Word Names for Babies: What’s in a word?

For several years now, word names have been singled out as being at the extreme edge of cool—we may have been guilty of pushing that edge ourselves at times.  But I’m starting to wonder if it’s time to pull back a little, and put the brakes on.  Celebrities have tried to outdo each other to sometimes eye-rolling effect in the effort to find a ‘unique’, attention-grabbing word name : I’m not naming names but I might mention a few words like zeppelin and pirate and peanut.

Of course there are word names and there are word names and probably the most acceptable and appealing are the centuries-old Virtue names created by the early and most zealous Pilgrims to display their righteous religiosity.  Though  such excessive male phrase-names as Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith and Fly-fornication are long gone, the simpler girl virtue names have not only survived but some are now downright trendy: Grace, Hope, Faith, and, more recently, Felicity, True and Honor.

Other worthy examples include:











And a couple  for the boys: BRAVERY, JUSTICE.

Nature names are in a category unto themselves;  having started as botanical or zoological designations, some—particularly flower names, such as Rose, Daisy, Lily, Iris et al– have been accepted as people names for more than a century, and the same is true of gem names like Ruby and Pearl, herbs like Rosemary (seen more as the combination of two popular names) and Sage, birds like Robin (long a diminutive of Robert).  And one-time hippy-imaged names such as Sky, River, Rain, Lake and Ocean are rapidly becoming mainstream.  It’s when nature example that have rarely or never been used as names before suddenly pop up that some eyebrows may be raised…eg Puma, Sparrow, Bear, Fire.

Another group that could prove problematic is the bad-boy names whose parents  seem to be setting a roguish agenda, names like Rebel, Bandit, and, yes, Rogue.  Not to mention such unexpected choices as Million, Midnight, Zeppelin, Pilot

But there is also a contingent of recent word names that have a gentler, more poetic image, and which seem to now be gaining more widespread acceptance, especially as middle names, including:










So what do you think of the word name trend?  Take our poll and tell us your thoughts.

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