Thank you Donald Trump for not keeping us in too much suspense.  He took it upon himself to announce his granddaughter’s name on Fox & Friends this morning.

Mrs. Jared Kushner has given birth to a baby girl: Arabella Rose.

Perfectly lovely, not too popular, chi chi enough for a Trump.

I speculated on my Facebook page that she might stick with an I theme.  She herself is named for her mother, Ivana.  Illeana, Ivançica, or another Isabella offshoot, Isadora would have been lovely.  Perhaps they can save that one if they have another baby girl.

Arabella has already been riding Isabella’s coattails up the popularity charts:

It debuted in the U.S. top 1000 in 2005 for the first time since 1893 at an impressive 795.

2005- 795

2006- 645

2007- 650

2008- 655

2009- 447


If this was a sleeper success story before, the cat’s out of the bag now.  We see it fairly frequently in London Times and Telegraph birth announcements.  In the U.S., it was Babe‘s given name on the soon-to-be-defunct soap opera All My Children (don’t ask me how I know that).  She fits in perfects with the ultra feminine names of the moment: Adrianna, Olivia, Audrina. Love it but aren’t an Ivanka fan?  Try going one step further to Araminta or perhaps Mirabella.

I see Arabella shooting quickly to the top 100, especially with this high profile birth.

Mythological Sisters

June 6th, 2011

File:Primavera 01.jpg


Bridget is due very soon with her third baby girl, and know how hard naming a third child can be!  She needs our help:


Hi Elisabeth! My name is Bridget, and I’m having another little girl. My husband and I already have two daughters, Iris Elizabeth and Cecilia Ariadne. A little background on us: I’m a stay at home mom and former marketing professional. My husband Will is a dermatologist and we love to travel and my husband is very into music and plays numerous instruments. I was a classics/marketing double major in college and I love Greek mythology. It’s been a passion of mine since my mother read me the myths when I was child and I’ve always loved the names. Our first daughter Iris is named after the Greek goddess of rainbows so that was how we incorporated mythology into her name. Her middle name is Elizabeth because it’s been a tradition in my family for five generations. Cecilia was similarly easy to name; Cecilia is a name we both really liked and felt went well with Iris. Cecilia is also the patron saint of music which really sold my husband. Then we incorporated Greek mythology into her name by giving her the middle name Ariadne, like the woman who helped Theseus defeat the Minotaur. It’s my favorite myth and I loved the name and I love Cecilia’s name. However, this baby is proving harder to name. My husband and I are having trouble finding a name we both love equally. On our list are both mythological names and names that don’t link directly to mythology; if we do go with a non-mythological first name, I’d like to use a mythological name in the middle name slot like we did with Cecilia. The two forerunners that we have liked are also the two names I have the most worry about. We both really like both Willa and Persephone. My worry about Willa is that my husband’s name is William, and I don’t want their names somehow getting confused. Willa and Will are awfully close and I don’t want our little girl getting confused with her dad. Then, there’s Persephone. It’s a mouthful of a name and I’m not sure how it’ll actually work on a little girl. I watched the new Upstairs Downstairs and liked how they used Percy as a nickname, but I still feel like it might be too much. The other names on our most recent short list are Penelope, Rose, Mercy, Leda, Thalia, Danae, Phoebe and Rhea, but we’re open to any and all suggestions. If you can do a post for me that would be fantastic, but if not, of course no worries. Thanks so much!



Bridget, your question is a fun one for me because as of late I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with names from Greek mythology!  Iris and Cecilia are that perfect mesh between familiar but not overused, and they are beautiful to boot.  Iris made my “Sweet Spot” list and I remember having Cecilia on there as well but took her out because there were too many C names.  Also on that list?  Phoebe, Petra (Greek), Mira (Latin), and Louisa (similar to Cecilia).  I could see any of these working for you.  From your list, Phoebe and Penelope strike the perfect note.  I love that they have different endings from both Iris and Cecilia (my reason for striking Leda, Rhea, and Thalia– though not a deal breaker).  Mercy sounds a little hissy with all the S sounds going on in Iris and Cecilia.  This is where the surname also becomes important.  I’m a huge fan of Rose as a first name but then one daughter, the middle child at that, is left without a flower name.  Will she feel left out?  Danae is intriguing but somehow your other names are prettier to me.


