Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Thanksgiving came late this year, which means we get a double dose of Peanuts goodness within less than a week: First the awesome, popcorn-and-jellybeans Thanksgiving feast, then my favorite, the Christmas special, with its homely little tree and the best Christmas pageant ever. (Who wouldn’t love to dance like the Peanuts crew to Schroeder’s jazzy tunes?) And while there’s always a soft spot in my heart for Charlie Brown, brother-sister pair Lucy and Linus are my favorite characters. Lucy for her fierce, take-charge attitude (I’m definitely a Lucy at heart), and Linus for his charming pairing of the intellectual and the baby blanket.
Lucy has been a perennial favorite for girls, and is currently trending up in popularity, but poor Linus hasn’t hit the top 1000 in the U.S. since way back in 1940. I think it’s high time we bring it back! Linus is a Greek name that means flax, and in Greek myth, he was the man behind the creation of music. Linus has appeared in several pop culture incarnations beyond the blankie-toting Peanuts member—he was also Matt Damon’s character in the Oceans movies, and Humphrey Bogart’s character in the classic Sabrina. And there’s a Nobel Prize winning chemist who sports the name, too.
Fortunately, other parts of the world have noticed Linus’s charms—several countries place Linus in the top 50 names.
If you’re interested in Linus, you can pair it with either a single-syllable short middle, such as James, Ford, or Jack, or a longer middle name, like Alexander, Jonathan or Alastair.
What do you think of Linus? Is it ready for a comeback? If you still haven’t found the perfect baby name, try our Baby Name Finder or send your dilemma to me at email@example.com. And check out my list of top baby name trends and names to watch, along with the hottest pop culture names of 2013.
And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names!
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Baby Name Stories, In Name Only, Must Read
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
It’s a girl for Jennifer Love Hewitt and her new husband, Brian Hallisay. And the pair gave their brand new daughter a perfectly apropos name for the season—Autumn James.
Autumn is the most popular of the season names, currently at #68 in the U.S. (It’s followed by Summer, Winter, and then finally, Spring, which hasn’t been in the top 1000 for decades.)
And James has become the hot middle name du jour for celebrity daughters—Autumn is the third celebrity daughter who has James in the middle. James was actually a reasonably popular name for girls through much of the last century—it dropped out of the top 1000 back in the 1980s, and it’s been a top 20 name for boys for the past century and a half.
I like the flow of the names together, with the soft ms and ns. What do you think of the name they picked? Do any of the seasonal baby names appeal to you? (I’m digging Winter myself.)
If you’re still looking for the perfect name for your kids, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder—or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a little expert advice.
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Image: Jennifer Love Hewitt by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name News, Celebrity Baby Names, In Name Only, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Sunday, November 24th, 2013
Our friends over at Nameberry have posted their list of Thanksgiving-themed names, including Miles (as in Standish), Priscilla (as in one of the women at the first Thanksgiving meal) and Tom (as in Tom the Turkey). But perhaps my favorite choice out of them is the day-of-the-week name Thursday.
Thursday’s not a very popular baby name—no one even picked it for their child last year. But it’s a real-deal baby name nonetheless.
Thursday was named for the Norse god Thor, the god of thunder. And it makes a pretty cool name for a girl, like the similarly cool Tuesday and Wednesday (as in the creepy-cool Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family).
Thursday’s one of my favorite heroines from recent books—as in Thursday Next from the Bookworld series. She’s a plucky literary detective who sneaks into classic works of great literature and solves crimes, such as the kidnapping of Jane Eyre from out of her novel.
Of course, a fresh and modern name like Thursday requires a fun and funky middle name. I’d pair it with Snow, Rose, or James.
What do you think of the baby name Thursday? Is it something you could consider for your daughter, or are would you like to keep searching with our Baby Name Finder? And don’t forget to keep up with In Name Only on Facebook to get the latest in baby names.
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Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Tomorrow’s the 50th anniversary of one of sci-fi’s most beloved characters—the time-traveling, two-hearted Doctor Who. We’ll be celebrating it big time in our house, with British-y food (including Jelly Babies, if I can find them), and watching the special “Day of the Doctor” show.
The good Doctor’s name still remains under wraps, 50 years later—only his wife apparently knows what it is. But if you do a little trolling amongst the Doctors many companions through the years, you’ll find some cool names that might be worth considering.
Clara Oswald is the Doctor’s current companion, and has a bit of an odd past, having popped up in the series and died a few different times before signing on as a companion. Clara means bright, and is on a big run for the top right now, nearing the top 100 baby names in the U.S.
Rose Tyler is likely my favorite companion, and the first of the modern-era companions. A plucky former shopgirl, she helped the Doctor save the world—a lot. Her pretty floral name has become red hot over the past three years, and is currently at #261 in the U.S.
