Sunday, July 23, 2017

Help Choose August's Names of the Month!

Have you cast your vote yet? 


Thank you for voting! If you'd like to submit your own favorite name combinations to be used in future Names of the Month polls, go to this page and enter them!  


Check FacebookTwitter or Instagram on August 1st to see which names won.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Paired Five Ancient Girl Names with Vintage Middle Names


Creating a great first and middle name combination takes some practice. Some people have a very hard time with it and others are rather skilled at it! If you’d like to improve your naming skills, I thought I’d provide a few examples to show my step-by-step thought process for pairing two names together. Here is a list of names that work well together. You could either use these as inspiration or actually take and use them for your child.

This list of names is based on two specific styles that I like. The first names are all “ancient” names and the middles are more on the traditional, vintage side. I picked out five of my favorites to show you:

  1. Amabel Grace
  2. Sabrina Ruby
  3. Sibyl Josephine
  4. Viviana Pearl
  5. Francesca Ivy

1. Amabel is a medieval name that has never caught on in modern times. Short form Mabel was popular in the 1880s and early 1900s but it is now considered a vintage name that is beginning to be revived again. Amabel is an obscure choice but it sounds similar enough to names like Annabelle and Arabella that it wouldn’t stand out as odd. With its three syllables and unique nature, I chose to pair it with the simple but lovely Grace. Grace is a virtue name and is very common for middle names these days so the popularity contrast provides balance to Amabel. Meaning-wise, Amabel means “loveable” which compliments the idea of grace in an attractive way. Amabel Grace is very balanced in many different ways which makes for a great first and middle name combination!

2. Sabrina dates back to the 12th century based on the Roman name for a river in Wales.  It has had 5 popularity spikes since the 1950s so it has been well used but it is currently not high on parents’ radars, ranking at a respectable #370 in 2016. It has three syllables which flows nicely with Ruby’s two syllables. Ruby is another vintage name that was popular about a hundred years ago and has come back into style today. Ruby currently ranks at #71 so they have a bit of a popularity contrast which is nice.  If you notice, both names have an R and a B. This is a personal preference. I think Sabrina Ruby as a combination ties together well because of this shared sound.

3.  Sibyl can also be spelled Sybil. Both names date back to Greek and Roman legend and they were popular in the Middle Ages too. I like Sibyl for being rather unheard of today. It hasn’t really been used at all in recent years for that spelling. Sybil is a bit more used but still only receives about 100 births per year. It is a lovely, two-syllable name that happens to pair beautifully with a longer traditional middle name. In this instance, I chose Josephine but I also debated using Margaret and Theodora.  Josephine is a feminine spin on the classic male name Joseph and it is considered a lovely vintage choice that’s making strides today. Sibyl Josephine as a whole is a strong and interesting girl name that isn’t overly feminine sounding.  

4.  Viviana dates back to a saint and martyr in the 4th century. The name itself comes from the Late Roman name Vivianus meaning “alive”. It currently ranks at #444. I chose Viviana because of how long, flowy and feminine it is but to balance it out, I paired it with the one-syllable name Pearl. Pearl was well used from the 1880s to the 1940s but fell out of favor since then. Today it is starting to make a comeback, ranking back up at #567 in 2016. This combination of ancient and vintage works well since they’re both gaining popularity again as modern names. Viviana Pearl is a sweet, balanced combination suitable for a girl today.


5. Francesca is the Italian form of the Latin Franciscus. The entire family tree of Franc- names is very internationally used. Because of associations with saints, these names have been well-used since at least the 13th century. Francesca is such a long, traditional choice so I chose to pair it with the short, nature name Ivy. Francesca always gets a similar amount of births per year so it is neither gaining nor losing popularity. Vintage Ivy is actively gaining popularity again, doing even better today than it did in the early 1900s. Together, Francesca Ivy is a beautiful name that flows well and isn’t too popular or too obscure.

What do you think of these five combinations? How do you go about pairing names? Click below to view the article featuring five boy name combinations.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ancient Boy Names + Traditional Middle Names = 5 Great Name Combinations

theartofnaming.com  the art of naming  ancient and traditional names

Creating a great first and middle name combination should take some serious thought and a little bit of research. The more effort that goes into it, the better the name will be, usually. I thought I’d provide a few examples to show my step-by-step thought process for pairing two names together. Here are five boy names that flow well together. The first names are of the “ancient” style and the middle names are classic, traditional choices.


