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Names and the Generation Gap
May 5, 2010 7:55 AM   Subscribe

The Generational Sweet Spot, or Why Your Parents Have Such Bad Taste. Laura Wattenberg, naming guru, on names and generations.
posted by ocherdraco (297 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
When in doubt for a name, go for the big Three: Saints, Grandparents, and Beatles.
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 AM on May 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Is that graph based on some data?
posted by HuronBob at 8:01 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Only the x-axis, apparently.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:03 AM on May 5, 2010 [19 favorites]


Saints, Grandparents, and Beatles

Gormcal Wladyslaw Ringo.... perfect.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 8:03 AM on May 5, 2010 [24 favorites]


The problem with Whelk's naming convention is that in 40 years we are going to have lot of kids whose grandparents are name Skyler and Dakota and the stupid cycle will just repeat itself.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:04 AM on May 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


My computers are named after anime characters, cars are named after sci-fi characters, pets are named after famous robots.

I haven't decided what theme I'll be naming my kids with yet (suggestions welcome!), but I'm 99% sure my parents won't like it and it will have less to do with different generations and far more to do with me being an uncreative geek.
posted by olinerd at 8:04 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It makes sense, of course. This is why all the babies these days are Aiden, Jayden, and Hayden.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:05 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Only the x-axis, apparently.
I'm not entirely convinced even of that.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:05 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, she says "hypothetical curves," but her theory is plausible. I suppose data could be pulled from the Name Voyager on the same site. There are definitely up and down trends for names, and some of the ones I've typed in there seem to move through the generations in the manner she describes.
posted by zizzle at 8:06 AM on May 5, 2010


Next: Double Entendre Deafness, or Why Mrs. Banks Named Her Son "Rob".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:06 AM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Saints, Grandparents, and Beatles

And my sons would be William Wesley Ringo the Baptist and Paul Friedrich Wilhelm of Assisi.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:06 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd go to that church.
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 AM on May 5, 2010


Saints, Grandparents, and Beatles

Or in my case, 'Paul.'
posted by shakespeherian at 8:08 AM on May 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


If I had a kid, I’d give him a name that would make everyone would want to say his name. I’d call him, Pizza-Pussy-Santa. I would! Cause everybody likes one of those things. - Dave Attell
posted by griphus at 8:10 AM on May 5, 2010


(suggestions welcome!)

I suggest you follow your already-made conventions. Just make sure little Tetsuo Pacer Doctorwho and Sailormoon Ferrari Gorn get martial arts lessons before starting school.
posted by griphus at 8:13 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've been reading a lot of history books about American politics in the first half of the 1800's and the names are totally awesome. Cave Johnson, Thurlow Weed, Reverdy Johnson, Romulus Mitchell Saunders, Waddy Thompson, Mirabeau Lamar. Now everybody just names their kid Logan or Max. Forget great-grandparents; we need to get back to names from 200 years ago.
posted by something something at 8:13 AM on May 5, 2010 [21 favorites]


Peopel who give kids names with nonstandard spellings: Why? You're just dooming your kid to saying "No, it's spelled with a K and two I's" repeatedly forever.
posted by Artw at 8:14 AM on May 5, 2010 [16 favorites]


Anyway, I get to name the next kid. Logan Wolverine Weapon-X Wyatt has a ring to it.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on May 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


I haven't decided what theme I'll be naming my kids with yet (suggestions welcome!)
One of my more surreal customer calls was the guy who started asking me about the history and etymology of my name. Turns out he was looking for baby names and thought mine was nice. I always wondered, if they went with it, was he going to tell her that she was named after the friendly tech support rep?

I'm actually named after my grandmother, but I am the fifth first daughter in a row with my name, so it's hard to prove that. (According to the graph, my name peaked in the 1930s and is now holding even at the 500 range.)
posted by Karmakaze at 8:16 AM on May 5, 2010


I've been eyeballing the babynames sites and waiting for upticks in Edwards, Bellas, and Isabellas.
posted by adipocere at 8:17 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


So is this an American cultural thing? Western? Global (I highly doubt it)?
posted by naju at 8:19 AM on May 5, 2010


I name my gadgets after Decepticons. I don't think that would work well for children. Though, you know a kid called Galvatron would be pure bad ass. (One called Ratbat not so much.)
posted by chunking express at 8:19 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


For everyone unsure of what to name their male child, why not take a look at Achewood's Name Generator of Men?

Just make sure not to interrupt the evening tincture of Balthazar Murder Stonefield Accalum!
posted by griphus at 8:20 AM on May 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Since she explicitly calls them "hypothetical curves", I think that duh.

The Baby Name Wizard is a goddess in the baby naming blogs world. Yes, there's a baby naming blog world.
posted by DU at 8:21 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


After 5 years, my parents still refuse to call my daughter Mathowie.
posted by Alt F4 at 8:21 AM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Maybe my given name, which is so unpopular that its peak was sometime during the administration of Benjamin Harrison, will be coming back into vogue sometime soon, if this author is correct.
posted by blucevalo at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2010


waiting for upticks in Edwards, Bellas, and Isabellas.

I don't think Bella and Isabella have any room to tick up. You can't have more uses of a name than actual children.
posted by DU at 8:23 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


In 1950, the actor Jeff Chandler starred as Cochise in the epic Western "Broken Arrow." By 1960, when I hit first grade, there were so many effing Jeffreys that our teachers had to start making nicknames. In 1974, when I was toiling on the factory floor, no fewer than 14 of our firm's 35 production employees (including managers) were named Jeffrey, Jeffery, or Geoffrey. (No Godfreys, Gottfrieds, or Jeffersons, unfortunately).

I won't say that this abundance of "Jeffs" harmed me, but when it came to naming our children, my standard reaction was "O god no, four of our friends have already named their child (Jason, Jared, Cody, Hunter, etc.)" and that was 31 and 28 years ago.

As it is, both of our children have had their moments of name-loathing (my response: Yeah, well I spared you the whole Junior thing, didn't I, and moms would NOT let me name you Bozo), so all I can say is, good luck with the naming thing, no matter what you do it will be wrong.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:25 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think Edith and Ethel are pretty names, so I'll probably never be permitted to have anything to do with naming a child.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:25 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


You could just take the tack of one branch of my ancestry: alternating between Zebulon and Uriah for approximately 80 years.
posted by Madamina at 8:27 AM on May 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


One of my grandmothers was named Isabel. And yes, until very recently I lumped it in the old lady category.

I think the article was spot on. Being of a certain age I am old enough to have watched the pendulum swing.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:27 AM on May 5, 2010


Old people name their babies like this, while younger people name their babies like this!!! Am I right or am I right or am I...

I just cringe everytime I hear my kid's name in pop culture. At the time I picked it I thought I had picked it out of the ethos, the name just came to me; then they came...
posted by cavalier at 8:28 AM on May 5, 2010


I name my gadgets after Decepticons. I don't think that would work well for children. Though, you know a kid called Galvatron would be pure bad ass. (One called Ratbat not so much.)

My wife and I joked about naming our first child "Starscream" for so long that it started to grow on us. When she got pregnant we had to sit down and have a serious talk about whether it was on the list for consideration. In the end it got cut because we couldn't decide if it was a boy's name or a girl's.
posted by 256 at 8:30 AM on May 5, 2010 [42 favorites]


We had a patient named "Rage" the other day. I don't recall that one ever being popular. (Of course, they were the youngest of something like 14 kids, so it kind of makes sense.)
posted by TedW at 8:30 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of my grandmothers was named Isabel. And yes, until very recently I lumped it in the old lady category.

I think of "Isabel" as being somewhat exotic.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:30 AM on May 5, 2010


This is where I get to point out that the name Logan was barely used throughout most of the twentieth century, until it surged in the 1970s and skyrocketed in the '80s and '90s.

Wolverine joined the X-Men in 1975.

Draw your own conclusions.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:30 AM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


A more scholarly but accessible book on this topic is Stanley Lieberson's A Matter of Taste. It has a lot of great data about the cyclical nature of naming conventions.
posted by jonp72 at 8:32 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think a name thread can go by without an obligatory mention of La-a, so here it is.
posted by zizzle at 8:33 AM on May 5, 2010


I can't relate to this article -- I was blessed with a mother who had impeccable taste in female names...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:35 AM on May 5, 2010


BTW there was a total dearth of Caitlins until the TV show Airwolf came out. And then.....it began....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:35 AM on May 5, 2010


Wolverine joined the X-Men in 1975.

I thought it was Logan's Run, but maybe by their powers combined...
posted by echo target at 8:38 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


...naming our first child "Starscream"...

The question is whether 70s television would lose enough relevance during said child's upbringing to prevent them from being nicknamed "Starsky."
posted by griphus at 8:39 AM on May 5, 2010


I'm naming my kind Q-Bert.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:43 AM on May 5, 2010


I thought I was being traditional naming our daughter after her grandmother, but in fact, I'm actually trendy! my worst fears realized!
posted by vespabelle at 8:43 AM on May 5, 2010


We pained over baby names and had exactly one girl name we liked and could agree on and one boy name we liked and could agree on. Fortunately we wound up having one girl and one boy.

Anyhoop, we were extra pleased to see our boy's name was only used 4 times in his birth year, according to provincial records.

And two weeks ago a kid was added to one of his classes with his EXACT. SAME. NAME.

>:(

I am somehow petrified he will go through school in classes where all the boys share his name.

Panic. PANIC!
posted by mazola at 8:44 AM on May 5, 2010


so when does Adolf start getting popular again?
posted by numbskeleton at 8:44 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


By 1960, when I hit first grade, there were so many effing Jeffreys that our teachers had to start making nicknames.

I had a similar experience as a Jennifer growing up in the 70s. At some point I stopped responding to my name being called in public places - because there was always another Jennifer standing a few feet away. My husband's name is almost as popular - although spelled differently.

So of course, we gave our eldest a lovely name we'd never seen on a real person other than my husband's great-grandmother so that she wouldn't have the same experience. We checked NameVoyager - it was quite rare. Since then, the name has skyrocketed in popularity. The line on the graph is almost vertical. We hear it at playgrounds all the time. Seriously people, quit naming your kids Lily. We got it first.
posted by Dojie at 8:47 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


This isn't a bad theory for pinning down the cycle of names going into and out of style, but of course it doesn't take into consideration the fact that some people really do have unusual taste and that there's a growing movement towards unusual names that are relatively new or have been adopted from another culture or usage.

