Parenting

add news feed

tweet a story

This week's letter to The Name Lady was from a woman whose husband suggested a baby name to honor a famous football coach. She liked the sound of the name, and the deal was done. A simple, happy story, with just one little catch: he didn...
This week's letter to The Name Lady was from a woman whose husband suggested a baby name to honor a famous football coach. She liked the sound of the name, and the deal was done. A simple, happy story, with just one little catch: he didn't tell her about the football homage until after the baby was born. That mom, fortunately, had a sense of humor about this little "oversight." She did like the name, after all. So what did it matter that he liked it for a different reason? In fact, she eventually agreed to continue the football theme with their next child's name. But her story raises the question: is full disclosure expected in the naming process? Suppose that dad's football obsession were already a bone of contention between those two parents. Wouldn't that change the dynamics of the situation? Or suppose she had already made clear she didn't want a football name. In that case, his little sin of omission would be an out-and-out deception, and might even point to deeper issues in their relationship. The football example may seem far from your experience, but some form of the disclosure question comes up for many parents -- especially when there's a name you love that your partner is still mulling over. It's a natural instinct to accentuate the positive.... • OK, Calvin comes from a word meaning "bald." Is it your obligation to point that out, when you don't think it matters much? Aren't Calvin Klein and Calvin & Hobbes more important? • Yes, you loved the Disney movie Enchanted and he couldn't stand it. But is it your fault that he doesn't remember that the princess was named Giselle?read more
about 3 hours ago
The UK has released official baby name statistics for 2012. The top 10 names for boys and girls: RANK BOYS LAST YEAR GIRLS LAST YEAR 1 Harry (1) Amelia 7,061 (1) 2 Oliver (2) Olivia 4,585 (2) 3 Ja...
The UK has released official baby name statistics for 2012. The top 10 names for boys and girls: RANK BOYS LAST YEAR GIRLS LAST YEAR 1 Harry (1) Amelia 7,061 (1) 2 Oliver (2) Olivia 4,585 (2) 3 Jack (3) Jessica 4,165 (4) 4 Charlie (5) Emily 4,029 (5) 5 Jacob (7) Lily 3,802 (3) 6 Thomas (6) Ava 3,779 (9) 7 Alfie (4) Mia 3,524 (13) 8 Riley (13) Isla 3,501 (15) 9 William (10) Sophie 3,496 (6) 10 James (8) Isabella 3,358 (10) The biggest trend is on the girls' side, where you'll see the power of "liquid names" and "raindrop names." Half of the girls' top 10 can now be spoken without any consonants except L and M. More analysis to come!
about 1 month ago
... George Alexander Louis. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (That's Will and Kate if you are on familiar terms) have released the name of their new baby -- third in line to the throne. The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Pri...
... George Alexander Louis. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (That's Will and Kate if you are on familiar terms) have released the name of their new baby -- third in line to the throne. The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, according to a BBC report. George was at 5/1 odds in the recent polls of British bookmakers, not far behind James, the favorite at 2/1. If you saw the film The King's Speech, you know of course, that George was the chosen name of Queen Elizabeth's father, portrayed by Colin Firth in the film. He was the sixth King George of England; he was born Albert and took his father's name when he unexpectedly ascended the throne after his older brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. read more
2 months ago
Take a look at the most popular names for American boys: #1. Jacob #2. Mason #3. Ethan #4. Noah#5. William Three of the five -- Jacob, Ethan and Noah -- come to us from the Bible. Reporters often notice this link, and ask me about the a...
Take a look at the most popular names for American boys: #1. Jacob #2. Mason #3. Ethan #4. Noah#5. William Three of the five -- Jacob, Ethan and Noah -- come to us from the Bible. Reporters often notice this link, and ask me about the apparent hot trend toward biblical names. (See, for instance, this Washington Post article noting that "for new parents, God is in.") I usually point out that the Bible has always been a hugely popular source of baby names. 50 years ago, you would have found Michael, John, David and James in the top five. 100 years ago it was John, James and Joseph. What Noah and friends represent is a stylistic shift away from the classic English Christian names of the New Testament and toward Old Testament/Hebrew Bible names that were little heard in the 20th Century. But does the rise of Ethan and Noah really make up for the decline of John and Mary? What is the overall picture on biblical baby names in America? I tracked the historical popularity of over 300 names from the Bible, and here's my conclusion: The popularity of baby names from the Bible is at an all-time historic low. The classic Christian Bible names have been plummeting for the past half-century. For a while, a dramatic 1970s rise in Old Testament names made up for this, but for the past decade Old Testament names have been falling nearly as fast as New.read more
4 months ago
Last year, 146 American girls were named Khaleesi. That's a 450% jump in the name's usage from 2011, and before that year it was completely unknown. If you're not familiar with the name Khaleesi, you'd be excused for guessing that it's ...
