“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.
Nalu was a character played by actress Ramsay Ames in the film Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944).
Nan Christy was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in 1894. Nan was also a character name in multiple films, including Nan’s Victory (short, 1914) and Nan of the North (1922).
Nazama was a character played by actress Binnie Barnes in the film The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938).
Alla Nazimova, often credited simply as Nazimova, was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in Russia (now Ukraine) in 1879. Her birth name was Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon. Alla was also a character played by actress Sally Crute in the film The Cossack Whip (1916).
Nea was a character played by actress Dona Drake in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1941).
Neleta was a character played by actress Steffi Duna in the film Anthony Adverse (1936).
Nelga Petrona was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the short film The Tigress (1915).
Nell Craig was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in New Jersey in 1891. Nell Shipman was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Canada in 1892. Her birth name was Helen Foster-Barham. Nell was also a character name in multiple films, including The Reward of Thrift (short, 1914) and Nell Gwyn (1926).
Nennah was a character played by actress Ynez Seabury in the film The Calgary Stampede (1925).
Neola May was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in California in 1891. Neola was also a character played by actress Betty Schade in the short film Olana of the South Seas (1914).
Netta Westcott was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in England in 1893. Netta was also a character played by actress Linda Darnell in the film Hangover Square (1945).
Nirvena was a character played by actress Stephanie Bachelor in the film Lady of Burlesque (1943).
Nista was a character played by actress Caroline Frances Cooke in the film The Devil Bear (1929).
Nita Naldi was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1894. Her birth name was Mary Nonna Dooley. Nita was also a character name in multiple films, including Jane Goes A’ Wooing (1919) and Two Gun Sheriff (1941).
We haven’t done a Namestorm in a long time! The last one we did was for coffee lovers, so let’s follow that up with one for tea lovers.
Here are some tea-inspired baby names for all the tea lovers out there:
The Camellia genus gives us not only flowers, but also tea: the Camellia sinensis plant is our primary source of tea. The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus in honor of Czech missionary and botanist Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706).
Thomas Garway was the first person sell tea in London, in 1657.
Thomas Twining founded Twinings of London in the early 1700s.
Thomas Lipton founded Lipton Tea in the 1890s.
Thomas Sullivan of New York inadvertently invented teabags in 1907 when he distributed tea samples in loosely woven silk bags and people started using the bags to brew the tea.
Catherine (or Catarina)
Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza popularized tea-drinking among the British nobility in the mid-1600 upon her marriage to King Charles II in 1662. (FYI: The borough of Queens in New York City was named during Catherine’s tenure, so it was presumably named for her.)
Britain was obsessed with tea by the 1800s, but China controlled the tea trade. So in the late 1840s, the British East India Company sent Scottish botanist Robert Fortune (1812-1880) to China to learn the secrets of Chinese tea production and to smuggle tea plants and seedlings out of the country and take them to India.
Jasmine tea is a blend made with green tea and jasmine blossoms.
Grey (or Earl) (or Earl Grey)
Earl Grey tea is a blend made with black tea and oil of bergamot (a type of citrus fruit). It existed as far back as the 1880s and is thought to be named after former British Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey.
The famous song “Tea for Two” comes from the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette. It’s a duet sung during Act II by characters Nanette and Tom.
What other baby names with a tea association can you come up with?
I heard from a reader named Shana a couple of days ago. Here’s what she says:
I’m 35 weeks pregnant and my DH and I still can’t find a name. Maybe it’s because we would like to incorporate too much into the name or maybe we’re just unsure if we want a trendy name/classic name. I think we are trying to find both in one name, yet can’t.
Our DD is named Lilia Josephine. We both love that it takes a name that is recognizable such as “Lily” and puts a spin on it, so that she will indeed be the only “Lilia” in her class even if their are other girls named “Lily”.
The name must contain Anne/a in either the fn or mn. Also, she will be born and living in Hawaii the first 2 years of her life. We would love to incorporate that into the mix somehow (hence, Isla).
On their list right now is:
I really like Norah, Annelise, Isla and Gabrielle/a. I think any of them would sound good with Lilia. I especially like the first three because they bring something more than style to the table. Annelise has the Anne connection, Isla has the Hawaii connection, and Norah has a distinct set of letters/sounds.
I’m not too keen on the other five names, though. Sierra, Abriana and Abrielle don’t seem right to me in terms of style. They remind me of modern-trendy names like Alexis and Brianna, whereas Lilia reminds of old fashioned-trendy names like Isabella and Olivia. Layla and Leora worry me because they’re so similar to Lilia–same first letter, same last letter, same length. I think it would be wiser to choose a name with at least a different first initial.
Suggestions (inspired by Hawaii)
I love the idea of Isla symbolizing Hawaii. Other names that might work are the names of historical Hawaiian royals. Here are some that I like with Lilia:
Analea (The good news is that it could satisfy the Anne/a requirement. The bad news is that it could be mispronounced “anally.” Might be best as a middle name.)
Emalani/Emmalani (The second spelling was no doubt influenced by Emma, as Hawaiian words aren’t typically spelled with double consonants.)
Victoria (Multiple royals had this name.)
I didn’t include Lydia because, as with Layla and Leora, I think it’s uncomfortably close to Lilia.
Suggestions (based on style)
I tried to come up with names that remind me of Lilia (old fashioned with a twist), that aren’t too laden with L- and I-sounds, and that have some sort of connection to Anne/a.
Anastasia – not related to Anna, but looks & sounds like it could be.
Annetta – Italian diminutive of Anna, though it also sounds like an altered form of Annette.
Bryony – a little like Abriana.
Hannah – early form of Anna.
Iona – refers to an island in Scotland. (And might be derived from the Old Norse word for island.)
Junia – could be seen as a spin on June, though it’s a legit name in its own right.
Lisanne – same elements as Annelise, but reordered.
Nanette – French diminutive of Anne.
Sophia, Sophie, maybe Sophronia
Considering only names on the shortlist, I like the pairings Isla Annelise and Norah Annelise. (Though I wish the A-sounds at the end of Isla and Norah didn’t blend with the A of Annalise.)
Of all the names above, let’s see…I might go for Hannah Victoria, Annetta Theresa and Junia Analea.
Now it’s your turn: Of the names above, which are your favorites for the sister of Lilia Josephine? What other names would you add to the mix? What first/middle combinations would you suggest to Shana?