Names in the News: Revy, Cali, Jameson

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Abbey: A baby girl born in England in November of 2017 was named Abbey in honor of Dr. Abey Eapen, her parents’ fertility doctor. (Mirror)

Blake Ramsey: A baby girl born in Florida in January of 2018 was named Blake Ramsey after Jaguars football players Blake Bortles and Jalen Ramsey. (First Coast News)

Cali: A baby girl born into the Perry family of Kentucky in July of 2017 was named Cali Perry in honor of John Calipari, head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team. (SEC Country)

  • Here’s another Cali from a couple of weeks ago.

Derc’hen (rejected): A baby boy born in France in August of 2017 was almost named Derc’hen, but the French government rejected the name because of the apostrophe. (The c’h is “a combination widely used in Breton language.”) (The Local)

Fañch (rejected): A baby boy born in France in May of 2017 was almost named Fañch, a traditional Breton diminutive of François, but the French government rejected the name because of the tilde over the n. (The Local)

Harveigh: A female cow born in Texas a few days after Hurricane Harvey was named Harveigh. (Today)

Jameson: A baby boy born in Missouri in February of 2018 — and whose birth was broadcast live on his mom’s St. Louis radio show — was named Jameson, thanks to radio listeners who’d voted in a name poll held in January. (Newsweek)

Joshua: A baby boy born in Wisconsin in September of 2017 was named Joshua in honor of Dr. Josh Medow, the doctor who’d saved his mother’s life two years earlier. (Fox47)

Lucifer (rejected): A baby boy born in Germany in 2017 was almost named Lucifer, but the government rejected the name due to the association with evil. He’s now known as Lucian. (Deutsche Welle)

Olivia: A baby girl born into the Garton family of Arkansas in December of 2017 was named Olivia Garton as a tribute to Olive Garden restaurant. (ABC News)

Pilzner (rejected): A baby boy born in Sweden in August of 2017 was almost named Pilzner after his grandfather (nicknamed Pilzner), his father (nicknamed Pilzner), and Pilsner lager (clearly a family favorite), but the government rejected the name. (The Local)

Revy: A baby girl born in California in November of 2017 was named Revy after the ski town of Revelstoke, British Columbia. (CBC)

Brady Ruben Nuno: A baby boy born in England in December of 2017 was named Brady Ruben Nuno after: American football player Tom Brady, Portuguese footballer Ruben Neves, and Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. head coach Nuno Espirito Santo. (Express & Star)

Swachhata: A baby girl born in India in February of 2018 was named “Swachhata” in recognition of the country’s cleanliness campaign, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. (Hindustan Times)


Name Snark from 1880

More old-timey name snark! This short article was published in a now-defunct Indiana newspaper in 1880.

The programmes of the school commencements—and our own High School is no exception to the rule—are made silly by “Nannies,” “Libbies,” “Kitties,” “Mamies,” and other pet names. No woman who drops the sensible “y” and spells her name with an “ie” termination will ever get beyond mediocre in any sphere. A pet name is for the household only. How everybody would smile if the male graduates insisted upon the same silly style, and were put down on the programmes as “Johnnies,” “Sammies,” “Jimmies,” etc. The literary nom de plume of a female author indicates to some extent the force of her mind; and we know just as well what to expect from the Lillie Linwoods and Mattie Myrtles as we do from the George Eliots. The former clearly foreshadows gush and twaddle, the latter suggests an idea of strength and common sense. You can scarcely pen a more suggestive satire against the helpfulness and independence of woman than to wrap her up in such terms of daily coddling and childish endearment as the pet names of Jennie, Nannie, Hattie, Minnie, Margie, Nettie, Nellie, Allie, Addie, Lizzie, and a host of others. How it lessens the dignity of any woman to be called by a baby name. For instance, persistently to call the two great chieftains of woman’s advanced status, Lizzie Cady Stanton and Susie B. Anthony, would crush, at one stroke, the revolution they have so much at heart. Under such sweet persiflage it would sink into languid imbecility, and furnish fresh food for laughter.

If I spelled my name “Nancie,” I would definitely use that “mediocre in any sphere” sentence as my Twitter bio.

Source: “Baby Names.” Saturday Evening Mail [Terre Haute] 26 Jun. 1880: 4.

Do We Need to Talk About Kevin?

kevin, home aloneHave you heard of “Kevinism”? It’s Europe’s bias against people who have first names that are “culturally devalued” like Kevin, Chantal, Mandy and Justin — names that were popularized by American pop culture, typically.

In the case of Kevin, actors like Kevin Costner and Kevin Bacon — not to mention the very successful 1990 Christmas movie Home Alone, in which the lead character was a young Kevin — made the name very trendy overseas in the early 1990s. In fact, it hit #1 in several European countries, including France and Switzerland.

But after the trend cooled off, the backlash began. And it’s so bad now that, just a few years ago, a German schoolteacher told researchers that Kevin is “not a name, but a diagnosis.”

Which makes this recent observation by Andrew Gruttadaro of The Ringer all the more interesting: “Of the scripted shows on the four major [U.S.] networks that currently include a first name in the title–Kevin Can Wait, Young Sheldon, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Bob’s Burgers, Will & Grace, and Marlon–33 percent of them feature a Kevin.”

