Tag Archives: names

Little Old Lady Names

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Are these names too old or too cute? You be the judge!

Agnes
Agnes is a polarizing name that you’ll either feel is dusty and way-too-dated or darling and dainty. Agnes is a Greek name meaning virginal that does lend herself to the soft nickname “Aggie.” Fans of the Bronte sisters may associate this name with the novel Agnes Grey as I do.

Dorothea
Believe it or not I’m seeing Dorothy pop up on lots of instagram and Youtube favorites list! The Greek Dorothea has a similar but different vibe and the wonderful meaning of gift of God. Perhaps the best part of Dorothea is the nickname potential she brings, a few of which include; Dori, Dot, Dottie, and Thea.

Frances
A family name for me, Frances is a Latin name meaning from France or free man. Frances has a very classic and grounded vibe. Less vibrant than her sisters Francesca and Francine, Frances ranks at Number 439. An infant named Frances may be hard to picture but Francie, Franny, or Frankie are fun and youthful vintage nicknames for her.

Gertrude
Gertrude may be one of the first names people come up with when asked to pick an old-timey Grandma name. Trudy is adorable and Gertie has her charm (Drew Barrymore in E.T. anyone?), but Gertrude like many old German names isn’t quite catching favor for modern American babies. Gertrude means spear of strength and hasn’t ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000 since the 1960s.

Ida
Could Ida be the next Ava? It may follow a similar sound pattern though it does have a stronger beginning sound which isn’t as well-received in girls names. Ida screams sweet little Granny at a deli to me. A German name meaning industrious one that hasn’t been in the US Top 1,000 since the 1980s.

Mildred
As delightful as the first syllable is, the second syllable in Mildred does have a much heavier sound. Millie is rising on its own but can Mildred come out of the attic to play too? Mildred is an English name meaning gentle strength.

Opal
Opal is a rarely used gemstone name, currently ranked at Number 859, that means gem in Sanskrit. Opal is October’s gemstone and is considered a symbol of good fortune. Opal’s vintage sister Pearl is on the rise, so perhaps Opal will be the next come-back gemstone.

Selma
Emma aside, many names ending in “ma” like Irma, Thelma, Wilma, and Selma have an older vibe to them. Selma is a German name meaning godly helmet. Actress Selma Blair makes this name feel much more youthful and usable. Selma may have a dated stigma but she does have a soft sweet sound.

Weigh-in below and let me know which of these names are too old and which are too cute!

Black History Surname Names

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A beautiful batch of surname baby names for Black history month inspired by African American leaders and pioneers.

Coleman
Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to receive a pilots license. Coleman is an English surname meaning servant of Nicholas. Cole ranks at Number 873 in popularity and easily lends itself to the nickname Cole.

Ellington
Composer and legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington is a wonderful February namesake. Ellington is an English surname and place name meaning Ellis town. Ellington has a distinguished vibe and could work well for either sex.

Haley
Writer Alex Haley wrote the ground breaking book and screenplay Roots. Haley is an English surname meaning hay field that currently ranks at Number 343 for girls in the U.S.

Hope
Writer and artist Akua Lezli Hope has an undeniably uplifting word name and surname. Puritan’s were immensely fond of virtue names though few are as widely used now as Hope which currently ranks at Number 253.

Jemison
Engineer and physician Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel to space. Jemison is a great Jameson alternative and Jem makes for a darling nickname. Jemison does have a bit of a disputed meaning but may come from Jacomus or Jacobs meaning supplanter.

Truth
Sojourner Truth was a prominent proponent of Civil rights and Women’s rights. Truth is another virtuous word name that I’d love to see used more. Truth mirrors the sound of Ruth and certainly carries a great meaning as well as a great namesake.

