The State of Pop Culture Naming (Harry Potter Edition)

November 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

We’ve talked before about how pop culture influences naming trends (try clicking here or here for more on the topic; and click here for some examples of when it sort of went the other way), but when it comes to some of the classical names used by author J.K. Rowling in her Harry Potter series, it can be tough to tell how much influence the books really had, or whether those particular names hold their places on the list because, well, they’ve just been around for ages.

In any case, the linked article gives you some popularity rankings for many of the names used for characters in the series; some are more instantly recognizable as “Potterhead-influenced” than others, to be sure! (Bonus game: Can you remember the last names of the characters whose names made the list before you click through to learn more about the names themselves?):

Harry Potter’s Influence on Baby Names

For witches: Amelia, Arabella, Bellatrix, Ginny, Hermione, Lavender, Lily, Luna, and Minerva
For wizards: Cedric, Cornelius, Draco, Dudley, Godric, Harry, Kingsley, Lucius, Neville, Percy, Remus, Ron, Seamus, Severus, Sirius, and Viktor

Popular Names: East Coast vs. West Coast

October 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

The linked article explores a bit how baby-naming trends vary from coast to coast, even within the boundaries of these United States. As always, click through for more info (including some really cool heat maps of each name’s popularity, state-by-state)!

– “These Names Are Trending More With East Coast Than With West Coast Parents

– “Baby Names That Are More West Coast Than East Coast

Girl names, East Coast: Adrianna, Camryn, Caroline, Gabriella, Gabrielle, Jada, Jaliyah, Kayleigh, Kyleigh, Laila, London, Londyn, Miracle, Nyla, Paris, Ryleigh, Skylar
Girl names, West Coast: Audrey, Audrina, Aylin, Daisy, Daphne, Dulce, Evelyn, Hazel, Jimena, June, Kendra, Kira, Lexie, Marilyn, Mila, Mina, Penelope, Perla, Ruby

Boy names, East Coast: Amir, Bryce, Cameron, Jayceon, Messiah, Michael, Nasir, Zion
Boy names, West Coast: Adrian, Alfredo, Damian, Dane, Dominik, Edgar, Gael, Gerardo, Isaac, Ivan, Joaquin, Leonel, Lincoln, Malakai, Maximiliano, Oliver, Orion, Ramon, Rodrigo, Romeo, Ruben

  • BONUS! For those prepsters on the East Coast, or the few stragglers on the West, who are looking for something new and unusual for their future graduate:

– “49 Preppy Baby Names Destined For The Ivy League

Preppy names for girls: Ainsley, Arabella, Bronwyn, Harper, Margaux, Poppy, Tilly

Preppy names for boys: Aldrich, Blaine, Bradford, Briggs, Brooks, Connery, Corbin, Davis, Digby, Graham, Hudson, Ingram, Keaton, Lennox, Merritt, Niles, Orson, Quincy, Roland, Teague, Thatcher, Thompson, Tucker, Vance, Whitaker, Yates

Preppy names for either: Addison, Aubrey, Blair, Darcy, Ellison, Emerson, Finley, Hunter, Kingsley, Leighton, Palmer, Preston, Reed, Sloane, Sterling, Tinsley

Vinny

September 17, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Diminutive of names such as “Vincent” or “Lavinia“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
For girls: Lavina, Lavinia, Lavena, Viney, Vinie, Vinnie.
For boys: Vin, Vince, Vinn, Vinnie.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Vinny (Lavinia) Lyte, Johnny’s proud and determined mother (and Merchant Lyte’s niece), once the “wildest and handsomest girl in Boston”, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

Victoria

September 2, 2015 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latin, from the Roman goddess of victory; feminine form of “Victorius” (which is also, of course, from Latin, meaning “victory”).

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Latoya, Toree, Tori, Toria, Toriana, Torie, Torri, Torrie, Torry, Tory, Toya, Vic, Vicie, Vickey, Vicki, Vickie, Vicky, Victoire, Victoriana, Victorina, Victorine, Victory, Vicy, Vikki, Viktoria, Viktorie, Viktorija, Viktoriya, Vitoria, Vittoria, Wikolia, Wiktoria, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Aunt Victoria, Shad’s aunt in Washington, who works as a nurse during the war, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).