For instance, Ashley was big for baby girls in the eighties, and I don't think it had previously been used as a girl's name at all. It was a surname. There was the character "Ashley Wilkes" in Gone with the Wind, but I bet Margaret Mitchell intended it to reflect the nineteenth century custom of giving babies their mother's maiden name as first case, as was the case with Scarlett O'Hara herself, as her mother's maiden name was Scarlett.

My mother likes unusual names, and so picked out names for her children that started to become popular about 25 years later. So all my life I'm going to have a horde of women 25-40 years younger than me all named what I'm named. Great.
posted by orange swan at 8:49 AM on May 5, 2010


> I am somehow petrified he will go through school in classes where all the boys share his name

As a Sara, let me reassure you that it really isn't a big deal to have the same name as a large percentage of your classmates. I think the parents care more -- oh no! I wasn't as creative as I thought! -- than the kids do.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:50 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


As it is, both of our children have had their moments of name-loathing (my response: Yeah, well I spared you the whole Junior thing, didn't I, and moms would NOT let me name you Bozo)

Beelzbubba...maybe the next one?
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:52 AM on May 5, 2010


I think the parents care more -- oh no! I wasn't as creative as I thought! -- than the kids do.

As both a school-kid in the 70s who shared a name with everybody and as a parent in the 2000s, I can assure you that you are right on both counts.
posted by mazola at 8:52 AM on May 5, 2010


I had a similar experience as a Jennifer growing up in the 70s. At some point I stopped responding to my name being called in public places - because there was always another Jennifer standing a few feet away. My husband's name is almost as popular - although spelled differently.

Your husband's name....is Ginnifer?
posted by beelzbubba at 8:53 AM on May 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


So, I don't have kids (and don't plan to), but can appreciate good name.

My dog (Old English Bulldog) is named Edith Bertrand Jones.

My cats are named Grand Funk Railroad and M72 Rocket Launcher.
posted by brand-gnu at 8:53 AM on May 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


At the moment (though I don't plan on having kids anytime soon) I'm looking for good English-word picks that aren't traditional names. And aren't "hippie names" either. It's tough to find something that is interesting, creative, and yet still acceptable as a serious name.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:56 AM on May 5, 2010


I was born shortly after my parents moved to Florida (from California and Connecticut, ultimately). In homage to their newly-adopted home-area, they toyed with the idea of naming me "Bubba Jesús Boy." Which is just to say that the bit in the post about finding one's parents' tastes questionable does not seem to me without merit, since they ended up just naming me "Steven."

And the 60-90-years-before-birth window seems to check out pretty well for me, as I trawl the Social Security archive for the 1890s (and the nineties are totally hot right now, anyway).

I'll be sure to let son, Sylvan Otho Berry and daughter, Icy Sophronia Arizona Marvel that it was Ms. Wattenberg who set me off in the right direction.
posted by wreckingball at 8:57 AM on May 5, 2010


Seriously people, quit naming your kids Lily. We got it first.
I wonder if you have JK Rowling to thank for that.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:58 AM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


as I trawl the Social Security archive for the 1890s

Flossie! Gussie! Maude! Enola! These names need to come back.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:59 AM on May 5, 2010


I don't go by my birthname; I was raised by my grandparents and my grandmother's nickname of 'Finch' stuck and that's what 75% of the world knows me as. I've googled it, and the only people who seem to have it as a first name are 80+ year old women. Which makes sense that my Grandma used it on me, and suggests that I should start watching out for baby Finches if this era-study is to be believed.
posted by Windigo at 9:00 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Peopel who give kids names with nonstandard spellings

Is the "w" in "Artw" silent?
posted by lukemeister at 9:00 AM on May 5, 2010


Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing.
posted by zarq at 9:04 AM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I haven't decided what theme I'll be naming my kids with yet (suggestions welcome!)

I'll suggest Biblical names. You don't have to be religious yourself; it's sort of a cultural-literacy, looking-back thing. For boys, Herod or Haman. For girls, maybe Salome.

Or if you're not religious and it's all fantasy to you, you could combine it with "other" fantasy names. Sauron Herod Olinerd has a certain ring to it. Or Haman Morgoth Olinerd.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:05 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whenever someone is called the whatever guru, a red flag goes up..

My wife wouldn't let me name my first son James Bond, so I settled for Sean, ...hehe...fooled her!
posted by HuronBob at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


While I can't speak for the public at large, holy crap is this true for the people I know. The Missus and I deliberately invoked this logic when naming our second daughter, just to save time, because we knew we'd be drawn to that cluster of names anyway.

We researched what girls' names were popular around 1910, and weeded out any that were massively popular right now. To our Gen-X ears, those remaining names alternated between the oh-hell-no and the charming. Worked out great.

Though if we have a third kid, I'm naming her Voltron.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ashley was a man's name -- just like Leslie, as in Leslie Howard, the actor who played Ashley (and the Scarlet Pimpernel).

Maybe it's a reflection of underlying sexism, but once girls start to be given a certain male name, it will move over to being only a female name. I don't know if any have ever moved back, but giving male or unisex names to girls seems to be solely a 20th century phenomenon.

actually -- good test names: Robin - male, female or unisex? What about Jamie?
posted by jb at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2010


Naming your child after a celebrity is probably not a good idea. I was seriously thinking of naming our child Rahsaan after my sax idol, but that would not have been a good idea, especially since our child was 3/4 white and 1/4 Asian...luckily, it turned out to be a she, and Quinn was a pretty good pick. Different, but not strange.

There are also the misspellings: a child whose mom wanted her daughter to be named Tiara spelled it on the birth certificate as Tire. Ooops. She got mad at all the substitute teachers calling roll...
posted by kozad at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2010


Hmm. I think my parents had pretty good taste in names. In fact, I'm considering grabbing one of their long-dead dog's names (Ira!) as a name for an eventual, possible kid.

But then, my grandparents had pretty good taste in names, too. My mom is Phyllis--her sister is Rosemary. Totally dig both of those.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:08 AM on May 5, 2010


Also, both my name--Phoebe--and my sister's name--Emily--are far more popular with little kids now than they were when we were children. I mean, it took me 21 years to meet another Phoebe in the flesh, but I can't tell you how often I stumble across them these days. Maybe my parents were just trendsetters. Or unfashionable.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


the nineteenth century custom of giving babies their mother's maiden name as first

For all the time I spent lamenting my boring, trendy-in-the-mid-1970's-first-name, let me just thank my lucky stars that this tradition is less prevalent when you're dealing with clunky/difficult to pronounce Central/Eastern European maiden names.
posted by thivaia at 9:16 AM on May 5, 2010


The name we gave our daughter apparently peaked about 100 years ago, which proves this hypothesis.

But what I'm really interested in is Yoplait's new drinkable yogurt product!
posted by swift at 9:16 AM on May 5, 2010


Flossie! Gussie! Maude! Enola!

My family name is filled with women's names like those, also, Ora, Ula, Ida, and country-isms like names ending in -nelle, -dina, and -lene.

They all sound incredibly hick to me, and so none of them were on the table if we had a girl.

Boy names were tough too, because almost every man, on my AND my husband's side, had the middle name Wayne (just like serial killers!). So we had to go back to my husband's great-grandfather to find something acceptable (Wynn) to put with our son's first name, which was also not common in our family.

People of my cohort swarm with Jennifers, Jasons, and Michaels. I also knew a million Christys (and Chris/Kris/Christinas/Tinas/etc) and Wendys/Mandys/Mindys, none of which seem to be popular for little kids now. I suppose my son might find them attractive if he has a daughter. Eh.
posted by emjaybee at 9:19 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Laura Wattenberg, naming guru

Eponysterical.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 9:21 AM on May 5, 2010


I remember as a kid there were the odd dad who would name their kid with all eleven names of the then current squad of their favourite football team. I can't imagine what a pain in the ass that would be in later life... Still my first born had better be happy with being William Patrick Jon Tom Peter Colin Sylvester Paul Christopher David Matt especially if they are a girl.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:21 AM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


When in doubt for a name, go for the big Three: Saints, Grandparents, and Beatles.

True, that.

-Alvy Paul George Ampersand

No kiddin'.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:21 AM on May 5, 2010


Is the "w" in "Artw" silent?

That reminds me: Artw, I owe you an apology, even though what I've done hasn't harmed you in any way and I'm sure I'm not going to stop doing it. Let me explain.

At some point, I learned that the letter "w" is a vowel in Welsh, pronounced "oo" as in "moon," so that's how I mentally interpret it whenever it doesn't seem to make sense in a written word. In my mind, your handle is pronounced "Artoo."

Even though I know that your handle is based on your real name and initial, in my mind you're an astromech droid.

I'm sorry.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:23 AM on May 5, 2010 [32 favorites]


I'm saddled with a name so old fashioned that not even retro-traditionalists would give it a second glance. It's not always fun to be unique.
posted by contessa at 9:24 AM on May 5, 2010


What, no SanDeE*? Although I know someone who's niece is named Champagne.

Naming is hard and the effort taken does seem to bring some sort of possessiveness to it. A former coworker of mine was slightly outraged that the week she gave birth to her son, someone else gave birth to a girl and had named her Rory, which was the planned girl name. A friend of mine is convinced a mutual friend stole Amelia from her.
posted by zix at 9:25 AM on May 5, 2010


We just had a daughter three weeks ago and named her Clara, my wife's grandmother's name. We were going for classic, pretty, meaningful and yet uncommon. Our boy name would have been Rhys.

There's a really good chapter in Freakonomics about baby names - they describe trends a little differently. The naming cycle, according to them, is of a socio-economic trickle-down. If an upper class family names its daughter Mercedes, it then gets adopted by lower-class people until nobody wants to name their kid Mercedes because all the crack whores and Nickelback fans are named Mercedes.

And then the cycle repeats.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:26 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


in my mind you're an astromech droid.

He is... one of Tharg's droids - A4-Y8
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:27 AM on May 5, 2010


... damn... R4-Y8
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:28 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Regarding the name Logan, here's a conversation I recently had with my friend Artie:

G: So I haven't seen Mike for a while; how's he been?

A: Good. You heard about his new baby?

G: No! He had another kid?

A: Yep. You know how his first kid's named Xavier?

G: Yeah.

A: This one's Logan.

G: NO WAY! FUCKIN' X-MEN KIDS! NICE!

A: THAT'S WHAT I SAID!

G: Well, yeah!

