Name Quotes #73: Kamilah, Alexa, Bob

Actress Jameela Jamil called "Kamilah Al-Jamil"
Actress Jameela Jamil labeled “Kamilah Al-Jamil” by E! News

The red carpet prank pulled on actress Jameela Jamil at the Golden Globes back in January:

Jameela Jamil’s name was spelled wrong on E! News during the red carpet show before the 76th annual Golden Globes.

In place of The Good Place star’s name, the network referenced a plot point from the show — that Jamil’s character, Tahani, is always outshined by her sister, Kamilah Al-Jamil.

Jamil herself was more than a good sport about the misnaming at the Globes. “This is legit the funniest thing I have ever seen,” the actress tweeted. “Tahani would DIE!”

From a New York Times article about parents allowing children to choose their own names:

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.

From an article that asks, “Where did all the Bobs in baseball go?

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.

Should social media influence your choice in baby names?

[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.”

From an article that attempts to calculate the ROI of Starbucks baristas spelling your name wrong:

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.

A sentence from “A tale of two Trump sisters” (Ivanka and Tiffany) in the Telegraph:

One had her own jewellery line, the other was named after a jewellery brand.

From an article about the Cook Islands, which is considering a name change “to reflect its Polynesian heritage”:

The nation was named after British explorer James Cook who landed on the islands in the 1700s.

A committee is considering 60 options in Cook Islands Maori including Rangiaroa, meaning Love from the Heavens and Raroatua which translates as We Stand Under God.

Finally, two more quotes about people named Alexa. (The first was in Name Quotes 53.) One is about a woman in Saskatchewan named Alexa:

“(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 other is about a Maryland couple whose toddler is named Alexa:

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.)

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Name Quotes #72: Meadow, Kamiyah, Tanveer

Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the book My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope (2019) by Queer Eye co-star Karamo Brown:

“When we were preparing to shoot season 1, a curious crew member asked Tan why he didn’t go by his birth name. Tan replied, “Because when you google ‘Tanveer,’ only terrorists come up. It’s easier.” Now, I love Tan — and I know he is not ashamed of his Muslim or Pakastani heritage. […] I said, “Listen, you can be the one to change the public perception and image associated with your name. If our show is a success, when people google ‘Tanveer,’ they’ll see your positive image. It’s going to be someone who’s doing good in the world. Think of all the little boys who are feeling the same way you feel and how you can inspired them to have pride in their name.”

(Elsewhere in the book he talks about his own first and middle names, Karamo and Karega, which mean “educated” and “rebel” in Swahili.)

Thoughts on being named “Ginny Lindle” from an article about hard-to-pronounce names:

“My slimming club leader has been calling me Guinea – yes, as in guinea pig – for months now.

[…]

“It’s embarrassing and very awkward. I’ve often considered changing my first name so at least one of my names will not confuse people.

“I hold a fairly senior position but it’s hard to make a good first impression when people ask your name several times – usually with socially awkward laughter!”

Sigourney Weaver (born Susan Weaver) talks about her name in an interview with Esquire magazine:

I changed my name when I was about twelve because I didn’t like being called Sue or Susie. I felt I needed a longer name because I was so tall. So what happened? Now everyone calls me Sig or Siggy.

(In another interview, Signourney mentioned that she was nearly named Flavia.)

From a writer who regrets giving his son the middle name Flip:

In hindsight, I wish I’d given my son something a little more ordinary, that didn’t stand out quite so much. Or perhaps not given him a middle name. And sure, I could change it, but I doubt I will go that far. Maybe he will learn to love it. Maybe he will change it on his own someday. I don’t know.

For the most part, he doesn’t really notice his middle name and I’m grateful for that. But when it does come up, I do regret it.

A short item printed a century ago in a short-lived Chicago newspaper (The Day Book, 4 Feb., 1915, page 20):

The tango craze has reached another high notch, a new community in West Virginia being named Tango. Curiously enough there is not a resident who is familiar with the dance.

