The 2011 Name of the Year

Dec 15th 2011

We've counted down runners-up number one and number 2, and now it's time for the official Baby Name Wizard Name of the Year. But with a little twist.

This year, I'm making the NOTY announcement over at Go ahead and read the selection at Slate, and let the arguments begin!

With thanks for a great year in names,


FOLLOWUP -- Here's an alternate, expanded version of the piece that appears at Slate, introducing (and making the case for) the Name of the Year.


And the 2011 Name of the Year is:


Siri is a Nordic girl’s name, a pet form of Sigrid. In Scandinavia it’s familiar as both a nickname and given name, common among babies and grown women alike. Think of it as a Nordic counterpart to our name Annie.

In the English-speaking world, though, the name Siri used to be virtually unknown. That all changed in 2011, but with a twist. English speakers now know the name Siri, but they don’t think of it as human…quite.

Siri is the name of an artificial intelligence system built into the latest version of the Apple iPhone. A virtual personal assistant, Siri is designed to help you find information relevant to your personal needs and navigate life's daily tasks. That’s what Siri does, but the key is how: via spoken conversation. Siri’s interaction, like its -- sorry, like “her” name, blurs the line between the human and the computer-generated. And that makes Siri the 2011 Name of the Year.

The annual honoree is a one-name time capsule, showing us how names are woven into the fabric of society, connecting to and reflecting everything that goes on in our culture. Past Names of the Year include names of people real (Barack), fictional (Renesmee), conceptual (Joe, as in Joe Six-pack and Joe the Plumber), and self-invented (The Situation.) This year’s biggest name stories sat at the intersection of the real and the virtual. The NOTY runner-up was a real-life name trapped in virtual limbo: Mark Zuckerberg, the name of an Indiana attorney who was kicked off Facebook for the sin of having the same name as Facebook’s founder.

Siri puts a new spin on the human/virtual name showdown. She’s virtual, but her name is human. 

The computer with a voice and attitude but no face was a familiar figure in late 20th-century entertainment. Think of the arch voice of KITT, the silicon brain of a Pontiac Trans Am in the tv series Knight Rider; Joshua, the troubled NORAD computer in the film War Games; and most famously, HAL of 2001: A Space Odyssey, whose eerie calm suggested that smart computers might just be a little too smart for our own good, or might render our own petty intelligence obsolete.

It's no coincidence that each of those computers was named like a character, not a machine. Yes, KITT and HAL were theoretically acronyms, but they sounded like names and were used as such. 

When you converse with something, you want to call it by a name. Have you noticed how many drivers give names to their GPS devices? Even a one-way voice conversation seems to demand a name. And consider how the year's other talking artificial intelligence, IBM's Jeopardy champion, was given the human name Watson. Quite a naming contrast with IBM's last headline-grabbing game player, the chess engine Deep Blue.

Using a human-style name reflects your relationship with the thing being named, and shapes it, too. Indoor pets, for instance, tend to be given more human names than outdoor animals. Assigning a name to a car or other possession is both a sign of growing affection and a spur to further bonding. Around my house, I've found that it's nearly impossible to throw out any object that my kids have named. Names give objects emotional life.

A human name is thus a key ingredient in the user experience of Siri. You say "the iPhone" and "my iPhone," but not "the Siri." It, she, is simply Siri. The name makes the act of conversing with a metal slab feel natural. It also encourages you to rely on her, even to form an emotional attachment which is the most powerful kind of consumer loyalty.

The way Siri’s name humanizes technology heralds a new era of name convergence. I've written elsewhere that today's parents approach baby naming a lot like product branding. In the past, names were typically chosen based on personal, private-facing meanings, like honoring a grandparent. Today, parents increasingly focus on public-facing impact. We’ve even seen brand names and baby names pop up together, like the Sienna minivan and baby Siennas, as parents look for the same kind of “oomph” that branders do. They’re trying to launch their kids into life's competitive marketplace with the best possible positioning. 

The 2010 Name of the Year, "The Situation," took this naming-as-personal-branding ethic to its ridiculous extreme. But the name/brand intersection that Siri represents comes from the opposite direction. As companies introduce technologies that function like people, they suddenly find themselves in my naming world. They have to consider the complex web of cultural meanings that each name carries. They have to ask, "what kind of person are we creating, and what name represents that?"

