The Generational Sweet Spot, Or Why Your Parents Have Such Bad Taste

Apr 22nd 2010

Your taste in baby names is shaped by many factors. If I had to point to just one, though -- one force that drives your opinions, that's impossible to escape -- it would be your generation.

That's obvious on the face of it. We all know that name styles change dramatically over time. When it comes to our own personal taste, though, it's hard to feel the generational influence. Here's how I usually describe it: the names of your own generation sound too ordinary, your parents' too boring, your grandparents' too old. But by the time you make it back to your great-grandparents' names, things start to perk up. You've never known a young Vivian or Julius, so those names sound fresh to you.

That places a style "sweet spot" at naming generations roughly 60-90 years older than you. But it also points to a second sweet spot at names 20-40 years younger than you. Those are the names that you and your friends name your children. Meanwhile you're turned off by names in middle, particularly your own age and 10-20 years older. So if you were born in the 1970s, you probably didn't consider '60s names like Sheila or Kent for your kids.

Now here's the kicker. That same generation of names that marks your style nadir is your parents' sweet spot. And those charming antiques you love? They're your parents' stodgy grandma names. Let's overlay some hypothetical curves:

Call the areas in green "argument zones."

Parents, this explains why your mother-in-law keeps suggesting names like Karen and Steve. Grandparents, this explains how your daughter could possibly consider a name like Julius (or Genesis) for a little baby. And to our youngest readers, prepare for your parents to totally miss the appeal of Conrad and Joyce. They don't have bad taste, honest. They're just products of their generation.


April 26, 2010 9:20 PM

i like zipporah better because it's more intuitive to me/less scary to the average english speaker. however, if you feel it is somehow less authentic or meaningful, i would understand that and encourage you to go with tziporah. that's funny about your initials. i can't decide if that's cool or weird either.

By Philippa The First (not verified)
April 26, 2010 9:30 PM

Rose is rose-pink (sorry to be predictable!)
Elinor is white
James is green; a dark, British racing green.
Edward is the same darkish blue as Kathryn

Synesthesia is a reasonably common ability/quirk (?) of seeing numbers, letters, names, dates, and other things in various colours or with other senses. I automatically do the ones I just listed, but some people also do musical notes. I only do colours, but apparently other people have tastes or sounds that go with their synesthesia. It's more common in women than men, and appears to be hereditary.

Wwikipedia's Synesthesia article is pretty helpfu :

April 26, 2010 9:36 PM

Hi Im new here but have been reading your comments for awhile. I have always been interested in names due to having an unusual name, Deirdre (my sisters names are Jennifer, Amanda and Suzanne). I always hated the name, went by Dee until I started my career at a Law Firm. Deirdre was much more appropriate than Dee or DeeDee. It is still hard for me even after 10 years of working at the same place because Deirdre sounds so foreign to me. The other names my mom has picked out to name me were Claudia, Claire and Samantha. Having the name Deirdre has had a huge impact on my self esteem and I seriously wanted to change my name to a popular name. When I had my children I made sure their names were somewhat popular and familiar names so they wouldn't be made fun of because of their name. I also wanted to mention my great grandmothers name was Evangeline. Its a name I have been hearing lately and I think it is very feminine and pretty.

April 26, 2010 10:09 PM

I wondered why names like Edna and Agnes, seem so outdated. When names like Noah and Julias appear fresh, even Hannah hasn't really grown old.

The names that I see children are drawn to:
Carmel Candy
Jessica(in its many forms)
for boys commen Micheals and Jacobs don't seem to bother them.

I do see young parents choosing:
names like Nevaeah
and Jason, Elijah, and unique names like Arlo.

