How popular is the baby name Gwyneth in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Gwyneth and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Gwyneth.

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.

Popularity of the Baby Name Gwyneth

Number of Babies Named Gwyneth

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Gwyneth

The Earliest Celebrity Baby Name Debuts

When a major celebrity chooses an uncommon baby name, there’s a good chance that name will become trendy.

Seems like this might be a modern phenomenon, right? Maybe tied to the rise of the Internet?

Nope. In fact, I bet you’ll be surprised at just how far back it goes.

Let’s take a look at celebrity baby names through the decades, focusing on those that inspired debuts on the SSA’s baby name list. (To debut, a rare names needs to be given to at least 5 babies of one gender or the other in a single year.)


Jerilyn Jessel
Lois Andrews and baby Jerilyn
Which baby name was the very first to debut on the charts thanks to a celebrity baby?

The answer depends on how strict you want to be about spelling.

If you exact-spelling debuts are what you want, the first I know of doesn’t appear until the late ’40s.

If variant-spelling debuts are okay, though, there’s a celebrity baby name from the early ’40s that inspired at whopping six of them:


In October of 1941, actor/comedian George Jessel (43 years old) and showgirl Lois Andrews (17) welcomed a baby girl named Jerilyn.

The name Jerilyn itself had already been on the list for a few years, but usage rose significantly in both 1941 and 1942:

  • 1943: 182 baby girls named Jerilyn [rank: 558th]
  • 1942: 325 baby girls named Jerilyn [rank: 397th]
  • 1941: 135 baby girls named Jerilyn [rank: 608th]
  • 1940: 10 baby girls named Jerilyn

The popularity of similar names like Jerrilyn and Jerelyn also increased, and six other variants appeared on the national list for the very first time in either 1941 or 1942 (asterisks denote debuts):

Name 1940 1941 1942 1943
Jerilynn x 56* 162 58
Jerrilynn x 9* 38 19
Gerilyn x x 15* 5
Jerilynne x x 7* x
Jarilyn x x 6* x
Geralynn x x 5* x

In fact, Jerilynn and Gerilyn were the top baby name debuts of 1941 and 1942, respectively.

I was skeptical about this one for a while, as I’d never heard of George Jessel before. Was he really high-profile enough for his baby to have that sort influence? Turns out he was indeed a popular entertainer from the ’20s until at least the ’50s. He’s the one responsible for the “Garland” part of Judy Garland’s stage name, and some sources even claim he invented the Bloody Mary.

Even more variants of Jerilyn (e.g., Gerilynn) debuted during the ’40s and early ’50s, when young Jerilyn was being mentioned in newspaper articles and appearing on TV and in films with her father. Here’s a fundraising film from 1953, for instance, featuring both George and Jerilyn.

Jerilyn Jessel’s influence on the U.S baby names was impressive, but, technically speaking, she didn’t put “Jerilyn” on the map.


The first exact-spelling celebrity baby name debut was Yasmin, which appeared on the list in 1949.

In December of 1949, actor Rita Hayworth and her husband Prince Aly Khan welcomed a baby girl named Yasmin. The same year, the baby name Yasmin appeared on the SSA’s list for the very first time.

(The name Yasmin was late addition to the post. Thank you, Becca!)


Elizabeth Taylor and daughter Liza on the cover of LIFE in 1957
Liz & Liza in 1957 © LIFE
At least four of the baby names that debuted during the 1950s were inspired by celebrity babies:


In October of 1951, actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian welcomed a baby girl named Romina. The same year, the baby name Romina appeared on the SSA’s list for the very first time.


In September of 1953, Power and Christian welcomed their second baby girl, Taryn, whose name was likely inspired by “Tyrone.” The same year, the baby name Taryn debuted on the list.


In November of 1956, boxer Floyd Patterson and his wife Sandra welcomed a baby girl named Seneca. The same year, the traditionally male name Seneca debuted on the list as a female name. Patterson said the name was inspired by a street sign.


In October of 1958, actor/singer Rosemary Clooney and actor José Ferrer welcomed a baby girl named Monsita — their fifth child. The same year, Monsita debuted. It fell off the list the very next year, though, making it a one-hit wonder.

