It's not a secret that many of today's parents are choosing to steer away from tradition when it comes to naming their baby. But does that mean that the newest generation have little to no meaning behind their names? We don't think so!
Parents have shared the cute, inspiring, and personal connections behind their name choices in our Namipedia. Here are 11 sweet name stories that have us sharing a collective "awww!"
"I named my 3 year old Juliette after my very best friend. My friend, Julianna, and I have been friends since the age of one and we lived next door to each other up until high school. Ever since grade 2 she went by 'Jules' and when I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd girl we knew we wanted to honor her. We did not want them to have the same name because she now lives a few streets away and we hang out multiple times a week. So we went with Juliette and we call her Jules just like my best friend."
"During my parents' honeymoon at a lake cabin, they watched the sun come up over the mist on the lake and decided to name their first daughter (my older sister) Misty. I always thought her name was very sweet and romantic because of the beautiful story attached to it."
"My favorite book as a child was The Boxcar Children. I like literary references in names, but I don't really want to use the children's first names (Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny-either nicknames, or I already know young children with the names Henry and Violet). However, their surname is a more subtle nod to all of them; it feels very grandfather-ly and bookish to me."
"In 1948 Mom and Dad named me Evanne by combining the name of my maternal grandmother 'Eva' with my paternal grandmother 'Anne' to form 'Eva-Anne' or Evanne. Evidently a few new parents from my hometown, Seymour, Indiana, liked my name, and so, named their daughters Evanne, a compliment to Mom and Dad's creative naming!"
"I have a daughter named Halyn and her sister's name is Nylah. Halyn is Nylah spelled backwards so both names are the mirror image of eachother."
"I named my son Banjo (born 2012). His father and I decided on the name before he was even conceived because I am a banjo player and his father is a drummer. We are both great lovers of music and both enjoy the newer styles of bluegrass and bands like The Avett Brothers, who use a banjo a great deal in their songs."
"We named our son (b. 2012) Felix, and people keep telling us that they weren't so sure about it when we announced it, but that it's the perfect name for our smiley, friendly little guy. Then we tell them we picked it because it means happiness! It's turned out to be the perfect choice for our family."
"My husband and I always liked the name Bailey. He is a huge fan of the Chesapeake Bay and is a saltwater fisherman. He came up with the spelling on his own because he liked how it had 'Bay' in it and I thought it was sweet."
"I named my son Seneca after looking through a genealogy book from my mother's side of the family. There were several generations of male Senecas. In fact, in the mid to late 1800s, it was popular to name your child after famous Romans. I love the name, though most have never heard it, I know it's historic, not new and trendy!"
"I have a daughter named Delphine! :) I love its soft and tailored sound, and French vibe. I also love that its roots go back to Ancient Greece and Delphi, the place the ancient Greeks believed to be the birthplace of the world. The flower connection with delphiniums is fun. We live by (and love) the beach, so the connection to dolphins works for me too."
"My husband and I named our third child Ceili (with the traditional accents over the 'e' and second 'i') after one of our favorite memories. We were vacationing in Ireland on the lonely Dingle Peninsula at dusk, when we came across two hitchhiking girls. It turned out that they were delightful college-aged girls who were on the peninsula to study. They were trying to get to Dingle Town to a pub in order to attend a ceili, a big folkdance party--and they invited us! That night turned out to be one of the most fun nights we've ever experienced. The ceili was amazing, such a blast! Ceili reminded us of that wonderful night we spent in Ireland on the Dingle Peninsula."
Want to share your own baby naming story on Namipedia? Look up your child's name and add to the "Personal experiences with the name" section. (Free registration is required.) We can't wait to hear your story!
Imagine a land where names like Harriet, Evie, Pippa, Angus and Arlo roam. Sound like your kind of place? Then take a trip with me to the names of New Zealand.
The South Pacific nation boasts a dramatic landscape and one of the world's best-educated populations. Its official languages are English and Maori, and its naming style reflects a history of immigration from England, Scotland and Ireland. You'll find echoes of fashions far and near, such as Scottish names like Lachlan and Flynn that are also common in Australia, and free-spirited modern names like Bodhi and Indie that are popular in the U.S Northwest. Then there are the only-in-New-Zealand specials, including Maori names like Amaia ("halo") and Beauden, an homage to "All Blacks" rugby star Beauden Barrett.
The dominant style, though, is a quirky throwback charm. Storybook antiques like Matilda, Oliver and Poppy rule.
If you're a global name-watcher that may remind you of English name style, but Kiwis put their own spin on it. Their formal favorites lean toward the offbeat, with lots of unusual letters: more Xaviers and Hazels, fewer Alberts and Marthas than in England. And while storybook-cute names are popular in both countries, New Zealanders particularly favor energetic choices like Ruby and Indie, as opposed to mellower diminutives like Elsie and Freddie. The overall effect is old-fashioned but lively. (For a global match, the styles of U.S. states Colorado and Oregon come close.)
