This post was originally published on January 9, 2012 in celebration of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy. It was substantially revised and re-posted on November 9, 2015.
Blue Ivy Carter is a pint-sized celebrity, the child of trend-setting style icons.
But has her given name caught on? Our Baby Name of the Day is Blue.
Blue: Starbaby Staple
Color names are popular in 2015, from botanicals like Violet to more masculine hues like Gray.
Beyonce gets credit for boosting our awareness of Blue as a baby name, but she and Jay-Z weren’t the first. There’s also:
- Way back in 1976, Cher used this name for son Elijah’s middle name.
- David Evans, better known as U2’s guitarist The Edge, is dad to Blue Angel.
- John Travolta and Kelly Preston used the French form of the name for daughter Ella Bleu.
- Rocker Bret Michaels followed suit, with daughter Jorja Bleu.
- Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is mom to Bluebell.
- Rascal Flatt’s Joe Don Rooney also used Blue for his daughter Raquel’s middle.
- Alicia Silverstone left off the ‘e’ and named her son Bear Blu.
We see Blue in birth announcements most often as a middle name. Because data on middles isn’t widely available, it’s tough to say if that’s a trend.
As a first name, the color remains rare. In 2014, there were 19 girls and 16 boys were given the name.
Blue: True. And Other Things.
The word dates to around the year 1300. It’s a primary color, but there are plentiful associations, some favorable, others not so much:
- It’s the color of constancy – true.
- It’s also the color of sorrow – you can have them or sing them.
- Little Boy Blue wears the color we associate with our sons, at least in the last century.
- Blue ruin is an old slang term for gin, though today Bombay Sapphire feels rather sophisticated.
- It’s the color of first place ribbons. Blue chip means high in value.
- If this it the color of your blood, then you’re a royal by birth.
- A moon this color signifies something that happens rarely.
- A blue dahlia has never been produced – so it implies something unattainable. The Blue Dahlia is a 1946 film noir, and before that, a nineteenth century Russian ballet.
- Skies and birds take the color in a happy, optimistic direction.
- It’s also a nature name – the color of the ocean, and the sky – as in the wild blue yonder.
- Lastly, add red and white, and it’s a patriotic name, too.
From navy to carolina, there are many shades. Because they’re more typically associated with boys, there’s something slightly gender-bending about choosing the name for a girl.
Blue: Calamity Physics and More
2006’s much-lauded novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics introduced a girl called Blue Van Meer. The book is part-coming of age novel, part-murder mystery.
Children’s author Blue Balliett was born Elizabeth, but uses her childhood nickname professionally.
There’s also the dog on Blue Clue’s – another girl, for what it’s worth.
Blue: On Trend Option
Names like Luke and Ruby, Lucy and Jude are quite stylish today. And short B names for girls – from Brooke to Blair and even Bess – have a certain charm.
Blue fits right in to their company. As colorful as Scarlett, as upbeat as Blythe.
We’ll likely hear more of this name in the years to come – though perhaps mostly as a middle.
What do you think of Blue? Does it seem like a wearable first name to you, or is this one better in the middle?
I’d love it if you would do a post on Bluebell.
I’m the only one here that doesn’t like it. Blue Ivy? Too short, and sounds like a *thing*. You wouldn’t name a person Red Envelope or Gray Goose.. so what makes Blue Ivy any less ridiculous? I’ll never understand.
Blue Ivy brings to mind the play “The House of Blue Leaves.” Great play, but since the title is referring to a mental hospital, it isn’t really namesake material. Blue Ivy also feels like a restaurant or an Inn, like “The Blue Ivy is my favorite spot for Sunday Brunch.”
As for the actual name Blue, it feels more fitting for a coonhound or a Blueheeler. But the thing really holding me back is the phrase “going blue” as in a profane comedian or an actress who switches to porn.
The Name Station says
Blue’s Clues, sure – what what about Paul Bunyan’s trusty ox, Blue?
I would also include Bluebelle as the name most likely to mix with Scarlett or Violet.
And I wonder if the fact that blue is a ‘boy’ colour has encouraged the fact that the name seems perfectly unisex these days. We do fight back against gender and racial stereotypes, as a society, more and more every day, I think…
I really like the name Blue. I always have. I like it on both genders but slightly prefer it on a girl.
I like Blue. What gets me about this baby’s name is that her first name is acting as a descriptor for her middle, sort of nullifying the whole first name in the process.
But Blue alone is pretty nice, or if the middle name wasn’t a noun. I read of a character in a book one time named Bluma, called Blu. Nice.
Don’t forget about Bonnie Blue Butler from Gone With the Wind, born Eugenie Victoria!
How could I forget?!
In his new song, “Glory,” Jay-Z says – “Baby, I paint the sky blue; my greatest creation was you.” It might be some elementary rhyming, but I think it speaks to the sweetness, significance, and, quite frankly, soul of Blue Ivy Carter (no Knowles)’s name.
