Friday, August 16, 2013

Alliterative Names

Ever noticed that all four of HBO's 'Girls' characters - Jessa Johansson, Marnie Michaels,
Hannah Horvath and Shoshanna Shapiro - all have alliterative names?

Alliterative names - first/middle/last names starting with the same letter/sound – is a subject that many people have strong feelings about. Some people love them, some hate them with a passion.

For those that hate them, there really only seems to be one argument against them. They are just too cutesy and "matchy-matchy". They just make it too hard to take a person seriously. These people actively avoid giving this type of name to their children.

Others love them for almost the same reason they are hated - because they are cute and snazzy sounding. This makes them fun, easier to remember and hence more memorable.

Being more memorable makes them perfect for celebrities, superheroes, wrestlers and fictional characters. J.K. Rowlings world of 'Harry Potter' is full of alliterative names. Just look at examples such as Luna Lovegood, Severus Snape, Dudley Dursley and Minerva McGonagall. And have you ever paid much attention to the founders of the four houses at Hogwarts? All four of them have alliterative names. HBO show 'Girls' is another example that may have slipped most peoples notice. All four of the lead characters also have alliterative names.

Popular comic book author Stan Lee is another writer with a preference for alliterative names, mainly as a way to help him remember the names of his own characters (such as Peter Parker, Bruce Banner etc). He wrote about so many that he sometimes had trouble keeping track of all them. They also work well when paired with a descriptor - hence we have Green Goblin, Silver Surfer and Fantastic Four. Other creators also use this to great effect. Think Big Bird, Pink Panther and Mickey Mouse. Would Mickey be as memorable if he were named Harvey Mouse? Probably not.

The memorable factor is also why many celebrities use alliterative names. We may think that they choose this, and some deliberately do, but many more are actually given alliterative names. Does this make it easier for them to reach stardom? Who knows. But some are plainly happy with their alliterative names, as some alliterative celebrities (Sylvester Stallone, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Spielberg) have continued the tradition with their own children.

And why not? One of my husbands' friends has an alliterative name, and he loves it. When his first child was born last year, their number one rule was that they also had to be given an alliterative name. He felt it was lucky and had served him well. I found it a little surprising when I first heard this, but I guess I hadn't really thought about it myself.

When I thought about it some more, I realised that both my husband and one of my brothers actually have alliterative names, and my other brother likes to go by a nickname that is also alliterative. In their cases it's not deliberate. So I guess there is something behind the thought that alliterative names are often just naturally catchy and attractive sounding. Some would argue that certain letters work better than others for these types of names. But whatever you think of them, I can almost guarantee that there are plenty of them out there that you never even noticed.

What do you think - catchy and cool, only OK in some cases, or just not to your taste? And if you're still undecided, here are some lists of just some of the many examples you may or may not have already noticed in the world around you to get you thinking.