From my own secret stash of Greek names, I love Xanthe for you, a magical name.  Other possibilities that have likely been nixed– but hey– I’ll throw them out anyway, include: Daphne, Evadne, Gaia, and Helen. They may not be your favorite stories I gather?


It sounds as if you are likely to choose between Willa and Persephone.  Willa would be a nice tribute to daddy William, but I do think as a first name it could get confusing.  How lovely would Persephone Willa be?  You could call her Percy, Perry, Sephie, Ephie, Eppie, Poppy, Posy, Nonie, any number of things really!  And with lengthy names like Isabella, Olivia, Mackenzie, and Alexandra at the top of the charts, Persephone only has to become more familiar to people.  It is a name that winds up on many people’s lists of loves-that-are-too-over-the-top-to-use, but I say if you are in love, go for it.


Readers, what is your favorite name for Bridget, and have you ever regretted not going with your favorite, or conversely, been glad that you did?

Soaring ~The "It" Girls~

May 9th, 2011

Mass hysteria ensued last week after the Social Security Administration released the top 1000 baby names of 2010. Twilight inspired a rise in well named lucky little ones (Rosalie, Alice, and Esme among them), while those who followed the lead of teen moms unwittingly hopped on the downwardly mobile train (they have Macy, Aleah, Aubree, Bristol, Bentley to show for it).  We’re also seeing the effects of LOST (Eloise, Penelope), and may for some time to come.

Here’s a breakdown of the girls’ names that we talk most about here at You Can’t Call It “It”!  These are the ones that made the biggest splash, the ones that I believe my readers have their eye on.

For those of you that see your favorite THIS IS NO REASON TO PANIC.  Yes, it means that more people have discovered your once hidden gem.  But it also means that unusual names are more familiar and acceptable, and that people love the name.   Just because a name has made big strides this year doesn’t mean it’s destined to supernova.  I’ve reserved that list to a mere three names at the moment.  Name nerd favorites like Eloise, Adelaide, Penelope and Juliet will likely evade the top 10 for some time, hopefully forever.  And really, it’s the top 10-25 that we have to worry about.  It’s a numbers game, but the numbers for most of us are not nearly as scary as they first appear.

Eloise, which has made one of the most noticeable leaps, went from 0.0146% of all female births to 0.0282%.  So there are now 3 in 20,000 people her own age born with the name Eloise.

People who have most cause for concern are those who live in hip, urban bastions where everyone is trying to come up with something really original, but we’re all choosing from the same pool of names.  It’s here that we run the risk of a class with multiple Loreleis or Hazels.  My advice if this sounds like you, either choose your most beloved name regardless of popularity, or if the popularity nags you too much, look further afield.

To try to guess whether a name is going to make an Ava like jump over a ten year period, look at the trajectory of the names.  Factoring in speed of the leap, sound of the name, and overall appeal to different demographics, I have my eye on Harper, Stella, and Charlotte to attain the highest numbers in the coming years.  Charlotte has already held steady the number 1-5 spot in many countries over seas including England, France, and Australia, Stella capitalizes on the Hella Ella trend but has the double meaning of “star” that appeals to everyone from hippy mamas to stage moms.  Harper suggests Southern charm, a literary background, and musical tendencies.  It can sway both naturey and preppy.  Of these three, Charlotte will fare the best because like Olivia and Sophia, it is a truly timeless classic.

Of the following names, which do you think will weather the storm, and which do you think will date?


