Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Hi everyone!

Just a quick post to let you know that I'm heading off for a short Christmas holiday tomorrow, so I'll be taking a short break from blogging for the next week and a half. But I expect I'll be brimming with plenty of new inspirations and names for you when I'm back :)

In the meantime, if you're looking for more reading I recommend any of the other great baby name blogs I have listed on the right side of the page. I was almost tempted to suggest my favourites, but then realised that that would be half of the list anyway!

Also, if you haven't already been there make sure you check out Matilda Magazine, for three reasons:

1 - I've been doing weekly nature name guest posts on their blog, so check out the blog

2 - Their first magazine was full of great articles. I'm really looking forward to the next issue, which should be out soon.

3 - They have been running some fantastic  polls on the most outrageous names of 2012. All are real names that have been seen in birth announcements, and many are truly outrageous. If you haven't voted yet, head over there and vote now!

In the meantime I hope that all of my readers and their loved ones enjoy a fantastic Christmas!! Thank you so much for stopping by Baby Name Pondering, and for your comments. It's been extremely encouraging and helped to turn what started out as a bit of a fun side hobby into a real passion!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The Barden Bellas of 'Pitch Perfect'
This one is another little flight of fancy of mine. Recently I watched the new movie 'Pitch Perfect', starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. One of the songs featured in the movie is David Guetta's 'Titanium', which was written by and features the vocals of Australian recording artist Sia Furler. As I found myself singing the song in the shower yesterday morning, I wondered, would this be usable as a name?    

Titanium has never been used as a name in the US - or at least, it has never been given to more than five boys or girls in the same year. But there are several already established names that are extremely close to Titanium, making it seem like not too much of a stretch for parents to consider it.

Titan - Greek boy's name, after the race of deities that were the precursor of the Olympians (Zeus, Hera etc). Also the largest moon of Saturn.

Titania - Greek girl's name meaning 'great, giant one', best known as the name of the Queen of the Fairies in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Also one of the moons of Uranus.

Titana - Latin girl's name meaning 'medal of honour'

Titus - Latin boy's name thought to mean 'defender', ranked #365 in America in 2011. An old Roman, new testament and Shakespearean name that is currently at the height of it's popularity. Titus Pullo was one of the central characters in the 2005 TV show 'Rome', and one of the few likable ones at that.

For girls, it may be hard to live down the "tit" beginning. But it seems this is not the case for boys. Titus has been steadily climbing for boys for the past ten years. Titanium could possibly be seen as a similar 'strong' name, but with a more modern feel.

Titanium is a metal with many uses, including jewellery, dentistry, sunscreens, paint, jet engines and spacecraft. This has contributed to it's reputation as a "space age metal". In relation to the song, just as the metal is a strong metal, the song is thought to be about inner strength, featuring lines such as:

"I'm bulletproof, nothin' to lose, 
Fire away, fire away, 
Ricochet, you take your aim, 
Fire away, fire away, 
You shoot me down, but I won't fall, 
I am titanium."

In a world where we name our children after plants, food, alcohol, gemstones, words and concepts, Titanium is a name that would convey strength, and isn't such a stretch from some long used classical names. With the success of this song, I don't think it's unreasonable to think we may see a few children named Titanium in years to come.

Monday, December 17, 2012

League of Legends - The Gents

'League of Legends' Champion Tryndamere - The Barbarian King
Okay, so I'm not sure how many of these would fall into the "gentlemen" category, but it sounds better that "all those other characters that aren't females". This is the follow up the the post I did a couple of weeks ago ago on the ladies of the video game 'League of Legends', and includes the guys and the creatures of what I like to call indeterminate gender. Again, I've profiled my three top picks first, but included the total list for you to choose your own.

Viktor – The Machine Herald 
Many would think of this spelled Victor, but ever since Viktor Krum made an appearance in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' I much prefer this spelling. It just seems a little tougher and swarthier than Victor, which seems a bit stuffy and boring to me. Which may seem silly considering it is just one letter different. But it's something most of us have felt at some time or another, as evidenced by the rise in alternate spellings of names.

Viktor does in fact come from the Latin Victor, meaning 'champion'. Interestingly, it is a top 5 name in Iceland, a top 20 name in Sweden, and a top 100 name in the Czech Republic and Hungary. In the US it is still far from popular, despite rising quite a bit since the Harry Potter phenomenon started. In 2011 it ranked #1173, while the Victor spelling ranked #142. And was so popular it was given to 5 girls.

