Tiger Woods, Accenture and Branding: Lessons for Baby Namers

Jan 7th 2010

An economics professor recently estimated that Tiger Woods' marital problems have had a whopping $12 billion stock market impact. This bizarre intersection of personal woes and global finance is all about branding. Woods had been the public face of a wide range of products and services. His image of focus, grace under pressure, and peerless performance resonated far beyond sports. It didn't hurt, too, that golf is the pastime of choice of the corporate set. So Woods added value, all of which drained away -- with interest -- over the past weeks.

The biggest corporate victim was consulting giant Accenture, which had made Woods the entire face of its organization. Woods' image equaled Accenture's image, so the company was forced to perform an emergency image-ectomy. And that's where baby names come in.

I've written before that naming a child after a living celebrity is risky business. The problem is that the name's cultural meaning isn't yet settled. Just as Tiger Woods "means" something different in our society than he did a year ago, the meaning of celebrity's name can shift unpredictably over time.

We already know that much about politician's names. Until Watergate, you could count on a new president being honored with a spate of little namesakes. Today, parents wait until the president is safely part of history to commit to the homage. (Don't believe the breathless media accounts of a flood of baby Baracks. Alf Landon inspired far more namesakes losing the election in 1936 than Obama did winning in 2008.) When it comes to athletes, actors and musicians, though, parents are still willing to pull the trigger. That can lead to regret when a sports star changes teams, or worse when scandal hits.

Not every name is at equal risk. As we saw with Woods and Accenture, the stakes are highest when the celebrity defines the name's image. Take a name like Beyoncé (#700 in America in 2001). It exists because of Beyoncé Knowles, and its impact rides entirely on her shoulders. In contrast, performers like Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera hold little power over the names Alicia and Christina.

It may seem a cold calculation, weighing the the chances of disgrace for a favorite star as part of the joyous process of choosing a baby name. And certainly, some celebrities grant a lasting luster to their names -- Audrey Hepburn, for example. But just like a corporation with a sponsor, parents choosing a celebrity-infused name are putting a little bit of their future in a stranger's hands.


January 7, 2010 12:41 PM

I suppose the same could be true of children named for living relatives, but the downside is a lot less public. Who's going to know (or care) if baby Orville's great uncle leaves Aunt Ida in unsavory circumstances?

January 7, 2010 1:18 PM

The name Miley immediately came to mind. The popularity of Miley Cyrus' name (from her baby nickname Smiley-miley) has soared in the US and is spreading to other countries. I wonder if parents chose the name thinking of the young teen who played Hannah Montana or the quickly maturing Miley of today. And who knows how she'll be seen 10 years from now?

Another rising name from one young celebrity is Khloe (spelled with a K) from Khloe Kardashian.

It does seem risky to choose a name so strongly associated with a current celebrity, particularly one so young and untested by time as Miley or Khloe.

By daisy_kay (not verified)
January 7, 2010 2:38 PM

Patricia, the name Miley came to my mind, too. That name has certainly surged in recent years! I also have three friends - one has a daughter named Anniston, one has a daughter named Jolie, and the other has a daughter named Angelina. I do agree that it's dangerous ground to tread on b/c you just never know the name these celebs will leave behind for themselves and what kind of stigma their names will carry in the future.

Anyone care to review my top 10 girl and boy combos (in ABC order below)? DH and I are TTC, and we have a son named Solomon.

Adele Rosalind
Agnes (no mn yet)
Colette Anneliese
Evangaline Scarlett
Louisa Bess (or Louisa Charlotte)
Mabel Adeline
Marianne Charlotte
Rosalind Agnes
Rosaline Phoebe
Rosemary Helen

Atticus Reid (or Atticus Jude)
August William
Augustus William (or Augustus Henry)
Edmund Ross (or Edmund Lawrence or Edmund Grant)
Elias Daniel (or Elias Jack)
Gareth William
Gregor Miles
Henry Atticus (or Henry August)
Leander Bennett (or Leander Jude or Leander Heath)
Miles (no mn yet)


By knp (not verified)
January 7, 2010 3:11 PM

I like:
Rosemary Helen (surprising for me to like this, but I like the simplicity)
Atticus Reid
Mabel Adeline
Gareth William
Louisa Charlotte
Adele Rosalind

and Like a whole lot less (going out on a limb here-- I'm sure I'm gonna pick your faves)
Colette Anneliese (odd, b/c I love Colette, but dislike this pairing...)
Rosaline Phoebe
Agnes (just not my style)
Edmund Ross (but I do like Edmund Grant)
Gregor Miles

By hyz
January 7, 2010 3:46 PM

daisy_kay, you're killing me with all the awesome name choices--isn't it hard to narrow it down? I really have that problem. Ok, you have a lot of my favorite names there, so imho you can't really go wrong, but I LOVE love love Adele Rosalind and August William, and I think both are quite charming with Solomon (which, as I've said before, I also adore).

