Linda Rosenkrantz’ Article About Greek and Roman Mythological Names Is Worth a Read

I enjoyed reading Linda Rosenkrantz’s article comparing Ancient Greek and Roman mythological names, even though it doesn’t contain many names you’re likely to choose for your next baby. However, I agree with Rosenkrantz that Diana, Juno (and perhaps Venus, Victoria and  Minerva) are worth considering.

I found the article interesting because I didn’t get the impression that Rosenkrantz was trying to “promote” any of these mythological names. Instead, she lets us know which of them have been used by celebrities for their own children (for example, Tina Fey named her daughter Athena and Kelly Rutherford named her son Hermes). The truth is that few of the names for mythological gods and goddesses she writes about are often used as names for humans. I find it interesting that biblical names for flawed humans are much more often used than the names of Greek and Roman deities, who in many respects were perfect and exemplary.

P.S. Rosenkrantz’s article about nicknames continues to be one of my favorite Nameberry articles.

Baby Post Offers 10 Names that Supposedly Celebrate Spring; Most of Them Don’t


Altogether, Baby Post lists 10 “spring” names, most of which are tributes to wells or water. The few names which have some connection to spring (the season) are, for the most part, names you’d be unlikely to consider using.

Apple This fruity name was both shocking and ludicrous when Gwyneth Paltrow gave it to her daughter ten years ago, and it’s still ludicrous, but no longer seems shocking. Does it celebrate spring? Not really. It celebrates apples.

Bradwell According to Baby Post, this name means “from the broad spring,” so it has nothing to do with the spring season. Besides, it’s a clunky name few people would consider using.

Claire or Clare I like this name. It means “bright and clear.” It has nothing whatsoever to do with spring. So, don’t pick it to celebrate spring. Pick it to celebrate clear thinking or clear eyesight. Or just because you like it. Between Claire and Clare, I prefer the former—but I won’t pout if you disagree, because I admire Clare Danes, as an actor.

Daisy This name celebrates the spring season and is a fine, old-fashioned name that calls to mind the old song that starts like this: “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, true. I’m half-crazy all for the love of you.” Although daisies look fresh, this name comes across as rather dated. But, even so, it’s probably the best spring name on Baby Post’s list.

Kelby Here’s another name that celebrates fountains or springs. It’s kind of cute. It’s also kind of odd.

Maxwell I never knew that Maxwell means “Max’s well or spring.” It’s yet another name that has nothing to do with the spring season. But like Claire, I think it’s a usable name—unless you’re looking for a name that celebrates spring, the season.

Aviv and/or Aviva These names (Aviv for boys, Aviva for girls) mean “springtime” in Hebrew. Aviva is a fairly common name in Israel. It’s also a “Jewish name” given to North American girls whose name begins with the letter “A” (like Anne or Alexandra) as part of a Jewish naming ceremony when they are born. Girls named Alexandra may tell Israelis to call them Aviva when they visit Israel, but most of them prefer to be called Anne or Alexandra in America or Canada. So, Aviv and Aviva are unlikely to be used by many North Americans–as their every day names.

Weldon Here’s an Old English name that means “the hill near a spring.” As you can see it’s about a hill near water rather than about spring (the season). I suppose it’s not an bad name, if you’re into wells, like Anne Donahue of Baby Post.

Verdi You’ve probably heard of Giuseppe Verdi, an Italian opera composer whose name translates in English to Joe Green. Verdi is Italian for Green and was probably included on this list of supposedly “spring names” because Baby Post was better at finding names about water than about the spring season. Would you name your son or daughter Green? If not, don’t name your son or daughter Verdi.

Laverna Supposedly this French name means “born in spring.” So it’s a name that celebrates spring (the season). Unfortunately, it reminds me of Laverne and Shirley, two funny TV characters from the late 70s and early 80s who worked as bottlecappers in a Milwaukee brewery. They wouldn’t be my first picks as namesakes for my daughter, which is why even though they have a connection to the spring season, Laverna is only worth considering if you are desperate to find a female name to celebrate the spring season and Baby Posts’ 7 water names and 3 “spring names” are your only options.

If you want to come up with some more usable spring names, here are some names you might want to consider for baby girls. April, June, Lark, Laurel, Lily, May, Poppy, Robin, Vera, Violet, and Wren. Of the names my spring list, I think Lily, April and Robin have the most appeal.


A Most Amazing Trend: The Rise of Boy’s Names Ending in “N” from 1960 to 2012

I just read an article on Baby Center by Stacie Lewis which revealed an amazing statistic. She claims that 36% of boys’ names end in the letter “n.” This came to the attention of several people in the year 2009 because Robert T. Gonzalez noticed that 40 of the top-1,000 boy’s names rhymed with Jaden.

But this isn’t a 2009 phenomenon. I just counted the number of boys’ names  among the top-100 names listed in order of popularity by the Social Security Administration for the year 2012 that ended in “n.” I counted 38 (or 38%) of the top-100 names. And of those top-100 names, five rhymed with Jaden—which projects out to about 50 names in the top-1000 that rhyme with Jayden (which confirms that 2009 was not a fluke).

Lewis’ article focuses on her son Ieuan’s unusual (and universally mispronounced) Welsh name (it’s pronounced YIGH-an). But what interested me more was a chart that showed the increase in popularity of boys’ names ending in “n” from the 1960s through 2012. It’s worth a look.






Does a Baby’s Name Affect Its Chances in Life? (Part 1)

I just read a long article by William Kremer of BBC News about a fascinating topic: Does a baby’s name affect its chances in life?

