Posts Tagged ‘ hunger games ’

Cool Name of the Week: Pippa

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I’m always intrigued by the names authors select for their characters. It’s pretty clear when an author really has fun naming her characters—think J.K. Rowling with Harry Potter, or Suzanne Collins with the Hunger Games. But some of those offbeat names (a la Severus and Glimmer) aren’t exactly wearable in the real world, so you need to look to other lit for inspiration.

I just finished Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, which was chosen as one of the top novels of the year. (She also wrote the amazing The Secret History, which I loved.) With The Goldfinch, Donna shares a story of a decades-long (and possibly unrequited) love, of art theft—and lots and lots of crime. I couldn’t put it down.

Protagonist Theo Decker has a pretty standard name, but Donna Tartt came up with some other intriguing characters and names—from tatty Vegas cocktail waitress Xandra to eccentric best bud Boris. But name wise I loved Pippa, for whom Theo bears a torch, most of all.

Pippa is generally considered a nickname of Philippa, a name that means “lover of horses,” and hit the limelight first a few years ago, when Kate Middleton first became engaged to Prince William—and her sister Pippa Middleton a bit of a British style icon. But more people are intrigued by the shortened Pippa than the longer name now—and I’m imagining that this character, a lively and beautiful young musician whose life has been touched by tragedy, may help bring it into the top 1000.

As for middle names, I’d pair Pippa with something equally fun and fresh: Mae, Jade, and Quinn.

What do you think of Pippa? Would you pick it for your daughter?

If you’re still looking for a baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder or send your dilemma to to get more personalized advice. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names!

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Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?

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Baby Name Dilemma: An “R” Girls’ Name

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Reader Kristin is already starting to line up baby names for a future daughter. Here’s her dilemma:

We have a daughter Anna Reese, who we call Reese. We are planning to try again very soon and don’t have a girl’s name. I’d like it to start with an R. Any suggestions?

Reese is such a cute name (a la Reese Witherspoon). And there are a ton of great “R” names out there—here are a few of my picks for your daughter-to-be:

Rue has recently hit the spotlight, thanks to the character in the popular Hunger Games series. It’s an herb that is regularly used in medicines, and I think it’d be a sweet name that sounds beautiful with Reese.

I love the name Ramona—it’s the troublesome little sister from the classic Beezus and Ramona books, and means wise protector. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 1980s, but Green Day rocker Tre Cool and actors Peter Saarsgard and Maggie Gyllenhaal picked it for their daughters, which may help it make a comeback.

Rowena is a Welsh name that means famous friend—it’s currently well known as the name of one of the founders of Hogwarts, Rowena Ravenclaw, from the Harry Potter series.

Rory is a unisex name that means “red king.” It’s currently more popular for boys, where it’s in the top 500, but it’s a sweet name for girls, too. It was the name of Rory Gilmore on the Gilmore Girls.

Rose has become a popular name, but I prefer Rosalind, which means beautiful rose. It fell out of the top 1000 baby names back in the 1970s, and it’s currently one of the five names for Uma Thurman’s youngest daughter.

Ruby is one of my favorite gem names—I actually picked it for a character in my (as yet!) unfinished novels. It’s a bold, red gem and it’s just about to break into the top 100 baby names in the U.S.

I know there are a ton of other great “R” names out there—so readers, share your favorite “R” girls names in the comments!

If you’re looking for a baby name for your baby-to-be, email me at, or check out our Baby Name Finder. (And don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names!)

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Why Haven’t The Hunger Games Baby Names Caught On?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

The Hunger Games series has been a massive hit both as a book series and in film form. And even though it has cool and pretty creative spins on classic names, they’re aren’t a bunch of Katnisses and Peetas at the local day cares. (In fact, there were only 12 girls in the whole country named Katniss last year, and not a single Peeta.)

Sure, there are some names that just don’t seem to lend themselves to use—like Beetee or Glimmer—but here are a few less offbeat names that might be worth considering.

The Hunger Games‘ heroine Katniss sports a name that’s only slightly off from classics like Katherine and Katrina. It’s the name of a real-life edible plant. And who wouldn’t want their daughter named after such a strong and brave character? (Especially one played by the awesome Jennifer Lawrence?)

Gale is Katniss’ BFF and perhaps her true love, has a weather name that means forceful wind, a variant spelling of the short form of Abigail. If you aren’t daring enough to give it to a boy, it might be worthy of a girl.

Effie was once a top 100 baby name, but fell out of the top 1000 before 1960. It’s short for Euphemia, and it’s the name of the always fashionable Effie Trinket.

Perhaps my favorite name from the series is Primrose, Katniss’ younger sister. It’s a beautiful flower and a not well-used name—only 16 girls were given the name last year.

Rue was the girl Katniss tried to save in the first Hunger Games. It’s also a floral name, and makes an adorable middle name.

Johanna is probably the most popular of the names used in the series—it’s a feminization of John, and has been in the top 600 for more than a century.

