Kent: A baby boy born in Michigan in September while his parents were on their way to the hospital was named Nolan Kent — middle name after the road on which he was born. (Fox 2, via Clare’s Name News)
Mahoba Depot: A baby boy born aboard a moving bus in Mahoba district (Uttar Pradesh, India) in September was named Mahoba Depot. (National Herald)
River: The baby boy born to actors Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara in mid-2020 was named River, after Joaquin’s late brother River Phoenix. (Harper’s Bazaar)
Twifia: A baby girl born in Graubünden, Switzerland, in October was given the second middle name Twifia — based on the name of Swiss internet provider Twifi — in exchange for 18 years of free internet. (Kidspot)
Víðir ÞórAlmarsson: A baby boy born in Iceland in May to quarantining parents Almar Þór Jónsson and Kristín Vigdís was named Víðir Þór Almarsson after Iceland’s COVID-19 trifecta: “Chief of Police Víðir Reynisson, Chief Epidemiologist Þórolfur Guðnason, and Director of Health Alma Möller.” (Reykjavik Grapevine)
Tiffany Towers, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills, said she understands why parents may be agreeable to allowing their children to choose or change their names so readily.
It can be either an attempt to empower their children or to avoid the pressure of assigning a name to their offspring, Dr. Towers said. Perhaps the parents don’t want to feel responsible for their child being bullied for having a weird or old-fashioned name. Or maybe they believe that their child’s future will be shaped by this initial identity of a name (a name that the child didn’t request), and they fear that their child will resent them or feel oppressed by their name.
By the turn of the century, the Bob-to-Rob transition had been essentially complete. No Major Leaguer has gone by Bob since journeyman reliever Bob Howry retired in 2010. There are dozens of Robs, Robbys and Bobbys currently in the Minors working their way up the ladder, but no Bobs to be found.
[E]xperts say consulting social media when naming your child — be it asking others about a name on Facebook, or using social media handles to inform a name — can be smart. “With the goal of not having your child get lost in the social shuffle and losing opportunities, it may be best to take a proactive social branding strategy or ‘self insurance’ from the very start of their life,” says Robb Hecht, an adjunct professor of marketing at Baruch College in New York City.
Others disagree: Lots of people have a social media handle that’s different from their name, so that shouldn’t be a factor in naming your child, says Kim Randall, the owner of KiMedia Strategies. Adds Kent Lewis, the president and founder of marketing firm Anvil: “A [social media] handle can be changed or modified over time, and typically isn’t as important as the content and visibility of the profile.”
How much free advertising has Starbucks got from the incorrect (and correct) spelling of their baristas? […] If we are to accept that people sharing images (especially with a brand name or @ mention) is the most valuable form of “free advertising” for Starbucks on social, the whole name spelling trend is working harder than the general conversation to generate it. […] If this is all a scheme by Starbucks to get free advertising on social media, it’s a very good one indeed.
“(It’s) kind of weird sometimes when people come right up to me and say ‘Alexa, what’s the best restaurant in …’ or ‘Alexa, how do I get to …’ and they’re joking of course, but initially you’re kind of taken aback a bit that people are using it in that way,” [Alexa] Gorenko said.
As for Gorenko, she said the newfound prominence of her name has actually helped her embrace it.
“It kind of brought the name out to me, because there aren’t very many people named Alexa and now you hear it all the time,” she said.
The couple is so concerned that they wrote to Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and proposed a different name to the popular device. Lew Klein said they did hear back.
Amazon explained to them that the product was named after the famous Library of Alexandria that “stored the knowledge of the ancient world.” While the message said the suggestion would be passed along, Amazon has no plans on changing the name anytime soon.
(This reminds me of the time when people named Zoe in France got angry about the name of the Renault Zoe.)
“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
A reader named Jessica contacted me a few days ago with an interesting question.
She and her husband have one son, named Cruz. They are expecting a second son in December. The only name they’re both really enthusiastic about is Grey.
The problem? Their last name starts with the word “black.” Let’s say it’s Blackburn. So, if the baby’s first name were Grey, his full name would be Grey Blackburn.
Jessica and her husband aren’t so sure about the combination:
What do you think? Is the Grey-Black color pairing ridiculous?
Jessica’s question reminded me Julie’s question about the initials S.O.S. from last year. Both cases have to do with given names that are perfectly fine (Samuel Otis; Grey) but surnames that create issues (S.O.S.; Grey Blackburn).
My take? I wouldn’t say the pairing is ridiculous. I think Grey is usable.
But, personally, I’d keep looking. (Especially since there’s so much time left!)
There are thousands of good names out there. I’ll bet Jessica and her husband could find at least a few others as enticing as Grey, but that mesh better with their surname.
A reader named Leigh will be having a baby boy within the next few weeks. She writes:
I am a teacher and have heard so many names that I don’t want to name our child. My husband and I really like the name Miles, however, there are many new baby boys in my friend circle, named Miles. I really like Emmett, but my husband is afraid he’ll be mocked because people might only know of his name from the Twilight series. We’re interested in two or three syllable strong, unique (not necessarily unusual) names. A current front runner is Anders, possibly Anders Gray Hollyard*. We also like the name Lars. I guess I’m finding we like names that end in s!
First name and possible middle name suggestions to go with Anders would be greatly appreciated.
*Their surname isn’t Hollyard, but a like-sounding two-syllable h-name.
A few thoughts on the current favorites:
Miles: The popularity of this one has been on the rise for years, so it makes sense that you’re hearing it more often. I’m sure this has already come up, but just in case: Have you considered Milo or Niles as alternatives? They both sound a lot like Miles, but they’re not nearly as popular (i.e. only 29 babies were named Niles in 2010).
Emmett: Personally, I associate this name with Emmitt Smith, not the fictional vampire. And I’m not even a sports fan. This Twilight craze will blow over one day (thankfully!) and, when it does, these vampire/werewolf associations will fade. Possible exception: Renesmee.
Anders: I really like this one. I especially like that it shortens to the nickname Andy, allowing anyone with this name to flip back and forth between formal/unusual and informal/familiar, depending on the occasion. Versatility is always a good thing.
Lars: I have a strong association with this one as well, though I’m not sure how many others have it — Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. So this one may prompt people to ask about the possible Metallica connection. Much cooler than a Twilight question, anyway.
Here are some other names, many with s-endings:
As far as middle names for Anders go, I think Gray is great. I think a one-syllable name with a hard sound (that g) sounds good in that spot. Other names that fit this description are Brett, Craig, Drake, Frank, Grant, Jack, Kent, Mark and Paul.
Which of the above names do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Leigh?
Update: The baby has arrived! Scroll down for the name (or just click here).