- Leslie (402)
- Robin (244)
- Francis (217)
- Kerry (208)
- Lesley (196)
- Jean (152)
- Terry (99)
- Lindsay (92)
- Jan (72)
- Sydney (38)
- Dale (36)
If it’s a boy, Tom would love to name him Lennox, but Ailsa isn’t sure about it. If it’s a girl, Ailsa really loves the name Penelope, with the nickname Penny. However, Tom isn’t as keen on the idea.
Ailsa wonders if either Lennox or Penelope (Penny) are a good match with Tilly and Sophie’s names, and if there are any names that would work better for them?
I have to agree with each of you, as I think both Lennox and Penelope are excellent matches with Matilda and Sophie. As you both have a favourite name you are longing to use, and as neither of you actually hates the other person’s choice, perhaps you could come to an amicable agreement?
If it’s a boy, Lennox – a name which his father loves, and his mother can hopefully accept (especially when it’s attached to her darling son). If it’s a girl, Penelope – a name which her mother adores, and which her father can hopefully learn to live with (especially as it belongs to his precious smallest daughter).
It’s a little gamble for each of you to take, but the stakes don’t seem too high, and it is entirely fair. It would mean that at least one parent will love the name, while the other one won’t really dislike it, and will have the good sportsmanship to accept the decision, knowing that it could just as easily have been their choice which was successful.
Do you think something like that could work for you both?
I don’t think there are any names you could use that are better than Lennox and Penelope, but if you wanted to consider other names, to see if you might be able to agree on one together, you could look at names that are similar to your favourites.
Matilda, Sophie and Penelope seem like a natural match because they are all popular traditional names. (With the nicknames, they all end in an EE sound as well.)
Similar sisterly sibsets could be
Matilda, Sophie and Charlotte
Matilda, Sophie and Georgia
Matilda, Sophie and Grace
Matilda, Sophie and Harriet
Matilda, Sophie and Hazel
Matilda, Sophie and Imogen
Matilda, Sophie and Lucy
Matilda, Sophie and Phoebe (this might put you off having a Penelope in the future?)
Matilda, Sophie and Victoria
Matilda, Sophie and Violet
Some of these could have a nickname like Lottie or Gracie, to continue the pattern.
If Tom loves the X sound in Lennox, he might like Alexander, Baxter, Dexter, Felix, Huxley, or Knox. Or perhaps Lennon or Leon are names that could give the nickname Lenny, if that’s what he was hoping for. He might consider other Scottish names, such as Campbell, Frazer, Jamison, or Reid.
But I’m rather hoping you decide that you can make your favourites work for you, and stick with Lennox for a boy and Penelope for a girl.
Readers, do you think Ailsa’s and Tom’s favourites work with their daughters’ names? And can you think of any names they might both love?
(Picture shows a “gender reveal” cake from Pop Sugar)
This blog post was first published on November 20 2011, and heavily edited and reposted on November 25 2015.
It’s been a little more than eight months since Japan was hit by the terrible earthquake off its eastern coastline – with a magnitude of 9.0, it was the strongest earthquake to ever hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.
The earthquake triggered a massive tsunami, with waves reaching more than 40 metres (133 feet) high; as well as bringing destruction to life and property, the tsunami caused a number of nuclear accidents, which meant that hundreds of thousands of people had to be evacuated.
This could not help but evoke a response from people all around the world. We were shocked and appalled as we saw it unfold on our TV screens, and deeply moved by the plight of the Japanese people, who reacted so calmly and bravely to their national tragedy.
We had recently suffered a summer of terrible cyclones and floods, and the disaster in Japan put our own problems in perspective; suddenly things didn’t seem quite so terrible, suddenly we realised that things could have been a lot worse for us. Australia was one of the many countries who went to Japan’s assistance during the crisis, and one of the few that Japan specifically asked for help from.
Things are still pretty bad in the coastal regions of Japan which suffered the worst during the catastrophe. There are whole towns that have been evacuated, and it may be years before it is safe for people to return. Nuclear contamination is still a major issue, and people worry about whether food is safe to eat or not. There are many farming districts in the nuclear-affected areas of Japan, and it’s been devastating for the agricultural economy there.