The ones I like less from your lists are:
*Agnes (it still sounds a bit musty to me)
*Marianne Charlotte (Marianne seems a little plain compared to the other choices)
*Augustus William (Augustus seems too fussy even for me, and seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few times over the holiday season didn't help matters)

All of the others I think are each great in their own ways, but Adele Rosalind and August William are the standouts for me, ones I would seriously use for my own kids.

By Melissa C (not verified)
January 7, 2010 3:52 PM

Of the Girl Choices I like these the best:
Evangaline Scarlett
Mabel Adeline
Marianne Charlotte
Rosaline Phoebe

I really love Evangaline Scarlett!

Atticus Reid
August William
Leander Bennett

I also really like Atticus Reid! I think Evangaline & Atticus sound really good with brother Solomon.

By RachelChristine (not verified)
January 7, 2010 4:18 PM

Adele Rosalind -- Love Adele, never liked Rosalind, but it's also a road name right over from me. I don't care for the flow.
Agnes (no mn yet) -- Still too old-lady for me.
Colette Anneliese -- My daughter is Anneliese! Colette isn't my style personally, but it's a lovely name. They flow quite well.
Evangaline Scarlett -- Another whether neither name fits my personal style, but the flow is great and the names are lovely. I prefer Evangeline with an e though.
Louisa Bess (or Louisa Charlotte) -- OOH! I love these both! I like Bess better than Charlotte, but think Charlotte flows better with Louisa
Mabel Adeline -- Love Adeline, find Mabel still very dated. They seem to clash together for me
Marianne Charlotte -- I really like both names, but not their flow.
Rosalind Agnes -- don't like
Rosaline Phoebe -- ok I guess. Not my style, though Phoebe could grow on me.
Rosemary Helen -- Seems very dated to me.

Also, I think Solomon goes best with Evangaline, Marianne, or Louisa.

Atticus Reid (or Atticus Jude) -- Love both combos! Jude maybe a teensy big more.
August William -- Very stately! I find William a bit boring, but it sounds great with August.
Augustus William (or Augustus Henry) -- Love Augustus William! Probably like August more though.
Edmund Ross (or Edmund Lawrence or Edmund Grant) -- Grant is my favorite with Edmund. It's a very nice name, just not for me.
Elias Daniel (or Elias Jack) -- Daniel has a better flow with Elias, which is a name I personally don't like. But there is nothing wrong with it and it goes great with Solomon.
Gareth William -- I like this, but think it clashes with Solomon.
Gregor Miles -- Just totally not my type of name at all.
Henry Atticus (or Henry August) -- Nice name, nothing wrong with it, I'm just not into Henry.
Leander Bennett (or Leander Jude or Leander Heath) -- While I love Bennett and Jude, Leander is a big joke name with my dad, so I can't take it seriously.
Miles (no mn yet) -- I just see the phrase Miles per Hour, and can't focus on it as a name.

Best matches with Solomon are Atticus, Elias, or Augustus.

January 7, 2010 4:48 PM

daisy kay,

my favorites are:
rosalind agnes
rosemary helen


atticus reid (or jude)
august william

i like most of your names actually (mabel, henry, miles, etc), but these are the ones i like best for you, with solomon.

By Keren not signed in (not verified)
January 7, 2010 4:51 PM

Adele Rosalind - Like it, very elegant
Agnes (no mn yet) - not a great name for a plain girl.
Colette Anneliese Don't like.
Evangaline Scarlett Really don't like at all.
Louisa Bess (or Louisa Charlotte) Dull.
Mabel Adeline Love it.
Marianne Charlotte Also love.
Rosalind Agnes Not Agnes.
Rosaline Phoebe Prefer Phoebe Rosaline.
Rosemary Helen Dull

Atticus Reid (or Atticus Jude) Prefer with Jude but a little pretentious.
August William Prefer Augustus
Augustus William (or Augustus Henry) Prefer with Henry.
Edmund Ross (or Edmund Lawrence or Edmund Grant) Love all of these except Edmund Grant.
Elias Daniel (or Elias Jack) Nice
Gareth William Dull
Gregor Miles Don't like
Henry Atticus (or Henry August) Nice
Leander Bennett (or Leander Jude or Leander Heath) Too effeminate
Miles (no mn yet) Don't like.

