Archive for the ‘ Baby Name Stories ’ Category

Under the Radar Boys’ Names: Beyond the Top 1000 Baby Names

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

The top 1000 baby names is always intriguing. But what’s even more interesting is seeing what’s below that level—the names that only 5 or 25 people picked for their kids. While there’s always an array of creative spellings, possible mistakes (did 6 people really name their boys Adeline?) and assorted other oddball picks that probably won’t suit most guys out there, you can find a few gems hidden among the more…ahem…unique choices.

You can check out my girls’ name picks from last week, or see what I’ve picked for the boys here.

Rigby This proper British surname name means farm along the ridge, and is perfect for a baby of Beatles fans (think Eleanor Rigby). It’s a nice alternative to other surname names like Reilly and Sullivan.

Hero This old-school name was traditionally for the girls (think of the character Hero in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing). But this is one girls’ name that could easily cross the aisle for the boys.

Bruin I’m guessing most of the baby boy Bruins live in the Boston area, and the name was picked to honor the hockey team. But Bruin makes another offbeat color name (it means brown or bear).

Indy I’m assuming this was picked as a casual nickname for Indiana (a la Indiana Jones), but could also be considered short for independent. I’m not sure I totally love it, but it’s intriguing to me.

Sylvan This name evokes the woods and forest, perfect for a nature-loving family. (And you can either go with Syl or Van for short.)

Aristotle Someone’s parents were philosophy majors (or Greek). The name of the great Greek philosopher could be considered one of those cool and clunky old-school names, especially when you start talking nicknames, like Ari.

Wilfred You get two great nicknames—Will and the adorable Freddie—with this old English name, that means “desires peace.” Actor David Tennant chose it for his son, and it was also the name of a character on his show, Doctor Who. For the more literary minded, it was a hero in Sir Walter Scott’s classic Ivanhoe.

Sven Scandinavian names were already starting their climb in popularity before Frozen hit the big time, and now Elsa, Kristoff and Anna stand to become seriously red hot. Sven was the brave reindeer sidekick, and it means “youth.”

Tell us: What off-the-beaten path names do you like for your son? If you’re looking for something unique, try our Baby Name Finder, or email me at lamilbrand@gmail.com for some baby name advice. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest baby name news.

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

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Cool Name of the Week: Augustus

Monday, June 9th, 2014

As expected, YA-novel-turned-movie The Fault in Our Stars ruled the box office over the weekend. And since we analyzed heroine Hazel’s name last week, I thought it was only fair to take a look at the other name from this pair of star-crossed lovers—Augustus.

Augustus was pretty popular for guys back in the 19th century, then began a slow and steady decline to the bottom of the top 1000. (You might think that the popular 1971 version of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory put it on a downslope, given that the character Augustus Gloop was portrayed as a fat and gluttonous kid. But it actually started rising right after the movie came out.) Even before John Green’s book topped the best seller lists last year, the name was on a sharp incline back into popularity, thanks to its now trendy “us” ending. (It’s currently in the top 700 names in the U.S.) The name means great or magnificent, and comes with two cute nicknames: Auggie and Gus.

No word on what John Green thought Augustus’ middle name would be. I’d pair it with something short and traditional. John would be good, or try Thomas, Lee, James or Jackson.

What do you think of the name Augustus? Too stodgy, or something freshly worthy of consideration?

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

Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?

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Under the Radar Girls’ Names: Beyond the Top 1000 Baby Names

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper to really get a baby name gem. And while the top 1000 baby names in the U.S. list offers plenty of stellar options, there are lots of head scratchers, too. (Do we really need to spell Journey Jurnee?)

But sometimes, it’s the ones that don’t make the top 1000 list that really shine—especially if you’re looking for something unique. Skip all those creative spellings of Adeline and check out these options.

Tilda With Matilda on the rise, will this shortened version follow suit? It means “mighty,” and has accomplished actress Tilda Swinton as its namesake.

Kismet I’m generally not a big fan of word names, like Journey or Destiny. But there’s something about Kismet (a name that actually means fated) that just seems right.

Marae This relative of Mary means bitter, and evokes the sea as well. It’s a great way to pay homage to a Mary in your family, without using the name.

Jovia By Jove, this name is intriguing—it’s a feminization of the Roman king of the gods, but also has that connotation of happiness, thanks to the word “jovial.”

Aretha The legendary Aretha Franklin may be a tough act to follow, but you could consider this name, which means “blessed,” in lieu of the more popular Athena.

Briony If you like floral names, but are weary of the Rose/Lily/Daisy combo, consider this very offbeat choice, a lovely vine with green-hued blooms.

Dulcinea This ultrafeminine name has a cool past for literary folks—it’s the name of Don Quixote’s fictional true love in Miguel Cervantes’ classic. It means sweet.

