About A Name: Anden

January 13, 2012 § 28 Comments

(c) Michelle Wojdyla, 2005: Jennifer Wester, from Texas, and her Russian-born ice dance partner Daniil Barantsev recently welcomed a son with an ‘international’ name.

I spotted a name the other day that I just had to feature! Need a new moniker that is a cross between Anton and Aiden, sounds like Brandon, and provides the commonplace nickname Andy? We live in a creative naming society, to be sure (I’m looking at you, Miss The Blueprint 4!), and while that creativity can sometimes go further than some people are comfortable with – I, for one, love the idea of taking two names that mean something – maybe they’re family names – and making something new, unique to your new babe.

Former professional US ice dancing pair, Dallas-based Jennifer Wester and her Russian-born husband Daniil Barantsev, created a name recently that I fell in love with on sight! The couple, whose best international finish was winning the 2007 Nebelhorn Trophy, though Wester starred with Motley Crue’s Vince Neil on 2010’s Skating With the Stars, welcomed a son on December 29th in Texas – named Anden Daniel.

“Anden came from me having grown up with so many other ‘Jennifers’,” Wester wrote in an email to IceNetwork.com. “I wanted him to have a unique name, while both Daniil and I wanted it to sound confident and phonetically accessible to Americans, Texans (my family) and Russians (Daniil’s family).”

Wester said she and Barantsev considered both Andon, the Russian variant of Anton, and Aiden. “We really liked Aiden, but it didn’t fit my unique criteria, given that it’s really popular right now,” she said. “At some point, I decided to combine Andon and Aiden, and I got Anden. After many Google searches, I didn’t find any translations that seemed offensive or directly applicable, so we went with it!”

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Is Kevin the World’s Most Unattractive Baby Name?

January 7, 2012 § 15 Comments

We need to talk about Kevin, which is in the running as the world’s most unattractive baby name.

If not in the world, Kevin certainly is the most unattractive baby name in Germany. Two studies in less than three years have cited Kevin as the most unattractive name imaginable. A quote from a study done in 2009 cites one teacher’s feelings on the name Kevin – towards her own students: “It’s not a name, it’s a diagnosis.” (Unfortunately, the study didn’t elaborate on such an opinion, even though it’s fascinating and sounds, to me, pretty freakin’ rude. Do teachers everywhere treat or view their students differently based on how they perceive their students’ names?)

The latest study involved sending messages to 47,000 members of Europe’s top dating website, eDarling, from fake profiles for people with the following names: Alexander, Kevin, Chantal, Mandy, Dennis, Marvin, Jacob, Charlotte, Emma, Hannah, Max, Justin, and Celina, with all other profile information remaining the same for each sex. The goal was to determine which names got the most clicks, or which ones got the least, and release their hypothesis that “bad baby names” could make you sad and lonely.

Clearly, it’s too late to surprise you that Kevin was the name that got the least clicks (they said “It would seem that people would as soon remain single than date a Kevin”), but read after the jump to see how each name fared with European tastes.

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About A Name: Sebella

January 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

(c) 2011/Startraks Photo: There's probably no way these two wouldn't make absolutely beautiful kids.

This list at Name Candy, a state-by-state rundown of the first 50 (or so) babies of the year in the US, is addictive. Envy Essence-Faye, Akier, Kalylah, Kyren – it’s a great collection of names!

This list of firsts to coincide with the first celebrity baby announcement of the year – Sebella Rose Winter, born yesterday in Los Angeles. She’s the daughter of Puerto Rican-American actress and singer Roselyn Sanchez, and soap actor Eric Winter (he was the guy I used to watch Days Of Our Lives for every day during summer vacation in high school). The name adds fuel to the oft-discussed bel trend – names that really are exciting people these days!

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About A Name: Koa

January 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

An acacia koa tree in Hawaii.

Today, a name from sunnier climes as we trudge through our North American winter. It’s no secret that, in general, Hawaiian or Polynesian names have a special place in the hearts of most English-speaking parents, even if they have no desire to use the names themselves. There’s an exotic and lovely quality to names like Leilani (means “heavenly blossoms” in Hawaiian, like those that make up traditional leis) or Iolana (“to soar like the hawk”), with that especially true of female names. But this year we saw the doors opened to the use of Hawaiian names on boys, who may or may not have an ounce of Hawaiian in their family tree.

