Posts Tagged ‘
unique baby names ’
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013
One cool part of running the In Name Only blog is getting to talk about baby names with some of the top naming experts in the country. And I love nothing more than chatting with Laura Wattenberg, the lady behind the super cool Name Voyager tool, and author of The Baby Name Wizard, now in its third edition.
What’s new in the latest version? You’ll find, of course, updated stats on each name, but also new naming maps of the United States show the distinctive styles of boys’ and girls’ names you’ll find in each state, from “Preppy Cowboys” to “Romantic Flourish” names. A name that’s rare in the rest of the country can be surprisingly common in your own backyard. Each name entry also includes a new section called “In the World” that lists the associations most likely to come to people’s minds when they hear a name. Those associations could be people, like reality tv judge Simon Cowell, but also phrases, products or titles, like “Simon Says.” That real-world context helps paint a fuller picture of each name.
(Want to know more? Check out our Mom Must Read blogger Kristin Kemp’s review of the updated version of Baby Name Wizard!)
I interviewed Laura to get a few pointers for anyone looking for a little help in the baby naming department:
So many parents today are worried about picking a name that’s too popular. How can parents avoid that?
We all wish we had a crystal ball to predict the next hot name. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the only way to make sure that the name you choose won’t become popular is to choose a name you don’t like, that feels really boring to you.
Rather than just looking at a ranking, you should look at Name Voyager, to see in what direction a name is going. If it’s been pretty steady for past decade, or if it’s already heading down, it will probably keep going that way.
What’s your take on the creative spelling trend? (We’re talking Aiden, Aidan, Ayden, etc.)
It’s easy to fall into trap that if you spell it differently, it’s going to be different. But it’s still going to be the same spoken out loud. Some kids love having creative spellings, but most just end up frustrated that everyone gets their name wrong.
What baby name advice do you think is most important for parents to consider?
Choosing a name has become more difficult. The more choices you have, the harder it is to know that you’ve chosen right. But as long as you love the name you chose and it brings a smile to your face, it doesn’t matter that there’s another name out there.
It’s important to stay positive, and focus on what you love rather than getting too caught up in the competitive drive to choose a unique name. That’s easier said than done, though! Once you have a short list, try to “narrow up” to a choice by thinking about what delights you about the names, rather than “narrowing down” by finding fault. (You can read more about her baby name strategies here.)
Monday, April 29th, 2013
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?
Monday, April 29th, 2013
It’s another daughter for original 90210-er Ian Ziering—he and wife Erin welcomed Penna Mae exactly two years to the day after her big sister, Mia Loren, arrived.
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?
Don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names!
Image: Erin and Ian Ziering by Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
I’ve been thinking about the latest spate of celebrity baby names, and I’ve noticed a trend—the celebs who have more unique names themselves gave their kids very traditional names (i.e. actress Shiri Appleby and her daughter, Natalie), while ones who have more common names themselves went offbeat for their babies (see Holly Madison and her daughter, Rainbow Aurora, and Kristen Bell and her daughter, Lincoln Bell Shepard).
So are we all looking to give our kids the names we wish we had? I know I didn’t like that my name was super popular and had no nickname possibilities, and so I gave my girls names that weren’t super common (Katharine and Margaret), and came with a slew of nickname possibilities. And I’ve seen that with some of my friends—one who loathed the fact that her name, Katherine, was always shortened to a nickname, gave her sons names that can’t really be shortened. Another who disliked the offbeat spelling of her name gave her kids names with classic spellings.
I think it’s only natural that we’d want to give our kids names in the style we wish we’d been named. But does that mean that my daughters are going to pick short and sweet names for their kids? Or that all the Olivias and Jacobs from this generation are going to rebel and give their kids offbeat names like Wheat and Amaryllis?
Let me know if my theory’s totally bunk! In the comments, let me know what you would have changed about your own name—and if you picked names for your kids don’t have that particular issue.
Image: Babies by Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com
Saturday, March 9th, 2013
Journalist Lisa Ling and her oncologist husband, Dr. Paul Song, welcomed their brand-new baby girl yesterday. And they chose a relatively unique name for her – especially among girls. Her name is Jett Ling Song.
Jett has generally been used for boys – it’s the name of both John Travolta’s late son and the name of George Lucas’s son. It’s a variant spelling of jet, a shiny black precious stone or the airplane, but when it’s used for a girl, I’m almost wondering if it’s in homage to rock legend Joan Jett. The name is relatively popular, where it’s currently in the top 400 names for boys. But it’s almost unheard of for little girls.
Ling is obviously Lisa’s surname – and when used as a name, it means delicate. So the name is kind of a nice balance between the strong first name Jett, and the softer Ling.
What do you think of Lisa and Paul’s baby name choice? Do you think Jett works as a girls’ name – or is this Jett destined to be one-of-a-kind?
And don’t forget: If you’re having a tough time finding a great name – or you and your mate can’t see eye to eye – send me your quandaries at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be able to help you find the baby name that works for you.
Image: Lisa Ling by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Categories: Baby Name Stories, Celebrity Baby Names, In Name Only, Must Read | Tags: boys' names, Celebrity, celebrity babies, celebrity baby names, girls' names, jett, Lisa Ling, unique baby names, unisex names