Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…
Ambre (rejected): A baby boy born in France in January of 2018 was almost named Ambre (French for “amber”) but the French government rejected the name, claiming it could cause gender confusion. (The Local)
Aneurin: A baby boy born in Wales on June 26, 2018 — days before the 70th anniversary of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), founded by Aneurin “Nye” Bevan — was named Aneurin. (South Wales Echo)
Carson*: A baby boy born in Pennsylvania in July of 2018 was named after Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. (CBS)
“Pennsylvania Hospital has also had several babies named Carson lately. And one girl named Kelce, spelled like Jason Kelce.” (ABC, Oct. 2018)
Casey: A baby boy born in Kentucky in August of 2018 was named Jaxon Casey, middle name in honor of Kentucky’s “Casey’s law,” which the parents credit for saving each of their lives. (Courier Journal)
Foles*: A baby born in Philadelphia in October of 2018 was named Layla Grace Foles, second middle name in honor of Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. (ABC)
Lily: A baby girl born in England in June of 2018 was named Lily after her 96-year-old great-great-grandmother Lily. (Leigh Journal)
Murren: A baby girl born in North Carolina in April of 2017 was named Tessa Murren, middle name in honor of the Swiss mountain village in which she was likely conceived. (The Local)
Onyx: A baby boy born in Idaho in April of 2018 — to a couple walking across the U.S. from Georgia to Oregon — was named Onyx “after the healing stone, which represents overcoming fear.” (Idaho Press)
Rachel: A baby girl born in Scotland in July of 2018 was named Ashley Rachel, middle in honor of Rachel Mackie, the ambulance technician who delivered her en route to the hospital. (BBC)
Suharsi: A baby girl born aboard the Indonesian hospital ship KRI Dr. Soeharso in October of 2018 was named Suharsi, “a feminine adaptation of Soeharso.” (Daily Mail)
Zeppelin: A baby boy born in the U.S. in December of 2016 was named Zeppelin after the zeppelin bend, inspired by the fact that his umbilical chord was knotted at birth. (USA Today)
Zeppelin is the son of actors Jensen Ackles and Danneel Harris. He has a twin sister named Arrow. (Danneel’s name was inspired by Danneel Street in New Orleans, btw.)
Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…
Blu (rejected): A baby girl born in late 2016 in Italy was almost named Blu, but the Italian government rejected the name because it didn’t correspond to her gender. (The Local)
Betsy and Emory: Twin baby girls born in January of 2018 to singer Hillary Scott were named Betsy Mack and Emory JoAnn. Their older sister Eisele was behind the debut of Eisele in 2014. (Taste of Country)
Brianna: A baby girl born in Sacramento in early 2018 with the help of firefighter Brian Hoffer was named Brianna Renee in his honor. (CBS Sacramento)
Crew: A baby boy born in June of 2018 to reality TV stars Joanna and Chip Gaines was named Crew. (Motherly)
Harry and Meghan: Twin foals born in Wales the day before the royal wedding were named Harry and Meghan. (BBC)
Hayes: A baby boy born on the last day of 2017 to actress Jessica Alba was named Hayes. (People)
Knight: A baby boy born in Vegas in during the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals was named Haizen Knight in part after the Vegas Golden Knights, who ultimately lost to the Washington Capitals. (KTNV Las Vegas, video)
Neve: A baby girl born in June of 2018 to Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, was named Neve Te Aroha. (NZ Herald)
Riley: A baby girl born in Vegas on the day the Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the playoffs was named Riley after player Reilly Smith. Her parents were survivors of the Las Vegas shooting. (NY Post)
Ryder: A baby boy born in May of 2018 was named Ryder after the Ryder Cup. (Ryder Cup…and here’s the follow-up post that mentions several more babies named Ryder)
Saynt: A baby boy born in February of 2018 to Australian actress Tessa James was named Saynt — a respelling of Saint, which would have been illegal in Australia. (news.com.au)
Sheboygan: A baby boy born in April of 2018 to a Michigan couple already famous for being prodigious producers of sons was named Finley Sheboygan — middle name derived from the phrase “she is a boy again.” (Today)
Stormi: A baby girl born in February to reality TV star Kylie Jenner was named Stormi. (People)
I cross-referenced the Social Security Administration’s annual baby name records with all 151 original pocket monsters back through 1995, the year the Pokémon franchise was created. Five species of Pokémon have proven to be appealing baby names for U.S. parents: Tangela, Abra, Paras, Onix, and Eevee.
But what made my name somewhat of a complication for me was the fact that “Vamsee” was somehow not too familiar outside Telugu circles. My earliest encounters with high society, and I suppose, its brand of quietly privileged narcissism, were basically about people asking me if that was even a real name.
…I also liked his conclusion:
We are going to leave our children and grandchildren with a marauded and overheated planet as it is. Let us leave them with names that evoke love, creativity and dignity at least.
About Pigcasso, a 450-pound painting pig in South Africa with a genius name:
She’s fat, friendly and fabulous! Meet Pigcasso – the fine swine who was rescued from the brink of extinction at a South African pig ‘farm’. From pork chop to hog heaven, she loves the sweet things in life: Eat. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. She also loves to paint – and that’s no hogwash! Pigcasso’s primary purpose? To paint a better picture for farm animals.
Titles of Pigcasso’s paintings include Grin, Vitality, Rockstar, and Brexit.
After selecting the design for the statuette that would reward excellence in the television industry, Academy members were faced with decision number two: What to name the symbol.
Academy founder Syd Cassyd suggested “Ike,” the nickname for the television iconoscope tube. But with a national war hero named Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, Academy members thought they needed a less well-known name. Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera. The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol.
