Rumors have been swirling for months that another royal might be on the way, but now we have official palace confirmation.  There has been much speculation as to what William and Catherine will name their second child.  While I got lucky predicting George, it wasn’t really all luck.  It was a process of elimination.

People are betting on things like James and Elizabeth, obvious choices. Yet I contend that the Duke and Duchess will go for something slightly more distant, yet equally royal. James, the name of Kate’s brother and a royal cousin, is likely out.  Elizabeth, while being the name of the queen, queen mother, and Kate’s middle name, might not wear as entirely her own.  The beauty of George, you see, was that it was not the name of any current living prominent relative, nor did King George loom so large as to dwarf any future namesake.  So where to go?

Alice Victoria Mary – I’m calling this as the full combination should they have a girl.  Alice Mountbatten was Philip’s mother, and descendant of Queen Victoria.  It’s tailored and has all the right pedigree. It’s current, but not flamboyant.  If the Duchess wanted to call George by his middle name Alexander, as is rumored, then perhaps her tastes run a bit more toward the romantic.  Victoria is ready to recycle again, and a nice balance with Alice.  Mary is Queen Elizabeth’s second middle (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), and appropriately covers a nod to the Queen, as did Alexander, in albeit a much understated way.

For a boy, I’m going with Arthur.  This was my runner up for George, with the main caveat being the problem of “King Arthur”, the legendary and perhaps fictional king.  For a second son, this does not pose a problem. William is William Arthur Philip Louis, so it’s a nice hat tip to dad.

Frederick is another contender. King George VI was born Albert Frederick Arthur George, and any of his names are ripe for the plucking.  My gut says they also could go with an outlier such as Sebastian for the middle.  Who’s in on Arthur Sebastian Frederick?

If they do go with Elizabeth, which honors both sides of the family, my bets are on “Lily” or “Lizzy” some other sweet diminutive as a call name.  Elizabeth Victoria Frances perhaps? Helena, Matilda, Maud, Adelaide, or Cecily would be delightful, but reserve your hopes for more exciting names to be resurrected for future little ones.  There is some money on Charlotte, but as lovely as it is, I really don’t think they’ll honor Prince Charles, Kate’s sister Philippa Charlotte, or her mother Carole.  I really don’t.  It also evokes Princess Charlotte of Monaco, who we “grew up with”, and is the name of a young cousin on the Spencer side.

The big question is will they use Diana? While I think it’s absolutely out of the question for a first name, I’m unsure whether or not this will make it onto the birth certificate at all.  Her middle name, Frances, is also a possibility, one less fraught with contention. I could be wrong, but based on George’s full name (George Alexander Louis), which didn’t honor living or close relatives directly, I don’t think either one will get used this time around.  I believe this baby will get a name very much his or her own, and as such ruffle no feathers.

So what would you name royal baby number two?

We know now!  He’s here, and he’s named.  As predicted, the future king of England is GEORGE!!! (I really cried it from the hilltops too — whew). His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.

Just as YCCII arrived at George by process of elimination, so too did the royal parents, I imagine.  It is the name of many kings, and most recently belonged to Queen Elizabeth’s father.  Alexander, which for some reason was calling to me yesterday, honors the queen in the best way they could.  It’s after her second middle name, Alexandra.  Louis is slightly more of a surprise.  There are many names that could have taken precedence: Philip after Wills’ grandfather, Charles after Wills’ dad and next sovereign, Michael after Kate’s father, Francis, after Diana’s middle and Michael’s middle, and so on.  Louis is likely after Louis Mountbatten, Philip’s uncle who featured prominently in his upbringing and died in an IRA attack in 1979.  It is also William’s third middle name.  His full moniker is William Arthur Philip Louis.

Is anyone surprised?  They straddled tradition and modernity: George is as regal as it gets, Alexander is somewhat more pedestrian but recalls voyagers like Alexander the Great.  Louis is worldly, regal, and slightly exotic.

Expect a rise in the name George on both sides of the pond.

The biggest surprise to this name nerd is why on Earth did they not seize the opportunity to use at least four names?

It’s a PRINCE!

