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I love the name Ethel for a little girl, I think it sounds so charming and quirky. But to everyone else it's one of those "horrible old lady names", a Bertha rather than a Matilda, an Irma rather than an Alice. I think I'm just before my time and Ethel's due for a come back ;)
I love Conrad and Beatrice, both are fantastic names that fit well with your sibset!
With a 1 syllable last name I might lean toward a 2 syllable middle.
Beatrice Marie Hall
Beatrice Nicole Hall
Beatrice May Hall
Beatrice Violet Hall
Beatrice Grace Hall (I think this goes very well with Sophia)
Beatrix Louise (I like this better with the x for some reason. Modulates the Britishness, perhaps.)
I think it makes perfect sense that people who read primarily baby blogs wouldn't necessarily know about Siri. People who read baby name blogs or celebrity gossip all know Pippa, but I'd venture the impact outside of baby names is very slim. Anyone who reads about technology knows about Siri. (And Mark Zuckerburg.) And frankly, the number of people invested in technology is much bigger than people who are passionate name enthusiasts.
After all, the previous NOTY candidates weren't really talked about on typical baby name blogs, either. No one was advocating that people name their infants Joe, or, god forbid, the Situation. Aren't names that impact things that AREN'T just baby names bigger than names in general? (As much as I love names!)
Congrats to Laura for your exposure in Slate, and grats to Birgitte on the baby on the way!
I did the end of the alphabet this morning, flipping my own coin. It wasn't nearly as hard as I dreaded, it turns out I had to actually agonize over too many choices for V and Z.
Other way was a lot harder:
How fun. My lists make me look so super traditional and boring, but I guess that's my style. Also goodness, I'm glad no one is making me name a daughter a Q name.
And for funsies, the other way:
Amy - Do you mean Rikki Don't Lose That Number, by Steely Dan? Or is there ANOTHER one?
I think that's another good example that you can't quite predict what people will react to with naming, like the person above who hears "Miguel" to "Michelle", even though I'm sure Miguel's parents never even began to consider that. Or the Sue who hears "Sussudio", even though that's just gibberish, not the name Sue. Ah, the best laid plans of Mice and Name Enthusiasts.
And yes, I love Verity Clementine!
@Hyz - You're totally right, I have no idea what braindead portion of my head thought "Someone in the Kitchen with Dinah" and translated it to "She'll be Coming Round the Mountain." (Maybe because she's in that train kitchen, blowing her horn through the mountain passes? No idea.)
I got a lot of feedback on Susannah Mae/Susannah Margaret from the commenters back in this post, half way down page 2, http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2011/7/summer-name-talk-games-sagan-names-on-the-radio?page=2
and then following into this one, page 1: http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2011/7/about-that-new-york-times-article-studying-baby-name-trends#comments
Re Clementine: I don't think it's a hillbilly name, and I don't really think of the fruit. It does strike me as very southern American, but that is probably the citrus talking? But it does seem rather girly and lightweight next to your other daughters. Like having Margot, Delphine, and Daisy. I just love Verity, so I'd push you to consider that! Perhaps use Clementine as a middle name? I don't think it's a dealbreaker if its right for you and your family, just wouldn't be my top choice with that sibset.
@ hyz - I think I've Been Working on the Railroad is a wholly owned subsidiary of She'll be Coming Round the Mountain qua modern ears. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27ve_Been_Working_on_the_Railroad
I am SO interested in Susannah's opinions, as someone whose first choice for names is currently Susanna(h). I personally find the Oh Susannah thing cute, I have visions of rocking a baby to sleep to it and "Susie Q", but it's not ME who would have to listen to it forever, sung by awkward and tonedeaf near strangers. It's basically the only drawback to the name for me, but it's a big potential one if most Susannahs hate it. (It's also not a problem that's going to ever get better, since children all learn Oh Susannah, whereas most folks won't learn Come on Eileen until discovering 80s retro music as teenagers, or Hey There Deliah, well, ever.)
My friend Sally reports she has to hear "Mustang Sally" constantly.
I would definitely be interested in input on using two non-hyphenated last names in the US. That would be my ideal choice, but I have heard a great deal about people being called the wrong names and the government/official sources being confused or straight up rejecting things because of it. I know it's very common amongst hispanic families but I know a lot of them have been forced to choose one legal name.
@Zoerhenne - I have been pronouncing your name as Zoer-Henne for a long time. It never occurred to me that it should be Zoe Rhenne.
@Karyn - I also think Kingfisher is very nice, but Fish King does bring up the image of Ariel's father from the Little Mermaid. Kingfishers are pretty little birds. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingfisher) Of course, if you love King, you can't beat that for ease of use.
I am another person who'd have no idea what to pick if the world was my oyster for surnames. I have no connection with any family name except my own. Maybe my mother's maiden name, but I have a huge number of relatives on that side, so it's hardly going to "die out". I have no emotional connection with the maiden names of my grandmothers, who are both long passed, let alone any relatives who were deceased before I was born.
If I absolutely had to pick, I might go with something derived backwards from a beloved character I created, "Norman", but I think I'd roll my eyes at myself forever if I really named myself after a game. I could also see picking something positive, like "Joy", or "Emmanuel".