How Kamiyah Mobley — who was kidnapped at birth and raised under the name Alexis Manigo — deals with having two different names:

“My name tag at my job says Alexis. Kamiyah Mobley is on my paperwork. That’s who gets paid,” she said. “People that know me, call me Alexis. If you know me by Kamiyah – call me Kamiyah. I go by both.”

A name story from New York (from an article about unique baby names on Long Island):

My daughter’s name is Meadow Brooke. I was raised in Merrick, right off of the Meadowbrook Parkway, and my husband loved ‘The Sopranos’ (Meadow was the Sopranos’ daughter in the series). So we named our daughter after the show and the parkway I’ve driven my entire life. Her name means so much to us and only people in New York would understand the meaning behind it.

(The Sopranos began airing in early 1999. Usage of the name Meadow more than doubled that year, then more than tripled the next year. By 2001 it was in the top 1,000, and it’s been there ever since.)

From an essay about baby name obsession:

But like juice cleanses and shower sex, it turns out that naming a human might be more fun in theory than reality. Some people even get more into it after taking the pressure of parenthood out of the equation altogether. Seven years into her marriage, Amanda, 31, said she and her husband are “one hundred percent” sure they won’t have kids, but still chat about their top names. “It’s like online window shopping and then closing out all your tabs before you buy,” she quips.

About the Hmong-American 2019 Gerber Spokesbaby, Kairi [pronounced KY-ree]:

So, who is Kairi? According to her parents, the 15-month-old loves to play hide and seek and build forts with blankets. She has a spunky attitude and vibrant facial expressions. And she was named after a character from the video game Kingdom Hearts.

(According to Gerber, Kairi’s mother Ying went by “Kairi” as a nickname during high school.)

Finally, two quotes about the name of the latest royal baby, Archie. The first is from CNN:

Archie is an approachable, nicknamey, old-school sort of name. Guys like Archie don’t usually live in a palace. Archie is the buddy you go bowling with.

The second is from Esquire:

The royals aren’t known for being wild. A crazy day at Buckingham Palace is when a corgi goes rogue and barks at a pigeon. So when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle name their first born Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, that’s the royal equivalent of doing a line of cocaine in church.

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Name Quotes #71: Floy, Zyler, Tane Mahuta

Rami Malek, after winning the Oscar for Best Actor in early 2019 [vid]:

I grew up in a world where I never thought I was gonna play the lead on Mr. Robot because I never saw anyone in a lead role that looked like me. I never thought that I could possibly play Freddie Mercury until I realized his name was Farrokh Bulsara. […] That was the motivation that allowed me to say, “Oh, I can do this.”

Winnie Harlow, born Chantelle Brown-Young, upon being asked where the name “Winnie Harlow” came from:

It’s literally just from Winnie the Pooh! I was a big fan growing up, and it was actually from a joke with some friends. We were on the phone with some boys, I grabbed the phone from one of my girls, and was like, “Don’t give my friends attitude!” And the boys asked, “Who is this?” I looked over, my friend was wearing a Winnie the Pooh T-shirt, so I said my name was Winnie. When I started working, it felt kind of natural to just continue with it. Harlow comes from Jean Harlow; I’m a really big Marilyn Monroe fan, but I didn’t want to use Monroe, because that felt cheesy. But Jean Harlow was one of Marilyn’s really big career inspirations, so I took the name Harlow. I do love my actual name a lot. At the beginning, I tried to go by Chantelle Winnie, but then decided to keep Winnie Harlow and Chantelle separate. My family calls me Chantelle.

Monica Lewinsky, on “the Monica Lewinsky scandal” of early 1998:

“The scandal was named after me,” she said. “Any time that this has been referenced, every single day, every single day in the past 20 years — so it may not be a direct reference to me, but because the investigation and the scandal have my name, I’m then, therefore, attached to it.”