Draven – The Glorious Executioner 
I have to admit to forgetting that this name came from 'The Crow', and thinking it was a spin on Raven created for the game. Which was probably how it came to appear in 'The Crow'. As an invented name, it doesn't really have an accepted meaning. Draven is most commonly thought of as a "Gothic" name - somewhat dark and mysterious. I'd also add enigmatic, sophisticated and strong to this name. It's the kind of name I could imagine on a vampire.

The movie 'The Crow' came out in 1994, and that is the first year it started appearing on American children - boys and girls. However it is a top 1000 name for boys - at position #729 in 2011 - while only 8 girls were given this name in the same year. A different but not too unusual name that even people who know nothing about the movie will think is cool.

Ryze – The Rogue Mage 
Some will hate this, because it so obviously looks made up. I like to think of Ryze as a virtuous name for the space age though. The Y and Z make it look as if it is straight out of a futuristic post apocalyptic setting. But said aloud it sounds just like the common word "rise". To "rise above something" could be thought to be just as virtuous as traditional virtue names Clemence, Patience and Temperance, and modern virtue names such as Brave, Honor or True. Maybe Rise or Ryze will be found in a future wave of virtue names.

The Others:

*Aatrox - The Darkin Blade
Alistar – The Minotaur
Amumu – The Sad Mummy
Anivia – The Cryophoenix
*Azir - The Emperor of the Sands
Blitzcrank – The Great Steam Golem
Brand – The Burning Vengeance
*Braum - The Heart of the Freljord
Cho’Gath – The Terror of the Void
Corki – The Daring Bombadier
'League of Legends' Champion
Maokai - The Twisted Treant
Darius – The Hand of Noxus 
Dr Mundo – The Madman of Zaun 
Ezreal – The Prodigal Explorer 
Fiddlesticks – The Harbinger of Doom 
Fizz – The Tidal Trickster
Galio – The Sentinel's Sorrow 
Gangplank – The Saltwater Scourge 
Garen – The Might of Demacia
*Gnar - The Missing Link
Gragas – The Rabble Rouser
Graves – The Outlaw 
Hecarim – The Shadow of War 
Heimerdinger – The Revered Inventor 
Jarvan IV – The Exemplar of Demacia 
Jax – Grandmaster at Arms 
Jayce – The Defender of Tomorrow 
Karthus – The Deathsinger 
Kassadin – The Void Walker 
Kennen – The Heart of the Tempest
Kha’Zix – The Void Reaver
Kog’Maw – The Mouth of the Abyss
Lee Sin – The Blind Monk
*Lucian - The Purifier
Malphite – Shard of the Monolith 
Malzahar – The Prophet of the Void 
Maokai – The Twisted Treant
Master Yi – The Wuju Bladesman 
Mordekaiser – The Master of Metal 
Nasus – The Curator of the Sands 
Nautilus – The Titan of the Depths 
Nocturne – The Eternal Nightmare 
Nunu – The Yeti Rider 
Olaf – The Berserker 
Pantheon – The Artisan of War 
Rammus – The Armordillo
Renekton – The Butcher of the Sands
'League of Legends' Champion
Teemo - The Swift Scout
Rengar – The Pridestalker
Rumble – The Mechanized Menace
Shaco – The Demon Jester 
Shen – Eye of Twilight 
Singed – Mad Chemist 
Sion – The Undead Champion 
Skarner – The Crystal Vanguard
Swain – The Master Tactician 
Talon – The Blade's Shadow 
Taric – The Gem Knight 
Teemo – The Swift Scout
*Thresh - The Chain Warden
Trundle – The Cursed Troll 
Tryndamere – The Barbarian King 
Twisted Fate – The Card Master 
Twitch – The Plague Rat 
Udyr – The Animal Spirit 
Urgot – The Headsman's Pride
Varus – The Arrow of Retribution 
Veigar – The Tiny Master of Evil
*Vel'Koz - The Eye of the Void
Vladimir – The Crimson Reaper 
Volibear – The Thunder's Roar 
Warwick – The Blood Hunter 
Wukong – The Monkey King 
Xerath – The Magus Ascendant
Xin Zhao – The Seneschal of Demacia
*Yasuo - The Unforgiven
Yorick – The Grave Digger
*Zac - The Secret Weapon
*Zed - The Master of Shadows
Ziggs – The Hexplosives Expert 
Zilean – Chronokeeper

*Added 15th Feb 2015

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Inspiring Names - 'Sliders'

You may remember a show from the late 90's called 'Sliders'. It was one of Jerry O'Connell's biggest roles at the time - one that brought him attention as an adult actor, not just "that fat kid from 'Stand By Me'".

