My daughter has a new name on her list: Saraline.
At nine, she’s Very Interested in names. (You know what they say about apples and trees.) Every doll gets a name, of course, but so does the puffy grey ball with cat ears that hangs from her constellation-print backpack. (He’s Earl.)
Just like most of us, her list of names is a mishmash. There are vintage doubles, like Mary Ellen. Modern favorites, like Autumn. Underused gems, like Opal.
And now there’s Saraline, a pure invention.
It doesn’t appear on any list I can find, and while there may be a few out there – I found a handful in the 1940 US Census records – it’s not likely to be heard in the wild.
Invented names often fall flat. They come with complicated spellings or seem difficult to pronounce.
But when they work, well … it’s baffling why they haven’t been here all along.
I suspect my daughter – without really understanding it – mashed up the evergreen Sarah with Laraline, a name she used for class a few years ago, and Caroline, one of her middles.
It’s a good reminder that we should never close the door and say that every name has already been dreamed up, that innovation is pointless, that our language is a fixed and rigid thing. New names are everywhere, just waiting to be heard.
- So in 2018, I’m getting three Kardashian baby name announcements, sure to be delightfully daffy and wonderfully thought-provoking; a new princess or prince with all that naming history to analyze; and a royal wedding? Best. Year. Ever.
- That has me thinking: what’s the Pippa of the Meghan-Harry wedding story? My nominee: Doria, the name of Meghan Markle’s yoga instructor-mom. (Or is it mum now that she’s becoming a British citizen? Okay, no. I’ll stop.) A frilly spin on all of those -ora names, Doria feels like a successor for the wildly popular Aurora, or maybe a sister name to Dorian, which is on the rise for boys.
- Stellar #namespotting. Mary Blair is one of my all-time favorite Mary combos. (What can I say? I’m a huge Disney geek.) And could Baker be big? I spotted it the other day, too, and have been mulling it over …
- A timely suggestion from Nancy: if you’re looking for family names, the holidays are a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with your nearest and dearest.
- Speaking of family names, this makes for an amazing family middle.
- Ooh … fascinated by this write-up about Goldie!
- BabyCenter has their Top 100 names of the year out. These lists are based on user data, not actual birth records. But they’re interesting nonetheless. Zane is rising fast; Aiden still makes their Top Five.
- What do you make of this trend? I’ve noticed the names in the data – you can’t miss ’em! – but I’d never thought about the impact of the letter H. Worth a read!
- A thoughtful discussion about naming a daughter Max, complete with a Stranger Things reference.
- I agree with Laurel. It’s not the right approach for everyone, but for plenty of parents, there’s a lot of upside to sharing your child’s name in advance.
That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!
Emily Cardoza says
Is it pronounced Sara-lynn, Sara-line (like a straight line), or Sara-leen?
I don’t know for certain, but my daughter says it like a straight line.
RE: Doria. My 5 year old has a Dora in their class. We live in a German speaking part of Europe.
Saraline is probably from Welcome to the Wayne, a cartoon that started airing on Nickelodeon this year. The show is very cute and the character isn’t a bad namesake.
Wow – I wonder if that’s it! I’ll have to ask … Thanks, Ette.
Speaking of new invented names, what do you think of Ruthelia? It’s a name that y husband and I came up with yesterday. My was liking Ruth, from the Bible, and was wanting to combine it with another name to make it a smooth name like my mom’s. My mom’s name is Ruthanna and is combo of Ruth and Hannah. At first he suggested Rutheli, pronounced Ruthelly, to incorporate my name, Elizabeth. Then, I suggested using his mom’s name Cecelia, and came up with Ruthelia. I pronounce it Ruth-eel-yah. I’m totally sold on it, yet. But, I put on the list. Middle names would be either Eloise or Frances, and Kepa. Other names on the list are: Beatrix, Felicity, Hepzibah, Winona, and Gertrude.