Famous "Stage" Names

Adam Ant

Joan Jett

Robert Reed
Alan Alda

Loretta Lynn

Roy Rogers
Anouk Aimee

Lucy Lawless

Simone Signoret
Claudia Cardinale

Malcolm McDowell

Sissy Spacek
Coco Chanel

Amanda “Mandy” Moore

Susan Sarandon
Cyd Charisse

Marilyn Monroe

Suzanne Somers
Erik Estrada

Marisa Miller

(Richard) William “Wil” Wheaton
Greta Garbo

Priscilla Presley

(Thomas) Woodrow Wilson
Hulk Hogan

(Charles) Robert Redford

Famous Faces

Alfie Allen

Janis Joplin

Nick Nolte
Amy Adams

January Jones

Parker Posey
Armand Assante

Jesse James

Piper Perabo
Asia Argento

Karolina Kurkova

Rebecca Romijn
Benjamin Bratt

Kevin Kline

Rob Reiner
Brigitte Bardot

Kim, Kourtney & Khloe Kardashian

Robert Rodriguez
Charisma Carpenter

Kris Kristofferson

Ron Rifkin
Charles “Charlie” Chaplin

Laura Linney

Ronald Reagan
Chris Columbus

Leona Louise Lewis

Ryan Rodney Reynolds
Colbie Caillat

Lindsay Lohan

Sarah Silverman
Courtney Cox

Logan Lerman

Scott Speedman
Daniel Day-Lewis

Lucy Liu

Sharon Stone
Danny DeVito

Matthew Morrison

Steven Seagal
Emilio Estevez

Maureen McCormick

Steven Spielberg
Farrah Fawcett

Melissa McCarthy

Steven Soderberg
Holly Hunter

Michael McMillian

Sylvester Stallone
Howard Hughes

Michelle Monaghan

William Wallace
Janet Jackson

Mike Myers

William Windsor

Famous Offspring

Archibald & Abel Arnett

Hannah & Harper Hader
Bear Blu Jarecki

Harper Harris
Benjamin Brady

Hayley Hasselhoff
Billie Beatrice & Georgia Geraldine Dane

Henry Hornsby
Bingham Bellamy

Jesse Johnson
Brooklyn Beckham

Liberty Lawrence
Buddy Bear Oliver

Maggie McGraw
Camden Cutler

Memphis Mosberg
Caroline Couric Monahan

Mitchell Murphy
Cayden Costner

Mosley Manning
Connor Cruise

Racer, Rebel & Rocket Rodriguez
Dallas Durst

Rocco & Rafael Ritchie
Dylan Douglas

Ryder Robinson
Exton Elias Downey

Sage, Seargeoh, Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet Stallone
Fiona Facinelli

Sasha & Sawyer Spielberg
Grace Gummer

Taj Tyler
Greer Grammer

Tennessee Toth

Fictional Figures

Artie Abrams

Helga Hufflepuff

Pepper Potts
Bastian Balthasar Bux

Honor Harrington

Peter Pan
Betty Boop

Horatio Hornblower

Peter Parker
Bilbo Baggins

Huckleberry Hound

Peter Petrelli
Bob “Bulldog” Briscoe

J. Jonah Jameson

Pink Panther
Bobby Brady

Jane & Judy Jetson

Reed Richards
Bruce Banner

Jessa Johansson

Ricky Ricardo
Bugs Bunny

Junie Jones

Roger Rabbit
Carl Conrad Coreander

Kathleen Kelly

Rowena Ravenclaw
Charlie Chan

King Kong

Salazar Slytherin
Cordelia Chase

Lex Luthor

Sansa Stark
Daffy Duck

Locke Lamora

Scott Summers
Donald Duck

Lois Lane

Severus Snape
Elizabeth Elliot

Luna Lovegood

Seymour Skinner
Fleur Forsyte

Mae Mobley

Shane “Scarecrow” Schofield
Franky Fitzgerald

Marnie Michaels

Shoshanna Shapiro
Fred Flintstone

Marty McFly

Steffan Salvatore
Gabriel Gray

Michael Myers

Strawberry Shortcake
Gil Grissom

Mickey & Minnie Mouse

Sue Sylvester
Godric Gryffindor

Ned Nickerson

Tom Tucker
Hank Hill

Olive Oyl

Tricia Takanawa
Hannah Horvath

Peppa Pig

Willy Wonka


  1. I like this post!

    I'm not the world's biggest fan of alliterative names, but I also wouldn't say that I hate them.

    If they're under-the-radar enough that they don't draw attention to themselves -- and I think many alliterative names (like the ones in your family) fall into this category -- what's the harm?

    I just don't like it when parents take alliteration too far and end up with something conspicuously cartoonish. I think silly-sounding names can work against people who are trying to convey themselves as serious or authoritative (for professional reasons, say).

  2. I actually enjoyed reading through this post.

    I am looking some best character fan names of alliterative, But i also would like a new theme.

    I think, Parents choosing Unusual, cute and unique names for your newborn baby.

  3. I did notice that about the characters on Girls, and I've heard Stan Lee mention alliterative names as well. I find I pay attention to it more. I got an alliterative name when I got married, and I love it! I did not give my daughters alliterative names, though. It didn't really occur to me. But I do enjoy them when I see them. I think they're fun! Except in cases where someone has been named William Williams or something. That's TOO close.

    1. Yes - names like William Williamson are definitely overkill!

  4. I know a few people with alliterative names my best friend is named Danielle Davison sounds find but she goes by Dani and Dani Davison doesn't sound too good.

  5. You left out my absolute favorite: Greta Garbo !,

  6. My girl is Gracie Gillingham, we call her Gigi due to the alliterative. I love it, but wont do it with our second child, as then it just gets corny perhaps :)

  7. I knew someone called Adam Adam Adams... now that is overkill