Magenta A vibrant purple-red shade could be the next cool color name, after names like Violet and Scarlett. (For Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, there’s the character who goes by the name.)

Ione How has this gem never made it into the top 1000? Popularized by actress Ione Skye (of Say Anything fame), it’s the name of a violet-colored stone, and of a sea nymph in Greek mythology.

Tell us: What offbeat names do you love? Would you consider any of my choices for your daughter?

Check out the wild and weird side of last year’s baby names—and see if you’d pick any of those for your kiddos! You can rate baby names with our popular Baby Name Game—and keep up with the latest in baby name news by liking In Name Only on Facebook!

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

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Cool Name of the Week: Hazel

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Finding time to read isn’t always easy with kids—and so I’m just now getting around to reading The Fault in Our Stars, John Green’s masterful story about the romance between two kids who just happen to have cancer. (I’m not yet done, so no spoilers, please!) If you haven’t read it, do—it’s the kind of book I love, where writer’s skill is so deft that he could write several chapters about assembling IKEA furniture, and you’d be willing to go along for the ride. And the movie, which opens in theaters on Friday, looks like a winner as well.

And if you’ve read the book, you know it only takes a few paragraphs before you fall in love with Hazel Grace, the “miracle” girl who survived a cancer that wrecked her lungs, forcing her to walk around trailing an oxygen tank that pipes better air through a cannula under her nose. And it seems that people have fallen back in love with the name Hazel as well.

Hazel is a nature name, for the tree that gives us hazelnuts, and it’s also a color—a green-flecked brown eye hue. It reached its first peak in popularity back in the early 1900s, then bottomed out from the 1970s to the early 2000s. But like many other turn-of-the-20th-century faves (think Adeline and Clara), this is making a big comeback. It’s a favorite of celebrities—Julia Roberts picked it first, followed recently by Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. And it’s currently the 157th most popular name for girls here in the U.S. My guess is that with the movie release and the passionate fan base surrounding The Fault in Our Stars, this name is definitely on a popularity trajectory that should bring it into the top 100 within the next year or two.

John Green chose well pairing Hazel with the sweet middle name Grace. If you don’t want to seem like you’re copying, consider pairing Hazel with June, James (yes, it works for girls!), Claire, Plum or May/Mae.

What do you think of the name Hazel? Would you consider a nature-based name for your baby?

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

If your still looking for the perfect baby name, 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!

 

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Oscar-Worthy Baby Names

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Break out the champagne and the fancy hors d’oeuvres—today’s my version of the Superbowl, the Oscars. While the number of nominated films I get to see (at least in the non-animated categories) has fallen exponentially since I had kids, I’m always excited to check out the fashions and start crafting my own imaginary acceptance speech.

But while I love Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence and all the other nominees, watching the Oscars always makes me nostalgic for my old-school favorite movies, often starring legendary actors who never even scored an Oscar. (Cary Grant only scored an honorary Oscar for all of his years starring in amazing films like His Girl Friday and Philadelphia StoryMarilyn Monroe never scored one either, despite hilarious turns in Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.)

If you’re a big movie buff, there are plenty of wonderful names to consider among past (and current) honorees—here are some of my favorites.

You can’t go wrong with Meryl Streep, nominated yet again this year for her role in August: Osage County. She’s scored the most total nominations, with 18—and three wins among them. Her name is a variant of Muriel, which means “of the sea.”

Bette Davis was the first woman to receive 10 nominations—and had five consecutive, along with fellow actress Greer Garson. Bette is a variant of Elizabeth, which means consecrated to God.

Walt Disney won the most Oscars, with 22 victories. His name is short for Walter, a German name that means ruler, and is currently on an upsurge.

The legendary costume designer Edith Head is known as the most-honored woman in Oscar history, with 7 wins, including two for Roman Holiday and Sabrina, where she outfitted the equally legendary Audrey Hepburn. Edith means prosperous in war, and is currently on a bit of an uptick and in the top 800 names.

Katharine Hepburn is the winningest actress with four acting awards—and an inspiration for my daughter’s name. Katharine means pure. Her true love, Spencer Tracy, was among the first to win twice consecutively. His name, Spencer, means steward, and is currently in the top 250 names for boys.

And last but not least, Marlon Brando was a legendary actor who scored the most consecutive nominations with four in a row. His name’s origin is a bit of a mystery, but the name is currently in the top 700 in the U.S. Some more adventurous namers have chosen Brando instead to honor the Oscar winner.

What’s your favorite Oscar-related name? Share it in the comments! (And see what other Oscar-related name I picked for the Cool Name of the Week.)

Find out the meaning of your favorite baby names with our Baby Name Finder, and keep up with the latest in baby name news.

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

Image: Oscar award by Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

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