Sometimes pop culture suggests an outlandish name, and I quietly root for it to catch on.
Stranger Things‘ Eleven, for one. Yes, it’s bananas. But it’s also an intriguing word name, sharing sounds with the traditional Evelyn. And something about Eleven seems symbolically appealing, too – though maybe best left for the middle spot. If at all. Eight girls were given the name in 2018, plus seven in 2017, up from pretty much none previously. So it’s no Khaleesi. (That one took me by surprise.)
Then there are moments where I think, ohpleaseNOdon’tcatchon.
Good Omens’ Warlock falls into that category. The Amazon Prime adaptation of the Terry Pratchett-Neil Gaiman bestseller gave us a kiddo with the impossible name. It’s a punchline, of course.
Teensy, tinsy spoiler warning!
The story begins with a demon delivering a baby to be raised by a powerful American family in Europe. The unsuspecting parents have to name the baby, but they reject the (evil) nurse’s first suggestion: Damien. Instead, the nurse suggests Warlock, “a good English name.” The mom’s having a rough night, and had already decided against naming the baby for dad, so … Warlock it is.
Bear in mind that Good Omens is comedy. Satire. We’re not supposed to imagine Warlock, or any of the character names, might be an appropriate choice for a child. But it seems possible – just maybe – that we’ll see a baby with the name. Or five.
Though I’m hoping not.
- Despite dire predictions that these ten boys’ names will vanish by 2020, I’m confident predicting their ongoing use. I mean … one of them still ranks in the US Top 100! And one just entered the US Top 1000. I’ll grant you that Gary and Roger feel a little dated, but both continue to appear in the US Top 1000. In fairness, the piece is written by a British author for a UK audience, and the story that Gary is going extinct? That’s quite popular throughout the English-speaking world. But even looking at the UK data, I see some odd choices. One of these is still in the current Top 200. Yes, names do disappear – but it takes ages and ages. And most names that make the history books or were really popular at one point? Those names tend to cycle back into favor rather than fade away.
- While we’re in the UK, I’m really liking Cyrus. It took me a while to warm to it, but British Baby Names makes a great case for the name.
- Nancy has the rundown on truly unusual baby names from Paraguay. Though I feel like I’ve heard about more than one Optimosprayn over the years. Is that possible? That’s a pop culture name that I would never have imagined …
- I love the way Duana describes Rosalind in this column! I feel like I’m hearing this name more and more lately. Could it be on the upswing? It’s been out of the US Top 1000 since the 1970s.
- But while I was reading that, I came across this response, and it is one of Duana’s best: “You’re allowed to choose what you like! Your kid will fit in, or not, regardless of name – not because names don’t matter, because you know I think they do – but because a kid whose name is chosen with love and delight and almost squeamish excitement that you actually get to use it is going to have a great sense of that name, and love it as a result.” A world of yes! How did I miss this last month?
- Robin Williams’s son Zak just welcomed son McLaurin Clement. McLaurin was Robin’s middle name. Love!
- Speaking of celebrity kids, Kobe Bryant is now a dad of four girls. He and wife Vanessa named their daughter Capri. Years ago, a friend joked about naming his daughter after his first car, which was – you guessed it – a beat-up Mercury Capri. But it’s been ages since the cars have been manufactured, and now this name makes me think of the stunning island in the Gulf of Naples. Sisters are Natalia Diamante, Gianna Maria-Onore, and Bianka Bella. Capri’s middle name is Kobe, after dad, and they’ve announced that she’s nicknamed Koko. Kind of love it.
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!