A friend of mine has a common name with an unusual spelling. The other day he lamented that it made him oh-so-very searchable online. It got me wondering: we’re naming a generation of children in hopes that they’ll stand out. But will some of those kids grow up and wish that they had the opportunity to blend in?
Or will the world transform so much, in ways we can’t possibly foresee, that we’ll have a different set of concerns entirely?
I’d bank on the last one.
Here’s what’s up in all things onomastic this week:
- I’m captivated by this list of the shortest names in Britain. (Well, also the artwork? Is genius!) I’m not a minimalist when it comes to naming, but all those parents of Emi, Tao, and Dru? Guessing that’s their vibe.
- No matter your style, I’m guessing that there’s an oo-oo boy name on this list that you’ll love. I’m torn between Bruno and Boone, but it’s Louis that I think will really ride this wave. (More on that in a post coming up in a few weeks!)
- The Zac Brown Band’s Clay Cook welcomed son Theron Maine this month. They’re calling him Teddie, which goes well with his big brother, Charlie – full name Charles Robert. At first glance, the younger brother’s name is infinitely more daring than buttoned-down Charles Robert. But Theron has serious potential, I think. It’s a Greek name meaning hunter, and more importantly, it can easily share both common nicknames for wildly popular boy name Theodore – both Teddie/Teddy and Theo.
- Which brings me to this list: common nicknames for unusual names. One of my favorite strategies! Because if you’re worried your Ellie might want something distinctive to fall back on, then there are names besides Eleanor and Elizabeth to consider.
- Random find: British fashion editor Zanna Roberts Rassi named her twin daughters Rumi and Juno. And yes, her Rumi came well before Beyonce’s baby girl. I still think Rumi could be huge …
- How did I miss this one? Here I was thinking that Wells owed its rise to The 100. It didn’t track exactly – on the post-apocalyptic series, he was a fairly minor character. But the show did boost Octavia, and probably Lincoln, too. Instead, I just realized that Wells Adams was one of season 12’s bachelors on The Bachelorette – meaning we were watching him vie for the hand of Joelle Fletcher during 2016. He’s now the bartender on spin-off series Bachelor in Paradise, so Adams – and his appealing name – remain very much in the spotlight.
- I think this is a good strategy for naming a son after his dad, but not exactly. My sister married into a family that follows a variation on this pattern, and I kind of love it. (Especially because their custom is that the middle name comes from the mom’s side.)
- Duana sums up our modern naming conundrum beautifully: if everyone wants names that nobody else is using, chances become greater and greater that someone’s using the ‘unused’ name you’re in search of. Also, she’s right about Jean. I love the idea of a little girl named Jean/Jeanne/Jeannie. Great on a child, but plenty sophisticated for a capable woman, too.
- Good to remember: our perceptions of names’ assigned genders is subject to change.
- Um, my new neighbor’s name is Indigo! I met her briefly while she was very much in moving-in mode, so I had to restrain myself. But I cannot wait to hear if there’s a story behind her name. (There has to be, right?)
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!