Sorry to disappoint, but Prince Spencer is about as likely as Prince Crown Royal.  Sussing out Queen Elizabeth’s direct line yields some fascinating gems.  While my money’s on George, here’s a list of his ancestors that in all likelihood will not be the young prince’s Christian name:







Wouldn’t these be fun though???

Snort Worthy

July 9th, 2013

The internet has been aflutter with this video from a talk show based out of England.  Katie Hopkins gets nearly ten minutes of air time postulating on why she judges children based on their names.  The views expressed in this video are not those of this site or its author.

It makes you wonder how she sleeps at night.

This Katie Hopkins character is to be both pitied and reviled.  She uses the names as a “shortcut”, pre-judging CHILDREN and won’t let her own precious progeny associate those who have less desirable names.  She will even cut a friendship off at the pass, and assumes that working class children don’t do their homework and are behaviorally disruptive.  Equally ridiculous, she makes opposite assumptions about upper class parents and their child-rearing skills by the names they choose.  Would she be shocked to find that little Araminta’s mother drinks too much at birthday parties?  Or what about young George, who bullies her precious Maximilian with a cruelty and snobbery that rivals her own?

The similarities between some of Hopkins’ hit list and my Seven Deadly Trends are not lost on me.  I am a self-professed name snob.  Yet there is a world of difference between preferring some names to others and allowing this snobbery to spill over into judgement.  I will not claim this woman as one of my own, and would counter that if she is raising her children with this kind of antiquated elitism she is doing them a great disservice.  Yes, I have been unnaturally excited to meet the mother of “Adelaide and Barnaby”, but I’ve also found that an affinity in names does not a friendship make.  As would be the case should I meet said offender.

What I try to do at You Can’t Call It “It”! is help families come up with the names that best suit them and their children.  Liken it to a difference in taste: some people prefer mid-century modern furnishings, others may opt for Hollywood Regency, others still have no defined “style” at all.  But does that determine whether or not I would want to befriend them, or promote play dates with their children?  Does it mean that I think less of my children’s friends who have monikers that I wouldn’t have chosen myself?  Shudder at the very thought.

English readers, is class still a nightmare of an issue there as Katie Hopkins would have us believe?  Do any of you think that she has a point?

Rumored: Ethel Mary Cooper

December 12th, 2011

Hat tip to faithful reader Jane for this one.

Have you heard?  Though not officially announced, internet rumor has it that Lily Allen and Sam Cooper’s new baby is named Ethel.  Ethel Mary Cooper to be exact, per this tweet from a friend.

I think it’s lovely!  While Ethel is not necessarily an oldie I would have predicted to make a comeback quite so soon, it does have soft sounds of other names popular today, like Lily and Isabel.  Most people will still put her in the same category as Beulah and Irma, though it wasn’t so very long ago that Mabel and Hazel were unthinkable.

Internet rumors proved to be true with Casper and Aleph.  There’s no reason to believe a friend would purposely put out a red herring that appears by all accounts to be so believable, right?

What do you think?

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott have had baby #3!  Born yesterday, 10/10, on my first daughter’s due date, welcome

Hattie Margaret McDermott

She joins siblings Liam, Stella, and half brother Jack.   I’m pleasantly surprised to say the least.  While yes, I adore Harriet and Henrietta and any of the variable ways to get to Hattie, this one is still refreshingly quaint.  She’ll fit with the Maddies and Addies, yet hold her own next to Agnes and Ramona.  It’s one of the sweeter, nicknamey old lady names and has a hint of Brit.  Margaret adds something to the name’s elegance.

I’d pegged her for Vivian or Finn, or possibly Esme.  Happy to have been wrong, though I must say she seems to have a knack for picking of the next big thing (hence my guesses).  My most recent associations with the name?  Newborn Hattie in the movie Babies, where the film’s real-life star hailed from San Francisco, and teenager Haddie (sic) in Parenthood.  Sadly, sitcoms can be the deathknell of the undiscovered treasure.

What do you think?  Are you surprised by the choice?  Will this cement Hattie’s escalation and open the door to Haddie, Hedy, and Henriette?