It’s a fascinating juxtaposition. Kevin has apparently hit some sort of nostalgic sweet-spot for American TV audiences, and, at the same time, it’s so disliked overseas that an entirely new word has been coined to describe the prejudice.

I wonder if those American shows are being seen in Europe and, if so, whether they’ll affect Kevinism. Will they exacerbate it? Eradicate it? Hm…

Where do you live, and how do you feel about the name Kevin?

Sources: Kevin, Chantal among worst names for online dating, We need to talk about Kévin: Why France fell in (and out of) love with a name, Why Are There So Many Kevins on TV?

Names in the News: Eclipse, Searyl, Luuuke

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Apollo: A baby boy born in the Canadian town of Kelowna at the start of the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, was named Niall Apollo — Apollo after the Greek god of the sun. (Castanet)

Charles: A baby boy born in Missouri in October of 2016 with the help of St. Charles County ambulance district paramedics was named Charles. (Fox 2)

Chepkura: A baby girl born in Kenya on August 8, 2017, while her mother was at a polling station waiting in line to vote, named Chepkura. In Swahili, kura means “ballot” or “vote.” (BBC)

Eclipse: A baby girl born in South Carolina on the day of the solar eclipse was named Eclipse Alizabeth. (The State)

Garavi, Sanchi, and Taravi: Triplet baby girls born in Gujarat in September of 2017 were named Garavi, Sanchi, and Taravi after India’s Good and Services Tax (GST), introduced by PM Narendra Modi on July 1. (India Times)

GST: A baby born in Rajasthan in the wee hours of July 1, 2017, was named GST. (Indian Express)

Harvey: A baby boy born in Texas in August of 2017 amid the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey was named Harvey. (Washington Post)

Kessel: A baby boy born in Pittsburgh in May of 2017 was named Kessel after Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel. (NHL)

Jetson: A baby boy born on June 18, 2017, aboard a Jet Airways flight from Dammam to Kochi was named Jetson after the Indian airline. (The Asian Age)

Justin-Trudeau: A baby boy born in Calgary on May 4, 2017, to a Syrian refugee family was named Justin-Trudeau in honor of Canada’s prime minister. (CTV News)

Luuuke: A baby boy born in North Carolina in July of 2017 was named Cameron Luuuke after Carolina Panthers players Cameron Newton and Luke Kuechly. “[W]hen Kuechly is performing well on the field, the crowd screams “Luuuuuuuuke,” which is why the family has spelled their son’s middle name using three u’s.” (Fox 46)

Lyric: A baby girl born on March 19, 2017, to A. J. McLean of the vocal group the Backstreet Boys was named Lyric. (People)

Mangala: A baby girl born in India in January of 2017 aboard a Mangala Express train en route from Mangalore to Jhansi was named Mangala. (Indian Express)

Nicole: A baby girl born in late 2015 at just 27 weeks in an emergency C-section was named Hadley Nicole – Nicole after delivery nurse Nicole Kenney. (WIVB Buffalo)

Noah Harvey: A baby boy born on August 29, 2017, “while Tropical Storm Harvey was raging across his hometown of Beaumont, Texas” was named Noah Harvey. (Deseret News)

Pajero Sport: A baby boy born in Indonesia in April of 2017 was named Pajero Sport after the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV because “we just happen to be fans,” said the father. (Coconuts Jakarta)

Pasley: A baby girl born in Minnesota in June of 2017 was named Shirah Pasley Yang — middle name in honor of Jane Pasley, the organ donor whose kidney was received by Kari Yang, Shirah’s mother. (Pioneer Press)

Searyl Atli: A baby born in Canada in November of 2016 “could be the first in the world to not have a gender designation.” The baby’s gender-neutral first and middle names are Searyl and Atli. (BBC)

Starla: A baby girl born in Colorado on August 2, 2017, in a car on the way to the hospital was “named Starla because of her dramatic entrance.” (Denver7)

Storm: A baby girl born in Miami in September of 2017, as Hurricane Irma approached the region, was named Nayiri Storm. (Weather Channel)

Syria: A baby girl born in Moscow in November of 2015 was named Syria “after her father’s military assignment destination.” (Moscow Times)

Our Growing Interest in Baby Names

baby names, new york times
© 2012 Psychology Today
Society is much more interested in baby names these days than in decades past.

One way to visualize the rising interest is the bar graph at right, which shows how the number of New York Times articles mentioning “baby names” has increased drastically from the 1970s to the 2010s.

So what’s fueling the rise? It’s a mix of factors, but I’d say the main answer is the Internet, which gives us both quick access to tons of name-related information (including popularity rankings for many different regions) and a convenient place to talk/gossip/vent about names.

Speaking of the Internet, though, here’s an curious twist. While the general interest in names has risen, the number of people in the U.S. searching for “baby names” via Google has decreased:


This probably reflects an evolution in search practices. I think, more and more, people are searching for specific information (“definition of Emily,” “5-letter girl names”) as opposed to general topic areas like “baby names.” But who knows…do you have a different theory?

Source: Zeitgeist: The Quinn Quagmire (and Other Naming Trends)