Let's take a closer look at the choice of the name Siri. It has been widely reported that the name is a riff on SRI International, the California R&D lab where the technology was first developed. According to the people behind Siri, though, that's not the real story. Siri's founding team of executives and investors approached the naming process by turning to baby name books. There was no question that they wanted a human-style name. In fact, the project's original code name was, irresistibly, HAL.

The name Siri was proposed by the project director, Danish telecom executive Dag Kittlaus. Where did the idea come from? Simple. Siri--remember,  it’s a popular name in Scandinavia-- was the girl's name Kittlaus and his wife had picked out for their first child. They ended up having a boy, so the name was kept in reserve until the proud papa finally got the chance to confer it on a virtual daughter. Sure, the letters S-R-I might have been a plus, but Siri was being launched as a separate company. Kittlaus and his team were playing to an audience of investors and consumers, not to the research lab. What mattered was the name.

And the name hit its mark dead-center. To English speakers, Siri comes across as classic Danish design: clean, spare, elegant in its simplicity. It feels namelike but isn't overly familiar or tied to any time period. It's approachable but not in-your-face. It's cool.

The name was cool enough, in fact, that when Apple bought Siri, it kept the name. That's no small thing for a company that has established itself as the trendsetter of tech cool, and that leans toward functional product names like iPhone and MacBook. The days of Apple choosing cute names like Newton and Macintosh went out with their old cheerful rainbow logo. But Steve Jobs knew a good name when he heard it, and Siri remained Siri.

To fully appreciate how good the name choice is, compare Siri to a legendary fiasco of a human-named software product, Microsoft Bob. Bob, introduced in 1995, was an alternate interface that attempted to make the intimidating world of computing a little friendlier. No more scary “directories” of “files.” Instead, Bob presented your computer as a house, with perky cartoon characters to help you find your way. Bob's logo was written BOB, with a bespectacled smiley face for an “O.” And Bob’s name revealed the product’s basic conceptual flaw. The aggressively disarming everyman pose was like Microsoft patting you on the head: "There there, helpless little user, don't you fret! Uncle Bob is here to take care of you." Bob was, in a word, patronizing.

The name Siri, in contrast, suggests the effortless Nordic cool of an Absolut Vodka bottle. It says that technology is a stylish accessory, and you, as its owner, are stylishly confident. The name encapsulates the movement of technology from geek to chic that was the defining contribution of Steve Jobs’ last decade at Apple. (That in itself makes Siri an apt name of the year for 2011, in memoriam.)

Technologically, Siri is the vanguard of a wave of systems that will try to claim increasingly human roles in our lives. Namewise, expect to be on a first-name basis with more of your electronics soon. The results of that naming shift may prove to be more powerful and unpredictable than companies, or consumers, expect.

A human name packs a lot of nuance into a few short letters. It’s more like a watercolor portrait than like Bob’s yellow smiley face. Opening up a name bridge between inanimate objects and human emotions builds connections, but it also opens you to human responses from jealousy to prejudice to grief.

Just as it’s hard to throw out a toy your children have named, might it be hard to throw out, or discontinue, a human-named product? Can a new version of Siri be called Siri3000 or SiriPro without imperiling her name-driven bonds? (Siri Jr., perhaps?) Will companies come under pressure to “hire” a diverse virtual name lineup, or spark anger by confirming name stereotypes? As a user, will you feel unfaithful switching virtual partners, and perhaps find yourself calling your new techno-assistant by the old assistant’s name? And what if a person who shares the virtual intelligence’s name runs for president…or commits a shocking crime?

Welcome to the world of personal names, technologists. You’re not in Compuland anymore.



By Essy01 nli (not verified)
December 20, 2011 11:41 AM

Miriam - fascinating article! I think it sums up how I feel about names/naming - I think there is such strength in belonging and community and these parents have created a very strong bond and community amongst their daughters. And I also think it highlights the importance of emphasizing the specialness of a name and the idea that a name doesn't have to be unique to be special. My mom always told me that my name wasn't her favourite but she chose it because it was the only one she had on her list that no one in the family objected to. Which didn't make me feel like it was a special name it felt like a throw away, an acquiescence. While I think choosing the right name is important, I think it's even more important that once the name is chosen to make it special to the little person you've given it to. Thank you so much for sharing, I really enjoyed reading it!

Also most appropriate. Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating tonight at sundown!