Honorable mentions from the ’50s include:

  • Liza, which became more popular after Liz Taylor named her daughter Liza in 1957.
  • Tyrone, which became more popular after Tyrone Power named his third child Tyrone in 1959. The increased usage could also have been influenced by the death of the actor himself the same year, though.


Casey & Timolin Cole in 1963
Casey & Timolin Cole in 1963 © Ebony
At least four of the baby names that debuted during the 1960s were inspired by celebrity babies:


In September of 1961, singer of Nat King Cole and his wife Maria welcomed identical twin baby girls named Timolin and Casey. The same year, the baby name Timolin debuted on the list.


In September of 1965, actor/director John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands welcomed a baby girl named Alexandra “Xan” Cassavetes. The same year, the baby name Xan debuted on the list.


In June of 1968, boxer Muhammad Ali and his wife Belinda welcomed a baby girl named Maryum. The same year, the baby name Maryum debuted on the list.


In March of 1969, singers Cher and Sonny Bono, welcomed a baby girl named Chastity. The same year, the baby name Chastity debuted on the list. In May of 2010, Chastity legally changed genders and adopted the name Chaz.


Rasheda & Jamillah Ali in 1971
The Alis and babies Rasheda & Jamillah in 1971 © Ebony
At least eight of the baby names that debuted during the 1970s were inspired by celebrity babies:


In August of 1970, boxer Muhammad Ali and his wife Belinda welcomed twin baby girls named Rasheda and Jamillah. The same year, the baby name Rasheda debuted on the list.

(An Ebony article from 1971 misspelled her name “Reeshemah.” The same year, there was a spike in the usage of Reeshemah and a dip in the usage of Rasheda.)


In 1971, comedian/activist Dick Gregory and his wife Lillian welcomed a baby girl named Ayanna. The same year, the baby name Ayanna debuted on the list.


In July of 1973, Dick Gregory and Lillian welcomed a baby boy named Yohance. The same year, the baby name Yohance debuted on the list.

(I wrote more about baby names in the Gregory family a few years ago.)


In March of 1974, musician/producer Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton welcomed a baby girl named Kidada. The same year, the baby name Kidada debuted on the list.


In August of 1975, singer Tito Jackson (of The Jackson 5) and his wife Dee Dee welcomed a baby boy named Taryll. The same year, the baby name Taryll debuted on the list.


In April of 1975, singer Mary Wilson (of The Supremes) and her husband Pedro welcomed a baby girl named Turkessa. The same year, the baby name Turkessa debuted on the list. Turkessa was just 3 babies away from being the top baby name debut of the year. Here’s how Mary came up with the name:

Pedro brought me a beautiful plant. I asked him was it was called. “Turquesa,” he replied, “Spanish for turquoise.” So we named our daughter Turkessa.


In November of 1975, singer Diana Ross (also of The Supremes) and her husband Robert welcomed a baby girl named Chudney. The next year, the baby name Chudney debuted on the list. Here’s how Diana came up with the name:

Friends kept suggesting popular names like Courtney, but so many girl babies were getting that. I suddenly thought of something I liked very much — chutney. Only I didn’t know how to spell it — I put a ‘d’ where the ‘t’ should have been on the birth certificate. And that’s how my little girl became Chudney!


In 1978, Puerto Rican dancer/singer Iris Chacón and her husband Junno welcomed a baby girl named Katiria. The same year, the baby name Katiria debuted on the list. Most of these babies were born in New York.


Condola Rashad in 1987
The Rashads and baby Condola
© Ebony
At least three of the baby names that debuted during the 1980s were inspired by celebrity babies, and at least one was inspired by a celebrity grandbaby:


In September of 1984, singer Gladys Knight didn’t have a baby, but her son James (b. 1962) and his wife Michelene did. They welcomed a boy named Rishawn. The next year, the baby name Rishawn debuted on the list.


In November of 1986, football player Willie Gault and his wife Dainnese welcomed a baby girl named Shakari. The next year, the baby name Shakari debuted on the list.


I wrote about Condola a few months ago, but here’s a recap: In December of 1986, actress Phylicia Rashad and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad welcomed a baby girl named Condola. The next year, the baby name Condola debuted on the list.