I’m going to make this quick and easy for you. The first part of the article discusses Dalton Conley, a sociologist who named his daughter E and invited her to pick any “E”-name she wanted. Her name wound up being E Harper Nora Conley. Conley also gave his son free reign and his son picked the name Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles Conley. This experience motivated Dalton Conley to find oout how a baby’s name affects the child’s chances in life. Here’s Conley’s conclusion, according Kremer:

Conley, who is a sociologist at New York University, says that children with unusual names may learn impulse control because they may be teased or get used to people asking about their names. “They actually benefit from that experience by learning to control their emotions or their impulses, which is of course a great skill for success.”

But for the main part, he says, the effect of a name on its bearer rarely amounts to more than the effect of being raised by parents who would choose such a name.

Think about that last sentence. The child’s chances in life are affected more by the parents (who pick the child’s name) than by the name itself. And you can tell some things about parents by the name they picked.

-In the case of the Conley kids, the fact that they had parents who let them pick their own names was a key fact.

-In the case of North West, the fact that she had a dad who came up with a jokey name while conversing with comedian Jay Leno on the “Tonight Show” and then stuck with that name despite negative feedback from the media and from his own fans.

-In the case of Frank and Adelaide Gail Zappa, the fact that they came up with four highly controversial and widely disliked names including:
*Ahmet Emmuukah Rodan
*Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen
*Moon Unit

Apparently, the names parents choose for their children speaks volumes about them.




By William Kremer

BBC World Service


“Every Generation’s Baby Names Are the Refuse of Terrible Literature”

After spending almost a week in California (and not writing any new blog posts), I decided to get back to work and write some new posts. Just after writing yesterday’s post about Daenerys and Khaleesi, I read Alexandra Petri’s Wa Po article titled “Never mind Khaleesi” which puts fictional name fads into a historical context.

So, I’m suggesting you give it a read. I found it fun, even though I disagreed with Petri about a few names:

-When Petri writes: “Well, it can’t get worse than that horrible Edward/Jacob/Bella Twilight situation a year or so back, and then it does,” I think she’s referring to the inordinate popularity of Jacob, Bella and Edward rather than their quality as names. I think all three are fine names, though Jacob is still a top-ten boy’s name–so I’d avoid it for that reason.

-I enjoyed Petri’s comment about Paisley, “This is like naming your child Terrible Tie Pattern or Ugly Scarf.” However, I like Paisley as a name for girls (because I remember wearing paisley ties in the 60s and liking them). Unfortunately, Northern Ireland’s Ian Paisley is an awful namesake (from human rights perspective).

-Petri “prefers Paris to Londyn but not if you’re going to spell it Parys.” In my view, Londyn and other names that substitute “y”s for other vowels invite people to misspell the name and make the child wish her parents had been more considerate.

-Petri also had some good news: “Baby Anastasias stayed relatively stable in the years following the publication of 50 Shades of Grey, and the number of Baby Christians actually went DOWN from 2011 to 2012.” And, in better news, “This is the first year Adolph did not chart!”

-Petri complained about parents’ disinclination to spell Zachary (or even Elvis) properly. I agree completely.

-And finally, I love this comment from Petri about baby names:” Every generation’s baby names are the refuse of terrible literature. It is a tradition of long standing.”




Mike Myers’ Baby Daughter Was Born on Friday, So He Named Her Sunday Molly.

I’m not the best-informed guy when it comes to Hollywood gossip. Truth is, I haven’t seen a photo of Mike Meyers since he was cracking me up in “Wayne’s World” and then he starred as Austin Powers, back in the 90s. So I wasn’t prepared to read about him having a second baby. But even though his L.A. Times headshot isn’t particularly goofy, he made me smile again when he and wife Kelly named the baby daughter born on Friday, Sunday Molly.

I was surprised that Nardine Saad of the L.A. Time’s “Ministry of Gossip” didn’t get the scoop on how Mike and Kelly came up with the name. I suspect Myer’s daughter may wind up being called Molly. But if her name puts a smile on the faces of people she meets, it’ll work out just fine for her.







Surprise: Game of Thrones Fans are Naming Daughters Daenerys and Khaleesi (as Well as Arya)

It’s no surprise that Game of Thrones fans are making Arya a fast-rising name. Last year more than 700 Throne’s fans gave that name to their own daughters in 2012, according to What is surprising is that Thrones fans would also name their daughters Daenerys and Khaleesi because both names will be difficult to spell and pronounce for anyone who is not a Throne’s fan. So daughters given those names are likely to grow up hating them.

Arya sounds like Aria (a solo vocal piece with instrumental music from an opera) and won’t be completely mystifying to the uninitiated. But Daenerys and Khaleesi (a name I’ve already misspelled 3 times in the process of writing this article)  are likely to confuse and mystify anyone who’s not a big fan of show. The increasing popularity of those impractical and burdensome names demonstrates just how far parents can be influenced by the effect of a popular TV show, movie or book. (Though I’m happy to say that only 21 baby girls were named Daenerys in 2012.)

Another suddenly popular name, Katniss (the protagonist of the Hunger Games) is also likely to confuse anyone not familiar with the book or movie.Unfortunately, Katniss sounds like catnip. Parents who get swept along by their strong feelings for fictional characters can be helped by spouses, partners, friends and relatives willing to call their attention to the practical realities of living with names that are likely to be misunderstood and mangled by most people who read or hear them.