Wondering Dad - Hollis makes me think of an older man thus it leans towards the boy side for me (like Ellis, Willis, Jarvis, or Lewis). If it were me I would honour your wife's uncle with Holly instead. But I do think it is a lovely name and it could work on a girl/woman and she could always go by Holly if she felt it was too boy-ish. It does remind me of Hollister, the clothing store in the Abercrombie & Fitch family.

December 20, 2011 1:01 PM

Hyz is remembering that I mentioned a female student named Hollister, and another poster mentioned that it's a tradesman name meaning something like "owner of a brothel" (no time to look it up).

Wondering Dad, you don't seem sold on Hollis. That alone would make me choose another name, or relegate Hollis to the middle-name slot. I say you should keep searching.

By hyz
December 20, 2011 2:04 PM

Elizabeth T., thanks for the reminder and correction (Hollister, not Hollis!). I'd be interested to hear more about the brothel issue if anyone knows. I agree Wondering Dad doesn't sound enthusiastic about Hollis, but if it's just a matter of getting past a few mental blocks and letting it grow in him (as opposed to being a name he genuinely just doesn't care for), I think mom's enthusiasm counts for a lot in this case. I usually tip the balance to mom in a minor difference of opinion, because she's got the hard job of pregnancy and birthing and nursing, but when twins are involved, I think even more deference is due. :) Doesn't hurt that I happen to like Hollis, even if it's nqms--it's not like mom is suggesting something awful. I definitely agree, though, that ideally the name will be one both mom and dad can feel warm and fuzzy about, so if there's no chance of Dad warming to Hollis, using it as a MN could be a reasonable compromise.

p.s. I also agree with grouping Hollis and Ellis stylistically, and it doesn't hurt that both have a readily-available traditionally-female nn (Holly, Ellie). Jarvis and Willis seem more masculine to me, but maybe not for any really good reason (just personal acquaintances, etc.).

By Birgitte (not verified)
December 20, 2011 2:07 PM

Hehe, yes Wikipedia mentions that Hollister means female brothel owner. How is that for an occupation name?

December 20, 2011 2:31 PM

Wondering Dad,

Hollis is in an interesting place, stylistically. On one hand, it's the name of an old man (peaked in 1910). On the other hand, it has L-is-the-new-V, and it's the Gen-X Holly with the trendy feminine -is ending (see Iris, Lois, Glynis). Ellis is in a similar situation, but has been rising of late on boys.

I can understand your concerns, though, if you feel that it's not right for your daughter. It's definitely not cut-and-dried. I bet that a girl named Hollis will seem to have a perfectly normal name by her peers, since it hits the right style points.

In my opinion, the name's all right, but you definitely have a case if you wish to push back. If you're not sold on the name, you're not sold on it, and that's what counts. What other names are on your wife's side? Both first and last names?

By mk
December 20, 2011 2:39 PM

Wondering Dad: the fact that you seem to be against it says to me that you should continue searching for name that you both like. Perhaps use Hollis as a middle name. What are some other possible family names? Perhaps you can alter them a bit into something you both like (similar to Hollis becoming Holly)?

I do also see it as a boy's name, especially if it's in a family with three other boys. Actually, I mostly see it as a name of a Queens neighborhood, but I highly doubt that's an issue if you don't live NY.

By cabo (not verified)
December 20, 2011 2:43 PM

Wondering Dad... congratulations! And of course, your wife is correct about everything. And not just because she is about to have 4 children under the age of 6 including 3 boys (although there is that).

Hollis is a lovely name for a girl, it's a family name, and it fits just fine with the other kids. It sounds slightly more feminine to me, perhaps because of the actress Holland Taylor?

By EVie
December 20, 2011 2:44 PM

Re: Hollis/Hollister - that was me who brought up the meaning last time. Hollister is the brothel-keeper (specifically, a female one—the -ster ending, also in names like Baxter, Webster, etc. was originally feminine). It comes from Old French. Hollis, on the other hand, comes from Old English, and does in fact mean "holly." There's another surname, Hollier, which could go both ways—either a male brothel keeper, or someone who lives by a holly tree.

