Are you watching?  The US plays Japan today in the finals of the Women’s World Cup in soccer.  My other half is a big fan, and we’ll be glued to the set this afternoon along with our two young daughters.

Could there be a more apt moniker for a goalie than Hope Solo?  Yes, my friends, this is actually our goalie’s name.   Otherwise, the US and Canada largely failed to surprise me with their given names, but here are some more I found scintillating for our nerdy purposes.

A few quick observations: Brazil and Equatorial Guinea think highly enough of their players so they only go by one name.  All the Japanese names end in a vowel.  All the Korean players have double names.  Colombia loves the letter Y.

Do you examine credits and jerseys like a hawk every chance you get?  Anything that intrigues you here?


USA: Hope Solo


Australia: ColletteServet, Teigen





Canada: Carmelina, Marie-Eve


Colombia: Yineth, Yuli, Carmen, Yoreli, Yulieht, Lady, Ingrid, Orianica


England: Fara, Eniola, Dunia, Siobhan





France: Celine, Laure, Ophelie, Sandrine, Corine, Sonia, Eugenie, Camille, Elodie, Berangere, Gaetane, Marie-Laure


Germany: Nadine, Bianca, Saskia, Babett, Annike, Simone, Inka, Birgit, Ursula,

Celia, Verena, Ariane, Fatmire, Lena, Almuth

Japan: Nozomi, Yukari, Azusa, Sakim, Kyoko, Mizuho, Kozue, Aya, Nahomi,

Homare, Shinobu, Miho, Rumi, Megumi (x2), Asuna, Yuki, Karina, Mana


Korea: Myong Hui, Hong Yon, Un Byol, Myong Gum, Jong Sun, Sol Hui, Hyon Hi, Su Gyong, Un Sim, Yun Mi, Ye Gyong, Myong Hwa, Un Ju, Chung Sim, Jong Hui, Pok Sim, Un Hyang, Jin Sim, Mi Gyong, Song Hwa, Chol Ok

As we all know by now, Natalie Portman and fiance Benjamin Millepied chose the name Aleph for their son.  Aleph represents the space marker in the Hebrew alphabet or aleph bet, that takes on the breathy position of a glottal stop or pronunciation of the vowel adjacent to it in the word.

Jewish mysticism associates Aleph with air, a oneness with God, and infinity.  In the sacred text Sefer Yetzirah, “Aleph is King over Breath, Formed Air in the universe, Temperate in the Year, and the Chest in the soul.”  In Rabbinic Hebrew, the Bible begins with Bet, the second letter of the alphabet.  To reward Aleph for “his” humility, he is given the task of starting The Ten Commandments.

In addition to the first letter of the alphabet, it also represents the number one.  Both Natalie Portman’s father Avner and her grandfather Arthur‘s names begin with the aleph, and it perhaps honors both men without explicitly naming her son after a living relative (her father is living while her grandfather has passed).  After reading more about Aleph, I’ve come to really respect the choice and expect my research only scratches the surface of this spiritual name.  Natalie Portman is a Harvard graduate would not take a decision like this lightly, so while at first it may have seemed like a wacky celeb name, it’s actually one chosen from careful deliberation.


The week also brought us news of another much anticipated babe, the child of David and Victoria Beckham.  They shocked us all when they chose zeitgeist sweetheart Harper as their daughter’s first name, but stuck to their convention of choosing the unconventional with they put Seven in the middle.

Despite being the fourth child, Seven is David Beckham’s lucky number. 7 was his Jersey when he played for English team Manchester United and the national team.  Harper Seven was also born in the 7th hour on the 7th day (Sunday) in the 7th month and weighed 7 something pounds.  It looks like it’s her lucky number too.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Seven used as a name.  Erykah Badu dubbed her son Seven way back in 1997, and as readers so astutely pointed out in the comments, Seven was George Costanza’s unborn child until a couple overheard him and “stole” the name.  My generation will recall Six on Blossom, and Novogratz child and fifth son Five made is reality TV debut last year on Nine By Design.