A Sibling for Virgil and Hector

September 26th, 2011

Lots of pleas for help in the inbox this month culminate in one great week of consultations.  To start, put your thinking caps on and let’s assist Alexandria in naming her third.  She writes:

Hello Elisabeth!

Thank you so much for your website. I’m a long time reader, but only now find myself in serious need of some baby-namin’ inspiration. And after pouring over your site for hours and hours, I’m so sure I’ve come to the right place.  Here’s the situation:
My husband and I have two fab boys, Virgil Ephram and Hector Adrien, 5 and 2.5 respectively, and I am pregnant with our third. We’re so super psyched, and not so secretly crossing all our fingers and toes for a girl :)
But we’ve decided to not find out the sex of the baby until he/she arrives, so we’re trying to decide on names for a boy and a girl.
Some details about us and our naming style:
When we decided to give our first son the name Virgil, most people thought we were completely bonkers. We got, ‘Hahaha… but seriously, what’s his name?’s and “The poor kid…’s left and right and we just didn’t understand why. I mean sure, it’s a letter off from Virgin and it’s not terribly common, and we certainly took that into consideration and went back and forth a bit, but in the end we were just so in love with the name there really was no other option for us. We have zero regrets. At home we call him Virg (read like verge) affectionately but he goes by Virgil to everyone else and he wears his name very proudly for such a little guy. The story behind us choosing that is as simple as that, we just really loved it. Ephram is my father’s name.
Hector (Heck to us) was named for Hector of Troy, my most beloved literary character in all the literature I’ve ever read or studied (I literally weep over my book every time I read his death. I can’t even explain the connection I feel with him). Since I first read the Iliad as a girl I’ve wanted to have a son to call Hector. And I do, and his name suits him so perfectly. Adrienne is my husband’s mother’s so Adrien is in homage to her.
We love names from literature and myth, uncommon names, sturdy names. My husband’s last name is Armstrong. Some names we’ve been thinking about but simply aren’t in love with (asterisks next to the top contenders):
Girls: For a girl we want something feminine, but strong. Nothing too frilly and that fits in with the boys.
Boys: Again, something strong that goes with the boys.
I hope this gives you an idea of our tastes and what we’re looking for for our third-to-be.
Any input is beyond appreciated. :)
Oh Alexandria I do hope we can help!  Thank you for your sweet words about the site.
If you’re not in love with your current list, I’m inclined to say keep moving.  Maybe one of your old favorites will present itself in a new light, or maybe you just haven’t uncovered “the one” yet.  I will say I’m loving Lavinia and Remus.
Your boy’s names are divine and you’ve shown you can really do this all on your own.  BUT, I have a few additional ideas that you might like.  I have a feeling you actually like “frillier” girls’ names than you’re willing to admit to yourself.  Your own name, Alexandria, is an ancient city that fits with your children’s names, but it’s also used today as an amped up version of Alexandra.  Valentina and Ophelia certainly both fit into the frilly category for me.
With that in mind, here are a few thoughts culled from the ancient world:


Readers, what do you love with Virgil and Hector?
Image: Hector Reproaches Paris by Pierre Claude François Delorme

Tina Fey Names Baby #2

August 13th, 2011

Before it was only a mild flirtation, but this has done me in.  I officially want to marry this woman.

As if Alice Zenobia weren’t absolutely fabulous enough, Bossypants author Tina Fey and her husband Jeffrey Richmond now have a second daughter.  Please, join me in a round of quiet applause for the birth of:

Penelope Athena.

Swoon.  I love it.  Can’t say that enough.  The quiet beauty of Alice paired with the zany Zenobia was genius, and Penelope exists in the same echelon as Alice while bumping up the quirk.  Athena serves to amp up its Greekiness.  It’s not an uncommon choice among fashion conoscienti. Ranked at #200 in 2010 it’s poised to break into the precarious top 199 next year and continue to climb.  Still, Penelope the Weaver is a symbol of creativity and steadfast loyalty, and I shall be forever loyal to her.