January 7, 2010 5:13 PM

daisy_kay: My votes are as follows-
Colette Anneliese--Love this combo's flow
Adele Rosalind--maybe
Louisa Bess (or Louisa Charlotte)--maybe
Rosaline Phoebe--maybe

Atticus Reid --Love this combo's flow as well. Goes great with Solomon
August William-maybe
Edmund Grant-maybe
Gareth William-stands out more than August to me
Gregor Miles-maybe

The rest of them don't do it for me for one reason or another. Btw, are you saying Roz-a-lyn or Rose-a-leen or even Rose-a-line for(Rosaline)? Because I also like Adele Rose-a-line or Charlotte Rose-a-line a bit.

By Eo (not verified)
January 7, 2010 5:23 PM

Hi daisy_kay-- Thanks for entrusting us again with your evolving name choices-- what fun to see the directions you're going in.

I still love best:

Louisa Bess

Timeless, beautiful name, and the connection with your family clinches it. The historical link to Queen Elizabeth I ("Good Queen Bess") also gives it a spunky flavor...

Second choice:

Evangeline Charlotte. But I do prefer the traditional spelling, "Evangeline" rather than "Evangaline"-- do you have a special reason for liking that spelling? I also love the charming nicknames for Evangeline-- Eva, Eve, Vangie, etc.

Both Louisa and Evangeline sound distinguished with Solomon, without being TOO matched-up.

It's hard to choose among your many great boys' names, but here goes:

Favorites are: Augustus William, Gareth William, or Elias Daniel.

I do still strongly believe that both Atticus and August, are "of the moment" trend names favored by hipniks. If you don't mind this "niche", if you will, then those names are fine! But I prefer names that are less associated with celeb preferences and pop cult phenomena (phenomenons?).

While "August" is, to me, too trendy, "Augustus" is nicely fuddy-duddy traditional, and still gives you the same good nicknames to shorten...

By the way, I think the Welsh "Gareth" goes great with "Solomon". Traditionally, the Welsh were very persistently fond of Old Testament names like Rachel and David-- more than their English counterparts were-- so combining a Welsh name with a Biblical name like Solomon is very congruent!

Agree totally with Laura's column. It's good to let history deliberate and then deliver a verdict on a given figure before parents commemorate him/her forever with a namesake...

By Air
January 7, 2010 5:53 PM

Mabel Adeline!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it. That exact combo was my #1 but DH nixed "Adeline" for a reason still unknown to me, so our little girl is Mabel Parker (which is a family surname). I love Adeline and Adele both, but do keep in mind that if used as a first name, they won't be the only Addy's around. (Thanks to Addison.)

We're thrilled with our little Mabel's name. We've received tons of compliments but also the occasional eyebrow raise coupled with "that must be a family name." Honestly, we think it's a sweet name that still has substance and a classic name that still has originality.

By Amy3
January 7, 2010 8:58 PM

@Elizabeth T, your assessment that the same thing can happen with family names of still-living relatives is a good one. It wasn't exactly part of our decision-making process, but we only considered the names of deceased relatives for our daughter's mn.

@daisy_kay, I love Louisa Bess for its family connection followed by Mabel Adeline (love Mabel!). For boys, I like Edmund Ross followed by Gareth William.

January 7, 2010 9:00 PM

I love Mabel Adeline and Gareth William, but you really can't go wrong with any of your choices.

As for Laura's column, I remember my dad (an Ad agency guy of the real Mad Men era), always telling me that the best spokesperson for your product was always a cartoon character. They didn't do/say anything in the off-hours and they only say what large corporations tell them to say. I kind of have to agree with him here. That being said, Dad was certainly speaking in a gentler age of cartoon characters - no Simpsons, South Park, etc.. It has certainly worked for McDonald's with good old Ronald McDonald.

