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Animal Crossing: Tom-Nook

Let’s Close Read the Animal Crossing Names

May 22, 2020 Namerology 4 min read No Comments

As we speak, millions of people are sheltering at home on remote islands with only animals for company. And those animals have names. The Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons serves up a much-needed escape, a cheery world with a cast of cartoon critters. A glance at their cherubic faces, […]

"Oh! My Sweet Hortense" Sheet Music Cover

The Name that Makes the Song, Then and Now

January 24, 2020 Namerology 3 min read 1 Comment

What would the song “Hey There Delilah” have become if the subject of the singer’s yearnings had a different name? In 2005 when the Plain White T’s hit was written, Delilah was still an uncommon and unconventional name, especially for a college-aged woman. Dozens of likelier options could have satisfied […]

The 3 Biggest Baby Name Trends of the Decade

December 30, 2019 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 10 Comments

Name trends can sneak up on you. They move bit by bit, shifting your expectations along the way. As time goes by, you might even forget that Penelope used to sound old-fashioned instead of trendy, or that you marveled at your first sighting of Jaxon-with-an-X. Here’s your reminder of how […]

Where Are the Scream Queen Baby Names?

October 24, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read No Comments

Why aren’t more babies named after horror movie victims? If you think the answer is self-explanatory, I can’t blame you. It’s not as if they make Nightmare on Elm Street-themed nursery décor. We expect baby planning, and baby naming, to be about inspiring role models and rosy dreams of the […]

Of Travolta and Machiavelli

September 26, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 1 Comment

Surnames are baby names. From the days of Warren and Shirley to Todd and Tracy to Hunter and Mackenzie, surname crossovers have been a staple of American baby naming. British Isles surnames, that is. The hundreds of popular crossovers all come from English and Celtic stock. Parents won’t venture further […]

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 […]

42 Absolutely Brand-New Baby Names That Tell a Story

May 13, 2019 LauraWattenberg 1 min read 3 Comments

Meet America’s newest baby names. Each year, hundreds of names make their debut in the U.S. name statistics, meaning they were given to at least five newborn boys or girls in one year for the first time ever. I’ve collected some highlights in notable categories from 2018. Together, they paint […]

Carol Danvers in 1968 and 2019

Captain Marvel and the Great Superhero Name Problem

March 8, 2019 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 6 Comments

The new Captain Marvel movie showcases the most powerful hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She controls energy, she regenerates, she has far-reaching cosmic awareness. As embodied by actress Brie Larson, she is young and beautiful and badass. Her name, you ask? Carol. The character Carol Danvers made her comics […]

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