A: But the thing is, Mike didn't even pick Logan. His wife did. And Mike was like, "I'm fine with that, but you know that if we have two kids named Xavier and Logan, everyone's going to be all, 'FUCKIN X-MEN KIDS! NICE!'" And his wife was like, "Oh, you're crazy, no one's going to think that."

G: Everyone's going to think that!

A: Everyone does think that!

G: Fuckin' X-Men kids!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:30 AM on May 5, 2010 [134 favorites]


I'm named after my dad, who was named after his mother's maiden name, Marshall. I was the only one in my elementary school, growing up in New York. Then I moved to Virginia, and there was another Marshall in my elementary school class. Then I switched schools for middle and high school, and there were TWO other Marshalls in my class at various times. Both of them were girls.
posted by emelenjr at 9:30 AM on May 5, 2010


Tangential question, thinking about boys' names: what's a good abbreviation for Kwisatz Haderach?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:31 AM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


so when does Adolf start getting popular again?

I think I read somewhere that the girl's name Myra has just totally vanished in the UK since the late 60s
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:33 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tangential question, thinking about boys' names: what's a good abbreviation for Kwisatz Haderach?

Oh, don't jump on that tired old bandwagon of naming your kid Kwisatz Haderach; instead, go for a more charmingly quirky name, such as "Fear, The Mind Killer"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:34 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have named my baby, Baby Gaga.

He'll grow into it.
posted by found missing at 9:35 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's really interesting. I used to think that I was spontaneous and original for liking rare/old names. Then I looked at baby name voyager and discovered everyone else was suddenly being as 'spontaneous and original' as I was. For example: Oliver.

It's depressing to realize that you're completely average and such a predictable product of your generation.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:36 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't plan on having a child, but if I did I think I might go with Bertrand or Bertram... as in Russell or Wooster.
posted by codacorolla at 9:37 AM on May 5, 2010


I want to name my son Jordan, but I feel like it's one of those names that are only used for girls now. The Social Security name database doesn't bear me out on this though, and neither does the Baby Name Voyager graph. When you think of someone named Jordan, do you think of a boy or a girl?
posted by pecknpah at 9:39 AM on May 5, 2010


Though if we have a third kid, I'm naming her Voltron.

When my now wife was pregnant, our front-running names were Marvin for a boy or Isabel for a girl. Both names met with general disapproval from our friends and family. He came a little over a month early, and I ended up naming him Voltron.

He's 3 months old now, and my mom has forgiven me. Surprisingly, most people don't know the cartoon, but I do often end up explaining to other 30ish men that he was named after the vehicle Voltron.
posted by steve jobless at 9:39 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Easy, soldier! You spooked Felicity. [Comforting horse] There, there, boy." - Zapp Brannigan
posted by griphus at 9:41 AM on May 5, 2010


A sweet lass I knew, somewhat whimsical and as giggly as if she lived in a slightly different world where the atmosphere had trace amounts of nitrous oxide, had invariably moved away and become pregnant, in the time-honored rural tradition. Details of the resulting infant leaked back. Mother had "Caitlin" somewhere in her family tree, and selected an interesting first name. The last name has been changed to protect the innocent. Upon hearing the daughter's name, I could only hear this:

"Morgana Caitlin Jackson, yuh get outta that fairy circle and you stop witchin' them folks!"
posted by adipocere at 9:44 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


When you think of someone named Jordan, do you think of a boy or a girl?

I think of MeFi's own Bookhouse, who is a boy.

And then I think of that guy from New Kids on the Block, and his '80s 'do, but then I think of Bookhouse again, really quickly, so as to purge my brain.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:52 AM on May 5, 2010


Tangential question, thinking about boys' names: what's a good abbreviation for Kwisatz Haderach?

Maud'Dib, of course.
posted by The Mysterious Mr. F at 9:52 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


my name is now on american idol.

for the weeks, instead of having to explain my name and how it's spelled and how i got that, i've had to have a conversation about a show i never watch. EVERY SINGLE PERSON i talked to for about a month at work (vendors on the phone, coworkers in other offices and this office), was like "oh, there's a Siobhan on American Idol! have you seen her? she's so good!!!"

so finally i went on youtube and ended up having an opinoin about american idol.
crystal bowersox is incredible and gives me chills on all her stuff. she sings standards like she wrote them.

also, the typist messed up on my birth certificate so my name is spelled wrong and i need to get a freaking court order to get it changed because just saying look, it's not an alternate spelling it's just WRONG isn't good enough. i wonder if i've had the same problem is my name was mary and the typist spelled it mray. (Siobhan is correct. Siobahn is not correct. subtle but definitely a typo. court order my ass. muttermuttergrumble.)

so, if you name your kid something, make sure you know how to spell it and check their damn birth certificate or they'll end up with their name spelled wrong on their college diploma because "well, that's your legal name."

all i can say is that i am actually siobhan was on american idol because i might be able to go a year or so without having to freaking spell and/or explain my name every time i talk to someone new.
posted by sio42 at 9:53 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Only without the requisite dyslexia. Curses.
posted by The Mysterious Mr. F at 9:54 AM on May 5, 2010


Before my son was born, we were thinking Ariel if he/she was a girl. He obviously wasn't so we went with an evergreen biblical name for him. A month after he was born, The Little Mermaid movie came out. If he had been a girl, there's no way that we could have convinced people that she wasn't named after Ariel the mermaid. She would have hated us.
posted by octothorpe at 9:54 AM on May 5, 2010


Bea Arthur. IS. Maude'Dib.
posted by The Mysterious Mr. F at 9:57 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


> "For boys, Herod"

Oh lord, I laughed out loud at this one. When/if my husband and I have kids, they'll be going to the elementary school just down the road. The one sandwiched between an Episcopalian and an Evangelical church. I can't imagine the reactions to a little Herod running around the schoolyard, inches away from the house(s) of God(s).

On names, if I can, I'll be sticking to the traditional ones that have been on my mother's side of the family for a couple of hundred years. But I once did work experience at a primary school, and there was a gorgeous little girl, all blonde curls and happy demeanor, and her name was Bliss. I'm not sure if the parents thought hard about it or tossed it off quickly one day, but as cheesy as it could have been, it really suited her.
posted by saturnine at 9:59 AM on May 5, 2010


I just cringe everytime I hear my kid's name in pop culture. At the time I picked it I thought I had picked it out of the ethos, the name just came to me; then they came...

The baby name wizard blogger writes about this, that it's a really common experience, that people don't recognize the influences. Many people tell stories about thinking they'd come up with a name out of the blue, and then three kids in their preschool have the same name or somebody right down the street.

One of my friends, who named her daughter Brianna only to discover that Brianna was trendy, says she thinks people inadvertently give hyper-popular names to first kids because they don't know other people with kids until they have theirs. So it's a surprise, then, that all these other people also were influenced by that book or that movie or that thing you can't even remember that somehow brought the name to your awareness.
posted by not that girl at 10:03 AM on May 5, 2010


It's a good thing Mr. F and I aren't having kids, because I'd have to spell "Muad'dib" for the birth certificate.

Plus, the last five computerlike objects I've owned were/are Beatrix, Cortana, Cascabel, Durga, and JARVIS, and I consider all of those fairly legit names for human beings too, so obviously I shouldn't be allowed to reproduce.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:03 AM on May 5, 2010


It's about time for Sunnyvale street names (Mathilda, Maude, Iris, Evelyn) to come back into vogue.
posted by kurumi at 10:05 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I want to name my son Jordan, but I feel like it's one of those names that are only used for girls now. The Social Security name database doesn't bear me out on this though, and neither does the Baby Name Voyager graph. When you think of someone named Jordan, do you think of a boy or a girl?

My husband is a boy Jordan. So is metafilter's PROD_TPSL.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2010


Maud'Dib, of course.

Or you could just go with Paul.
posted by longsleeves at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2010


Do you mind if I name my first child after you? "Dipshit Knight" has a nice ring to it.
posted by Muddler at 10:09 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, Mr. WanKenobi's mother was so convinced that Jordan was a boy's name that, had he been a girl, he would have been (ick) Jordana.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2010


Maud'Dib, of course.

Or you could just go with Paul.


No, dammit, it's Usul! UUUUUUSUUUULLLL!
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2010


No, dammit, it's Usul! UUUUUUSUUUULLLL!

Because you just know the teachers would butcher "Kwisatz Haderach"

Kiwisayz Haterache? Is Kiwisayz Haterache here?
posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's about time for Sunnyvale street names (Mathilda, Maude, Iris, Evelyn) to come back into vogue.

Agreed. Also, El Camino Real Kurumi has kind of a nice ring to it.

Also this: I think Enzo would be a pretty cool name for a boy these days.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:18 AM on May 5, 2010


As a Sara, let me reassure you that it really isn't a big deal to have the same name as a large percentage of your classmates.

As a Mike, I disagree. It might be that besides having the most popular name of the period, I also have a really common last name. There's constant confusion when people call your name, until teachers practically turn your name into first name + last initial "Mike C, quit messing around!"

It does have its advantages though. If you google my name, you're more likely to read about an NFL ref or comic book writer than my own indiscretions.
posted by drezdn at 10:19 AM on May 5, 2010


I want to name my son Jordan, but I feel like it's one of those names that are only used for girls now.

I know 3 Jordans, all boys.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:20 AM on May 5, 2010


That reminds me: Artw, I owe you an apology...

I'm in a similar situation; although I'm not Welsh I've been in Wales the whole time I've been on MetaFilter, and it was literally only last week that I realised Artw probably wisna pronounced as a Welsh word.
posted by Dim Siawns at 10:24 AM on May 5, 2010


I got married quite young (two months out of college), and back then the thought of hyphenating our respective last names never even occurred to me. Thirteen years later, when we finally got around to having a kid, I regretted defaulting to my husband's last name, because it made picking baby names infinitely more difficult.

Why?

Because my husband's last name is Lee. Do you have any idea how freaking difficult it is to find a name that goes well with Lee that doesn't turn it into an adverb or a brand name? Do you realize how many girls' names end with -lee -leigh -ley -ly?

Some of my most cherished girls' names, ones that I had dreamed about using well before I even had a husband, were rendered instantly invalid the day I married him, because I am not a horrible parent:

Sarah
Claire
Lillian
Lucy
Vivian
Harper
Belle
Eva
Leah
Bailey

Yeah, picking a name was hell, and we didn't actually settle on one until maybe two weeks before the kid was born. We eventually settled on a name that I freaking love, and is gorgeous, and hasn't registered on the Baby Name Wizard graph for 70 years. This of course means that it's destined to be the next Aiden/Jayden/Flayden.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:24 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


We're naming our son Westley.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:25 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm going to name my children after the ships in Iain M. Banks' Culture novels. I Blame The Parents has such a nice ring to it. So does Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:28 AM on May 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


as was the case with Scarlett O'Hara herself, as her mother's maiden name was Scarlett

My 11-year-old self will not let this stand. Ellen O'Hara's maiden name was Robillard, of the Savannah Robillards.