Here's one of my references:

Regarding Hollis on a girl, I mostly agree with hyz. Surnames as feminine first names are not my usual style, but I think this is one that makes the transition well. I'm curious, though—is there a special reason for honoring this particular great uncle, or is this a case of combing through the whole family tree to find a useable name? The way you described it, it sounds more the latter, but perhaps I'm misinterpreting. That would make a difference for me. If the former, that's a stronger argument for using it despite stylistic reservations. If the latter, I don't think you should be compelled to use a name you don't love just because it belonged to *someone* in the family. In that case, I would lean toward putting it in the middle slot.

December 20, 2011 3:07 PM

I think that EVie makes an excellent point about the motivation for using this name. Strong emotional ties to this family member lends greater support to using the name.

Personally, I feel that Hollis works very well for a girl, despite not being my style. The reason is that I have friends who named their daughter Jordis, and it took me a long time to mentally file the name as feminine... and the effect as apparently spread to other "is" names that don't yet have strong gender ties in my head.

Lastly, regarding how the name matches the boys', I find it less jarring when the odd-one-out, in this case the only girl, has a name that doesn't match the others, as long as you aren't breaking a very clear pattern. (For example, a family I know had three boys with J names and then named their daughter Stephanie.)

December 20, 2011 4:30 PM

Miriam-Interesting article. I wonder what it would be like to go to school with everyone having the same name. (there were 400 in my graduating class). I don't think I could even imagine it.

Wondering Dad-All the comments make me want to ask what do you think of Elliot which is being used more on girls these days (I still like it on boys though)? I also like the suggestion of Holland. I think it "girlifies" it a bit more than Hollis/Hollace. What is the boy name you are set on?

December 20, 2011 5:29 PM

Zoerhenne, our darling little boy who will be two next week is Elliott. No one seems to have a problem with it--or if they do, they have (rightly) kept it to themselves.

December 20, 2011 6:18 PM

So many well named babes of posters here on this board! Happy bday Elliott! I'm still waiting for a new babe to be named Brian though ;)

Miriam-I would love to know the mn if you were so inclined to provide it?

December 20, 2011 7:14 PM

Zoerhenne, that's actually a hard question to answer. My son and daughter-in-law are still involved in legal proceedings, and so our little one is not yet adopted. An important legal decision went our way, and we're hoping the next (and final?) one will too. So at the moment his Legal name is the one his birth mom chose, and that one is Isr@31 J3r3m1@h (I have to be supercareful about what I write). Elliott is the name my son and daughter-in-law have chosen to be used when the adoption is final. Because the baby is called Isr@31 by his siblings (well, Izzy) and at his pre-school and other classes and activities that he attends, they may use that as his mn. His current surname is one which is also a given name (like Thomas or Lewis), so maybe they will use that.

So basically his name is up in the air--actually he has too many names, and he isn't sure exactly what his name is, and neither is anyone else. We do call him Elliott, but most of the time we call him Muffin. I addressed all his Christmas, Hanukkah, and birthday presents to Muffin. Yes, he has three major gift-getting occasions in the space of a week--the house looks like his own personal Toys-R-Us.

I personally am OK with Isr@31 as a mn. It was the name of my paternal grandfather's youngest brother, although I didn't know that until I looked up the Ellis Island records. We always called that uncle Eli. So it's a family name, as is Elliott, which is the French diminutive of my father's name Eliyahu (Elijah). My son Edward is named for my father who used Edward as his civil name--friends and acquaintances called him Ed. My grandparents, aunts, and uncle always called him Ellie, and my mother called him a nickname derived from our surname. I don't know if anything has been decided about the baby's surname. It has always been their intention to give children surnames chosen from among the various possibilities on the family trees, so they may choose something from my daughter-in-law's side. Her maternal grandfather is a person of some note who has been the subject of several books, documentaries, newspaper and magazine articles, lectures, and museum exhibitions, so maybe his name, but I don't know.

December 20, 2011 7:36 PM

Wow Miriam, that is some story. I wish you and your family the best in getting things sorted out. Mostly I was just curious because you know how I like to play around with combos and I was wondering what you had done. It is such a stop at the end that if I were to pick it I don't know what I would use. Just for fun, what "goes with Elliott" as a mn for flow?
Elliott John; Elliott Adam; Elliott Mitchell
Elliott Joseph; Elliott Nicholas; etc.

By Amy3
December 20, 2011 9:19 PM

@zoerhenne, had our daughter been a son her name would have been Elliot Walter. I love how those sound together!

