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@Beatrice - I happen to agree with you that Toby is certainly a person's name. In fact, Tobias is a name that is very close to my heart. Yet I cannot deny the reality that several people I know and know of have dogs named Toby (and also Max, FWIW). Believe me, I wish it weren't so. I wish more dog owners would select ironic names like Brayden. But as I said in my prior comment, the canine connection alone would not prevent me from using these wonderful names... but it bears mentioning, no?
@knp - They really spelled it "Johnathan" and "Joeseph"... well now, that's definitely kre8tiv!
@Tirzah - I've never known of any non-Jewish Ashers. I know of 3 under the age of 6, and 1 Asher in his early 30's. All Jews from professional families, BTW. The only Kai I've ever heard of is actress Jennifer Connelly's elder son. So my own (uneducated) guess would be that Asher is currently more popular than Kai in professional circles; ITA with all who've associated Kai with more artsy types.
@Guest - I prefer Jonas Roy. FWIW, I'd never pair a FN that ends in the same letter or sound that the MN or LN begins with, such as Jasper Roy - try saying it & note how it all crams together like mush in the mouth...
@Claire - I prefer the Maya spelling. "Maia" seems a bit more kre8tiv, and all things being equal, I'd want to steer very clear of kre8tiv. ;) I'm also in favor of making the spelling
of a name very easy on the general public.
[Edit: Maia is certainly a legitimate alternate spelling, as is Mya. My point is that the Maia spelling will nevertheless strike some as kre8tiv. The question is: do you care?]
@hyz - No worries! My panties aren't in a bunch - and I understood you perfectly.
re: Ramona - my first thought was of actors Maggie Gyllenhall & Peter Sarsgaard's daughter, born in 2006? I really like it, and see it as hipsterish right now.
@Sharon - How about Miles, Oliver, or Graham? Given your daughters' nice names, I think you really need to avoid anything too out there. Tobias was a good suggestion, but I can see why you ruled it out (cowboy vibe thanks to country singer Toby Keith, plus common name for dogs - but that wouldn't hold me back.)
@Bill - I'm also a Pixies fan. I think a havalina is a type of wild pig.
@another amy - Lauren definitely seems like the odd one out of ballet sisters Jennifer and Michelle. I know tons of school-aged girls named Lauren, but I don't know a single Jennifer or Michelle under the age of 32.
@Kam - A sister to Traeton?? Now, this is a real challenge. How about:
I have no idea what style category this would be.... Kre8tiv Eclectic?
@NicoleM - You're trying to 'widen your horizons' away from an -n ending? Donovan is an ok choice. IMHO, Callum seems a bit too offbeat/Celtic to mesh well with your other children's names. I'm surprised you don't think Collin (I prefer the Colin spelling myself) is too played out like James, Miles, Oliver, Liam. How about:
Great post! I confess the same tendencies.
My 30-something married friends, Jean & Walt, are always getting teased about having names that sound like those of an elderly couple. They've lost count of how many times people who finally meet them after only knowing them by name say, "I thought you'd be older!"
@LEW & Valerie - Yes, it always kind of amazes me whenever new parents are surprised that their newborn child's name is suddenly "popular" - because in my experience, very rarely has it been the case with some name way out there on the SSA charts - it's usually something solidly in the top 100. So shouldn't really be a big surprise most of the time. That said, naming is definitely a local practice. I live in a Cooper & Audrey pocket at the moment - they're way over-represented here despite both being in the top 100, but anyone who reads the local paper really ought to know that.
Re: Kherington - I agree "Carrington" is much more agreeable. I wonder if this young woman's parents were at all influenced by Joan Collins' femme fatale character Alexis Carrington from the great 1980s soap opera/drama "Dynasty"? That's what I immediately think of when I hear Carrington.
Re: Astrid - It's a name I really like, but one that I tend to think only an NE could love. Many who would consider it will be put off by its unfortunate first syllable. Should the new show with a baby Astrid (fingers crossed for Esther) take off though, who knows? I just don't see Astrid getting hugely popular any time soon - in certain pockets, perhaps, but not widely.
I hope we can all get along on this thread, whether we're "silly" or "not so silly" Americans, Canadians, Brits, Israelis, Martians, etc...
@Eo - Yes, "Zi" is a great name! Can anyone shed some light on its origins?
@hyz - re: "Kweeva"... ITA & I'm in hysterics about your "totally immature note.";) Get your mind out of the gutter - so that mine can float by!! Whee!!
Ok, now in all seriousness-- I'm with those who think you should stick to the standard spelling of Caoimhe and all of those other lovely Celtic (but admittedly very hard for most Americans to say & spell) names. I had to scroll up again to avoid saying "queefa."
@SarahC - you're spot on about the "-igan" ending.
Ouch! I'm disappointed at the sudden unfriendly tone this thread has taken! No wonder folks don't like talking about race...
I think Laura is definitely on to something with the potential -gan Lastnames First trend. Am I the only one who sees the -gan ending as still a tad bit dated to the 90s? I think of Logan, Meagan/Megan, Reagan/Regan - which all seem a bit stale.
The names I most associate with blacks currently are Sasha and Malia, not necessarily the more outrageous, stereotypical ones some of you have listed.
I'm one who thinks we're all friends here, so I can be honest about something that I've noticed. Did anyone else catch how the word "ignorant" was bandied about by some of us in the discussion in the last thread about the inappropriate name Cohen, just as it was during our recent Jemima discussion? - But the reaction to the usage of "ignorant" in the Cohen discussion was a lot less vehement (most agreed it would be "ignorant" the purest sense of the word to use the name Cohen) than it was during the Jemima discussion - very few wanted to get on board with the idea that using Jemima would be ignorant (of Jim Crow era stereotypes still being used to market products today).