Carry on.
posted by mayhap at 10:32 AM on May 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


As a Sara, let me reassure you that it really isn't a big deal to have the same name as a large percentage of your classmates. I think the parents care more -- oh no! I wasn't as creative as I thought! -- than the kids do.

As a Susan who sometimes had as many as 5 or 6 other Susans in my class, I'll second this. It just seemed totally natural and normal to me that about a third of girls had the same name I did.
posted by not that girl at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2010


I'm naming my kind Q-Bert.

I'm naming my kid Sinistar! Run, coward!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:39 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think Enzo would be a pretty cool name for a boy these days.

... and YT for a girl?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


My proposed names are so bad that my girlfriend doesn't even want pets, let alone children.
posted by klangklangston at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I knew I should have gone camel case.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I understand the point of this post, and I'm sure I don't, it's that fashion comes and fashion goes.

Revelation.
posted by Twang at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2010


I think we should just refer to children by rank and number until they have done something to earn themselves an honorable name, much in the manner of this post.
posted by The otter lady at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2010


I bet Margaret Mitchell intended it to reflect the nineteenth century custom of giving babies their mother's maiden name as first case, as was the case with Scarlett O'Hara herself, as her mother's maiden name was Scarlett.

My 11-year-old self will not let this stand. Ellen O'Hara's maiden name was Robillard, of the Savannah Robillards.

AND, Scarlett was not Scarlett O'Hara's first name, anyway. It was KATIE. (Swear to God, her father referred to her as "Katie Scarlett" and she referred to herself that way at least once. I don't know if that made it from the book to the movie, but maybe it'll win you a trivia contest or two in a bar sometime.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2010


sorry, the italics slipped away from the second quotation in that post. It's mayhap who's 11 years old, not me.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2010


Random comments sparked by this thread. Our eldest has never stopped reminding us that the translation of his name from Hebrew is "god's gift of salvation" which was not something we considered at ALL when naming him. Of course, we would have gone with klang kalngston had we had even a shred of ingenuity.

Klang, as a child, suggested that we name his younger sib "Geechetta," since we were looking for girls' names. We had long before picked Bailey, but then WKRP in Cincinnati came along, so that became a dog's mane eventually. Then it was Alexandra, shortened to "Lexi" and some damned prime time soap opera had a featured actress with that character name. Bleeeeah.

We kept wrestling with girls names, picturing them as girls, young women, mature women (thus no Cyndy on one hand, and no Martha on the other--no offense to anyone with those names, nothing personal).

Yahashua (a hebrew translation of #1 son) was somewhat precocious at not-quite-three, assuring us that Geechetta would 1) never be so popular as to be duplicated nor 2) ever get old or wear out. Timeless.

When Dustin came along, he made all the female names obsolete and so we had to pick something out improvisationally, and I vetoed all of the "J" names--thus Justin became Dustin (with 28 years so far of being asked if he's named after Hoffman, or being called Justin anyway).

Road game that we always played with the kids as we drove from Michigan to Florida on I-75. Take the names from the towns noted on the exit signs as you drive and try them for suitability as boy/girl names. Neither of my children are parents--or so they tell me--but each has a reserve placed on the consensus favorite, found in Georgia: Eldorado Omega for a boy, or Omega Eldorado for a girl. Or vice versa.

Years later, a rock band from Michigan drove through Ohio and came back with the band name Luck(e)y Haskins. Just two years ago, a transplant to our area started an antiques consignment store withe the Lucky Haskins name and cited the road map inspiration. Fans of the band felt cheated, but at least he didn't name the store Goober & the Peas.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Klang, as a child, suggested that we name his younger sib "Geechetta,", which is why he and his gf don't even have pets, let alone let HIM name them.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:06 AM on May 5, 2010


As a Susan who sometimes had as many as 5 or 6 other Susans in my class, I'll second this. It just seemed totally natural and normal to me that about a third of girls had the same name I did.

See, and I haaaaated having what was, for a long time, the #1 name in the country. I was never the only Jennifer in my classes, which was why one of the non-negotiable rules in picking a name for the kid was that it absolutely couldn't be in the top 100, and even the top 500 would be pushing it.

Even today I am one of three -- three! -- women with my exact name in my company. Such is the downside of having a hugely popular first and last name. Then again, I am virtually immune to Google-stalking, so there's that.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:07 AM on May 5, 2010


Huh, working backward my full name in the proper languages would be

God's Grace Champion Wold Cup of the Geat.

which is totally my new D&D character name.
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2010


Whenever someone is called the whatever guru, a red flag goes up..

What a great name for a baby!



If I were to have another, I would definitely name him or her Red Flag.



posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2010


Wolf Cub.

Wold Cup is just nonsense
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 AM on May 5, 2010


I will giggle insanely if I live long enough to see Helen, Bertha and Gertrude return as baby names.
posted by Lynsey at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2010


*looks up the cool vintage name I would probably give a daughter, sees that apparently EVERY OTHER PERSON who has had a daughter in the past couple years has given her that name*

Sigh, Penelope, I hardly knew you....
posted by Windigo at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2010


I'm totally going to start calling everyone I know by their literal translation names.

Hearing the Son Of His Father! how are you and Fair One Southern Farmer? Have you spoken with Like Honey and God's Honor?
posted by The Whelk at 11:15 AM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


You know what I don't hear enough?

Sigourney.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


My husband and I already decided if/when we have kids to name our firstborn daughter "Buffy" and our firstborn son "MacGyver," but we'll definitely have to consider X-Men names if we have any more.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2010


I think your last name is Summers you have a moral obligation to name your daughter Buffy and your son Scott.
posted by The Whelk at 11:21 AM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I like naming cars. Right now my wife and I are driving Elvira (a little black convertible) and Gogo Yubari (a bright red Honda Fit).
posted by Bookhouse at 11:22 AM on May 5, 2010


waiting for upticks in Edwards, Bellas, and Isabellas.

I don't think Bella and Isabella have any room to tick up. You can't have more uses of a name than actual children.


There are always puppies to be named. I am currently acquainted with 5 pups named Bella.
posted by donajo at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2010


My first name, Donald, is my mother's maiden name. I, of course, was called Donald Duck, complete with snickering quack-quack-quacks, throughout elementary school.

I shortened it to Don in high school, but some in-their-own-minds hilariously clever classmates wrote it as Dawn or sang Delta Dawn, What's That Flower You Have On in the hallway when they saw me.

In later years, a work colleague began calling me The Donald (after Donald Trump then becoming in/famous) and I reciprocated by calling him The John (after the toilet and a hooker's client, but mainly the former). He suddenly reverted to Don.

My sister managed to avoid being burdened with Myrtle (when was the last time you heard that?!) or Matilda (same comment), respectively our paternal and maternal grandmothers' names. She ended up with Patricia, a little old-fashioned perhaps, but not so bad as the alternatives. I've always called her Trish or Trisha. Her friends call her Pat. She and her husband John (not the above work colleague), have two sets of good friends, also named Pat and John. So, it's Pat and John and Pat and John and Pat and John when they're all together. Was there a sudden run on those names in the 50s?

Plus one year in a big class of my students, there were - astonishingly! - three Justins, three Stéphanies, a Jean-Michel and a Michel-Jean. I never really got them all straightened out and only hope they each got the final grade they deserved.

Call me Irresponsible.
posted by drogien at 11:24 AM on May 5, 2010


My mom's name is better than mine. I think birth order fucked me, not the generation. I'm a firstborn, she was a fifth girl. The more "creative" you think you're being, the tackier you actually are. Amber... ugh. A stripper made of petrified sap.

Aunts in decending order: Sherry, Brenda, Janet, Diane, Amy. 1955-1960.

For girls, I think flowers are always ok. Dahlia is one of my favorites, has been for years. I like Victorian names a lot, which I guess means I'm old-timey, since they predate my great-grandparents. I think it's intersting how they draw from Greek myth, which I also like. I did just successfully get my bff to name her fetus Oliver, though! Points for team Victorian!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:24 AM on May 5, 2010


> I like naming cars.

BABs (the Big-Ass Buick) and Rosie the Robot (Red VW Golf TDI).

RIP, her older sister, Petra Liesel the biodiesel.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2010


My husband and I already decided if/when we have kids to name our firstborn daughter "Buffy" and our firstborn son "MacGyver," but we'll definitely have to consider X-Men names if we have any more.

And if you decide to only have one kid, you could call him (or her, although it's not really a girl's name) MacGuffin.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2010


I just cringe everytime I hear my kid's name in pop culture.

I recently discovered that I may have the same problem.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2010


Huh, working backward my full name in the proper languages would be

God's Grace Champion Wolf Cub of the Geat.


Well now, THIS is a fun game.

signed,

Swarthy Free Man, Son of the Brave
posted by 256 at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Huh, working backward my full name in the proper languages would be

God's Grace Champion Wolf Cub of the Geat.


Bright and shining victorious northerner.

Awesome!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


robocop is bleeding, for real?

I've always loved that name.


(Also, I think you walked right by me this afternoon shortly after noon when I was waiting in line for an event, and I was all like, "Hey...is that robo cop is bleeding?" And I was like, "It might be, but if it's not, I'll totally embarrass myself." And then the person who may have been you was gone through the secret door that leads to the secret gym.)
posted by zizzle at 11:39 AM on May 5, 2010


Well now, THIS is a fun game.

Our Mighty moderators!

Gift Of God Horseman!

Jasmine Of The West!

God's Salvation, Guardian Of The Mill!

posted by The Whelk at 11:42 AM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ambrosia Voyeur: Did you, perchance, scroll down to the Victorian names beginning with M in that list? Check the seventh M name listed.

Oh em gee.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:50 AM on May 5, 2010


I am an old hippie, and I like names with personality. That's not always a good trait when you have to name your own son, so my wife and I used a really good test when coming up with my son's name: It had to sound good and correct after "Chief Justice". We have gotten tons of compliments on his name over the last ten years, BTW.

(And my car's name is SubaRufus.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Well now, THIS is a fun game."

