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The Latest Rising Name Trends

by Bruce Lansky

When selecting names, parents often consider options that are similar in some way. For example, they may consider root names against their variations (William versus Liam), names that sound similar (Aubrey versus Audrey), names with the same theme (such as nature names, place names, ethnic names or religious names, or names with the same prefix or suffix. Below are some name clusters or themes that explain why the popularity of 89 boys’ and girls’ names rose rapidly in 2013, as reported by the Social Security Administration

Girls’ Names Rising Rapidly in Popularity

Everly/Everleigh: Everly was the 5th fastest rising girl’s name followed by Everly, the 6th fastest riser. (I rated Everly, the name Channing Tatum gave his baby daughter, as one of the best celebrity baby names of the year 2013.)

Place Names: Led by Dallas (the 15th fastest rising girls’ name) and India (the 17th fastest riser), more than 15 place names increased in popularity including: Ireland, Milan, Milana, Maylasia, Maylaya, Phoenix, Asia, Londyn, Adelaide, Dakota, Catalina, Georgia, Virginia and more. (Strangely, Sydney had one of the largest declines in popularity on the top 100 girls’ list.)

Flower, Shrub and Tree Names: Rosie was the 16th fastest rising name for girls. Rosie and Rose also increased in popularity. A variety of other flower, shrub and tree names also rose, including Dahlia, Sage, Saige, Azalea, Laurel, Juniper, Magnolia and Willow. (I recently met a woman named Magnolia. She told me she was the only woman she knew with that name. Apparently, reinforcements are on the way.)

Amelia, Mila and Sound-Alikes: As Amelia climbed onto the Next 10 list, Mila leaped onto the top 100 list and sound-alikes Myla, Emilia, Camila, Millie and Milania also increased in popularity. (You may recall that Mila is what Jenna Bush Hager wants friends and family to call her daughter, whom she named Margaret Laura, in 2013.)

Brand Names: Though I was surprised to see Oakley, a chic sunglasses brand, show up on the rapidly rising list for girls, I also noticed Chanel, a well-established perfume and designer brand on the list. (One prominent brand name that declined in 2013 was Mercedes.)

Virtue Names: Also rising rapidly were a variety of virtue names including Mercy, Felicity, Serenity, Serena, and Joy.

Hadley/Hadlee: Hadlee was the 12th fastest rising name for girls. Also rising rapidly was root name, Hadley.

“Annabel Lee”: Another fast-rising cluster included Anabel, Annabell, Annabelle, and Annabella–names popularized by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, “Annabel Lee,” which was written long before TV and movies were invented.

TV tie-ins: Daleyza (“Larrymania”) was the #1 fastest-rising girls’ name in 2013. Sadie (“Duck Dynasty”) had one of the largest percentage increases in popularity, from #119 in 2012 to #50 in 2012–a 58% increase in popularity.

Boys’ Names Rising Rapidly in Popularity

Variations of Jason: Jayceon was the #1 fastest rising boys’ name. Jayse was #4. Also rising rapidly were Jase, Jayce, Jayce and Jayson. However, the root name, Jason, declined. Apparently parents were seeking more contemporary forms of the mythological name. (You may recall that Jason led the Argonauts on a search for the Golden Fleece.)

Jackson/Jack & Variations: Jackson was the fastest rising name on the “Next 10 list. Related names like Jax, Jazen, Jaxon, Jack and Jaxton, also gained in popularity. (Popularity gains by these “macho” names is in contrast to gains on the top 10 list by “sensitive” names for boys with soft consonants.)

Pompous Titles: Duke was the 5th fastest rising boys’ name. Deacon was #19. Also rising rapidly were Royal, Major, King, Kingston, Messiah and Legend. (This trend should keep psychologists very busy.)

Weapons, Hunting & Battle Names: Names associated with weapons such as Remington, Gunner and Archer continued to rise rapidly, along with Gunnar, Kannon, Kayson, Kaysen, Cayson, Hunter and Killian. (This trend should please the NRA.)

Zane/Zayn and Other “Z “Names: Zayn was the 7th fastest-rising boys’s name. It’s a variation of root name ,Zane, which also rose rapidly along with  related variations, Zayne and  Zain. Also rising rapidly were unrelated “Z” names like Zaid, Zaiden, Zaire, and Zavier. (It seems that  “Z” names still have a “cool” and “macho” vibe.)