  1. Atticus William
  2. Dante Oliver
  3. Apollo James
  4. Cyrus Alexander
  5. Dominic Theodore


1. Atticus comes from a Roman name that means "from Attica" in Latin, which is a location in Greece. It has a solid background in that area of the world and in history because of a couple philosophers who had the name. Atticus has only been used in the US in the past thirty years or so, breaking into the Top 1000 in 2004. William, on the other hand, also has a very strong history in the form of kings and poets and authors. It has been used in the US in mass quantities since before records began in 1880. Atticus William flows well as a whole name. These names are very strong together without overdoing it and they have a nice popularity contrast. Atticus ranked at #360 in 2016 while William was #3.


2. Dante is the medieval form of Durante and also has ties to the 13th-century Italian poet Dante Alighieri. This name has been in use in the US since 1908, gaining a boost in popularity around the late 1990s. It has been ranking consistently in the 200-300s since then, including #344 in 2016. Oliver also has some ancient ties to the middle ages, but it has always ranked fairly well in the US giving it a classic vibe. In fact, Oliver is on the rise, ranking at an all-time high of #12 in 2016. With a 2:3 syllable count, Dante Oliver flows nicely and offers enough of a popularity contrast to stand apart from the crowd.


3.  Apollo dates way back to Greek mythology as the son of Zeus and Leto, and twin brother of Artemis. This name is definitely ancient and strong. James is also an old name, dating back to biblical times, but it has remained modern. James is actually the #1 boy name for the past 100 years, topping John for the title. As a result, it is possibly the most common middle name as well. However, since Apollo is still somewhat unusual with a popularity ranking of #584 against James' #5 in 2016, the two work nicely together. Apollo James as a whole sounds strong and is full of history.


4. The Greek Cyrus dates back to several ancient kings of Persia including the biblical Cyrus the Great. It is known as Kurush in ancient Persia and Kyros in Biblical Greek among other international variations. Alexander also has strong ancient and biblical history, as well as a namesake known as Alexander the Great. Cyrus ranks at #427 in 2016 and Alexander is at #11 in the US. These two names just go together. Cyrus Alexander is strong, bold and, well, great!


5.  Many may not realize that Dominic is an old name. It comes from the late Latin Dominicus meaning "of the Lord" and was the name of several saints, dating back to around the year 1000. There was also the Dominican order of friars in the 13th century. I paired Dominic with the middle name Theodore which comes from a Greek name meaning "gift of God". This name has remained rather traditional today but it actually dates way back to several saints too, at least to the 4th century. Dominic Theodore sounds very modern but it is actually a very old combination whose meanings happen to be quite compatible.


Do you find yourself drawn to any of the above examples? Feel free to use them if you’d like! These are just a few names within a very specific theme that caught my attention. Stay tuned for a similar list of female names next week!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Interesting Names from Creative Gamers


I occasionally play video games with my husband. I'm not talking about console games, we enjoy what's called "massively multiplayer online role-playing games" or MMORPGs. These games connect us with thousands of other players across the country (and sometimes around the world).

If you aren't familiar with these kinds of games, that's fine, it isn't super important for the point of this post. Basically, you create a character, design them from their hair and eyes to what sort of armor they wear. You choose what kind of class or profession you want them to have, even what race or species you prefer. Then the best part comes next: choosing an interesting name for them.

Some games will even offer guidelines that follow the lore behind the characters to help you decide on an appropriate name for them based on their story. Not everyone follows this, but I always do. Some people don't put any thought into it and come up with random words or phrases (like "Thats Odd") rather than an actual name. However, other times people put a lot of thought into it and come up with some very intriguing monikers.

I have to admit that I tend to get very distracted by the names, so much so that I started writing down some of the best ones that I've spotted. And of course, that means I must make a post about it and share them with you. Below is a list of names created by other people, real people, for their characters within one of the games I play:

Kára Aonghuis
Daenea
Maladie Ardente
Raeine Kotto
Solith Elensar
Brassicace Olercea
Aurae Lenis
Ilya Kuriyakin
Kessa Star
Euphemia Stone
Phaedra Blackstaff
Akahana Sayomi
Ivo Julian Kinobar
Boudica Dragon
Aldro Vanda
Magna Turr
Sabre Vizaerios
Corvus
Sylavaine Froste
Kivan
Elma Skere
Bequa  Silverwind
Melayna
Beladona Lugosi
Osric Stark
Ciara Sativola
Grigor Stovanovich
Dmitry Rioux
Dietri
Freya Ryselmon
Amurcora
Zarri
Grizabella
Solara Treestar
Reyna Frost
Lily Rockstorm
Malo Octavius
Kagerou Rin
Ginger Vietas
Rosana Viola
Neblina Oscura
Shanti Priya
Rose Dupre
Mona Vanille
Amira Daemon
Thasserian Wyrnn
Montague Ashton
Ichaival Black
Lilith Thorne
Grace Northstar
Vesper Tarvarius
Valfreyja Njordkin
Audrey Minerva
Caelanderferasnen
Axel Valdemar
Nicolai Benedikt

Do you play any games? What names have you chosen for your characters? Share your thoughts in the comments below! :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cool, Slightly Unusual, Somewhat Exotic but Definitely Interesting Boy Names [Part Two]

If you are searching for a less-than-common name for a boy, this list has plenty of interesting and wearable options. We previously explored similar names from A-M.  The list below continues with the letters N-Z.