When it comes my time to settle on names,I honestly don't know were me and my husband's interest will lie.Right now I like names like:Shelby,Catlee,and Chastity(girl)
Castle,Emery,and Otto(boy)Royal and/or fresh sounding names.
And although slightly antiquated(Eugenie is a sweet name,perhapse not as a first like the princess)

April 26, 2010 10:16 PM

My advice to anyone, learn to love your name.And if it's absolutely necessary,change it. But if you learn to like it, it will boost your self esteem. Also note to parents(or friends of new parents),do not choose a name you wouldn't like having yourself...or that they would regret latter.

April 26, 2010 10:35 PM

oh, i meant to say:
my other association with claudia (aside from the babysitter's club) is claudia kincaid, the protagonist of from the mixed up files of mrs. basil e. frankweiler by e.l. konigsburg (whew, that's a mouthful!). it's a good book. :]

April 26, 2010 10:40 PM

My synaesthesia makes me see Eleanor as a bluey-purple with hints of pink around the ending and Kathryn is yellow/orange. This sound strange to type but it's good that a few of you understand!

Re Claudia - I also totally loved Claudia from the Babysitters Club. In fact I loved a lot of the names/characters from that series except Mallory. I think she got a rough deal :)

I pronounce Claudia as CLAW-dee-ah so no Clod for me! I don't think a child would necessarily dislike the name. I actually prefer names that work as 'adult' names and I'm not a fan of frilly/girly and nicknamey names as a result.

Becky - I prefer Ruth Zipporah but Ruth Tzipporah has the cute RTH initials (which incidentally makes me think of right handed).

April 26, 2010 10:43 PM

Becky - that's a tough call with the initials. I opted against in with my K@th@rine. Her middle name needed to be either Rose or Ann/Anna after dh's recently deceased grandmother and with our last name beginning with a T she could have had the initials KAT which is sorta cool and I'm sure she'd have liked it up till age 12 or so but after that I'm not so sure.

April 26, 2010 11:48 PM

synesthesia's come up here before- i'm another one, colours like Philippa- though not the same colours. Edward is a rich shade of blue to me, too, but Kathryn is a sort of layered red and yellow/gold. And Eleanor Kathryn is really lovely, but a set of primary colours, not bright solid primaries, but sort of softly aged. I also associate texture with sounds and letters, so Eleanor Kathryn is sort of muted/aged primary colours in a good cotton or linen weave. Which sounds utterly ridiculous written down, but I love toread about what other people see so there we are.

As for generational names- I'm an 86, and I too cringe a bit at the thought of a (great)grandchild named Brandon, Tiffany, Justin or Kaitlyn (my "mean girl" names are Jemma, Nicole, Jessica and Stephanie, though). Also, I'm the child of older parents, and my sister (b. 1990) and I have classic, slightly stodgy names (Anne and Ellen). Both of us gravitate towards plain classics like Margaret and Jane. If either of us were to have children now, that's what we'd go to, so I'm not so sure about the old-parent conservative name hypothesis, it seems set a little earlier. I also have a friend my age with three girls- z0e, h@yl3y and 3v3lyn, who are 7, 5 and newborn- the middle one was her husband's pick, and the other two were hers- wee 3v3lyn R0s3 (called Evvie-Rose right now) was also nearly a G3orgi@. She herself is the child of young parents, but has a name that BNW classifies as a timeless why not. I think there may be other factors at work, something masked by the older-parent thesis.

in other news- less than 2 weeks till name day!

By Qwen
April 26, 2010 11:50 PM

Friends of ours had their third baby girl this weekend. Jenniff3r R0se joins sisters Cyndi R@e and Emily F@e. And no, the double FF is not a typo on my part.

I totally understand the concept of wanting a unique name for your child but I'm not sure I'll *ever* understand how some people feel messing with the spelling of an established name gives them that new edge. All I see is that she will forever be "Jennifer with two fs".

April 27, 2010 12:07 AM

well, i don't love jennifer with the double ff or cynd! as a full first name, but i do like emily f@e (can't imagine why). i always wished my middle name was fae or faye, as it's very similar to rae, but slightly more unusual as a middle name.

i'm right there with you on the messing with spellings of established names.