Rembrandt, Arturo, Wade and Quinn
If you're not familiar with the show, the premise was this - science whiz teen creates a machine that transports you between parallel dimensions. He brings his science professor over to his house to show off his revolutionary machine, but as he is demonstrating it something goes terribly wrong. The teen, his professor, his best friend who is at his house at the time and a lounge singer who happens to be driving past his house are all swept up in a vortex and transported to a parallel world. However, as it was still in it's experimental stages, the science whiz kid and his professor are unable to get them directly back to their own dimension, and hence the foursome have no choice but to "slide" from dimension to dimension until they hopefully arrive back in their original world.

If I haven't lost you yet, it was a great show. But besides the interesting story lines, one of the things I remember loving about this show was the names of the four main characters. The two teens had gender bending names, while the two older characters had very classic sounding but unusual names. I may not necessarily use these, but they have always stuck in my mind.

Quinn Mallory was the science whiz kid, the character portrayed by Jerry O'Connell. Until then, I had only heard the name as a girls one, so I was intrigued by the idea of it being used on a male. I realise this seems strange, as in the US Quinn has been far more popular for boys right up until two years ago. In 2009, 'Glee' burst onto our screens, introducing us to the beautiful, complex and popular cheerleader Quinn Fabray. In 2010 girls Quinns outnumbered boys by just 44 children. This increased in 2011, and we'll probably see this trend for a few years yet, if not permanently.

Quinn is an Irish name meaning 'descendant of Conn'. In The US it was the 188th most popular girls name, and 297th most popular boys name in 2011, and it is the favourite Q name for either gender. 

Wade Welles was Quinn's best friend, played by Sabrina Lloyd. The only female of the original foursome, Wade often helped bring the heart and humanity to situations when Quinn and his professor started to lose sight of anything besides facts and figures. She also was the long time sufferer of a massive crush on Quinn. 

Wade is definitely entrenched in our minds as a boys name, and in 2011 was ranked #549 for boys in the U.S. That's not to say there aren't other female Wade's out there. It's just that there's never been more than 7 girls given this name in a single year. So obviously this show did not boost Wade's popularity as a girl's name while the show aired. 

Wade means "at the river crossing", so is an option for people looking for a different, not too obvious water related name for their child. It may not be everyone's idea of a great girl's name, but it suited this character to a T - tomboyish, spunky, but with a softer side to it.

This is perhaps one of the most interesting names of the show (well, for me at least). Professor Maximilian Arturo was played by John Rhys Davies, a great English actor possibly best remembered for the Indiana Jones movies, and more recently, as Gimli in 'The Lord of the Rings' movies.

The character sometimes tended towards being quite supercilious, and his posh sounding name suited him well. Arturo is an Italian version of Arthur, thought to mean 'bear'. Which I guess also suited this actors appearance, and the characters sometimes grumbly, sometimes roaring nature. I much prefer it to Arthur, personally, which for some reason has a slightly wimpy feel to me.

Arturo was #461 for American boys in 2011. While not a popular name for girls, like Wade it has been given to a handful of girls sporadically over the years. But unlike Wade, I personally have trouble imagining it suiting a girl very well.

Rembrandt 'Crying Man' Brown - played by Cleavant Derricks - was unlucky enough to be driving past the house when the vortex swelled out and swallowed him up with the other three. He was most out of his element, being an artist to the scientifically oriented Quinn and Arturo. What I loved about his character is that he was the one that seemed to grow the most over the course of the show. He started as a rather vain, struggling singer, but grew to be a thoughtful, selfless and caring person.

Rembrandt is synonymous with the great Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt Van Rijn. So I guess they decided to give the singer and artist of the group an artists name. Rembrandt is a Dutch name meaning 'sword advisor', which arguably often became his role in the group. Interestingly, 2011 was the first time it appeared on the US SSA list, after being given to just 5 boys. I think people had been deterred because the artist association was so unavoidable. But perhaps the rise of Matisse as a name has made artist names a little more accepted, and helped put this option back on the table.