Champion King Victorious

Sweet. A bit out-of-order, but sweet.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2010


(Seventh girl name beginning with M, is what I meant to say.)
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2010


I will giggle insanely if I live long enough to see Helen, Bertha and Gertrude return as baby names.

I actually know a couple people who have babies named Helen (and one Helena), so you might want to tune up your snicker. The other two might be safe bets. Then again, I would have said the same of "Agnes," and I've heard of people who like that one--granted, some pronounce it the French way, which is tolerable. I've also been surprised by the return of "Eleanor." I still can't quite get past that one as an old-lady name.

I like naming cars.

My current car is named Sterling North, after the writer. It's silver and I live in New England. Figured I couldn't miss.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2010


Just wait til the Steampunkers start reproduceing and we have Albertinas and Augustus St.Johns out the wigwam.
posted by The Whelk at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am Downward-Flowing Beloved Minstrel!

Eew.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2010


(And my car's name is SubaRufus.)

I cannot tell you how much I love this.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2010


I used the Baby Name Wizard book to find a name for my son.

Requirements: Needed to be Irish or German in origin, needed to NOT have been used by another family member, needed to have an easy and not too strange sounding abbreviation, and needed to have not been in the top 1000 names in the US, ever.

Narrowed it down quite a bit. His nickname is not that uncommon, but his full name is unique enough we're happy with it. Nearly a year so far, and I have yet to meet another kid with the same name. My wife's parents took some time to get used to it though. Mother-in-law said (and I quote) 'Why couldn't you have picked a NORMAL name, like Logan or Tyler or Mason or Hunter...?" to which I replied, "Ugh."

New kid at day care is named "Nixon". It's my last name. Never thought I'd see it as a first name. Not sure how I feel about it - and it makes me (born in '74) wonder how old his parents are.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:57 AM on May 5, 2010


With slight rearrangement to make it work a little better (adjectives before nouns, you know) the meaning of my name might be:

Brooding Gilded Pearl, Descendant of the Servant of the Church
posted by ocherdraco at 11:58 AM on May 5, 2010


Dad, since you're in the thread, what was that horrible old aunt's name that you found digging through the family tree? Something like Unaletta or something?
posted by klangklangston at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2010


Friend of mine let his then-wife name their daughter "Malibu Barbie."

I swear it.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:12 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


God Rescues That Which Is Worshipped, Mountain Man here.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 PM on May 5, 2010


I was one of five girls named Sara(h) in one of my classes in school. No biggie. It was my last name that I never liked, because nobody seemed to spell or pronounce it right even though it was a noun describing a common object. People always added an h to Sara, too. Now I'm Sadie, which people hear as Sandy. Ugh.

A sampler of names in my family:
Austine
Velda
Zeta
Quentin
Hance
Vance (they were twins)
Elsye
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


New kid at day care is named "Nixon". It's my last name. Never thought I'd see it as a first name. Not sure how I feel about it - and it makes me (born in '74) wonder how old his parents are.

I'd bet it's one of the following:

a) it's a family name for them too

b) they're real young so the name just doesn't have the impact that it would for us early 70s kids

c) they're following the ends-in-N name trend and it's a logical outgrowth of "Jaxon" and "Maxon." Which isn't all bad, because if it bugs the kid later on he can be "Nick" and no one will think anything of it.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2010


"Well now, THIS is a fun game."

Elf-counsel, descendent of the healer

Got to say my parents did me pretty good there.
posted by afu at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2010


Excellent- if I play with word order, I get Venerable Seizing By The Heel.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:26 PM on May 5, 2010


THE VIGILANT ONE OF THE HIGH MARSH

Man, my name is just begging for me to start carrying a spear around!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:26 PM on May 5, 2010


klangklangston: “My proposed names are so bad that my girlfriend doesn't even want pets, let alone children.

She's doing it all wrong.

If you have an S.O. with really bad (or, politely, "unique") taste in names, you have to have lots of pets. That's how you get those names out of their system, and ensure a potential kid can never be subjected to it.

"We can't name him Lester; we named the [dog|cat|ferret|bonobo] Lester — remember, the one who liked to [eat|crap in|pee in] your mother's shoes?"

You need to give the worst names, and the ones they're most attached to, to the most significant and long-lived pets. It might not take the name off the table if you used it twenty years ago on a goldfish, but if you have a dog or cat that's alive at the time the kid is born, it's pretty much guaranteed to be out of contention. If it's a really horrific name, you might just need to have an animal with that name all the time, i.e. "Shithead [the dog]," "Shithead Jr.", "Shithead II", etc. Small price to pay just the same. Plus after the first one you can at least call the dog "junior" or "number sixty-seven" if you want, when they're not looking.

My father had a name that was deep in 'Boy named Sue' territory and caused unwelcome confusion both in terms of gender and ethnicity, and unimaginable amounts of playground teasing. My brother and I both got very common names that were vetted to have absolutely no rhyming or punny possibilities at all. I've always thanked the man for that.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:28 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bright and shining victorious northerner

We named our daughter Phoebe Victoria - we call her Bright Shining Victorious all of the time.

Just wait til the Steampunkers start reproduceing and we have Albertinas and Augustus St.Johns out the wigwam

For a boy - Mr. Lapin was pushing for Isambard Kingdom after the famous Railroad/Steam-Magnate. I was starting to cave on Kingdom for a middle name, but no one should have to live with Isambard.
posted by Lapin at 12:31 PM on May 5, 2010


Hm, apparently I'm "God is gracious to the dark coal miner who lives on the bare hill."

That's... metal. I guess.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:31 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


No fair. My first and last names are English words already. I have no mystique.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:32 PM on May 5, 2010


How is this names in proper language game working? Just putting the meanings of your names in reverse order? I'm slow to pick it up, I know, but I want to play!
posted by zizzle at 12:37 PM on May 5, 2010


take the literal meaning of your full name, muck with the order a bit to make it scan better if needed.

Elizabeth for example, gets you "God's Promise"
posted by The Whelk at 12:38 PM on May 5, 2010


Defender of Mankind Battle Maiden Bitterness

I'm all fighty and stuff.
posted by sandraregina at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2010


I'm Keeper Of The Parks Who Is Also A Shaper Of Metals. My fianceé is Celtic Sea Of Bitterness.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:40 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


My mother under her maiden name would be, using full forms and butchering the actual language to make it read easier in English, My God is a Huntsman Oath of Famous Grace.
posted by klangklangston at 12:41 PM on May 5, 2010


"Elizabeth for example, gets you "God's Promise""

Having just looked this up, not really—Elizabeth comes from Elisheva, which means My God is an Oath or My God is Sustenance. "God's Promise" is a bit of bowdlerizing there, and if you're going to bowdlerize anyway, you might as well do so from the source.
posted by klangklangston at 12:42 PM on May 5, 2010


The man who keeps Metafilter running is Small Fluffy Ball.


huh.
posted by The Whelk at 12:43 PM on May 5, 2010


Oh, Hebrew my oldest foe.
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on May 5, 2010


My brother's got Fighter for the Victory of the People, Mountain Man.

(Though digging through the etymology of my last name, it seems like there might not be any good translation, as the root is variously rendered as "path, increase, climb, boss…" and a handful of others, and it's just got a "man" tossed at the end of it. It's interesting, though, to see that the best sources appear to be on Jewish names and they allude to an area of Germany "densely settled by Jews." It's interesting to me, at least, because as far as I know, we're not Jewish, just German.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:53 PM on May 5, 2010


Haha! Okay, so if I use my full name and all I get:

My God is an Oath Grace Summer --- hmm. I could turn it into a sentence. Summer Grace, my god is an oath! Hmm. I'm afraid I'm not very good at this or my names just don't lend themselves to amusement of this purpose when combined.
posted by zizzle at 12:54 PM on May 5, 2010


"Oh, Hebrew my oldest foe."

I just like oaths. They sound better than "promises," y'know?

Also, growing up, I knew both a dog and a girl named Blessing, and I'm thrilled to find out that "bless" meant "smear with blood."
posted by klangklangston at 12:55 PM on May 5, 2010


I've always named my cats and dogs people names so by the time I finally had a kid, my top ten list was used up on pets. My SO wanted a name reflecting his ethnic heritage, which lead to multiple conversations like this:

SO: How about Mateo?
Me: What, like San Mateo?
SO: Clara is nice.
Me: Right and have you noticed we live in Santa Clara County?
SO: Francisco!
Me: No.

We ended up going the grandparent route: biblical + ethnic + 3rd bonus name that we got from a Miami Vice episode* that we liked way back when.

*So 80s, sweet god. At least we weren't fans of Dynasty.
posted by jamaro at 12:57 PM on May 5, 2010


"Hm, apparently I'm "God is gracious to the dark coal miner who lives on the bare hill."

That's... metal. I guess.
"

Nah, it's more prog or Canterbury.
posted by klangklangston at 12:59 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


My first name is God Is My Judge. My last name is apparently a clerical error.
posted by daniel_charms at 1:02 PM on May 5, 2010


Manly Son of the Beloved Metalworker

There is nothing about my name which isn't dead-on-balls accurate.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:02 PM on May 5, 2010


Please don't call your daughter Jordan.
posted by Lleyam at 1:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


What 12 year old didn't consider naming their kid Logan Xavier?
posted by beardlace at 1:05 PM on May 5, 2010


Landlord's Cry of Triumph.

For fuck's sake, I'm an imperialist running dog. Stupid internet.
posted by Errant at 1:05 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


By the way, when I was a child, I thought it was weird anyone would name a child Jesus (of course I didn't know it was pronounced hay-soos, but still...) so, when I had my son I named him Joshua. Which is derived from the Hebrew Yeshua. Which....*drum roll please* is also in the Latin....Jesus.
Oh, and for some reason at least half the parents of boy babies in the '80s liked that name as well.
(One daughter is seriously dating a guy with the same name. If they wind up together guess I'll need to call him the josh-in-law.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're going X-names, might as well call 'im Bobby Scott Warren Henry Jean.
posted by klangklangston at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bobby Scott Warren Henry Jean.


...the third.
posted by The Whelk at 1:11 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


as was the case with Scarlett O'Hara herself, as her mother's maiden name was Scarlett

My 11-year-old self will not let this stand. Ellen O'Hara's maiden name was Robillard, of the Savannah Robillards.


Yes, you're right, and I remembered that Scarlett's first name was Katie. But I am almost certain that Scarlett was a family name. Was "Katie Scarlett" perhaps her paternal grandmother's full name?
posted by orange swan at 1:11 PM on May 5, 2010


I found out today that my son goes to nursery school with a girl named Elise. Her brother is called Jensen. Both named after cars.