By knp (not verified)
January 7, 2010 9:41 PM

OK, I have to share: there is a new facebook application circulating: Grading your parents on originality. Here are my results. (Ewww, I am NOT a Kaylee!)

Your parents get a D+ for originality.
Ranking - 'Kristin' was the 31st most popular girl's name in your birth year.
Rarity - 69% of girls had rarer names that year. (Grade: D+)
Peak year - 'Kristin' peaked in popularity in 1981.
Current rank - 'Kristin' is currently the 883rd most popular girl's name.
Current name - Your parents might name you 'Kaylee' today (current #31).

January 7, 2010 10:05 PM

Ok Daisy_Kay, my opinions on your very stylish list:

Adele Rosalind - very nice
Agnes (no mn yet) - huge Agnes fan here except it is a slightly risky name if you get a plain looking child. Maybe Agnes Rosalind? Agnes Charlotte?
Colette Anneliese - not a fan of colette
Evangaline Scarlett - love this but slightly more trendy than your other combos
Louisa Bess (or Louisa Charlotte) - love Louisa Bess!!
Mabel Adeline - very nice old lady chic
Marianne Charlotte - not a fan of Marianne
Rosalind Agnes - I prefer the combo as Agnes Rosalind but is ok this way
Rosaline Phoebe - not a phoebe fan!
Rosemary Helen - think I prefer Rosalind Helen

Atticus Reid (or Atticus Jude) - like Atticus Reid
August William - love it
Augustus William (or Augustus Henry) - love it, would use Augustus if you want something slightly less trendy compared with August
Edmund Ross (or Edmund Lawrence or Edmund Grant) - really like Edmund Grant
Elias Daniel (or Elias Jack) - not a fan
Gareth William - love Gareth and know one that goes by 'Gus'
Gregor Miles - Ok but like others better
Henry Atticus (or Henry August) - I think Henry is too plain compared to your other picks
Leander Bennett (or Leander Jude or Leander Heath) - Ok but like others better, Leander Bennett is the best combo.
Miles (no mn yet) - maybe Miles August or Miles Atticus?

I don't think you can go wrong with this list and they all go well with Solomon Grey!

By sarah smile (not verified)
January 7, 2010 10:33 PM

knp, I haven't seen that but I find the 'current name' concept kind of fascinating. Anyone else here care to try?

According to the SS website, Sarah was #17 the year I was born. The current holder of that rank is Hannah. I can definitely imagine my parents going for that if I were born today, and not just for the biblical connection.

By Sol's_mom (not verified)
January 7, 2010 10:38 PM

As luck would have it, we have a son named Solomon Forest and are currently expecting. We had a hard time agreeing on our son's name, so I'm very eagerly reading everyone's suggestions for daisy_kay!

We're looking for something that complements Solomon but isn't from the Old Testament for fear that it will make Solomon sound more like King Solomon rather than just a beautiful name!

Ironically, Atticus and August were some of my favorites for boys (sadly, not my husband's), and Rosemary, Hazel and Iris are possibilities for girls, but we're just beginning our search so we appreciate any new suggestions! Thanks!

By Kanadiana (not verified)
January 7, 2010 11:55 PM

Has anyone ever met a real life "Alf"? I suppose in the day there was a pocket of them around.... I can't really imagine now anyone naming a child Alf after a president or any other figure with or without the influence of the show in the 80's.

Daisy kay:
WOw, you've picked some nice names. All very strong sounding. I guess "Solomon" is pretty strong sounding itself, so it makes sense.

My favourites from your list(based on the first names) are:
Evangeline Scarlett
Louisa Bess

I like both of these names but probably couldn't use either due to family considerations....
Evangeline and Louisa are both very pretty sounding!

I think Agnes could be a tough go for a little girl....

Adeline would also make a nice first name.
Or just Rosa.
Rosemary is nice in a retro way. (Kind of like many of these names! :)
The boys names I most like:
August William (wow- that's nice. August can stand next to Solomon any day)
Leander (like the sound of this one!)

Trailing behind would be
Edmund (although he will take on the nick name Ed, or Eddie regardless of any desire you may or may not have for a nickname)

Gareth sticks out, but when I look at it, I want to say "Garett" instead so the "th" seems uncomfortable.

Just my little thoughts. A very nice list indeed.