If you're willing, choose 5 names from this list and pair them with a middle name of your choice to create an interesting sibling set! Post the results in the comment section below.


Nash
The Art of Naming - noble ozias pavel quill revere stark thayer upton valor wolfe xerxes york zenith
Nemo
Nero
Nico
Niles
Noam
Noble
Nova
Nye
Oberon
Odin
Olivander
Orion
Oslo
Otto
Ozias
Pace
Pasqual
Pavel
Pearce
Penn
Peregrine
Philo
Pippin
Ptolemy
Quade
Quarry
Quest
Quill
Quimby
Quixley
Rafael
Ragnar
Rasmus
Remi
Revere
Rocco
Rockwell
Rolf
Rune
Sanders
Sayer
Severin
Skandar
Slater
Soren
Stark
Stellan
Sutton
Tate
Tavish
Teague
Thanos
Thayer
Theoden
Thorsten
Tobias
Tomas
Tyrion
Ulrich
Ulysses
Upton
Urban
Usher
Uziah
Valentin
Valor
Vance
Viggo
Vulcan
Ward
Weston
Whittier
Wilder
Wim
Wolfe
Wray
Xanthus
Xerxes
Yale
Yannick
Yardley
York
Zaid
Zaffre
Zebulon
Zen
Zenith
Zeppelin
Zoltan

Which of these names stands out to you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And don't forget to check out Part One by clicking to the previous page.

unusual interesting cool boy names from the art of naming

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cool, Slightly Unusual, Somewhat Exotic but Definitely Interesting Boy Names [Part One]

If you're looking for a name for a boy but you want something more unusual than most, try these for inspiration. Here you'll find 90 interesting names that are a bit outside the typical set of popular choices you hear everywhere today.
The Art of Naming - adler bram cyril dorian elian fox gunnar henning ivo jem kasimir leif merrill

Adler
Alvar
Andre
Aramis
Arlo
Armin
Arno
Auden
Augustin
Axel
Basil
Bastian
Benedict
Benno
Bram
Brom
Bruno
Calix
Casper
Caspian
Cato
Conrad
Constantine
Corin
Cosimo
Cyan
Cyril
Dante
Dashiell
Diederick
Dominic
Dorian
Eamon
Edwin
Elian
Emery
Emmerich
Evander
Fabian
Felix
Fergus
Fletcher
Fox
Fritz
Gael
Gregor
Gunnar
Guthrie
Havel
Hawthorn
Henning
Hugo
Indigo
Isidor
Ivo
Iwan
Jarlath
Jasper
Jaziel
Jem
Jericho
Johan
Jupiter
Justice
Kai
Kasimir
Keane
Kennon
Kit
Knute
Kylo
Laird
Larkin
Leif
Lemuel
Leopold
Levin
Loic
Luca
Ludwig
Lysander
Marco
Marius
Matteo
Maxim
Mccoy
Merrill
Milan
Murray

Which of these names catch your eye? Choose five and give them interesting middle names of your choice. Click below for the names N-Z!

Friday, May 19, 2017

A History of "Sound" in the Naming Process

The Art of Naming explores the top popular names of 2016 and compares them to 1920 to analyze their sounds and letters
The very first thing that all name-searching parents do when they find a name is say it. Whether it is in their mind or out loud, pronouncing the name always comes first. How does the name sound when you say it? Do you like the sound of the name? Does it easily roll off the tongue or are there pronunciation issues that could cause the child problems in life? 

Many of these questions are answered subconsciously as we say and hear the name. And of course, this is going to vary greatly per person. What sounds like a lovely name to one person may not be attractive at all to another. But the question is, are there specific sounds in a name that are more mass-appealing than others? Do we, as a country, tend to gravitate toward certain sounds within a name? 

