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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Baby Name Help, In Name Only, Must Read
Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
The Hunger Games series has been a massive hit both as a book series and in film form. And even though it has cool and pretty creative spins on classic names, they’re aren’t a bunch of Katnisses and Peetas at the local day cares. (In fact, there were only 12 girls in the whole country named Katniss last year, and not a single Peeta.)
Sure, there are some names that just don’t seem to lend themselves to use—like Beetee or Glimmer—but here are a few less offbeat names that might be worth considering.
The Hunger Games‘ heroine Katniss sports a name that’s only slightly off from classics like Katherine and Katrina. It’s the name of a real-life edible plant. And who wouldn’t want their daughter named after such a strong and brave character? (Especially one played by the awesome Jennifer Lawrence?)
Gale is Katniss’ BFF and perhaps her true love, has a weather name that means forceful wind, a variant spelling of the short form of Abigail. If you aren’t daring enough to give it to a boy, it might be worthy of a girl.
Effie was once a top 100 baby name, but fell out of the top 1000 before 1960. It’s short for Euphemia, and it’s the name of the always fashionable Effie Trinket.
Perhaps my favorite name from the series is Primrose, Katniss’ younger sister. It’s a beautiful flower and a not well-used name—only 16 girls were given the name last year.
Rue was the girl Katniss tried to save in the first Hunger Games. It’s also a floral name, and makes an adorable middle name.
Johanna is probably the most popular of the names used in the series—it’s a feminization of John, and has been in the top 600 for more than a century.
I love the name Alma, which author Suzanne Collins picked for the future prez of Panem. It means nurturing, and has been in the top 1000 for more than a century.
Are there any Hunger Games names you’d want to use? If you’re still looking for a baby name, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Generator! And if you want to keep up on the latest in baby names, like In Name Only on Facebook!
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Image: The Hunger Games book cover, courtesy of Scholastic
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Sunday, November 17th, 2013
You just need to say the words “Bat Kid” to me this week to bring me to tears. Just trying to explain it to my husband left me bawling, and I managed to even get him to tear up just by showing him some awesome images of 5-year-old Miles Scott, AKA “Batkid.” If you didn’t get a chance to see this amazing story, Miles spent a day last week saving San Francisco (AKA Gotham City) from the Penguin and the Riddler, as part of his Make a Wish event after battling leukemia. And he drew not only a crowd of thousands throughout San Francisco, but celebrities and even the President, who all celebrated his big day with him.
Miles really seems apropos for a young boy who has had such a challenging journey so far in his life—and it kind of sounds like a superhero name, doesn’t it? (Think Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Clark Kent, Miles Scott). But the name Miles actually has a different meaning than you might imagine—it means generous and giving. It’s the 111th most popular name in the U.S., currently at the highest point in popularity over the past 130 years. In addition to Batkid, there are other famous Miles out there—like jazz great Miles Davis and Myles Standish, a leader of the Plymouth Colony.
Miles pairs beautifully with longer middle names. I like Miles with Theodore, Felix, and Everett.
What do you think of Miles as a baby name—and what did you think of Batkid’s story? If you’re still looking for a name worthy of your future superhero or super heroine, check out our Baby Name Finder.
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Baby Name Help, Celebrity Baby Names, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
The 1930s didn’t go down in history as a stellar decade—what with the Great Depression and Hitler bringing everybody down. But can some cool names be salvaged from this decade? The chart toppers of the 1930s were Robert and Mary—not exactly out-there names even today. But could there be some overlooked gems on the list?
Franklin took a sharp rise after FDR was sworn into office—it peaked at #33 in 1933. It’s dropped below the top 500 now, but still makes a worthy choice. Consider it in lieu of the “den” names like Brayden or Jayden.
While Robert topped the charts in the 1930s, the nickname Bobby wasn’t far behind at #27. Nickname names might not be super popular right now, but could Bobby be charming enough to make a comeback?
Edward may be the “Ed” name of choice, thanks to Twilight, but back in the 1930s, Edwin was topping the charts, too. The name means “wealthy friend”—and isn’t that the best kind to have? I love the idea of Win as a nickname.
I love Clifford, the #86 name of the 1930s—even if this name has become synonymous with the Big Red Dog. But I’d skip Cliff as a nickname in favor of Ford.
Alfred means wise counselor—like the sharp-as-a-tack bearer of the name, Alfred Hitchcock—and it was a top 50 name of the 1930s. If you like the nicknames Freddie or UK fave Alfie, this is the name for you!
Doris peaked at number 13 back in the 1930s—and maybe that’s why it was so unlucky to fall out of fashion. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 1990s, even though it has a cool meaning—gift of the ocean—and a sweet Dorrie nickname.
Strangely enough, the popularity of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe didn’t extend to her name—it peaked at #16 back in the 1930s. The name is a combo of Mary and Lynn—so it’s a nice way to honor two people in your past.
Sweet Irene has a lovely meaning—peace—and still hasn’t come back after a slow and steady decline from its #49 spot in the 1930s. I think it’s a nice alternative to the many vowel-heavy names, like Emma and Olivia, that still top the charts.
Could Bernice be the next Beatrice? This #87 name in the 1930s fell out of favor in the 1980s, and comes with a cute “Bunny” nickname.
Joan topped the charts back in the 1930s, ranking 7th—and it has the cool Joan of Arc namesake with it. It hasn’t been a top 1000 contender since the 1990s, but maybe it’s ready to come back as an offbeat middle name choice?
What do you think? Could Alfred or Bernice be at a playground near you? If you aren’t a big fan of these 1930s names, try looking for a more modern one with our Baby Name Finder. And if you’ve already found your name, check out this video to make sure you’ve picked a winner.
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Image: 1930s woman, from Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name Help, In Name Only, Must Read