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Cool TV Character Baby Names

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Pop culture has become a bigger influence on baby names lately—as many people turn to TV shows and movies for their baby name inspiration. So what names might be worth emulating from some current TV favorites? Here are my picks:

Abigail (Sleepy Hollow) Sleepy Hollow cop Abigail has to contend with some pretty spooky occurrences (and a resurrected Ichabod Crane), but sports a classic name that’s back in vogue.

Annalise (How to Get Away With Murder) Annalise Keating, the brilliant, tough-as-nails law professor in Shonda Rimes’ latest drama, scores an old-school German name that means grace.

Arya (Game of Thrones) Arya Stark has been in hiding ever since her father, Ned Stark, was beheaded—but her name is on a hot streak, as one of the most popular names in the U.S.

Arizona (Grey’s Anatomy) The hospital’s resident pediatrician sports one of the less common—but still very cool—place names.

Blaine (Glee) Glee may no longer be red hot, but this Irish name, which means slender, is currently on an uptick.

Cameron (Modern Family) Everyone must love this vibrant member of the Dunphy clan—Cameron’s now a top 60 name in the U.S.

Clara (Doctor Who) The Doctor’s current companion wears a lovely name that means “bright,” and is currently surging in popularity.

Deacon (Nashville) This hunky character sports a church official’s title name that is currently on the up-and-coming list.

Eliza (Selfie) Yes, this new show based on the classic My Fair Lady is currently in danger of being cancelled, but Eliza, a shortened form of the classic Elizabeth, is a classic that never goes out of style.

Fiona (Shameless) The “mom” of the scrappy Gallagher clan is big sister Fiona, who sports this pretty Celtic name that means fair.

Kalinda (Good Wife) The Good Wife’s investigator sports this pretty Hindu name that means “sun.”

Michonne (Walking Dead) We’ve picked Michonne as a stellar name choice ever since her character was introduced on the Walking Dead—and there’s no reason not to consider this offbeat name for your daughter.

Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) This name, which means valley, seems like it could never be back in vogue, but perhaps the nerdy lead in Big Bang Theory could give it a little extra cool.

Temperance (Bones) This cool virtue name just made it back into the top 1000, probably through the influence of the show.

Theon (Game of Thrones) Theon’s been through some pretty rough stuff on Game of Thrones, and is currently going by the name Reek. But I think Theon could be a cool way to get that Theo nickname.

Tell us: What names are you loving from the current TV season? Are there any you’d add to this list?

If you’re looking for a perfect baby name, send your dilemma to me at, or check out our Baby Name Finder. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.


Irish Baby Names
Irish Baby Names
Irish Baby Names

Image: Zastolskiy Victor/


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Baby Name Dilemma: A Boys’ Name With 4 Syllables, 8 Letters

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Reader Tracy is really specific about the kind of name she wants for her son:

I was wondering if you could help with any suggestions for a 4-syllable boy name. This is my 6th baby and I am truly at a loss this time! My oldest 3 children all have 3-syllable, 7 letter names (Breanna, Cassidy, and Zachary) and my youngest 2 have 4-syllable, 8 letter names (Monterio and Giavonna). I would love for this little guy to have a 4-syllable, 8 letter name but I haven’t been very successful in my search. I don’t want a common name but I don’t want anything too outlandish either! If you could help with any suggestions, I would be grateful!

These parameters present a pretty interesting challenge—especially as so many boys’ names are shorter. (I think eight letters and four syllables would be much simpler for a girl.)

Just like your son Monterio, look at names that end with that “o” at the end—they’re becoming red hot in their two-syllable forms, like Milo and Arlo, so the four syllables will be a bit of a twist. I like Benvolio, Demetrio, Pacifico, Fiorello and Annunzio, but my favorite with your baby name mix is Oliviero, which is an international take on Oliver.

Another option is the Roman name trend, shown in shorter names like Augustus and Magnus. I’d pick Aurelius or Ignatius—or try Octavius or Octavian.

Two other names to consider—Jeremiah, a Biblical name with lots of weight behind it, and Ebenezer, which is starting to come back after a long time of being associated with fictional miser Ebenezer Scrooge. (I love the Eben nickname with that one.)

Okay readers: What do you have for Tracy? Share your favorites in the comments.

If you’re still looking for the perfect baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder, or email your dilemma to me at to get personalized baby name advice. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

Spanish Baby Names
Spanish Baby Names
Spanish Baby Names

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Do We Make Sexist Baby Name Choices?

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Are we picking names that fit into gender stereotypes when we choose our children’s names? If you look at word name picks—names like Charity and Grey—it certainly seems like it. In taking a look at the biggest movers and shakers—the names that are moving quickly up the list—you’ll find that most fall along these lines:

Boys are bestowed names that are fancy titles.Yeah,  a few parents named their girls Khaleesi, but a ton of guys got real-life honorary titles, like Major, Duke, King and Deacon. (Duke alone jumped over 429 places on the list.) The only fancy title on the girls’ big risers list? Princess, which could just as easily be in homage to Snow White as it is to a real life royal.