But that pales into insignificance next to the poor girl a few doors down whose parents named her Chardonnay.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:19 PM on May 5, 2010


So there are a number of names that I really like that I'd never be able to use now because of their trendiness in the last several years.* For instance, when I was in elementary school in the '80s I had a friend named Mackenzie who was always just super cool, and I was always fascinated with the name. Well, can't do that anymore. Similar story with Aidan. And there are tons more, but what I really like about this is that I would throw away a possible name for a human being - a name which I personally love - because of the fear of future teachers or other parents thinking that I watch Grey's Anatomy or something. I mean, how self-obsessed is that? But still, I can't get past it now.

Anyway, my folks apparently named my three siblings and myself by looking up whatever was the single most common name at the time and just going with that. Considering that our last name is Smith, we could have used a little more creativity, to be honest. I eventually started going by my middle name sometime around high school, which was unique but not weird. Then that damn teen drama about the kid with the creek came on the air and I had to get shit from every single person I met for the next five years.

For names I like now, girls' names are for some reason easier for me than guys names. For girls' names, the trick seems to be hitting what will work well as both an adorable child and as a professional woman later. Sadie, Sophie, Josephine and Phoebe all work well for me there. For boys I think it's just about keeping his head out the toilet, so I dunno. Agamemnon, maybe?

I'm a single guy who will almost certainly not be the one naming whatever future children I have anyway. But screw it, I like naming things. I think it's one of the more addicted elements of Civ IV to me.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2010


When I was in college, a friend of mine said that he knew a couple that named their daughter "Kira Delenn," which I always thought was a great name.

I also have a friend who's named Trillian (and her sister is named Tricia). And she and her husband named their son Vash.

I don't really have a point, other than the fact that nerd names are awesome.
posted by Katrel at 1:25 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't really have a point, other than the fact that nerd names are awesome.

Oh, good point! "Gaius" should be good enough to make sure that I'm forever kept out of that particular decision-making process.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:30 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Katie Scarlett O'Hara is the paternal grandmother of the character Scarlett O'Hara, who has a great big long name. Thank you, Wkipedia!
posted by klangklangston at 1:39 PM on May 5, 2010


So there are a number of names that I really like that I'd never be able to use now because of their trendiness in the last several years.

I think that that goes to show the ways you are subconsciously a product of your time. I had a friend in high school (more than fifteen years ago now) who was named Jackson. I was pretty sure that was the most badass name ever, and I had never heard of anyone else having it. I was all dead set on the idea of giving that name to my first son. I really thought it would still be a very uncommon name, a good match with my rarefied aesthetic taste.

Boy am I glad I'm having kids now rather than five years ago when the pending Jacksonpocalypse might have flown beneath my radar.

And on a side note, pertaining to the my-name-in-modern-English game: one of the fun things about it is that it is a one way translation. My name, for example, is drawn from several different languages and two of my three names are quite uncommon. I am certain that no one could possibly get from "Swarthy Free Man, Son of the Brave" to my actual legal name.
posted by 256 at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2010


Because my husband's last name is Lee. Do you have any idea how freaking difficult it is to find a name that goes well with Lee that doesn't turn it into an adverb or a brand name? Do you realize how many girls' names end with -lee -leigh -ley -ly?

When we found out we were having a girl my wife and I decided to name her Arianna. My wife wanted to give her the middle name "Rose." Our last name starts with an "F".

Finally agreed on a different first name when we realized what the poor kid's initials would be. I'm sure my daughter will eventually find plenty of reasons to resent her parents without it. ;)
posted by zarq at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2010


I have so many fabulous, ridiculous, wonderful baby names stored up, I'm going to have to have about 300 children.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2010


Anyway, my folks apparently named my three siblings and myself by looking up whatever was the single most common name at the time and just going with that. Considering that our last name is Smith, we could have used a little more creativity, to be honest.

I have a friend named John Smith. What cracks me up about it is that he's not just John Smith--he's John Smith III.
posted by not that girl at 1:46 PM on May 5, 2010


Finally agreed on a different first name when we realized what the poor kid's initials would be.

I used to work with a guy whose initials were ARM. The thing is, I discovered this because he had monogrammed shirt cuffs. It was always difficult for me to go into his office without laughing after that. Or without wondering what he might have embroidered on his pants cuffs.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:49 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I figured out in high school that both my name and my brother's name mean Joy of the Father, even though I'm a girl and he's a guy. We're both named after New Englanders from the Revolutionary War era though, so I guess that makes sense.

My full name is: Joy of the Father Little Grey Ash Tree.

Apparently when my mom was pregnant with me, my dad liked to joke that they should name me Puberty, or Nut and Bolt if I happened to be twins.

That would have made me either:

The Period During Which Adolescents Reach Sexual Maturity and Become Capable of Reproduction Little Grey Ash Tree

or maybe:

Threaded Pin That Screws Into A Nut And Is Used To Fasten Things Together Little Grey Ash Tree

Actually, the latter one has a sort of nice ring to it.
posted by colfax at 1:51 PM on May 5, 2010


Finally agreed on a different first name when we realized what the poor kid's initials would be.

Had I been born a girl my parents were dead-set on making me Ashley Shannon Smith. I actually like the name but it wasn't until I was 15 that I mentioned to them what the initials would have been, and they had clearly never considered it.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:55 PM on May 5, 2010


The Whelk: "You know what I don't hear enough?

Sigourney.
"

You asked for it.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 1:55 PM on May 5, 2010


Pure Meadow Warrior

I like it

It is not metal though :(
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:58 PM on May 5, 2010


Logan was barely used throughout most of the twentieth century, until it surged in the 1970s and skyrocketed in the '80s and '90s. Wolverine joined the X-Men in 1975.

Well, yeah, but we didn't learn his name was Logan until 1977. Possibly the geekiest bit of pedantry I've ever posted to MeFi, and that last is long.
posted by Zed at 1:58 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I did the genealogy, on one particularly fecund branch there were at least three Minervas in each generation; in the fifth back from me, there were SIX of 'em. I'm grateful my children were grown before I learned this.
posted by cookie-k at 2:01 PM on May 5, 2010


Hardcore Poser gets one point.
posted by The Whelk at 2:09 PM on May 5, 2010


I've been trying to convince my girlfriend that Tom Hanks would be a good name for a boy. It just sounds successful or something.
posted by minifigs at 2:09 PM on May 5, 2010


If I were ever to marry someone with the last name Schmidt, it would take SO MUCH self control not to name my kid John Jacob Jingleheimer.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:11 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding, for real?

For real. We had agreed on a metric for a girl's name, which was naming her after the day she was born on (which we conveniently decided would be 'Thursday' even if she was born on a Monday or something). The male equivalent was to be the direction he was born in (shortened again to 'North') but when we found out the sex of the baby, we had a good rethink.

Westley fits part of the directional dictum, plus it references a secret nickname my wife had for me during that pre-first date crushing phase of our relationship. His middle name has always been pretty set, as we have a thing in my family where the father passes a name down to his son.

And that was me. Sorry if I didn't notice much - I'm the sap who is in at 6am to open the library for finals this week.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:15 PM on May 5, 2010


I've already recounted the tale of the friend who named his son after a superhero on the sly, so let me just add two things:

Thing 1: with regard to using family surnames (especially the mother's maiden name) as names for babies, I know someone on whom this backfired. His given name is Allen, which was his mother's maiden name. Still, most of his relatives on his mother's side still contrive to spell his name Alan/Allan/Alen.

Thing 2: some other friends of mine, English speakers living in the Netherlands, were discreetly advised a few years ago by their neighbours to forgo their name of choice for their newborn daughter: their first choice was "Piper," which is a slang word in Dutch. After a moment's thought, they agreed that naming their daughter "Cocksucker" was ill-advised.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:16 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pleased to meet you all. Allow me to introduce myself:

I am Remembrance of the Lord's Bend shaped like a Nose. You can call me Ben.
posted by owtytrof at 2:18 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, my wife's baby-name book is more commonly known as our anime and video game collection. That kind of scares me.
posted by owtytrof at 2:22 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


When my brother was eight or nine, he told me he wanted to name his kids after organs. Not as in Lung or Pancreas; the other kind of organs.

Farfisa. Hammond. Wurlitzer.
posted by tangerine at 2:31 PM on May 5, 2010


I wonder how many boys named Sue there are.
posted by ersatz at 2:37 PM on May 5, 2010


Maybe I'll get a hamster so I can name him Destro.
posted by klangklangston at 2:46 PM on May 5, 2010


c) they're following the ends-in-N name trend and it's a logical outgrowth of "Jaxon" and "Maxon." Which isn't all bad, because if it bugs the kid later on he can be "Nick" and no one will think anything of it.
posted by dlugoczaj at 3:16 PM


Zaxxon, ftw.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:46 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


it wasn't until I was 15 that I mentioned to them what the initials would have been

Dude. I know someone who ended up with those initials when she got married. I think it's no coincidence that her Facebook listing is "A--- S--- Formerly S---."
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:47 PM on May 5, 2010


I think Hammond B3 would be a nice name.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:51 PM on May 5, 2010



Dad, since you're in the thread, what was that horrible old aunt's name that you found digging through the family tree? Something like Unaletta or something?
posted by klangklangston at 3:10 PM on May 5 [+] [!]


Thusnelda. Sister of Ludwig and Heinrich. Heinrich, aka Uncle Heine, was president of the National Turnverein, based out of Indianapolis, and was a close friend of one Eugene V. Debs. Thus, Aunt Katerine is on the list between John Dos Passos and I.F. Stone as a founding member of the E.V. Debs Society. (In case anyone wonders whether klang's leftist leanings are come by honestly or nicht not.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:51 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


A relative's initials spelled his name (or, more accurately, a prefix of his first name that is commonly used as an abbreviation for that name). A fortune teller told him that this was a very lucky thing. So you might want to keep that in mind.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:52 PM on May 5, 2010


Huh, working backward my full name in the proper languages would be

God's Grace Champion Wold Cup of the Geat.


Mine would be: From Mars Rock Hard Spear. My last name means: Son of the Dark One.

Beat that.
posted by Sourisnoire at 3:01 PM on May 5, 2010


Well SOMEBODY has to be named Maxon or else the Brotherhood of Steel doesn't get a leader.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:02 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm going with the REALLY underground names for my kids: Adolph, Saddam and Vlad, Idi, Fidel, George W. and so on.
posted by empath at 3:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Edith and Ethel are pretty names, so I'll probably never be permitted to have anything to do with naming a child.