I went to high school with a boy called “Cuatro” because he was the fourth in line to bear the name.  Trey and Trip are also variations on this theme which sometimes wind up on the birth certificate.  I’m partial to Sixtine (sic) and Octavian myself.  In some languages Nina is the number nine and Una number one.

Do you think letters and numbers are the next wave in baby names? It’s just an extension of the word name trend, and has the capacity to dip into religious and cultural symbolism of the power of symbols, scientific and mathematical harmonies, and the history of language.  I can see Brooklyn parents really digging this.  Gone are the days when being “just a number” is construed as a bad thing.

Are there any letters or numbers you particularly would like to see on a child?

I’m dumbfounded.  Flabbergasted.  Utterly thunderstruck.  But not for the reasons I expected to be.

Rumors targeted them with a Luna, a Santa, or an Atlanta, but it was not to pass.

Name frontier warriors David and Victoria Beckham have dubbed their newborn baby girl Harper Seven.

It’s a bit of a free fall after boys Brooklyn, Romeo, and Cruz.  All were skirting the outer reaches of creativity when they were born in 1999, 2002, and 2005.  But Harper follows a long line of celebrity tots.  Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Grohl, Tiffani Thiessen, and Lisa Marie Presley all have toddling Harpers, and it’s been climbing the charts at one of the quickest clips I can remember.  It appeals to everyone from hippies and hipsters, Southern Belles to West Coast beaus and now British-ex-pat-ex-pop-star-footballer types.  To most parents, it feels new.  How long will this last I wonder?

Not long ago, I pegged it destined to supernova.  But I didn’t know it would happen so soon.  What do you think?  Top 10 in 5 years?   Thank you, Posh and Becks, for helping at least one prediction come true.

P.S. Here’s one more prediction: between Seven and Aleph?  Expect numbers and letters to be the next big thing.

The Kardashian family wastes no time when it comes to love, marriage, and the baby carriage.

Last week, Kim Kardashian confirmed her engagement to Kris Humphries of the New Jersey Nets.  My first thought was, “is his name REALLY Kris, or is he just trying to fit in?”  My second thought was, did his name (the same as Kardashian mother hen Kris Jenner) help him to feel like family?

Kim is already calling dibs for her favorite K names.  According to sister Khloe:

“Kim is the only crazy person that would actually like, reserve.  Lamar and I like baby names, but I’m not going to say, ‘No one else can have this name!’ ”

Big sis Kourtney opted out of the kraze when she chose Mason Dash for her son with Scott Disick.  Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe also have a brother Rob, named after father Robert Kardashian, and two baby sisters, Kendall and Kylie.

I’ve written extensively about this before as changing a C to a K, like in Khloe and Kourtney, is one of my Seven Deadly Trends.  Yet there are still plenty of lovely K names out there which Mr. and Mrs. Humphries could choose from.  Let’s try to gently guide them, before one more KATASTROPHE sweeps the nation.

Some of the more unusual names here hail from Armenia, Kim’s father’s home country.  They could make lovely middle name choices, but my money’s on Robert in the middle should they have a boy.

Kadri- Estonian form of Katherine.

Kaia- Norwegian diminutive of Katarina.

Kallista- Greek, “most beautiful.”  I see Kim opting for this or Karissa– a long flowy, “pretty” K name.

Karissa- Derived from Greek charis meaning “grace, kindness.”

Kerensa- Cornish, “love”

Keturah- Hebrew, “incense”; Abraham’s second wife

Kira- May be derived from Greek kyrios, “lord.”

Kohar- Armenian, “jewel.”

Kai- Hawaiian for “sea”, among other meanings.

Keane, Kian- Anglicized forms of the Gaelic Cian, “ancient.”

Keegan- Irish, ”descendent of Aodhagán.”