Quinn about to slide through a vortex
The show ran for 5 seasons, and over the course of their adventures some of these characters left, to be replaced by the other primary characters. But for me, these four original characters were the core of the show. Was 'Sliders' a favourite of yours? Would you consider any of these names? Or maybe it's a different sci-fi show that introduced some names that have always struck a chord with you. If you want more sci-fi related names I suggest you also check out Geek Baby Names. It's a new blog dedicated to names from science, sci-fi and fantasy, and owner Clare has already looked at some great ones.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Alexandra Chando plays Sutton Mercer
(and Emma  Beckett) in 'The Lying Game'

Sutton is one of those names that after hearing it once, it felt like I was suddenly seeing it everywhere. I first saw it on character Sutton Mercer in ABC Family's 'The Lying Game' when it started in 2011. Next to her identical twin Emma, younger sister Laurel, and best friends Charlotte (Char) and Madeline (Mads), Sutton's name really stood out as fresh and different.

Then 'Bunheads' started in June, with Tony winner Sutton Foster playing the lead character (on a side note, her brother is named Hunter - I love this as a sibset!). Since then whenever I see a Sutton I pay attention.

Sutton is an English name meaning 'from the southern homestead'. Something I found interesting when I was looking for information on this name was that it is usually listed as a boys name, but it seems that most of the examples I've come across of Sutton as a first name are girls. However Sutton is in fact used on more boys than girls. It's not exactly a popular name for either though - the highest it has ever charted in America was #1217 for boys in 2008. So it would seem that this is one surname/place name that can still be considered truly unisex for the time being, as it's not popular enough to have been "claimed" by either gender.

Sutton is indeed best known as a place name, particularly in England. One of the areas I lived in as a teenager was called Suttontown, so hearing this as a name brought back some good memories for me. Sutton Place is also an affluent street and neighborhood in New York City, so some may think of it as a somewhat "preppy" name. Besides being a place name, people in the medical profession may be familiar with something called Sutton's Law. Sutton's Law is the term for the principle of going straight to the most likely diagnosis, and is named for famous bank robber Willy Sutton who reportedly once said that he robbed banks because "that's where the money is".

Sutton is one of those names that the more you hear it the more it grows on you. At least, that's what I found for me. If you're unsure how to use it, most people tend to pair it with shorter, classic names. Charles, James, Rose, Anne, Lenore, Calli, William, Elizabeth, Claire and Ann are all middle names of actual Suttons. I think if you like surnames then this has a similar feel to favourites such as Braxton, Bennett or Cullen, with the benefit of being underused at the moment.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pixel & Other Technology Inspired Names

Pixel a.k.a. Pixie
A couple of months ago my brother and his wife bought a gorgeous new pet cat, who they named Pixel and nicknamed Pixie. It struck me as such a cute idea - my brother's a bit of a computer geek so Pixel was obviously his idea, but then they have a the cutesy name Pixie to use too. Plus, kittens and cats can often be mischievous little imps, just as pixies can be.

Then I turned on the TV today and lo and behold, what should I see but a cartoon called 'Pixel Pinkie'. It's an Australian show about two girls, one of who has a phone with a character called Pixel Pinkie in it that grants the girls wishes that then go terribly wrong. So chances are that this name would not seem to weird to children in today's world.

Considering 'Pixel Pinkie' this morning (which I took as a kind of sign) and the events in the past couple of weeks,  I figured today was the right time to profile Pixel as a name for a person. One of the events I refer to is the recent uproar created when it became known to the world that a baby girl was named Hashtag. The second is the report that the name Apple is also on the rise (for boys). When viewed together, many are once again claiming that "technology" names are an up-and-coming a trend. And if  the below stories and the comments they have attracted are any indication, this trend is not for everyone:

While I'm not personally a fan of Hashtag as a name (or Facebook, Like or Google, which have also been given to actual children), I'm not sure I see a massive problem here. People have often been inspired by famous figures, movies, books, characters, TV shows, current events etc when looking for names. If it's reasonable to think that Hurricane Sandy will spark a spate of Sandy related names, why couldn't the technology that we use every single day also provide inspiration for people?

The trick is to be a little more selective in how you do it - which means subtle and creative sounding. Hashtag and Google are too in-your-face. The reference is obvious, and they don't "sound" like names. They're not even creative variations on the names we already know and like. One of the reasons I love Pixel is because it is so closely related to Pixie, and sounds similar to several other established names such as Nyx, Nixie, Dixie and Trixie. It's cute for a girl, and could also work for a guy, especially if used with tougher sounding nickname Pix.

There are many other technology inspired names that could easily (or even at a stretch) meet this "subtle and creative" criteria. If you are intrigued by the idea of a technology age baby name but aren't sure where to start, here are my favourite ideas. Some are brands or companies, some are programs, some are languages, and some are just common terms. But all are names that aren't already well known "normal" ones that I think could pass with raised eyebrows rather than rolled eyes from your friends and family.