I think they're fine names, too. My great grandmother was named Elanor and I've always loved that name. Mainly because it lets you give your daughter an elvish-sounding name with plausible deniability.
posted by empath at 3:09 PM on May 5, 2010


Thusnelda? You're kidding me. That was my pseudonym of choice for years. The only other time I'd heard of it was in a PDQ Bach madrigal set (the one including "My Bonnie Lass She Smelleth").

Of course, upon self-Googling a few years later, I then discovered that I was also apparently a German porn star.
posted by Madamina at 3:09 PM on May 5, 2010


This is why all the babies these days are Aiden, Jayden, and Hayden.

Sigh, my nephew's name is Aiden. I was against it, but my sister thought it sounded so unique!
posted by empath at 3:10 PM on May 5, 2010


What sort of time limitation is there for parents to reconsider the names of their children? Klang has made no secret that he wish(ed?) for a name other than the one we bestowed. His birthday is coming up and if I can go to the courthouse in Oakland County to effect a name change for him, I think it might be a great present.

I'm thinking Caligula Sparklehorse but might compromise on Roboklang Skeletor.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:12 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Art, Cart, Dart... E-art...
posted by moorooka at 3:15 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have no freaking idea what my middle name* means; even a Google search failed me Going first-last just gives me Forest, Red, which isn't terribly exiting.

* It's a Prussian surname. I got my grandmother's maiden name for a middle name because I was getting one name from each grandmother, and she wouldn't let them name me "Frances" - "One generation of a girl being called 'Fanny' by her brothers was quite enough," she said.
posted by Karmakaze at 3:23 PM on May 5, 2010


I am best friends with The Important Rock.

--My God Is An Oath Each of the Twain Grey House
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:38 PM on May 5, 2010


Thusnelda? You're kidding me. That was my pseudonym of choice for years.

Whoa, Nellie, I am NOT kidding. What makes this name so interesting familially is that Ludwig, my grandfather, told his family that he and Heinrich were the only children of Johann, and that Johann was an only surviving child. My father grew up thinking that ours was a rare last name in Germany.

FF a number of years, and I am going through a Ford Motor Company telephone directory & see the name Axel S., living in the same town. He was a VP transfered from Germany. I called him, thinking that with the obscurity of our last name--and someday, if you're all real nice, and sit real quiet, I'll tell you the story of Johann S. and his deathbed tale of family riches and wealth--anyway, with that anticipated obscurity, I gave Axel a call & introduced myself.

Well you'd'a thought I called him a horse thief or worse (no, that'd be the Teissler side of the family) sputtering that "S" is quite a common name in Germany. Since then, I've found a bunch of us with bastardized spellings of the name, but almost all of "us" not from Ludwig, Heinie, Thusnelda, Robertha, etc., descend from Thomas "S," a Hessian fighting on the side of the British in the Revolutionary War, who is credited as the surveyor of Dundas County, Ontario, and whose ship, a "ten gunner" the Speedy went down when sailing from York to Kingston, along with Judge Gray of Cornwall (for whom Gray's Creek is named thereabouts). "Their unhappy end created much sensation at the time [1801], and spread a gloom over the whole of Upper Canada." (excerpt from Dundas, or a sketch of Canadian History, and more particularly of the County of Dundas, One of the Earliest Settled Counties of Upper Canada by James Croil, Montreal, 1861.)
posted by beelzbubba at 3:40 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


My name translates longform to:

God's Peace One who trips up another and supplants him One who climbs. Or, with some scrambling: One who climbs over another, taking his place in God's Peace.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:49 PM on May 5, 2010


I'm still pretty fixed on 'Felony', should I ever have a girl-larva. It's a pretty word! Sounds like a flower, almost.

I never really considered what I'd name a boy, but after reading this thread I'm kind of excited about 'Flayden'. Or 'Starscream'.

Fortunately, the only part that particularly interests me about having kids is getting to name them, so my tastes aren't likely to be inflicted on any actual humans.
posted by rifflesby at 4:04 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last year, some friends of mine had a baby on April 1. His first name is Logan, his middle name starts with an O, and his last name starts with an L. When I saw the facebook announcement and figured out his initials, I almost called shenanigans, especially since he arrived a couple weeks early.

Nope, he's little LOL, the April Fool's Day baby.
posted by lilywing13 at 4:10 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm John Kenneth, my father is Kenneth Scott, and his father was Kenneth Rae. And there's some Kennethia's in the mix there, but that part is just a travesty.

Still, I like the tradition, and hopefully the hypothetical mother of my child will let me name my child what I hope to name him:

Kenneth. Danger. Fisher.

Come on. You KNOW that sounds awesome. Plus Danger is his middle name. PLUS if the kid decides he hates that bit of goofiness, he can just go by Kenneth D. Fisher and no one will have to know.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:16 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Templar, AZ has some awesome character names, Dr. Bash (and his daughter Abalone and son Ransom) Curio, Tuesday, Scipio. Very fun. Roman names need comeback.
posted by The Whelk at 4:17 PM on May 5, 2010


In keeping with how it often seems like people named Chastity or Temperance or some such are train wrecks, I'm wondering if the ironic name thing holds up for vices as well as virtues. If you name your kid Sloth, will he be really hardworking?

What if I named my kid Patricide?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:10 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


" the nineteenth century custom of giving babies their mother's maiden name as first case, as was the case with Scarlett O'Hara herself, as her mother's maiden name was Scarlett. "

So glad that tradition is faded.
No child needs to have the legal first name of "Rip".
posted by silkygreenbelly at 5:31 PM on May 5, 2010


"Rip Moore" would be kinda awesome. You'd have to be involved in some kind of supervilliany
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on May 5, 2010


" the nineteenth century custom of giving babies their mother's maiden name as first case, as was the case with Scarlett O'Hara herself, as her mother's maiden name was Scarlett. "

Also if this happened I'd be Leavitt/Lovitt MacMillian and that's a name that comes with a tweed jacket, a degree from Yale, a place in a Cato Institute think thank and an underage mistress named Yum Yum.
posted by The Whelk at 5:44 PM on May 5, 2010


Having a name that's a sensible phrase (as opposed to an archaic language's value-mush, or nonsense syllables) is kind of fun and educational, actually. I just scoured the web for actual Amber Bowyers -- anybody who might be making or selling bows made of amber, or perhaps made of amber themselves...

Keith Peck made an amber-frogged string bow, which makes him one, kind of, and apparently there's a character in Oblivion who gives you an amber bow, so he's one too!

It's pretty renn faire, but I'm glad my name's not Lavender Bell or something horribly wussy.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:51 PM on May 5, 2010


Oh man oh man oh man! I'm so excited, I think I win this game! My first and last names, translated:

Who Is Like God? An Extremely Virtuous Person.
posted by Ms. Saint at 6:19 PM on May 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Surprised the Utah Baby Namer hasn't come up yet...
posted by msbrauer at 6:42 PM on May 5, 2010


Before they found out for certain that I was to be their much desired boy child, Mom was leaning heavily towards "Brandy Gabrielle" for me. Dad hated it. When I came out as a boy, I got the uninspired "Junior" appellation.

To make it up to my Mom, I briefly adopted the moniker Brandy Gabrielle during my drag days. I found there wasn't much camp value in that name, however, so I switched briefly to using my mother's first name, Wilhelmina. I styled myself "Wilhelmina Whatever," and would walk out on stage when they introduced me, gaze at the audience in a bored fashion, snarl, and walk off without bothering to lypsync my song. It laid them in the aisles. I don't know if I ever told my Mom that second part. Ah, well. File a mental note away for Thanksgiving.
posted by Vavuzi at 6:57 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


As far as uncreative names go, I'm named after the month I was born. My sister is named Angel. And yes, she generally lives up to it. My other sister and brother have very normal names.
posted by aclevername at 7:03 PM on May 5, 2010


My translated name is pretty lame, "God has given gift of God." My sisters fared better, though: "Famous warrior gift of God" and "Pleasant foreign woman gift of God".
posted by plant at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2010


My dad is Champion Son of the shaveling.


Shaveling sounds so wrong, in context it's "Son of the Monk" but still.

Shaveling.


Ew.
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 PM on May 5, 2010


By contrast my mom is Lady Wolf Cub Of the Geats which is just all kinds of awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 PM on May 5, 2010


Ha! No lie, I'm "Victorious Ship Lord with a Strong Grip."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:34 PM on May 5, 2010


What if I named my kid Patricide?

They'd call him 'Pat,' for short.
posted by jonmc at 8:02 PM on May 5, 2010


Maybe I'll get a hamster so I can name him Destro.

You want to name your kid Destro and your gf is against it? Aw, man, now you have to breakup with her. Destro is an awesome name. Also, if you go the hamster route, you have to get two and name the other one Baroness, regardless of sex.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:02 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


We were stuck for a long time on my son's name. At one point my dad suggested we name him "George Bush." I said, "why stop there? Let's name him Jesus George Elvis Timewaster!"
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 8:25 PM on May 5, 2010


Powerful leader twin prince doer of valiant deeds. Hell yes.

The lovely ms. mendel is "Fire-white fifth month ironworker". I like mine better.
posted by mendel at 8:27 PM on May 5, 2010


Flashing back ot a friend sayinf how his marriage was aborted cause they found out they where actually cousins*, how did they find that out "well it turns out we have some realatives in common, my name means Beyond The Oaks and her's was Before The Oaks."


* and like he was totally gay but then she went and married someone with the same name but with two letters transposed. They both say their entire relationship was based on a clerical error
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 PM on May 5, 2010


This is the same family where the even the clergy at the funeral of his grandfather got the name wrong cause being all kinds of French is hilarious in Texas.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on May 5, 2010


Oh Jebus McCartney I suck at finding things late at night..