Keghart- Armenian, “lance, spear”

Khajag- Armenian, “blue-eyed”

Kieran- Anglicized version of the Irish Ciaran, “black.”  Karen is also male name in Armenia and this one could plese the family.

Kip- Usually a nickname, I could see these two opting for another short name like Mom & Dad

Kirk- Scottish via Old Norse via Greek, “church”

Knox- Scottish, “round hill”

Krikor- Armenian form of Gregory, “watchful”

Kristof- Eastern European version of Christopher, in honor of all the Krises in the fam.

Upon wiki’ing Kris Humphries, I discovered his family kanoodling with the letter K as well.  He has two older sisters: Krystal and Kaela.  Also of note? As a child he was a champion swimmer, first six events, second in the others to one other person– Michael Phelps.

What are your favorite K names?

Baby Hockey Player Mathemetician

September 8th, 2010

We have another mother in need.  Here’s a letter from Amy:

We are expecting our second child in late September and do not know the gender.

Our family is an interesting collection.  I am very artsy/vintage/quirky and I am a scientist.  My husband refers to himself as a geek (there are 2 “ee”‘s in Electrical Engineer, he says), so definitely a sense of humor as well.  His name is Beau and is a former hockey player and current sports enthusiast.  We also love to travel.

I would like the name to convey personality, a sense of identity and something that will fit throughout their life.  Also, something with the potential for a cute nickname when they’re younger and a full name not so cutesy for when they are an adult.

We currently have one girl, about 2 and a half.  Her name is Vinetta Pearl (great Aunt was Vinetta, not necessarily intentional to have a family name and Pearl just because we liked it…), so something that would pair nicely would be great, but not a final requirement.

We really love names that have a vintage feel or at least an element of uniqueness.  Being an Amy, I was always one of many in a class and really didn’t like that.  Now when I say unique, I don’t mean “kreeaytive” just a name that you won’t run into every day.  We also like quirky :)

Some names we considered while pregnant with Vinetta:

Beatrix (but I was afraid of the nn Trixie)

Mathilda (thought Tillie would be a cute nn)

Clementine (however, do NOT like Tina for a nn)

Ingrid (she was Ingrid for about 5 minutes, but I decided I pictured Ingrid as a blonde, which now Vinetta is very blonde :)

Cecilia (my paternal grandmother Hildur’s middle name)


Ruby (but that was taken out of contention when the nurse mentioned there were 2 other Ruby’s born within a week)

Piper (my husband ultimately said no)

Jasper (but what kind of nickname)

Phineas (my husband said no eventually)

Milo (again with the no from him)

Leo (I love this, he does not)

Names he likes, and I do not:

Maxwell (but I had a dog called Max growing up, so this one doesn’t thrill me)







A couple other names we can’t use due to family members or current pets we have:  Alice, Eleanor, Poppy, Daisy and Violet.

We are seriously stuck on boy names.  My husband offered up quite a few related to mathematicians, physicists and hockey players, which I immediately eliminated (Euhler is an example…). He does love hockey – the Minnesota Wild, the New Jersey Devils, Minnesota Gophers (college team) are his main favorites.  He also loves all things German, whereas I am pretty smitten with all things British.  ;-)

Thank you so much, I am really looking forward to hearing some suggestions from everyone.

There are a ton of different directions to go for you guys Amy, and your letter is very exciting.  Jasper seems like a real possibility, and as you said, your “leftovers” from naming Vinetta are still delicious!