I love the name Alma, which author Suzanne Collins picked for the future prez of Panem. It means nurturing, and has been in the top 1000 for more than a century.

Are there any Hunger Games names you’d want to use? If you’re still looking for a baby name, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Generator! And if you want to keep up on the latest in baby names, like In Name Only on Facebook!

Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret

Image: The Hunger Games book cover, courtesy of Scholastic

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Did You Name Your Baby After Your Pop Culture Hero?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Everyone wants a baby with some meaning to them—whether it’s picking a name from within the family, a name that has a cool definition, or even a name they’ve loved since they were naming their baby dolls. But for some people, a good baby name is one chosen from a favorite movie, TV show, book—or even the name of a favorite actress or author.

That explains the meteoric rise of the baby name Luke after George Lucas’s Star Wars hit movie theaters in the late 1970s. And of course, Twilight probably helped Jacob and Isabella rise to the top of the baby naming charts. But what about some more offbeat names that are more clearly associated with certain pop culture creations—names like Katniss or Cinna from the Hunger Games, or Sansa or Tyrion from Game of Thrones? Would you consider choosing something that so clearly delineates you as a fan of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars—even if your son or daughter may not quite share your passion when they get bigger?

Here are a few names that I’m thinking might catch on (but haven’t quite yet) from some of the most popular pop culture phenomena in the past decade—would you consider any of these for your child?

Arwen Lord of the Rings fans might consider this name, which was used for the Elf princess who forsakes her Elven heritage after falling in love with the human Aragorn. (When he’s played by Viggo Mortensen, who wouldn’t?) Arwen is a Welsh name that means “noble lady.”

Arya The bold and brash younger daughter of the Stark family from Game of Thrones sports a Sanskrit name that means noble. I’m thinking it’s going to become immensely popular over the next few years, as the name has jumped nearly 200 spots on the top U.S. baby names list in the last year alone.

Daryl Sure, it’s a common enough name among the middle-aged set right now, but this name fell off the top 1000 baby names list earlier this century. Expect badass zombie survivor Daryl Dixon from the Walking Dead to bring this name back from…well…the dead. (I think Dixon itself may also be a contender for an offbeat surname name!)

Hermione Now that Harry Potter ensured that everyone knows how to pronounce it, expect this classic Greek name, which means “messenger,” to start climbing the charts.

Katniss I’ll be surprised if this offbeat nature name, chosen for the heroine of the ultrapopular Hunger Games, doesn’t make the top 1000 baby names within the next year or two.

Remus Greco-Roman names for boys have become red hot, which may help Remus—the mythological, raised-by-wolves co-founder of Rome, and the heroic werewolf-wizard from Harry Potter—fall into favor.

Sookie Sookie’s billed as a nickname for Susan—and as the fairy-blooded waitress in the steamy supernatural soap opera True Blood, she’s giving this offbeat nickname moniker a fresh new life.

Theon A nice alternative to the typical Theodore, Theon is a Greek name that means “godly,” and comes from the Game of Thrones, where it’s used for the rebellious former ward of the Stark family, who decides to rejoin his birth family and battle the Starks for control of the country.

Thorin Found in Lord of the Rings, this leader of the dwarves is a variant on Thor, the Norse god of Thunder.

Image: Harry Potter cover by catwalker /

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Celebrity Baby Name: Hunger Games’ Elizabeth Banks’ New Son

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Elizabeth Banks was fabulous as Effie Trinket in the first Hunger Games movie—and now she and husband Max Handelman have given their new son a name that seems worthy of a Capital hotshot. Magnus Mitchell joins big brother Felix, who is 20 months old.

Both boys have names with strong Latin roots—big brother Felix’s name means “happy,” while new baby Magnus gets the name that means “the greatest.” And the middle name Mitchell could be a family surname, or simply the English variant of Michael. (And considering that Elizabeth Banks had a memorable guest starring spot on Modern Family, perhaps it’s a nod to Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s character Mitch on that show.)

Magnus is a hot name in Scandinavia now—and was a big name for royalty over there—but it hasn’t really caught on here. I wonder if the name just seems a little bit too boastful (even if every parent knows that their kid is the absolute greatest). But I think that the fervor over the Hunger Games, where many characters have names with classical Latin roots, may help bring names like Magnus to light. Consider Latin-based names like Octavia, Venia and Flavius, Cinna‘s stylist helpers—and Seneca, Claudius, Plutarch and Caesar, who all help put on the Games.

But in any case, it seems like a perfect name match with their other son’s name—and Magnus is a name that flows beautifully with their last name, Handelman.

Having trouble naming your baby (and aren’t sure if Magnus is the right choice for you)? Feel free to drop me a line at lamilbrand AT and your question could be featured in an upcoming post. (And don’t forget to like me on Facebook for the latest in baby naming trends!)

Photo: Elizabeth Banks by s_bukley /

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