Eloise 913 to 530 (295 births vs. 547)

Eleanor 218 to 165 (1479 births vs. 1843)

Penelope 252 to 200 (1293 births vs. 1535)

Amelia 55 to 41 (4678 births vs. 5417)

Scarlett 179 to 114 (1919 births vs. 2700)

Adelaide 568 to 434 (534 births vs. 705)

Lucy 101 to 75 (3170 births vs. 3604)

Giuliana 705 to 376 (410 births vs. 835)

Lorelei 597 to 531 (503 births vs. 546)

Quinn 487 to 253 (630 births vs. 1267)

Rosalie 837 to 590 (332 births vs. 492)

Alice 258 to 172 (1267 births vs. 1761)

Annabella 460 to 310 (669 births vs. 1019)


Josephine 201 to 186  (1619 births vs. 1658)

Clara 199 to 167 (1638 births vs. 1822)

Hazel 293 to 262 (1119 births vs. 1232)

Violet 141 to 123 (2255 births vs. 2531)

Juliet 319 to 285 (1020 births vs. 1135)

June 661 to 597 (440 births vs. 487)

Elsa 684 to 599 (423 births vs. 484)

Isla 345 to 297 (945 births vs. 1090)

Nola 948 to 859 (280 births vs. 308)

Destined to Supernova:

Harper 172 to 119 (1898 babies vs. 2601)- 336 boys were also born with this name in 2010, 316 in 2009

Charlotte 68 to 45 (4171 babies vs. 5314)

Stella 126 to 85 (2551 babies vs. 3407)

Girly Girl Names

June 30th, 2009

Madame Alexander dolls

So it seems not everyone is going retro after all.

Salma has Valentina Paloma, Jen & Ben have Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, Carnie has a Luciana Bella, and now enter Ana Ortiz’s brand spankin’ new Paloma Louise.

Fluid, ultra “pink” monikers have been the rage for some time.  These star babies may help give parents impetus to look beyond usual suspects Isabella, Olivia, Michaela, Gabriella, Daniella, and even Francesca, and choose a name that is familiar yet far more rare.  A glimpse at the breadth of these names’ origins suggests that a polysyllabic name ending in the letter A connotes femininity the world over.   Be forewarned though, one day your little Jacinta might just prefer to go by Jace.

Anneliese- A contraction of Anne and Elisabeth, meaning “grace” + “consecrated to God.”  Ahn-na-LEE-zah is the four syllable German pronunciation.

Araminta- English, unknown meaning.

Artemisia- Greek goddess of the moon and of hunting.  For a trimmed down version, see Artemis.

Aurelia- Latin, “golden.”  This feels like a top 100 choice, yet remains to be seen in the top 1000.

Calista- Greek, “beautiful.”  Miss Flockhart might have brought this to our attention, but she’s been around long enough people no longer associate it just with her.

Delphina- Ancient Roman, from the Greek Delphi, which may be related to “dolphin.”

Eleonora- Italian, German, Dutch, Polish, from the Old French Alienor which means “the other Aenor”, after Eleanor of Aquitaine’s mother.

Elisabetta- One of Italy’s answers to Elizabeth, “consecrated to God,”  the exact same meaning and ancestry as Isabella.

Evangeline- Greek, “good news”– if you can get away from the Evangelical association (depending on your point of view).

Felicity- From the Latin, felicitas for “happiness.”

Florencia- Spanish variation on Florence, “flourishing and prosperous.”

Guinevere- Welsh, “fair breasted.”  Guinevere is not the most revered of heroines.

Hermione- Greek, “messenger.”  Please let’s move beyond HP and go back to her roots!

Indira- Sanskrit for “beauty.”  Indira Gandhi is a worthy namesake.  It’s also another name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.

Iolanthe- Possibly coined by Gilbert and Sullivan for their eponymous opera.

Isadora- Greek, “gift of Isis” (Isis was an Egyptian goddess)- Bjork and Matthew Barney.

Jessamine – English pretty variant of Jasmine.

Jacinta- Greek by way of Spain and Portugal, “hyacinth.”  Also, Jacinda.

Katarina, Ekaterina- Russian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian forms of Katherine, normally associated with Greek katharos which means ”pure.

Kerensa- Cornish, “love.”

Letitia- From the Latin Laetita, “joy, happiness.”  Not to be confused with Lateisha.  Italian Letizia, French Laetitia.

Leilani- Hawaiian, “heavenly flowers.”  Another beauty to suggest to Nevaeh lovers.

