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Vintage cartoon with the caption "Joyce means 'sportive'"

Is There Any Hope for the Names of the ’40s and ’50s?

March 26, 2021 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 6 Comments

These are strange times for Carol and Glenn. As hot baby names of the 1940s and ’50s, they’ve fallen into a black hole of fashion. They’re not yet antiques, and they’re not aggressively contrarian in style like Mildred or Floyd. They’re just invisible, a stylistic blind spot that parents don’t […]

Picture of a secret door in a bookcase

The Secret Lives of Jenny and Jessie

March 12, 2021 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 3 Comments

Psst…you know Jenny and Jessie, right? They’re the standard nicknames for Jennifer and Jessica, the two names that dominated American fashion for decades. No names could be more familiar. Well, once upon a time Jenny and Jessie weren’t the same nicknames-next-door that we know and love. In fact, they weren’t […]

"I'm sorry, Dave" (image from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey)

The Names that Do—and Don’t—Hold Power in Washington

February 4, 2021 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 5 Comments

The Brady Bunch? In. Dave and Jen? Out. Oh, and women? Yeah, they’re still out too. Those are a few of the conclusions from a review of the names that rule in American government. I tallied the given names of over 900 current high-ranking US public servants, including congresspeople, cabinet […]

Ace playing card edited to say Aceton

Nicknaming In Reverse

January 6, 2021 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 7 Comments

It’s 1946. The girls’ nicknames Judy and Trudy are the height of charm. But while Judy springs from the youthful hit Judith, Trudy is short for the tired old standby Gertrude. What’s a trendy, Trudy-loving parent to do? The answer for some was Trudith, a 1940s-only concoction born of a […]

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