Episode #82 Baby Name Trends We Hate
February 15, 2022
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J: Hi, I’m Jennifer Moss
M: And I’m Mallory Moss
J: And we’re the founders of BabyNames.com
M: And we’re sisters too!
J: We are. And our first segment is… interesting names we found since the last episode.
I saw the name Terenia somewhere – where I don’t remember, I just keep a name list on my phone – specifically for this segment! I saw several sources that said Terenia was a Polish variation of the name Teresa, but I haven’t been able to verify that. I don’t know if anyone decided it looked similar, butI would venture that it has more of a relation to the male name Terrence, from the Roman name Terentius (no known meaning). I did find a village in east-central Poland named Terenia, so most likely when used as a name or a surname that came from that village in either a given name or surname. There’s a British actress named Terenia Edwards, and a journalist named Terenia Taras. I just think it’s pretty, and I like T names like Tess and Talia and Tuesday.
M: I have very special Talias and Tessas in my life, so that’s a really good thing. I also like the fact that it rhymes with Millenial.Well my interesting name this week is Yuri. Yuri is a classic name that originates from either Russia (as a male name) or Japan (as a female name). In Russian, it’s a variation on the name George, “Farmer.” When we think of the name Yuri, older folks or astronaut fans might associate it with the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The Japanese name Yuri means lily, reason, or village, so again it could be an alternative to the very popular Lily in the US. I also like the name Abrielle which is trending on our unique name list. Abrielle is a French name meaning God is my Strength. It is also a form of Gabrielle. So those are my names this week.
J: Now spell Yuri.
J: OK so that leads us into the Name Topic of this Episode: Naming Trends We Hate – 2022 EDITION! The reason I did this is because I belong to several Facebook groups that do some name shaming and I share some of them with our facebook. So I decided to have a whole episode about it.
M: I first would like to say that we recently received a letter saying we’ve been too negative in our podcast commentary. And we acknowledged that. But we frequently talk about names we love, we are now singling out trends that rub us the wrong way. This doesn’t mean if you followed one of these trends we hate you or your baby name. As we always say, if all parents love a name, go for it, and who gives two toots what others think about it.
J: I mean unless it’s really horrible like Furby Moss. I mean admit it: there are bad names. But yes, these are our opinions and you can take them or leave them on the table.
M: Okay, I’m going to start. One of my pet peeves in baby naming is two nouns in a row – changing the spelling does not fix the problem. Just this month, we had a triple violation by rapper Eve. We’ll get to that later. Examples would be Royal Prince, Wild Rose, Chase Pistol, Snow Angel.
J: Yes! We said in our episode on Dictionary Names that you have to be careful if you have a surname that is a dictionary word not to use a first name that’s a dictionary word or it could turn into a joke. If your last name is Baker, Don’t name your child Cake. Obviously And our aunt who married into the family: FERN MOSS. It could easily become a joke or even a pun name. If your baby’s name elicits laughter, chances are it’s not laughter of delight, but ridicule. But what about our favorite Olympia LIghtning Bolt?
M: Well Olympia Bolt are not two nouns. It’s only the Lightning part that makes it a joke, but that’s her middle name.
J: True, but her brother Thunder – that would be a problem. Because he would have to introduce himself as Thunder Bolt.
M: Right, you’ve got a point, and that’s not fair to the child.
J: Good advice – Okay, I want to bring up the power names/weapon names trend. And more often than not, they’re being used for male babies. It’s almost like it’s a counter-reaction to accepting that gender is a spectrum – that the parents have to choose a SUPER TOUGH name to validate the maleness of their male child. Examples would be Remington, Colt, Bullet, Dagger, Cannon, Trigger, (which is a horse name to me), Sig (although it can be used for Sigmund – some are taking it from the firearm brand Sig Sauer), and even Wesson is on the top 1000 for boys, and I don’t think it’s referring to the cooking oil. Ax and Axel belong to this – It’s a CAR PART. Even Gage in a way – spelled gage, but could be referring to a bullet gauge.
Non-weapon tough names would include Maverick, Wild, Ryker (I truly believe the association with the prison is intentional).
M: Blade, Inferno, Bull, Titan – what if Titan’s middle name was Nick?
Jenn: Titan Nick? OHHHH ughghghgh you’re getting more like Dad every day.
M: hee-hee! Rocky’s another one – how can you not think of the film prizefighter Rocky played by Sylvester Stallone when you use the name Rocky? Although I do have a friend who named her baby Rockland and she calls him Rocky.
J: Yes, all of these are trying to instill a super-tough characteristic that might or might not be your child’s persona. In fact, I feel sorry for these boys who have to grow up with one of these super-tough RUFFIAN names! I think it’s planting the seed for toxic masculinity. If not planting the seed, then definitely coming from the same root!
