Monday, June 17th, 2013
Have you gone to see the new Superman movie? It’s definitely on my husband’s to-do list, and since it stars the yummy Henry Cavill (who I absolutely adored as Henry VIII right-hand man on The Tudors), I wouldn’t mind tagging along. It looks like plenty of you have seen it, since it scored a record-breaking, $125 million debut at the box office.
While Superman may be into weird-celebrity-name territory—and Kal-el, his Kryptonian name, definitely is (Nicholas Cage chose it for his son)—his Clark Kent alter ego provides us with two cool, under-the-radar choices.
Clark definitely has some measure of old-Hollywood cool, thanks both to the Man of Steel and Gone With the Wind romantic lead Clark Gable, I think Kent is a fresher choice. It’s an English name that means “edge,” and it’s been out of the top 1,000 baby names for nearly a decade now. (It hit its prime in the 1940s-1960s.)
Kent is also the name of a county in southeastern England, making it a cool place name. It has the cowboy cool of names like Clint and Colt, but with just a touch of British panache. It’s also a nice way to honor a Kenneth in your family’s history, while still picking something fresher.
Kent works well with longer middle names, like Alexander, Jonathan and Weston. And since I have seen it used a few times for girls, I’d pair it with Adeline, Clementine or Martina.
What do you think of the baby name Kent? Would you take it or leave it—and does it seem like it’s a girls’ name or a boys’?
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In Name Only, Must Read
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 email@example.com. We’ll be able to help you find the baby name that works for you.
Image: Lisa Ling by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name Stories, Celebrity Baby Names, In Name Only, Must Read
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
As part of a big project, I’ve been perusing the archives looking for gems in some old issues of the magazines. And naturally, I’m taking a special interest when the stories relate to baby names. Strangely enough, the recommendations haven’t changed much in the past 70 years: Think ahead to whether the name will wear well on an adult. Watch out for bad pop culture references and embarrassing monograms. Don’t pick a name that’s tough to pronounce or spell.
One particular story caught my eye, from a 1964 issue. It described a set of “gender-neutral” names that they’re saying would work for both boys and girls—for the parents too lazy to dream up two sets of names, back in the day before ultrasounds and gender reveal parties. They picked a name for just about every letter of the alphabet—excluding X—and they had some really intriguing choices. Would you consider any of these for your baby?
Abbott This one just made me think of that classic comedy duo Abbott and Costello. But if you’re looking for that “Abby” nickname without the standard Abigail, it might be an option.
Brooke Since the 60s, Brooke has fallen squarely in the girls’ column, currently residing in the top 100 baby names for girls (probably as an alternative to the popular Brooklyn).
Cabot This cute name may be too closely associated with the cheese company to make it a serious contender for a baby name.
Duncan I love this Scotch name, which means “dark warrior,” for a little boy—it’s a nice alternative to Aidan and Jaden.
Eagan This surname name follows the latest trend—and it’s actually a variant on red-hot Aidan. It’s a good choice for a Camden or Mason lover.
Favre I think people are going to think that you’re a big Green Bay Packers fan if you pick this name, which brings to mind their legendary QB.
Gale Gale used to be a girly name—but Katniss’s best bud Gale in Hunger Games may help this make a comeback among the boys.
Heath For girls, I’d go for the more feminine Heather, but Heath makes a nice choice for a boy.
Ion Hmmm…not sure what they were thinking for this one. Iona or Ione (as in Ione Skye) are nice for girls, but this one feels a little too hip scientist for me.
Jay Jay is actually starting to see some girls using it, but it’s more commonly seen as a nickname for Jason, or now Jaden.
Kimberly Kim did used to be a boys’ name, but I’m thinking at this point, Kimberly is girls’ only–it’s still in the top 100 names for girls.
Leslie Alas, this one-time unisex name is now solely for ladies.
Mitchell I love Modern Family‘s Mitch enough to give this one my seal of approval—though not for the ladies.
Nolan This was one of my cool name of the week picks a few months back. Love the name, but not sure if it really works for a girl.
Olney This uncommon name is the name of a neighborhood in Philly and a town in Maryland. I’m wondering how this unusual moniker made their list, and not a name like Olive.
Paige This top 150 baby name is now strictly for the girls.
Quentin Quentin Tarantino has made this cool—but only for boys.
Reed You’ll see this moniker, which means red-haired, more on boys, but it could be a cool crossover if you’re game.
Sayre Maybe consider this as a more offbeat alternative to names like Sarah and Sawyer?
Trevor This name began its meteoric rise into the top 200 boys’ names right after the article came out. Maybe our magazine helped spur that along?
Udine This is the name of an Italian city. It may be a little too offbeat, especially with so many websites named u-something (i.e. UPromise.com, etc.).
Vaughn This surname-name has barely held on to the top 1000 names for boys. The only one I do know personally is a girl, though.
Wright I like this name’s association with the famous fathers of aviation—it lends it a cool, adventurer vibe. Consider it in place of the more commonplace Wyatt.
Yule Unless you’re having a Christmas baby, I’d probably skip this one.
Zale This would be an interesting choice, considering the red-hot “Z” and the popularity of names like Cale. But your child may find himself linked up with the chain of jewelry stores that bears this name.
Image: Baby in sunglasses by Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com
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Monday, December 24th, 2012
What cool-name-of-the-week name really suits Christmas week? I couldn’t think of anything better than Noel. Noel is the French word for “Christmas,” and it’s a name that works equally well for boys and girls. (For boys, it’s usually pronounced more like “knoll,” while girls often get the more feminine Noelle and the pronunciation know-well.)
The traditional spelling, Noel, is more popular for boys—currently in the top 500 names for boys in the U.S., it hasn’t fallen out of the top 1000 names in well over a century. (Whether that’s due to the popularity of playwright Noel Coward, the current love for British band Oasis and its off-and-on frontman, Noel Gallagher, or just Christmas-loving baby namers is up for debate.) For girls, though, “Noel” fell out of favor in 1998, when it last charted in the top 1000. But the more feminine Noelle is still popular, charting in the top 400 names in the U.S.
Personally, I love Noel the most for boys. I’d skip the seasonally appropriate middle names (no Nicholas, Rudolph or Angel), and pair it with a longer middle name: Alexander, Gregory or Jackson. For girls, Eve or Joy give you that Christmas vibe if you want to stay in the theme, or I like middle names that have an “L” in them: Elizabeth, Eleanor or Clementine would be my picks.
Do you think Noel’s a name that works only for a baby born around Christmas, or is it a year-round pick? Would you pick it for your baby?
Be sure to like me on Facebook to keep up with the latest on baby names! Oh, and happy holidays (or Joyeux Noel)!
Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/Shutterstock.com
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