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

Endangered or Extinct First Names

May 31, 2015 § 1 Comment

Here we have a couple of articles talking about first names which are disappearing (click here for some articles on endangered or extinct last names). Maybe it’s time to stage a renaissance? At the very least, these are some good resources for anyone looking for a name which has classic appeal, but is nevertheless unique in today’s world. As always, click through to the articles to see rankings, popularity peaks, and other information on the names!

25 Names That Are Going Extinct

“We started by crunching the numbers to find a list of baby names that were at least somewhat popular in 1950 (more than 1,000 per 1 million babies). Next, we tracked which of those names had nearly vanished by 2013.”

Baby Names on the Verge of Extinction

“These 15 names were given to only five babies each in 2013, the lowest number counted by the Social Security Administration. Once usage dips below that, they become the dodo birds of baby names.”

Cecil, Bertha and Gertrude — Britain’s ‘Endangered’ Names Revealed

“Many of the nation’s most traditional names are at risk of dying out according to a report released today by family history website Ancestry, which reveals forenames that have virtually disappeared over the last 100 years and many more that have become ‘endangered’.”

Baby Names on the [Australian] Extinction List

“Mums and dads, will you take one for the country and name your kids any of these to keep them from extinction?”

Names that made the various lists:

For boys: Arnold, Bernard, Bill, Bruce, Cecil, Clarence, Clifford, Cyril, Donald, Elmo, Ernest, Fred, Gary, Harold, Herbert, Horace, Ian, Icarus, Inigo, Leslie, Llewellyn, Neil, Nigel, Norman, Percy, Remus, Roland, Rowland, Sherwood, Sydney, Trevor, Waldo, Walter, Willie

For girls: Alpha, Ann, Barbara, Barbra, Bertha, Blodwen, Carol, Cathy, Cheryl, Claudine, Debbie, Debra, Dianne, Dolores, Doris, Dorothy, Edna, Ethel, Eveline, Fanny, Freda, Gail, Gertrude, Gladys, Glenda, Gwendoline, Helen, Hilda, Irene, Jackie, Jane, Janet, Janis, Jeanne, Jennie, Jill, Judith, Kay, Leslie, Lilian, Lizzie, Lynda, Marcia, Margaret, Margery, Marjorie, Marion, Marsha, Mary, Maud, Maureen, Mildred, Muriel, Nanette, Nellie, Pamela, Phyllis, Rhoda, Rhonda, Roberta, Sandra, Sandy, Sheba, Sheryl, Sondra, Sue, Thisbe, Vickie, Wanda, Winifred, Zelma

Most Popular Baby Names, 2014 (Canadian Edition)

May 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

Wondering which names made the top ranking for last year, eh? Wonder no more. The linked article lists ’em all, from #1 to #100. Did your name make the cut?

Top 100 Baby Names in Canada 2014

In alphabetical order (you’ll have to click through to the article for the rankings!), the names are:

For boys: Aaron, Adam, Aiden, Alex, Alexander, Alexis, Andrew, Anthony, Antoine, Austin, Benjamin, Bentley, Blake, Brayden, Caleb / Kaleb, Cameron, Carter, Charles, Chase, Christopher, Cole, Colton, Connor, Cooper, Daniel, David, Declan, Dominic, Dylan, Edward, Eli, Elijah, Elliot, Emmett, Ethan, Evan, Felix, Gabriel, Gavin, Grayson / Greyson, Hayden, Henry, Hudson, Hunter, Isaac, Jace / Jase, Jack, Jackson / Jaxon / Jaxson, Jacob, James, Jayden, Jeremy, John, Jonathan, Jordan, Joseph, Joshua, Justin, Landon, Leo, Levi, Liam, Lincoln, Logan, Luca, Lucas / Lukas, Luke, Marcus, Mason, Mateo, Mathis, Matthew, Max, Michael, Muhammad, Nathan, Nathaniel, Nicolas / Nicholas, Noah, Nolan, Oliver, Owen, Parker, Riley, Ryan, Ryder, Samuel, Sebastian, Simon, Theo, Thomas, Tristan, Tyler, Victor, Vincent, William, Wyatt, Xavier, Zachary / Zackary, Zack

For girls: Abigail, Adele, Addison / Addyson, Alexa, Alexandra, Alexis, Alice, Alicia, Alyssa, Amelia, Anna, Annabelle, Aria, Arianna, Aubrey, Audrey, Ava, Avery, Beatrice, Brooke, Brooklyn, Camille, Charlie, Charlotte, Chloe, Claire, Clara, Coralie, Elizabeth, Ella, Emily, Emma, Eva, Eve, Evelyn, Faith, Florence, Gabriella, Gabrielle, Georgia, Grace, Hailey, Hanna / Hannah, Harper, Isabella, Isabelle, Isla, Ivy, Jade, Jasmine, Jessica, Julia, Juliette, Justine, Lauren, Layla, Lea / Leah, Leanne, Leonie, Lillian, Lily, Lucy, Mackenzie, Madison, Maelie, Maeva, Maika, Marianne, Maya / Mia / Mya, Megan, Melodie, Mila, Morgan, Naomi, Natalie, Nevaeh, Nora, Oceane, Olivia, Paige, Peyton, Rachel, Romy, Rosalie, Rose, Rowan, Ruby, Sadie, Samantha, Sarah, Savannah, Scarlett, Sofia / Sophia, Sofie / Sophie, Stella, Sydney, Taylor, Victoria, Violet, Zoe / Zoey

What Would Your Name Be If You Were Born in a Different Time?

May 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

This article contains a fun little interactive experience, using Social Security data, to determine where your name ranked in popularity in the year you were born, and determining what name held the same rank for every decade from now, all the way back to the 1890s.

As an example, yours truly might have been bestowed the following sobriquets through the decades:
1890s – Adelaide Amelia
1900s – Birdie Lizzie
1910s – Amanda Rosie
1920s – Leola Jennie
1930s – Winifred Vera
1940s – Bettye Clara
1950s – Iris Norma
1960s – Cheri Maureen
1970s – Christie Kristine (were all the names in the 1970s just variations on “Christine“?)
1980s – Kelley Beth
1990s – Cara Crystal
2000s – Guadalupe Kelly
Today – Lilly Annabelle

Find Out What Your Name Would Be If You Were Born Today

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with V at The Art of Literary Nomenclature.