January 8, 2010 1:11 AM

The dangers of celebrity names really hit me when the Kobe Bryant scandal hit a few years ago. I knew of a slew of little Kobes whose parents were probably feeling very awkward right then! That's one reason I like the idea of naming after fictional people rather than real ones-- they never turn up with nasty surprises like that, because whatever's on the page (or screen) is what is, no secrets.

Speaking of which, daisy_kay, are you a fan of the Miles Vorkosigan books? I ask because Gregor Miles is on your list. Miles is, of course, the main character of the books, and Gregor is the Emperor he serves (and one of his dearest friends). They're my favorite books, bar none, so I think the names are a great idea! Most of your names are too fusty for my taste, but I do like a few. My second choice for a boy would be Edmund Ross. For a girl, definitely Rosemary Helen, with Marianne Charlotte as runner-up.

By GilaB (not verified)
January 8, 2010 2:09 AM

Re: Real life Alf
I think the naming effect of Alf Landon was in baby Landons rather than many little Alfs running around. (Doesn't that give you an interesting mental image?) Landon charts in the 1930s at 973, which isn't high, but it had previously fallen off the chart after the 1880's, and didn't make it back on again until the 1960's.

By GilaB (not verified)
January 8, 2010 2:17 AM

Thinking about politically-inspired names had me throwing the last names of twentieth century presidents at NameVoyager to see if there were patterns. Some things I expected, such as that only Anglo-Saxon sounding names were popular (no baby Eisenhowers!) But I was wondering if anybody could guess why Kennedy and Reagan are much more widely used as girls' names, while the other popular presidential names seem to be exclusively for boys. Perhaps it's that Reagan is spelled like Regan, a classical girl's name (although she's a pretty negative character in King Lear)? The first fn-Kennedy I'd ever heard of was the VJ on MTV in the early- to mid-ninties, and she was a woman, so perhaps that influenced the trend?

January 8, 2010 9:26 AM

Sol's mom-I think that is rather interesting. I vote for Iris and then Hazel if those become the strongest contenders. For some reason I think Maxwell would be a good contemporary name (non-biblical) to go with Solomon. I of course also like Elliott.

knp-Hmm, I'm not a Facebook member but here's this. My name was #76 in the year I was born so today I might be named Vanessa. Ha, I don't think my mom would pick THAT knowing her tastes. Maybe #75 Rachel or #77 Aaliyah. Btw, none of them flow with my LN.

January 8, 2010 9:51 AM


I think it's a style thing. Reagan rhymes with Megan and there's the related Regan as you said, so it "feels" female. Kennedy has a similar feel, as it falls in the Kelsey/Kinsey/Mackenzie/Katy/Kylie etc. name category.


Does your husband have any preferences?


Evangeline Scarlett is my favorite of the girl's list. Although I'll admit it's almost too dramatic--I see a red-haired acrobat brandishing a katana.

Atticus Reid has an awesome flow and gets my vote. Once again, though, I see a dark-haired muscled master of martial arts with a stout staff.

Now I see the duo of Evangeline Scarlett and Atticus Reid going out to end the reign of terror of evil demons. The duo acts at the direction of a shady but wise and all-knowing mentor named Solomon.

By Amy3 (nli) (not verified)
January 8, 2010 10:03 AM

My parents got an F+! My name today would be Natalie, according to the FB app.

January 8, 2010 10:32 AM

My parents got an F- for originality on the FB app, (I'm a Jessica born in the early 80s...no surprise there!)

It says my name today would be Isabella, which I don't really see, since when my mom has suggested baby names for us she still keeps suggesting dated 80s names! :)

By Sol's_mom (not verified)
January 8, 2010 10:55 AM

Zoerhenne: Thanks! I love the nickname Max, but it's hard to choose among all of the great variations (I like Maxfield too). Like Elliott - I'll add that to the list!

Linnaeus: unfortunately, the husband is not suggesting much at this point, only nixing! I've been trying to lure him to this site so he can see all of the great name discussions and ideas everyone has.

My 3 year old came up with an interesting name: Oakum, nn Oak. I like it, and amazingly my husband is considering it. One of the things I like about Solomon is the nn Sol (i.e., sun). It would be nice to have another nature-based nn for #2! Of course, I don't know of anyone named Oakum, and the only "Oak" names are things like Oakley.

