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Photo of storm center with huge LAURA label

On Being the Eye of the Storm

August 25, 2020 LauraWattenberg 1 min read 6 Comments

Hurricanes have human names, and so I write about them. Over the past 15 years I’ve written about various storms and the baby name trends that followed. But now, for the first time, I truly understand the emotional impact of sharing a name with a storm. Hurricane Laura—Hurricane Me—is on […]

graph of gender ratio of -i names from 1900-2018, in the shape of a sharp bell curve

The Three Ages of -i Names: An American Tale

August 20, 2020 LauraWattenberg 4 min read No Comments

Name endings can define style eras. The names Marlene and Carlene sound like babies of the 1940s, while Marleigh and Carleigh have the touch of the new millennium. But for names ending in -i, the story is more complicated. It’s a tale of three different American eras. As you can […]

Vintage photo of man with huge white mustache

Handlebar Mustache Names for Boys

August 14, 2020 LauraWattenberg 1 min read 5 Comments

Today’s name set sits at the intersection of classic, manly and over-the-top. These names push so far into old-time formality that they emerge on the other side with a sense of fun. Picture them with a handlebar mustache, a top hat, and…could that be a wink? Like the mustaches themselves, […]

Photos of Karen Bass, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Val Demings and Kamala Harris

The Vice-Presidential Name Field, 2020

August 8, 2020 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 4 Comments

As Joe Biden has vetted prospective VP candidates, the leading names have been analyzed and dissected in the media in every imaginable way. Every way but one, that is: the names themselves. Because while the nominee is expected to be ground-breaking—likely the first woman of color on a major ticket—the […]

Why Every Regency Romance Hero is Named Sebastian

July 29, 2020 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 3 Comments

He’s a duke, he’s a rake, he’s a Sebastian. Welcome to the world of Regency romance. At Goodreads.com you can find an entire list of Regency Romances with Heroes Named Sebastian: “For all those Regency romances with heroes named Sebastian, because god almighty aren’t there a lot??” But even that […]

Vintage photo of woman in jewels and fur

Names Fit for a Grande Dame

July 18, 2020 LauraWattenberg 1 min read 8 Comments

To heck with restraint. Today, we’re looking for female names that demand 100% of the spotlight—and 100% of your respect. Names that leave you impressed, maybe even a little intimidated. Maximalist, not minimalist. Womanly, not girlish. Not delicate flowers, but grandes dames. These names won’t necessarily be an easy sell […]

A Town Called Emily?

July 7, 2020 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 16 Comments

My hometown has three colleges, a proud literary heritage, and a really sketchy name. Amherst, Massachusetts was named in 1759 by a colonial governor in honor of Lord Jeffrey Amherst. Lord Jeffrey was a British commander during the French and Indian war whose military techniques included biological warfare and genocide. […]

Photo of woman in foggy silhouette

Who Is Karen Now?

June 29, 2020 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 4 Comments

Three years ago, I wrote that the Karen had become the go-to name for an “everywoman” in comedy. Six months ago, I wrote that Karen had evolved into a derogatory term for entitled white, middle-aged women who insist on talking to the manager. Three weeks ago, I wrote that the […]

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