In 1948, the baby name Darina first appeared in the U.S. baby name data:
1950: 5 baby girls named Darina
1948: 7 baby girls named Darina [debut]
Where did it come from?
My guess is the movie The Unfinished Dance (1947).
The main character was a young girl in ballet school named Meg. She idolized the head of the school, Ariane Bouchet (played by Cyd Charisse), so when she learned that Ariane would not be dancing the lead in the upcoming production of Swan Lake — that the part would instead go to visiting prima ballerina Anna La Darina — she was not pleased. In fact, she set out to sabotage “La Darina.”
But things went too far: while La Darina was dancing a solo sequence on opening night, Meg went for the light switch…but ended up pulling the trap door lever instead. La Darina fell through the stage, injured her spine, and was told that she would never dance again.
By the end of the movie, Meg discovered that she’d been idolizing the wrong person all along. Ariane was revealed to be self-absorbed, whereas La Darina proved to be generous and forgiving.
“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.
This baby didn’t get 139 names, but 49 is still excessive, don’t you think?
Diana and Arthur Martello of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, had a baby girl in May of 1989 and gave her 49 names. (Initially it was just 43, but they added 6 more a few weeks later.)
Here are all 49 names:
Princess India Rosa Kathleen Pearla Meshelle Suzanne Luchianna Irena Iris Veronica Donna Holly Robin Concha Kristian Tonya Elizabeth Joana Magali Lavinia Ruth Sandy Lori Appolonia Concepteone Stephenie Victoria Ira Maria Jane Claudia Pamela Shirley Mellissa Leah Rebecca Simone Alana Loren Joy Angie Pheonix Cynthia Christine Eleanor Meg Sophia Eunice
Diana was the one who came up with them. She said her inspiration included TV shows like Matt Houston, T.J. Hooker, Santa Barbara, and The Young and the Restless.
If you could go back in time and rename this baby girl, which two names (out of the 49) would you choose as her first and middle names?
Musala, Jane C. “A Nickname Makes it 45.” Allegheny Times 30 May 1989: A3.
Musala, Jane C. “The Good News is Short-Lived.” Allegheny Times 28 Jun. 1989: A3.
American writer Meg Nesterov is chronicling her experience of being pregnant in Turkey over at travel blog Gadling. Her latest post has to do with choosing a baby name:
“Whatever you do, if it’s a girl, don’t call her Natasha,” was the first bit of advice a Turkish friend gave me about having a baby in Istanbul. While a common and inoffensive name in the US and Russia, in Turkey and many other European countries, Natasha doesn’t have the best connotation. It tends to be slang for, well, a certain kind of professional woman from Eastern Europe, or just a gold-digger; not things with which you want your baby to be associated.
She also mentioned several English names that don’t sound quite right in Turkey, such as Erik (which means “plum” in Turkish) and Dana (which means “veal” or “calf”).
A reader named Anna would like a few baby name suggestions:
I’m expecting my second child, a girl, in April, and she’ll be half-English and half-Japanese. We already have a son named Kai, and we are trying to find a name that, like Kai’s, sounds good in both languages.
So far, they’ve come up with Sara, Ema, Naomi and Maya.
My first thought was to look for Japanese names that resemble familiar English names. Here’s what I found:
Ami, which looks like a variant of Amy.
Emi, which looks like a nickname for Emily or Emma.
Erika, which happens to match Erika.
Hana, which looks like a streamlined version of Hannah.
Kimi, which looks like it’s based on Kim.
Mari, Mariko, Marika and similar names containing Mari-, which is close to Mary.
Marina, which starts with Mari- and also happens to match Marina.
Megumi, which could be shortened to Meg.
Miki, which looks like a feminized version of Mickey.
Noa, which looks like the male name Noah…though there is a female in the Bible with the H-less version.
Suzu, Suzume, Suzuna, and other Su- names that could be shortened to Sue or Susie.
English names that are stylistically similar to Japanese names might also work well. Names like Mara, Nora, Dara, Dora, Tara, Tori and Una fit the pattern, for instance.