In December of 1987, filmmaker/actor Woody Allen and actress Mia Farrow welcomed a baby boy named Satchel. The next year, the baby name Satchel debuted on the list. He now goes by Ronan, and rumor has it that he is *possibly* the biological son of Frank Sinatra.


Demi, pre-Scout, on cover of Vanity Fair, August 1991
Demi Moore and baby Scout (kinda)
© Vanity Fair
At least three of the baby names the debuted during the 1990s were inspired by celebrity babies:


In July of 1991, actors Demi Moore and Bruce Willis welcomed a baby girl named Scout. (And in August, that famous image of 7-months-pregnant Demi ran on the cover of Vanity Fair.) The next year, the baby name Scout debuted on the list, for both genders.


In February of 1995, actor Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy welcomed twin baby girls named Aquinnah and Schuyler. The same year, the baby name Aquinnah debuted on the list. (I wrote more about the name Aquinnah a few years ago.)


In July of 1998, model Christie Brinkley and her husband Peter welcomed a baby girl named Sailor. The same year, the baby name Sailor debuted on the list as a girl name. It had debuted as a boy name the year before.

Honorable mentions from the ’90s include:

  • Seven, which became more popular after Erykah Badu named her son Seven in 1997.
  • Zion, which became more popular after Lauryn Hill named her son Zion in 1997.
  • Selah, which became more popular after Lauryn Hill named her daughter Selah in 1998.


Angelina and Maddox Jolie in 2002
Angelina Jolie and baby Maddox
© People
At least five of the baby names that debuted during the 2000s (the decade) were inspired by celebrity babies:


In August of 2001, singer Shania Twain and her husband Robert welcomed a baby boy named Eja. The same year, the baby name Eja debuted on the list (as a girl name).


In August of 2001, actors Tisha Campbell-Martin and Duane Martin welcomed a baby boy named Xen. The same year, the baby name Xen debuted on the list.


In March of 2003, singer Toni Braxton and musician Keri Lewis welcomed a baby boy named Diezel. The same year, the baby name Diezel debuted on the list.


In June of 2005, magician Penn Jillette and his wife Emily welcomed a baby girl named Moxie (middle name CrimeFighter). The next year, the baby name Moxie debuted on the list.


In September of 2006, model Anna Nicole Smith and her partner Larry Birkhead welcomed a baby girl named Dannielynn. The next year, the baby name Dannielynn debuted on the list.

Honorable mentions from the ’00s include:

  • Massai, which became more popular after Nia Long named her son Massai in 2000.
  • Rocco, which became more popular after Madonna and Guy Ritchie named their son Rocco in 2000.
  • Denim, which became more popular after Toni Braxton named her son Denim in 2001.
  • Maddox, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie named her adopted son Maddox in 2002.
  • Carys, which became more popular after Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas named their daughter Carys in 2003.
  • Stellan, which became more popular after Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their son Stellan in 2003.
  • Apple, which became more popular after Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their daughter Apple in 2004.
  • Coco, which became more popular after Courtney Cox and David Arquette named their daughter Coco in 2004.
  • Zahara, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie named her adopted daughter Zahara in 2005.
  • Moses, which became more popular after Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their son Moses in 2006.
  • Kingston, which became more popular after Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale named their son Kingston in 2006.
  • Suri, which became more popular after Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes named their daughter Suri in 2006.
  • Shiloh, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their daughter Shiloh in 2006.
  • Pax, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their adopted son Pax in 2007.
  • Harlow, which became more popular after Nicole Richie and Joel Madden named their daughter Harlow in 2008.
  • Knox & Vivienne, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their twins Knox and Vivienne in 2008.
  • Honor, which became more popular after Jessica Alba named her daughter Honor in 2008.
  • Nahla, which became more popular after Halle Berry named her daughter Nahla in 2008.
  • Bronx, which became more popular after Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz named their son Bronx in 2008.


The 2010s are only half over and already we’ve seen more celebrity baby-inspired debuts than in any other decade — Naleigh, Aleph (for boys), Locklyn, Aaradhya, Sebella, Sparrow (for boys), Viaan, Naiovy, Eisele, and no doubt others I’ve missed. Follow along as we uncover more year by year in the Pop Culture Baby Names 2010s category.


