In Name Only

Zooey Deschanel's Adorkably Quirky Baby Name

As expected, the New Girl star has given her baby girl a cute and quirky name. Here, we break down the meaning behind it.

Zooey Deschanel and husband Justin Pechenik Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Actress Zooey Deschanel and her husband Jacob Pechenik have finally revealed the baby name they selected for their first daughter, born three months ago. And it's by no means a common pick! Their new baby's name? Elsie Otter.

Elsie is actually a nickname for Elizabeth, the classic name that means "consecrated to God." It was huge in the late 19th century, until its association with the cow mascot for food manufacturer Borden made it less attractive. But it's a new century, and Elsie's been on a huge uptick since 2007. It's now #365 for girls here in the U.S.

Otter? Well, otters are adorable little mammals that live near water. Deschanel told the Today show on Tuesday that she and her hubby picked it due to their admiration of these clever little creatures. "We both love otters—they're very sweet and they're also smart," she said. "They use tools...they hold hands while they sleep—there's so many amazing things about otters. They're wonderful animals." (Harry Potter fans would recognize that the otter is also the Patronus charm for Hermione Granger, adding another level of interest to this baby name pick.)

In all, I'm loving Elsie, and think it's a nice alternative if you like names like Ella and Elsa but want something slightly different. But Otter? Maybe it'll grow on me, but it feels a little too offbeat for my taste.

Tell us: What do you think of Deschanel's baby name pick? Would you select it for your daughter?

If you're still looking for a great baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder or email me at And don't forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

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