Baby Name News: 4/28/13

Sunday SummaryAt a dinner party last night, I realized how much name nerd-ery has changed the way my brain functions.  We were talking about fairytale reboots on television and the big screen, and our host wondered aloud if Grimm – as in the Brothers Jakob and Wilhelm – lent their surname to our word grim.  My gut told me that the timing was wrong – that Grimm and grim would share the same roots.  I guessed – and a helpful iPhone user confirmed that I was right.

The moral of the story?  An obsession with baby names is more useful than you might imagine.  I’m always surprised at how much history I learn through uncovering all of these fascinating names.  Thanks for suggesting them, and keep ’em coming.

Now, on to the baby name news:

  • Flavilla, or how Nancy Mann fell in love with names.  Great story!
  • A girl named Saturn Marie!  Spacy.
  • But repselling Brooks as Broox?  I could do without that one.
  • I think Reef is a seriously wearable name, and a great possibility for the middle.
  • The Name Lady’s answer to this question about James versus Gyames had me nodding my head in agreement.
  • I’m trying not to hate on Bruce Lansky – I mean, he’s sold a bajillion books and I have not – but his take on Margaret Laura “Mila” is just bizarrely out-of-touch.  To sum up: 1) we all know how to pronounce Mila, thanks to The Black Swan, which wasn’t exactly an under-the-radar indie flick; 2) there are oodles of nicknames for Margaret, from Peggy to Daisy, so it seems natural for the parents to announce which affectionate form they prefer; and 3) while recycling family names isn’t for everyone, for plenty of parents, it matters.  Why assume they’ve been bullied into it?  On the other hand, Suris Burn Book made me laugh out loud.  Which it always does.
  • On to happier thoughts: Design Mom’s Living With Kids series always brightens my day, and her feature on Karey Mackin was no exception.  Life in Jakarta (for now) with three girls: Lillie Kate, Grae-Rose and Esme Dahlia.  Gorgeous.
  • I love the spare simplicity of Lucy Bette, and there are so many other finds in For Real’s Indiana round-up: Gehrig, Crosby, Lindy, Viola Shalom.  I continue to call Shalom as the surprising middle that could be everywhere in a few more years.
  • The Buzz Report from Baby Name Wizard, based on our Baby Name Poll entries.  Penelope, Harper, Camden, Archer, Aria, Henry … sounds about right, doesn’t it?
  • I say Ari works for a boy, regardless of background.  But then, the only Ari I know isn’t Jewish – his parents chose it for its meaning – lion.  It also reminds me of Nameberry’s musings on how the rise of a stylish boys’ name often sends us scurrying to embrace feminine names with similar sounds, and vice versa.  If Emma encourages the use of Emmett, will Arianna and Aria boost Ari?
  • Isn’t Ophelie spectacular?  I agree with Angela – she’s so lovely that I’m willing to take on the pronunciation hassles.

That’s all for this week!  As always, thank you for reading.


  1. British American says

    I did spot my Henry’s name as a runner-up on the buzziest names list! The real test for me will be when he starts K this fall, as to whether there are any other Henrys in his class or year group. They seem to shuffle the kids around each year, so even if another Henry isn’t in his class that first year, if there’s another one in the year group, they might be together the following year. (My daughters year group had 3 Ethans in one class.) Currently I haven’t spotted any other Henrys in the local elementary school, but I do hear them at the library – so far younger than my son. And I was ever so slightly miffed to notice that there is a George at the local elementary school in the new pre-K class. So he will be several years ahead of my George.

    But even if Henry does get super popular, I still love his name and especially that it’s well-established and English sounding. Plus I like that he can decide to be Hank or Hal or Harry one day, if he wants.

  2. Diana says

    I met a six-year-old “Lilah Bay” this weekend (“For the Chesapeake!” she proudly announced, like any good Marylander), and I *love* it.

  3. Panya says

    Broox looks like it’s supposed to be pronounced with a long /u/ sound, rhyming with boost or troop.

    As mentioned, Ari isn’t only a Hebrew name, and could be a nickname for many different names, so I think it’s very multicultural.

  4. Panya says

    *sigh* Not surprisingly, Bruce Lansky was off on every single point he made. :/

    “When people read the name, they may wonder how to pronounce it: ME-la or MILL-la?”
    -Most people aware of the existence Mila Kunis and/or Milla Jovovich know it’s ME-la; plus, it follows the pronunciation rules for English [one consonant in the middle = long vowel].

    “And when people hear the name, they may wonder how to spell it: Meela or Milla?”
    -See above for the note on pronunciation rules — not many people would insert a superfluous /l/ in a name they’d never heard before. Plus, most languages in the world which use use an /i/ for an sound [when using the Latin alphabet].

    “Mila is a short form of names like Ludmilla (Russian/Slavic)”
    -There’s usually only one /l/ in this name, since the root is .

    “In short, Mila is a nickname of Russian/Slavic or Italian origin that will be the primary moniker for the granddaughter and great granddaughter of two American presidents named Bush.”
    -Is the point here that a Russian/Slavic/Italian name is somehow inappropriate for the grandchild of U.S. presidents?? Plus, those aren’t the only origins of the nickname — other choices are Roman, Arabic, Indian, Spanish, etc. — even English.

    “…the rest of the baby’s name seems like it was cobbled together to gain support from both sides of the family. The idea of giving a baby girl a name that will be used only on the birth certificate doesn’t make sense to me. Why not name her Camilla “Mila” Hager and be done with it?”
    -That’s ridiculous. LOTS of people honor family this way. And it’s even more expected from affluent families, where they want to honor prominent family members while still allowing the child their “own” name.

    “I had no idea why a seemingly spunky young woman like Jenna would agree to such a tame name.”
    -I’m a “spunky” woman and I adore the name Margaret. And I’m definitely not the only one — tastes change through generations!

    “But there was something I still didn’t get: Laura Margaret sounds a lot better than Margaret Laura (as evidenced by the fact that there are millions of Irish women named Mary Margaret–and very few named Margaret Mary). So why did Jenna and Henry go with the more awkward name order?”
    -IMO Margaret Laura Hager flows much better than Laura Margaret Hager. Not everyone uses double names, so the flow of Margaret Laura [without Hager] might not matter to them, especially since they’ll be calling her by an entirely different name.

    “My guess is that Jenna put her mother’s name second to get Mila (an unusual Russian/Slavic or Italian nickname) rather than Lama (a funny Peruvian-sounding nickname).”
    -So? Mila is not that unusual — not only has Mila Kunis been famous in the U.S. for 15 years, Milla Jovovich has been for 20. And oh yeah, those are their NICKNAMES — their given names are Milena and Milica, respectively.


    • Panya says

      Oops, realised I used the wrong symbols & certain things didn’t show up…

      -Plus, most languages in the world which use use an /i/ for an *ee* sound [when using the Latin alphabet].

      -There’s usually only one /l/ in this name, since the root is *mil*.

  5. Julie says

    Ari (Are) also means “eagle” in Norwegian, so it has lots of animal symbolism. It’s one of my favorite names, because it feels like a modern way to honor Arne/Arnold (names from both of our family trees.) I don’t love Ari with our surname, but I’d love to meet more little ones.

  6. Megan M. says

    Oh my gosh, I love Suri’s Burn Book! I could spend hours on that website.

    Please, Lord, don’t let her spell it Gyames. Please? I’ll be checking back for a response in the comments.

    • appellationmountain says

      Suri’s Burn Book is the kind of website that you find, and immediately have to read from post one. Genius.

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