Taiga is a name I heard of from Japanese families who had fled the disaster zone to live in Australia, although later on I met an Australian family with a small boy named Taiga in memory of an extended visit to Japan.
Note: Since 2011, the areas of Japan worst affected by the tsunami are still struggling to rebuild, and the path to recovery looks likely to be a very long and painful one.
Taiga is a fairly common name for boys in Japan. In Japanese, Taiga is pronounced TAH-ee-gah, but in English it is said TIE-gah. The Japanese are aware that it sounds similar to the English word tiger, and this may even be an attraction for some.
Depending on the kanji used, the name can be given a range of meanings, but the most commonly given is “large and graceful”, or “big and gracious”. It can also be translated as “big river”, and is the Romanised form of “tiger”. Despite these different meanings, when you put them together the overall impression is of something large and powerful, yet with all the majestic beauty and grace of a great river or a tiger.
By coincidence, taiga is also a word for the large coniferous forest areas which cover the far north of the planet, in Alaska, northern Canada, Russia, Poland, Scandinavia, northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, and even the far north of Japan. The word for this is Russian, and ultimately from Turkic or Mongolian. Sometimes taiga is specifically used to designate the more barren part of the forested area. It’s pronounced TIE-guh.
I’m not sure how many Japanese girls are named Taiga, but there is a manga series for young readers called Toradora! where the lead female is a junior high school girl named Taiga. Beautiful yet very short, clumsy and socially maladept, her name is given to her in the sense of the word tiger – lovely, but very fierce!
This gives it a slight chance as a unisex name – if used as the Japanese transliteration of the word tiger, this makes it a different name than the Japanese boy’s name Taiga. And there’s no reason why a girl can’t be named after the forest area anyway, as forests are not intrinsically male or female in nature.
Taiga seems a very usable name – it sounds similar to an English word, and even references that word without actually being that word. Taiga can be a way to get the same sound and even the same meaning from a different spelling and origin.
I think Taiga is a far more interesting name than Tiger, as it has so many layers of meaning. It reminds me of the popular name Kai, which similarly has a European and a Japanese origin, although Taiga manages to bring the two cultures closer together.
Taiga gives the nickname Tai, which links it with other popular boy’s names like Tyson and Tyler; Taiga is unusual, yet a Tai in the playground will blend right in with the other boys named Ty and Tye.
Celtic names, english names, ethnonyms, famous namesakes, fictional namesakes, French names, Greek names, locational names, Luwian names, mythological names, name history, name meaning, names from television, saints names, Shakespearean names, surname names, UK name popularity, unisex names, US name popularity
Like everyone else, I watched in horror and disbelief as the news unfolded in Paris last week. A place where I had briefly lived as a student, my heart went out to my Parisian friends, and to all those in this beautiful but troubled city.
Abby from Appellation Mountain wrote how it sometimes feels almost wrong to write about baby names when the world is torn by tragedy. How can I keep blogging about celebrity babies, birth announcements, birth data, and so on in the face of human suffering?
Not only would it fail to help anyone if I gave up blogging, I believe it is our duty to continue our normal routine as much as possible during dark times. This goes for my own private tragedies as well, having lost a loved one just days before the Paris attacks.
Babies will keep being born, and named, and I will keep writing about it as my small effort towards hope and healing. As memorials all over Paris say – la vie continue. Life goes on.
Paris – The Legend
Before Paris was the name of a city, it was the name of a person. In Greek legend, Paris was a prince of Troy, infamous for starting the Trojan War by abducting the beautiful Helen away from the king of Sparta. There was plenty of warning, because before Paris was born, his mother was told in a dream that he would cause the downfall of Troy.
He was supposed to be killed to avoid this fate, but the king and queen were unable to do it, and handed the job over to their cowherd. Rather like the plot of Snow White, the cowherd reared him as his own, and Paris became an organiser of bull-fights (bulls fighting other bulls, not people).
He impressed the gods with his sporting honesty enough that he was asked to judge a beauty contest between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris chose Aphrodite, and his prize was the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Aphrodite neglected to mention that Helen was already married, and that’s when all the trouble began.
The meaning of Paris‘ name isn’t known. It’s thought to be a Greek rendition of the Luwian name Pari-zitis, which has been found as the name of a scribe. The meaning of the first part isn’t understood, but the –zitis part means “man”.
