good place to find any stories that are out there – you could try searching for “baby names 2018” and the area you’re interested in, or set an alert.

I’m not sure how much local data is released in Canada – I’ll look out for it! (Though if it’s of any interest, Ontario has just released the top names in each city/region: https://news.ontario.ca/mgs/en/2018/12/ontario-celebrates-a-century-of-baby-names.html in the download for 2017)

lesliemarion Says:

December 13th, 2018 at 8:13 pm

I admit to a soft spot for Squire, though it can be seen as a snooty name. Sebastian is fine though increasingly popular. Senator is over the top, like Governor or Doctor or Chancellor. I agree that it’s the combo of all three that could make it rough on a kid. I always wish people would name themselves that and tred a little lighter with naming another human being. I like all kinds of wild names, would love them on friends, but if I were really naming a person, my wildness would be tempered with reality. This is why we named our beloved unborn children Owen and Cordellia instead of Mortimer and Turquoise.

lesliemarion Says:

December 13th, 2018 at 8:14 pm

Cordelia, no Cordellia. God, I hate this automatic spell check thing!

tarahble Says:

December 14th, 2018 at 7:00 am

@ClareB Thank you! I am in Ontario so that’s very helpful haha.

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