By StephanieC (not verified)
December 20, 2011 9:32 PM

I absolutely LOVE the name Hollis! It was actually the name we chose for our baby if he had been a girl. I've heard that Hollis is typically a boy's name, but honestly I have a hard time picturing a boy named Hollis. It just looks and sounds so feminine to me. I never would have considered naming our son Hollis. I've asked around, and typically get a positive response when I mention using Hollis as a girl's name. In addition, people love to give nicknames, so I'm sure a lot of people would end up calling her Holly. As far as the style of the name matching your sons' names, I think it complements them just fine. Henry and Samuel are both very classic names. While Hollis has (to me) a more modern sound, it's actually an older name that was most popular around the time the name Henry was most popular. So, from an unbiased name junkie, I say you should go for it! Congrats, btw!

By Tarmie (not verified)
December 20, 2011 11:11 PM

"Assigning a name to a car or other possession is both a sign of growing affection and a spur to further bonding. ... Names give objects emotional life."

I have to agree wholeheartedly with that. I'm ridiculously fond of my car, Jericho, even though I've only had him for a little over a year. He was bought new in Oct 2010 (a little Mazda2). His name came about when my brother and I were discussing the car's slight reluctance to go up hills - apparently not uncommon for the model - and I joked that the car had a grumpy little personality that reminded me of Jethro Gibbs (NCIS). So we tossed out names that sounded similar, I said "Jericho", and that was it. Loved it immediately: totally my naming style and sounds similar to Jethro.

Then I looked up the meaning and apparently it's "city of the moon" which doesn't suit him at all. XD Go figure

By Wondering Dad (not verified)
December 21, 2011 12:39 AM

I really appreciate all the feedback (and all the congratulations!).

Let me answer some of the questions posed:

1. My wife's great uncle Hollis is a generally well-thought-of ancestor, but not one to whom she was or is attached. I think she would agree that it was a matter of looking through her family tree for a name she liked.

2. One issue is that while we both very much agreed on the names for the boys, I was the one who suggested both of them and (while there are people in her family with those name) they were pretty much named for relatives of mine. I think my wife searched her family tree because she wanted one of the kids to have a name from her family. It is worth noting that both (and soon all four) will have middle names which are last names from her family.

3. There aren't any other girl family names in her family that she or I like. For me, I am, I think, open to a fair number of girl's names. Probably my favorite girl name is "Alice," unfortunately, I used that 18 years ago for a cat who has been very long lived and is still with us! (Actually, given the life span of cats, it would be OK with me to reuse the name, but I take it from my wife's reaction to that suggestion (as well as some conversations I've seen online) that everyone else thinks that's just weird.

4. My thought (given that "Alice" is out of the question) would be "Edith" for the girl. I like the name and, more importantly, it is the name of a grandmother I dearly loved. My wife likes the name, even though it is from my side of the family.

5. That leaves the issue of a first name from my wife's family. I don't want to ignore that desire on her part. That's why I would propose "Arthur" for the boy twin, which is the name of the patriarch of her mother's side of the family. My wife is so-so on that name, because of the animated aardvark, though I don't think that has the kind of cultural presence to completely preempt the name.

I am certainly aware that my wife is right about everything -- it comes with the burden of carrying twins. However, I really have reservations about a unisex name and wanted to hear if other people share that and what folks thought about the alternative I float above.

Thanks for your continued help!

December 21, 2011 1:01 AM

Wondering Dad-I think the choice of Edith is nice and fits more with your style than Hollis. I would throw a few more cautions out about Arthur even though I think it is also a great choice for you.
It is also the name of a drunk in a movie called Arthur that was out in the 80's and recently remade. Additionally, there is now an animated movie out called Arthur's Christmas. I don't think the aardvark is though about that much anymore.

If it was me, having the children's names have a part of each of you is a great thing. They have a first name from your side, a middle name from wife's side, and a surname that is shared by both. It seems a win/win situation.

By Amy3
December 21, 2011 10:35 AM

@Wondering Dad, I absolutely LOVE Edith and Arthur - total swoon! I vote for those enthusiastically and without reservation. They beautifully complement your older boys' names, sound fantastic together, and the twins will be named in honor of well-loved relatives from both sides of the family.

As for concerns about the aardvark - I really wouldn't worry. If nothing else, that Arthur is an exceptionally positive role model. As for zoerhenne's comment about the original "Arthur" movie and the recent remake, I absolutely wouldn't worry about this reference. Neither of those movies were great or likely to be anyone's first thought when they hear the name Arthur. It's got so many varied references over time - King Arthur, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, etc. - that I can't imagine a character in two fairly forgettable outings of the same movie would occur to many people.