Sarah-Jane Smith was the Fourth Doctor’s companion (you know, the one with the funky striped scarf). She’s often held up as the most beloved of the Doctor’s companions, and even launched her own spinoff, The Sarah-Jane Chronicles. I’m intrigued by the hyphenated first name, combining two ultraclassic names—the Biblical Sarah, which means princess, and the stately Jane, which means God’s gift.
Amy Pond’s official name is the uberpopular Amelia. This spunky redhead traveled with the 11th Doctor and her future husband—and (spoiler alert!) gave birth to the Doctor’s wife. Amelia means “work.”
Rory Williams was Amy Pond’s true love and mate, who followed his Scottish lass through a very convoluted timeline in the Doctor’s TARDIS. His Irish name means red king, and is currently in the top 500 baby names for boys.
Captain Jack Harkness was one of the coolest characters on the new series—a bit of a smarmy and brash American time traveler, who flirted with anyone who walked. Jack’s a top name in the UK, and in the top 50 here in the U.S., and is a variation of John.
Wilfred Mott is the grandfather of one of the Tenth Doctor’s companions, Donna Noble, and he went on to travel with the Doctor himself. His name, which means “desires peace,” fell out of the top 1000 nearly a half century ago, but this name offers two red-hot nicknames—Will and Freddie—in one.
River Song is the name of the Doctor’s wife, who can travel through time and definitely keep the brilliant Doc on his toes. River is just starting to become popular for girls, but it’s a lovely name (especially combined with Song!).
Tegan Jovanka was one of the longest running companions, traveling with the Fourth and Fifth Doctors. Her name is a modern invention, and has only been in the top 1000 names for 2010 and 2011.
Martha Jones was very nearly a doctor (though a more mundane kind) in her own right—she’s a med student who traveled with the 10th Doctor. Her name means “lady,” and is in the top 800 baby names here in the U.S.
Are you a big fan of Doctor Who? What do you think the Doctor’s name is? And would you pick a companion’s name for your son or daughter? If you’re still looking for a name, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder.
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Image: TARDIS by Graeme Dawes/Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name News, In Name Only, Must Read
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Today we’re heading back in time to the 1880s, the earliest time when we have actual statistics on the top baby names. Back then, we stuck with the basics—John and Mary dominated the charts. As we found with the 1890s, nickname-names were surprisingly popular for girls, including Minnie, Nellie, Mamie, and Sadie—all names that might make sense with the trend toward nickname names like Millie and Maisy. But there were some unique names that might be worth mining for your baby. What do you think of these?
Effie peaked at #62 back in the 1880s, when people gave their daughters this shortened form of Euphemia as their whole name. With The Hunger Games‘ Effie Trinket bringing the name back out into the limelight, perhaps this name will make a comeback? (There were only 37 girls who were given the name last year!)
Lula was another sweet nickname name that topped the charts back in the 1880s—it was often used as a nickname for Tallulah or Lucy. It hasn’t hit the top 1000 since the 1960s, but makes a nice alternative to Lily and Lilah.
Martha topped the charts for nearly 70 years, finally starting to fall out of favor in the 1950s. But this name, which means lady, is just starting to make its comeback.
Della is a short and sweet name that was a favored variant of Adela. It peaked in the 1880s, at the 68th most popular name, and hasn’t been seen in the top 1000 since 1977. It might be a nice choice if you like names like Adele, Ella, or Isabella—and don’t want to use any of those uberpopular choices.
Harriet (#90 back in the 1880s) seems to be a name that name nerds like me absolutely love—but no one’s really using it. (Only 9 girls were given the name last year.) It has a regal meaning—ruler—and some great resonance, with historical figures like abolitionist Harriet Tubman and author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and pop culture references like children’s book character Harriet the Spy. But it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1970. Is it finally ready for a revival?
Elmer was #38 back in the 1880s, and made a slow and steady decline to obscurity right after the 21st century. But it has a great name meaning—noble—even if it is associated with the bumbling Elmer Fudd from the Looney Tunes cartoons.
Milton followed a similar path—it was the 100th most popular name in the 1880s, and just fell off the radar after 2000. But it’s shown up in some new ways lately—including a character on The Walking Dead, so it might be worth revitalizing.
Grover peaked back in the 1880s, thanks to President Grover Cleveland. But it lost its top 1000 ranking back in the 1970s, around the time the Muppet appeared on Sesame Street. It’s a charming name, though, with a pastoral theme—it means living near a grove of trees.
Clyde is a name of a river in Scotland—and an infamous outlaw. It was a top 60 name back in the 1880s, and fell out of favor back in 1990. But I think it could be worth resurrecting for this century.
Emil was just outside the top 100 back in the 1880s, and only went downhill from there. It means rival, but makes a fun and funky alternative to some of the “e” names, like Evan and Ethan.
What do you think of these vintage names? Any ones worth adding to your short list? Don’t forget to try out our Baby Name Finder to find the perfect name for your son or daughter, and like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.
Image: 1800s woman by Donna Beeler / Shutterstock.com
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