Walker
Alice Walker is a Pulitzer prize winning writer. Walker is amungst the many surnames that are gaining popularity as first names. Currently ranked at 314 in popularity, Walker is an occupational name meaning cloth-walker

Wells
The final namesake on our list today is that of Civil rights leader and journalist Ida B. Wells. Wells is both a surname and a place name meaning a spring. A distinguished name, Wells is only rarely seen in the U.S. currently ranked at Number 915.

Which of these surnames would you consider using?

Six Sweet February Namesakes

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February is synonymous with love and there is a lot to love about these Six Sweet February Namesakes! At the end I’ll link my previous February Namesakes articles which are packed with cultural and historic names, but today lets look at some fresh darling names for February inspiration.

Alice
The distinctively raspy voiced singer and song writer Alice Cooper celebrates his birthday on February 4th. Alice is a very classic sounding German name meaning noble. There’s the Alice in Wonderland connection, Twilight‘s Alice Cullen, and the rocker edge Cooper adds to this simple sweet name. Alice currently ranks at Number 70 in the U.S.

Brinkley
Eternally beautiful model and businesswoman Christie Brinkley blows out her candles on February 2nd. Brinkley definitely has a cutesy modern vibe. An English surname meaning wood clearing, Brinkley fits right in with similar trending names like Ainsley and Everley.

Cash
You know what makes the word name Cash even cooler? It’s association with legendary musician Johnny Cash born February 26th. Cash may also be a diminutive of Cassius meaning hollow. Cash is a name American’s are loving lately and currently ranks at Number 285.

Cobain
The late musician Kurt Cobain was born on February 20th. While Kurt would a great name, Cobain is prime for a music-loving hispter takeover! Cobain is an Irish and Scottish surname. Surnames and two syllable names ending in “n” are definitely right on trend, could Cobain be the next big thing?

Mia
Activist,actor, and model Mia Farrow, who uses Mia as a nickname for her birth name Maria, was born February 9th. Mia is an Italian name meaning mine or a diminutive name coming from Mary meaning bitter. This sweet little three-letter name has been taking the U.S. by storm and currently ranks at Number 6 in popularity.

Zane
Actor and Producer Billy Zane was born on February 24th. While Zane’s first name William “Billy” is well loved and used, Zane is climbing the charts at Number 202 in popularity. Zane may come from the name John meaning God is gracious and certainly has a familiar sound with a fun beginning initial.

My previous February Namesake Articles:

https://nameberry.com/blog/february-namesakes-to-inspire-you

https://nameberry.com/blog/notable-boy-namesakes-for-february

Five Name Rules to Follow

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Last week we explored five unofficial “rules” that buzz around the baby name world that I’d gladly pass on. Name rules are made to be broken, right? Well here are a few rules I think are worth following, or at least strongly considering.

1 Initials are Important
I was recently chatting with one of my non-name-obsessed friends about names and we got onto the subject of initials. It hadn’t dawned on her that initials were a thing. Now I wouldn’t purposely put a name together to get fun initials like A.C.E. or G.E.M. but I would strongly suggest avoiding initials like R.A.T. or B.A.D. I think it’s a good policy to say and write a name out to avoid any future monogram embarrassment.

2 I want that Name!
The list of names I love is massive but not as long as the list of names I love but would never use. There are just some names that feel too cutesy or too bold for me personally. As a rule of thumb I always advise parents to select a name either they or their partner would be happy to have been named. Is it a name that would’ve fit you at 7? 47? 77? If so, you found a winner!

3 Know the Name buzz
When choosing a name I think it’s important to take into account any stigmas that may currently be attached to the name. A quick google search can help you look at any current cultural or political references to that name. I’m not saying that you can’t use a name a Kardashian used or the name of the President’s wife, but it would be good to be aware that others may assume that is where you got the name from.

4 Consider Long-term Name loves
I think that we name-nerds are always on the hunt for a new great name. It’s wonderful to discover new beauties, but don’t discount old loves. I think that you have less risk of regretting a name choice if you pick a name you’ve loved for a long time. While some of the names I loved in middle-school are flat out embarrassing, a few have stood the test of time and are still on my list.