This year, Lost star Evangeline Lilly and her Hawaiian boyfriend Norman Kali welcome a son named Kahekili (or perhaps just Hekili, it’s never been confirmed) outside in a thunderstorm when she gave birth this spring (Hekili is Hawaiian for “thunder,” Kahekili for “the thunder,” which was also the name of an ancient Maui chief), while Antonio Sabato, Jr. and his Hawaiian wife Cheryl Moana Marie welcomed a son they named Antonio Kamakanaalohamaikalani Harvey in May. (It means “beloved gift from the heavens,” and yes, it’s 22-letters long.) Former Cosby Show star Lisa Bonet and Conan the Barbarian and Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa (Hawaiian-born) also honoured his heritage in the names of their two kids – Lola Iolani, born in 2007, and Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha, in late 2008. Nakoa means “warrior,” Namakaeha is also Jason’s middle name, while the elements that make up Manakauapo describe the conditions on the night he was born, much like Lilly’s little boy. Mana means “spirit,” kaua means “rain,” and po means “dark.”

The often overwhelming nature of Hawaiian names, due to their length and tough pronunciations despite our appreciation for the flowing look and feel of these names, could be why we’re seeing non-Hawaiian baby boys with the short, sweet, and simple Hawaiian name, Koa. No Doubt’s Tom Dumont and wife Mieke welcomed a son named Koa Thomas on February 19th – younger brother to Ace Joseph and Rio Atticus. Then just before Christmas, Irish pop star Kian Egan and his actress wife Jodi Albert also welcomed a son named Koa, saying they found the name in a baby book and “liked it.” Hawaiian-born competitive surfer Koa Smith celebrated his 17th birthday this past Monday!

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Harry has his year, too!

January 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

(c) Apr. 27, 2011 – Chris Jackson/Getty Images: Prince Harry’s name was top of the charts in Britain this year. Can he take all the credit for this name’s popularity?

News out of Britain to close out 2011 seems to be that Harry has had his day, just like William – perhaps not at all surprising considering the way in which the British royal family was at the forefront of many a headline this year. While William claimed a perhaps surprising top spot in Canada and raised it’s profile Down Under, Harry is the nom du jour in Britain. Reports suggest that, while Olivia retained top spot for girls in the UK, Harry has overtaken Oliver as the most popular boys’ name in Britain.

Prince Harry notwithstanding, there’s been a few celebrity baby Harrys born in Britain (and Australia!) over the past few years: two-year-old Harry James Baldwin, son of morning TV host Holly Willoughby, and Harry James MacDonald, born to Aussie Rules Footballer James MacDonald. There’s six-month-old Harry James O’Hara, son of Danielle Lloyd – whose other son, Archie, was given an equally trendy old-fashioned boy’s name, Harry James Vince, son of Olympic badminton star Gail Emms, nearly two, five-year-old Harry Alexander Jack Beck, son of Coronation Street‘s Jane Danson. Former Atomic Kitten pop star Natasha Hamilton’s son, seven-year-old Harry Hatcher-Hamilton, is yet another.

All of that is nice, but there’s one British Harry that has proven far more universally endearing over the past decade, to have inspired such a bump in the proud, enamoured home country of his creator – and the affection seems to be spreading beyond British shores. JK Rowling’s boy wizard, Harry Potter, is this name’s sincerest idol today, embodying the spirit of goodness, bravery, and heroism that are divine qualities to wish for in a son. You don’t need to be naming your child after the character itself, but we’ve certainly seen a jump in baby Hermiones since Potter Mania broke out, too – a recent post at Appellation Mountain cited parents being inspired to use it after seeing it in the books, and embodied by Emma Watson on screen.

Harry Potter could actually, probably, claim the lion’s share of the credit for the name’s popularity today.

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Welcome Back, William

January 2, 2012 § 6 Comments

This year, William eclipsed Kate by a long shot in the realm of baby names.

Though it’s not like you went very far.

Canada Vital Statistics released the top names for 2011 last week, with Olivia retaining top spot for the girls – and Maya, Mia, and Mya perhaps surprisingly splitting second place. Other popular choices like Emma, Sophia, and Chloe/Khloe remained in the Top 10, with little change on the boys’ side, as well. Selections like Jacob (#2) and Ethan (the top boys name in Ontario, our most populous province) sit in the top 10 for boys. The most progressive province or territory when it comes to names? Easily the youngest northern territory, Nunavut, where Aqpakuluk (obviously an Inuit name, I have no clue what it means) and Phoenix are both near the top of the girls’ list.

News outlets in Australia have been noting an upswing in baby Williams (but not Kates – the name may have grown all it was going to, and the Duchess is known by Catherine now, anyway), and the same trend proved true here in Canada when the list was released. Kate didn’t make the list, but Catherine/Katherine, Katie, and Cate each did. William jumped from eighth place on the CVS list in 2010 to grab the top spot on the heels of the royal wedding and the couple’s highly publicized tour of Canada in July, while nickname-name Liam was counted separately and sits at #4 nationwide. Considering a fair number of the boys named William will go by Liam throughout their life, the name is likely to be as prominent and commonplace among boys as John was for our parents’ generation, Mike and Dave are for our own, and Jack has been for the past decade of babies!

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