A Quick Guide To Hipster Names

Lucy Thackray, writing in The Daily Mail Australia, is bound to generate a lot of buzz with her article about hipster naming trends.

She starts by describing hipsters as bearded, kale-munching, green juice-drinking, cardigan-wearing, bike-pedaling, glasses-wearing non-conformists who shop in thrift stores and hope to raise non-conforming children (by giving them the same oddball names that other hipsters give their children). Then she describes hipster names and provides lots of examples.

Here’s how to recognize hipster names when you see them or hear them:

-vintage names like Edna, Mabel, Edie and Ramona for girls; Ray, Stanley, or Ignatius for boys

-plant and food names like Clover, Juniper, Magnolia and Olive for girls; Kale for boys

-nickname-names like Frankie and Lulu

-names from To Kill a Mockingbird: Atticus, Scout; Catcher in the Rye: Holden, Salinger; or Gulliver’s Travels: Gulliver

-names from “The Simpsons,” like Homer, Mo, Maggie or Lennie

-names that start with the letters X, Q or Z which produce oddball names like Xena, Zola or Zeus

-names that honor musicians like Everly, Elvis, Jagger or Buddy (for children of either gender)

-masculine names for baby girls and vice versa

-place names to commemorate great trips to Arizona, Aspen, India or Brooklyn

-names descriptive of personality traits their children may display from Serenity to Rebel or Truant

I’m glad my parents weren’t hipsters. How about you?

P.S. Notice how different Thackray’s definition of “hipster names” is from the definition in my first post on the subject, which defined “hipster names” as a reflection of the culture (athletes, comic strips, authors, movie stars and music) of the ’40s and ’50s, when the term “hipster” referred to a “hip cat” rather than a contemporary, juice-guzzling thrift-store shopper who wants to name her son after Homer Simpson, Ignatius J. Reilly (protagonist of A Confederacy of Dunces) or call him Truant.

Consider the Alternate Meanings of These Nine Common Boy’s Names Before Choosing One

Dick is a short form of Richard (English) and Richart (German), names that mean “rich and powerful ruler.”
But dick is a slang term for penis. It also carries a dishonest implication because of the phrase “tricky dick” which refers to a dishonest individual (for example, a used-car salesman who changes the odometer before selling a car). Dick is also used in unflattering terms like “dickhead” to refer to stupid, hurtful, disrespectful people.

Hector is a Greek name that means “steadfast.” In Homer’s Illiad, Hector was the prince of Troy; a leading figure in the Trojan War.
But hector is also a term the refers to bullying, teasing, harassing or annoying behavior.

John is a Hebrew name that means “God is gracious.” The name honors John the Baptist in the New Testament.
But john is a common term used for the bathroom or a toilet. John is also the term used by police to describe the customer of a prostitute. Finally, john is also used as a generic term for a man, hence the term John Doe–perhaps because John was the most popular name fur boys during the 20th century.

Johnson is an English name that means “son of John.”
But johnson is yet another slang term for penis.

Josh is a Hebrew name that means “God is my salvation.” In the Old Testament, Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land.
But josh is also a word that means a joke or witticism that should not be taken seriously.

Peter is a Greek and Latin name that means “rock.” In the Bible, Simon (renamed Peter) was the leader of the 12 apostles and is often referred the “rock on whom the church was built.”
But Peter, like dick, is also a slang term for penis.

Randy is a short form of Randolph, an English and German name that means “shield wolf.”
But randy is also a word that means lascivious or lecherous. (The kind of man who can’t keep his peter in his pants.)

Romeo is an Italian name that means “pilgrim to Rome.” Romeo is the title character in Shakespeare’s famous play, Romeo and Juliet.
But a romeo has come to mean a “lady’s man” or “womanizer” who has trouble keeping his peter in his pants.

Stew and Stu are short forms of Stewart and Stuart, English names that mean “caretaker” or “steward.”
But stew refers to a dish prepared by boiling meat or fish and vegetables in broth. And stewing refers both to the boiling process and to a person who is brooding or worrying, for example, “What are you stewing about?”

In addition to looking up names you are considering in baby name books and websites, it also makes sense to consult a slang dictionary or thesaurus to make yourself aware of any expressions or slang terminology that you might not be aware of.

