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Name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder & CEO of BabyNames.com
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Teachers Reveal Funniest Student Names

My sister is a long time elementary school teacher. She asked her Facebook group of teachers about the most unique student names they’ve encountered throughout the year. Here are the results:

  • BamBam
  • Beauty Im’Unique
  • Tequila
  • Rebel
  • Messiah
  • Abcde (pronounced AB-si-dee)*
  • Sir Highness
  • Christ (female)
  • Elvis (female)
  • Graiggeree (pr. Gregory)
  • Sexangry
  • Taco Champagne
  • Jack Daniels
  • Empressfatima
  • Da’Money
  • Anonymous Unique
  • Alizé (like the liquor)
  • Legion
  • Zeppelin
  • Quaintlyn and Quamryn (pr. Caitlyn and Cameron), twins
  • Green
  • Vanity
  • Treasure
  • Cinderella Piper
  • London England
  • Degree
  • Edge (short for Edgerton)
  • Tesla
  • Casanova
  • God Osiris
  • Sagan
  • Cashmere
  • Beautiful
  • Denim Gene
  • Shiney Jewels
  • Crease
  • Disney
  • Mhylz (pr. Miles)
  • Chancellor
  • Valor
  • Adorabella
  • T-Rex

*There are many urban name myths floating around, and Abcde seems to be one of them. Several of the teachers posted that they knew someone or “my friend had…” the infamous twins “Lemonjello and Orangejello” in their classroom. But our research shows no evidence that these twins actually exist. Anywhere. Other name myths that may exist somewhere but no, you don’t know a person who knows them: La-a (la-dasha) and Shithead (pronounced sha-teed).

 

Can I use this name from Grease?

Hi Jennifer,

First of all, I adore your site! I have no children but I have a supreme passion for names. I was watching the new Grease: Live event and was struck by the name Kenickie. I guess when I saw Grease as a child I never really thought about names. Anyway, I was wondering if you had any information on the name Kenickie as I couldn’t find it anywhere on the site. I think it is an interesting name that I have never heard used before, or since Grease.

Thanks so much,
Cassie

Hi Cassie,

I have a supreme passion for names, too! Thank you for your kind words. The character name Kenickie from the musical Grease was the character’s surname and was based on the Polish surname, Kenicke. The show’s creators, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, most likely changed the spelling of the character’s name to be phonetic.

I suspect they chose the name because it rhymed with the word “hickey” as he boasts in the show, “A hickie from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!” Kenickie is also a name that sounded tough and “street” with its double hard consonants.

P.S. There is a band named Kenickie from the 90’s, which probably got its name from the Grease character.

Thanks for writing!
Jennifer

Jeff Conaway as Kenickie and John Travolta as Danny in Grease, 1978

Jeff Conaway as Kenickie and John Travolta as Danny in Grease, 1978

Baker and Occupational Names
,

Dear Jennifer,

I love Baker as a surname, and it’s also listed on your website as a first name. Is Baker an accepted first name for a boy?

Sincerely,
Sasha R.

Hi Sasha,
baker
Absolutely Baker can be a first name! Occupational names that were originally surnames have become pretty trendy in the past couple of years, especially for boys. Consider: Mason (bricklayer), Archer, Carter, Hunter, Parker, Chandler…the list goes on!

The only caveat I would have is that the slang term “baked” is used to denote someone who is high on marijuana. I don’t really see that affecting the full name Baker, unless you call him “Bake” for a nickname.

Hope that helps!
Sincerely,
Jennifer

Name Pronunciation

Name Pronunciation

Hi Jennifer!

Sometimes when I’m looking at names on this site I’m not 100% certain of their pronunciation. Is there a way for you to add a sound bite or a pronunciation key to the names? I’m sure that would be a big task to undertake…

I love this site. I’ve been coming here for years for ideas! :-)

Thanks,
Ricki

Dear Ricki,

Several years ago, we did start recording name pronunciations but found that we couldn’t do so. Why? Because pronunciation is dependent on many things: geographical location, ethnicity, and even the parent’s preference. I have two friends, for example, both named Dana. One pronounces it DAY-na, and the other DAN-na. The name Jaime, for example could be pronounced JAY-mee (for English speakers) or HI-may (for Spanish speakers).

Even the name Carrie is pronounced differently in Chicago than in New York City! Can you believe it?

Because of all these factors, we have opted to not put either a written or recorded pronunciation with the names.

Thank you for writing and for being a fan!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

 

Ethan for a girl?

Hi Jennifer,

A little question from a fan of your site from the Netherlands!

I’m a single mom with a beautiful little boy Caleb and having another little bundle of joy in 2016. I’ve decided on the name Ethan if I’m having a boy, but can’t really decide on a girls name. All the names on my girls-list are more boys’ names…. Like Aidan, Logan, Mason and I’ve even considered Ethan, just because of my love for the name. Here in the Netherlands the names Caleb and Ethan are extremely rare as it is, and it’s getting more and more popular to give girls a name that originally is more for boys… What do you think about the trend of boys’ names for girls?

Sincerely,

Michaela

Dear Michaela,

I think as name genders are becoming more fluid, it is acceptable to give a girl a name that was historically male. At least here in the U.S., I cannot speak for the Netherlands. I guess it all depends on culture and how your daughter would live with the name. If it’s highly unusual for a girl to be named Ethan in Holland, she may be teased for it. I think some great cross-gender names for girls would be Everett, Logan, or Parker! There is a famous actress named Parker Posey.

Hope that helps!

Sincerely,

Jennifer

 

Parker Posey, actress

Parker Posey, actress

 

Go Westry, Young Man!

