New Zealand has a pretty sane set of rules for the baby names they allow. It can’t be something someone would consider a title (so sorry, no Princes or Princesses if you’re from New Zealand), cause offense (no Anal or Mafia No Fear), or be unreasonably long (no, you can’t name your child Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii—and a kid was actually taken away from her parents after they attempted to name her that). Of course, there are some odd names that did make the cut. Like Violence or Number 16 Bus Shelter. (Seriously, who names their kids that?)
CNN published the list of every name they’d rejected over the past 12 years, along with the number of times someone has attempted the name. The interesting thing is that some of the names, like Duke and Messiah, are actually starting to become more popular here in the U.S.
Would you pick any of these names for your baby? And do you think any of these should be banned worldwide? (I’m thinking 4Real, Anal and any form of punctuation, i.e. *, ., or # deserve a universal ban.)
C J :1
Roman numerals III:1
. (full stop):1
Mafia No Fear:1
* (star symbol):1
This past weekend was “nerd prom” (AKA the White House Correspondents’ dinner). It’s a fete for all the journalists who cover the executive end of the political spectrum, along with an ever-larger dollop of Hollywood types. (This year, the eclectic group included Sofia Vergara, PSY, and Katy Perry. )
And though his jokes weren’t quite as biting and memorable as my favorite former host of the proceedings, Stephen Colbert (who memorably took George W. Bush down), Conan O’Brien did an admirable job poking fun at the President, various members of the press corps, and other notable names.
Conan has been late-night royalty for two decades now (and that’s after he served as a writer on two comedy staples, Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons)—but his popularity hasn’t led to an increase in popularity for his name. Conan is an Irish name that means “wolf,” and you’d think it’d be rising up the charts right now, close on the heels of Celtic winners like Connor, Aidan and Gavin. But it’s still languishing well below the 1,000 mark.
Conan’s cool factor isn’t limited to the ginger-tressed late-night host—there’s also author Arthur Conan Doyle, the mastermind behind genius detective Sherlock Holmes. Of course, there’s also the pulpy comic book hero Conan the Barbarian, which is probably what’s holding back the popularity of this name.
Conan pairs nicely with some of the longer middle names, like Frederick, Alexander or Zachary. If your surname is longer, consider a short middle name like West or Lee. Just skip anything with an -an ending, to avoid a weird rhyming cadence with the first name. (Conan O’Brien’s parents paired it with Christopher, in case you were wondering.)
So why do you think Conan hasn’t become more popular? Is it the “Barbarian” connotation? Or are fewer people on “Team Coco” than we thought?
While big sister Mia sports a very popular name, Penna’s more offbeat and less heard of—it’s the Latin word for feather, and an abbreviation for Pennsylvania. And it could also be used as a cool nickname for Penelope, too. But even though it’s rarely heard here in the U.S., it doesn’t sound too outlandish—it has a very classic vibe to it.
Mae is a variant spelling of middle-name staple May, though also it’s often used as a nickname for Margaret. Its most famous association is with legendary screen siren Mae West, who was known for her classic quips, like “When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad I’m better.” (She wrote many of her works, in addition to starring in them.)
Even though the siblings have names that vary considerably in popularity (Mia’s currently in the top 10 in name popularity, while poor Penna doesn’t even chart), they pair nicely together—both are feminine and easy to pronounce.
What do you think of the name Penna? Is it too offbeat, or a name unique enough for a very special little girl?
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Gwyneth Paltrow was just named People’s Most Beautiful Person—but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another Gwyneth in real life. It’s a pretty name, reminiscent of the far more popular Genevieve, and has a lovely meaning—cherished. But I’m thinking the Gwyneth Paltrow backlash against the Marie Antoinette-ish lack of reality in her GOOP newsletter. (I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a half a million dollars to spring on “wardrobe essentials.”)
Which got me thinking about some other names you should be seeing around the playground, but never took off. Here’s my list of names that should be higher on the radar.
Suri My younger daughter and I actually brushed past Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s intriguingly named offspring recently. (We both attended the same performance of Cinderella on Broadway and both ended up hanging out backstage at the same time.) Tom and Katie claimed the name meant rose or royalty in Persian or Hebrew, but experts say it’s a name that has more negative connotations—like “pickpocket” in Japanese. Whether it’s part of the Tom Cruise backlash or it’s the fact that Suri rhymes with “slurry,” this name hasn’t caught fire.
Pax The names of some of Brangelina’s other offspring have really taken off—we’re looking at you Maddox, Vivienne, and Knox! But Pax has yet to take off—despite the fact that it has that cool “x” ending and a really neat meaning, “peace.”
Seraphina It’s been four years since Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner gave this angelic name to their daughter, and it still hasn’t cracked the top 1000. It’s a nice alternative to the far-more-popular Sabrina.
Harry A handsome British royal and the world’s most famous boy wizard haven’t done anything to bring this variant of Henry back from its slow and steady decline. (Though Henry itself has been on the rise!)
What names do you think should be more popular than they are? (Or are you too afraid to share them, in case you want to use them?)
Categories: Celebrity Baby Names, In Name Only, Must Read | Tags: baby names, ben affleck, brangelina, celebrities, celebrity baby names, gwyneth paltrow, harry, jennifer garner, katie holmes, suri cruise, tom cruise
Violet’s been an up-and-coming name ever since Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner chose it for their daughter. It’s just about to hit the top 100 baby names, as part of the rise of floral names like Lily, Poppy, Rose and Daisy. Violet’s been popular for fictional characters—you’ll find it as the gum-chewing contest winner in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the superhero teen with invisibility powers on The Incredibles, and the oldest Baudelaire orphan in the popular Series of Unfortunate Events books.
And the middle name is even hotter—Grace is #16 on the U.S. list for girls’ names. It’s part of the virtue name trend, with names like Hope and Faith. And Grace is a name associated with true Hollywood royalty—Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco.
In all, I think it’s a winner—a name that would be fabulous for any girl.
What do you think of Violet Grace? Is it a name you’d consider for your daughter?