Let’s start with your husband.  I scoured rosters from his various teams for great names, searched the history books for the math people.  Without regard to how they play or how their theories evolved, here’s what I turned up:


Ada- Ada Lovelace

Blaise- Blaise Pascal

Cedric- Cedric Villani- 2010 Field’s Medalist

Edward- Edward Witten

Isaac- Isaac Newton

Jules- Jules Henri Poincaré

Leon- Leohnard Euler; in lieu of Euler

Pascal- Blaise Pascal; also Pascal Dupuis from Minnesota Wild Players

Rozsa- Rozsa Peter

Minnesota Gophers

Kellen- Kellen Briggs

Nico- Nico Sacchetti

Seth- Seth Helgeson

Minnesota Wild Players

Mattias- Mattias Weinhandl

Roman- Roman Simicek

Sebastien / Sebastian- Sebastien Bordeleau

Sylvain / Sylvan- Sylvain Blouin

New Jersey Devils

Anders- Anders Carlsson

Murray- Murray Brumwell

Pascal (again!)- Pascal Rheaume

Reid- Reid Simpson

Others that remind me of your lists in one way or another.  Not all are easily nickname-able, but see what you think:





Casimir- Cass

Frederick- Freddy

Gustav- Gus

Hendrik- Henry?


Joachim- Joe, Joey



Raphael- Rafe


Tobias- Toby

















Odilia, Ottilie







Readers, is there anything here that you absolutely love?  What do you suggest for Amy’s child?

He gazed up to the sky, a long penetrating gaze, just after the ball grazed England goalkeeper Green’s fingers.

Hailing from Nacogdoches, Texas, Clint Dempsey (born Clinton) is our man.

Think more little Clints are in the works?  What about Dempsey?  It could go to a boy or a girl?

Landon Donovan is another from team U.S. who packs a double punch for potential namesakes.  Both Landon and Donovan have been on the rise for a while, but this may just be the boost the name needs to catapult him to stardom, especially if Donovan rises to the occasion during the games.

Beasley, Clark, Findley, Holden, Howard, and Spector all have potential to win over the hearts of American soccer fans with their surnames and make it to the birth certificate.  Bocanegra, after the captain Carlos Bocanegra, is a most adventurous option.

Men need an entry point.  It’s worth watching the world cup with them to see if you derive any inspiration together.  I myself tried to get to Josephine nn Josie via the Jozy Altidore angle (born Josmer), but it was a no go.  Perhaps you’ll have better luck than I had.

Tour de France Riders

July 15th, 2009



The renowned Tour de France bicycle race is underway and I cannot tell you how beautiful the scenery is.  The riders hail from around the world, and while many of them may have middle-aged names in their home countries, quite a few sound awfully fresh to me.

I have no idea who is ahead or if Lance will make a play for the title, but here are the monikers we might want to pilfer aux Etats Unis.  Underlined are those that seem particularly poised  to make the voyage next, while several are already here.


Amaël (Moinard)

Amets (Txurruka) 

Andreas (Klier)

Arnaud (Coyot)

Benoït (Vaudgrenard)

Bernhard (Eisel)

Brice (Feillu)

Christian (Knees, Vande Velde)

Christophe (Kern, Moreau)

Cyril (Dessel, Lemoine)

Dmitriy (Muravyev)

Egoi (Martinez)

Fabian (Cancellara, Wegmann)

Filippo (Pozzato)

Frederik (Willems)

Geoffroy (LeQuatre)

Grischa (Niermann)

Gustav (Larsson)

Heinrich (Haussler)

Hubert (Dupont)

Igor (Anton)

Inigo (Cuesta)

Jérôme (Coppel, Pineau)

Johan (Van Summeren)

Johannes (Fröhlinger)

Joost (Posthuma) -This wins the award for absolute weirdest last name ever!  FN pronounced “Yost”, like toast.

Julian (Dean)

Jurgen (Van den Broeck, Van der Walle)

Koldo (Fernandez)

Lance (Armstrong)

Laurens (Ten Dam)

Laurent (LeFevre)

Levi (Leipheimer)

Linus (Gerdemann)

Lloyd (Mondory)

Marcin (Sapa)

Martijn (Maaskant)

Marzio (Bruseghin)

Mauro (Santambrogio)

Maxime (Monfort)

Mickaël (Delage)

Oscar (Freire, Pereiro Sio)

Pierre (Rolland)

Pierrick (Federigo)

Piet (Rooijaakers)

Rémi (Pauriol)

Rigoberto (Uran)

Rinaldo (Nacentini)

Romain (Feillu)

Ryder (Hesjedal)- a rider named Ryder.  