Arab Names: The most recognizable Arab names on the rapidly-rising boys’ names were Abdullah and Mohammad, followed by Ahmad, Amir, Ameer, Hassan, Mustafa, and Ibrahim, among others. (It takes courage to give your child an Arab name, because of fears people may have about them.)

TV Tie-ins:  Castiel (“Supernatural”) and Jase (“Duck Dynasty”) were the 5th and 16th fastest-rising names in 2013. Both names are associated with characters on TV shows.

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

© Bruce Lansky All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

Baby Names in the News

Baby Names in the News

Baby name author, Bruce Lansky was interviewed for two recent articles on celebrity baby names and the 2013 Social Security Administration's most popular baby names.

DNAinfo Chicago "Jay Cutler And Kristin Cavallari Give Son No. 2 Trendiest Name in America"

USA Today "Noah, Sophia most popular baby names for 2013"

You can read Bruce's latest articles and musings on his blog, Baby Names in the News.

Freshen Up Those 40s, 50s, and 60s Names Before Giving One to Your Baby

by Bruce Lansky

As Baby Boomers age and eventually pass away, it’s a safe bet that parents will want to honor, celebrate or thank members of the previous generation by naming babies after them. Problem is, baby-naming trends and tastes have changed since the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Here are the most popular Baby-Boomer girls’ names from the 40s, 50s and 60s: Mary, Linda, Barbara, Patricia, Carol, Sandra, Nancy, Sharon, Judith, Susan, Deborah, Karen, Donna, Lisa, Kimberly, Michelle, Cynthia

Let’s compare them to the top-10 girls’ names in 2012: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Mia, Madison, Elizabeth

By comparison, current girls’ names seem:
-more glamorous (e.g., movie-star and tie-in names like Sophia, Ava, Olivia and Madison)
-more elegant (e.g., queen’s names like Isabella, Elizabeth).

Hence Baby Boomer girls' names from the 40s, 50s, and 60s come across as more middle class and less charming.

Here are the most popular Baby Boomer boys’ names from the 40s, 50s and 60s: James, Robert, John, William, Richard, David, Charles, Thomas, Michael Ronald; Mark, Jeffrey

Let’s compare them to the top-10 boys’ names in 2012: Jacob, Mason, Ethan, Noah, William, Liam, Jayden, Michael, Alexander, Aiden

By comparison, boys’ names are now:
-softer: (e.g., more names use “soft consonants” like Ethan, Mason, Liam, and Noah)
-less traditional, more informal (e.g., Liam is a nickname for William; Jayden is a faddy name that became very popular)
-more ethnically varied: (e.g., Liam and Aiden are Irish names)

Hence Baby Boomer names from the 40s, 50s, and 60s come across as more traditional, formal and stronger-sounding.

So, if you want to give your baby a name that recognizes or pays tribute to a family member or family friend born in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, you may want to freshen up those names by looking at alternate forms of the same names or sound-alike names that start with the same letter and have some of the same sounds as the baby-boomer names. The goal of this post is to provide you with a number of fresh options to help you honor family and friends from the previous generation in a way that will be a pleasure for both you and your child.

Below are the most popular 40s, 50s, and 60s girls’ names followed by several options you may want to consider.

Here are the top-ten names for girls born in the 40s:

Mary (Hebrew) bitter; Bible: the mother of Jesus Options:
Marie
a French form of Mary; History: The name of a leading revolutionary figure in the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette
Marina
(Latin) sea
Marisa
(Latin) sea
Marcella
(Latin) martial

Linda (Spanish) pretty
Options:
Lin
(Chinese) beautiful jade; (English) a form of Lynn
Linden (English) linden-tree hill
Lindsey (English) linden
Linley
(English) flax meadow-tree island
Linnea
(Scandinavian) lime tree

Barbara (Latin) stranger, foreigner
Options:
Barett
(German) strong as a bear
Barrie (Irish) spear; markswoman
Bebe
a Spanish form of Barbara
Berry
(English) berry

Patricia (Latin) noblewoman
Options:
Patrice
a French form of Patricia
Payten, Payton, Peyton Irish forms of Patricia
Tricia, Trisha
short forms of Patricia

Carol (German) farmer; (French) song of joy
Options:
Carolina
an Italian form of Carol
Caroline
a French form of Carol
Carolyn a compound name: Carol + Lynn
Carrie
a familiar form of Carol

Sandra a short form of Alexandra
Options:
Alexandra
(Greek) defender of mankind
Xandra a variation of Sandra
Zandra a variation of Sandra