What does everyone think about Oakum (perhaps spelled differently) as a boy's name? Is there's another Oak name out there (I love how strong Oak can stand up to strong Sol!) Or am I getting desperate already? :)

January 8, 2010 12:21 PM


Your husband wouldn't be the only guy here--I'm a husband myself. But still, I'm quite familiar with the veto-only role. Don't ask him about names, but about his hopes for your son. The best name for him will reflect those dreams.

As for Oakum, I haven't heard of that as a first name, but there are the surnames Okum and Okun. Oak would be a new, invented name. I don't think it's bad at all, though. The name's meaning is well-known and associated with positive imagery. It's simple, straightforward, and uncomplicated. I definitely think it would work. Because it's different, though, it will be prone to getting snide comments from people who are prone to giving snide comments. It doesn't strike me as a name kids would make fun of, though.

It's early enough. I'd keep it on the list.

By Tau
January 8, 2010 1:52 PM


I knew a little boy named Oaks/Oakes (never saw it spelled). It fit him amazingly well.

By Adele'smommy (not verified)
January 8, 2010 2:03 PM

I love Adele Rosalind.Of course, I could be considered biased since I have a little girl Adele Linnea. I also really like Elias from your list of boys' names. We are expecting baby #2 in March - a boy this time, and his name will probably be Anson Isaac (hubby prefers Swedish spelling Isak as our last name is Swedish). Still considering Anson Clark (Clark is a family name on my side) or Anson Trask (Trask is a family name on husband's side).

January 8, 2010 2:07 PM


In my accent, Reagan doesn't rhyme with Megan. :)

By ccm (not verified)
January 8, 2010 2:53 PM

My husband and I are having our first child (boy) due next month and need some advice! Our last name is a Mc and is 3 syllables. Middle name will be Matthew (my husband's name).

His list:
Jacob "Jake" (too popular for me)
Henry "Hank" (NOT my style)
Maxwell "Max"
Zachary "Zack"

My list:

If we use an M name, he'll be MMM, and we though we could possibly use the nn "Tripp." Otherwise, I think we could agree on Luke.

BUT, my favorite name of all time is Skylar for a girl, and if we name our boy Luke and then have a girl named Skylar, would it sound to much like Luke Skywalker?? Or is it dumb of me to plan our son's name after the possibility of hopefully having a daughter someday?

By knp (not verified)
January 8, 2010 3:12 PM

Felicia Lynne: explain-- how do you say them?? I'm so curious.

ccm: I think Luke and Skylar could cause problems down the way.:) And it isn't dumb to think about future children's names.
I would only drop Luke if your husband is completely on board with Skylar though. if he doesn't like Skylar, you don't get to use it, and then you settle for something you don't care for as much now...... Luke is a pretty cool name.

January 8, 2010 3:42 PM

I looked up the SSA for my name. Kimberly was #7. 2008 it's Sophie. No way would my mom have chosen that. The Jewish thing precludes it. I asked her and she agreed and said she would have chosen Kayla, Kaylie, Kylie, etc. Interestingly, she said she attempted more original names, but my dad vetoed all of them. I guess that's why she got a Michael David and a Kimberly. (my middle name is original, though!- Fara).

ccm- I think the MMM things is a bit difficult. Max Mc___ is hard as it is. Luke and Skylar are too matchy, and I don't think it's weird to think of future children. Just be sure you choose the name of the two you love the most and use that one.

January 8, 2010 3:56 PM


As a Megan, I feel compelled to chime in. People tend to say either May-gan or Meg-Ann. (I personally prefer the second).

As a long-E MEEE-gan that rhymes with begin, I'm always amused when people inform me that spelling my name Meagan will help folks pronounce it better. Not if Reagan and Regan are any example.....

January 8, 2010 4:02 PM

i actually rather like maxwell matthew mc____, and i don't find it at all hard to say. i was just thinking the other day how it would be cool to have triple initials. i would never name with that being my sole intent, but if it just so happened to turn out that way, i would probably find it a fun little bonus.

note: emily was #24 in my birth year and the corresponding name in 2008 was lily. i just thought it was funny that they are fairly similar names (or at least rhyme--i can't think of any other names that end in /ily/).

January 8, 2010 4:03 PM

megan w,
i completely agree. to me both megan and meagan are firstly "meh-gen" or "may-gen." though i don't dislike your pronunciation, the only spelling that would intuitively bring it to mind (for me) is meegan.

oh, and regan and reagan are the same for me too.