Poster for 'Pixel Pinkie'



Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Miles (Diego Boneta), Daphne (Sarah Habel), Sophia (Michelle Ang),
Raviva (Ingbar Lavi) and Lou (Jared Kusnitz)
Are you watching the new MTV show 'Underemployed'? If you are, you will recognise Raviva as the name of one of the main characters. The show is about a group of young college graduates finding that they're not exactly taking the world by storm the way they thought they would. Raviva - played by actress Inbar Lavi) originally headed to LA to make it big in the music scene, only to discover that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend Lou's baby. So she returns to Chicago to have her baby (which she names Rosemary) and adapt her plans to the unexpected turn her life has taken.

My ears definitely pricked up when I first heard Raviva's name. The rest of the main cast are also nicely named - Sophia, Lou, Miles and Daphne - but Raviva (pronounced ruh-VEE-vuh) is the standout by far.

I can't really find any history on this name. There are a handful of people on facebook with the name, but that's about it. My best guess is that it's a cross between Ravi and Aviva. Ravi is an Indian name meaning 'sun', for the Hindu God of the sun. In India it is usually used for boys, but apparently in Thailand and Cambodia it is used mainly for girls. Aviva (based on Aviv) is a Hebrew name meaning 'springlike, fresh, dewy'. If we put these together I guess you could say the meaning of Raviva is something along the lines of 'sunshine in spring'. Such a happy and gorgeous image!

This could be said to be true of the character on 'Underemployed'. She's free-spirited, wild, passionate and she loves life. I wouldn't be surprised if this one pops up on the US charts (meaning it is given to 5 or more babies) in the next year or two. Raviva is a new name to keep your eye on.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


By panyangitz at deviant art
As you may have been able to tell from some of my previous posts, I'm a bit of a fan of fantasy novels. One of my favourites is Sara Douglass. By a happy coincidence I found out that she was actually born in the same small country town as I was, which I thought was pretty special considering the town had a population of just 1,317 people at the time of the 2006 census. Sara sadly passed away last year of ovarian cancer at the age of 54, but hopefully her books will remain fantasy favourites for generations to come.

I love some of the names she has used in the novels of hers that I have read. I'll no doubt feature more of these in future posts, but today's name is one from The Wayfarer Redemption trilogy. This trilogy contains three books - 'Sinner', 'Pilgrim' and 'Crusader' - and follows on from the The Axis Trilogy. The character of Zared appears in this as an uncle of the hero of our story, although they are roughly the same age. One of the things I found appealing about this character is that the reader is often left questioning whether he is a "good" or "bad" man. Like several of the characters in this book, when a chapter is told from their perspective we see that he honestly believes that his actions are for the best, whereas when shown from another characters perspective we come to question his motives and personality. This adds an extra layer of dimension to a character, and makes them feel more like real people with real weaknesses to the reader.

Zared's name immediately caught my attention as a very cool name. To be honest I was convinced that this was a case of a fantasy writer taking a somewhat common name - in this case Jared - and jazzing it up with a Z to make it sound more fantasy like. Kind of the way I'm semi-convinced some futuristic/fantasy writers add an unnecessary Y, V or X to make names more "interesting".

So I was surprised to find that Zared is actually an old Hebrew name. There is a little contention as to what the name means. Most sources state that it means 'trap' or 'ambush', but I've also seen 'verdant, of strange descent', or that it means 'brook', as there is a brook called Zared (or sometimes Zered) in the Torah. As my name is Brooke, I can't help but be inspired to think that this would be an interesting way to honour any Brook's (or it's variants) in your family. Just a thought.

If you want to name your son Zared (or daughter, if you're feeling super adventurous) I have a feeling that you'd probably get similar reactions to my first ones. Although in my case the end result was "I love it", and if more people thought that there would be more Zared's in the world that there currently are. In the U.S. it first appeared on the charts - i.e. was given to five or more boys - in 1991. It has never been given to more than 9 boys in any one year. Jared meanwhile has been in the top 1000 every year since 1950, and was a top 100 name from 1975 to 2002. Another similar name is Zarek, which has also been a quiet presence since 1991, but each year has been given to about four times as many babies as Zared has been.

Zared has a lot of cool qualities which could potentially make it a very appealing name. It starts with a Z, which is often seen as a trendy "alternative" letter (think Zander rather than Alexander, Zeke rather than Ezekiel). It sounds like the long popular Jared, which is now falling as people look for a fresher alternative. But belying it's modern look and sound, Zared is a name with history and biblical connections. It may take a while, but I like to think we may see more of this name in years to come as more people "discover" it.