I am having SO much fun with the New Names Showdown! Thank you all for your enthusiastic votes.
But may I confess my surprise? I was certain Alaia would run away with the whole thing. It’s an A name – among the most popular of letters at the moment – and it reminds me of Aria and Lila and Layla and lots of names that are so in vogue now. But nope. Knocked out in the first round!
Of course, upsets and likely victors and such are much on my mind, because Olympics. There’s always name chatter during the games. During women’s beach volleyball, there was much discussion of Kinga – the Polish equivalent of Ashley. Or maybe Emma.
The name that sent me searching was Vanderlei, as in Vanderlei de Lima, who lit the Olympic cauldron during the Opening Ceremonies on Friday. If you remember the 2004 Athens games, de Lima led the pack during the marathon – until a religious fanatic, an Irish priest who was defrocked – dragged him off course. Instead of becoming the first Brazilian to win gold in the marathon, he won bronze. But de Lima’s conduct – and his perseverance in finishing the race – was lauded as so sportsmanlike and dignified that he became a hero in his own right.
Back to Vanderlei. Also spelled Vanderley and Wanderlei, it’s originally a Dutch surname. de Lima isn’t the only bearer of the name, and a handful of children have even been named Vanderlei in the US since 2004.
Doubtless there’s more exciting Olympic #namespotting in the days to come!
- Usually I adore a triple name – like Zoe Avril Jane from this birth announcement round-up. But is it me, or would Agnes Skye Claudia work better as just Agnes Skye? Or maybe it’s just that I’m a sucker for the sharp contrast between a dusty antique and a decidedly modern moniker. Agnes Lark, the daughter of Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, is probably one of my favorite celebrity baby names ever.
- Hola, Lobo! Another case of a banned baby name being approved, thanks to parents willing to fight for the name they love. In an increasingly global, interconnected world, it’s harder and harder to argue that any name is off-limits.
- I choose my nail polish colors exclusively by name. (No, really.) So how jealous am I that Kerry Washington was able to name a new OPI color after her daughter, Isabelle? It’s called Inside the IsaBELLEtway, inspired by the phrase used to describe Washington DC. (The Beltway is a highway encircling Washington DC, and while the term tends to refer to government insiders, it’s a pretty big area – we live inside the beltway!)
- Here’s another rare gem: Reuel, covered by The Well-Informed Namer.
- Another ends in -el name to consider: Marvel. Swistle made an enthusiastic case for the name, and there’s a minor character in The Hunger Games known as Marvel.
- I really never get tired of this question: When do you name your baby? Kate discussed it recently, and I tend to agree with the commenters who say that meeting their child doesn’t make it much easier.
- Still obsessed with this list of fall-inspired names in Spanish.
Back to the Olympics! I do believe I’ll get to see Simone Biles soon – love her name. Thanks for reading, and have a great week.
How do you pronounce Alaia?
Reuel reminds me of JRR Tolkien. It also reminds me a little bit of Rumer – as in Rumer Godden the novelist.