December 21, 2011 12:39 PM

Wondering Dad:

I think Edith and Arthur work extremely well, especially with Henry and Samuel. They all have that "Late 19th Century Author" feel that really makes the whole group work well together. The names are high on style points. I think they're a great choice. If you and your wife like the names, then go with them--you won't be steering your children wrong.

And yes, King Arthur will be the big anchoring point of the name for probably at least a few more centuries.

By Essy01 nli (not verified)
December 21, 2011 12:48 PM

Wondering Dad - Wow! Edith and Arthur is the best twinset I've seen in a while, I really love that combo it works so well, they match but in a completely non-matchy way :D

I think if I had a cat with my name when I was little I would have loved it! but I think you're right in assuming most people would find it very weird. but Alice and Arthur is a bit matchy with the As

I love the name Arthur and I grew up watching Arthur on TV every afternoon, and everyone I know my age we bond over our love for Arthur - so Arthur the Aardvark has really positive associations for me BUT like Amy3 said - Arthur is mostly associated with the legend of King Arthur - which in my opinion makes the name all the better! Also I thought the Arthur re-make was really good (although this seems to be an uncommon review since most of my friends thought it was dreadful) but I find Russell Brand endearing.

I think based on your naming style of classic boy names - Hollis fits in well, but maybe TOO well. The fact it fits in so well with the other boy names makes it appear more boyish I think. It's one of those psychological things where you're primed with something so the next thing you see/hear gets associated with the prime (e.x. the riddle: say SILK ten times, the answer this question: What do cows eat? Milk! - nope they eat grass) So when you hear Samuel, Henry, Arthur... Hollis sounds more like a boy than Hollis on its own. Inevitably, your daughter is going to be grouped with her brothers and if she wants to be one of the boys then that's good, if she's a girly-girl that could be bad but then she could always go by Holly if she was a girly-girl.

By mk
December 21, 2011 1:31 PM

I agree with the others: Edith and Arthur sound great together, and the fact they are both family names are a bonus. I wouldn't worry about the cartoon connection. And as for the Arthur movies-the 80s one is mostly forgotten about and the remake tanked.

Arthur's not a name that you can tie to one specific cultural reference. Besides, if we started avoiding names just because others can come up with movies/books/shows which use it, we'd be left with no options.

I'd have no problem reusing names that were once used for pets, but I know many think it's odd.

December 21, 2011 1:38 PM

Nice retro style name (read classic 70/80's) given here in this story: Joanna Mallory

December 21, 2011 5:31 PM

Go with Edith and Arthur! I say this sitting next to a TV on which Arthur the aardvark is playing. :), He's so lovable! Now if you were proposing Dora Winifred I might have second thoughts...

By Essy01 nli (not verified)
December 21, 2011 5:48 PM

ah good old D.W.! Sad day when her voice actor changed.

RE: Stac(y/ey/i/ie) - just found out that Heather Lockler's character on T.J. Hooker was named Stacy ('83-'85) a potential reason for the dive - throughout the 70s Stacy stayed between the top 30-45 then steadily dropped to the top 60s - then in 1986 fell to 87, then dropped out of the top 100 in 1987 then continued to fall. But probably just started to fall due to popularity and phasing out of the trend.

December 21, 2011 6:22 PM

As an alternative to Alice, how about Amelia?

Arthur and Edith sound like an elderly couple to me, but if that's your style, you're in good company. I do like Art as a nickname though.

December 21, 2011 8:45 PM

Back to the original post for a moment...

I've been thinking about it and I think that it's totally true that naming something makes it harder to get rid of. My sister loves naming inanimate objects and has named her MacBook Pro Ramses. She had an unnamed Dell laptop for about 5 years and was sad when it eventually died, but the day that Ramses dies will be much more difficult for her. He's part of the family!

And my favourite name given to a car is LaFawnduh the Honda (a friend's car, named after the character from Napoleon Dynamite). It's just so silly that it makes me giggle.

December 23, 2011 9:13 PM

Hey I need some info please-if anyone knows anything about the name Sympharose? It was the name of someone in my family tree who became a nun. Is this a real name or a taken name of a Sister. Should she have another name somewhere? What does this name mean or stand for? Thanks for any help you can give me.

