Unusual Names:The Nameberry 9 newsy names

October 3, 2011 Linda Rosenkrantz

Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks at nine of the most unusual names to hit the headlines this week.

Suggest almost any name in nearly any setting – message board, moms’ group, casual gathering of friends – and someone will almost certainly snort, and tell you that naming your child Sebastian or Oliver or Aiden will lead to a lifetime of misery.  The person making that dire prediction will, of course, not realize that every kid these days is named Sebastian or Oliver or Aiden.

Suggest a name that is truly out of the ordinary – Cedar or Gideon or Airlie – and the comments can be even harsher, predicting dire consequences like playground shunnings and an inability to find employment as a surgeon and/or district attorney.

Is it cruel to choose unusual names for a child?  I’m confident that the answer is no – but a few of this week’s most captivating names raised the question.

Ace – As in the playing card and the tennis term, but in this case, borrowed from a popular anime character.  Japanese fashion model Hikari Kamikawa recently gave this rather un-Japanese name to her son.  Some cried cruelty; others noted that Ace is tough to pronounce in her native language.

Florida – The sunshine state used to be a given name popular enough to crack the US Top 1000.  But this week it was fodder for a snarky Gawker article titled “This is a Really Bad Idea for a Baby Name.”  Despite the ugly tone, I’ll give the author this:  they’re not baby names, they’re names for future adults, and that’s worth remembering.

Spike – Funny man Mike Myers is a new dad, and apparently he and wife Kelly Tisdale have gone with this unconventional, tough-guy choice for their new son.  Plenty of greats have answered to Spike, but it is typically a nickname.  It is also the name of a vampire from 90s cult classic TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After Pink’s daughter Willow and January Jones’ son Xander, it feels like Buffy creator Joss Whedon might just be the patron saint of celebrity baby names.

Here’s one I spotted at the movies:

Jedda – In I Don’t Know How She Does It, Kate Reddy is up late at night, mentally reviewing her to-do list.  She adds “buy birthday gift for Jedda” then quickly adds “Find out Jedda – boy or girl?”  I checked, and yes, that’s the same gender-bending name Allison Pearson used in the 2002 bestselling novel that inspired the movie, but no, we never learn if Jedda is a he or a she.

And two from blogs to consider:

Kahlo – She’s one part Jackson, one part Harlow, and a daring choice that is both artistic and contemporary.

RoxieMarginamia toured mama-and-child style blog The Glow, and returned with a list of intriguing appellations.  I’ve recently spotted Roxcy in use, too.  If Delilah is all the rage, will Roxanne and Roxana shed their red-light taint, too?

Let’s end on a high note, with three celebrity births that met with applause:

Otis – He’s a little brother for Ruby.  No, I’m not the last to hear about Tobey Maguire’s kids.  Instead, Otis is the name chosen by the Australian Football League’s Daniel Giansiracusa and wife Kelly.  No wonder on whether they’re big Spider-man fans, but Ruby and Otis do go together, don’t they?

Rafael – Speaking of well-matched sibsets, Ana Ortiz welcomed a new baby, a little brother for PalomaRafael’s a great name in English or Spanish, and I’m quite fond of short form Rafe, too.  Actor Rafe Spall plays William Shakespeare in upcoming drama Anonymous.

Shai – Designer Rebecca Minkoff is a new mom to son Luca ShaiLuca is a go-to name these days, but I’m especially intrigued by the middle name choice.  The Hebrew name rhymes with shy and is popular for boys and girls in Israel today.  It reminds me of the appealing Kai and seems fresher than Shea or Shay.

Spotted any great names this week?


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