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“I went with the mustard instead of the ketchup.”

What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name [more inside]
posted by supermassive on Jul 15, 2014 - 146 comments

Elmer and Gertrude? They are likely pretty old.

The median living Brittany is 23 years old. Nate Silver (and Allison McCann) perform some pretty impressive data wrangling and graphical analysis on the age of living Americans with a given name.
posted by Curious Artificer on Jun 3, 2014 - 210 comments

Middle Names Considered

Why do so many women bear the middle names Ann, Marie, or Lynn? And what's up with all the middle Michaels, Johns, James, and Lees?
posted by Iridic on Feb 11, 2014 - 158 comments

An Ad You Won't See During the Super Bowl.

Native Americans call themselves many things. (YouTube). An ad you won't see during the big game, "Proud to Be." From changethemascot.org.
posted by spitbull on Feb 1, 2014 - 97 comments

...you took Christopher and turned it into Krystougher.

You named me... WHAT? Nine baby-naming rules.
posted by crossoverman on Dec 27, 2013 - 406 comments

The Origins and Meanings of Ashkenazic Last Names

Ashkenazic Jews didn't originally have family names until compelled to do so starting in the 17th century. Bonus: Why Your Family Name Was Not Changed at Ellis Island. [more inside]
posted by ShooBoo on Dec 26, 2013 - 50 comments

Hey, Dick! It's Mike Duffy

Mike Duffy has unique, personalized greetings for the Gregg, Greg, Elisabeth, and Elizabeth (among many others) in your life
posted by Copronymus on Dec 18, 2013 - 54 comments

Turn the lights out and say Benadryl Cumbia three times in front of a

A Linguist Explains the Rules of Summoning Benedict Cumberbatch. The same linguist elaborates.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Dec 2, 2013 - 333 comments

Names for Change

Name this mouthwash. Name this winter coat. Name this urinal. Name the herb garden. Name this salt and pepper. Name this fire extinguisher. Name this Case Manager. Name this pie. [more inside]
posted by threeants on Nov 26, 2013 - 28 comments

What's in your invisible fanny pack?

What's in your invisible fanny pack? [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by aniola on Oct 22, 2013 - 154 comments

Mary begat Lisa which begat Jennifer which begat Ashley....

A wonderful animated state-by-state map of the most popular names for girls since 1960. Watch the Jennifer Takeover of 1970! Thrill to the doomed Appalachian Amanda Insurgency of the late 1970s! Cower before the great Jessica-Ashley Battles! Sigh with relief at the arrival of Emma, Isabella, and Sophia as we approach the world of today! Regret naming your child the same thing as everyone else! Bonus, also from Jezebel: How to pick a weird name for your kid
posted by blahblahblah on Oct 19, 2013 - 342 comments

“No, it's WEE-ner. Like a penis.”

A panel discussion of people named Weiner and Wiener.
posted by latkes on Oct 2, 2013 - 42 comments

Move over, Reince Preibus

The Strangest Names in American Political History is a compendium of ludicrous nomenclature among America's political figures, from Arphaxed Loomis to Zerubbabel Snow (with stops for Outerbridge Horsey, Supply Belcher, and Odolphus Ham Waddle).
posted by snarkout on Sep 24, 2013 - 47 comments

Cocktail historian is a job? How might I qualify?

Lawyers need bartenders more than bartenders need lawyers. When it comes to cocktails and the names they’re given, a recipe can’t be copyrighted and a name isn’t usually trademarked, and there’s no governing body, no law of the liquor land that stops the duplication of a recipe or a cocktail name. Which makes cocktail naming—shall we call it mixonymics?—special among naming practices in the modern world: It’s the bartender tribe, not the law, that defines prior art.
"Swizzle Me This," Michael Erard, The Morning News (single link)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Sep 18, 2013 - 20 comments

This is not the Messiah you're looking for.

Last weekend a judge in Tennessee changed a baby's name from Messiah to Martin. Following this, Dahlia Lithwick looked into what level governments restrict baby names around the world and the U.S.
posted by DynamiteToast on Aug 19, 2013 - 176 comments

An answer's value can only go down...

"A Day at the Park", a long scrolling comic that features two interestingly designed characters having a discussion of their respective collections: one of questions, the other of answers. By illustrator Kostos Kiriakakis as the start of a series titled "Mused", along with "Lost and Found", about names and games and stuff...
(thanks to Fleen, which just yesterday scooped us on Boulet's Long Journey).
posted by oneswellfoop on Aug 5, 2013 - 6 comments

Nosewise and Pangur Bán

Fido and Spot weren't always generic dog names. Dogs and cats (and monkeys, birds, etc) have been kept as pets for a long time, and medieval pet names can sound very strange or oddly familiar to modern ears. [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Jun 29, 2013 - 36 comments

EmPHAsis on the right sylLABle

How to pronounce Chicago street names. How to pronounce London street names. How to pronounce Austin street names. How to pronounce New Orleans street names (and a whole lot else). How to pronounce "Spuyten Duyvil," "Kosciuszko" and "Goethals." How to pronounce "Van Nuys," "Sepulveda," "San Pedro," and "Los Angeles." [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jun 28, 2013 - 120 comments

Are you a liberal baby or a conservative baby?

Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree on baby names
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jun 5, 2013 - 91 comments

But can you find it on a souvenir bicycle license plate?

“Amory” was too F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Enzo” too Europhilic. “Selby” was too Brooklyn, “Roman” too Polanski. And those are just the boy names. [more inside]
posted by Tanizaki on Jun 3, 2013 - 191 comments

Naming: From Fly-fornication (ok) to ChristIsKing (not ok)

Historically the United States (on a state by state basis) has given almost complete freedom to parents to name their children, both first name and surname, with results like "Fly-fornication," "Mahershalalhashbaz," "Encyclopedia Britannia," "States Rights" (who was killed in battle as an officer for the confederacy), "Trailing Arbutus Vines" and many more. (Naming Baby: The Constitutional Dimensions of Parental Naming Rights, Carlton F.W. Larson, 2011 [SSRN/PDF]). In October 2012, however, New York courts made two interesting rulings that reflect limitations on renaming, if not naming, rights, for both adults and children. [more inside]
posted by Salamandrous on Feb 27, 2013 - 54 comments

Dora Viola G.I. de Orellana Plantagenet & Co.

"In the records of the more or less illustrious dead, there are many who are remembered for only one thing - but there can be few whose sole claim to posthumous fame is the extravagantly bizarre naming of their children..."
posted by Iridic on Feb 27, 2013 - 36 comments

What's in a Name?

Is your name linked to your life chances? The Guardian's Data Blog examines the link between first names and life outcomes in a series of diagrams. "The Guardian Digital Agency has looked at the first names of doctors, prisoners, football players, Guardian staff and other professions and mapped how often certain names occur."
posted by sundaydriver on Feb 11, 2013 - 62 comments

Melkor just SOUNDS evil

More than most literary phenomena, names in fiction seem very straightforward until you start to think about them. The simple question, ‘why does a name sound right?’ leads to a whole range of questions. Are there rules about how names are given to characters? Do naming practices differ in different periods? Are they specific to particular genres? Do different authors use names in entirely different ways? There are also anxieties to address: is discussion of names in fiction snagged in a feedback loop, in which we think James Bond is such a good name for a spy because that’s what we know it to be?
posted by Chrysostom on Nov 16, 2012 - 118 comments

In Sandy's Wake

Documented: The People Who Were Killed By Hurricane Sandy [more inside]
posted by TangerineGurl on Nov 5, 2012 - 62 comments

There's an app for that (girl).

"Looking back a year ago when conceiving this idea, we thought it would be far too impossible to even attempt. We tried anyway. So, after months and months of recording/writing its finally finished: “Persongalize”, a one of a kind personal song generator, featuring thousands of different girl names available in the rock, pop and country genres. Yes, someone, (Karlton Tillman), had to sing 1,816 names into these tracks, TWICE, since each name is sung twice in each song."
posted by unSane on Sep 30, 2012 - 25 comments

"Our names were made for us in another century."

Towns with number names: Six, Eight, Twenty, Fifty-six, Seventy-six, Eighty-four, Eighty-eight, Ninety-six, Hundred and 1770. Honorable mention for Wonowon.
posted by jessamyn on Aug 25, 2012 - 41 comments

make sure to feed her only sour poffins because thats what she like

"My friend traded me a Duskull and he called it 'Dudeskull'," or, Pokemon troubles
posted by Greg Nog on Aug 5, 2012 - 78 comments

Falsehoods Programmers Believe

Falsehoods programmers believe about names and time shows how difficult it can be to represent basic concepts in code.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Jun 18, 2012 - 165 comments

"We wanted a word that was short, memorable and impossible to mispronounce."

Alphabet Soup: Restaurant names are becoming more complicated and enigmatic. Christopher Hirst asks the experts what’s going on.
posted by Fizz on Mar 19, 2012 - 52 comments

LYONEL THE SECOND

Tollemache, Ralph William Lyonel Tollemache- (1826–1895), Church of England clergyman and bestower of eccentric names.
posted by BungaDunga on Feb 11, 2012 - 11 comments

Old Maps of New Jersey

Here are some old New Jersey maps, available online. Take a look at this map of southern New Jersey made by Dutch settlers in 1669. The Dutch labeled Cape May "Cabo May." Take a look at Delaware Bay. The Dutch called it Godyn's Bay. This 1709 map shows a division between east and west New Jersey. Probably most interesting of all is this map from 1795. Here, you can see archaic names of towns. What is now Pennington was once called "Pennytown." Lawrenceville was once called "Maidenhead." What is today called Hightstown was once called "Hiatstown." How about that little island off the southwestern New Jersey coast, Egg Island? Is that even there anymore?
posted by candasartan on Feb 10, 2012 - 26 comments

The Medieval Names Archive

The Academy of Saint Gabriel's Medieval Names Archive: for all your period-accurate onomastic needs.
posted by Iridic on Dec 21, 2011 - 11 comments

Way to go, Ronjohn.

