Happy June! While I like the idea of March or January or even July as a given name, I think June wins my favorite month-as-name contest, if only because there are so many amazing names that start with that sound. There’s Juniper and Juno and Djuna. And just June is great, too.
Speaking of June, the first Saturday brings with it the Belmont Stakes – the third big horse race of the season. After a 37-year drought, we have a Triple Crown winner: American Pharaoh!
Okay, I know all of that only because … Twitter.
Pharaoh did get me thinking: What’s your favorite starts-with-Ph name? There aren’t many!
Now, on to the name news:
- Well, let’s stay with the ponies for another minute. I Googled horse trainer Bob Baffert – the man behind American Pharaoh – to see if he had kids. And yup – five! From his first marriage, he has four sons: Taylor, Canyon, and Forest, plus daughter Savannah. From his second marriage, he has a son called Bode, named after celebrated skier Bode Miller. I’m fascinated by Canyon.
- Jezebel asked readers for stories of times they pretended to be someone else, and get this – one of the top two stories was about baby names! Specifically, a thirteen year old who pretended to be an expectant mom on a message board in order to talk baby names, circa 2001. Her fake name for her fake daughter was Madeline, so she had pretty great taste for a teenager, and I’d LOVE to know what names she’d be thinking of now!
- Sometimes I’m baffled by name lists. Other times I’m dismayed. Like this week, when I stumbled across a list called “Top 20 Aristocratic Names for Your Baby.” Yes to Cecily, Georgiana, Frederick, and Alistair. But Bentley? Landon? Chantelle? No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing against those names, but they don’t scream to-the-manor-born. (I hesitate to link to the post, but here it is.)
- Am I especially grouchy this week? Because here’s another one. I’ll give you Cash and Brynlee, Zayden and Jax, but Vivienne? Arabella? No way! If you’re going to title your post “Baby names that basically didn’t exist before 2000,” I feel like those names really should be novelties coined after 2000. Not older names that just happen to be significantly more popular in the US today than they were in the last century or so. Or is this kind of like the debate around Neil Gaiman and Coraline? No, he didn’t invent it. But most of us hadn’t heard of the name until he came along …
- Wise words on choosing a mega-popular name. It’s a tricky subject. Lots of parents say “nothing in the Top 10o,” without realizing that they’re ruling out great names, like Adam and Piper, Ruby and Asher, Ian and Eleanor. I think what we’re sometimes trying to say with “nothing in the Top 100” is “nothing fleeting and insubstantial.” That’s a good thing, I think, but a tough concept to reduce to a numerical range. Here’s my list of reasons you should still use that Top Ten name you love.
- What a crazy story about discount airlines, online identity, and out-of-the-box thinking. Also, this guy’s name is now Adam West. Which is either all kinds of awesome, or an invitation to relay a story about discount airlines, online identity, and out-of-the-box thinking forever.
- This discussion of how transgender people name themselves is fascinating.
- Can you imagine working as a registrar of births, and being told that you had to deny parents their top choice of name? On the grounds that is it “too Muslim.” In a country where at least 90% of the population is Muslim. According to the story, the government of Tajikistan sees banning traditional Muslim names as a hedge against extremism.
- Okay, that was heavy. Just for fun: we spent the weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home to one of the legendary Fractured Prune doughnut shops. Pretty unusual name for a bakery, right? The shops are named for Prunella Shriek, a local woman famous for competing in sporting events traditionally reserved for men, well into her 70s. Because she broke so many bones doing so, she was known as “Fractured Prunella” or “Fractured Prune.” This was in the nineteenth century; when the doughnut shop’s founders were looking for a name for their new business in 1976, they came across this bit of history, and ran with it.
- More great names stories, via Waltzing More Than Matilda.
- I’m missing a lot in translation in this article, but I’m loving this line: Where did Petronella go? Vernoeming analyzed the most classic Dutch names, as well as those that have fallen out of use.
- Estelle! Herman! Michael Floyd! Birth announcements from Names4Real prove that any name can come back. Maybe even Petronella.
- And any name can go out. When I read this list of the Best J Names at The Art of Naming, my first thought was Jacqueline? Are babies really still being named Jacqueline? Yes, it is – Jacqueline still ranked a respectable #246 in 2014. I was just thinking about how long ago JFK was in office, and wondering if Jacqueline qualified as retro yet – but apparently the name is still hanging on. Hmmm …
- British Baby Names profiles a great Biblical name that’s oh so rare: Thaddeus. Love the name, but I’m not so sure about Tad – Thad? – as a nickname.
- I recently discovered that someone I’ve only ever known as Nacho is actually Ignacio. Makes all the sense in the world, and I’m wondering why I didn’t figure that one out sooner. No one is actually named Nacho, right? Oh wait, Nancy says that’s not quite right … there have been a few people named Nacho!
- This tweet:
I’m naming all my children after Instagram filters. Hudson, Walden, Valencia, Kelvin, Brannan, Willow, and the twins, Toaster and 1977.