By mk
December 27, 2011 11:16 AM

Symphorosa is an Italian saint. Perhaps Sympharose is a version of this name in another language?

December 27, 2011 5:17 PM

Wondering Dad --

Here's another vote for Edith and Arthur! They are both strong, lovely names that haven't reached that "tired" stage. They make a beautiful non-matchy pair.

My Arthur association isn't with the aardvark but with my high school crush, the only guy under 80 that I've ever known with that name. A very positive association indeed. ;)

Our Henry is 11 and is voting for Alice for baby sister, but I think it's a bit too ordinary at this point, so I'm pushing for something a bit farther "off" like Edith, though husband isn't in love with it. He took some selling on Henry, though, so we'll see. :)

Good luck!

December 28, 2011 8:05 PM

Carly M-Yea for those wonderful names. Pass along hugs to Brian's parents. I would've chosen Brian J4mes and Tr3vor George though if it had been my choice (even though I realize they weren't the same family).

mk-I figured it was probably a saint though I couldn't find any good info about the name itself. I still wonder though if there is anyway to find out her real name. I guess I need to have some genealogy discussions with the family.

December 29, 2011 11:21 PM

I just thought of Colin for the first time as an alternative (more palatable to DH) to Simon. I think it goes just as well with the last name, and isn't too trendy/fashionable these days, I believe. What do you guys think? Do you think it goes ok with the girl names we like? Ursula and Sylvie are the top condensers at the moment. Simon is perhaps a better fit, because it's a little quirkier...I dunno. I guess we're a little pan-European then - British/Scottish, German, and French...but that's all fair game, as far as my heritage goes.

I'm trying to like Sylvia, but over the holidays I heard someone refer to her "Aunt Sylvia". I'm afraid it's still too much in that mental category for me. I asked DH if he'd consider Sylvie instead, and he seems willing to go there, even though we both tend to shy away from girl names that end in that long E sound. Somehow, Sylvie doesn't seem too diminutive to me...just chic.

DH suggested Nick/Nicholas as a counter to Colin, and (poor guy) had to hear me rail against the trifecta of uber-forgettable "white guy names," Nick, Matt, and Dave. I guess it's just what was going around as I was growing up, but those names seem so interchangeable to me. It's sad, because I love Nicholas, Matthew, and David as names.

All fingers and toes crossed we'll have cause to do some name choosing in earnest soon. Wish me luck. I need it.

By Amy3
December 30, 2011 8:49 AM

@PennyX, sending lots of good luck your way! I know 3 Colins - a guy I went to school with (early 40s) and 2 kids (both elementary-school aged). I've always liked it, although I still prefer Simon for you. I definitely don't think it's too popular. I like Sylvie better than Sylvia.

December 30, 2011 11:49 AM

PennyX-Wishing you MAJOR good wishes on the baby front! I was thinking about you the other day and meant to post. What do you think about Anastasia (either Anna-stay-zhee-ah or Anna-stah-zhee-ah)? I think we mentioned it once a while back but I have forgotten the thoughts about it.
Re:Colin, you know I love all those kinds of names. Nicholas and Michael are still too common for me, but things like Colin, and Connor are right up my alley. Over the weekend I was reminded of the name Todd. Simple yet not common at all. You may want to consider that also. The only problem I could see with Colin is that it is a bit more plain than the girls names you've had in mind. It also has the same sound pattern as your LN and may sound too rhyming after a while. Something like Alexander would be better.

By Beth the original (not verified)
January 1, 2012 12:49 AM

The only problem I see with Arthur and Edith is that my mind goes to Archie and Edith on the Archie Bunker show, but nobody in your twins' generation will have heard of it.

Happy New Year (well, OK, in 12 minutes on the East Coast)! Wonder what the first baby born at the stroke of midnight will be named.

January 1, 2012 1:20 PM

Beth-I did some searching for you and others interested. Here are some of the recent additions to the world:
Charlotte Wren born in Knoxville TN @ 12:09am
Jacob born in New London, CT @ 1:01am
Anisa Justice born in FL and
Curtis Anthony born in CA a few moments after midnight; other contenders in the state were Aiden Michael, Olivia, and Alexa Marie
Faith Lynn in Gettysburg PA and sister Kaden Skye who also happened to be born on the first in 2007
Senna Wilson (a boy) born in Annapolis MD @ 12:37
Bailey Ann born in Mobile AL

Welcome to the world little ones! I wonder who will be the first new baby born to this board. How many contenders do we have?