Hello Jennifer,

I was reading book called The Bungalow by Sarah Jio and I really liked the hero’s first name: Westry.
I was wondering if you could tell me more about it just for fun. I also wondered if you would like to add it to your site.bungalow-sarah-jio

Sincerely,
Amy

Dear Amy,

Westry is originally an English surname, meaning “Family from the West.” Variations include Westray, Westrich, Westrey, Westraigh and many more. The name was first recorded in the 1200’s in Lincolnshire, UK.

I love finding unique fictional character names and researching them! You should write the author and ask her how she came upon the name for her character.

Hope that helps and thanks for the cool addition to our database!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Boy Named Summer

Hi Jennifer,

My son was born on June 23 which is the date of summer arrival in lunar calendar. I would like to give him a meaningful name “Summer” but my hubby think it’s a girl name. Is it only for girl? If a boy name Summer, is it weird?

Do you have any good name if you also think summer isn’t for boy.

Thanks!
Vickie

Hi Vickie,

I believe your deadline is up for choosing names, if he was already born on June 23rd! Are you changing the boy’s name or is it due in 2016?

Nevertheless…I think Summer is an appropriate name for a boy. Think of the names Hunter, Tanner, Baxter, Chandler–all similar names ending in -ER. There are many names that are crossing the gender divide nowadays, so I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

That being said, men (dads) tend to be more sensitive with boys’ names. Probably because they are more prone to be teased? I don’t know. But tell Dad that if a boy is taught to be comfortable with his own name and masculinity, he won’t have a problem. I knew a huge football player in college named Kim. Do you think anyone teased him about his name? NO!

Another thing you could do is put an S at the end of it to make the name Summers. That conforms to the trend of using surnames as first names, like Mason, Madison, Hunter et. al.

Hope that helps!

Sincerely,
Jennifer
A Boy Named Summer

“Rebranding” an Adopted Child

Dear Jennifer,

We will be adopting a beautiful, spunky, outgoing, very popular blonde female very soon. To give you a little detail to further assist us, we will be moving after the adoption. We felt that since we were adopting her and her current name will be changing anyway, that this is a great time to help (if you will) “re-brand” her name! As it stands now, it would look horrible on a resume, for business, email etc when she is older…. Additionally, sometimes children make fun of her current name or nickname anyway… Sad – but, true! She does very well in school and is physically and spiritually beautiful… We are college grads and I believe that she will be as well! We are very blessed to have this miracle coming our way: As our daughter we feel it is critical to give her a new name. The name she currently has does not fit her and/or do justice for her spirit and character. We are mostly of Celtic background. Since her last name will be Riley we are considering the following names and would love some input or advice.

Thank You!

Savannah G.

studio portrait of a caucasian cute litle girl

Dear Savannah,

Although you didn’t mention the age of the child, it sounds like she is older, since she is already at school and is doing well and is popular. Congratulations.

At first I had to reread your letter to make sure you weren’t talking about adopting a dog. “Rebranding?” “Physically and spiritually beautiful?” And why do you feel compelled to mention she is blonde? This is a human you’re talking about, not a product, not your accessory.

My usual advice on renaming is 6-months and under is okay, but anytime after that, they have already identified themselves with the name they have been called. If the child is being adopted and has a name that is difficult to pronounce or spell in English, then give them an “American” or “English” name, but let them keep their original name legally. Why not?

I assume you’re giving her your surname, I really wouldn’t advise changing her first name, as well.

Not once in your message did you say your daughter wanted to change her name. You said YOU feel it is critical to give her a new name. But how do you know her name will look “horrible” on a resume? Maybe her accomplishments will stand out.

My advice: if you want something new to name, get a puppy.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Kelly: Boy’s or Girl’s Name?
,

Dear Jennifer,

I have been looking at the name Kelly quite often lately because of my interest in genealogy – and I have found that in my genealogy most, if not all, of the Kellys are male, something I find interesting. I am aware that it is originally a male name, so my questions are, when do you believe it shifted and became a more female name (thinking Beverly Hills success did indeed help it become a feminine name) – and on which gender do you prefer the name?

Personally I prefer it on a boy, but just wondering what you think of it. :)

Great blog – and most of the time I agree with your responses, so great job and keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide - Chicago Fire

Taylor Kinney as Kelly Severide – Chicago Fire

Sandra

Hi Sandra,

Great question! I love the name Kelly on both girls and boys, maybe because of my Irish roots! Like Ashley and Brittany, the name Kelly has crossed over to the girl’s side, primarily, in the United States. But although it has shifted, there are still some male Kellys out there, and I hope it does make a resurgence on the boy’s side of the charts.

I knew a male Kelly in college, and he was very tall and handsome! And we now have a male Kelly on one of the most popular shows on network television, Chicago Fire, played by Taylor Kinney (another unisex name). P.S. GROWL!

Would I recommend parents name their child Kelly? Yes, if that’s a name that they are considering (and it goes with all my other tips). I believe gender lines are going to continue to merge when it comes to baby names, especially when a name has been on both sides at one point in time!

Sincerely,
Jennifer

Message from the Name Angel: Don’t do this!
,

Dear Jennifer,

My husband loves the name Heaven Leigh. But our last name is Messenger, so her name would be Heaven Leigh Messenger. I don’t know if that just sounds ridiculous. I have read many things about the name Heaven, from “it’s beautiful,” to “it sounds like a strippers name.”

I don’t know if I like it it or not. But my husband loves it and really wants to name our daughter this. Help please.

Thanks,
Ashley

Dear Ashley,

It sounds ridiculous. Growing up is hard enough, why would you want to put such a target on your daughter to make her name a joke? Tell your husband to go to Starbucks, and when they ask for his name to say “Heaven Leigh Messenger” and see how he feels bearing that name.

Sincerely,
Jennifer
angel

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