April 27, 2010 1:10 AM


I'm kind of taken with Tziporah, personally, but I was also briefly entranced by the name Djuna because of the semi-silent D (ultimately turned off by the actual Djuna Barnes' life, though). I think Zipporah will likely give your average person pause already, so ease of spelling is probably not enough of a reason to go with the more simplified spelling over Tziporah if the latter carries more meaning for you. I also think RTH as initials isn't a problem. It's maybe something fun she'd notice when she's young, but other than that, I don't know that it'd affect her or be cause for teasing.

Thanks for everyone's weigh-in on Claudia! I love the description of "stately grace". Right now I'm liking Claudia a little more than Sylvia, actually. Sylvia feels cold to me for some reason.

Zoerhenne: I do think Lydia is very pretty, but it doesn't quite have the same stature as Ursula and Claudia in my mind. Also, isn't one of the silly younger sisters in "Pride and Prejudice" named Lydia? I have had Lydia on my list for awhile, though, because it has such a lovely lilt to it, but dh didn't warm to it.

I guess that lately I am kind of of drawn to names that are less "pretty", but it's heartening to know that people don't find Claudia uniformly distasteful. Ursula, Claudia, Matilda...I even have a fondness for Agatha, but don't know that I'd have the courage to use it (besides, my mother used to have a cat named Agatha). They all seem like STRONG names, though, don't they?

And yes, Andi K, if/when we do have a girl, she's pretty likely to have long dark hair...and will likely be a little bookish and/or artsy, but who knows about that...

With my synesthesia, each letter is a different color, so a name is kind of a bouquet of colors.

Eleanor is mostly shades of rose and pale pink, red, and gold.
Kathryn is dark indigo, blue and violet, black and a little red mostly.
That's why, to me, Kathryn grounds Eleanor a little.

Rose: dark grayish violet, white, gold, and rose.
Elinor: pretty similar to Eleanor, with no red because no "a" ;)

James: green, red, dark blue, gold...more primary colors, really.
Edward: orange, red, black, rose, violet

Some letters end up being more prominent so influence the name's color a little bit. If I had to pick one color, I'd say James is green.

It's kind of fun to tease out!

I have to say, it's awfully nice of everyone on here to chime in and help solve name puzzles even when someone's not expecting yet! It's been really helpful, especially since I never imagined that I'd have so LONG to go back and forth on names.

April 27, 2010 5:17 AM

My mom (b. 1949) was talking about how she knew someone named Magnolia and she thought it was an awful name. I guessed (correctly) that she went by Maggie, which my mom also thought was awful. We then started discussing other possible nicknames, like Noli, which my mom loved. I was surprised because it seems too hip for her, but I guess she thinks it's much fresher than Maggie.

re: Wren on a boy: Well it does sound like Reyn.

knp: I think Royal would take a very strong personality to pull off.

another Laura: love your analysis of the names at the baptism. very interesting!

teachers' children: my friend holly (b. 1984) had a teacher name her daughter holly. her mother mentioned that teachers have a hard time naming their children because so many names get bad associations for them! i also remember some of my coworkers when i worked in an elementary school lamenting that there were too many rascal jacobs for them to ever use the name.

April 27, 2010 7:50 AM

Miranda menition of her mom's cat named Agatha brings up an interesting point. Once the name is used as a pet is it "off limits" in the family. To the point, I like the name Helen a lot. Yes it was the name of my cat I had growing up (named by my brother not me) so my mom would think it's strange. But, when I hear Helen I think of Helen of Troy not of a feline. I know in other context that a pet has ruined the name - like I use to dog sit for a dog named Maggie so when I hear the name I think golden retriever maybe it's b/c there isn't a famous namesake that trumps the association.

By Amy3
April 27, 2010 8:46 AM

I love all the synesthesia discussion. As some of you may remember, while I don't enjoy this gift, my husband does. He laments the fact that his colors are pretty unpleasant, though. Is that the case for any of you? There seems to be a drabness that permeates his colors that makes them less enjoyable. I can be amused forever, though, asking him what color different names are, and it certainly impacted our naming choices (part of the reason we could never do a name with the U sound).