Use a name you LOVE
When all is said and done there is no one name that everybody loves. What’s important is that you and your partner love the name. The fact that you’re here reading this now shows you care and have the best of intentions in naming. It’s hard enough for two people to agree on a name, so when you do, go with your gut and then come tell me what you choose! I love hearing name-lover’s name choices!

Happy Naming!

5 Names Rules to Ignore

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Have you been obsessing about names since you were a child naming your dolls like me? Or are you expecting and just dipping your toes into the name world waters? It seems that everyone, enthusiast or not, has an opinion about how to name a baby. I’ve read and heard unofficial “name rules” for years. Some rules, like don’t name your baby after a dictator are common sense, but here are a few rules I think are made to be broken…

1 Same letter names for siblings
I’m sure you’ve met siblings who’s names were so similar that you have to wonder how their parents managed to call for them. I went to school with siblings Stephanie and Stephan. I’m definitely not suggesting matchy-matchy sibsets nor would I recommend Duggar-sized families continue a letter theme. I do think siblings names beginning in the same letter work when the letter make a different sound. Gavin and Gabriel are easier to get tongue tied than Emma and Evelyn for example. So toss that rule aside and opt for the sound the letter makes over the letter itself.

2 Alternate Spellings
Alternate spellings are hugely controversial in the baby name world. Take it from a girl named Meagan, not Megan or Meghan or a million other variations, its ok to use an alternate spelling. In my 30-something *cough* years of life I’ve had my name misspelled but it really hasn’t been that big of a deal and people usually catch on once corrected. That said, Meagan is a legitimate, although less popular spelling of the familiar Megan. I don’t mind the alternate spelling but I’m sure glad my folks didn’t get overly creative and opts for Mahayghanne or some other created spelling.

3 Franken-Names
I’m all for alternative spellings and cautious when it comes to creative spellings, but I have to say I’m a fan of some franken-names or name-smash’s. A franken-name is the melding of two names, sometimes hyphenated to create one name. One of my favorite examples is Anastella, one part Ana, one part Stella, mix and get the lovely Anastella. It can be tricky finding of creating a name smash that isn’t obnoxiously long and doesn’t feel like it trying to hard but when you do its magic!

4 Gender Bending Names
We’ve definitely seen a rise of traditionally male names being used on little girls in recent years. A polarizing topic in the name world gender bender or unisex names are totally lovable and usable. I know of a little boy named Kelly, a male name that gained popularity for girls, but could swing back around. I grew up with a boy and a girl named Evan, both wore their names well. While some names may have more teasing potential, I think it’s fine to use a name like Avery now more popular for girls on a boy.

5 A Name that’s taken
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if a name was usable because it had been used by the expecting couples boss, friend, sibling, etc. So this one is tricky and doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer, the key is to consider the relationship. Did your co-worker name her son Riordan? Is Riordan your Mother’s maiden name, a name you and your partner agree on and have loved for ages? Use it! No one can call “dibs” on a name. Do consider if your kids will be raised together. If your sister lives next door and names her daughter Finley it may be one you have to forgo. Then again you could always use Finley as a middle name and share a cute cousin connection.

Keep in mind that most people will have an unwarranted opinions about your child’s name but at the end of the day what matters most is how happy you are with your choice. These broken rules are just my opinion, I’d love to hear your opinions in the comment section. Happy Naming!

Bodacious “B” Surname Names

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2019 is just days away and as we look at trends from last year that are sure to carry into next year, surname names aren’t loosing their luster! Here are 8 bodacious surnames that begin with the letter B!

Bauer
Bauer is a familiar surname that would make an edgy yet really usable first name! A German occupational name meaning tiller of the soil, Bauer may remind you of 24′s iconic character Jack Bauer.

Beckett
Beckett is my favorite suggestion for honoring a Rebecca. An Irish and English surname meaning bee cottage, I love the association to playwright Samuel Beckett.