Girls are given floral names. With Violet and Lily near the top of the popularity list, it’s not really surprising that some less common florals made the list—Azalea, Dahlia, Iris and Magnolia among them. The boys didn’t even get a single nod to nature among their biggest jumpers.

• Boys get names that connote risk taking. There’s Gunner and Archer, and Major is usually a military title. Maverick actually means risk taker. And Legend? Well, you don’t get to be a legend by playing by the rules.

• Girls are given safer names. There’s Haven, Mercy, Charity, and Laurel. Even Olive could be considered in this category, since the olive branch is often considered a sign of peace.

And only one name appeared on both the boys’ and girls’ lists—Justice, which seems to be an up-and-coming name for both boys and girls.

Tell us: Have you considered a word name for your child? Does it fall along these gender lines? Would you ever consider crossing the aisle with some of the word names—for instance, choosing a risk-taking name like Maverick or Legend for a girl, or going with a “safe” name like Haven for a boy?

If you’re still looking for the perfect baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder, or email me at to get help with a sticky situation. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name

Image: Babies by Rohappy/

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Celebrity Baby Names: Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes Picked…

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Hey, girl! We finally found out what name Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes picked for their brand new baby daughter: Esmeralda Amada!

Esmeralda is the Spanish variation of Emerald, that amazing bright green gem. It’s currently in the top 400 names here in the U.S., though it’s on a bit of a downward trend. (It hit its peak at #134 back in 1998.)

Amada can be considered either a variation of Amadea, a Latin name that means beloved of God, or Amy, which just means beloved. It’s relatively unheard of here, but was the name of a character Eva played in a movie a few years back.

I’m loving Esmeralda, which can be shortened to the sweet and chic Esme. The names flow almost too well together—as if they’re both parts of a whole. Which may not be a bad thing, depending on your preferences.

Tell us: What do you think of the name Ryan and Eva picked? Would you consider Esmeralda?

Image: Ryan Gosling by Jaguar PS /

If you’re still looking for the perfect baby name, email me at, or use our Baby Name Finder to find a great one. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

Spanish Baby Names
Spanish Baby Names
Spanish Baby Names

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Twin Peaks Baby Names

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Anyone else as jazzed as I was to find out that the totally bizarro Twin Peaks will be coming back—with its Log Lady, cherry pie, doughnuts, and damn fine cups of coffee? It’ll be a Showtime series for 2016—and while no casting has been revealed, the fact that Kyle MacLachlan (aka Agent Dale Cooper) was recently lunching with series creator David Lynch could be a very good sign. (And his recent tweet about firing up the percolator and finding his black suit probably means he’s a go!)

The fictional town of Twin Peaks was populated with a lot of people with very old-fashioned names—but many of those names have seen a revitalization in the 25 years since the show hit the air. Here are some of my favorites—and how they fared.

Cooper His first name, Dale, never really recovered, but Agent Dale Cooper’s surname spiked in popularity as a baby name after the show first aired, and hasn’t come down from that high ever since. Perhaps the revitalization of the show may bring Cooper even closer to the top 10.

Laura This classic name, meaning “from the laurel tree,” actually started a downward trend after Twin Peaks aired. (Perhaps the negative association with a girl who had a seedy double life hurt it?) It’s still a lovely pick.

Harry Another, far more popular Harry appeared during the 25 years since Twin Peaks fared, but neither Sheriff Truman nor the Boy Who Lived could keep Harry from sliding further down the popularity charts.

Lucy Ditzy Lucy Moran, secretary for the sheriff’s office, didn’t seem to impact the popularity of her classic name—in fact, Lucy slid down the charts during the two years the show aired. But it quickly rebounded, and is currently in the top 100.

Audrey Audrey was already on an upswing before the retro-cool teen Audrey Horne first made her appearance on the screen. But thanks mostly to its association with screen legend Audrey Hepburn, this is still on a climb toward the top.

Nadine One of the truly weird characters in Twin Peaks has to be Nadine, the eye-patched wife of mechanic Ed. (She’s the one who was obsessed with silent curtains, if you recall.) This classic, that means hope, took a nosedive after the series premiered, and dropped out of the top 1000 not long afterward.

Madeleine Actress Sheryl Lee got to play two parts in the show—murder victim Laura Palmer, and her lookalike cousin Madeleine. Madeleine had just begun a swift climb toward the top as the series premiered, and has settled in the top 500 names.

Leo Violent truck driver/drug dealer Leo Johnson was hardly someone to emulate—but his name, which means “lion,” became a big hit after Twin Peaks, and is now just below the top 100 names in the U.S.

Tell us: Are you looking forward to the return of Twin Peaks? Are any names from the show on your short list?

If you’re still looking for the perfect name, send your dilemma to me at, or check out our Baby Name Finder for some DIY advice. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.


Vampire Baby Names
Vampire Baby Names
Vampire Baby Names

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