Legend gives Paris the nickname of Alexander, meaning “defender of men” – he gained this while still a child, by saving his foster-father’s cattle from thieves. It’s tempting to wonder if Pari-zitis has a similar meaning to Alexander, such as “protecting man” or “guardian man”, and the Greek authors looked for a name which was a close equivalent.
The Greeks explained Paris’ name as being from the backpack that the cowherd brought him home in – the Greek word for the bag is pḗra. However, this is just folk etymology.
The Paris of legend is described as intelligent and extremely handsome, but he isn’t a very attractive character. He seduced another man’s wife, brought about the destruction of his homeland, and wasn’t a gallant or skilful warrior. Mind you, he was tricked by Aphrodite, and as he was doomed to die by his city you can’t blame him for his lack of patriotism, while being brought up by a cowherd would hardly equip him with courtly manners or battle skills. Nonetheless, he’s generally thought of as rather weak and selfish.
This did not stop people from naming their sons Paris, and there is even a Saint Paris listed as a 4th century bishop of Teano, near Naples. According to legend, he was born in Greece and performed that well known saintly show-stopper of killing a dragon. Another famous Paris was a 1st century actor in Rome who became enormously popular and influential. Unfortunately he followed the legendary Paris too closely by having an affair with the emperor’s wife: he was murdered, and the emperor killed anyone who mourned his death, and even someone who looked like Paris.
Paris is a Shakespearean name, as Count Paris is Juliet’s unwanted fiance in Romeo and Juliet. Handsome, wealthy, and well-connected, Paris is an eminently suitable husband, and little wonder Juliet’s parents are thrilled at this opportunity. Of course any audience member worth their salt is barracking for Juliet’s choice of romantic Romeo, and almost no one sheds a tear for poor Paris at the end.
Paris – The City
The place where Paris is today was settled by a Gaulish people called the Parisii – it is their tribe that the city is named for. The city’s original Latin name was Lutetia Parisiorum, which probably means “swamp or marshland of the Parisii”. The tribal name Parisii could be from the ancient Celtic word par, meaning “boat” – as the Parisii lived on the River Seine, it would make sense for them to be skilled in using boats. Other ideas are that their name means “commanders”, “”fighters”, “workers, artisans”, or “cauldron, kettle”. In other words, nobody really knows.
Interestingly, there was a British tribe with the similar name of the Parisi in Yorkshire. It is unclear whether there was any connection with the Parisii in Gaul, but there is just enough vague evidence to support it that it can’t be ruled out.
Situated between trade routes on land and water, the Parisii had a thriving town on one of the islands of the Seine. After being conquered by the Romans, Lutetia Parisiorum became a prosperous Roman city with a military camp on the island, but the main part of the city where the Left Bank is now. The city became known as Parisius, and in French, Paris.
Paris was claimed as their centre of operations by both the Frankish kings, and the first king of France (the islands were good for defence), and by the Middle Ages Paris was not only the capital of France, but the largest city in the western world. Now we know it as the City of Light, the City of Love; famous for art, fashion and food, its monuments become icons. A cultural centre which remains, even after tragedy, a beacon of light.
The city of Paris provided another inspiration for the name. It is generally felt that when Paris is a boy’s name it is after the legendary character, while girls called Paris are named after the city connected with romance and fashion. However, in practice it is not possible to be so cut-and-dried (the surname Paris makes it even more complicated).
Girls have been named Paris since at least the 18th century, and although Paris was already a fashion capital by then, the French Revolution may have been an inspiration for American parents in particular.
In the US, Paris has charted as a boys name on the Top 1000 intermittently since the late 19th century. Its longest continuous stretch was from 1979 to 2000, and its highest peak in the 20th century was in 1991 at #592. It hasn’t charted as a boys name this century, but last year 96 boys were named Paris in the US, with numbers continuing to fall.
Paris has been on the US Top 1000 as a girls name since 1985. It peaked in 2004 at #157 when socialite Paris Hilton was in the reality TV show, The Simple Life. Paris Hilton’s own name was just ahead of the curve, as she was born in 1981 – although the name Paris had been gradually rising for girls for some time. Incidentally, Paris Hilton was once engaged to a man named Paris – Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis. Currently the name Paris is #269 and relatively stable.