  • Manners, Dorothy. “Off the Grapevine.” Toledo Blade 14 Feb. 1977: P-3.
  • Wilson, Mary and Patricia Romanowski. Supreme Faith. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

Biggest Changes in Girl Name Popularity, 2013

Which girl names increased/decreased the most in popularity from 2012 to 2013?

Below are two versions of each list. My version looks at raw number differences and takes all 19,114 girl names on the 2013 list into account. The SSA’s version looks at ranking differences and covers roughly the top 1,000 girl names.

Biggest Increases

Raw Numbers (Nancy’s list) Rankings (SSA’s list)
  1. Sadie, +2,031 babies (2,583 to 4,614)
  2. Aria, +1,862 (3,223 to 5,085)
  3. Charlotte, +1,773 (7,459 to 9,232)
  4. Penelope, +1,732 (2,526 to 4,258)
  5. Sofia, +1,300 (7,808 to 9,108)
  6. Mia, +1088 (11,978 to 13,066)
  7. Harper, +1046 (7,176 to 8,222)
  8. Mila, +1027 (2,634 to 3,661)
  9. Olivia, +1003 (17,253 to 18,256)
  10. Scarlett, +994 (4,037 to 5,031)
  11. Kendra, +913 (800 to 1,713)
  12. Avery, +818 (8,303 to 9,121)
  13. Ariana, +816 (3,568 to 4,384)
  14. Evelyn, +751 (6,865 to 7,616)
  15. Amelia, +746 (7,233 to 7,979)
  16. Jaylah, +683 (676 to 1,359)
  17. Nicole, +679 (2,646 to 3,325)
  18. Paisley, +671 (2,913 to 3,584)
  19. Valentina, +642 (1,900 to 2,542)
  20. Violet, +629 (3,266 to 3,895)
  21. Eleanor, +618 (2,368 to 2,986)
  22. Nora, +600 (2,882 to 3,482)
  23. Kennedy, +555 (3,377 to 3,932)
  24. Caroline, +547 (3,408 to 3,955)
  25. Alexia, +530 (1,283 to 1,813)
  1. Daleyza, +3,130 spots (3,715th to 585th)
  2. Marjorie, +735 (1,645th to 910th)
  3. Lennon, +700 (1,623rd to 923rd)
  4. Jurnee, +571 (1,467th to 896th)
  5. Everleigh, +538 (1,403rd to 865th)
  6. Everly, +524 (907th to 383rd)
  7. Henley, +478 (1,309th to 831st)
  8. Freya, +395 (1,303rd to 908th)
  9. Neriah, +392 (1,346th to 954th)
  10. Oakley, +340 (1,268th to 928th)
  11. Mabel, +338 (1,045th to 707th)
  12. Hadlee, +326 (1,215th to 889th)
  13. Gwyneth, +297 (1,183rd to 886th)
  14. Emerie, +294 (1,234th to 940th)
  15. Dallas, +292 (902nd to 610th)
  16. Saige, +282 (931st to 649th)
  17. Azalea, +269 (900th to 631st)
  18. Hunter, +266 (1,196th to 930th)
  19. Kaidence, +266 (1,245th to 979th)
  20. India, +240 (1,212th to 972nd)
  21. Rosie, +235 (1,118th to 883rd)
  22. Juniper, +227 (875th to 648th)
  23. Jaylah, +226 (460th to 234th)
  24. Saylor, +217 (1,123rd to 906th)
  25. Kora, +216 (974th to 758th)

Check out Sadie! I wasn’t expecting to see that name here. Unlike Penelope, which I was expecting to see here.

Harper, Aria, Charlotte — still going strong. And Paisley’s back, though the rise has slowed: 3rd in 2012, 18th in 2013.

Does anyone have a theory on Jaylah?

(The SSA broadened the scope of their analysis this year — top 500 to top 1,000 — which is great, but it makes direct comparisons between this year’s list and last year’s impossible.)

