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A Tale of Two Halles

July 10, 2019 Namerology 2 min read 1 Comment

It was the “huh?” heard ’round the world. For half a day, reports spread that actress Halle Berry had been cast as Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. The response was global bafflement. Some was surely directed at Berry’s race (though “outrage” over a black Ariel turned […]

Photo of jock, cheerleader and nerd movie stereotypes

Why Do Incels Obsess Over Chad and Stacy?

July 2, 2019 LauraWattenberg 5 min read 5 Comments

How do you name an archetype? An idealized concept should feel realer than reality, summing up your whole image of a slice of the world. Whatever name you choose, it will reveal a lot about your worldview. That’s certainly the case with the online subculture of “incels” and the two […]

Wii and JUUL packages

U and I, uu and ii

June 26, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 10 Comments

Aa is for Aaron, oo is for Cooper, ee is for Lee. Traditionally, that’s as far as doubled vowels go. The letters u and i just don’t double up in American English, in words or in names. At least, they didn’t. In this, generation, ii names have taken hold. The […]

25 Stately Surnames Sneaking Back into Style

June 21, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 3 Comments

Antique boys’ names can be an elusive target. Past generations of parents just didn’t leave us much to draw on. While girls’ names swung in and out of fashion, the same boys’ classics—John, William, James—dominated decade after decade. If a name never falls out of popularity, it can’t develop vintage […]

Who is Your “Namesis”?

June 10, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 29 Comments

Your name has enemies. Don’t blame yourself, it’s nothing that you did. In fact, your name itself is perfectly innocent. But somewhere out there, there’s another name holding a grudge. I learned this from a Twitter conversation started by a Jonah who declared Jonas his name’s natural enemy. When he […]

25 Boys’ Names with the Essence of Scotland

June 7, 2019 LauraWattenberg 1 min read No Comments

How deep do you have to dig for a boy’s name that still sounds Scottish to American ears? US parents have already mined Scottish name traditions for generations of hits, from Ronald to Bruce to Cameron. Can there be any fresh, stylish and distinctly Scottish names still left to discover? […]

How Alexa the Product Conquered Alexa the Name

May 31, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 7 Comments

Amazon put us on a collision course. Not that we couldn’t see it coming—Apple’s Siri had sent early-warning signals years before. With Amazon’s “virtual assistant” Alexa, though, there was no escape. Human names and virtual names met head on, and the human names blinked. Alexa was America’s fastest-falling baby name […]

Maeve of Massachusetts, Meet Magnus of Minnesota

May 22, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 1 Comment

In my teenage daughters’ generation, American girls named Madison outnumber Bridgets by nearly 20 to 1. Yet my kids have had plenty of classmates named Bridget, and they’ve never met a Madison. A statistical fluke? In part, yes, but the odds were stacked by geography. We live in Massachusetts. This […]

The Top Baby Names in Every US State

May 16, 2019 LauraWattenberg 1 min read No Comments

Liam and Emma continue to reign as America’s top baby names. Depending on where you live, though, you might be more likely to meet babies named Amelia and Oliver, or Harper and Grayson. For your browsing pleasure, here are the top 5 baby names in each state. While the top […]

Say Goodbye to Susan and 16 Other Baby Name Standbys

May 15, 2019 LauraWattenberg 4 min read No Comments

Not every name has the style strength to stick around for generations. This year we say goodbye to 17 of those long-lasting names, as they have dropped off the top-thousand popularity lists for the first time in at least 50 years. In a few cases, it was the first time […]

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