Re: Claudia, I also say CLAW-dee-uh so I don't hear the "clod" sound so much. I keep thinking of the youngest girl on the tv show "Party of Five," whose name was Claudia. Does anyone remember that? She had long, dark hair (as mentioned by someone ^^) and was a musician. When I was very young we had a beagle named Claudia, but since I have no memory of her, it doesn't read as a pet name to me. Interestingly, we also had a dog named Agatha who I do have memories of. Since we largely called her Aggie, though, I see that as the pet name rather than Agatha. I do love Agatha and agree it's a very strong girl's name, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be gutsy enough to use it (and I know my husband would never agree to it!).

Re: Jenniffer, I know a girl whose name is spelled Jeniffer, and then there's my nephew whose name is spelled Cal0b. *sigh* If you're going to go creative, you may as well truly light out rather than altering the spelling of an established name, imo.

April 27, 2010 8:50 AM

Re synethesia-There have been discussions about this in the past. Maybe those interested could review the archives. It is extremely interesting to hear about since I don't have this capability.

Mirnada-I don't mind Claudia as much as Ursula due to personal associations with the name. Claudia seems a lot closer style-wise to Sylvia than Ursula does also. I am similar to emilyrae in that I pronounce it like claw-dee-ah. Oliver comes out like Oll-ih-ver so I don't hear the Olive or the liver really. Soren though I do most definitely hear the sore part.

Becky-I'm not sure it ultimately matters imho. I kind of like the Z factor in the initials but the T would be okay too. I know we talked earlier about a slight pronunciation difference between the two so I think whichever spelling has more appeal to you would be the way to go.

Deirdre-I love this name. Were you really teased about it? Sorry to hear that. My mean girl names are more popular (not-me) names so hard to list because many of them I like the sound of the name. Even though I have associations to many of them, I can distance from several of them.

By Amy3
April 27, 2010 2:08 PM

@Becky, I think either Tziporah or Zipporah works. I have a slight preference for Tziporah, though, and I like the RTH initials.

April 27, 2010 8:56 AM

AMy3-Just a few more comments you reminded me of. My absolutely favorite name when I was little was Amy. I wanted my mom to call me that. She wouldn't but got me a doll instead. So I had a doll to call Amy and that seemed okay. In my adult life I now have a bff named Amy so it is great. Agatha is the name of my bro's pet python. So yeah not a great association for me but it's not a name I would ever put on my fav list because of the "ag/gag" sound which turns me off to it.

By Amy3
April 27, 2010 10:46 AM

@zoerhenne, that's funny because when I was a kid I wanted to go by my mn, Christine. Seemed so much fancier! Plus, I was jealous of everyone who had an I to dot or a T to cross. My fn and ln offered neither. (How I longed to use the little circle or heart for i-dotting!)

My husband really likes the name Amy (as do I now), and he probably would have considered it for a girl (generational sweet spot or not) if it hadn't been my name. :)

By namedaftermygrandmother (not verified)
April 27, 2010 11:33 AM

Becky, I'd say either is fine, but how cool would it be to have a Z as a middle initial, which is used more often than the full middle name itself?

I, too, have a bright synesthesia, quite similar to Philippa's above. Yes, James is green, dark but jade-y, and Elinor is a rich dark blue. The first letter is a big influence on the color (Katherine and Catherine have different colors for me, K more blue and C more yellow) but the other letter colors affect the overall color as well. Everyone's synesthesia is different, though.

By sarah smile (not verified)
April 27, 2010 11:55 AM

I have a mild preference for Tziporah, just because it seems more classic to me. Since you are using it as a middle name you don't have to worry so much about the pronunciation, so I would probably stick with the 'traditional' spelling.