In case you were wondering, yes, Tina Fey is of Greek descent.  She was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey.  Stamatina derives from the Greek stamato, which according to Behind the Name means “stop.” Her mother (Zenobia), was a Xenakes who went by the simple Americanized Jeanne.  I love that Tina went full throttle with her heritage this time, though I’m told Penelope is very old fashioned, even laughable, in Greece.  Can anyone confirm?  Maybe she’ll spearhead the old lady chic movement there.


Selma Blair’s Baby Arthur

July 27th, 2011

I posted this on Facebook earlier, but the name is generating so much interest it was time to bring it back to the blog for hot debate.

Selma Blair and Jason Bleick have welcomed their son Arthur Saint Bleick to the world.

You may recall not long ago, I’d wrongly predicted Arthur as Natalie Portman’s choice.  Yet I’m thrilled another high profile fashionable mama has taken up the charge.  In my opinion Arthur is terribly au courant.  But what’s with Saint?  Is it an old world throwback, or new incantation incarnation?

Arthur has climbed to the top 100 in England and as “ahr-TOOR” remains a favorite in Belgium and France.  In America, however, he’s been on a downward crawl throughout the 20th and now 21st centuries, resting comfortably now in the upper 300s.  What do you think?  Will this birth help turn the name around? Is this Euro-chic choice destined to rise in the ranks on our shores with the likes of Henry and Eloise, or do you think this is a flash in the pan?

What say you? Is America ready for Arthur?


British Isles Brainstorm

July 22nd, 2011

Jennifer needs a good old fashioned brainstorm.  I just know she’s come to the right place and you’ll have lots of yummy suggestions!  Here’s her letter:


Could we please have a public name consultation?  Pretty please with sugar on top?

When naming our first child, my husband and I struck upon a name we both loved immediately:  William Seamus, called Liam for short.  Coming up with a name for baby number two is proving much more difficult.  Our last name is solidly Irish (rhymes with O’Flynn) and we like names with a bit of a British/Irish/Scottish flavor.  Any suggestions would be so lovely, because we are stumped!

We are now expecting a daughter. We both had agreed on the name Lucy until we realized how matchy-matchy Liam and Lucy sound when said together.  Alternatively, we are considering Lucy Philippa, called Pippa for short.  What do you think?

(and later)…

My husband and I have been tossing names back and forth for the past week, making tons of lists and ultimately, not coming up with anything new that we can both agree on!  My husband’s overall favorite remains Lucy (I am still not sold on the double L with Liam and Lucy).  We are also still considering Philippa, nm Pippa.  Here’s a list of other names we have seriously considered but rejected: Afton, Alice, Cassandra, Evangeline, Fae, Ivy, Kate, and Tessa, with Evangeline at the front of the pack.  We are hoping to find a classic-sounding name with good nickname possibilities. If it helps to get a feel for what we’re going for, our pick for a boy’s name would have been Henry Dean.  Any suggestions from you and your fantastic readers would be super helpful!  Thanks so much,
Jennifer, I’m sure we can help you stumble across the perfect name.  Perhaps Liam and Lucy are too similar.  It’s cute, if a bit cutesy.  Does it pigeon hole you into an L name if you were to have a third?  Here’s a selection of names inspired by Lucy Philippa and the rest of your discard list.  I have a feeling you might just wind up with a Pippa though!
Note: Lately I’ve received several letters from readers who were considering Pippa since before the royal wedding.  It’s been “in the air” as it were, and may be poised for a bit of a popularity spike.  That said, if your concern is that Pippa will be one of many in your class, I think in the U.S. at least that fear is completely unfounded.  I would be more worried about whether the name would be datable to 2011, but still, not a major concern as of yet.  Please — and this really goes for everyone — use your favorite name.
That said, here are a few more ideas for you:
Brigid nn Bridie, Birdie
Genevieve nn Neve, Vivi
Guinevere nn Guin/Gwen, Vera
Harriet nn Hattie
Helena nn Nell
Josephine nn Josie, Posy, Sephie, Eppie…
Mairead nn Mae
Margaret nn Maisie (or Daisy)
Matilda (MaudTillie, Tildy)
Millicent nn Millie (too close to William?)
Penelope nn Pippa, Nell, Penny, Poppy
Readers, what are your favorites for this family?  If you had an Irish surname, what would you choose?