Baby Center’s Hottest 2014 Naming Trends

Here’s a quick summary of Baby Center’s “Hottest Naming Trends of 2014.” In it I’ve included the hottest themes and the hottest names. (Click on the link if you want all the delightful details.)

The Netflix Effect
-Orange is the New Black
a) for girls: Galina, Piper, Gloria, Dayanara, Nicky
b) for boys: Alex, Larry

-House of Cards
a) for girls: Claire, Zoe, Remy, Robin;
b) for boys: Larry, Frank, Wright;

Southern Charm
a) for girls: Magnolia, Beulah, Virginia, Charlotte, Macon, Clementine
b) for boys: Rhett, Vernon, Deacon, Jefferson, Atticus, Lee, Tennessee

“Frozen” Names
a) for girls:Elsa, Kristen
b) for boys: Hans, Santino

The Influence of TV Producer Shonda Rhymes
-Grey’s Anatomy names
a) for boys: Arizona, Mark, Owen, Jackson, Avery;
b) for girls: Callie, Miranda

-Scandal Names
for boys: Fitzgerald, Huck, Cyrus, Bellamy, Scott, Jeff, Darby, Guillermo

-How to Get Away with Murder name:
for girls: Viola

Exotic Destination Names
for boys: Everest, Rome, Milan, Cairo, Israel
for girls: Aspen, Geneva, Verona, Persia, Kenya

Great Grandma Names
for girls: Carol, Helen, Shirley, Judith, Frances, Ruth, Margaret, Betty

Newsmaker Names
-N.Y. Yankees’ great Derek (Jeter)
-Comedy great Joan (Rivers)
-People’s “Most Beautiful” Lupita (Nyong’o)
-“Parks and Rec” star Aziz (Ansari)
-Aussi rapper Iggy (Azalea; real name: Azalea Amethyst Kelly)
for boys: Iggy
for girls: Amethyst, Kelly

Nameberry’s 12 Hot Baby-Naming Trends for 2015

 

Natalie Boog has listed 12 hot trends for 2015 that are well-worth considering. In this post I will summarize them and consider the timeliness and value of Nameberry’s predictions.

1. Word Names

Natalie Boog defines “word names” as being different from traditional names (like Olivia and William). Word names include: virtue names (like Noble and Honor), nature names (like Sage and River), title names (like Royal and Saint), personality names (like Rowdy and Rogue), sound names (uzz) and tech names (like Lazer) and claims they will abound in 2015.

Comment: Nothing new about this trend, it’s been going on for years. Boog forgot to mention place names (like Hudson and Paris) and food names (like Coco and Brie). Honestly , this is ancient history. They also forgot to mention trade names (like Harper and Miller)—which they refer to as “er” names in trend #2, below. However, personality names, sound names and tech names have not been mentioned much per se. So that’s a helpful insight. (Although Maverick, a personality name, popped up as a name around the time that Sara Palin was running for VP with John McCain.)

2. Girls’ Names that End in “ella”; Boys’ Names that End it “ett”

Boog points to the popularity of girls’ names like Isabella, Arabella, Mirabella and Rosabella. She also mentions the popularity of boys’ names like Emmett, Everett and Bennett. Up-and-coming name endings Boog mentions are “er” names (like Harper and Miller) and “as” names like (Silas and Zacharias).

Comment: Endings or “suffixes” are what I commonly refer to in my annual trend report. I’ve referred to “ella,” “ett” as well as “trade names” in my trend reports over the last five years. Isabella has been extremely popular for at least five years. Nothing new about this “prediction.”

3. Gender-Bending with Boys on Top

Boog reports a growing number of “unisex” names that have been used by both genders. She claims that some unisex names previously used mainly for boys were being abandoned as names for boys. But now, she claims, that trend is reversing, “with statistics showing boys are already reclaiming popular unisex names such as Alexis, Casey, Devon, Elisha, Jamie, Jordan, Kai, Milan, Robin, Rory, Rowan, Sidney, Tatum, and Tracy.”

Comment: This is new information that will be of great interest to parents who pick unisex names for their child before they know its gender and to parents who are worried that some “unisex” names are no longer used by boys. (See trend # 12, below).

