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celebrity baby names ’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Baby Name Help, Baby Name News, Must Read
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
The 1990s may feel like yesterday—but it is already 20 years ago! As with most recent top 10 girls’ names, the 1990s chart topper, Jessica, has had a sharp decline since its heyday—it’s currently at number 138 and dropping. Michael, the top boys’ name of the decade (and really, for several decades when the current crop of dads were born), fared a little better than poor Jessie—Michael’s still in the top 10!
Many of the recent hot names started their climb to the top during the 1990s, but there are still some gems that may deserve a second look.
GIRLS’ BABY NAMES
The place name trend started at the turn of the century, when names like Cheyenne and Alexandria were hot. Cheyenne was #100 back in the 1990s—it’s a Sioux name that means “people of a different language,” and is also the capital of Wyoming. Alexandria is another take on Alexandra, but one that has more international flair—think the city in Egypt.
Sabrina was the 91st most popular name back in the 1990s. It’s the name of a Celtic goddess—and the title of the classic film, starring Audrey Hepburn.
Pretty Paige reached its pinnacle, #66, in the decade of flannel and grunge. Its most famous bearer was one of the sisters on Charmed.
The #33 name back in the 1990s was Kelsey, an English name that means “island.” Kelsey was a relatively new name, first breaking into the top 1000 in the 1970s—but since its peak in the 1990s, it’s back down to the top 300. Still, it’s a fun alternative to Lindsay or Kelly.
Spencer, a name that means “steward,” was the 98th most popular name for boys in the 1990s. It’s tapered off into the top 205 since then, but thanks to its association with silver screen icon Spencer Tracy, it still has glamour.
Mitchell is a British version of perennial favorite Michael, and reached its pinnacle of popularity in the 1990s, when it was 91st most popular name. Consider it as a way to pay homage to Michael, without choosing that top 10 name.
An early Irish favorite was Garrett, which reached its peak at 85 20 years ago. It means strong, and has had a slight decline into top 250.
Blake, which means fair-haired, was the #84 name in the 1990s, and has stabilized in the top 100 ever sense. Thanks to country star Blake Shelton, this is likely destined to remain a hot name for the foreseeable future.
What’s your favorite 1990s name? If you’re still searching for the perfect name, check out our Baby Name Finder.
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Image: Guryanov Andrey
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Baby Name Stories, In Name Only, Must Read
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
It’s often hard to predict which pop culture names will inspire parents to choose them. I would have thought that Barack might have cracked the top 1000 after our 44th president, but no such luck. Only a handful of people have used Katniss or Peeta for their offspring, despite the Hunger Games’ popularity. And there’s really only one Beyonce—that name, created for the singer by her parents, still hasn’t cracked the top 1000.
But another celebrity catapulted her totally made up (and not even official) name into the baby name stratosphere—Miley Cyrus, who was born with the name Destiny Hope. Miley was her nickname because she was so “smiley” as a kid, and it became both her stage name and her alter ego’s name from Hannah Montana, too.
The year after the show Hannah Montana hit the airwaves, the name hit the big time, becoming the 278th most popular name in the country. Its popularity peaked in 2008, and it’s been on a slow and steady decline since then—in 2012, it ranked 335th.
I’m curious to see if it’s going to make a much sharper trajectory into the basement with all of Miley’s latest hijinks—maybe parents don’t want their kids named in honor of someone so controversial. My guess? It probably will take a huge nosedive. For reference, take a look at the trajectory of the name Lindsay (a la Lindsay Lohan), which took a big bump down starting with her first brushes with the law in 2006. And Lindsay is an actual name with a real meaning behind it, so it has that going over Miley’s name.
What do you think? Is Miley destined for a big drop in popularity? Or will parents still like that “smiley” message behind it?
If you’re still looking for a 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 latest in baby names!
Image: Miley Cyrus by Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name News, Celebrity Baby Names, Must Read
Monday, November 4th, 2013
Orlando isn’t just a theme park mecca—it can be a great boys’ name, too. Witness Orlando Bloom, of Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings fame. The news of the end of his marriage to model Miranda Kerr helped remind me of how lovely his name is (and how lovely he is, as well).
It’s currently a top 500 baby name, but on a bit of a decline right now. It has a great meaning—famous—and a Shakespearean pedigree, thanks to his beloved play, As You Like It. Author Virginia Woolf also penned a novel titled Orlando.
If you’re picking a name like Orlando, you can’t pair it with something too plain as the middle name (or in the sibling set—Orlando’s sister should be something equally romantic, like Arabella or Lucinda). I’d give a middle name like Rhys or Lucas.
As for nicknames, Landi and Lando are the most common—Lando comes with a bit of a nod to Star Wars as well. I like the idea of Arlo as a nickname—a bit unexpected, with a musical pedigree of its own, thanks to Arlo Guthrie.
What do you think? Is Orlando too exotic, too Disney, or just right? And don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder to help you find the perfect name for your baby!
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Celebrity Baby Names, In Name Only
Thursday, October 24th, 2013
Two celebrity baby boys made their debut this week—first came Mmm-Bopper Zac Hanson’s brand new son, George Abraham Walker Hanson, then came Homeland star Morena Baccarin’s son, Julius.
George is quickly becoming a red-hot celebrity name, thanks in part to the royal baby. It means farmer, and is currently in the top 200 here in the U.S.—expect it to rise when the stats come out for 2013. It’s a royal and presidential name, and there’s a ton of legendary namesakes, from our first President to the famously curious monkey.
Zac Hanson has already said, though, that he’s calling the new baby by his middle name, Abraham—another long-time classic making a comeback. It’s a Biblical name, but one that’s most often associated with President Lincoln. It means father of multitudes.
Walker is a surname/occupational name, and is an up-and-coming name, currently #411 on the U.S. baby name popularity charts.
Morena Baccarin and husband Austin Chick welcomed son Julius a few days ago. Julius is most commonly linked with the famous Roman conqueror, Julius Caesar. The name means “youthful,” and the name is currently on the rise, after dipping into the 500s in the 1990s. It comes with the cool nickname “Jules.”
So, what do you think of the latest batch of celebrity baby names? Anything in the mix that you might consider for your baby?
Still on the hunt for the perfect baby name? Check out our Baby Name Finder!
Image: Morena Baccarin by Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name Stories, Celebrity Baby Names, Must Read