As far as RTH, my initials are the first 3 letters of my 5 letter name, and I've always thought that was pretty neat. Since I don't really have a nickname, I often sign short notes or label belongings with my initials, and I always use the 3 rather than just first/last for that reason. So I vote that RTH is not only not a problem, it's a fun little perk to that name choice.

April 27, 2010 1:20 PM

i know this shouldn't be the deciding factor or anything, but i agree that having a 'z' as your middle initial would be pretty great. :]

By hyz
April 27, 2010 1:33 PM

Becky, I lean towards Zipporah because it's the way I'm most used to seeing the name spelled, and I also think it looks a tad prettier and a Z initial would be cool. On the other hand, Tziporah does guide people toward the pronunciation you prefer (although as a MN, this won't come up as much, so it's not a huuuge plus for me, just a mild one), and the RTH initials are pretty cool. Sorry--I'm no help--I think this is another "can't lose, so just go with your gut" situation.

I also like hearing about everyone's synesthesia--fun.

I do think that having had a pet named X is a serious drawback to naming your child X--not that it should never be done, just that it's a significant factor to consider. I mentioned before that I felt the name Forrest was off limits because my SIL had a cat named that, who passed away about 5 years ago. To most people, the name Forrest would probably draw the incredulous response "as in Gump?", but from our family, I have to think the even *more* incredulous response would be "like SIL's cat?" I don't think I could deal with everyone thinking I "stole" the name from the cat for my kid's whole life. Oh, and my SIL now has cats named Agatha and Zoe, so those are also off limits. I wonder, does Agatha have broad appeal as a cat name??

Also, our current dog is named Elke. That immediately rules out Elsa as a name choice for me, as much as I may like it--they're just too close.

On the other hand, I did have a pony named Joe for many years, and I'm strongly considering using Joseph as a second mn for this baby, after my grandfather. Some names are just so solid that they can't be "owned" by one individual, even if that individual WAS a former pet.

April 27, 2010 1:34 PM

Becky - namedaftermygrandmother makes a good point about the middle initial being used more often than the middle name. In picking between Ruth T. lastname and Ruth Z. lastname I'd have to say that I prefer the "Z" somehow Ruth T is not as pleasing to the ear.

April 27, 2010 1:47 PM

I find the synesthesia discussion of Eleanor Kathryn very interesting! I don't have synesthesia, but I do feel like Kathryn grounds Eleanor a little, I think it's the 'ryn' being an inversion of the 'nor' for me.

We probably would've gone with a Catherine spelling in order to get the nickname Echo (from Eleanor Catherine H0ward) but my mom's name is Kathryn, and we wanted to spell it her way, and then realized the nice inversion of last syllables, and I was happy we went with the Kathryn spelling.

April 27, 2010 1:55 PM

Congratulations on all the babies!!

Becky - I'm going to add my vote to the Zipporah camp. I love the idea of a middle initial Z, and although it's a more modern spelling, I prefer the way it looks over Tzipporah.

Regarding the synesthesia debate, I think more in terms of color schemes than actual colors. Eleanor is navy blue, seafoam, soft brown, and pale pink. James is scarlet, maroon, and baby blue. Edward is a rich forest green, dark grey, and gold.

By Acolorfulworld (not verified)
April 27, 2010 2:36 PM

It's kinda funny to see people out there like me. My sister and I have synesthesia. Ever since we were little we would jabber away about what color numbers and letters were. We also strongly see colors whenever we hear music. I guess I assumed for years that everyone saw colors when they heard a sound or read a word. Because of this every name or even dates have more or less of an appeal because of the color they evoke. The colors we see are bright and vivid and generally pleasing, although we do see lots of words, numbers, & sounds similarly colored, we by no means see all things identically. Until I read this post I didn't even think about the colors affecting my name choices for my kids. I guess I see colors all the time and I just go with the flow, obviously any negative colors I'm not attracted to and when I think about it I find all my kids names pleasing in color. But what I consider a pleasing color could be the opposite for another person with synesthesia. I would never name my child a name that had a strong red, orange, purple, seafoam, blue or brown overtone. I am more attracted to the greens, silvers, golden shades, lavenders & yellows. So my opinion of a beautifully colored name might drive another person who sees colors crazy. I guess it's just another factor in name choosing for me.