4. Names Are Heading South

It makes sense that the use of southern states and cities as place names would become more popular as the population of southern cities and states increase (in comparison with the population of northern cities and states). Boog mentions the growing popularity of state names like Georgia, Tennessee, Carolina and Alabama and coastal names like Ocean, Dune and Beach.

Comment: This trend has been going on for years. In 2013, girls’ place names that increased in popularity included Georgia, Virginia, Charlotte and Dallas–as did Dakota, Londyn, Ireland and Milan. (Consider the fact that North Dakota is booming due to the discovery of huge quantities of fossil fuels there–and that Ireland’s status as a tax haven has brought in lots of new businesses and people. This “trend” may reflect changes in population more than anything else.

5. “O” is the Now Vowel

Boog mentions that Milo, Theo and other “o-ending” boys’ names have been popular for a while. Now Nameberry predicts that Juno, Marlow, Harlow, Margo(t), Willow, Indigo and Shiloh will all prove popular.

Comment: Willow made a big upward move in popularity 2013. It’s a reasonable bet that “o-ending” girls’ names will follow Milo and Theo.

6. “X” is the Now Consonant

Boog claims that “x” gives names an element of cool whether it comes at the end of a name, like Felix, Hendrix, Beatrix and Lennox or in the middle of a name like Axel, Baxter, Dexter, Maxine, Pixie and Roxana.

Comment: “X-names” have been hot for the last five or more years—a trend that may have been launched by Brangelina’s name choices. When Boog writes that “this may result in seeing a few Jaxsen or Jaxsons along the way too” she is admitting that the “X-name” trend is extremely well established—already.

7. Short & Simple

Boog has spotted a trend in Europe. Short and snappy names are becoming increasingly popular; she thinks that trend is coming to the U.S. “Popular in Europe, the top contenders for girls include Isa, Eva, Ida, Lou, Lia, and Tess, while for boys Nameberry’s picking Ben, Finn, Jack, Leon, Max, and Tom.”

Comment: The above-mentioned boys’ names are already growing at a fast pace in the U.S. Nothing new about that trend. I’d welcome short, informal names that are easy to spell and pronounce for girls, too.

8. Colorful Names

Boog points out that Violet, Blue and Scarlett are already in common use. Her prediction: “get ready for a color explosion in 2015 with more extreme shades coming into play. Think Indigo, Azure, Cerulean, Magenta, Fuschia, Crimson, Lavender, Lilac and even Mauve.”

Comment: I would welcome this trend, if it actually occurs, because some of the colors are quite lovely (I’m partial to Indigo), but I’d be surprised (and disappointed) if hard-to-spell and/or pronounce names like Cerulean, Fuschia, and Mauve make much of a move in 2015.

9. Save the Middle Name for a Hero

Boog notes that middle names are often used for family favorites, but Nameberry has discovered that “more people are looking to heroes for naming inspiration”–referring to favorite authors, musicians, athletes or political heroes. She ends with this noble sentiment: “And why not use the middle name to give your child someone to look up to?”

Comment: Why not indeed! I’ve been urging parents to pick names that will inspire their children for years and have complained about pundits who recommend (or promote) impractical and unwise names likely to inconvenience their children and in some cases result in derision and ridicule (like Cerulean, Fushia, Mauve, Lettice, Fenella, Rowdy and Rogue) to name seven examples that come readily to mind. I’m glad that someone at Nameberry is starting realize that promoting names that give children “someone to look up to” is a good thing to do. Now they need to realize that promoting impractical, silly and demeaning names is a bad thing to do.

10. Veggie Names

Boog is jumping on the good-for-you name bandwagon by identifying a veggie-name trend. Kale and Cale are both on the rise and so are Lettice and Romaine.

Comment: Kale (or Cale) sounds like they might work for boys; Romaine might work even better for girls. I don’t think much of Lettice (or Lettuce) as names. Nameberry must realize that publishing articles about naming trends is likely to create attention for the names they publish and cause people to consider using them. Why not point out which names are worth choosing and which should be avoided? Why suggest Lettice if the name will subject any child who bears that name to ridicule?