In the UK, Paris has charted for both sexes since the mid-1990s, peaking for boys and girls in 2004 during The Simple Life. At that point, it was #119 for girls, and #717 for boys. Currently it is #463 for girls, while last year just 3 baby boys in the UK were given the name Paris.
Paris has been a Top 100 name for girls in Australia and New Zealand, the only countries where the name has ever been popular. The name was on the Top 100 from 2002 to 2004, peaking in 2003 at #58 when The Simple Life was first on air. In New Zealand it peaked in that fateful year of 2004 at #35, making it the most Paris-loving place on earth. Currently Paris is around the 500s for girls in Australia, while it doesn’t chart for boys.
It is a strange fact that tragedy can help inspire baby names – I reflect on this knowing that the name Boston became more popular outside the US after the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Could an even larger set of terror attacks in another beloved city cause an uptick in the number of babies named Paris?
(Photo of Paris street memorial from the BBC)
Name Trend Predictions for 2016
Social researcher Mark McCrindle, whose company collates the national Top 100 each year, has made his annual predictions on what name trends we will witness for next year.
1. Currently popular names will lose popularity
McCrindle says that names have about “a decade of popularity”. I’m guessing he’s referring to the Top 10 as “popular”, because it’s not uncommon for names to spend half a century or more in the Top 100. As such, Charlotte and Emily are slated to go down in popularity (these seem like VERY safe bets, as Charlotte has already gone down, while Emily has been decreasing in popularity since the late 2000s). Likewise, it’s bye-bye to Noah and Cooper.
2. Short names
Long names are generally declining, while short names are holding steady. He’s predicting more Eve, Gia, and Ivy for the girls, while Ash, Ed, and Max seem like reasonable bets for the boys.
3. The 1950s are back in style
Our grandparents names are now starting to seem a lot cooler, while still having that reassuring feel of familiarity. Why not Judith, Robyn, and Heather for girls, and Bernard, Stephen, and Andrew for boys?
4. Names with staying power
The babies being born now are predicted to have longer lifespans and continue working for longer than ever before. Solid names that sound equally good on a baby and an elderly person are advised for this generation. He thinks Audrey, Olivia, and Violet fit the bill for girls, while Daniel, Edward, and William are names for boys that will withstand the test of time.
5. Uncommon names will become more common
The number of babies with a Top 10 name shrinks each year, which means we’re selecting from an ever-wider pool of names. He suggests Olive and Sage for girls, Orson and Sawyer for boys (Olive is already in the Top 100, so not actually all that uncommon – could the pool be smaller than reported?). Also it looks like it’s nature names for girls, surname names for boys.
Predictions for 2016 from the Northern Territory
A rather confusingly-written article from the Northern Territory News says that it has a list of 60 “predictions” for next year’s popular baby names in the Territory. Where this list comes from they do not say – it may be a list of names actually registered this year, or perhaps a psychic vision from a local swami able to penetrate the birth registry through the Veil of Illusion with their Third Eye.
Some of the names on the list are Aspen, Cairo, Cleo, Darwin, Devon, Herbert, Khaleesi, Lawson, Miller, Monroe, Niles, Presley, Virginia, and Ziggy. Rather depressingly, the Arabic name Safiyaa is considered to be “made up”.
In any case, these sixty names will not all be on the popular list for next year, as the Northern Territory only has a Top 20.
Grandparents Naming Rights – Should They Have Any?
Seniors website Starts at Sixty discusses a naming trend they read about in the New York Times – rich people bribing their children with hefty financial incentives for the right to name their grandchildren. One reason for the trend is said to be the shift away from traditional naming practices towards choosing something more unusual.
The SAS writers have a bob each way by both condemning the practice, and saying that if their children were going to pick something outlandish like Apple, they’d be reaching for the chequebook quick smart. They suggest a compromise: grandparents can’t choose a name, but they get free right of veto.
I’m happy to say that most of the seniors who commented said that it was the parents’ right to name their own children, and reminded the website that they had already got to choose their own childrens’ names.
They also reminded us that this is hardly a new trend – one had a grandmother whose mother paid her to name her son Owen. Grandparent disapproval is nothing new either, as others reported that their own choice of baby name was greeted coldly by their parents. Others did report some success at suggesting baby names without resorting to bribery, so no need for grandparents to give up in despair either.
