We’ll admit it. We like word names. They’re unusual and distinctive, but are still familiar and easy to spell. So when the third starbaby in recent years received this one as part of his name, our ears perked up.

In honor of the birth of Minnie Driver’s son, here’s our Name of the Day: Story.

Many parents object to noun names, but they have a legitimate history. Think of Rose and Lily, Hope and Grace. In some ways, Destiny and Trinity, Story and Journey are just a 21st century twist on a long tradition of adopting appealing concepts and sounds for use on birth certificates.

Consider these Top 1000 choices from the 1880s:

  • Occupational names Lawyer and Doctor;
  • Titles like Commodore, Elder, Squire, Duke and Colonel;
  • Nature names like Lemon (for boys!), Bird (for both genders), Dove and Jewel;
  • Virtue choices like Patience, Prudence and Charity;
  • American place names like Arizona, Florida, Houston, Missouri and Dallas.

We’ve said it before – when it comes to baby naming, normal is elusive.

But Story is a truly novel choice. (Sorry – couldn’t resist!) It has never appeared in the US Top 1000, and few baby name sites or books include it. Nonetheless, it meets our criteria for a workable name:

  • It sounds like other personal names in use. Destiny and Trinity followed logically from Tiffany and Brittany. (Though none of them are quite as sophisticated as parents might’ve hoped.) Story picks up on other gender neutral picks like Cory and Rory, as well as the feminine Tori, often a nickname for Victoria.
  • The meaning is not restrictive or negative. About a year ago, a parent mentioned considering the name Bane. While a bright guy, poetry wasn’t his thing and he’d never heard the phrase “bane of my existence.” Likewise, while Tractor and Farmer might sound like Carter and Foster, they seem like odd terms to choose for a child’s name. Story, on the other hand, has enough flexibility to suit a child of many different temperaments.

A trio of starbabies have received the name:

  • R&B singer Ginuwine and his partner Solé named their daughter Story in 2001. Her younger sister is named Dream;
  • Jenna Elfman’s son Story Elias was born in the summer of 2007;
  • Minnie Driver’s son Henry Story arrived just a few weeks ago.

So is Story trending male or female? It’s impossible to say. The Baby Name Guesser indicates that Story is 1.9 times more likely to be a girl – that sounds definitive. Except that Jennifer is 62 times more likely to be a girl and Mary 161 times more likely. A rating of just under two is just about gender neutral.

In the end, Story’s tale is a short one. No saints, no kings and no historic figures of note have worn the name. This is either a selling point for parents hoping for a truly modern choice, or a frustration.

While we like Story’s sound and think it does work as a noun name, it takes a daring parent indeed to choose this name for a child of either gender. Perhaps it’s best left where Ms. Driver used it – in the middle spot.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I absolutely love this. I’m hoping my first daughter will be named Story Rose (Rose honoring my grandmother), but I still have to convince the hubby.

  2. I don’t really like it. But OK as a middle name. Noun names such as plants or flowers for girls I like… but story? It’s something you read or write.. sounds silly as a name.

  3. I like some word names but I am very picky about which ones end up on my long lists. Sorty is one that will never be there. Yes, it feels rather name like and would fit a bunch of different types of kids but it’s still not my cup of tuna. Maybe because I am a compulsive reader (not just liking to read, must read!), Story falls short for me. That and there’s no decent nickname. ;D

    I really don’t mind Story on someone else’s kid, I mean, beats something made up and/or misspelled but not for mine, thank you very much.
    Funnily enough, I would rather Story on a boy thana girl, it just feels strong and sharp (and I dislike sharp girl names) but I dislike both celebrity boy Stories. (ha-ha) They’re to s-ey or too ‘y’ loaded. EStory Elias makes me hiss when I say it and Henry Story (which I admire for having a solid classic upfront) is very sing-songy because they both end the same. The R& B girls Sotory & Dream? I don’t knwo which one I feel sorrier for. Probably Dream, so unsubstantial on an adult.

    All in all, Story’s simply, alright. It ends up in my neutral column, neither evil or blessed. just… benign. And I would rather HE than she. There are other word names I like better: Cotton, Prosper, Noble & Oak for boys. Violet, Lily, Daisy, Amity & Rose for girls.