Ruben (Perez Moreno)

Saïd (Haddou)

Sebastian (Lang)-  the course also knows several Sébastiens.

Sergio (Paulinho)

Simon (Geschke, Spilak)

Stijn (Devolder)

Styn (Vandenbergh)

Stuart (O’Grady)

Sylvain (Chavanel)

Thierry (Hupond)

Thor (Hushovd)

Vladimir (Karpets)



This was all I wanted for Mother’s Day.  

SSA published the list.  Here’s a look at the fast risers from vast wealth that is the Social Security Administration top 1000 names from 2008.


People are quicker to take chances on their girls.

Who woulda’ thunk it?  The fastest female riser was Khloe with a K, catapulting 469 places from #665 to #196.  Jacoby, top choice for boys in 2008 plus a superfluous Y, rose a mere 200 points by comparison from 623 to 423. Khloe konspired with Chloe, who cracked the top 10 for the first time up from #16 in 2007.  Khloe has gained attention as an alternate spelling from Keeping Up With the Kardashians, all of whom have names that begin with K (the sisterhood includes Kourtney, Kim, Kendall and Kylie).  And all of this goes back to O.J., remember?  Jacoby rides on the coattails of Jacob as an intriguing cognate.  He saw the limelight last year on the baseball field with Red Sox rookie Jacoby Ellsbury.  


Couch Potatoes:

Khloe- Kardashian, up a staggering 469 points from #665 to #196

Audrina- The Hills, up 354 to #353

Kimora- Kimora Lee Simmons of reality TV, up 73 to #291

Penelope- Ms. Cruz, LOST- up 51 to #358

Aaden- Debuted at an insane #323, “the professor” (one with the glasses) on Jon and Kate +8.

Cohen- The O.C., up 35 landing at #356

Sawyer- LOST, up 15 to #225

and many, many more…


L is where it’s at.  

Non-consecutive double Ls prevail.  Lilah, Lyla, Delilah, Lila, Lola, Leila, Lilly, Laila, Leilani, Lilliana, Lillian, Lily, and Liliana all prove much more appealing to parents in 2008 compared to previous years.  When you combine Lilah, Lyla, and Lila alone, they rose at total of 384 places, bringing it to 4th on the list of climbers.


K is also masculine.

The hard C sound connotes strength on the boys’ side, in several forms.  Only two of the top 10 male risers are missing this sound– August and Braylon.  The other top eight here?  Jacoby, Kane, Beckett, Paxton, Kale, Ryker, Kingston and Kolton.  Gotta love the K.  


Spell it any which way but Jadon.

While Jadon, a bonafide Biblical name, fell 48 spots last year from #473 to #425, his brothers (and sisters) bumrushed the list:  Zayden leaped the most, 103 points from #591 to #488.  Braydon rose 39 points, from #364 to #325.  Braiden, Kayden, Caiden, Kaiden, and Jaiden all jumped 24 places or more.  Jaydon and Braeden were the only other double digit droppers in the clan.  

The ever feminine Peyton and Payton broke through the top 100 girls’ names at #60 and #90 respectively.  While still qualifying as androgynous, they are much less popular for boys with he-Peyton at #130 (fell 5) and he-Payton at #276 (rose 3).  She-Hayden rose 69 points to #126.  She-Kayden rose 117 to #391.


The Break Throughs.

Boys inducted into the top 1000 of note include Odin, Pierre, Callum, Cassius, Leonidas, and Tripp.

Amongst the new girls are Sloane, Nola, June, Isla, Matilda, Gemma, and Kenley.


Above: An overnight baby name celebrity, Khloe Kardashian.

Guess The Group!