[…]

“Bill Clinton didn’t have to change his name,” Lewinsky said, when Oliver asked if she considered changing hers. “Nobody’s ever asked him, did he think he should change his name.”

From an article about an 11-year-old golf player who happens to have been named for the Ryder cup:

With a name like Ryder, practicing golf at a young [age] is no accident. Ryan Carlson says, yes, his son’s name is inspired by the Ryder Cup, but he didn’t expect he’d be such a natural. Shortly after he began to walk, Ryder began swinging a plastic golf club, quickly learning how to hit balls.

From an article about Southern names (via Abby):

[W]hen Southerners make up new names, it’s usually a more meaningful exercise than simply slapping a K where it does not belong, like when people name their girls after their daddies. This results in the likes of Raylene, Bobette, Earline, Georgette (one of George Jones’s daughters), Georgine, and my personal favorite, Floy (feminine for Floyd). As it happens, I almost got a masculine name (unfeminized) myself. I was named after my maternal grandmother, Julia Evans Clements Brooks, and my mother was dead set on calling me Evans until my father put his foot down on the grounds that that was the kind of stuff that Yankees did. Maybe, but we do plenty of the last name/family name business for girls down here, too. Off the top of my head I can think of three Southern women I love a lot: Keith, Cameron, Egan.

From an article comparing the relative popularity of twin professional hockey players Daniel and Henrik Sedin by looking at the B.C. baby name data:

[T]he name Henrik magically first started appearing on B.C. baby announcements in 2007, which, maybe not so coincidentally, was also the year following the Sedins’ breakout season.

[…]

Interestingly, the largest spike — a total of 13 baby Henriks — came in 2011, which coincides with the Canucks’ march to the Stanley Cup Final.

From an article about “theybies” — kids being brought up without gender designations:

Three-year-old twins Zyler and Kadyn Sharpe scurried around the boys and girls clothing racks of a narrow consignment store filled with toys. Zyler, wearing rainbow leggings, scrutinized a pair of hot-pink-and-purple sneakers. Kadyn, in a T-Rex shirt, fixated on a musical cube that flashed colorful lights. At a glance, the only discernible difference between these fraternal twins is their hair — Zyler’s is brown and Kadyn’s is blond.

Is Zyler a boy or a girl? How about Kadyn? That’s a question their parents, Nate and Julia Sharpe, say only the twins can decide.

How did presidential candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke acquire the nickname Beto?

He was named after his grandfathers. His mother Melissa O’Rourke said on the campaign trail during his U.S. Senate run that “Robert” — her father’s name — didn’t seem to fit when he was a baby.

The family has deep roots in El Paso, Texas, and “Beto” is a common shortening of the name “Roberto,” or “Robert.” If you’re wondering, it’s pronounced BEH-toe and O’Rourke is oh-RORK.

From an article about America’s first exascale supercomputer:

The supercomputer, dubbed Aurora — which [Secretary of Energy Rick] Perry joked was named after his three-legged black lab Aurora Pancake — is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2021, as the DOE attempts to keep pace with China in a supercomputing arms race.

(Turns out the dog’s nickname is “Rory.” I posted a quote about another named computer, the Lisa, last year.)

From an article about the divorce of Lady Davina Windsor, 30th in line to the British throne, from husband Gary “Gazza” Lewis, a Maori sheep shearer:

Lady Davina gave birth to a daughter, Senna Kowhai, who is now aged eight, and a son, Tane Mahuta, six. He was named after the giant Tane Mahuta kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest, in New Zealand.

(Here’s more on the famous Tane Mahuta tree. The name Kowhai was also inspired by New Zealand tree.)

