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What's in a (Celebrity) Baby Name? - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

What's in a (Celebrity) Baby Name?

By Daisy Whitney

While a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, would an Apple, a Moses or a Shiloh?

And is there some gene or DNA mutation once your face lives on celluloid that says your child can't be a Jennifer or a Michael?

But perhaps if your kid's name will pepper the pages of People for as long as there is a Brangelina or a TomKat or the next such celeb couple combo, then it better be a catchy appellation.

Celebrities have been bestowing unusual names on their offspring as far back as the 1967 birth of Frank Zappa's daughter Moon Unit Zappa.

But what should you do when considering a name? Do you opt for a Glimmer or Davidina or Papaya?

Let's look at what the celebrity babies' names mean first.

Gwyneth Paltrow's name choices - Apple and Moses - have biblical connotations with Apple hearkening back to the Garden of Eden and perhaps the flight from it, as Paltrow herself has fled life in Hollywood, says Stacy DeBroff, a national parenting author and founder of Momcentral.com

Then there's Geri Halliwell of former Spice Girls fame who chose Bluebell Madonna for her daughter, homage to flowers and the pop icon. Donald Trump opted for Barron and there's no secret as to what his expectations are for his new son. Penn Jilllette of Penn & Teller chose Zolten, a Hungarian name, for his new son, who may follow in his father's footsteps with a name like that.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes selected Suri for their girl and the duo claims it means "princess" in Hebrew, though scholars disagree, DeBroff says. "Courteney Cox and David Arquette evoked their traditional-meets-quirky dynamic with baby CoCo, a derivative of Courteney's name. And by naming her twins Phinnaeus and Hazel, Julia Roberts proclaimed that she is old-world and classic... maybe a little too classic," DeBroff says.

C'mon. Hazel?

Then there's the baby of the hour and the year. Shiloh.

The name that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie chose for their new daughter refers to both a sacred village in the Bible that was a meeting place and sanctuary and also to the Civil War Battle of Shiloh in 1862 that resulted in 10,000 casualties. So not all associations are good.

But what about normal people? Do we opt for funky names such as Jehosaphat, Tadpole or Katmandu? Celebrities can get away with it, but probably not every day Jills and Joes.

Names that are unique but not too over-the-top, says author Dianne Sttaford, are ones like Ryan or Gavin (both sexes), Mason, Shae, Gaynor, Ever, Dare, Chafin, Gallaine, Kane, Romano, Dorsey, Baird, Brennan, Tyce and Dane.

Stafford, who wrote "50,001 Best Baby Names" and "The Ultimate Baby Names Book," advises parents to think about whether the child will like the name in preschool, high school and the nursing home. "A girl named Meadow and a boy named Crow may not be comfortable lifelong with that name. And does a boy named Crash have a future in Donald Trump's boardroom?" she says.

Choosing a name is especially important as some research suggests that kids with odd names get more taunting from peers and are less well socialized, Stafford says. "On the other hand, uncommon names attract attention and can set people apart from others in a positive way."

She says to keep the following in mind when selecting names.

  • How does it sound with your last name?
  • Is it too cumbersome or pretentious?
  • Keep your name ideas close to the vest.
  • Choose one you like as a couple.
  • Think twice when considering family names like Mortimer or Ethel.
  • Avoid the confusion spawned by a namesake and give your baby his or her own name.
  • Look at the initials the names will create.

According to the Social Security Administration, the most popular names for boys in 2005 were Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Ethan, Andrew, Daniel, Anthony, Christopher and Joseph. For girls the names were Emily, Emma, Madison, Abigail, Olivia, Isabella, Hannah, Samantha, Ava and Ashley.

You can look up popular names at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/ and the frequency of names at http://www.census.gov/genealogy/www/namesearch.html

Happy baby naming!

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