January 12th, 2009


I recently came across what I think reads as a distinct group of names, particularly when taken as a whole.  Can you guess what these guys have in common?  (Don’t google until *after* you guess!!!)  No prize here, just your own pride.  If you KNOW the names, it’s not a guess.  Please don’t answer if you know!

I’ll reveal Wednesday morning. 

Ding ding ding!!! Jaime got it right on the nose with BULL RIDERS! Nascar drivers, 4-H club, monster truck riders were among the guesses… you guys are good at this! Superhero alter egos and people who go by their middle name were the more creative choices. “Auspicious” specifically pegged the rural quality of these regional favorites. I think it illustrates an interesting point about how names hang together as a group. When naming a child, think about what community your child will be brought up in, how you want your child to blend in or stand apart, and how names in your community might reflect on one another. 

Aaron Roy

Austin Meyer

Billy Robinson

Brendan Clark

Brian Canter

Brian Herman

Clayton Foltyn

Clayton Williams

Cody Campbell

Cody Ford

Colby Yates

Cord McCoy

D.J. Domangue

Dustin Elliott

Dustin Hall

Ednei Caminhas

Greg Potter

Guilhelme Marchi

Harve Stewart

J.B. Mauney

Josh Koschel

Kasey Hayes

Kody Lostroh

Leonil Santos

Luke Snyder

Matt Bohon

Mike White

Nick Landreneau

Pim Rosa

Pistol Robinson

Renato Nunes

Robson Palermo

Ryan Dirteater

Ryan McConnel

Sean Willingham

Shane Proctor

Travis Briscoe

Valdiron de Oliveira

Vince Northrop

Zach Brown

Tripped Up.

December 30th, 2008



I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston welcomed their first child into the world, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston on December 27, 2008.

NAME UPDATE 12/31/08: Tripping is kind of penalty in hockey, and Easton is a brand of hockey stick.  So Tripp Easton is in essence, tripping another player with your stick.  Not so friendly.  (Though it is nice when my better half can throw his two cents into the name blog!)

Now when the Palin children first hit the news I didn’t touch their names with a ten foot pole. Why? I don’t want the blog to get too political, and mostly I feared partisan commentary would take over the more pertitinent topic of baby names. All joking aside, I just can’t help myself today. We’re all familiar now with the Palin monikers: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig. Track, their first born, was named literally after the running track. Bristol is after Alaskan Bristol Bay. Willow is also after an Alaskan community, and while they just thought Piper was a cool name, it’s also the name of a small aircraft common in Alaska, and so might have been in their consciousness that way. Trig was chosen for after his great uncle and for its meaning, from the Norse Trygg which means “safe and truthful” according to one Scandinavian site. Bristol has really grown on me since I first heard it. I know of several local and celebrity little Willows and Pipers, so nothing shocking there. But I still struggle with naming a child after a sports apparatus, and the matchiness of the brothers’ names.

Now add young Tripp to the mix. Baby Trig and his nephew Tripp will be a mere 8 months apart. I’m truly intrigued by the choice of name. Why give a name so similar to his uncles when they will undoubtedly be raised along side one another? Does anyone else have a hard time trying to say the names together?

My search for history on the name only leads to use as a nickname or as a surname. Most often it is a nickname standing in for “three”, for either the third son or the third in a lineage of males with the same name.

He is a third of sorts. Where all three names are concerned, I can’t help picturing the poor boy tripping on the track while lamenting failure on his most recent trig exam.

While Tripp isn’t my style per se, I can see reasons why they might have chosen it. To an extent pays homage to Bristol’s brothers, and makes him part of a distinct trio. It also may symbolize a voyage, or more specifically for Tripp Easton, a trip east? There are many things to appreciate here, and I wish the Palin-Johnstons all the best.


For a diplomatic perspective on the Palin names, please see Laura Wattenberg’s post on Alaskan baby naming.

For a less diplomatic perspective, please visit the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator.



Image Above: Stokke’s unrelated Tripp Trapp high chair, that the young lad just might be using before too long!