Candid, Allegro, Elisaria, Reina, Jonilde. Nope, that’s not a list of crazy celebrity baby names, or the newest names in the US Top 1000. Those modern, eclectic and downright interesting names all appear in the newest edition of the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources.
I love to look back at names from the past. First, it helps cement my conviction that there’s no such thing as a normal name. More importantly, it proves that the well of names will never run dry. If you told me you’d imagined Elisaria from Elise and Aria, it would feel right. And yet there’s a whole other explanation for the name I would never have guessed.
Does that mean there’s no such thing as a bad name? Not exactly. I do think some names are more likely to seem trendy and dated. But it’s very, very difficult to peg which names fit in that category. And, really, it’s a pretty short list, often determined in part by what happens in the years after your child is born.
Because here’s my working theory: If a name remains in the US Top 100 for a little while, it automatically becomes a normal name. No matter how unusual the inspiration – think of Splash’s Madison – or how dramatic the sound – hello, Ryder – frequency of use transforms a name from outlandish to ordinary.
In this sense, popularity is a good thing, taking that way out-there name and making it an option for this generation – but also for revival in another century or so.
Do you agree that names that reach the Top 100 – or even the Top 200, like Maverick – become more broadly acceptable as they rise in use? I mean, that’s sort of the working definition of popular, right?
Moving on to the name news:
- Speaking of trends – here are the trendiest names from every decade, along with the clothing styles that match up!
- Also, British Baby Names’ delicious Finds From 1874. I mean, Olivant Caradoc and Zelie Leopoldine Helene in one post? Just magnificent.
- Whoa! What would you do if your husband’s great-grandma rejected lots of girl names because they belonged to women from her ex-husband’s past? I do like what the Name Lady says, about often having to give up our in-theory favorites because of real world considerations.
- Love these names quotes from Nancy, if only because Agnieszka might be my favorite Polish girl’s name ever. Though Kinga is a close second, and infinitely more wearable in English …
- Completely swooning over these bold, meaningful middles – as well as the house, of course. Must be another Living with Kids post! I rounded up the LwK names a while back … probably time for an update to this post.
- Best Duana quote ever: If I were writing a relationship column, which sometimes I am in this space … So true!
- Oscalie is kind of lovely – at least I like it better than Oscarine.
- My 8 y.o. is super interested in the new Gwen Stefani show on Nickelodeon, Kuu Kuu Harajuku. The characters are named Love, Angel, Music, Baby … and G. For Gwen, of course! Love and Angel are given names, and Baby is out there, too – but Music? Almost unheard. I wonder if that will change? After all, musical names like Cadence, Aria, Harmony, and Melody are all mainstream choices.
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!
A friend has a daughter, Autumn Music, apparently its a family middle…oh how I wish the SSA would compile stats on middle names.