Re Mrs.: It's interesting that some here don't like being called Mrs. Lastname (even if you use that Lastname.) I hate when when women are reduced to Mrs. Hisfirstname TheirLastName, aka Mrs. John Smith, but would have no problems with being Mrs. Jane Smith if I were indeed a married Jane Smith. I just think of Mrs. as a woman who is identifying as married, miss is unmarried, Ms. is neutral.
I am torn between publicly going as Mrs or Ms: part of me thinks my marital status isn't a stranger's business and wants to use Ms, and part of me thinks being a Mrs is rather romantic and wants to use that. It's a unity thing, as several people mentioned above. (Though of course a family is no less a family or a unit if they use different names.)
This has always been a sorespot for us, it's hard to find a solution. Hyphenated, it would be 6 syllables/ 17 letters, which is too much. I'm the daughter with no brothers of an only son born of an only son born of an only son, there are no known relatives with my relatively rare last name. It dies with my generation. He's an only son from a long line of Juniors and has a name that is important to his ethnic and cultural heritage.
Right now, we're planning to both take my maiden name as a second middle name, as well as give it to our children in that form. Mostly as a second middle because my name enthusiast side couldn't give up a WHOLE name slot. My sister plans to give our surname as a first name to a child, male or female.
The decision to keep his rather than mine is mostly for tradition's sake, since both are fine last names. He's very resistant to "losing" his name, whereas I was raised with the expectation that it would be a likely possibility, which is undoubtedly a decent from patriarchy. Combining them feels like a faux-compromise, since neither of us feel like we'd be honoring our families that way. For us, of course. (I have a stereotypical Irish surname, his name is a compound noun- every variation sounds either like a dirty word or something sold at McDonalds. The "obvious" choice sounds like a smoothie. UGH.)
Mathophica is a great demon name for those of us who struggled through calculus, too. Out, integral demons, out!
My mother has always joked that following my family tradition literally would have left me "Harriet Helen", with the punchline that it was a horrible, horrible name. I've heard it for so long that I'd actually use it, I think it's adorable. Harriet seems very much like Hazel and Pearl, ripe for being a strong revival name, especially for people like me who are a little tired of soft vowel names. Harriet the Spy doesn't bring it any more youthful for you all?
Re: Jocelyn is a pretty neutral name for me. It's a little Diner Waitress, it reminds me of names like Michelle and Diane. I only know one personally, she'd be about 30 now, and she's not remotely "diner waitressy", so I am not sure where I got that connotation. Probably through Joyce.
I definitely like Joss as a nickname, fangirl pride. I'd probably use Josephine or Josefina to get it.
@YAG - Congratulations and welcome to New Baby! I don't think you could go wrong with Alice or Harriet. Yes, Alice is softer than Atticus or Avner, but not in a wishy-washy way. My first thought was Henrietta, if you can forgive the -a ending. I also quite like Agnes or Hazel from your list. How about:
Do you have a middle name picked out that we could work with, or is that dependent on the first name? Do you think you have a family reason that's keeping the names you chose from seeming "right"?
Cimorene seems female to me because of the echo with the -rene names - Irene, Doreen, Maureen. Ci- or Cy- is a good sound to start with, since it's rather uncommon in English names of either gender, but echos Cynthia most strongly, I'd think. (Si- might lean male because of Simon.)
I haven't read Hunger Games but I always have issues remember Peeta is a male. I think I may conflate him with Petra (F) from the Ender's Game series, in the context of YA books about children forced to fight.
could you invent names that feel elegant, or dangerous, or plucky, or proud -- and distinctly feminine -- without referring back to the familiar?
I'd venture no, since sounds absent of context do not sound elegant, dangeous, plucky, etc. Sounds end up, in names, communicating that only through shared cultural space. -ella becomes very feminine through girls growing up with Cinderella, etc. But simple sounds don't really communicate anything - Ann and Julian don't really have anything in common "emotionally" because of a shared "ayn" sound. (Unusual letters might be the exception, X and Z are always going to look a little more striking than S and D, even in old classics like Alex)
This is partly off topic but I was re-reading The Little Princess (1905) this weekend, and thought of this blog. The main character, a fanciful little girl, comes up with fantasy names for a family of children that live next door.
- Ethelberta Beauchamp
- Violet Cholmondeley
- Sydney Cecil Vivian
- Lilian Evangeline Maud Marion
- Rosalind Gladys
- Guy Clarence
- Veronica Eustacia
- Claude Harold Hector
I think it's so interesting what sounds like mundane old people names to us were beautiful, and ridiculous then, while some of them are full antique/faux antique revivals now. Strange to imagine that 100 years ago, Lilian and Ethelberta were a good literary sibset. (Also that Vivian was a male name.)
Elizabeth - Aerin in Tolkien is in the Silmarillion, she gets married off to, and later killed by, the Easterlings. thttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerin
Interesting that some of them pop up more than once. Eg, Deena, Aerin. Elaira is a very minor character in World of Warcraft (She's a druid who teaches players how to transform into a bird.) She might be a tribute to another work I don't know?
