I’m writing to let you know about an entertaining list of geeky names from comic books, pop-culture movies, TV shows, video games and books) that Chandra Smith, writing in PC Magazine, claims “won’t scar your kids or life.” Implication: the names won’t overly annoy or embarrass them.
Knowing how easily annoyed and embarrassed kids can get, once they hit the pre-teen and teen years (aka the years of perpetual annoyance and embarrassment), that’s a tough claim to substantiate.
Having lived with an unusual Sanskrit name (Chandra) that is often mispronounced, Smith tries to help parents pay tribute to geek favorites without picking names only geeks can appreciate–that your child is likely to abandon.
What’s fun about reading her list is that it is replete with pop-culture references that will fill in the gaps of your education (particularly if you read the classics in college rather than comic books and are more likely to watch classic movies than movies inspired by Marvel Comics).
But, even though Smith claims to consider issues like spelling and pronunciation that could make a name like Leia annoying, and issues that could make a name like Kal-El embarrassing–I think that almost half of the “geek names” she recommends might come across as either annoying or embarrassing, or both, to your children.
In this post I will provide you with Smith’s rationale for recommending what she calls “Geeky names” for girls with my opinion, in italics, for either agreeing with her choice or opposing it.
Geeky Names Your Girls May Like
Amelia – As in Pond, one of the best and most memorable of the Doctor’s companions.
BL: Also the name of a courageous pilot, Amelia Earhart.
Aurora – It’s not this Alpha Flight member’s real name, but Jeanne-Marie Beaubie takes too long to say for someone as speedy as her.
BL: Also named after Aurora, goddess of dawn (aurora borealis refers to the beautiful light show in the sky aka northern lights).
Clara – The most recent companion of the Doctor, Clara Oswald has made a name for herself throughout history.
BL: Also, famous namesake (nurse) Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross.
Cora – Basically the Siri of Battlestar Gallactica.
BL: Other famous namesakes are: Cora Munro, the fictional heroine of The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper and Cora Crawley is a fictional character on the series Downton Abbey.
Felicity –Living up to MIT grad and member of Team Arrow Felicity Smoak is challenging but not impossible.
BL: It’s hard not to like a name that means “fortunate” or “happy.”
Peggy – Peggy Carter might have started out being best known as Captain America’s love interest but she’s her own person in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even has her own show with Agent Carter.
BL: Nothing wrong with this nickname for Margaret.
Raven – The teen years might be tough but they’d be worth it to name a girl after the Teen Titans Go! character.
BL: A strong name, particularly for a girl with a dark complexion.
Ripley – Who’s more badass than Ellen Ripley?
BL: Makes a strong “believe it or not” impression.
River – Whether it’s after River Song from Doctor Who or River Tam from Firefly is up to you.
BL: A gender-neutral nature name.
Ruby – An object-oriented scripting language, the name was originally taken from the birthstone of the colleague of its creator Yukihiro Matsumoto.
BL: A popular name that is identified with the Rolling Stones’ song, “Ruby Tuesday.”
Sarah – A Sentinel in Fallout 3, Sarah Lyons commands her own squad, Lyons’ Pride.
BL: The classic princess name I’d recommend despite the fact that the name is sometimes spelled without an “h.”
Sonya – Special Forces officer Sonya Blade has kept her fighting spirit throughout the Mortal Kombat series.
BL: How can you go wrong with a name that means “wise”?
Willow –Buffy’s BFF who possesses both magic and intelligence.
BL: An attractive nature name that comes across as feminine.
Zelda – It’s hard not to be legendary when you’re named after Shigeru Miyamoto’s beloved video game.
BL: Also the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, who exemplified “The Roaring Twenties” and “The Jazz Age”; plus the name has literary cachet.
Geeky Names That May Annoy or Embarrass Your Girls
Ada – Lord Byron’s daughter was the first computer programmer, working on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
BL: Odds of mispronunciation are high. Some people pronounce it AY-da. Some pronounce it AH-da. And some pronounce it ADD-a.
Blossom –The “everything nice” Powerpuff girl.
BL: Blossom (and the Powerpuffs) make a juvenile impression that is less likely to work well for an adult woman.
Echo – First seen in the Daredevil comics, Echo is a woman of many talents: athlete, ballerina, pianist, college professor, and, oh, yeah, Avenger.
BL: Teasers may be inspired to echo her name or anything poor Echo says.
Fleur – We first meet Fleur Delacour when she participates in the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but she proves her mettle far beyond that in the Battle of Hogwarts.
BL: The French word for flower is likely to be mispronounced FLOO-er, which, unfortunately, rhymes with sewer.
Kamala – This teenage shapeshifter is also known as Ms. Marvel.
BL: A difficult name to pronounce: Is it CA-mel-ah? Or COM-ma-lah? Or something else, altogether?
Kara – This name is sure to take off when the Supergirl series premieres this fall.
BL: This name may be pronounced either CARE-ah or CAR-ah. Only one of those options is right.
Klara – For fans of The Hunger Games, this name hits the target.
BL: This name may be pronounced either CLARE-ah or CLAH-rah. Only one of those options is right.
Katniss – For fans of The Hunger Games, this name hits the target.
BL: This name sounds like “cat nip”; so it is likely to be misspelled by people who haven’t read the young adult book or seen the movie.
Leia – There’s no, “Leia, I am your father” line to live down.
BL: Leah (pronounced LEE-ah) is much more familiar (for spelling and pronunciation) than Leia (pronounced LAY-ah) which was popularized by Star Wars.
Leela – You won’t have to worry about her Futurama if she’s named after the captain of the Planet Express.
BL: Likely to be misspelled as “Leila” or confused with Eric Claption’s “Layla” and pronounced LAY-lah.
Teyla – Adept at technology and martial arts, Teyla Emmagan of Stargate Atlantis is prepared for life on Atlantis Earth.
BL: I doubt most people could spell this name after hearing it. It is likely to be mispronounced as TEE-lah rather than TAY-lah.