Nancy (English) gracious
Options:
Nanette
a French form of Nancy
Nana (Hawaiian) spring
Nani (Greek) charming; (Hawaiian) beautiful

Sharon (Hebrew) desert plain
Options:
Shari (French) beloved, dearest; a Hungarian form of Sarah
Sharrona an American variation of Sharon

Judith (Hebrew) praised
Option:
Jude
(Latin) a short form of Judah, Judas; Bible: one of the 12 apostles

Susan (Hebrew) lily
Options:
Sukey
(Hawaiian) a familiar form of Susan
Suzette a French form of Susan
Zanna
a short form of Suzanna

Popular in the 50s:

Deborah (Hebrew) bee; Bible: an Old Testament prophet
Options:
Debra
a short form of Deborah

Karen (Greek) pure
Options:
Kari
a familiar form of Karen; a Danish form of Carol
Karin a Scandinavian form of Karen
Karina a Russian form of Karen
Carina
a Swedish form of Karen; a Greek form of Cora; (Italian) dear little one

Donna (Italian) lady
Options:
Doncia
(Spanish) sweet
Donia, Donise variations of Donna
Donielle
(American) an alternate form of Danielle

Popular in the 60s:

Lisa (Hebrew) consecrated to God; (English) a short form of Elisabeth
Options:
Lissa (Greek) honey bee; a short form of Melissa
Lisette a French form of Lisa

Kimberly (English) chief, ruler
Options:
Kim
a shore form of Kimberly; (Vietnamese) needle
Kimi (Japanese) righteous
Kimiko
(Japanese) righteous child

Michelle a French form of Michaela
Options:
Michaela, Mikaela (Hebrew) who is like God?
Mica, Micah
short forms of Michael: Biblical: an Old Testament prophet
Michele
an Italian form of Michelle
Michiko
(Japanese) wise child

Cynthia (Greek) moon; Mythology: an alternate name for Artemis, the moon goddess
Options:
Cyndee, Cyndi, Cindy
familiar forms of Cynthia

Below are the most popular 40s, 50s, and 60s boys’ names followed by “fresher” options you may want to consider.

Here are the top-ten names for boys born in the 40s:

James (Hebrew) supplanter, substitute; an English form of Jacob; Bible: two of the apostles in the New Testament were named James
Options:
Jaime
a Spanish form of Jacob, James
Jamey, Jamie
familiar forms of James
Jamal, Jamil, Jamel
(Arabic) handsome
Seamus
an Irish form of James

Robert (English) famous brilliance
Options:
Robin
a short form of Robert
Roberto a Spanish, Italian, Portuguese form of Robert

John (Hebrew) God is gracious; Bible: the name honors John the Baptist and John the Evangelist of the New Testament.
Options:
Evan
an English form of John; (Irish) young warrior
Gianni an Italian form of Johnny
Giovanni
an Italian form of John
Hans, Hansel
Scandinavian forms of John
Ivan
a Russian form of John
Sean
an Irish form of John

William an English form of Wilhelm (German) determined guardian
Options:
Bill a short form of William
Liam
an Irish short form of William
Will
a short form of William(English) Will’s son

Richard an English form of Richart (German) rich and powerful ruler
Options:
Rick
a short form of Richard
Richmond
(German) powerful protector

David (Hebrew) beloved; Bible: the second king of Israel
Options:
Davis (Hebrew) David’s son
Dave
a short form of David
Davin, Davon (Scandinavian) brilliant, Finn

Charles (German) farmer; (English) strong and manly
Options:
Carlo
an Italian form of Charles
Carlos
a Spanish form of Charles
Carlton (English) Carl’s town
Charlie, Charley familiar forms of Charles
Chas, Chaz, Chazz
short forms of Charles
Chuck (American) a familiar form of Charles

Thomas (Greek, Aramaic) twin; Bible: one of the 12 apostles
Options:
Tom a short form of Thomas
Tomas
German, Irish and Spanish forms of Thomas
Tomey, Tomi
Irish forms of Thomas
Tomi
a Hungarian form of Thomas; (Japanese) rich

Michael (Hebrew) Who is like God?
Options:
Michel a French form of Michael
Micah a short form of Michael; Bible: an Old Testament prophet
Miguel a Spanish form of Michael
Mike
a short form of Michael

Ronald a Scottish form of Reginald (English) king’s advisor
Options: Reggie a short form of Reginald
Reynaldo
a Spanish form of Reynold, Reginald, Ronald
Ronan (Irish) seal