11. Celtic Names

Liam is currently on North American top-ten lists; now parents are looking for “other Celtic choices.” Boog predicts parents will turn to Scottish names like Fiona, Flora, Fenella, Greer, Isla and Elspeth as top picks for girls, while Finlay, Angus, Duncan, Ewan and Lachlan for the boys.

Comment: I was surprised when Boog left Isla off the short & simple list. Here it is now as a “Scottish” pick along with several other Scottish names likely to take hold, including Greer and Duncan. Some of the other predictions: Fiona, Fenella Elspeth Angus and Lachlan are less likely to catch on in “the states” by 2015. Ian is an example of a British name that took a while to get a toehold on this side of the Atlantic—which is why I think Ewan is likely to catch on too—eventually.

12. Distinctly Gendered “Unisex” Names

The unisex names referred to in prediction # 3, above, are used fairly evenly between girls and boys, but other names that may seem unisex are, in reality, distinctly gendered. Boog reports that Addison, Bailey, Kendall, Kennedy, McKenzie, and Sloane are mainly used for girls; while Cameron, Grayson, Jayce, and Kellen are mainly used for boys.

Comment: If true, this is very helpful information–though it doesn’t read like a prediction for 2015, does it?

 

 

The Increasingly Individualistic Nature of Baby Name Selections in Ontario, Canada

An article in the Ottawa Citizen featuring information released by Service Ontario describes the increasingly individualistic source of popular baby names.

Diane Pacom, a professor at the University of Ottawa, specializing in the sociology of culture and change reports a trend away from naming children after grandparents. In North America, she says, people often don’t have close relationships with the past.

“We live in a society that is very individualistic. We’re looking for uniqueness. You want your kid to stand out. Not only because of their looks or the way they’re dressed but also because of their name.”

Increasingly in Ontario, the source of popular baby names is often:

-a favorite character from a novel orTV show, e.g.:Claire (“House of Cards”), Christian (Fifty Shades of Grey), Anna (“Frozen”), Arya (“Game of Thrones”), Jax (Son of Anarchy), and  Piper (“Orange is the New Black”),

-an appealing aspect of nature, e.g.:Winter, Lily, Autumn, Summer, Ivy, Raven, Sky, Rain, River, or Maple

-a sports hero from North America or Europe, e.g.:Sidney (Crosby), Peyton (Manning), Kobe (Bryant), Serena (Williams) or Christiano (Ronaldo)

-an appealing political leader, e.g.:Stephen (Harper), Justin, Trudeau, Elizabeth (May), or Thomas (Mulcaire)

The article also includes a list of the top ten baby names in 2013:

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Liam
  4. Ethan
  5. Lucas
  6. Noah
  7. Sophia
  8. Benjamin
  9. Jacob
  10. William

 

 

 

 

Is Summer Rain Rutler the Best Celebrity Baby Name of 2014?

While researching my post for the worst celebrity baby names of 2014, I was surprised to find Summer Rain Rutler on a worst celebrity baby names list posted by Vocative.com. The more I thought about Summer Rain, the more I wondered “what’s not to like about that name?”–which caused me to reread the Vocative article to see what turned them off. Apparently it reminded them of “an outdated feminine hygiene product” called Summer’s Eve. But I doubt that thought will occur to most people.

More likely Summer Rain will remind you of a sudden drizzle or thunderstorm that invites you to grab a hat or an umbrella and  go outside for a walk in the rain–or possibly to sing and dance in the rain (like Gene Kelly in a Paris rainstorm). Frankly, I can’t imagine a more delightful (or romantic) thing to do on a warm summer day.

For me, Summer works well as a given name for girl. I can still picture Summer Sanders swimming to Olympic Gold in the 1972 Summer Olympics. Like Summer Sanders, Summer Rutler is a great-sounding name. Both words have a short “u” sound and an identical “er” ending. But when you add Rain as a middle name between Summer and Rutler, you have an amazingly euphonious name.

Leave it to singer/songwriter, Christine Aquilera to come up with an evocative name that is also music to one’s ears. (Readers of this post may recall one of my most popular posts about another euphonious name: “Kris Allen’s Baby’s Name is Music to My Ears.”)

