Archive for the ‘ In Name Only ’ Category

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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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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Celebrity Baby Names: Chelsea Clinton’s Daughter

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

It’s a girl for former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Mark Mezvinsky. That makes former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State (and potential 2016 contender) Hillary Clinton officially grandparents! And the name picked for this little girl? The lovely and classic Charlotte!

Charlotte is a French feminization of Charles, and shares its meaning of free man. It’s been on the rise for a while, and is now just outside the top 10, at #11. It’s a classic name that’s been used for numerous famous folks European royalty, author Charlotte Bronte, and the character Charlotte York on Sex and the City.

The middle name is mom’s famous surname, Clinton.

What do you think of Charlotte as a baby name pick? Too popular, or just a wonderful classic?

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

Debby Wong /

French Baby Names
French Baby Names
French Baby Names

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Baby Name Dilemma: VERY Last Minute Help!

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Talk about waiting until the last minute! Reader Kaleen emailed me last night—and she’s going into labor today! She and her husband still can’t find a great name:

I’m due with our third child, but first girl, tomorrow!!! And yes, there are STILL some definite naming issues between my husband and I. Would love to hear a perfect name….would love to have A name before labor!

Well, I’m not sure if we got in under the wire here for Kaleen (and alas, she didn’t give me much to go on as far as parameters—or where the disagreements lie). So I think I’ll just share a few of my favorite names (beyond the ones that I actually gave my daughters—Katharine and Margaret—which of course, I absolutely adore).

One of my favorite of-the-moment names, Luna, won’t work super well with her last name, Wolfe. (To me, that feels a little too much like a clever character in a werewolf movie.)

But with a short-and-sweet last name, you can go nice and long with the first. A few to consider:

Veronica, which has a great Biblical beginning, plus the cool girl-detective character Veronica Mars to recommend it.

Clementine, an up-and-comer name that has been a celebrity darling over the past year or so.

Fiona, one of my top picks and a former cool name of the week.

Evelyn, a recent celebrity baby name favorite—which feels like an author’s name when paired with Wolfe.

Elizabella, picked by actress Alyssa Milano, a vintage mashup between favorites Elizabeth and Isabella. (Hey, you’ve got the room for all those extra syllables!)

Juliet, because the classic Shakespearean lover never goes out of style.

Eleanor, because she’s one of my favorite figures in British history.

and Clara, because that’s my daughters’ favorite Doctor Who companion.

So what do you think, folks? What other names should Kaleen consider? What are some of your favorites that you’ll never get to use (and might go well with the last name Wolfe)?

If you’re still looking for the perfect baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder, or email me at for a little expert advice. And don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the very latest in baby names!


Vampire Baby Names
Vampire Baby Names
Vampire Baby Names



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Celebrity Baby Names: Snooki Named Her Daughter…

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Jersey Shore’s “Snooki” Nicole Polizzi and her fiance Jionni LaValle welcomed their second child, and gave her a name with plenty of Italian flair. Joining big brother Lorenzo is Giovanna Marie.

Giovanna is the feminization of the Italian variation of John, Giovanni. It shares its meaning, “God is gracious.” It’s a relatively new addition to the top 1000, having just started charting in the early 1990s, and it’s never made it higher than #635. (It’s currently at 962.)

Marie has long been a favorite in the middle spot. It’s a variant on Mary, and shares its meaning—bitter. Marie is solidly in the top 600 range currently, though on a general downward trend.

Looks like I didn’t guess correctly when I took a stab at choosing a name for Snooki’s baby, but I love Giovanna—it’s very pretty.

Tell us: What do you think of Snooki’s pick? Is it a name you’d consider?

If you’re still looking for a name for your daughter, don’t forget to send me your dilemma at (If you want to DIY it, turn to 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!

Christian Baby Names
Christian Baby Names
Christian Baby Names

Image: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi by Jaguar PS/

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