I'd have thought Polgara would show up fantasy with ghost-like creatures, considering the similarity with "Poltergeist" but not so, apparently.
A google for Jaenelle shows she appears in a series that also stars women named Dorothea, Hekatah (there's that "kat" again), Surreal SaDiablo, and Lady Arabella Ardelia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Jewels)
Aliens also identify -a ending names as primarily female, and are deathly afraid of hard consonants, apparently. Sorcha and Sabriel and Raederle are about the only ones I can see with a plosive central consonant.
I know waaay too many of these:
Aerin, Eowyn - Tolkien
Arya, Daenerys, Lyanna - GRR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire
Alanna, Keladry - Tamora Pierce
Deena - Rothfuss's Kingkiller Trilogy (Also my dog!)
Leia - Star wars!
Lyra - Golden Compass
Morgaine - Arthurian legend
Phedre - Only know the one from Racine?
Trinity - The one from the Matrix?
Vin - Sanderson's Mistborn
Xena - ... Spoiler Alert, it's Xena!
Zula - Conan
Yelena - I thought this was a Russian form of Helen? Sorcha I only know as an Irish name.
I wonder if the criteria involves inspiring a SSA measurable number of babies using the names? Sabriel is really quite lovely and I knew an Alanna born before the series.
Nameberry broke down the names that have been in the top 1000 since the SSA started, as a start to identifying what are really American classics.
208 Boys names: http://nameberry.com/blog/classic-boys-names-how-to-choose-one-thats-truly-timeless
114 Girls names:
The variations of popularity within those names definitely bring up different definitions of "timeless". Troy might have been born in 1897 or 1997 but I still think he's about 45 in my mind's eye, and though there must be some baby Eugenes, I don't picture them!
For me, a "timeless" name has to be both common over a long period of time and absent any sharp spikes, or associations with sharp spikes in similar sounding names. (Eg Aiden is colored by Jayden et al, Terry is colored by Kerry and Gerry and Gary and Larry.)
As they, I think, point out, the top 1000 used to include some names that were given to very few babies (like 10 a year) because of the concentration of common names and the smaller population.
I think the most surprising one was Regina - I hate the "she'll be teased!" reasons for not choosing a name, but that is just asking for trouble. (I grew up with a Regina, pronounced Re-GYN-ah, who was indeed, called all sorts of horrible names.) Perhaps it's popular amongst Hispanic Catholics?
@Caroline - I have never thought of Nick/Nic as "to nick", it's firmly a... "Nick"name? (I cannot finish this sentence without imagining it from Horatio Caine from CSI: Miami)
I'm going to be stodgy and say I like Daniel and I think the vowel echo is attractive, not rhymey. Daniel is a modern classic to me, not something that can get played out. "Nick" feels much more trendy as a nickname (I grew up with a LOT of Nicholases called Nick and Nicoles called Nic), though the dutch spelling is definitely much less common (in the areas I have lived in.) I think Caleb is a little too forgettable, honestly, too vowely and soft. It gets lost with your strong last name, for me. Also consider David, perhaps.
Re: Josephine: Definitely a very popular choice amongst neotraditional/traditional namers, and likely to gain, but I don't think it's going to be Emma popular, even in 10 years. You could also use Johanna to get Josie, which is likely to stay rare since it's out of time sync.
Elodie - I also pronounce it like Melody unless I'm specifically thinking of Chimu's daughter. I prefer Eddy or EE-di as the nick, I would also want to avoid the confusion of the Elle/Bella set.
Isobel is IZ-oh/uh-bell or AHY-so-bell depending on context for me. The first is kind of like Isabelle but with a french accent, the second mimics Ysobel. Laura is LORE-ah. Joel and Noel are 1 syllable for me, like Coal, for boys. (Noel on a girl is No-elle, like Joelle, like the christmas song.)
@lillypop - I'd also ask if this was a real life sibset or characters, and if characters, what are their ages. I'd avoid any more "ie" names - Molly, Natalie, and Elsie get very very rhythmic said together. Try: Charlotte, Evan, Noah, Abigal, Benjamin, Leo, Leah, Sarah, William, Jo, Zach, Parker.
@Sarada - the I is pronounced as a long E. Nay-oh-mEE.
Maybe that long E is why I keep thinking Enid sounds so fresh and usable.
Also: Tycho, Caine, July, Eisley, Evie, Eileen (Update Eiley)
Close: Adrian, Adaline,
Mom of Owen, lots of decent ideas for siblings here!
Saul feels like the "same" name as Paul, to me, like having a sibset named Ivan and John or Ben and Benjamin. But I was being mildly hyperbolic, I wouldn't suggest Paul to the Mall Family or Mr and Mrs. Bearer or as a brother to Peter and Mary. ;)
I'd say the most interesting sibset I know is Eth4n, Elyss4, Zan3, and C0llin, only interesting because they range from 38 to 29. Talk about parents a bit ahead of their time.
Owen and Nina Claire? I am mildly obsessed with Nina lately and want to suggest it to everyone though.