Take for instance the top 5 girl names of 2016. They all end in the letter A: Emma, Olivia, Ava, Sophia, and Isabella.  These are all very vowel-heavy names that easily roll off the tongue. Today’s parents are flocking to these feminine, vintage-sounding names for girls even though none of them, besides Emma, has ever had major popularity in the past. If you look at the popularity of these five names, you will see that they have all been in regular usage since the US began to keep records in the 1880s, but none of them have ever had this much success until now. So in a way, they are more modern than vintage. 

How do their sounds compare to their contemporaries of the past? 

The types of names that were most popular around the 1920s have a very different sound to them than the modern names we see today.  The top 5 girl names of 1920 were Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Margaret and Ruth. None of these end with the feminine letter A like today's popular names do. Comparatively when you pronounce them out loud, they feel "heavier" than the names of 2016.  

Let’s look beyond the top five. In 2016, twenty-one out of the top fifty girl names end with the A-sound, whereas in 1920, only nine out of fifty do. Those nine names are Virginia, Anna, Martha, Edna, Thelma, Clara, Emma, Barbara and Sarah.  Out of these, Anna (#51 in 2016) and Sarah (#57 in 2016) are very classic and timeless names. Emma has been one of the most popular names of the past couple decades, ranking at #1 in 2008 and again from 2014-2016. Clara (#99 in 2016) falls in line with the vintage names that work well today and are currently gaining popularity.  The other names, Virginia, Martha, Edna, Thelma and Barbara are still being used but they don’t have the same fresh and modern vibe that parents seek today. Why is that?

It is probably because they contain "heavier" and "more out-dated" consonants such as D, N, B, G and -Th, plus other factors like over-use within a particular generation which newer generations avoid. But, if you take a look at the consonants of the most popular names in 2016, you will see that they mostly include L, M, R, S and V. In fact, the letter L seems to be the most popular consonant. It appears in thirty of the top fifty names in 2016, but only seventeen of them in 1920. But on that note, the names Martha and Thelma should technically fit in with the modern names since they end with an A and contain some of the more popular consonants, right?

Unfortunately, no. The Th- sound is not currently deemed stylish. Thelma only had 32 births in 2016, and Martha had 389 for a ranking of #727. There are only two names in the girl’s top 50 of 2016 that contain a Th and neither of them starts with it: Elizabeth and Samantha. While there are indeed many names that contain the Th sound within the name for both boys and girls, there are only two female names in the Top 1000 that start with it: Thea, which is rising quickly (#290), and Thalia which ranks down at #809. On the boy’s side, there are only Thomas, Theodore, Thiago, Theo, Thaddeus and Thatcher.

In 1920, there was Thelma, Theresa, Theda, Theodora, Therese, Theo, Thomas, Theola, and Thora for the girls; Thomas, Theodore, Thurman, Thaddeus, Theron, Theo, Theadore, Thornton, and Thurston for the boys within the Top 1000 names.  This indicates that names that begin with Th- are a thing of the past. These names went out of style because the Th- sound became unfashionable over time, except for the timeless survivors such as Thomas and Theodore that are still in use today.

Some may argue that it has more to do with the style of these names since others with a similar “old” feel like Mildred and Doris, Bernard and Donald all went down with them. Style plays into it, definitely, but I think it has to do more with the individual sounds that make these names feel “old” to begin with. For instance, the letter D was rather popular in the past. Names of 1920 included Dorothy, Mildred, Doris, Gladys, Edna, Edith, and Gertrude within the top 50.  Today, Dorothy is at #652, and Edith at #488 but none of the others rank in the Top 1000.  In 2016, the only female names that have the letter D in the Top 50 are Madison, Addison and Audrey.

For the boys, the D’s tended to be on the end of popular names in 1920 such as Edward, Richard, Harold, Raymond, Donald, Howard, David, Fred, Leonard, Alfred and Bernard within the Top 50. Out of these, only Fred and Bernard have fallen out of regular usage while the rest are within the Top 1000 today. This goes to show that the sounds that work for boys might not always work for girls and vice versa. For example, naming your son David today is a great idea but naming his twin sister Doris might not be. 

Many of the sounds that seem "out-dated" today have a great chance at once again sounding fresh in the coming decades. This doesn't apply for all names across the board, but once some of these names have had enough time to cycle back around, they will regain usage again. This is often referred to as the 100-Year-Rule or the Great-Grandparents Rule which states that the new young generation of parents will find that names from roughly 3 generations back are appealing, whereas names from their parents' and grandparents' era are still too associated with that time and not quite fashionable yet.

There are exceptions, of course, and plenty of classic names that stand the test of time by appearing strongly throughout all generations. What do you think? What other observations have you made about the history of sound in the naming process? How much is dictated by these sounds and how much is due to trends and preference? Share your thoughts below!

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