January 8, 2010 4:04 PM

megan w,
i feel i should add: i didn't mean that to be a critique of your name. you are welcome to pronounce it however you want, of course! i just meant that i think the comments you get from people are silly.

January 8, 2010 4:21 PM

It's interesting. I'm used to hearing Regan as "REE-gun" and Reagan as "RAY-gun". Megan, yes, I've heard as "MEE-gun", "MAY-gun", or "MEG-un". However, in my accent, "MAY-gun" and "MEG-un" are virtually identical. "MEE-gun" is considered nonstandard where I grew up.

Just one of those things with regional variation, I guess.

January 8, 2010 4:54 PM

My parents really wanted my sister's name to be pronounced MAY-gan, not MEG-gan, so they spelled it Meagan. Ironically now a lot of people call her MEE-gan. I never could figure out why they didn't throw in a y or something, Maygen, or maybe Maegen. Anyway, it just recently dawned on me that my sister was born during the Reagan administration, and that must be why they went with Meagan!

January 8, 2010 4:54 PM

I'm a Megan, and like Linnaeus, with my accent, "MAY-gun" and "MEG-un" are smoothly interchangeable (not entirely identical, but that vowel sound swings both ways, as it were). "MEE-gun" is definitely nonstandard, though I've gotten it many times, and it certainly doesn't bother me. Weirder was the girl who said, "Oh, your name is MEG-un? Well, I'm MAY-gun." I couldn't help but think "Hmm... is that different?"

When I visited Wales, I noticed that they tend to say a very clipped "MEG-un" - almost "MEG'n" - so I suppose that would be the most traditional pronunciation.

Can an Australian back me up, though, that "MEE-gun" is the standard pronunciation there?

By Jane, Mother of Five (not verified)
January 8, 2010 5:19 PM


I love so many of your name choices. I especially like Marianne Charlotte and Rosalind Agnes for girls and August William for a boy. I think all those names go with Solomon extremely well!

I hope no one finds this next thought offensive, but I'm really feeling I have to say something.

Atticus is obviously a reference to To Kill a Mockingbird, right? The thing about that book is, it is a great book. A lot of literature-lovers love To Kill a Mockingbird. BUT... it's also a fairly accessible high-school assignment that has a popular pc message everyone can get. So take a typical non-reader who doesn't necessarily want to admit they haven't read anything serious since high school, ask them what their favorite book is, and nine times out of ten, they'll say To Kill a Mockingbird, because they remember it as the deepest book they've ever read. This is the case with several of my non-reader friends, one of whom named her golden retriever Atticus. So, for me (and maybe I'm alone here, but I suspect I'm not), To Kill a Mockingbird comes across as a little faux-intellectual, and so does the choice of the name Atticus.

January 8, 2010 6:03 PM

Clarification: "my" pronunciation is totally non-standard. I think that's why I'm not so fond of kre8tive names - I have disliked my name my whole life, and somehow, pronouncing it like everyone else doesn't help either. Harrumph. But no offense taken.

I do hear/say a difference b/w MAY-gun and MEG-an, and I'm originally from NY and live in the Mid-Atlantic. I'd love to know where folks are from who don't hear a difference, or it is too slight.

I have met a number of people who have spelled the name May/Mae in an effort to push the pronunciation, but the whole thing becomes quite tedious to me. (I met a Meaghaan once too, but I have no idea what they were thinking).

By Qwen (nli) (not verified)
January 8, 2010 6:07 PM

@daisy_kay – I really like Colette Anneliese and Rosaline Phoebe for girls. For boys my favorites are Atticus Reid (or Jude) and Leander Bennett. For some reason I like Atticus best with Solomon. They just seem like such a fabulous sib set.

@alr – I think Mabel Parker is adorable. I say kick the eyebrow raisers (ok that might be the hormones talking).

@knp – Ahhh Facebook. Thanks for sharing! I can’t get on FB right now but I’m guessing that since Crystal was ranked #18 the year I was born, my parents would get low marks too. If the modern name is based on the ranking I’d be an Ashley today. Which isn’t hippie enough for my parents, I don’t think.

@Sol’s_mom – congratulations on your pregnancy! I typed your likes into Nymbler and here’s what I found:

I agree with Linnaeus that Oakum, while invented, has the weight of the word “Oak” behind it, which is pretty dang positive. Plus I think the story that your son named his little brother is a precious naming story.