— Sodom and GoMaura (@maurajbg) June 3, 2015
And on that note, there’s really nothing more to say! As always, thank you for reading, and have a great week!
wow you would really not like me then as my name is Chantelle Landon & you dismiss both names! I love being a Landon, I am super proud of it) as should anyone because it comes (more often than not) from a person having liked & appreciated the late Michael Landon & believe me there is nothing wrong with having his surname as a first name!! He was a wonderful & inspirational sweet man & I love when people use his surname as a first name for their child!! There is nothing bad about it at all!! in fact quite the opposite!! It is better to be named after someone with good morals than to be named something that is allegedly “hip” in the moment!!
He was a compassionate, loving man & I think being named after someone like him should be always seen as a good thing!
She didn’t dismiss either name, she specifically said that, she simply said they didn’t have obvious aristocratic associations as the listicle claimed they did. And they don’t.
British American says
The mega-popular name is a fun read. We did purposefully avoid the top 100 the first time around, but didn’t the second time. Henry is such a great classic English sounding name, that I’m glad we chose it, even if it is now top 10 in our state. And I agree that kids don’t really care – my son thinks it’s fun that there’s another Henry in the grade below him. He got the other Henry to sign his yearbook. He hasn’t had to share names in his class though, and I do wonder if that would be frustrating.
I also relate to the problem described in that article about her Mom’s name, Ileene. Even with my name right there on Facebook, I had two ‘friends’ call me Jenny instead of Jennie this week!?
Oh and I actually don’t know any kids named Sophia. Although there was one years ago when my daughter was in preschool. There is a Sophina in my kids school and a Sophie. I do know a Unique though.
And my friend has a grandson named Thaddeus. The pronunciation throws me off, because it’s said with a “Th” sound, right? But then the nickname is Tad? I do know an adult Tad and I have no idea what his fullname is, if he has one.
Oh and on the subject of Jacqueline, there are two of them in my daughter’s grade (just finished 4th). I’m trying to think of any other girls names that repeat in her grade and I’m not sure there are any others. The two girls do spell their names differently. I think one ends in lyn.
My favourite Ph name is probably Phyllida, and I like the nickname Liddy.
I have to admit I am slightly disappointed there was no discussion of Caitlyn Jenner this week. The most talked about transgender person chooses a name for herself – huge name news! My first thought was how it doesn’t fit her generation or the current just-born generation. Us name nerds know that this might give a clue as to when she first started thinking of a name (15-20 years ago maybe? Back when Caitlin was at it’s height of popularity?) I was really looking forward to the Sunday Summary thinking you might have echoed similar thoughts I had. Any reason that you didn’t mention it?
Ah, yes – Caitlyn! Such a surprise. I included the link to Time’s article because you’re right – it has been a huge story. To be honest, I debated including more, but I feel out of my depth talking about it. I changed my legal name as an adult, but that’s nothing compared to the experience of transitioning from one gender to the other in the public eye.
One of the best things I’ve read this week was Sparrow’s post at Nameberry. Courageous, and yet heartbreaking, too, when Sparrow writes, “My parents still insist on calling me by my birth name, and probably always will, but I’ve managed to accept that.”
It’s such a big, rich topic – I might write about it in the future, but for now, I’m still not sure if I can do it justice.
But Abby! American Pharoah has a misspelled name! After seeing it spelled Pharoah the first thirty times, I thought that no one could spell anymore! But the horse’s name is spelled that way, not pharaoh. I was fascinated by this. I guess if a horse can win the Triple Crown with a misspelled name, a baby with a misspelled name can also be successful!
“Fractured Prune” — amazing. What a story.
I like Thaddeus. Its one of the few New Testament names I like. I liked the ‘heart’ etymology.
My list of 25 top J names looks very different than The Art of Naming’s, especially for girls, but I *do* like Jacqueline.
I think my favourite Ph name for boys is Phineas, followed by Phoenix, but I like Philip as well. For girls, I think Phaenna [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaenna] is my most favourite and then Phoebe.
The interesting thing about Thaddeus is that in a lot of Europe, the Th would be pronounced like Thomas, so a T sound instead of a Th sound. So Tad is a very appropriate nickname for ‘Taddeus’. I really love the nickname ‘Thade’ (pronounced ‘Tayde’) as well, which was common in Ireland. As Elea notes in her post, Thade and Thaddeus were used as anglicised forms of Tadhg.
You missed Phil(i)bert on your list of Ph- names! Or maybe no one wants to name their child after a nut nowadays…
Thaddeus was my imaginary friend, growing up. 🙂 Warm memories there. No idea where I got the name from though!
Yes, many Spanish nicknames end in -cho: Lencho (Lorenzo), Lucho (Luciano), Pancho (Francisco), Cacho (Carlos), Checho (Sergio), Chucho (Jesús). And I was surprised to keep meeting so many young kids/babies named Jacqueline, but I know about four or five in my area. Great post again, thanks!
Interesting … I’ve definitely heard Pancho, Chancho, and Cacho. But Lencho? That’s new to me! I love the sound.
Yep, I had a cousin Nacho, and nachos are a bit like alfredo sauce. I also know someone who always, always uses his full name Ignacio.
And you know, there’s Sancho, as in Panza, too.
Aw I have a special soft spot for Thaddeus, and the nickname Taddy is the cutest ever for a little guy! Taddy makes me love Tad for an older boy/man. I also know an elderly Thaddeus nicked Ted, & a middle-aged Thad.