By Vanderbilt Wife (not verified)
April 27, 2010 3:18 PM

My daughter is Elizabeth and we call her Libbie--I think that's another older-ish nickname for Elizabeth. I love Betsy, too!

April 27, 2010 3:29 PM

Can someone please explain why I love the names of my GGmas Blanche and Hazel but I think my friends' daughters Josephine and Penelope sounds too old lady?

April 27, 2010 3:36 PM

could just be personal style. or maybe unfamiliarity. i used to think josephine sounded too old, but the more and more it gets discussed here, the more i see its merits. and so it is with a lot of names, for me at least. also, the nickname josie helped me come around. penelope doesn't at all have an old lady vibe to me though.

By EVie
April 27, 2010 4:00 PM

Congratulations to everyone with new babies and ones on the way!! How exciting to be getting so many at once! And is it just me, or do we seem to be getting a wave of boys?

In my family, we generally don't give real people-names to pets (not on principle or anything, it just hasn't happened), so I don't have any problems there. My husband's family, though, has a dog named Teddy. DH actually named the dog himself--his sisters initially named the dog Snickers, and he was appalled because, to paraphrase his words, what does Snickers sound kind of like when you yell it across a crowded park? Hint: a very unpleasant word beginning with N which you really don't want to be saying ever, let alone yelling in a place where your meaning might be misinterpreted. So he convinced them that Teddy was a better name. I agree that it is, but I'm sorry that a name DH and I agree on was wasted on a dog. I love the name Theodore, and though Theo is my preferred nickname, it would have been nice to have Teddy as an option.

By Summer like the season (not verified)
April 27, 2010 4:16 PM

We named our daughter Eleanor and I had no idea that it was going to become "popular." I picked it out years ago while reading LOTR (Samwise names his daughter Elanor) and thought it was lovely. My husband and I both are teachers and feel strongly about names being spelled in a way that is recognizable so we went with what we thought was the most traditional spelling of Eleanor (like Roosevelt). I'm sure she'll still end up telling people how to spell her name all the time, but whatever.

PS Someone mentioned Betty as a nn for Elizabeth and I love it. I loved the name Elizabeth growing up but I don't want a Lizzy or a Beth. Betty is a fantastic alternative!

By Lolli (not verified)
April 27, 2010 4:31 PM

I have noticed this trend. I think it relates to television shows also. My name, pronounced Lor-eh-lye, has become more popular recently because of the Gilmore Girls. I even get asked if I was named after the show when I was born in '82! I named my twins Tueday Lynn and Carly Jo. I love the way both names sound. I got good reviews on Carly, but some strange looks about Tuesday. I think both are wonderful. I have noticed Carly as a name is on the rise.

April 27, 2010 4:58 PM


My vote is 100% for Tzipporah. The first letter is a tzadi, not a zayin. Tzipporah was my grandmother's name, as it happens. Also I am glad to see all the new Eleanors. My mother's name was Sylvia Eleanor, and both names seem to be making a comeback. Not so much for her sisters' names, Blanche and Mildred.

Congratulations to all the families of the new babies and the new babies to come.

April 27, 2010 6:00 PM

Thanks for the feedback. We're currently leaning toward the Tziporah spelling, as the "tz" correlates with the hebrew spelling, as Miriam mentioned.