Banned Baby Names
There’s a list of banned baby names in Australia doing the rounds, copied from Scoopla. Supposedly these names were all banned in 2015, which is nonsense – I have seen these names before on lists going back for years. Some of them may be urban myths, as there is no source given for this (mis)information, while others may be simply hypothetical examples given by birth registries, and not actual names submitted for registration.
Read for fun, but with so many grains of salt that you will need to drink copious amounts of water for the rest of the day.
Adrian Benjamin John and Chloe Elizabeth Dorothy (Corina)
Adalyn Shay (Peyton, Kaylem)
Alisia Racquel (Zachary)
Charlotte Daphne (Lachlan)
Lacey Robyn (Ruby, Jye)
Lily Phyllis (Mitchell)
Lucy Jo (Lachlan, Harrison)
Marlee Maree (Mason)
Neveah Ann (Aleyna, Zehra)
Nylah May (Jazelle)
Remi Jane (Arayah)
Stella Beatrice (Ollie)
Asher Marc (Kaiden)
Austin Robert Bruce (Connor, Clair)
Demetrius Tj (Denzireh, Denzal, Denzaliah)
Emmett Nolan (Finley)
Fletcher Norman Andrew (Alyssa)
Frederick John “Freddie”
Henry Neville (Sarah Kate, Bridget Vera)
Kamdyn Jack (LeBron)
Leo Alfaia (Maya)
Lincoln-Jensen Cooper (Ebony-Rose, Austen-Healey)
Mark Savva James
Maximo Angelo (Lyla Dawn)
Paddy Rex (Max)
Rory Dyllan (Olivia Leyland)
Rylan Donovan (Zayde, Pyper)
Willem Theo Mervyn
(Picture shows a rainbow lorikeet on a bottlebrush in Merimbula, NSW; photo by Richard Taylor)
Sara and Jonathan were expecting a baby, and interested to know how they could choose a name which would work well in both Australia and the United States. Sara is an Australian living in the US, and she expects their children to grow up in both countries. Sara also felt under pressure to come up with a great baby name, because their got such a positive response to their eldest son’s name.
Sara and Jonathan worked together to come up with two baby name short lists before the birth, and then waited to see which name seemed best once their baby arrived.
A few hours after their second son was born, and after trying several different names on for size, they decided to name him
little brother to Felix.
Sage was a name that was on their list right from the beginning: they didn’t talk about it that much, but every time they eliminated names from their list, both of them liked it, and wanted it to stay on the list.
Just as with Felix, they have received lots of positive feedback for the name Sage, and have already been asked a few questions about it, as some family members hadn’t heard of Sage being used as a name before.
The name Sage now seems to fit their son perfectly, and just as the name Felix is connected with good fortune, the name Sage is connected with wisdom.
Congratulations to Sara and Jonathan on naming two handsome boys so well! They set about their name search so sensibly, and yet I think their eventual choice might have even surprised them a little. That name that neither of you can throw off the list just might the right choice.
- Leslie (416)
- Jean (333)
- Francis (272)
- Robin (111)
- Sydney (52)
- Merle (51)
- Lindsay (42)
- Lesley (41)
- Jessie (35)
- Valmai (25)
- Kerry (20)
- Jan (17)
- Darcy (13)
- Dallas (11)
- Laurie (9)
- Terry (8)
Golf champion Jason Day, and his wife Ellie, welcomed a daughter named Lucy Adenil on November 12, a sister for their son Dash, aged 3. Lucy’s middle name is in honour of her grandmother, Jason’s mother. This year Jason won his first major tournament at the PGA Championships, scoring a record 20 strokes under par. In September he reached Number 1 in the World Golf Ranking.
Hockey player Glenn Turner and his wife welcomed their son Harlen on September 17. Glenn is a member of the national men’s squad The Kookaburras, and has won bronze at the London Olympics, gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and gold at the World Cup last year. Glenn has played for the Mumbai Magicians since 2012.
Former Olympian swimmer Brooke Hanson, and her husband Jared Clarke, welcomed their daughter Matilda Brooke in August [pictured]. Matilda has three brothers – Cooper, aged 5, Billy, aged 1, and Jack, who passed away in 2012.