Popular in the 50s:

Mark a short form of Marcus
Options:
Marc
a French form of Marcus
Marcus (Latin) martial, warlike; Bible: author of the second gospel in the New Testament
Marco an Italian form of Marcus; History: Marco Polo was a thirteenth century Venetian who explored Asia Marcos a Spanish form of Marcus

Popular in the 60s:

Jeffrey (English) divinely peaceful
Options:
Geoffrey (Old English) an alternate form of Jeffrey; Literature: Geoffrey Chaucer wrote “Canterbury Tales”
Jeff
: A short form of Jeffrey

If the family member or family friend from the Baby-Boomer generation was not on top-ten popularity lists during the 40s, 50s and 60s, take a look at different forms of the name and name-book neighbors to come up with some fresher-sounding options for yourself.

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

© Bruce Lansky All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

100,000+ Baby Names on Glee

This week's episode of Glee featured Emma and Will looking for names in Bruce Lansky's 100,000+ Baby Names book!

Glee

Check out the full music video below!

100,000+ Baby Names is available direct from Meadowbrook Press or at your favorite online retailers and in stores nationwide.

A Designer Baby Name Is Available For A Price

Baby name author Bruce Lansky on HuffPost Live.

Place Names That Work Well as Names for People

by Bruce Lansky

Place names usually fit into three categories. The first category covers most place names: They probably wouldn’t work well for people. For example, Monongahela (the river in Pennsylvania), Sheboygan (the town in Wisconsin) and Georgetown (the neighborhood in Washington, D.C.) aren’t names you’re likely to hear in a kindergarten classroom. The first two names lack the romantic appeal of Paris, the charm of Siena, or the “trendy” image of Brooklyn. They’re also rather long and hard to spell. Georgetown is easy to spell and has appeal—it’s a cool, upscale neighborhood (and outstanding university)—but the suffix    (-town) makes it less appropriate as a name for people.

The second category contains place names that are often used for people—even though they still sound more like names for places. Brooklyn is one example and London is another. Both are gaining in popularity as baby names, though they may not seem as appropriate as, say, India or Georgia. Of course, perceptions can change over time. “Indiana Jones” is probably the reason Indiana is considered an acceptable name for people. Before the movie, few people thought of Indiana as a person’s name. For that reason, I think it’s in that mezzo-mezzo (or comme ci, comme ca) category—it might sound cool to some people, but not to others. Ditto for Boston and Denver.

That brings us to the third category, place names that seem to work easily and well for people. By that I mean, they’re quickly recognized as baby names and don’t cause most people to think, Are you talking about a city or a girl? They’re usually short and sweet and many of them (like Charlotte and Virginia) were names for people before they were place names. Here are some examples:

Names of Countries:
For Girls: India, China, Kenya
For Boys: Cuba, Chad

Names of States and Provinces:
For Girls: Alberta (Canada), Dakota (U.S.), Georgia (U.S.)

Names of Cities and Towns:
For Girls: Charlotte (North Carolina), Florence (Italy), Madison (Wisconsin), Savannah (Georgia), Siena (Italy), Sydney (Australia)
For Boys: (San) Diego (California), Frisco (Colorado), Reno (Nevada), Rio (Brazil)

Names of Bodies of Water:
For Girls: Bristol (Bay), (Lake) Louise
For Boys: Hudson (River and Bay), Nile (River), Rocky (Mountains)

Two observations:

1. I think you can easily see the difference between the names in the third category (place names that work well for people) and the names in the first category (place names that don’t).

2. I hope you can see that the names in the second category (place names commonly used for people that are kind of, sort of, pretty good for people) don’t work quite as well as the names in the third category.

I want to encourage you to think about the difference in suitability of place names for people—and what factors make them work (or not work). Does the place sound like a name for a child? Does it make a positive impression? Will it lead to teasing? Is it easy to spell and pronounce?

My son, a travel writer, was born in the U.S. and now lives in Sweden. When thinking of names that would make a positive impression in both countries for his three daughters, he selected place names that were easy to spell and pronounce, and familiar to people in both countries, and they’ve worked very well.

So if you’re thinking of picking up a globe, spinning it, and finding a city, state, country, body of water or group of mountains for your child’s name, keep in mind that most place names don’t make comfortable, charming, cool names for people. And clunky place names, like Turkey or Greece (even though you may love visiting those places) could turn out to be a bad trip for your baby.