See for yourself. Each of the names below ranks among New Zealand's top 100, and is significantly more popular there than in the United States.
If you’re looking for a name that embodies music, artistry, and innovation, why not explore the names of jazz legends? These individuals helped create our modern musical landscape, and left behind legacies of songs, performances, and cultural touchstones that are sure to inspire today’s families.
These names range from the uncommon to the popular, with plenty of Anglo surnames and retro sounds. Stylish and substantial, these fifteen names are sure to hit all the right notes.
Photo: Getty Images
Django. While some may connect this dashing name to Quentin Tarantino's Western film, music aficionados are sure to appreciate Django's jazz roots. Guitarist Django Reinhardt reportedly took his stage name from the Romani phrase for “I awake.” Django’s distinctive old-fashioned sound may appeal to fans of vintage choices.
Ellington. This English place name and surname feels sophisticated and refined, but it can be made friendlier by nicknames like Ellie, Tony, or Duke. The great jazz bandleader and composer Duke Ellington makes an admirable namesake, though modern jazz fans may also appreciate Elling (as in Kurt).
Rollins. Originally a diminutive of Roland, Rollins is a spirited option with a familiar sound - and might make a nice alternative to Collins or Riley. Known as the “greatest living improviser” in jazz, Sonny Rollins has been majorly influential to generations of aspiring musicians.
Coltrane. An Irish surname believed to derived from “young horse,” Coltrane balances masculine strength and contemporary style. John Coltrane was an early pioneer of “free jazz” along with his wife and sons, and remains one of the few musicians to have been given a Pulitzer Prize for his jazz contributions.
Byrd. A thoroughly musical choice, Byrd honors Donald Byrd, an American jazz and R&B trumpeter. However, fans of the “The Byrds” will appreciate their own jazz connection - Miles Davis helped the band sign their first record deal. A surname derived from bird-keeping, this lovely name combines natural elements with a respectable English style.
Calloway. Energetic and memorable, Calloway is a transferred surname believed to come from the French caillou, or “pebble.” Bandleader and scat singer Cab Calloway was known for his iconic performances at the Cotton Club in Harlem, and his legacy lives on in jazz singing worldwide.
Parker. The most popular name on this list, Parker has become an attractive unisex option in Anglophone communities for its simplicity and accessibility. It could work well as a subtle tribute to Charlie Parker, a jazz saxophonist and composer who helped pioneer the bebop music style.
Coleman. Derived from “Cole’s man,” or “servant of Nicholas,” this pleasant surname also lends itself to the sweet nickname Cole. One of the first jazz tenor saxophonists was Coleman Hawkins, who was instrumental in developing swing, big band, and bebop music.
Gillespie. Bright and lively Gillespie could make a daring choice alongside similar Irish picks like Kennedy or Callahan. It comes from a phrase meaning “servant of the bishop,” and offers retro nicknames like Gil or Gilly. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters in the United States was Dizzy Gillespie, who received his stage name from his wild and unpredictable performances.
Basie. While the etymology of the surname Basie is murky, it’s believed to be derived from Sebastian - and would make a great unexpected nickname for the longer choice, too. Count Basie, a jazz bandleader and musician, was known for his “big band” music and his wide-reaching influence on later jazz artists.
Herbie. Might this diminutive of Herbert finally have left behind its Love Bug connection? Popular at the beginning of the twentieth century, Herbert comes from the German for “bright army.” Herbie Hancock remains a leading jazz performer and might inspire modern parents to embrace this old-fashioned nickname.
Davis. While Miles continues to enjoy the spotlight, Davis may appeal to fans of the jazz legend who want something less common - Davis currently ranks at #492, while Miles ranks at #110. The name is derived from David, meaning “beloved,” with a slightly softer yet updated sound.
Montgomery. An English surname with a Southern twang, gorgeous Montgomery might be ready to move back onto birth certificates. It has clunky-yet-cool vibes, and quite a few characters in popular film and literature have worn the name. Early jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery ranks among the pioneers who developed the quintessential jazz sound.
Bix. One of the first jazz soloists known as the “Young Man with the Horn,” Bix Beiderbecke became a symbol of artistry and innovation for later musicians. The nickname was derived from the musician’s middle name, Bismark, but Bix stands on its own as an edgy alternative to Dax, Paxton or Jett.
Duke. While this noble title refers to Ellington, Duke also represents the category of “jazz royalty” - many musicians in the early twentieth century used such titles to brand their acts and show respect to leaders in the field. Members of this group include Count Basie, Queen Ella Fitzgerald, and dozens of others. With names like Pharaoh and Royal trending on popularity charts, perhaps the titles of jazz royals deserve new consideration.