By mk
January 1, 2012 8:41 PM

Personally I like Nicholas much better than Colin (and even Simon). Though the only ones I've ever known are relatives, so Nicholas is not a common name to me.

The first babies in my area were twins: Grace Kathleen (12:10) and Luke Christopher (12:11).

January 2, 2012 11:32 AM

More local names of first babies:
Stephen Elias and Sarah Emma
also Robert Dale and Evan Roy

I found it interesting that with the first two their initials are the same for their first and middle names. None of them are related and I am not certain on spellings.

By Guest-knp (not verified)
January 2, 2012 1:13 AM

I am scheduled to be induced on Friday!!! :)

January 2, 2012 11:31 AM

Congrats knp! Best wishes for easy labor and all that. Let us know the details of course.

By Essy01 nli (not verified)
January 2, 2012 4:02 PM

I tend to scour newspapers for New Years Baby names a couple I came across in my area: Ming (born 40 seconds after midnight), Bentley James, Mya Olga (joins brothers: Gianluca and Michelangelo), Audrey (joins sister Violet), Matthew William, Eli Lorne Shawn

January 2, 2012 7:27 PM

@knp, good luck!!

@PennyX - I'm afraid colin is not my style at all. Of course here in Australia it's very much a middle aged man name! All the Colin's I know are well over 50. I know it reads differently to you but I just can't get behind it. Simon is more popular in the 30-40 year range here too but I can definitely see it on a young boy. Colin, not so much!

I also prefer Sylvie to Sylvia and I generally prefer longer versions of names. I think Sylvie goes well with your surname :)

By hyz nli (not verified)
January 3, 2012 12:31 PM

If anyone is still reading here, I'm just catching up after the holidays...

knp, good luck!!!

PennyX, good luck to you, too! I like Colin--a friendly name, gentle but strong, for me--but I do think of it more on someone my age (30s-40s) than a kid, although I think it works well for this generation, too. I still prefer Simon, though, as a little more sweet and quirky. I adore Sylvie, but I would choose it as a nn for Sylvia (even though I know Sylvie is not necessarily a nn). Sylvia/Silvia reads more pan-European to me (and is more familiar to American ears), while Sylvie is more specifically French. I think both are great choices, and most of my reasons for preferring Sylvia don't apply for you (having no French ancestry, and already having a daughter whose name ends in the "vee" sound). I did want to chime in in defense of Sylvia, though--I definitely see where the "aunt" connotation comes from, but I keep seeing so many stylish young European women with the name that it's kind of lost that feel for me, and I think we're still just a few years ahead of its time for a comeback--it melds pretty seamlessly with the Olivias and Sophias of this generation, and I don't think it will seem too old to a child (or their peers) growing up with it. Can't go wrong, either way, I think. :)

By Cheap Beats By Dre (not verified)
January 19, 2012 3:13 AM

goooooooood! your writing skill really well.

By cocacox (not verified)
January 19, 2012 5:48 AM

@Melmo @Amy3

:) You mentioned them all at once.. hehehe! Reading the post and comments of you guys is like a stress reliever ...

By Top 10 name of the 70s (not verified)
January 24, 2012 11:56 PM

Re Wondering Dad
If it were not for the "Hollis" question I would not believe that you were American! Your boys' names are divine - and much more in the English (and therefore also Australian) trend than the US one. Put it this way - neither Colin (old, old man's name! It is my dear Dad's name - he is nearly 80, AND my grandfather's name!! I don't know ANYONE younger than they who have been christened Colin down under..) nor Simon (Chipmunk??) are even on the radar here.
Nicholas, Henry and Samuel...all top 20.

Could I suggest maybe a Thomas or Will(iam) for your new son? And please give your (only!) daughter a gender appropriate name! I LOVE "Alice" - but we did the same thing with our labrador called Oliver! Could you go Amelia/Amelie, Eliza, Lucy, Sophie, Meg, Imogen or Sarah instead? (These are all the sisters of boys called Henry or Samuel in our set).

As for the Lego Friends - well, "Stephanie" is also in the top 20 down here. There are a ton of grade school aged Stephanies and I know of at least 2 with mums called Anna! Perhaps some of the "international team" who worked on the project are from here?

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