Surnames with Girly Nicknames

September 24th, 2014

Parents today have such a vast array of options when it comes to naming their baby girl. The surname trend is red hot, and yet many parents may desire a more traditionally feminine nickname for their baby girl.  It might help appease the grandparents, too.


So look no further.  There may be a way to have your baby-naming-cake and it eat it too.


Abbot, Abernathy“Abby”

Adler, Adelson“Addie”

Calder, Calloway“Callie”

Campbell - “Cammie”, “Bella”

Carrigan, Carrington, Carlisle, Carroway“Carrie”

Connolly – “Connie”


Ellery, Ellington, Ellison“Ellie”

Embry, Emerson, Emory“Emmie”

Halliday, Halloway“Hallie”


Hollis  – “Holly”

Jamison – “Jamie”

Larraby, Larsen – “Lari”

Madden, Madigan“Maddie”

Marsden, Marshall“Mari”

Milligan - “Millie”

Sullivan - “Livvie”

Willets, Willoughby, Wilson“Willa”

Windsor, Winslow, Winthrop, Winthrow“Winnie”


I’m sure the list is endless.  You could get very creative with this.  What would you add?

(Image above: From my curated collection at UGallery this week, Fun by Talia Rainyk)

At the risk of being so last week, let’s recap recent naming in the celebrisphere, shall we?  I’ve been pleasantly surprised by many of the lastest babes’ names.  Babies are having babies, and these young parents are a good indication that many of our favorite trends, as well as our least favorites, show no sign of slowing down.

TREND #1:  Homespun Granny

We have a Pearl!  Yes, that’s right, Pearl.  Black Sabbath baby Jack Osbourne and his wife Lisa had a baby of their own, who they’re calling Pearl.  Grandmother Sharon promises to spoil her rotten.  I have no doubt she’ll keep good on that promise, but oh how I adore Pearl.

Also in the homespun category?  Mabel, sister to Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.  Think this has had a hand in sending Demi over the edge?  I hope not.   In fact, I hope it helps her.

Felicity Keri Russell now has a daughter named Willa who joins big brother River.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is surely past due with baby number two.  Perhaps like Ramona, we’ll get a gently old fashioned name out of this one as well.

TREND #2:  Short and Sweet Son

Luca Cruz is seriously the new sensitive, sexy and smart  boys’ name.  That’s what former child star Hillary Duff called her progeny.  He’s in good company with Milo, Alyssa Milano’s boy, and Leo, son of Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney, brother of Axel (himself a member of the Badass Crew).

TREND #3:  Boys’ Names on Girls

As of two days ago, Jessica Simpson was STILL pregnant.  We’re expecting a girl called Maxwell nicknamed Maxi, but if she’s  given any consideration to what the nickname “Maxi” will do this child in middle school, hopefully they will rethink. Elliotte Anne and Dylan River are among celebrity daughters whose parents I’ve never heard of (Marla Sokoloff and Joe Nichols, respectively).  I’m sure that says more about me than it does them.

TREND #4:  Surnames Reign Supreme for Boys Too

Simpson’s former beau, Dallas QB Tony Romo, now has a son named Hawkins.  It’s probably a family name, but these days, opening up the white pages will do in a pinch.

TREND #5: Newfangled Spelling 

This trend often overlaps with Trend #4.  Zany Mindy McCready has given birth to her son ZAYNE.  I’m sorry but she opened herself up to that.  He joins big bro Zander.

Then there’s Merrin.  I don’t know who this dude Bo is but I read he just had a baby girl who they call Merrin.  The spelling is new to me, but the sound is pleasantly familiar while being relatively uncommon.  That’s a tricky balance many people are after, but few obtain.

Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley have adopted another baby girl from Korea.  No word yet on the name.  If they don’t announce it, feel free to blame me.  I ripped on Naleigh pretty hard, but if they’d just called her Nancy or even Nancy Leigh I might have been ecstatic.  The -eigh trend has run amok.


Guess the Name:

Taylor Hanson, of musical brother fame is now 29.  You may not have heard a recent song from the Hanson Bros, but nonetheless?  He has been busy.  He and his wife are expecting baby #5!  Who will soon join EzraPenelope, River, and Viggo?  Dunno but I can’t wait to find out.  I like to think of their trend as Naturoarty…  Thalia?  Wren?  Dermot?  Jude? 

