Francis Names: Frannie, Franklin, Francesca

June 6, 2014

Fran- names are a big group, thanks mostly to the thirteenth century Saint Francis of Assisi.  He was born in Italy as the much more ordinary Giovanni, earned his nickname for his father’s love of all things French, and became one of the most popular religious figures in the Catholic church – and beyond. Fran- names have been […]

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Cassian, Cassius, and Cashel: Getting to Cash

May 30, 2014

Cash is king, and he’s also on the rise as a given name, boosted by Johnny Cash and our affection for bold, brisk boy names. But what if you have your doubts? What if Cash might seem too cool, too maverick?  Your kiddo could turn out to be a bookworm, or possibly the student body president.  And is […]

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Gemma, Felix, and Cosima: Names from Orphan Black

May 23, 2014

Are you watching Orphan Black?  I’m not sure if we’re behind in the US, but on BBC America we’re midway through Season Two.  I’ll try to do this post without spoilers – but oh my goodness, there are so many plot twists, it is challenging! Here’s the basic brief: a top-secret experiment created clones, who grew up […]

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New Endings for Boy Names: s, r, t, and a

May 9, 2014

Move over Mason and Ethan.  We do love you, with your strong and confident sounds.  But the Top 100 has so very many two syllable, ends-in-n names for boys, enough that the mainstream press has picked up on the trend. There are still plenty of great, underused names that fit this category.  I’m a sucker for Soren, and […]

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Arbor, Rowan, Acacia: Best Tree Names for Babies

April 25, 2014

Nature names aren’t new, but there’s something fresh and unexpected about tree names. From redwoods and weeping willows to cherry blossoms and regular ol’ oaks, trees command respect.  They’re enduring, symbolic, undeniably attractive. Poet Joyce Kilmer wrote I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree … and it is easy to understand what […]

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Isabeau, Bowen, Boheme: Getting to Bo and Beau

April 18, 2014

There’s something stylish about a short name nowadays, and the bright Bo has quite a bit of appeal. Spelled Beau, the name feels like a Southern gentleman – but also has history as a feminine ending in France.  There were 39 girl Beaus and 1059 boy Beaus born in 2012. Bo is less formal – more of a […]

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John, Mary, and 63 More: The Most Popular Baby Names of All Time

April 11, 2014

What are the most popular baby names of all time? It sounds like a straightforward question.  Except that there are different ways to measure usage.  Are Steven and Stephen two names or one?  Are we talking about the percentage of the population receiving a given name, or the name’s numerical ranking?  On percentages, today’s #1 name is […]

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Elsa, Liza, and Betsy: The Many Faces of Elizabeth

April 4, 2014

Last year, I wrote a post about the Many Faces of Adelaide.  After writing yet another post about a name related to Adelaide, it hit me that there were so many forms of the name, from obscure forms long out of use to diminutives that were unfamiliar – but wearable – in English. In a recent […]

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Walker, Walton, and Winchester: W Surname Names

March 28, 2014

Surname names are stylish – just look at Jackson, Mason, Hunter and the rest of the US Top 100. For girls, I’m all about H.  And hello, Harper, Harlow, and Hadley, I think the rest of the world seems to agree. If there is one letter I love for boys’ surname names, it has to […]

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Frank, Harvey, and Dale: 1930s Names for Boys

March 21, 2014

When I wrote about 1930s Names for Girls, it was tough to put them into categories: definitely back, cautiously consider, gone for good.  And yet, that list was nothing compared to the boys’ list! If the 100-year rule holds true, then names popular in, say, 1935, should be on the rise right about now.  I […]

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