So apart from bringing Olympian Summer Sanders and “Singin’ in the Rain” to mind Summer Rain Rutler is both poetic and euphonius. (Most baby names sound as though they were found in three different columns of a Chinese menu for first names, middle names and last names–that have little, if any, relationship to one another: like Philomena Bijou Jovanivic.)

I’m going to take Summer Rain Rutler off Vocative’s “Worst Celebrity Names of 2014” list and put it on my “Best Celebrity Names of 2014” list. (Truth to tell, I haven’t written a post with that title yet–but after reading Celebrity Baby Scoop’s complete list of 2014 celebrity baby names. I ain’t seen a better 2014 celebrity baby name, yet. Have you?)

10 Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014

While researching awful celebrity baby names for this post, I visited the Celebrity Baby Scoops list of 2014 Hollywood babies to make sure I had considered all the names being considered for Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014. (I found all but one of the names on that list.)

Here are my top-five candidates for worst celebrity baby names of 2014 (for both girls and boys):

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Girls’ Names:

Zhuri Nova James
Parents: NBA all-star Lebron James and his wife Savannah

Comment: Zhuri is a headscratcher and, to add insult to injury, it’s both hard to spell and pronounce. She should be grateful to have a spellable and pronounceable middle name (Nova) to fall back on.

Royal Reign Jones
Mother: rapper Li’l Kim

Comment: Royal Reign is a grandiose name that sounds like royal rain, whatever that is.

Cai MyAnna Dukes
Parents: actor Shanola Hampton and husband, producer Daren Dukes

Comment: Cai presents spelling and pronunciation problems—and MyAnna is another headscratcher.

Daenerys Josephine
Mother: American Idol contestant Gina Glocksen

Comment: Daenerys is name that will only be familiar to “Game of Thrones” fans. No one else is likely to be able to spell or pronounce it.

Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher
Parents: actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher

Comment: When parents give their child a unisex name it makes sense to pick a middle name with clear gender identification. But Wyatt is a “macho” name that was chosen by Chicago Bear’s quarterback Jay Cutler to give his son a name that works well in football huddles and frat parties. Why give a macho name to a baby girl and then pair it with an elegant, feminine name like Isabelle? It’s as though the parents couldn’t agree on a naming strategy. Unfortunately, it sends a confusing message to the child and to people the child meets.

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Boys’ Names

Future Zahir Wilburn
Parents: rapper Future and R&B singer Ciara

Comment: Future doesn’t sound much like a name. Actually, Future is the boy’s father’s stage name. (I’m not sure which is worse, his father’s stage name or his father’s real name: Nayvadius Cash.) To make matters worse, a cheating scandal caused a rift between the senior Future and Ciara. So as far as Ciara is concerned, Future (senior) is now the The Past.

Megaa Omari Grandberry
Parents: B2K singer Omarion and girlfriend Apryl Jones

Comment: Megaa is a grandiose name (meaning extra-large or super)–and the extra “a” makes it hard to spell and pronounce. Omari is Megaa’s father’s given first name. (FYI, Omarion’s whole given name is Omari Ishmael Grandberry).

Lyric Sonny Roads Goldberg
Parents: actress/writer/director Soleil Moon Frye and husband, producer Jason Goldberg

Comments: Another headscratcher. Lyric is an “arty” name that may not work well in the locker room. But Sonny couldn’t be more declasse. I know what sunny roads are, but what are sonny roads?

Saint Lazslo Wentz
Parents: rocker Pete Wentz and girlfriend Meagan Camper

Comment: Another grandiose name (Saint). It’s not clear whether the boy is named after St. Lazslo’s winery or the first king (Ladislaus–also known as St. Lazslo) of Hungary. Either way, wine or spirits might have been involved in the selection of the name. By the way, Pete Wentz also fathered a boy with Ashlee Simpson named Bronx Mowgli Wentz which is on many “worst name” lists.

Bodhi Rain Palmer
Parents: “Warm Bodies” star Teresa Palmer and husband Mark Webber

Bodhi Ransom Green
Parents: “Transformer”star Megan Fox and husband Austin Green

Comment: Bodhi means “enlightened one.” It’s a lovely meaning, but most people aren’t enlightened enough to know how to spell and pronounce the name.

P.S. I found a name on a Vocative.com’s “Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014″ list that I think may be the single best celebrity baby name of 2014. Check it out.