My beloved Anna Paquin, who is expecting with her True Blood costar Stephen Moyer.  Stephen already has two older children, Billy and Lilac, so I have high hopes for this one.  Something British-y and lithe would be fun.  I hope they have a girl.  Cecily?  Isolde? 

On her third child is Reese Witherspoon.  What will this fine Southern woman choose?  Ava, Deacon, and… Flannery?  Mary?  Draper (her father’s middle name)?

Within weeks after giving birth to third child Hattie Margaret, Tori Spelling is preggo. AGAIN!  Tori managed to come out from behind the trends and be one step ahead all Homespun Granny for her last child.  Liam, Stella, Hattie and who?   Rhys?  Reid?  Frances called Frankie?  

Melissa Joan Hart (any more Clarissa Explains It All fans here?) is expecting baby #3.  We’re thinking Surnamey again, yes?  What do you name Mason and Braydon‘s brother?  Gage?  Drake?  Theron? 

Another Mason is also expecting a sibling, this one a baby girl.  Don’t expect any more K names from Miss Kourtney Kardashian.  I bet they’ll just choose something they like the sound of.  Maybe Lila or Georgia?

Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin’s first grandchild Tripp, is expecting again.  Girlfriend Sunny has brought the sunshine back into his life, and to the state of Alaska.  This ought to be a good one.

I have an inkling these last few will stick close to their Latin roots.  It’s no surprise that Snooki got knocked up.  I have a feeling the name will be fairly predictable. Gia or Gianni anyone?

Giuliana and Bill Rancic are finally having a baby of their own, y’all.  A surrogate is currently carrying their biological child.  I think/hope she’ll go old school Catholic Italian.  Luisa?  Rocco? Valentina? 

A real life Valentina, Adriana Lima’s daughter, will be getting a sibling later this year.  Lima hails from Brazil.  I like Yasmin and Matheus for them, maybe Lucas.

Lima’s fellow Victoria Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio, is also expecting her second.    They chose Anja for their first.  What do we like for them?  Adrián?  Arturo? 

What do you think of the latest celebrity baby name choices?  Any births you are eagerly anticipating?

Image: Alessandra Ambrosio

20 Surnames for Girls

November 16th, 2011

Today’s post is in response to my previous one, Boys’ Names On Girls.  You had a lot of great insights, (72 comments worth, thank you!) One question that popped up on Facebook, however, I would like to address today.

Stacy writes that she plans on naming her new baby girl Anastyn, but is wondering, “what else is out there” in the boy/surnames-on-girls category.

I understand the appeal of Anastyn, I do.  It’s an interesting departure point for this subject because Anastyn, in particular, actually sounds like a girl’s name.  The first three letters, A-N-A, are a classic in the cannon of female names.  The last four, S-T-Y-N, are familiar in names such as Kristin or Kristyn.  It’s also the surname of an extremely successful female celebrity, Jennifer Anniston, again, with a different spelling of course.

I would like to mine the fields for what else is out there, for Stacy’s baby or for anyone else drawn to this modern category.  Time to play a bit of devil’s advocate today:

Annesley- Surname similar to the relatively well known Ainsley, but with the option of “Anne” or “Annie.”

Barnes- American museum pedigree.

Bellamy- Means “good friend”, and is almost a smoosh of Bella + Amy.

Bexley- X still marks the spot, and the -ley ending helps it to feel feminine.

Carlyle- If Tiffany and Madison can make the big leagues, why not Carlyle?

Carnegie- More American history here, with the “ie” ending and the option of Carrie. 

Carrigan- More Carrie, this time with the popular N ending and three syllable rhythm, again like Madison.

Farrow- Mia‘s first name may have caught on first, but it won’t be long before people recognize the cache and its chic final sound.  Fits well with Harlow and Sparrow– Nicole Richie’s third child?

Fonteyn- The balletic surname.

Isley- The surnamey version of the popular Isla.

Livesey- Same nickname as Olivia, without all the confusion.

Marlowe- Marlowe has caught like wildfire, from the daughter of mega blogger as Marlo, to the inimitable tastemaking J. Crew catalog.  As long as you know that, we cool.

Mead- Like Maud, but with the fashionable long E sound.

Murray- Seems ripe for the picking for the Scotch-American crowd.

Palmer- Soft in sound, like Harper, this name has a nice meaning as well: “peace.”

Reeve- Reese Witherspoon put her name on the map for girls, so why not this rhymes-with-Eve version?

Rowley- Associated with designer Cynthia Rowley, with the adorable nickname Ro.