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

© Bruce Lansky All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

CBC Maritime Noon

Best-selling baby name author Bruce Lansky was on CBC Maritime Noon discussing baby names and taking calls from Canadian listeners!

Check out the podcast here.

The Kind of Name You Pick Says A Lot About You

by Bruce Lansky

Kiri Blakeley’s article in the Stir makes a lot of sense. I suggest you read it before you pick a name. Blakeley points out that the kind of name you choose says a lot about you. So it makes sense to think about who you are, so you can figure out what kind of names you’ll feel most comfortable with. In her article, Blakely lists seven different kinds of names and the kind of people who pick them.  Here’s a brief summary plus a comment about the kind of risk people run when they stick to their comfort zone, like glue.

Classic Names: People who pick classic names like William, Katherine, Michael and Emily have traditional values and don’t want to call attention to themselves or their children. They can’t imagine picking a silly, made-up name. Risk: the names you like may strike others as boring.

Grandma or Grandpa Names: People who pick names like Millie, Mary, Harvey or Eugene that were popular many decades ago, have good old-fashioned values and relationships that are built on strong foundations. Risk: the names you like may strike others as dated or out of style.

Family Names: People who pick names like your mother’s maiden name or your grandfather’s first name have strong family values and value close families. Risk: Family names have meaning within your family but others may not understand or appreciate them.

Made-Up Names: People who pick names like Pilot Inspektor, Moon Unit, Joeliana or Bethantony value creativity and have confidence in their own creations. Risk: It’s hard to come up with a creative name that doesn’t come across as silly or strange.

“Narcissistic” Names: People who pick names that come across as self-important like Beautiful, Awesome, Prince or Princess may have overcome great odds or hardships to  conceive or have a baby. They want everyone to know how grateful they feel. Risk: It may be almost impossible for your child to live up to the name.

Unisex Names: People who pick unisex names like Bailey, Kelly, Tyler or Jordan believe boys and girls are of equal value and should be treated fairly. Risk: People won’t know the gender of your child from his or her name, which may cause embarrassment or confusion.

Hipster Names: People who pick hipster names like Luna, Isla, Fallon or Ocean may come from hip urban areas like Brooklyn, Portland, San Francisco or Austin, where people shop organic and everyone knows the latest indie tunes. Risk: How will people from different walks of life relate to your child and vice versa?

Start your search for a name for your child by identifying your values and the kind of names you’d feel most comfortable with. This may save you a lot of time and effort. Keeping the risk factors in mind can help you avoid going to extremes. (For example, not all names used in your grandparents’ generation come across as outdated. Some, like Max, are making a comeback.)

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

Watch "Celebrity Baby Names" on Good Day Orlando

Author Bruce Lansky was on Good Morning Orlando talking about celebrity baby names and name trends.

FOX 35 News Orlando

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

How to Find Charming, Uncommon Names for Your Baby

by Bruce Lansky

If you’ve decided against selecting a time-tested traditional name for your baby, here are some ideas for finding cool, uncommon names in odd places (like a travel guide, a restaurant menu, a TV commercial or an art museum). Although picking an uncommon moniker for your child increases the risk of winding up with something that creates a “What were you thinking?” or “You must be kidding!” response, you just might discover a name that turns out to be highly memorable and appealing—thus earning you credit for your creativity and daring.

If you’re willing to pick a safe middle name in case Eureka or Ypsilanti are judged a flop as soon as your friends and relatives see the birth announcement, choosing a cool, unique name for your child can be a big plus for both the child and the parents. Your son Hudson and your daughter Monet may be the envy of all their classmates (as well as their classmates’ parents who will want to meet the pair who picked those charming names).

How do you find charming names like that? Follow this three-step procedure:

1. Look for names in odd places: a world atlas for place names, TV commercials or print ads for brand names, art museums for art names, menus or cookbooks for food names and baby-name books for uncommon forms of common names. (Did you know that my biggest, thickest name book has more than 600 lists of names to help parents generate cool, off-the-beaten-track ideas?)

2. Once you’ve come up with a list of names that are worth considering, spend some time thinking about what they would be like to live with (for your child and for you). Try to narrow your choice down to a few “keepers.”

3. Of course, there’s one more step—putting whichever names you like together with your last name (and any middle names you’re considering) to see how they all sound together. Don’t forget to check out the initials too. Some initials are just plain cool, like P.J., J.P., or K.C. Cool initials give your child another great fallback. It’s like having another middle name—without the clunkiness of actually having two middle names.

