Archive for the ‘ Baby Name News ’ Category

Baby Name Dilemma: Honoring Your Mom

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

A reader is trying to help a friend with a not-so-easy baby name challenge:

My friend would like to name her baby girl after her deceased mother, but her mom hated her name. She is looking for a variation but we have had no luck helping her brainstorm. Her mother’s name was Ernestine, no middle name. Any suggestions?

I can understand not wanting to pick Ernestine itself—it’s still plagued with a bit of a clunky vibe, and hasn’t been in the top 1000 in nearly 50 years. Its international variations and common nicknames, like Erna and Ernesia, don’t exactly sound as “wow” as your friend would probably like. Plus, since her mom hated her own name, it may not be the best way to honor her mother’s memory.

So here are my suggestions:

1. I could make a case for Nessa or Tessa being nicknames for Ernestine. Nessa is a Scandinavian name that means “headlands,” and Tessa means “to reap.” I think both names seem fresh and modern, and worth a look. Other variants on the name include Tina (which just fell out of vogue earlier this century) and Nettie.

2. Pick a name with a similar meaning to Ernestine. Ernestine is the feminine version of Ernest, which means serious or resolute. Along those same lines are Severine, Wilhelmina and Willa. Willa is a red-hot name, and Wilhelmina may follow suit, too—especially as it’s been picked by a few celebrities recently.

3. Honor her by choosing a name with the same initial, and even the same number of syllables. There are so many wonderful E names—I love Eleanor, Edina, Elena, Ellery, Emmeline, Eveline,  and Everly.

4. Consider making Ernestine the middle name, and picking another name for the first name. That way, her mother is still honored, but her daughter isn’t stuck with a clunky name.

5. Is there a name that her mother wished she had? If your friend knows what her mom’s dream name would have been, that could also be a valid way to honor her mother.

What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions for names that honor Ernestine without actually using it? Share your thoughts in the comments!

And don’t forget to use our Baby Name Finder on your own baby name hunt, or share your baby name dilemmas with me at

Our Favorite Celebrity Babies of the Year
Our Favorite Celebrity Babies of the Year
Our Favorite Celebrity Babies of the Year

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Cool Name of the Week: Walker

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Our friends over at Nameberry discussed what boys’  names are cool and current—and which ones are verboten. The debate started because there’s a new French movie, What’s in a Name? about the drama associated with that very personal choice—especially if you choose a powder keg name like Adolph.

While Adolph may still be controversial pretty much anywhere on the planet, thanks to Germany’s former leader, I found pick on their list of “daring” boys’ names that I’m kind of loving: Walker.

Walker is an occupational name—like Mason and Tanner—and has a pretty cool pedigree. It’s a middle name for both the Presidents Bush, and a common surname, for everyone from football great Herschel Walker to author Alice Walker to late actor Paul Walker, of The Fast and the Furious franchise. And of course, it was Chuck Norris’s character on Walker, Texas Ranger, and is currently the nickname given to the zombies on the uberpopular Walking Dead series—both of which give the name a little extra dose of cool.

Walker’s currently just outside the top 400 names for boys, making it a name that’s common enough not to provoke a “huh?” response, but will probably ensure that your kiddo’s the only one sporting it in his class. And I can kind of make the case that it’d be a way to pay homage to a Walter in your past, with a fresher and more current name.

Walker seems suited for a one-syllable middle name pairing. Something simple like James, Jett or True works in my book.

What do you think of the name Walker? Are there any other occupational names you like? You can hunt for your own perfect baby name with our Baby Name Finder, or get a little guidance on your particular baby name dilemma by emailing me at And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names!

Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?


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Weirdest Baby Names of 2013

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Celebs may have picked offbeat monikers like North West and Rainbow Aurora for their kids, but they aren’t the only ones who chose oddly—at least if the survey by Baby Center is to be believed. They’ve come up with their list of the most unusual names of 2013, which included options like Cheese, Hurricane and Panda for boys—and Feline, Fairy and Chevy for girls.