Biggest Decreases

Raw Numbers (Nancy’s list) Rankings (SSA’s list)
  1. Isabella, -1,536 babies (19,026 to 17,490)
  2. Sophia, -1,170 (22,245 to 21,075)
  3. Lily, -998 (7,933 to 6,935)
  4. Chloe, -914 (9,628 to 8,714)
  5. Hailey, -903 (5,897 to 4,994)
  6. Alyssa, -900 (5,069 to 4,169)
  7. Sophie, -851 (4,561 to 3,710)
  8. Madison, -831 (11,360 to 10,529)
  9. Ella, -794 (9,164 to 8,370)
  10. Ashley, -776 (4,689 to 3,913)
  11. Brianna, -748 (4,617 to 3,869)
  12. Taylor, -739 (4,847 to 4,108)
  13. Khloe, -645 (4,299 to 3,654)
  14. Nevaeh, -629 (5,345 to 4,716)
  15. Alexis, -591 (5,332 to 4,741)
  16. Emily, -562 (13,606 to 13,044)
  17. Sarah, -523 (5,158 to 4,635)
  18. Kaylee, -521 (5,600 to 5,079)
  19. Kayla, -512 (3,748 to 3,236)
  20. Zoe, -501 (6,421 to 5,920)
  21. Makayla, -498 (3,756 to 3,258)
  22. Addison, -482 (8,159 to 7,677)
  23. Vanessa, -463 (2,548 to 2,085)
  24. Samantha, -454 (6,907 to 6,453)
  25. Natalie, -450 (7,880 to 7,430)
  1. Litzy, -825 spots (597th to 1422nd)
  2. Geraldine, -412 (990th to 1,402nd)
  3. Marisa, -389 (978th to 1,367th)
  4. Taraji, -382 (859th to 1,241st)
  5. Adley, -370 (735th to 1,105th)
  6. Jazzlyn, -343 (955th to 1,298th)
  7. Maritza, -304 (840th to 1,144th)
  8. Izabelle, -299 (984th to 1,283rd)
  9. Jaqueline, -246 (905th to 1,151st)
  10. Abbie, -226 (791st to 1,017th)
  11. Kenia, -221 (643rd to 864th)
  12. Larissa, -219 (857th to 1076th)
  13. Perla, -216 (452nd to 668th)
  14. Haylie, -213 (894th to 1,107th)
  15. Kendal, -208 (851st to 1,059th)
  16. Ryann, -204 (790th to 994th)
  17. Jayde, -201 (784th to 985th)
  18. Carissa, -199 (958th to 1,157th)
  19. Jessa, -197 (991st to 1,188th)
  20. Meghan, 196 (883rd to 1,079th)
  21. Jakayla, -186 (933rd to 1,119th)
  22. Saanvi, -183 (901st to 1,084th)
  23. Kaitlin, -180 (838th to 1,018th)
  24. Brisa, -179 (912th to 1,091st)
  25. Kyndal, -178 (981st to 1,159th)

Newbie losers on the left-hand side include Sophia (still the #1 name despite the decrease), Lily, Hailey and Sophie.

Winners/losers in years past:

  • 2012: Harper/Chloe, or Arya/Dulce
  • 2011: Harper/Isabella
  • 2010: Sophia/Madison

Source: Change in Popularity from 2012 to 2013

U.S. Baby Names 2013: Most Popular Names, Top Girl Name Debuts, Top Boy Name Debuts, Biggest Girl Name Changes, Biggest Boy Name Changes, Top First Letters, Top Lengths, Top Girl Names by Letter, Top Boy Names by Letter, Top 1-Syllable Names

Name Quotes for the Weekend #7

From Proud Dereks: Readers lumbered with unfashionable names:

My great, great aunt was called Golingabeth. I can’t seem to convince my wife who is expecting to even consider this name. Graeme Fryer, Bray, Ireland

And another:

Our daughter’s name skipped more than a few generations. She’s named after the Babylonian goddess of war and sex, Ishtar. My son’s name is even more unusual, he’s called Till, a German boy’s name. German names seem much more unfashionable here than mere ancient gods and goddesses. Liz Jones, Wells, Somerset

And one more:

I bet my name has not featured in the lists at all for a good number of years. It is perhaps softer sounding than Jasper or Rupert but eminently searchable. It sometimes produces a titter in meetings where someone unknowingly uses the word bland rather something more anodyne. I have grown used to the name and it is rather distinctive so I do tend to be remembered. Though my real name is Charles Bland Tomkinson, I have always been called Bland. Bland Tomkinson

From a US News article about the death of former Mouseketeer Bonita Lynn Fields Elder:

Elder always went by the name Lynn, but she adopted the stage name “Bonnie” — a shortened version of her real first name — at the suggestion of the show’s producers because there was already a cast member, a boy, with the first name Lynn, her cousin said.