Blue clearly has significance to Jay-Z, evident in this above lyric, a tribute to his child, and his three Blueprint albums. Not to mention his color: Jay-Z Blue. Blue, to me, is a color of brightness, life, vibrancy, and youth. I love it – it’s my favorite. I see the sadness that the color could have, but it is such a rich, pure, beautiful color and strong collection of letter sounds that I find the name rather striking. The addition of Ivy, an on-trend nature name, feels even more interesting in the middle spot, I think, although I’ll agree that Ivy Blue sounds less like something in a botany book (though more like something you’d find on a paint chip) and overall more pleasing to the ear, Blue Ivy is just that much more original – though not wildly so in the least! – significant, and subtly charming. I know some have maligned Ivy as a silly, roundabout way of honoring the number four, via IV, but I think it’s the perfect way to work it into a girl’s name in a classy, charming way.
Go paint that sky, Baby Blue! Congrats to mama and daddy, too. 🙂
Nice sleuthing, Lemon! And what a lullaby …
Thanks! Speaking of, Glory would be a perfect song for a future sister to Blue – it’s family and musically inspired!
Perfect NAME, not song. I can’t type today.
I am not blown away by the name. Honestly it kind of bores me. I think Ivy Blue has a better flow.
The supposes story is that Blue is after Jay-zs album Blueprint and his favorite color blue. Beyonces favorite number is four or the Roman IV ie Ivy. Voila you have an instant name.
Lou @ Mer de noms says
By nature, I’m a very laid-back, relaxed kind of person and I relate that attitude to the colour blue.I do like the colour blue, and I could see it working as a name since it isn’t far removed from mine, but my sister has just shouted over my shoulder: ‘ Blue is a BOYS colour, Lou.’ Gotta love the thoughtful insights of an eight-year-old, but I guess she does have a valid point.
I think Blue sounds pretty in the middle spot (especially with Ivy; and I think one of Adele’s middle names is Blue) or as a nickname for, say, Brooke or Bella. I can’t see it as a full name of an adult or a teenager, though.
I would have liked Ivy Blue but Blue Ivy sounds like something out of a botany textbook, in layman’s terms that is. 🙂
I find the whole “crazy hollywood name” thing kind of disingenuous, though. First of all, most celebrities don’t name their babies anything out of the ordinary at all. Secondly, names that would be praised to the sky on name nerd boards as outside-the-box (Phineas and Hazel, anyone?) get slammed if the parent bestowing said name is a known entity.
To wit: everyone slams Apple, but oh Clementine and Persimmon and blah blah blah, they’re so ELEGANT. And Paltrow named her other baby Moses, which is a bible name.
I’d probably prefer Ivy Blue to Blue Ivy because of the adj-noun inference, but I like both names just fine. And as with all middle names — people aren’t going to call her Blue Ivy. They’ll call her Blue Carter. (Or is it Blue Knowles-Carter?)
“claps” at everything you just said , including the Beyonce baby.
I was really confused when the story broke.. of course about whether it was Blue Ivy or Ivy Blue or if it all was just rumors.. then I was confused about the combination in general.. a color and a thing name. I just thought they would be more posh creative or traditional, this is just one of those crazy celebrity names now. But who am I to judge, I would name a kid Holiday if given the chance. My guess is that they have some sort of strong meaning which always makes the name better, when you have a strong personal connection to it. Well she wont have to worry about too many people in her class having her name.. thats for sure. Im really on the fence if I like it.. I like Ivy, but Blue??? I feel like I need a name story to fall in love, but from this traditionally private couple I doubt we will get one.
When the news first broke there was some confusion if that baby’s name was Ivy Blue or Blue Ivy. I like Ivy Blue but putting an adjective together with a noun like that just doesn’t work for me. One commentator on TV said that Blue Ivy sounds like the name of a new vodka.
My daughter has a friend named Elsabelle Blue and I just love that combination.
I agree with the other commenters — I don’t love it or hate it. It’s not my cup of tea, but I do respect that it’s an unusual name that is not ZOMG SO WEIRD. It should wear well.
I’m more concerned this will be the thing that finally tips Ivy into true trendiness. That’s my daughter’s name, and we’ve come across only one or two others in the last 4.5 years. I fear that now there’ll be a mass of them.
Our Ivy is 8.5 and we’ve met maybe 3 or 4 others.
But Ivy has definitely already been on the upswing if you look at the SSN lists.
Oh, and I forgot this: Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziQx0cXV4nY Though I’m partial to the Bryan Ferry cover.
I don’t think Blue is such a wild or strange choice as a first name. Colour names can be really fun and they can have wonderful meanings and connections, like you’ve shown. I also love that they chose Ivy. But Blue and Ivy put together just doesn’t work for me. It almost reaches the same level as Bear Blu and Bronx Mowgli. I really thought they would go for something French or more traditional. But they’re celebrities so I guess it is to be expected.
Sarah A says
I have to echo Charlotte’s sentiment – I neither love nor hate Blue as a given name. I do love the color and I like how incredibly versatile its meaning seems to be. Also, as a huge bluegrass fan, ‘Blue’ as a name feels very musical to me.
Blue is also the color of purity. That’s why in paintings of the virgin Mary, she is usually wearing the color blue.
Charlotte Vera says
That’s interesting. I always thought that white was the colour of purity and blue of royalty, which is why the Virgin Mary is usually depicted wearing a combination of the two.
I don’t think I either love or hate the idea of Blue as a given name, whether it be on a girl or a boy. What I do like is the idea of giving your child a name that means something to you.