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Name Quotes #70: Silas, Mabel, Ilima

It’s April Fools’ Day! I don’t have any pun names (like April Fool or Seymour Butts) for you today, but here are some name quotes…

From the book Jazz And Its Discontents by Francis Davis, a passage about jazz singer Abbey Lincoln (born Anna Marie Wooldridge) :

When the singer Abbey Lincoln gives her autograph, she appends the name Aminata Moseka. During her pilgrimage to Africa in 1975, the president of Guinea christened her “Aminata” in recognition of her inner strength and determination, and Zaire’s minister of education likened her to “Moseka,” the god of love in female form. “I love Aminata Moseka. I’ve added her to myself. But I can’t say that’s my one and only name,” says Lincoln […] “It’s more like a title–something to live up to. That’s why I recorded Stevie Wonder’s ‘Golden Lady.’ It gave me the opportunity to sing to a female god. But I’m still Abbey Lincoln–I still like to wear makeup and glittering dresses and look attractive for an audience. And in many ways, I’m still Anna Marie.”

From an interview with Skid Row bass player Rachel Bolan (born James Richard Southworth):

DC9 at Night: How did you get the name Rachel?

Bolan: It’s not my real first name. When I was first getting into bands, I wanted a cool stage name. I wanted to be like Alice Cooper. Eventually, when I was old enough, I legally changed my name to Rachel. It’s always raised a few eyebrows. It’s funny to hear people pronounce it when I give them a credit card or something. It’s funny to this day. They ask me if I gave them the wrong ID or if I gave them some chic’s credit card.

(According to Wikipedia, he created “Rachel” by combining the names of his brother Richard and his grandfather Manuel.)

From an article about the top baby names across Ontario:

As for Maverick — the number one boy name in Sault Ste. Marie — Government and Consumer Services Minister Bill Walker said it’s an interesting choice, quipping: “It’s better than Goose” — referring to the main characters from the movie Top Gun.

From an ESPN article about MMA fighter Ilima-Lei Macfarlane:

She was named after the official island flower of Oahu — the ilima — recognizable for its delicate yellow petals.

“It was considered a flower for royalty,” Macfarlane said during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, “because it would take hundreds of flowers to make a lei, they’re so paper thin.”

From an article about baby naming trends being linked to the stock market:

Alan [Hall] compared seven decades of stock market records to baby naming data from the same period and found that parents tend to give their children unique and unusual names during and right after rallies in the market. On the flip side, when the market is down, parents revert to safer, more traditional names.

In contrast with the above…from an article called “It’s Not the Economy: Why Unique Baby Names Are Trending Up“:

The researchers also examined the naming trends against the background of the economy. Some theorists had speculated that increased economic hardship might make people more focused on the community, and thus cause a decline in individualism. One study, published in 2013 in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found increases of communal behavior like charitable activity among high-schoolers during the 2008 recession. But baby names didn’t follow that pattern, [psychologist Jean] Twenge said.

[…]

“There’s just a longer-scale trend toward uniqueness and individualism that isn’t necessarily rooted in these economic cycles,” Twenge said.

From an article about Justin Timberlake’s latest album:

Timberlake’s interview comes weeks before the release of his new album Man of the Woods, which is set to hit stores on February 2. He said his son inspired the name of the record and its title track.

“I literally just went on Google like, ‘meaning of the name Silas,’ and it sent me to this to this site and it said, ‘of Latin origin, meaning ‘Man of the woods,'” he said. “I was like, ‘How serendipitous that my last is Timberlake, like what does that mean?'”

From a collection of baby name stories contributed by Long Island moms:

My grandfather hated tattoos. He used to tell his standard stories and would say only people who had tattoos in ‘his day’ were sailors. He said their tattoos always said either ‘death before dishonor’ or ‘true love Mabel.’ He always used Mabel as the example name. I’m not sure why. He died in 2013. We named our daughter Mabel as a nod to him.

Want to see more blog posts like this one? Check out the name quotes category.

Name Quotes #69: Larry, Darryl, Darryl

larry, darryl, darryl, newhart, names

From the ’80s TV show Newhart:

“I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.”