I've discussed why certain names "sound old" with some friends of mine and we usually decide that certain sounds aren't as pleasing to the modern ear as others. For example, obviously consonants are less desirable than vowel sounds these days, and letters like b, s, and g are all well liked (Samantha, Abigail, Gabriella, etc). But take, Josephine, there is the prominent "feen" sound that seems displeasing to many. The same sound is present in Sophia, however it is followed up by that soft a and the presence of the "ia" sound, rather than the consonant "n". I think the multiple "p"s in Penelope turns people off, plus the idea that it can be mispronounced pen-ell-ope (as in, rhymes with cantaloupe) is disarming to some. The names that are more up and coming/hipster, as we've discussed, employ less popular sounds, like boys names ending in "o" (Milo, Theo, Leo) and girls names that feature consonants (or, gasp, have two next to each other), rather than vowels (Elsa, Dorothy, Millicent).

April 27, 2010 6:50 PM

even though i prefer the more familiar zipporah, i understand why you would want to go with tziporah. it must feel more authentic as far as hebrew goes.

April 27, 2010 7:33 PM

Congrats for Max Noble, hyz, and Anne with an E(leanor)!

I'm a big lover of Claudia, and I totally understand the smart/serious/sexy vibe of the name. I don't think Claudia needs a nickname, but if you want one, I tend to use Cloudy.

I'm not synaesthetic, but I am hyperlexic. I learned to read at about 15 months, and it does alter my perception of the written word versus the spoken word. I'm practically more interested in what I read than what I hear, half the time. I know that it's a big part of why I'm a NE today--the name itself is the identity, in its own way.

Regarding Calvin: I really like the name. I think of Calvin Coolidge, Calvin and Hobbes, and John Calvin, so the name is simultaneously serious, reserved, austere, youthful, and flamboyant. In otherwords, very smart and cool, but only when it wants to be.

April 27, 2010 7:44 PM

@Robyn T - I love Magnolia but I can see why some people just find it odd!

@Amy3 - I remember claudia from Po5 - I used to love that show. She was played by Lacey Chabert, and I always thought that Lacey Chabert was such a pretty name.

Re the Agatha discussion. I have a name crush on Agatha. I do think it could be hard to pull off though so wouldn't use it in real life. It is very hipster and I'm amused by all the cat Agatha's out there.

April 27, 2010 7:58 PM

Linnaeus- that is so cool that you're hyperlexic. Judah's friend Mac is hyperlexic as well, though your the only other person who I've personally heard describe it. He began reading the numbers on taxi cab medallions (a sign of a true New Yorker) when he was around 15 months as well.

I have a name crush on Agatha as well, and a good friend of mine is strongly considering using it for her baby due this fall. They're waiting to find out the gender, so Agatha is on their short list for a girl (along with Wilhelmina, Henrietta and Sylvia) and their top pick for a boy is Theodore . I'm quite jealous that she gets to use one of those incredible names. Definitely hipster.

By Guest (not verified)
April 27, 2010 9:02 PM

It shouldn't matter what others think of your name choice, but since
you asked... I don't care for Mischa in a general sense, but I love it
if you have Russian heritage. It makes all the difference to me when I
know a name has history/ meaning. My kids are Philip (named in 1984 after my 75 yr old dad), Kevin (1986, named for his Irish heritage) and a
daughter named Teale (in 1990, cuz she's a girl, I loved the word, and we
wanted something that couldn't be shortened).

I love Elsie OR Elise! Good luck.

By Guest (not verified)
April 27, 2010 9:17 PM

I have always liked the name Astrid. It is a pretty name and does not sound old at all to me.

By katec (not verified)
April 27, 2010 9:40 PM

I had to laugh when I read your post, Becky! My two daughters are named - Alice and Evie!

Alice was my grandmother's middle name (Doris ain't making a comeback) and Eva was my husband's great-aunt (but we call her Evie). So we only went back two generations.

By Also ZR (not verified)
April 27, 2010 9:58 PM

Zoerhenne here:
Amy3-I forgot to say earlier that I was also a big fan of PO5. LOVED that show and was sad to see it go. I think it was where I fell in love with the name Griffin. I'm still not fond of the name Neve although she is a great actress.