Lorelei- Germanic mythological siren who lured sailors to their deaths.  Still, a pretty name popularized by the “Gilmore Girls.”

Magdalena- Pan-European Biblical name from the Hebrew for “tower.”

Mirabella- From the Latin mirabilis “wonderful.”  Also, Mirabelle, Mirabel.

Mireya- Spanish, “admirable.”  Also Mirella, Mireille.

Nadezhda- Slavic, “hope.”

Nerissa- Invented by Shakespear for Merchant of Venice, but since used for various fictional witches.  May derive from the Greek Nereis meaning “nymph.”

Octavia- Ancient Roman, “eighth.”

Ottilia- German, “wealth.”  Also, Ottilie.

Paloma- Spanish, “dove” (and pigeon).  Paloma Picasso said of her name that it had been one of her greatest gifts.

Persephone- Greek mythology, she was abducted by Hades to the underworld but allowed to return for part of the year.  Her arrival represents the start of Spring.

Priscilla- Ancient Roman, Biblical, derives from Priscus, a Roman family name which means “ancient.”  Indeed the name is ancient and warrants revival.  Also, Prisca, Priscille.

Renata- Italian, “rebirth”, and deserving of one.

Rosalia- Derived from Rose, she was a 12th century Sicilian saint who died as a child.

Sapphira- Sapphire or “lapis lazuli”, she was killed by God in the New Testament for lying.  See Eudora Welty’s Sapphira and the Slave Girl. Better known as the dragon in Eragon.

Serafina- “Fiery one”, from the Seraphim, highest order of angels.  Baby Seraphina Affleck did set this name on fire.  Also Seraphine, Zerafina.

Tatiana- Ancient Roman by way of Eastern Europe.  The similar sounding Titania was used by Shakespeare in Midsummer’s Nights Dream.

Valentina- Roman, “brave and healthy.”  I was once told when I fell in love with this name ten years ago that if I ever used it for a daughter, she “could never be a feminist.”  I contend there’s a new brand of feminism in town.

Violetta- Italian operatic form of Violet, in Verdi’s “La Traviata.”  Also Violette.

Xiomara- Spanish, “famous in battle”, as was one in “America’s Next Top Model.”

Above: Madame Alexander dolls.

Roll Call: Tiara Toting Tots

March 12th, 2009

Eye Liner Time


After watching Madame Duggar inch closer to the birth of her 18th child, I was lucky enough to catch a bit of TLC’s reality show “Toddlers in Tiaras” the other night.  

Evidently there are two kinds of pageants:  Natural and Full Glitz.   The glitz is what pageants are famous for, where the claws come out, and when stage mommeighs go over the top to win.   I cannot help but call the judgement of these parents into question.   Spray tans, false eyelashes, hair pieces, and flippers.  You know what flippers are?   They’re false teeth that they use to “correct” a six-year-old’s smile.   They drag everyone on stage, from a two-year-old mid tantrum, to a sleeping baby who couldn’t care less.  We are introduced to each family by the town they live in and a shot of the outside of their home. 

Where this concerns us, of course, is their parents’ judgement when it comes to names.  Holly’s OK, and I rather like Story– though this may give me pause, sweet as the girl may be.   




Daylee (& Destiny)


Destiny (& Daylee)



Jadyn (x2)








and a boy named Peyton.


We’ve got so many trends going on here I’m having trouble seeing straight.  There is of course the Mc trend with MaKayla, which bumps right into the K trend that Karmen suffers.  Carmen would have been lovely!  Two Jadyns on the ladies– there are no words.  There are two trends that actually almost caught me off guard:  First, were the propensity of “eighs” in Marleigh, Kayleigh, Haleigh, and Kaleigha (I mean this is getting ridiculous).   Second, the amount of word names:  Destiny, Desiree, Story, and even Holly.  File Brooklyn under place names, Aliyah under celebrity inspired, and Daylee under a general what is that?  and our list is complete.  Sigh.  I feel badly for adding insult to injury, but it’s far from what these girls are put through every day.