About A Name: June etc.

August 31, 2011 § 4 Comments

The name June has become an American classic, first introduced in the 19th Century as a name, from the sixth month of the calendar year. It surged in popularity in the 1940s and ’50s, and until the mid-2000s was considered matronly – due in large part to the popularity of the quintessential mother of the 1950s, June Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver – before the sweet and simple name of Latin origin began experiencing a resurgence. Today, there are plenty of choices – and plenty of reasons to use the name or one of it’s variations, not least because there’s hardly a surname in existence that doesn’t work with the name. (If your last name is Moon – hey, you win, it doesn’t work!)

On July 18th in Los Angeles, General Hospital star Bradford Anderson welcomed daughter Juna Meredith, presenting yet another variation on the growing trend. His wife, yoga instructor Keira, explained on her blog the reason behind her daughter’s unique name, which truly has nothing to do with the presumed root:

“Juna was inspired by the character of Arjuna, the spiritual warrior in the [Hindu scripture] Bhagavad Gita. I come back to this text often to remind myself not to cling too tightly to material things, to desires, or to ideas. These are lessons I hope to pass on to my daughter.” Middle name Meredith came from Bradford’s New Hampshire hometown.

The month of June is generally assumed to derive from Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter (the equivalent of Zeus and Hera, king and queen of the gods in Greek mythology). But it may also derive from the Latin word juniores, meaning “younger ones,” as the word maiores, meaning “elders,” is the origin word for the fifth month, May. « Read the rest of this entry »


About A Name: Marcel

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Marion Cotillard (July 2009) 1

Actress Marion Cotillard and her actor-director beau Guillaume Canet (as a celebrity couple, they rival the popularity of Brangelina in their native France) welcomed their first child, son Marcel on May 19th in Paris. She recently explained the choice in the latest issue of French Elle:

“Actually, this name comes from a lot of different roots, because I have several Marcels in my family. The first time that I thought about calling my son Marcel, if one day I had a son, was years ago. I was on a boat, in Japan with some friends, and they told me that they called their son Marcel, and I found it sublime.”

Incidentally, Cotillard won the Academy Award in 2008 for portraying Edith Piaf in the French film La vie en rose. Tragic chanteuse Piaf’s greatest love was world champion French boxer Marcellin “Marcel” Cerdan, who died in a plane crash in 1949.

The name Marcel is well known, but not exceptionally trendy, in French and English-speaking countries, including bilingual Canada (where it cracked the Top 100 just once in 2004), and variations have picked up speed within Spanish and Italian cultures as Marcelo or Marcellino/Marciano. Just last year, Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody welcomed son Marcello Daniel. In the United States, the name Marcel ranked only 837th in 2010, but has floated around the bottom half of the Top 1000 since 1880 – peaking at 551 in 1920. « Read the rest of this entry »

Number Names

August 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

Bordered s 10

Numbers are everywhere in life. From our age to the price of gas to the number of kids we have, we are immersed in numbers.

Numbers have existed in names for centuries, such as Pope John Paul II or Louis XVI, even if they were never known commonly by their number. But in a conscious effort to both follow and eschew traditions, some parents are getting a little more creative with the use of numbers in their child’s names.

Octavia Flynn, born March 2004, was the third child and first daughter of former Hercules star Kevin Sorbo and his wife Sam – but she was the eighth grandchild for his parents. A female commenter at People.com even shared that her own parents had seriously considered naming her Octavia because she was born on the 8th of the month. The name is Latin, meaning, of course, “eighth.” It’s the feminine form of Octavius, which was the surname of a clan of Roman emperors around the turn of the millenium between BCE and CE. The first Roman emperor, Augustus, served under Julius Caesar and was therefore another primary adversary of Mark Antony (whose wife, incidentally, was Octavia, whom he left to live openly in Egypt with Queen Cleopatra). Augustus ordered the murder of his “step-brother,” Caesarion, who was the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Augustus eliminated any challenge to his throne as he had become Caesar’s adopted son through his last will and testament, leaving his entire inheritance to the man then known as Gaius Octavius. Though Mark Antony and Julius Caesar had ruled different dictatorships inside what became of the Roman Empire, competition among his successor, Augustus, Antony, and Marcus Aemilius, caused Antony to commit suicide with Cleopatra in Egypt, and Aemilius was driven into exile. Augustus and his Senate formed the Roman Empire and he served as its first emperor.

R&B singer-songwriter Erykah Badu and Outkast’s Andre Benjamin welcomed son Seven Sirius in 1997. (She later welcomed daughters Puma Sabti and Mars Merkaba.) She chose Seven for her son because it’s one of the divine numbers, that cannot be divided.