From the X-Factor’s “Meet Panda Ross” video [1:54 to 2:14]:

Simon Powell: So what’s your name?
Panda Ross: Panda.
Simon: What?
Panda: Panda. Like the bear.
Simon: That’s your real name?
Panda: That’s my real name.
Simon: Why were you called Panda?
Panda: My mom, well, she was kinda, you know, in jail when she had me, and her cellmate was a white lady, she was black, and so, they just kinda came up with the name.

From a Daily Mail article about Robbie Williams:

The Candy singer also spoke about celebrity baby names and how he and wife Ayda Fields chose their daughter’s moniker.

Robbie quipped: ‘We wanted to call her Teddy but that’s bordering on celebrity nonsense and we thought what if she doesn’t go into showbiz and needs a professional name, so Theodora is her professional name and Teddy is the name she goes by at home.’

And another:

The hit-maker revealed how he had once mixed up the name of Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, when the actress paid a visit to his house.

He remembered: ‘We were at my house in Los Angeles and the Coldplay boys had been over for a game of football and Gwyneth turned up. I was like, “Gwyneth Paltrow is in my house”, and as she walked towards me I kept saying in my head, “say something to Gwyneth Paltrow, say something to Gwyneth Paltrow” and I said, “Does Melon want some Apple?”‘

From Josh & Julie Korn: Digging for a CURE:

Hassane and Hussein are popular names for twins here in Niger. If you meet a Hassane or a Hussein, chances are they have a twin brother.

From a People article about Drew Barrymore’s recent appearance on Ellen:

Asked why she and her husband Will Kopelman chose Olive, the actress says it came from a book–though not one of baby-names.

“I was reading a book with my husband. I was three months pregnant, and they said, ‘Your baby is the size of an olive.’ And that was it. We never looked back.”

From an MTV article about the moms of Teen Mom 2:

And Kailyn? Well, turns out she was a huge Hanson fan (okay, who wasn’t?), and named Isaac after the eldest brother. “Do you remember, ‘Mmm Bop?'” she pleads to the other, seemingly clueless girls. They may not, but…oh, we remember.

That’s the first time I’ve ever seen/heard someone admit they named their kid after a member of Hanson.

Here are quote lists #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6.

Strawberry Responds to Apple

strawberries and creamIn mid-2004, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and musician Chris Martin welcomed a daughter they named Apple.

Soon after, a woman named Strawberry Saroyan (granddaughter of writer William Saroyan) wrote a long letter to the New York Times about her experiences with a fruit-name. Here are some highlights:

  • Strawberry found it helpful to be raised in a “tiny California beach community full of poets, peppered with lots of other kids with unconventional names.” Her younger sister was named Cream, and other kids were named Ivory, Shelter, Wonder, Ocean, Raspberry and Echo.

What were they going to do, make fun of me? They did, but I could bite back. I’ll never forget the terror as Cream and I awaited the arrival of Wonder’s mother to speak with ours because we had been calling her daughter Wonder Bread.

  • When Strawberry was 13, her family moved to a “super-preppy” town in Connecticut. “I had little choice but to change my name, a shift that stuck for three years (I chose Cara).”
  • One of the reasons Strawberry now likes her name is that it serves as an ice-breaker, “especially in the company of other people from well-known families.”

Once when I was in the offices of George magazine, John F. Kennedy Jr. shook my hand enthusiastically. “Strawberry? Tell me about your parents!” The irony seemed delightful: How often had he, perhaps the most famous progeny in the world, gotten to say those words? I wanted to throw the question back at him: what were J.F.K. and Jackie like? But I restrained myself.