[W]hile our baby-naming options are becoming ever more open, we’re closing the door on self-naming options. We’re treating our given names as, well, “givens.” They’re immutable objects, frozen in place as our parents imagined them before they ever met us. We don’t adapt them to fit different situations or life stages, or let friends bestow new names on us to reflect the experiences we accrue through our lives. We don’t reinvent our identities as my grandpa Isidore/Irving/Yitzhak did – or at least, not without a lot of soul-searching and ceremony.
Perhaps we could take some pressure off of ourselves in the naming process if we welcomed back a little of that old-time flexibility.
From an article about Hawaiian names in Maui Magazine by Kalehiaikealaikahiki “Lehia” Apana:
I’ve told the story of my name countless times: My mother was in Tahiti on a canoe-paddling trip and became very sick. Upon visiting a local doctor, she was shocked to learn that she was pregnant. Returning home, she asked Hōkūlani Holt, a Hawaiian cultural practitioner and close family friend, to name her baby. The name Aunty Hōkū gave me, Kalehiaikealaikahiki, translates as “the skillful fisherman on the pathway to Tahiti.”
In Hawaiian belief, one’s name is so important that many parents ask someone fluent in the language, with a deep understanding of the culture, to determine what their baby will be called. But not every child receives a Hawaiian name the way I did. For example, a name can appear through a vision or sign (inoa hō’ailona), or be given in memory of an event (inoa ho’omana’o). However it is chosen, one’s name is a prized possession, to be passed on only with the explicit permission of its owner.
Anyway, all we had to do to find out that [Barron] Hilton was engaged was go on Instagram, where Hilton’s intended, Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff, posted a picture announcing the news a few days ago. Should we talk about the fact that Barron Hilton is marrying someone named Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff or should we just figure that that’s the kind of name you marry when you’re a son of the hotel gods?
Plus there was this line: “Barron is to be a husband, and maybe someday a father to a baby named Earrl.”
From “The Eyes Have It,” an interview with Orange Is the New Black actress Uzoamaka “Uzo” Aduba, who was asked whether she ever considered changing her name:
When I started as an actor? No, and I’ll tell you why. I had already gone through that. My family is from Nigeria, and my full name is Uzoamaka, which means “The road is good.” Quick lesson: My tribe is Igbo, and you name your kid something that tells your history and hopefully predicts your future. So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”
“I’d been living as Eva my whole life until I found out my name was Evangeline Cinderella. Of course this was the most amazing news as a seven year old girl and unfortunately I told everybody. I’ve paid for it ever since. People have always remembered,” she said.
To consult this list [the SSA’s Change in Popularity list] is to dip your toe into the fetid waters of cheesy celebrity worship. Consider this: One of the skyrocketing names is … “Anakin.” Yes, people are giving their baby boys a name invented specifically to sound non-human, for a character in another galaxy far, far away, one who grows up to become Darth Vader, an evil overlord who wants to enslave the universe. (There have been plenty of Darths, too.)
From the video “Instrument: Celeste” featuring keyboardist Elizabeth Burley of the Philharmonia Orchestra of London:
I’ve got a celeste here today to show you how that works. As you’ll see it looks a little bit like an upright piano, but it’s actually a lot different. Although it’s operated by a keyboard, inside, instead of strings, it’s a set of…metal chime bars. They’re suspended over wooden resonating boxes, and when I press a key, a hammer hits the chime bar to make the sound, like on a piano the hammer would hit the string. The name celeste…it’s a French name meaning “heavenly,” and it does make a very heavenly sound, as you’ll hear.
With her buttoned-up style, work with the UN, and name like a plucky character in a certain English wizard series, Delia Derbyshire may not seem a likely pioneer of experimental electronic music.
From the blog post “What’s in a Name?” by theology professor/social activist Rev. Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre:
Today, no one calls me Brother Mike. Nonetheless, if the first act of liberation is self naming, why do I still insist on spelling my surname the way those who had power over me taught me? I have no doubt the reader is probably wondering what’s the big deal? Just spell my name correctly. What they fail to recognize is the power of the colonizing process, and the difficulty to reclaim identity. So as I tag my name to my liberationist works I am reminded with each upper case letter how far I still need to go to claim my own liberation. The struggle, la lucha, continues, even in the letters of my name.
At Sprinklr, our conference rooms are named after the company’s values. Honesty, Passion, Perseverance, Humility, Character, Courage, and Integrity are just some of the names you will encounter. My personal favorites are Awesomeness and 1+1=3. When I asked our founder, Ragy Thomas, why the leadership team chose to name conference rooms in this way, he said: “It would be kind of hard to be arrogant in a room named Humility, wouldn’t it? Or give up in a room named Perseverance, don’t you think?”
Then in the 1960’s, a furor erupted over the first name Tessa, which resembled tisse, which means to urinate in Danish. Distressed over the lack of direction in the law, the Danish government expanded the statute to grapple with first names. Now the law is as long as an average-size book.
Among the baby names rejected in Denmark: Anus, Pluto, and Monkey. Among those accepted: Leica, Benji, Jiminico, and Fee.
He married American actress Patricia Neal in 1953 and they had a total of five children together.
Their first baby was named Olivia Twenty. Why?
Olivia Twenty was born in New York on April 20, 1955, and named after her mother’s favorite Shakespearean heroine, the date of her birth, and the fact that Roald had $20 in his pocket when he came to visit Pat in the hospital.
And their second child, originally called Chantal Sophia, ended up getting a name change:
A few days after Chantal had been christened, Roald realized her name rhymed with Dahl and renamed her Tessa.
The last three three Dahl children were named Theo Matthew, Ophelia Magdalena, and Lucy Neal. My guess is that Ophelia is another Shakespeare reference, and that Sophia and Magdalena came from Dahl’s mother, Sofie Magdalene. I’m not sure what inspired the other names.