Three times I've scanned these comments and checked the links - for the love of Pete, would someone please tell this sleep-deprived fool where you're generating these 'full name in the proper languages' or 'translated names'? I must know if I'm "Manly Champion Rock Hard Spear Who Is Like God" or "Downward-Flowing Sea Of Bitterness shaveling".
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:33 PM on May 5, 2010


Just Google '[name] meaning' for each individual name. That should bring up the meaning in the first one or two links.
posted by Ms. Saint at 10:50 PM on May 5, 2010


*headsmack* Awareness dawns, and Day of Birth God is Gracious Follower of The Anointed One thanks you Ms. Saint.
was really hoping for the Manly Champion one though...
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:08 PM on May 5, 2010


I'm Hat Wearing Harpist Tied up in the Woods!
posted by vespabelle at 11:18 PM on May 5, 2010


Rock, Son of the Beige One.
posted by minifigs at 1:33 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


My last name is a corruption of Meyer, so that makes me:

Fame Bright Male Bright Farmer
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:01 AM on May 6, 2010




Youthful Battle Power! I feel like I belong in a team of lycra-clad teens.
posted by harriet vane at 4:30 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Silvery Sunrise White like Steel

not bad, not bad
posted by fancyoats at 4:45 AM on May 6, 2010


I'll bet I stop getting all those phone calls about other people's defaulted student loans if I start calling myself God is Gracious to Fair Ladies Waving Spears.
posted by Dojie at 7:01 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I'd been given my mother's maiden name, I would have wound up Cooper Cosgrove, which makes me sound like a spunky reporter in a fifties pulp novel. I no longer use Cosgrove, incidentally.

Instead I am The Heelgrabbing Supplanter who Dwells on a Graceful Hill.
posted by Jilder at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2010


I'm a 1971 Jennifer. The name was rare before it was chosen, or so my mother and a billion other people believed at the time. Five of us in my kindergarden classroom alone; three with the same last initial and ALL with the same middle name! (Leigh, except mine, which is Lee. Go, parents on that originality!) This may be why I've got a lame nickname that's stuck with me since I was 14.

I am Beer-Mistress Fairy of the Meadow. I am a good party hostess!

octothorpe: My oldest daughter's is Arielle; she was born six months before The Little Mermaid came out in theaters. Of course everyone thought I named her after the movie except my daughter, who assumed it was about her and begged me as a toddler to dye her hair that fuck-me red color. It was actually my attempt to feminize the f@%$d-up name her father chose: Uriel. No classmates with versions of the name, but there are several younger siblings of her peers that do. Here, in the Southwest US, it's difficult to get people to pronounce it (Air-ee-ul) instead of (Ar-ee-elle) though, personally, I like the second one better.

She switched to her middle name, Eve, in jr. high - she was tired of being teasingly called "Little Mermaid".
posted by _paegan_ at 8:26 AM on May 6, 2010


Gift-of-god Thunderbolt-Diamond Pig-Friend.

Sure beats "Elroy" which I almost got saddled with.
posted by jtron at 8:31 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Noble and Ready Wealthy Guardian Wolf. (I feel so much cooler.)
posted by Zed at 8:34 AM on May 6, 2010


Once we spawn, my boyfriend is agitating for Shaft or Modok if we have a boy, and Cruella if it's a girl. I'm voting "Grant Morrison" Surname or Freya Rowan. Shhhh, don't tell him Rowan is a yarn company! he'll never go for it then!

Grant only because he won't let me name a boy Thor.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:18 AM on May 6, 2010


Dweller by the Path Humble Farmer Of the Woods

Which incidentally is what's on my business cards.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:38 AM on May 6, 2010


Hee, friend is "Loyal One who lives by the well"
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 AM on May 6, 2010


My parents never thought my name was "weird" and its relative uncommon-ness is a cultural, not generational thing. Still, it's kind of weird that it was #500 in popularity when I was born and totally not even on the chart (the SS Names Database Top 1000 chart thingum) anymore. Also, I was named after one of my mother's nursing school classmates and not any pop-culture/literary references, which would explain why it wasn't an entirely obscure name, but didn't ever really get a bump in popularity either.

I haven't named children yet, but the names that I like aren't "popular" right now and aren't particularly tied to any time period. I can only hope they stay common-but-not-TOO-common. 'moonMan and I have agreed that he gets to name the girls (our first girl would be after his favorite-book-of-all-time) and I get to name the boys. I have a specific metric, since there are so many baby names that I've heard that *only* work on babies - his name would have to work as either the QB of the New England Patriots or as a Supreme Court Justice. As for girls - since she may or may not ever change her last name, it has to be non-awful, reasonable to spell, and not evoking images of strippers.

(I have named cats and people either think the name Wensleydale Archipelago Quadrilateral is brilliant or believe I'm insane. I think "both" is a distinct possibility.)

Also, I'm: Wisdom From The Meadow-Valley - BORINGEST NAME EVER.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:49 AM on May 6, 2010


bitter-girl.com, Freya is my top choice for a girl. My girlfriend* agreed on the condition that we have her ride around in a carriage pulled by cats, like the real Freya. She's remained immune to my blandishments re: MODOK, however, and naming a kid after my favorite Invisibles character would just be asking for trouble.

Maybe I could sneak 'Tarleton' in as a middle name...

* OH WAIT I MEAN FIANCEE WE TOTALLY JUST GOT ENGAGED LIKE TWO DAYS AGO swoons
posted by jtron at 12:01 PM on May 6, 2010


(our first girl would be after his favorite-book-of-all-time)

"Jaws"?
posted by jtron at 12:03 PM on May 6, 2010


jtron, Freya is an awesome name. I say this totally without bias (it's my middle name), of course. I was named after my grandfather and my great-grandmother, and wound up with Ilana Freya instead of Irvinga Frieda, for which I am eternally grateful.

I guess I'm "Bright shining strong tree noble lady." There are worse things to be.
posted by ilana at 12:37 PM on May 6, 2010


Congrats on the engagement, jtron! Although I'm a bit disappointed that that link didn't lead to Lord Fanny.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:43 PM on May 6, 2010


Given that Mr. Q&A's last name is "Moore," I'm leaning toward Just A Little Bit and Love Me for kid names.

Though when I was younger, I told everyone I was going to go with Hunter and Gatherer, just to watch them squirm. And then I told them the girl was going to be Hunter.
posted by questionsandanchors at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2010


I love Freya, but the Scandihoovian purist in me thinks it should be spelled Freyja. Of course, having a Scandihoovian "j" in my own name, I recognize that this - at least in New England - borders on sadism and child cruelty.

My mom wanted to name me Björn if I was a boy. Definitely dodged a bullet there in terms of lifetime misspelling/mispronunciation. Not that Sonja is much better. Just last week my grandparents called my mom to ask her HOW TO SPELL IT. In their defense, I'm not quite 30. They haven't yet had three WHOLE decades to practice.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:00 PM on May 6, 2010


"Player One" and "Player Two" if they're twins. That way there won't be arguments. "Mario" and "Luigi" could be acceptable as I have Italian-American heritage but honestly "Sonic" and "Tails" are kinda strippery, y'know?
posted by jtron at 1:00 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blake Morrison JTron would be a good invisibles one.
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on May 6, 2010


STOP IT YOU GUYS.

My wife and I totally just named our daughter Freya like two months ago. What are you trying to do?
posted by 256 at 1:10 PM on May 6, 2010


The names I would like to give my son(s), assuming they one day exist, and number not more than two, fell out of fashion in the 50s and 20s, respectively, according to the baby name voyager thingy.

The names are Raleigh and Baxter. Problem is, we've already named one of our dogs Baxter, and he's young enough that he's likely to still be around when the kid comes along. Who wants to be named after the dog?
posted by owtytrof at 2:13 PM on May 6, 2010


Dr. Jones?
posted by The Whelk at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2010


Shut up and fix your comic!
posted by shakespeherian at 2:16 PM on May 6, 2010


shhhh dude
posted by The Whelk at 2:17 PM on May 6, 2010


Captain of the Heavenly Host, the Son of Fire.

Yes, I suppose you may touch my garment...oh, hey, go and wash your hands first, thanks.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:28 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


names are stupid. Identity is...
posted by ovvl at 6:40 PM on May 6, 2010


The topic of names & naming has come up here before...and I'd just like to point out that I noted some months ago that klangklangston's has a penchant for strange names...
Our son (when he was <10) was set on the name Geechetta and something else unpronounceable for a girl name. Checked in with him from time to time afterward & he was still pretty firm on that. My guess is that the name functions as excellent birth control for his partner.

And as far as the renaming of my kids 27+ years after their birth? Yeah, I think a name change for the younger one might be Sherlock. Not because he has any great deductive reasoning, but because I find myself saying to him "No shit, Sherlock."
posted by beelzbubba at 12:31 AM on May 7, 2010


Wow. I messed up that quote & link...FTFM

Our son (when he was <1>8:34 AM on December 15, 2009

& thinking about names & naming generationally, my parents were both were Lost in Translation when named but within the month or year that they were born, their parents changed the name or the spelling.

My pops was supposed to be Ervin, but Ludwig (his pop) had a thick German accent, so the origianl birth certificate said Irving, as the city clerks office tried to help by guessing what he was trying to say. The "corrected" birth certificate listed him As Erwin, but everybody just called him Erv. (middle name, Francis). Mom was born "Grace Patrician" and no that is not a typo, Grandpa Ray insisted on the "n". Her mom, Bertha changed the name to Patricia Grace as soon as she could get her hands off of Raymond's neck.

Me personally, I've never liked my name, but I'm also glad I didn't get hung with "Erwin" either. And klang's mom would emphatically NOT go with Ludwig for some reason.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:44 AM on May 7, 2010


"Grace Patrician" is an awesome name.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:58 AM on May 7, 2010


Can I just say the call and reply from klang and beelzbubba is easily the best thing about this thread.
posted by Jilder at 8:01 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


fwiw, I think klangklangston is Best of the Web.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:49 AM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sometimes naming a child something popular is accidental; my brother's family went back and forth on names while my sister-in-law was pregnant, and finally named her "Olivia" -- but my brother named her after our paternal grandfather, whose middle name was "Oliver." (...He used the middle name because Grandpa's first name was "Revilo." Long story.) The fact that there's a ton of other Olivias out there now is kind of incidental.

As for "your name in English" -- my real last name is kind of English-words anyway; but my ex speaks Chinese, and we once had a conversation about translating English names into Chinese. He said that you could make a fair argument for rendering my name in Chinese as "Fist Full of Dollars". So -- I am Fist Full of Dollars From The Meadow Around the Royal Fortress.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:21 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of my friends gave his child the middle name "Danger"... Sigh... This is an interesting theory she's come up with, but it doesn't explain how some names seem to be generationally resistant.

I always loved the name Zach, but when my wife was pregnant and folks asked us what names we liked, the response to Zach was almost universally "Oh, after Zach Morris, right? Are you going to give him a big brick cell phone too?" - guess what generation *I* am from! :)
posted by antifuse at 9:59 AM on May 13, 2010


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