David Beckham touched on the number seven’s divine properties in explaining why he and Victoria chose it for daughter Harper‘s middle name. “Seven, you know, a lot of people have assumed its just because of my shirt number that I wore for many years and part of it is because I had so much luck around wearing that number, wearing it for England, wearing it for Manchester United. It was such an influential number throughout my career and a lucky number, but that wasn’t the main reason. The other reasons behind Seven was because it symbolises spiritual perfection, the Seven Wonders Of The World, seven colours of the rainbow and in many cultures around the world it’s regarded as a lucky number.”

She was also born in the seventh month at 7:55am, weighing 7lbs. 10oz.

« Read the rest of this entry »

About A Name: Harper

August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Harper Lee Medal

George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to To Kill A Mockingbird author Nelle "Harper" Lee in 2007 for her civil rights activism.

On July 10th, British pop singer turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham and her English football hero husband, David, welcomed their fourth child, a daughter, in Los Angeles.

The next day they announced her name – Harper Seven. While Harper is currently a steadily climbing and fashionable first name for both girls and boys and would not have received much flak on it’s own, the couple were lambasted for the selection of Seven as a middle name. So much so, that it’s inspired my next blog post – Number Names. The couple chose Seven for David’s jersey number with Manchester United and the English national squad, a number he says brought him “so much luck” while he wore it. The Beckhams also like that it symbolises spiritual perfection, the Seven Wonders Of The World, seven colours of the rainbow, and in many cultures around the world it’s regarded as a lucky number.

But this post is about the name Harper, for your consideration. Though you probably didn’t need much to consider it, as it’s a name that gets shortlisted often by those who love either more traditional, or more modern and funky names. And why not – it satisfies both ends of the spectrum. « Read the rest of this entry »

About A Name: Bing

August 18, 2011 § 4 Comments

Actress Kate Hudson, and British rocker, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, caused quite a stir in the baby-names world when they announced the name of their new son, born July 9th in Los Angeles: Bingham Hawn, to be called “Bing.”

Right off the bat, people recognized that Bing’s middle name was a tribute to Hudson’s mother, Oscar-winning actress Goldie Hawn (which is shared by Bing’s 17-month-old cousin, actor Oliver Hudson’s son Bodhi Hawn), but no one seemed instantly preferential to the name Bing. To some, the name was too onomatopoeic (when a word is spelled just like it sounds, like “pow” or “bang.”) To others, all they could think about was Chandler Bing, a neurotic, sarcastic, but lovable character on the hugely popular 90s sitcom Friends, played by Matthew Perry. Not only was his last name the subject of major ridicule on the show, it was a last name – and a weird one!

Not to mention Bing’s out-there name didn’t match well with modern, trendy Ryder – Hudson elevated the profile of that name when her first son with Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson, Ryder Russell, was born in January 2004. She’ll do it again with her second son, but it won’t be so easy this time, and it will never rise as high.

Public opinion began to soften when Bellamy blogged about his son’s name: “For those wondering, Bingham is my mum’s maiden name. Bing Russell was also Kurt’s dad. Family connections all round.” « Read the rest of this entry »

About A Name: Arabella

August 18, 2011 § Leave a comment


In a recent interview with the Today show, businesswoman and reality TV star Ivanka Trump revealed the origins of daughter Arabella Rose‘s name, born July 17th in New York City.

“I have always loved the name Arabella, and Jared’s grandmothers had names beginning with an A and an R. We wanted to pay a subtle homage to those two strong and wonderful women while also adopting a name that was very unique. Plus, we thought that the initials — ARK — were cool!”

The name may be unique now, but it’s similarity to the name Isabella – the number one name in the US in 2010 – gives parents an equally fluid, Italian-influenced, ultra-feminine name while offering a fair bit of originality. But I predict that’s going to change, and fast. « Read the rest of this entry »

About A Name: Clover

August 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

Four-leaf clover

On Monday, former Desperate Housewives star Neal McDonough and his wife, Ruvé Robertson, welcomed daughter Clover Elizabeth in L.A.

Clover joined brother Morgan Patrick, and sisters Catherine Maggie “Cate,” and London Jane. The stylish sibset teeters on the edge of being common and uncommon, unique and trendy. And each name has it’s own distinct qualities, which gives each name its chance to shine. Clover, with the most uncommon name of the four, has been given a standard middle name. Like Rose, Marie, Lynn, Leigh, and Jane, Elizabeth is often used to highlight and soften unique names as much as it denotes family significance, which it does more so than its shorter counterparts.

McDonough told People.com after the birth that son Morgan had chosen Clover’s name, inspired by a four-leaf clover. “It has four leaves and this is our fourth child. Clover signifies good luck – I’m Irish and Ruvé’s favorite color is green,” he said.

The McDonoughs aren’t the first celebs to use the name Clover – pro skateboarder Tony Hawk and then-wife Lhotse Merriam called their daughter Kadence Clover in 2008. « Read the rest of this entry »

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