Re this board influencing name tastes: I would have to say that I've warmed a bit to Josephine and Astrid. I used to feel that Josephine was way too "grandma" but I do like the spunk of the nn Josie to loosen it up. Astrid suffers from a sound problem in the "ast" part in addition to the "rid" part. Too consonant-heavy. Lately though it has felt cute and spunky and the "str" blend has reminded me of things like star because the name Stella has also been mentioned so often too.

Welcome to all the newbies!

April 27, 2010 11:09 PM

zoerhenne - I also loved the name Griffin from PO5. I think I'm over it now though! I like Neve but prefer the Niamh spelling.

This board does inflence my name tastes. I like Josephine and Penelope a lot because of hearing them here a lot. I'm even starting to have a soft spot for Urusula :)

@Becky - I love your friends choices. I'm a big fan of Willhelmina, Agatha and Theodore. I've never thought much of Sylvie/a though. It's just not for me.

Oh and for those of you who hear the 'sore' in Soren are you prouncing it more like Sore-en? For me it is more like Sorr-en or Suh-ren. I think part of it is my accent. I'm just interested because this is one of the names I'm seriously considering should this baby be a boy, so I like to know all the alt pronunciations. Where is Anna S? I'd like to know how she pronounces it.

By Kanadiana (not verified)
April 28, 2010 12:33 AM

My Mom's name is Cora. She's always disliked it. She says she always thought she had an old lady name. I've always liked it. I think she's going to be pretty shocked when she begins to hear of little baby "Cora's" coming up in this generation....

April 28, 2010 12:38 AM

The discussion of generational name perception reminded me of something that happened about a year ago. I was in a yoga class with ladies roughly 20 to 30 years older than me. Their names were Barbara, Susan, Nancy and Cathy. My name is actually Jennifer. One of the ladies looked around the room and commented that I had an unusual name while the rest of them all had normal names. Never before and never again have I heard Jennifer referred to as unusual!

Becky, I really like the Tzipporah spelling, mostly because I love the slight difference in the pronunciation of tz over just z.

Synesthesia sounds like it could be a great tool in choosing a name for your child. Reading so many descriptions all at once has been a real treat! I kind of wish I had that ability to help me narrow down possible names!

By Guest (not verified)
April 28, 2010 1:30 AM

where the hell is the ya xis for that graph i felt stupid for like 2 minutes trying to figure out what the hell your talking about

By Air
April 28, 2010 2:13 AM

I must have missed the previous discussions on synaesthesia - and I'm loving it.

Anyone want to share their color thoughts on Mabel and Ephrem?

By namedaftermygrandmother (not verified)
April 28, 2010 2:35 AM

Mabel is definitely red, but a soft red (like a faded rose) because of the yellow tones at the end. Ephrem is blue-green, like a boat on the sea. If it had an "a" it would be a red boat (As are red for me). Thanks for the invitation! NAMG

By Eo (not verified)
April 28, 2010 9:28 AM

Another vote for "tz"!! Love that letter combo, and the authenticity. Is there a particular reason, Becky, for switching from the double "p" to a single "p" in your version? Is the single letter more true to the Hebrew?

Speaking of Hebrew, while reading about antebellum plantations the other day, I came across the woman's name "Routh", given in the nineteenth century, I believe. There's an interesting Anglicization of Ruth!!

I always notice anything to do with Ruth since it is one of my names, and a favorite. Gave it to my best teddy bear. I always fantasized it would be neat as a two-syllable name, i.e. "Ruith"-- "ROO-ith". Silly. "He rue-eth the day", etc.

And I'm still fascinated by the diminutive "Rutka" pron. "ROOT-ka"? Partly because of the poignant story of the holocaust diarist, but also purely for the consonant-y sound...

For some reason, I have no problem at all interchanging pet and people names. The names we gave to our cats-- Phoebe, Tess, Sibyl, Theo-- I would not hesitate to use for a person too. Uh-oh, methinks there may be certain "boundary" issues I'm blissfully oblivious to...