Saville- Don’t look up artist Jenny Saville if you want to hold onto this as a possibility.

Shaw- Blair, Sloan, and now Shaw? 

Vaughn- Or maybe Vaughn?  My friend with a male Vaughn is going to get me for this one. . .


Feel free to chime in.  What are your favorite masculine or surnamey first names for girls?  Any that you hope would be avoided?  Do tell us why! 

Image: Carnegie Hall

Meet three-year-old Casper Alice.  

That’s what Jason Lee and Ceren Alkac called their baby girl.  They never officially released the name, but since they renewed their wedding vows on 11/11/11, Casper’s been allowed to fly free.  If those old internet rumors [see last comment] are indeed true, as they turned out to be with Casper, then Alice is indeed the middle name.  I love how these initials mirror mom’s, à la Constance Zimmer and daughter Colette Zoe.

While boys’ names on girls may be all the rage, this friendly ghost of a name is still an unexpected choice.  It is a bit odd that the dark one of the siblings would be called Casper, and the girl no less, but I find the whole combo somewhat sweet.  Not nearly as objectionable as Inspektor-with-a-K.  We thought for sure they’d go with something like Umbrella Time Machine.  Glad to be wrong.

I imagine their decision not to release the name rested on the fact that poor big brother took such heat in the press, and they also probably knew it would drive us nuts guessing.

My advice for any future mysteries?  Google.  That’s how I found out Casper’s name three years ago, but my how I wish now that I had posted on that unfounded internet rumor oh so long ago!  It’s a slippery slope.

Think they’ll call her Cassie?

 Image: Jeffrey Mayer/JTM

Boys’ Names On Girls

October 27th, 2011

In a recent Facebook post, I asked you to tell me what you’d like to read about.

Lauren wrote in that she’d like me to address boy’s names on girls.  All the good ones are getting “stolen” by the ladies, including Cooper, DeclanLachlyn (sic) and Noah.

At first I thought I’d give it a pass.  After all, it was an original Deadly Trend, and I mostly prefer to write about my favorite names rather than harp on dislikes.

But times change and tastes change.  As my children grow, we know more and more little girls with names like Connor and Blaine, Warner and George.  Yes, George.  And they’re DARLING little girls.  You know what else?  I like their parents too.  So it’s caused me to rethink the phenomenon, and question the possible different motives for giving daughters masculine, or if you like — “gender neutral” names.   The answer is more complicated than meets the eye.

Top 5 Reasons Why People Choose Boys’ Names for Girls, and Why We Should Give Them a Pass: 

1. It actually does honor family.  This is my favorite reason to use a surname or masculine name on a daughter.  Daughters should carry on the family name just as much as sons.  My answer to this was to give both my own daughters multiple middles that include my surname.

2. You reject the notion that anything in this world is gendered, including names.  This strikes me as forward thinking, appropriate to this global age, and truly modern.  My second favorite reason.

3. Surnames connote wealth.  On Pamela Satran’s recent article on Gatsby being the next fictional name, I had a little google for the character list of a novel I haven’t picked up in 15 years.  In addition to my beloved (and memorable) Daisy, there was a name I’d long forgotten- Jordan, on a woman.  From the description (again, my memory fails) ’A competitive golfer, Jordan represents one of the “new women” of the 1920s—cynical, boyish, and self-centered.’  I don’t know that parents aim for the “self-centered” part, but somehow, nearly 100 years after the novel was published, the modern “new woman” appliqué still rings true for many.

4. You think it sounds strong.  This is actually categorically the opposite reason as #2.  If a masculine name connotes strength and a feminine name connotes weakness, what does that say about our views of women in general?  Should we just all wear muscle shirts, shave our heads, and take steroids?  Wear a suit and tie?  Start swearing like sailors?  I’m not sure I understand this reason, but I *think* I get it.

5. It sounded good.  It’s hard enough for two people to come to a consensus on one thing.  Who are we to take away their favorite name just because it falls into a specific category?  While “sounding good” is not enough for those of us who long for meaning and history, it is perhaps ultimately, the most important thing in choosing a name.  It’s one you may say hundreds of times on any given day, and you have to love it.  If that name for you is Walker or Emmett or Elliott and you’re thinking pink, then more power to you.  Just don’t expect cheers from the current crop of name nerds.

Do you have strong feelings on this topic one way or another?  Did you choose a boys’ name for a girl, and if so, what were your reasons behind the choice?  Parents of boys, have you seen your sons name go to the other side?