But even among these offbeat choices, there were a few gems that even I would consider for my kids. Blue was among the girls’ choices—and I’m honestly surprised that hasn’t caught on as much, with Beyonce and Jay-Z handing that moniker to their own daughter. I probably wouldn’t put it in the primo slot, but I think Blue makes a lovely middle name. Also among their “offbeat” choices is Trixie, which is an old-school nickname for Beatrice. I’m loving it as part of the whole nickname-as-name trend. And Tulip makes a pretty and unexpected choice of floral name.

The boys’ names included Finch, an interesting tweak on the “Finn” trend—and a bird name. Ripley and Holmes are cool surname names for boys—love the idea of the nickname Ripper for a boy in homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s heroic Watcher Rupert Giles. And while Stetson would seem a little weird for my East Coast crew, I think it’s a pretty awesome name for a young cowboy-to-be.

What’s the weirdest baby name you’ve heard this year? Do any of the offbeat choices sound like something you’d consider?

If you’re still looking for a great name for your son or daughter, check out our Baby Name Finder. You can also catch my picks for the most intriguing pop culture names of the year—and my predictions for the hot names of 2014.

Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?

Image: Amir Ridhwan/

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Cool Name of the Week: Nelson

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

It wasn’t too hard to come up with the perfect name to honor this week. Nelson Mandela was truly one of the world’s greatest men—fighting tirelessly against apartheid in South Africa, becoming its first black president, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and taking on a number of philanthropic causes before illness clouded his final years. When he passed away this week at the age of 95, the world was left a less kind and honorable place.

But I almost wonder which of his names to choose—Nelson, his first name, has a bit of a fuddy-duddy, old-fashioned air. It’s been on a slow trudge toward the bottom of the top 1000 since the 1950s. The surname name means simply “son of Neil,” which makes it a great choice to honor a Neil in your family as well.

Our friends at Nameberry also suggest that Mandela could be a more interesting and unique choice. They’re considering it for boys, but I like it for girls. It’s a name that could lend itself to a number of nicknames, including Della, Dell, Annie, or Manny.

Nelson, as a more classic name, suggests a more classic middle–like James or Alexander. But if you pick Mandela, I like it with virtue names: True or Honor would be my picks.

Which name would you pick to honor Nelson Mandela? Do you think Mandela’s too exotic for an American audience?

If you’re still looking for the perfect name, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder—and like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest baby names!

Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?


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Frozen Baby Names

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Disney’s latest princess flick comes courtesy of Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary tale, The Snow Queen. While they took quite a few liberties with the story (no talking snowmen, from what I remember!), Frozen’s a beautiful modernization of this classic.

My daughters and I loved the movie—and I adored the names they picked for several of the characters. With Scandinavian names becoming a trendlet in baby names, maybe we’ll see a few of these hitting the big time.

Elsa The Snow Queen gets this lovely variant on Elizabeth, which might be a worthy (and currently under the radar) choice if you like the uberpopular Ella. It means “pledged to God,” and after nearly falling out of the top 1000 in the late 1990s, it’s now recovered into the top 500.

Anna Little sister Anna was the focus of the story, and the person on a quest to save her sister. Anna means grace, and it’s been a consistent top 100 baby name for the past century and a half.

Olaf This Norse name that means “relic” was picked for the comic relief snowman sidekick—and I’m afraid that it’s a relic that won’t see a revival. (It hasn’t been in the top 1000 names here for nearly a century.

Kristoff I like the odds on this Scandinavian variant on Christopher finally cracking the top 1000 here. After all, it was the name of Anna’s hunky helper.

Hans A Scandinavian alternative to John, Hans dropped out of the top 1000 at the turn of the 21st century. I’m not sure its bearer in Frozen will do much to change that around.

Sven Kristoff’s trusty reindeer sidekick bears the most Swedish of names—it’s actually how Sweden came to be named (Svealand). Sven means youth, and has a very hunky ski instructor vibe to it.

What did you think of Frozen? Did any of the names sound baby worthy to you? Don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder to help you pick the perfect name, and like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.

Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret

Image: Frozen movie poster, courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios

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