Posts Tagged ‘ classic names ’

True Blood Baby Name Picks

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

It’s almost time to say goodbye to Bon Temps, Louisiana, and the various vamps, werewolves, fairies, witches and shape shifters that call it home. So let’s take a look back at some of the characters (and names) that made that town more than a little bit wild.

Many of True Blood‘s characters sport names that are pretty standard—there’s Eric, Pam, Sam, Jason, Bill and Jessica amongst the main characters. And some of the names even border on fuddy-duddy. (We’re looking at you, Arlene!)

But still, there’ve been plenty of creative name choices that many folks might consider, amongst the more standard fare. Here, some of the coolest, more offbeat choices from

Willa is the youngest vampire in town, and sports a newly trendy feminization of William.

Sookie is the heroine, a half-fairy/half-human lady who’s been at the center of practically every love triangle/quadrangle/hexagon on the show. Her name is allegedly a nickname of Susan, and means lily. Despite the popularity of the books and the show, it hasn’t seen a rise in popularity: Last year, only nine girls were given the name.

Thornton, Sookie’s BFF Tara’s surname, makes a cool, if offbeat, surname name. (“Our Town” playwright Thornton Wilder is another claim to fame.)

Luna was Sam’s shapeshifting love, and her name has been red hot of late, thanks to Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter’s offbeat pal. (It shot up nearly 200 spots in the year the Order of the Phoenix came out.) It means moon.

Nora was Eric Northman’s sister, and lost her battle to the evil Hep V virus that’s been a real plague through the last season. Nora is a shortened form of the Irish Honora, an equally lovely name.

We’ve learned a lot more about Ginger, the seemingly ditzy waitress at the vamp bar Fangtasia, over the past few weeks. Apparently, before she hooked up with Eric and Pam, she was a smart college student working on a complex thesis about vampires. I think she was probably glamored one too many times, which led to her more ditzy (but still loyal) demeanor of today. Ginger is considered short for Virginia, along with a spicy name—and it’s also associated with the dancing great Ginger Rogers.

Salome, the gorgeous vampire on True Blood, wasn’t just based on the Biblical character—she was the character from the Bible, who was allegedly involved in the death of John the Baptist. But her name has a more zen meaning: peace.

Adele Stackhouse was Sookie’s grandmother and guardian, who met an untimely death at the hands of a vampire hater named Rene. Adele means “noble,” and it’s a top 700 name currently.

We’ve also covered True Blood‘s favorite names in the past, so check out our previous roundup.

If you’re still looking for the perfect baby name, send it to me at, and your dilemma could appear in a future issue of American Baby magazine. Or go ahead and give our Baby Name Finder a try. 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

Image: Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin by Helga Esteb /

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Baby Name Dilemma: A Middle Name Beginning With J

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

We’ve had a TON of great reader questions lately—and so I’m hoping to get through a lot of them this week. We’re kicking it off with reader Mandy, who needs a little help with a middle name:

I’m wondering if you could help me come up with a middle name for Maeve, preferably one that starts with the letter J.

Maeve is one of my favorite go-to middle name choices, and I LOVE the idea of putting it in the starring role. With a short-and-sweet name like Maeve, you need a middle name that’s a little longer—so we have to discount common middles like Jane, June, Jade and James (yes, that works for a girl!). But there are still some really intriguing options out there for you.

I absolutely LOVE the thought of pairing Maeve with Josephine. It’s a feminization of Joseph and means “Jehovah increases.” There are plenty of cool historical/literary figures with the name, including Napoleon’s wife, Empress Josephine, singer/actor Josephine Baker, and of course, Josephine March, the heroine of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

Another name with great literary chops and a nice pairing option with Maeve is Juliet, the female part of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers. It means “youthful.”

A few other options for you: I love the two nature names Juniper (a berry-producing tree that is the source of gin), and Jasper, the precious stone (this name is usually reserved for guys, but I kind of like the sound of Maeve Jasper). And then there’s Jolie, a French name that means pretty.

If you want to move beyond the Js, there are a few other names I’d love paired with Maeve. Try the “J” sounding Gs, like Genevieve, Giada and Georgia, or some hard “C” names, like Clementine, Clara or Caroline.