From a 1936 newspaper article about movie actress Veda Ann Borg:

Miss Borg was given a new tag almost the minute she stepped into the studio. It was “Ann Noble.” […] Miss Borg contended that her own name is more descriptive of her personality than Ann Noble. The former model’s argument was convincing. She will be billed as Veda Ann Borg.

(Keavy, Hubbard. “Screen Life In Hollywood.” Wilkes-Barre Record 23 Apr. 1936: 19.)

From an Atlas Obscura article about Australian nicknaming conventions:

How in the world did we get from “Jeremy” to “Jezza”?

There is a rule for how this works. Names which have the letter R in them–Jeremy, Catherine, Sharon, Barry, Murray–are trouble for speakers of non-rhotic variations of English to abbreviate. Rhoticity is a linguistic term for describing when the letter is pronounced; in non-rhotic dialects of English, the sound will be discarded unless followed immediately by a vowel. The dialects of England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and, well, New England are all non-rhotic, which is why the word “car” sounds like “cah.”

This isn’t a problem in any of those names if they’re pronounced fully; there’s always a vowel after the R. But to truncate them would be difficult. Typically hypocoristic nicknames are formed by cutting everything but the first syllable and then either leaving that as-is or adding a vowel. That’s how “Daniel” becomes “Danno”: clip to the first syllable (“Dan”) and add a vowel. (The -o ending is most common for male names; -ie is more common for female names.)

From a press release about a newly discovered prehistoric shark:

The team, led by North Carolina State University’s Terry Gates, named the shark Galagadon nordquistae, a nod to its teeth, which have a stepped triangle shape like the spaceships in the 1980s video game Galaga, and to Karen Nordquist, the Field Museum volunteer who discovered the fossils.

From a 1976 article in People about pianist Lorin Hollander and his then-wife Cali:

Lorin now often finds himself babysitting while Cali campaigns against atomic power. Symbolically, not long ago she shed the name she’d “hated for 30 years” for one that sounded right. Margo became Cali. “I look at myself differently now,” she says firmly, “except people all across the country think Lorin has remarried.”

From a WPMU DEV blog post about the Wayback Machine digital archive:

The Wayback Machine was named to reference Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine from the popular cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle. In the show, the machine was pronounced as “way back,” which is where the index got its name.

From a BBC article about unpopular baby names in the UK:

The name Clive was 44th most popular choice for boys in 1954 but dropped to 58th place in 1964, and has not been in the top 100 since.

Clive Tricker, 70, from Kesgrave in Suffolk, said the cultural references associated with his name were no longer current.

[…]

“I don’t really mind too much if it dies out because the less of us there are the more unique we are.

(Tricker specified that he was named after Clive of India because his grandfather had been stationed in India while he was in the Army.)

From a Mental Floss article about Ron Howard:

However, Howard did go out of his way to confirm one long-held belief about Willow: that two of the villains were named after famous film critics. The evil General Kael was named after the notoriously ruthless Pauline Kael and the two-headed monster Eborsisk was named after the iconic At the Movies duo of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

And, finally, a pair of snippets from a Colorado Public Radio article about Denver street names. First:

William McGaa [one of Denver’s founding officials] had a debaucherous reputation of his own, drinking and adulterating his way out of favor with the city’s elite. McGaa even named Wazee and Wewatta streets after two of his many wives, both Native American woman from local tribes.

(The settlement of Denver was named in late 1858. McGaa’s son, William Denver McGaa, was born in the settlement in March of 1859 and named after it. His mother was neither Wazee nor Wewatta, but a half-Native American woman named Jennie.)

Second, regarding Denver’s “double alphabetical” streets, which were renamed in 1904:

The pattern is a proper noun name, ideally British, followed by the name of a tree or plant. Albion and Ash, Bellaire and Birch, Clermont and Cherry.

The switch wasn’t without resistance from those wealthy neighborhoods. When Eudora Avenue became Fir Street, residents decried the name as “too plebeian.”

Want to see more blog posts like this one? Check out the name quotes category.