@Linnaeus – I love how you worded your response to Sol’s_mom regarding Oakum. Because it's different, though, it will be prone to getting snide comments from people who are prone to giving snide comments. What a good thing to remember when people start being rude about names.

@Adele’smommy – congrats! I like the name Anson and all your middle name choices seem great. Good luck narrowing it down.

@CCM – congrats! I actually really love the name Maxwell Matthew Mc____. Plus the “Tripp” nn is original and cute. I don’t think you’re being weird in your worry of Luke and a future Skylar at all, just prepared. Interestingly, my husband and I had the same discussion about Luka and Skyler once upon a time. Granted, he was all for making Star Wars references with our kids it was me who ended up nixing it! :)

By Liz & Louka (not verified)
January 8, 2010 6:34 PM

@meganroamer - I'm Australian, and all the Megans (and Meagans etc) I've met have been pronounced Mee-gun.

@Sol's_mom - I love the sound of Oakum, and the nn Oak, but then I have no problem with made-up names. You do know, though, that oakum is the tar-and-rope-fibre mixture used for packing the timbers on ships. I don't know if that's a good association or not, but I did think of the alternative spelling Oakham, which is the name of at least one town each in England and the USA.

January 8, 2010 6:44 PM

I'll come back later to comment properly, but just wanted to say to meganromer that in Australia (and New Zealand) MEE-gun/MEE-'gn is the standard pronuciation. I've known lots and lots of Megans and none of them have used May-gun or Meh-gan or any variants (although it probably does happen!).

By Tirzah, not logged in (not verified)
January 8, 2010 6:44 PM

It's interesting that the Facebook application assigns a failing grade to those with popular names. If your name is not ranked (like Tirzah) do you get a high grade for picking a rare name or a low grade for going too far off the charts. And I wonder what name they predict.

By knp (not verified)
January 8, 2010 6:59 PM

Tirzah: You get an A+ for not on the charts. A friends name was Ashli and her parents got an A+ for not being on the chart.

By Amy3 (nli) (not verified)
January 8, 2010 6:59 PM

@Tirzah, I had the same question about the FB app regarding particularly the name it would predict for today if your name didn't appear in the top 1000. Obviously, I didn't have to worry about that with the name Amy! If someone with a more original name tries it out, especially one that wasn't in the top 1000 the year they were born, I'd love to know how the app reacts.

Re: pronouncing Megan, I grew up in Oklahoma the child of Midwestern parents and I currently live in the mid-Atlantic. I say Meg'un and can definitely hear the difference between Meg'un and May'gun.

@Sol's_mom, I think Oak would be a nice match for Sol, and it's sweet that your son thought of it. However, I'd only choose it if your husband and you really love it too.

@ccm, I'll echo everyone else and say you're definitely not overthinking whether Skyler and Luke would be too Star-Warsy as a sibset. I agree with those who said you should choose the one you like best to use and let the other go. Regarding Maxwell Matthew Mc_, given how infrequently people's entire names are said, I don't think Max Mc_ sounds odd, provided your last name's initial sound is more of a Mick than a Mac. Max Mac is a little harder to say.

@Adele'smommy, congratulations! I think Anson and Adele are a very handsome sibset.

January 8, 2010 10:16 PM

CCM-I stumble a bit over Maxwell Matthew Mc---
From your lists, I like Jacob or Caleb as the b ending breaks up the flow just enough to make it really good! The Luke + Skyla thing is weird for me. I while back Laura did a post on such things as choosing the 1st childs name with regard to future children. Have to look it up for ya.

Sol's mom-I like Maxfield okay but my favorite is Maxwell barring of course issues with flow as above. Oakum is interesting. It is cool that your son created it, but do you remember the poster a while back who's daughter voted for Tomato and Ocean? We all were talking about something close but that THOSE particular names were "not quite right" for a child. So I suggest you find a strong stately name meaning something close to oak tree. Also have to get back to you on that.

To weigh in on the Reagan/Megan thing, I say them Ray-gun and Meg-un. Maegan/Meagan/Meegan and others are all heard of but rare in my area. I too grew up in NE and live now in Mid-Atlantic.

Jane-I'm surprised that you associate Atticus with only To Kill A Mockingbird. I associate it with a Roman hero of sorts. I think its a different sort of a name for sure and maybe the most readily recognized character is the one above. However, I think its a great strong name and one thats sure to not need to use his LN in school.