Name News Roundup: Vivian, McAfee, Kiptyn, and the Name of the Year
A quick tour through the hottest news in names:
Vivian Lake Brady
I'll place a bet on the new daughter of model Gisele Bundchen and quarterback Tom Brady as a baby name style maker. Vivian has a double dose of v, one of the hottest letters in girls’ names. (Olivia, Ava, Avery, Victoria and Evelyn all rank in the top 25.) It also balances a classic femininity with a crisp sound reminiscent of gentlemanly names like Julian and Oliver. And unlike Vivienne, the version of the name chosen by actor parents Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Vivian is completely familiar, easy to spell, and above all easy to pronounce. You’ll often hear a brief pause before people say Vivienne, as they try to decide where to place the stress. Note that no multi-syllable name stressed at the end ranks in the current top 100 for American girls or boys.
Vivian is currently ranked #154 among girls' names, and rising.
The bizarre saga of international fugitive John McAfee is beyond the limits of this humble name blog. But as Mr. McAfee flitted from country to country amidst rumors involving drugs, sex and murder, I couldn’t help but wonder how the news was affecting those who labor under his name.
John McAfee was a pioneer of the personal computer security industry in the 1980s as the founder of McAfee Associates. He left the company 20 years ago, and it became part of Intel in 2010. But his name remains the brand, representing anti-virus security.
I bought a new computer last week, and had the confusing user experience of pop-ups urging me to register McAfee alongside headlines saying McAfee was to be released. How much more must those headlines sting for the 7,000 employees of McAfee, the software maker? Or for the executives at Intel, who paid over seven billion dollars to acquire the company and its powerful bend name? This could be a cautionary tale if you’re considering a baby name strongly linked to a public figure who still has a lot of living left to do.
You may have seen a charming photo circulating of a sleeping baby sprawled on a sleeping mall Santa. A creative and obliging Santa in Boise, Idaho staged the shot when the 8-month-old boy fell fast asleep waiting in line for his first Christmas photo. The result may be the first ever mall Santa photo in which a child looks completely relaxed and content.
If you did see this viral photo, eagle-eyed Baby Name Wizard reader, perhaps you noted that the baby is named Kiptyn. If you live in Idaho, this name probably didn’t surprise you a bit; it’s right in the flow of fashion. Names like Paxton, Colton, Ryker, Kyler, Easton and Jaxon are far more popular in Idaho than in the country overall.
If you’re from the land of Julian and Oliver instead and want to understand Kipton, think of it this way: Kip sounds like a nickname, but it’s not actually short for anything. Just add n and you get an instant preppy cowboy. As for the spelling Kiptyn, it became a popular alternative thanks in part to a handsome fellow who appeared on the “reality” dating shows The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad.
The Name of the Year
It wasn’t easy to pin down a Name of the Year for 2012. Ten different names received three or more nominations a piece, and your arguments were both thoughtful and thought-provoking. A divide emerged between serious, consequential topics where the question was whether the name was truly central to the story, vs. name-focused stories with less obvious social impact. But one name emerged with a combination of pure name-stye impact and cultural reverberations that are very much of the moment. Look for the official Name of the Year announcement next week!