Why? I think people are more threatened by being labeled ignorant about black/white race matters than about Jewish culture. To me the arguments in favor of the putative "ignorance" of users of either the name Cohen or the name Jemima are just as strong, paricularly if we try to take the heated emotions out of it, and simply look at the definition of the word "ignorant."
@J&H's Mom - I'd pronounce Xavier like "ZAYVE- yur" - or to put it another way, like the word "savior" with a "z" sound.
Edit: Namipedia suggests that both pronunciations are used: "ZAY-vyer, and/or ehk-SAY-vyer"
Here's what Namipedia had to say about Cohen:
"Surnames of the British Isles are a hot American name style. Surnames of Jewish tradition are not...except this one. Cohen is a surprising hit name, propelled by its simple, trendy sound (and by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen). Ironically, religious Jews consider Cohen inappropriate as a baby name; it's a title of the ancient priests of Israel and their descendents. Cowan is an unrelated Celtic surname."
-- From "A World of Baby Names" by Teresa Norman; a source for baby name meanings, and for Namipedia, that I personally feel is more trustworthy than the rest of the lot because she comes to so many of the same conclusions as Miriam.
Yes, Cohen is totally inappropriate as a baby name, as are Jemima (US), Sambo, Shylock, Adolph Hitler, etc.
This has all been so interesting. Thank you to Miriam for teaching us something new. My new rule of thumb: the less sugar-coated a baby name (meanings) book is, the more likely it is to be accurate. For what seems to be a reliable, popular (and at times, rather negative) source on the meanings behind the names, see "A World of Baby Names" by Teresa Norman (the source material for Namipedia). Norman's entries have been roughly in line with Miriam's readings of various names.
I think Laura's "Baby Name Wizard" is by far the most practical baby name book out there today. A friend borrowed mine recently and she has been unable to put it down. I'm paraphrasing another commenter on another thread when I say it's more helpful to have Laura's real world take on a given name (i.e. "Elmo will make people think of the little red Sesame Street character") than to read some baby name book that can only offer you sugar-coated euphemisms about what Elmo may have meant hundreds of years ago in a dead language.
@Elizabeth T. - I won't speak for everyone else, but I believe the search for meaning in life is a valid pursuit. I also happen to enjoy talking about names, and a name's meaning is certainly one core aspect of the art of naming. It's fascinating to me.
I get that not everyone cares. I also get why someone very learned doesn't wish to see a parent-to-be laboring under a misapprehension about a name's "original" meaning. I can't help but wonder if parents who don't look AT ALL to a name's meaning before bestowing it on their child aren't missing out on a special opportunity to make their gift of a name all the more "meaningful."
Edit: Thinking back into my own childhood, I also remember those name meaning exercises we did in elementary school, where we all went around and told the class what our names mean, and did an art project about it. Some kids didn't know what their names meant (I thought that was a bit sad really), and so the teacher consulted a baby name book for them, filled with dubious positive meanings I'm sure. Funnily enough, I had to do the same type of name exercise in recent years at a corporate retreat (sans art project). Also, one of the most thoughtful wedding presents we were fortunate enough to receive from a dear auntie was a small framed piece with DH's and my name written in calligraphy, along with the meanings of our names.
BTW, I would never correct anyone who insists their child's name means something positive even if I suspect it "originally" meant something negative. Case in point, a colleague believes her little girl's name means Strong, Hard Working, but it probably means Manly Rival. My lips are sealed.
@Livingston 41 - I tend to agree with you that baby name books aren't "good" sources for many things. Nevertheless, they are, along with the internets, the main sources today's parents most often turn to in order to ascertain meanings.
It would be helpful if you could please list examples of those "more reliable sources than baby name books" which you mentioned in your comment.
@Miriam - There's no need to apologize. I don't doubt the veracity of your claims, nor your impressive educational credentials. It's really too bad that you haven't published a baby name book - I'm sure it would be one we NE's would really respect and enjoy.
I still fail to see how Louise is necessarily wrong for stating that Charlotte (also) means strong.
Re: the meaning of Charlotte.
I think it would be helpful if commenters could include citations to actual source materials, whenever possible, when making the claim that a name does not mean X. Then it's for the prospective parents to do their homework in order to assess which of the multiple, often conflicting sources they deem to be most credible and most reflective of current understandings.
Some baby name book authors (such as Bruce Lansky in "55,000+ Baby Names") suggest that Charlotte is the French form of Caroline, and Caroline means "little and strong." So the suggestion that "Charlotte does not mean strong because it's the feminine form of Charles" (which means "farmer" in German, and "strong and manly" in English) perhaps excludes too much. OTOH, the source material for Namipedia's meanings, "A World of Baby Names" by Teresa Norman, suggests that "Charlotte is the feminine diminutive form of Charles (meaning full-grown, a man), which originated in France but is just as commonly used in England."
If one insists upon concluding that Charlotte simply cannot mean strong because it actually means man, they do so against the grain of several currently published sources.
@Louise - FWIW, if you believe Charlotte to mean strong, I simply don't see sufficient evidence to conclude you're "wrong." Some sources support that claim directly, others do not. Make of that what you will. It's a lovely name.
@Louise - my vote is for Charlotte Claire. Good luck!!
@Prairie Dawn - I totally agree that Amre (after Grandma Erma) is just about the ONLY instance of backward-style naming that I can abide. Great example!
Yikes! To me, Nevaeh and its progeny spell one thing: "Etsat Dab" !! ;)