Now let’s take a look at a variety of potential names to see if we turn up any you’d call “charming.”

Place Names

For Boys: Chad, Frisco, Hudson, Reno, Rio and Santonio
For Girls: China, Georgia, India, Kenya, Monaco, Siena, and Virginia

Practical Considerations: Most of these names are recognizable enough to be quite easy to spell and pronounce. Most of them also paint a picture (that is, either charming or memorable—or both). I can imagine a difference of opinion about the “charm factor” for China, India, Kenya, Hudson and Reno. But I doubt many would find Rio, Siena, Santonio or Frisco problematic with regard to charm.

Food and Spice Names

For Girls: Brie, Cinnamon, Ginger, Olivia, Pepper, Saffron and Sage.
For Boys, Herb, Huckleberry, Macintosh, Oliver and Sage

Practical Considerations: Olivia and Oliver are variations of Olive and both make a positive impression and work well as names, as does Brie for girls. Ginger and Pepper both create a “spunky” or “spicy” impression for girls.  Sage is more of a gender-neutral name which can work equally well for either gender. Herb is a rather old-fashioned name and, of course, the “H” isn’t silent. In my opnion, the shorter variations of Huckleberry (Huck) and Macintosh (Mac) work better for boys than the longer versions.

Color Names

For Girls: Amber, Blanche, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Ebony, Ginger, Ivory and Raven
For Boys: Russell, Rusty

Practical considerations: Color names can be a blessing when you’ve put off picking a name until you are cradling  the baby in your arms. Color names can help you describe your child’s most striking physical attributes (such as hair color and complexion) in a name that can break a tie and “seal the deal.” (Notice that several spice names also work as color names.)

Brand Names

For Boys: Chevy, Harley, Levi, Lincoln and Stetson
For Girls: Chanel, Kia, Macy, Mercedes and Sierra

Practical Considerations: Most people are familiar with these brand names, so spelling and pronunciation aren’t likely to cause problems. However, these brands will probably appeal to people on different ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, in different parts of the country, and with different tastes. Chanel, Mercedes and Lincoln are more upscale; Macy appeals to the broad middle; Levi, Stetson and Sierra appeal to folks who may live out west or enjoy country-western music; Chevy is an “All-American” brand and Kia is a zippy brand that appeals to folks with modest bank accounts or with a “green” sensibility.

Ten or twenty years ago, many parents who shopped at Wal-Mart and Target chose Tiffany as a name for their bouncing bundle of joy, perhaps to project a more upscale image. You don’t need a 7-figure income to pick a million-dollar name.

Art Names

For Boys: Calder, Jasper, Hockney, Leonardo, Raphael, Rockwell, Sargent and Stuart
For Girls: Hartley, Mona Lisa, Monet and Stella

Practical Considerations: There’s a risk in choosing an “arty” name that won’t be immediately recognizable to most people. However, many of the names on the list above are familiar to most people. Who has not heard of the Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Monet’s water lilies, Calder’s colorful mobiles, Norman Rockwell’s poignant illustrations for “The Saturday Evening Post” and Georgia O’keeffe’s mesmerizing close-ups of flowers and iconic southwestern images.

Alternate Forms of Common Names

For Boys: Geo (short form of George), Lucky (a familiar form of Luke), Rafa (a short form of Raphael), Ringo (a Japanese name meaning “apple”)
For Girls: Nita (a short form of Anita and Juanita), Rita (a short form of Marguerite and Margarita), Cielo (a Spanish form of “Heaven”), Colette or Cosette (French forms of Nicole), Manon (a familiar form of Marie)

Practical Considerations: Most of these names are easy to spell and pronounce except, possibly, for Manon. But together with Cosette and Collette, all three French girls’ names make a literary or arty impression. Cielo not only sounds beautiful, it means “Heaven” in Spanish. And Nita is like Rita, a short Spanish form of names ending in “nita” or “rita.” The boys’ names are mainly short forms of names that are more religious, arty or stodgy. Most are informal and fun. Of course, it may be hard to imagine Ringo, Rafa and Lucky as classical composers, Ph.D. candidates or members of a prestigious law firm.

Let me know if you think any of these names are “cool.” That might stimulate me to take a look at other off-the-beaten-path names from categories like food names, nature names, science names, military names or opera names.

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

© 2013 Bruce Lansky
All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

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