Bennett
Bennett derives from the surname Benedict, meaning blessed. Bennett is a delightful way to get to the nickname “Ben.” I’m also fond of the spelling Bennet, as it was the surname of the five sisters in Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.

Blair
The Gossip Girl‘s character Blair Waldorf helped give this Scottish surname a boost. Blair is a unisex name, now more popular with girls, and means dweller on the plain.

Boone
Boone is so cowboy-chic! Originally a French surname, Boone means blessing. This one is tightly associated to legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone.

Briggs
There’s something very hearty and salt-of-the-earth about the name Briggs. Briggs is an English surname and a variation of bridges. Briggs reminds me of the Myer’s Briggs personality test, any other INJF’s out there? 😉

Brooks
Brooks is just dripping with hunky charm. An English name meaning by the brook, Brooks has been steadily gaining popularity in the U.S. Fittingly several ball players bear this handsome name.

Burke
I had to include my own surname, Burke! A popular name in Ireland, Burke is an anglicized spelling of a French name meaning from the fortress.

 

Names from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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Netflix recently released the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a show based off the comic series of the same name and it has been all the buzz around the water cooler. Perhaps part of the appeal is nostalgia for the much lighter late 90’s sitcom Sabina the Teenage Witch. There are some great names a brew from cast and characters alike!

Sabrina Spellmansabrina
Played by Kiernan Shipka
Sabrina is the name of a mythological Celtic Princess as well as a Latin name derived from the River Severn. U.S. Ranking – Number 434.
Kiernan is traditionally and Irish male name meaning dark one. Not currently ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000 for either sex.

harveyHarvey Kinkle
Played by Ross Lynch
Harvey is a French name meaning battle worthy. U.S. Ranking – Number 382.
Ross is of Scottish origins meaning upland or Peninsula. Ross does not currently rank in the U.S. Top 1,000.

zeldaZelda Spellman
Played by Miranda Otto
Zelda comes from the name Griselda meaning gray battle. U.S. Ranking – Number 649.
Miranda is a Latin name meaning marvelous and worthy of admiration. U.S. Ranking – Number 344.

hildaHilda Spellman
Played by Lucy Davis
Hilda Hilda is a German name meaning battle woman. Hilda is not currently Ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000.
Lucy Lucy is an English variant of Lucia meaning Light. U.S. Ranking – Number 52.

ambroseAmbrose Spellman
Played by Chance Perdomo
Ambrose is a Latin name meaning immortal one. Ambrose does not currently rank in the U.S. Top 1,000.
Chance is a word name but may also be a variant of Chauncey, meaning chancellor. U.S. Ranking – Number 267.

maryMary Wardwell
Played by Michelle Gomez
Mary is a Latin name meaning bitter. U.S. Ranking – Number 126.
Michelle is a French feminine form of Michael meaning who is like God. U.S. ranking – Number 214.

prudencePrudence Night
Played by Tati Gabrielle
Prudence is a Puritanical virtue name meaning caution. Prudence is not currently ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000.
Tati is short for Tatiana a Russian family name. Tatiana is currently ranked at Number 700 in the U.S.

faustusFather Faustus Blackwood
Played by Richard Coyle
Faustus is a Latin name possibly meaning auspicious or lucky. Faustus is rarely used in the U.S. and not ranked in the Top 1,000.
Richard is a German name meaning dominant ruler. U.S. Ranking – Number 175.

rozRosalind “Roz” Walker
Played by Jaz Sinclair
Rosalind is a Latin name meaning pretty rose. Rosalind is not currently ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000.
Jaz is a variant of Jasmine, a Persian flower name. Jaz is not ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000, while Jasmine ranks at Number 130.

susieSusie Putnam
Played by Lachlan Watson
Susie is a diminutive of the name Susan meaning lily. Susie is not currently ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000.
Lachlan is a Scottish name meaning from the forjed-land or land of lochs. Lachlan is ranked at Number 695 for boys in the U.S.

Happy Halloween!