What other “J” names do you like, readers? Or are there any other names you’d like to see paired with Maeve?

If you’re looking for a little advice for your baby’s name, don’t be shy. You can email me at, or study names on your own with our Baby Name Finder. And don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the very latest in baby names!

Irish Baby Names
Irish Baby Names
Irish Baby Names

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Cool Name of the Week: Walter

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

I came late to the Breaking Bad party—it seems like all of my favorite shows are on Sunday nights, and my DVR can only manage so many. And I’m still not quite caught up to where this final season is taking us. But you have to credit actor Bryan Cranston for taking the role of Walter White, the mild-mannered chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin, and making his descent from decent guy into darkness so compelling and believable.

Even though Walter White may be the ultimate anti-hero, I’m thinking he has shaken the dust off of this formerly fuddy-duddy name. Walter’s a German name that means ruler, and it’s been a top-of-the list name through the mid-1970s, when it started a pretty steep decline. But it’s currently leveling off in the mid-300s, and even on a slight uptick.

There’s a ton of cool namesakes for your Walter, beyond a fictional meth dealer. Think Walter Raleigh, English explorer, poet Walt Whitman, actor Walter Matthau, journalism legend Walter Cronkite, or the iconic Walt Disney.

Walter needs a great middle name with it—I’d pair it with Malcolm, Gideon, or Henry.

So what do you think—is Walter too old-fashioned, or now, too dangerous, thanks to Breaking Bad? Or is it a name you’d consider for your son?

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Should You Create Your Own Baby Name?

Friday, May 31st, 2013

A commenter asked what I thought about creating your own baby name: In her situation, she’d cobbled together parts of her name and another person she loved to build a brand-new name, which she didn’t share with me.

I’m all about picking names that are meaningful to you, that honor the people or places you love. But I’m not a huge fan of the made-up name. (With daughters named Katharine and Margaret, would you really expect me to be?)

For me, I see so many wonderful options already out there (thousands upon thousands of them), that have a meaning and a history attached to them, that I just don’t see the need to look for something else. And I think names like Nevaeh and Kierson just sound like you’re trying a little too hard to be original.

Of course, there’s the argument that without people constantly creating new names, we wouldn’t have many of the names we have today (including my own, which started its life as a nickname for Elizabeth). I’m sure that names like Violet and Ruby (two of my favorites) once seemed outlandish to past generations.

Personally, I would never pick a name that didn’t have some historical gravitas (I was a history major, after all). But if it’s a name that really speaks to you and has meaning for you—and the name isn’t something truly awful that’s going to require decades of therapy and a future legal name change, then you’re welcome to do it.

I want to know what YOU think—are you for or against creative, made-up names? Do you think names like Nevaeh are a blight upon the future generations, or just something fun, new and original? Vote in our Name Game to give your perspective on names classic and new. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.

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Cool Name of the Week: Alfred

Monday, November 5th, 2012

I’ve always been a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies—particularly Vertigo and Rear Window. But I haven’t ever known much about the man other than his famous profile, and his body of work. That’s what makes the new set of Hitchcock movies so intriguing—they focus more on the man. There’s The Girl, currently playing on HBO, which portrays him as a bit of a creep who really pushed his actresses a bit too far (especially poor Tippi Hedren). And tonight, I saw a preview for a released-to-theaters movie called Hitchcock—it’s hard to tell how they’re portraying the early suspense master in that flick.

But maybe it’s time for the name Alfred to head back into the limelight, now that one of the most famous bearers of the name is experiencing a renaissance. Alfred’s an old English name that means “wise counselor,” and it’s been in the top 1000 names for over a century—though it’s barely charting right now. Besides Mr. Hitchcock, it’s the name of the the poet Tennyson and Alfred Nobel (the founder of the Nobel prizes). It’s not a bad crew to join!

Alfred comes with a handful of great nicknames, including Alfie, Fred and Al. And it’d be great paired with a smart and stylish middle name. Hitchcock’s was Joseph, but I like Lane, Flynn or the classic James.

What do you think of Alfred? Is it still too old-fashioned, or does it deserve a fresh start? Don’t forget to share your baby name dilemmas with me at lamilbrand AT, and like In Name Only on Facebook, so you can stay up on the latest in baby names!

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/


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