Congrats, Peer Fish. And you too, Covington Stanwick. Inside Lacrosse announces the 2012 All-Name Lacrosse Men's and Women's teams. [more inside]
posted by mullacc on Dec 20, 2011 - 10 comments

Name Games

Why leave name choosing to the whim of marketing consultants, grandparents and significant others? Wordoid will name your company or designer drug so as to sound natural in a range of languages. Wordmixer and Company-Name-Generator may help too. Babynamegenie will conjure up a tag for your offspring. This dog name generator accounts for your pet's size and physique. FakenameGenerator (see previously) will surround you with credible sounding friends and colleagues. Thenameinspector blog may be able to help with find something unique.
posted by rongorongo on Nov 22, 2011 - 36 comments

The embarssment of online handles

The Eternal Shame of the Online Handle asks prominent digirati about the source of their original online name (and features mathowie). Aside from embarrassment, those who chose their handles or avatars lightly may ultimately suffer, since research suggests that you may become more like your avatar. With the decline of the pseudonym, including for those who might rather be anonymous, online handles may be turning into a thing of the past, (MeFi excepted). What's the story of your original handle? [My original screen name on Prodigy was nicodemus, cause magical rats were awesome in the 1990s]
posted by blahblahblah on Jun 30, 2011 - 238 comments

Just Give Peace a Chance

Metta World Peace [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Jun 23, 2011 - 17 comments

Troll Food

WOODEN COCK
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on May 10, 2011 - 87 comments

Team Werewolf

The Social Security Administration has released the top ten baby names for both genders in 2010. Topping this year's list: Jacob and Isabella. Were Twi-Moms out in full force last year? Maybe. It should be noted, however, that Edward came in a distance 136.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 5, 2011 - 212 comments

Write Your Name In Japanese

ヘヤ メタフィテレ! ヰテ ヨウ ナメ イン ジャパネセ! [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Apr 18, 2011 - 50 comments

Yeah, I was into the Mad Annuals before they were cool.

Ten Thousand Statistically Grammar-Average Fake Band Names
posted by the dief on Feb 25, 2011 - 83 comments

The Canonical List of Weird Band Names

Elvis and the Shitheads From A Box of Fish with Tartar Sauce to Zulu Leprechauns, the list you know and love
posted by bhb on Nov 9, 2010 - 40 comments

Names and the Generation Gap

The Generational Sweet Spot, or Why Your Parents Have Such Bad Taste. Laura Wattenberg, naming guru, on names and generations.
posted by ocherdraco on May 5, 2010 - 297 comments

Where unique identities are born every day.

Need an uncommon name for your child, pet, car or fictional character? Limitless choices are now a click away. Some of my favorites: Monron, Kinley, and Kendricki. [via mefi projects]
posted by ivey on Dec 25, 2009 - 76 comments

"The dash don't be silent."

Laura Wattenberg on Ledasha, Legends, and Race [Part Two | Part Three] "Why does it matter? We tell funny stories all the time without believing them. (Does anybody really think that a priest, a rabbi and a chicken walked into a bar?) I believe it matters in the case of urban legend names because they're not merely humor...and they're not random. They exist in a complex social setting, and they serve a subtle and consequential purpose. They are proxies for talking about race."
posted by ocherdraco on Nov 1, 2009 - 109 comments

Job Voyager

Job Voyager: a data visualization tool for US occupations as a percentage of the labor pool, 1850-2000. (Stream graphs previously)
posted by OmieWise on Sep 22, 2009 - 17 comments

A boy called Sue

A new US study, recently published in Social Science Quarterly, has shown that the more uncommon or feminine a boy's first name is, the greater the likelihood that he will end up in prison. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jul 14, 2009 - 103 comments

"It's a Secret to Everybody"

"It's a secret to everybody" -- an unbelievably comprehensive blog post about the etymologies of the names of famous (and not-so-famous) video game characters.
posted by empath on Jun 20, 2009 - 26 comments

Your Tax Dollars At Work

A message from baby Emily. Most popular baby names + Medicare advice + awful Elvis impersonation = EPIC FAIL. A single link video post from the Social Security Administration. You will laugh. Until you remember we (USians) paid for this. (via Andrew Sullivan)
posted by fourcheesemac on May 17, 2009 - 309 comments

Does your son's name end with the letter "n"?

Andrew Gelman recently posted this strange trend in baby naming originally posted on Laura Wattenberg's blog in 2007. Why do so many boys' names now end with the letter "n"?
posted by srs on May 14, 2009 - 156 comments

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