Here’s the the full letter: “Named for a Fruit? Make Juice.” (New York Times, 30 May 2004)

Image: eton mess by Mari Liis

Pope Benedict Talks Baby Names

Pope Benedict XVI mentioned baby names over the weekend. Well, maybe not baby names–baptismal names is more precise. In any case, here’s what he said while baptizing a 21 infants in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday:

Every baptism should ensure that the child is given a Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit will allow the person to blossom in the bosom of the Church. Do not give your children names that are not in the Christian calendar.

I’ve seen other church officials comment on this issue, but never the Pope himself. I wonder what sort of impact it will have on Catholic parents.

BONUS: Here are some interesting quotes I collected from news articles covering this story.

The first little examples of Mela (Italian for Apple) and Pesche (Peaches) are already up and walking, say the Italian newspapers, thanks to the decisions of Gwyneth Paltrow and Bob Geldof to pick names at the greengrocer.

Celebrity baby names in translation. Trippy.

Even leading politicians have chosen unusual names. The pugnacious Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa christened his three sons Geronimo, Lorenzo Cochis and Leonardo Apache.

Geronimo and Cochise were both Apache leaders.

[Names] banned in Portugal include Lolita, Maradona and Mona Lisa.

Diego Maradona (b. 1960) is a former pro soccer player from Argentina.

Another source mentioned something about a Sue Ellen trend in Italy during the 1980s, thanks to the popularity of American TV show Dallas, but I can’t locate the original article/link.

Sources: For heaven’s sake, Pope hopes to end trend for exotic names, Pope makes a plea to parents to give their children traditional names

P.S. Here’s more on the Catholic Church’s stance on names.

Baby Names Needed for Twin Girls

A reader named Bridgette is having twin girls in October and would like some name suggestions.

The plan is to use the babies’ grandmothers’ names, Eileen and Patricia, as middle names. So Bridgette and her husband are interested in names that sound good in front of either Eileen or Patricia. (Especially Patricia–that’s the one they’re having a hard time with.)

Here are the names currently under consideration:


Bridgette and her husband like different types of names (i.e. one likes unisex, the other prefers feminine, etc.) so it sounds like they’re open to all sorts of suggestions–so long as the suggestions work with Eileen and/or Patricia.

Finally, here’s a cute observation Bridgette made:

Husband’s mostly Irish and says he’d like an Irish name, but seems to gravitate toward French sounding names.

Sounds like she knows him better than he knows himself. :)

Here are some of the name ideas I had, to kick things off:


*It’s the birthstone for October, so I had to throw it in.

Which of the above do you like best? See any good pairings? What other names and name pairings would you suggest to Bridgette?

Girl Names for Parents Who Don’t Like Girl Names

Some parents see names like Angelina, Isabella, and Olivia and think, “I’m not going to bother weeding through these dainty little sissy-names on the off chance I find a good one. Forget it. I’m gonna flip ahead to the boy names.”

What these parents might not realize, though, is that there are plenty of strong, non-frilly girl names out there. Here are three types I’ve come up with:

Girl Names with Boyish Nicknames
A boy name wrapped in a girl name — the best of both worlds. Most of the full names below are based on boy names, so they simply shorten to the same pet forms.

Alex – Alexandra
Andy – Andrea, Miranda
Bernie – Bernadette
Cal – Calista, Calla
Clem – Clementine
Dan – Danielle
Ernie – Ernestine
Frank – Frances
Gerry – Geraldine
Gus – Augusta
Jack – Jacqueline
Jo – Josephine, Johanna
Max – Maxine
Mo – Monique, Maureen
Nick – Nicole, Monica, Veronica
Rick – Erica
Rob – Roberta
Sal – Salome, Sarah
Tony – Antonia
Will – Wilhelmina

Girl Names with Lots of Consonants
Girl names with at least as many consonants as vowels tend to sound much more serious than vowel-laden girl names. Especially if they end with a consonant (or a consonant-sound).


*Technically, these names have more vowels than consonants. But it doesn’t sound like they do, and that’s the important part.

Girl Names with Unusual Letters/Sounds
Unusual things command your attention. They may seem odd, but, because they stand out, they also tend to seem bold.


What other types of girl names would you add to this list?