WRITERS:
Victoria Benedictsson (1850-1888), Swedish novelist who published under the pen name “Ernst Ahlgren”.
Victoria Mary Clarke (b. 1966), Irish journalist and writer.
Victoria Chang (b. 1970), American poet and writer.
Victoria Hislop (b. 1959), English novelist and short story writer.
Victoria Newcomb (b. 1974), American novelist.
Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979), Argentine intellectual and writer.
Victoria Strauss (b. 1955), American fantasy author.
Victoria Williams (b. 1958), American musician, singer, and songwriter.

Everything Old is New Again, Vol. III

August 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

Once again, we delve into the world of classic baby names rarin’ to come roaring back! (Here are the first and second installments; it’s interesting to see where these sorts of articles overlap and where they diverge, no?)

As always, click through for more info:

Names included are:

For girls: Alba, Alma, Anastasia, Annie, Beatrice, Clara, Cora, Dorothy, Felicity, Florence, Frances, Gemma, Hattie, Hazel, Helen, Hilda, Ingrid, June, Leona, Lola, Lucy, Mabel, Mae, Margaret, Margot, Marjorie, Maude, Mercy, Millie, Olive, Pearl, Penny, Rosemary, Rosie, Ruby, Ruth / Ruthie, Sadie, Selma, Thelma, Veda, Vera, and Winifred.

For boys: Albert, Amos, Arthur, August, Augustine, Calvin, Cassius, Charlie, Clarence, Clyde, Enoch, Ephraim, Everett, Felix, Finn, Florin, Francis, Frank, Franklin, Frederick, George, Gilbert, Hank, Harry, Harvey, Henry, Jasper, Julian, Lionel, Oliver, Otto, Owen, Ralph, Reuben, Roland, Samson, Silas, Thaddeus, Theo / Theodore, Truman, Uriah, and Walter.

The State of Pop-Culture Naming, 2015

August 30, 2015 § 1 Comment

People have no doubt been naming their children after pop-culture trends since there’s been anything to consider culture — from saints to royalty to favorite characters. Modern-day pop-culture names reflect some of our most-loved films and television shows (or, for purists, the books they may have been based on). Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?

Some of the pop-culture names and sources mentioned are:

For girls: Amelia (possibly inspired at least in part by Doctor Who); Arya, Daenerys, Khaleesi, Maisie (after one of the actresses) and Sansa (from the A Song of Ice and FireGame of Thrones series); Cora, Edith, Rose, and Violet (from Downton Abbey); Elsa (from Frozen); Hazel (from the popular YA book The Fault in Our Stars); Katniss (from The Hunger Games series); Luna (from the Harry Potter series); Natasha (from The Avengers movies); Piper (from Orange is the New Black).

For boys: Anakin (from the Star Wars franchise); Archer (from the animated series Archer); Benedict (after the star of Sherlock); Emmet (from The Lego Movie); George (the royal family still influencing popular trends!); Gus (from the popular YA book The Fault in Our Stars); Jesse (from Breaking Bad); Kristoff and Olaf (from Frozen); Loki (from The Avengers movies); Theon and Tyrion (from the A Song of Ice and FireGame of Thrones series).

When Good Names Go Generic

August 5, 2015 § 1 Comment

When a brand name becomes the generic term for an item (as in kleenex, band-aid, aspirin, etc. — you can find a bunch of them here), we call that a “proprietary eponym”. But did you know that something similar can happen to people names as well? Perhaps you are familiar with wellingtons or wellies, the rubber boots named after the Duke of Wellington, or sideburns, the distinctive style of facial hair sported by Gen. Ambrose Burnside. But are you familiar with these names, which ended up in the dictionary as stand-alone words in their own right? Be sure to click through to the article for more information!

26 First Names That Ended Up In The Dictionary

Names included are:
Abigail, Andrew, Anna, Ava, Emma, Eric, George, Harry, Helena, Henry, Isabella, Jacob, James, Jesse, John, Luke, Matilda, Molly, Rebecca, Robert, Sam, Sarah, Steven, Toby, Tony, and Victoria

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