Posts Tagged ‘ classic names ’

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?

Add a Comment
Back To In Name Only

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.

Add a Comment
Back To In Name Only

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/


Add a Comment
Back To In Name Only