Last year, 146 American girls were named Khaleesi. That's a 450% jump in the name's usage from 2011, and before that year it was completely unknown. If you're not familiar with the name Khaleesi, you'd be excused for guessing that it's Arabic, like Khalilah, or perhaps from Western Africa, like Kwasi. In fact, the name comes from the Dothraki language. Except it's not a name in that language, but a common word meaning "queen." And Dothraki isn't a natural language, but a handful of words created by Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin for his imagined Dothraki people. (A language-creation specialist has since elaborated on Martin's vocabulary for the tv version of his fantasy epic.) Plenty of authors dating back to Shakespeare have invented names that caught on with parents. You can even find names from imagined fantasy worlds that have been used on real-world babies. For instance, hundreds of American girls have been named Eowyn over the past decade after a Lord of the Rings character. [Read more about fantasy and science fiction names.] But a name taken from a word that's not a name, from an imagined language? I can't think of a precedent. That's not to say we couldn't see this one coming. More than a year ago, I raised this question on Twitter: "Game Of Thrones fans, help! A user added the title Khaleesi to our baby name db. Legit? Could you see it as a name?" Among the responses, one Twitter denizen with the handle "pantalonesfuego" offered a key insight:read more
4 months ago
Jacob is the #1 name for American boys. Its popularity rose steadily for many years until it claimed the baby-name crown in 1999, and it has held onto that spot ever since. I'd like to tell that story for you in pictures, below. The ora...
Jacob is the #1 name for American boys. Its popularity rose steadily for many years until it claimed the baby-name crown in 1999, and it has held onto that spot ever since. I'd like to tell that story for you in pictures, below. The orange graph on the left shows the popularity of Jacob since 1990. The blue graph on the right shows...the popularity of Jacob since 1990. The key is that the left graph shows popularity rank, while the right shows frequency of use. If you only looked at rankings, you would think that Jacob's popularity rose dramatically up to 1999 (highlighted in green) and has held perfectly steady since then. But the frequency graph shows that the name has actually made a complete u-turn. The percentage of parents choosing Jacob peaked in 1998 and has since fallen by about half, to below 1990 levels. Due to the name-diversity revolution, a popularity level that would have ranked in in the 20s back then is good for the very top spot today. In fact, the year that Jacob began its long, triump
5 months ago
The winner of this year's Baby Name Pool can claim a unique distinction. Jennifer Nicholas is the Pool's first ever repeat champion, reclaiming the crown she won two years ago. Please join me in a round of applause for the Ken Jennings o...
The winner of this year's Baby Name Pool can claim a unique distinction. Jennifer Nicholas is the Pool's first ever repeat champion, reclaiming the crown she won two years ago. Please join me in a round of applause for the Ken Jennings of baby names! Impressively, Jennifer earned this year's highest scores for both rising and falling name predictions. Her ballot correctly predicted both the #1 fastest-rising boy's name, Gael, and the #1 fastest-falling boy's name, Jaden -- plus the #4 falling name Ashton for good measure. (The complete winning ballot: Gael, Aldo, Danna to rise, Jaden, Ashton, Karla to fall.) Jennifer is a literacy instructor and doctoral candidate in Workforce Education and Development at Penn State. Her own impeccably named children are Arlo (6) and Levi (4). She offered some insights on how she made some of her Pool choices: "Gael was inspired by Gael Garcia Bernal. I love the unique blend of Celtic on a Mexican actor and director...not only is Gael an acclaimed actor and director, he's
5 months ago
I'm proud to present the 2013 Baby Name Buzz Report, forecasting the hottest up-and-coming baby names in America. The choices are determined by experts with the top record of successful name trend prediction: my readers. (Thanks, guys!) ...
I'm proud to present the 2013 Baby Name Buzz Report, forecasting the hottest up-and-coming baby names in America. The choices are determined by experts with the top record of successful name trend prediction: my readers. (Thanks, guys!) I won't keep you
5 months ago
This special Spring Break edition of the Baby Name Wizard Blog comes courtesy of a regional seashell identification chart. As pretty as the shells are, what really captured me was their names. A thick but otherwise unremarkable clamshel...
This special Spring Break edition of the Baby Name Wizard Blog comes courtesy of a regional seashell identification chart. As pretty as the shells are, what really captured me was their names. A thick but otherwise unremarkable clamshell takes on gravita
6 months ago
Today, I'm going to try to answer a fundamental question about baby names -- a question that parents care deeply about but never ask. What IS a popular name? When a restaurant or a vacation destination is described as "popular," that's...
Today, I'm going to try to answer a fundamental question about baby names -- a question that parents care deeply about but never ask. What IS a popular name? When a restaurant or a vacation destination is described as "popular," that's usually considere
6 months ago