M: So Jenn, would you say that the God names fit into this trend? Like Thor, Odin, Apollo, Atlas, & Zeus?
J: Yes, definitely – they do evoke a feeling of ultimate power, after all they were GODS. HOWEVER, that’s a trend that’s also on the girls’ side, with Athena, Persephone, Artemis, Iris and Aphrodite. The God names are not as offensive to me, because the gods and goddess mythology isn’t really rooted in our modern culture. Other than those who appear in Marvel comics. ANd the fact that they’re being used for both boys and girls – I think it’s just a way to instill a general power and confidence into your child that doesn’t have a direct association that say, CHAOS would have. BTW Chaos is a god name, but in our modern culture we associate it with the dictionary definition: craziness, pandemonium, mass disorder and confusion and destruction. Why would you want to bestow that on your baby?
M: Agreed. Chaos is a terrible name, IN OUR OPINIONS. Okay, now let’s talk about letter substitutions. I think parents think they’re being so edgy when they substitute letters for a standard spelling in a name. For example they change -ly to -leigh like Emileigh.
J: Yeah you even say it elongated like Emileighhhhhhh.
M: Yeah, or put a Y in where there’s supposed to be an o or i, like Addisyn, Londyn, Justyn, Emersyn. Similarly, using EE does not make your name unique, like Malloree or Andee, although I have to say Andee is kind of cute.
J: Another BRAND NEW letter substitute is a J for the letter D, especially when an r follows it like JREW (Drew), Jream (Dream). That might have come out of a particular dialect as many substitutions do – or phonetic spelling.That is really interesting and I wonder if it will continue.
M: Yeah I really think it will continue. Mark my words, I think we are going to see more out there. And then there’s substituting a K for a C. Now, in some cultures a C isn’t vocalized hard like in Catherine, so I can understand that. We’re talking here in the U.S. Like Khloe with a K, which is unnecessary. Krystle, Kaydence, Kulture, like that. Especially if it’s a dictionary word! You are forever burdening your child to say the phrase “WITH A K” for the rest of their lives.
J: That’s Kulture with a K. I think that’s a good point – when things are unnecessary like putting in unnecessary letters in a name just to be unique or different. Like if you were to spell my name Jennipherre. If it’s SILENT DO NOT PUT IT IN THERE. That’s again my opinion.
Another thing is putting -ly at the end of names to create a new name: Wrenley, Bravely, Everly, Amberly, Waverly.
M: Now wait a minute, Everly is a pretty popular name.
J: I know. Now when we posted about Bravely in the podcast group Dr. Cleveland Kent Evans said it’s the first time he’d ever seen an adverb used as a baby name. I think that was unintentional. I think they just used the word Brave and tacked on the suffix -ly to give it a feminine feel. I don’t think they meant it to use it as an adverb. Most of the names using the -ly suffix are used for girls and it probably comes from names that historically ended in ly like Lily, Emily, and Molly. But just taking it on, I don’t know, looks a little strange to me. It looks like you trying too hard to make it a feminine name. A close second would be -lyn, like Amberlyn, Bronlyn, Oaklyn, Gracelyn. To me it’s just so Peoria. No offense to those who live in Peoria, that’s just a movie industry reference to “standard middle America.”
M: We love you Peoria. Why Peoria?
J: Well maybe I should say “Basic” instead.
J: OK Okay, I have a question – Is the whole X thing over, yet? I feel like every kid is now a Braxton, Paxton, Maddox, Hendrix, Nixie Knox— Pixie, Alexa, Lexi, Phoenix…
J: Well I’ll stop you right there. It’s obvious where this trend originated – Brangelina. They had a Pax, Knox, and Maddox and then the trend took off. However, Maddox is 20 years old already, Pax is 18, Knox is 13. So yes, this trend is so in it’s out. I mean, there’s nothing is wrong with it, onomastically but..
M: And it won’t get your child teased, per se, we just feel it’s just going to be VERY DATED to the last decade. Like Nancy, Susan, and Debbie all are dated to the 1950s.
J: Exactly! And to get more granular, the x is often followed by -ton or -ly – like Pixley and Braxton…
M: Who is Pixley? There is no Pixley.
J: Yes, and even the surname Jackson morphed into a name with x-s in it. Sometimes more than one!
M: I’ll tell you what, another trend I’m NOT a fan of is alcohol names for children. I think it’s setting them up to be teased. Examples: Chardonnay, Champagne, Merlot, Brandy, Tequila. Why would you do that? I mean, if you think it sounds classy, it isn’t.
J: Agreed on this one! I’ll just say it sounds like a pseudonym that you would use when you have a job that includes a pole and you don’t want the customers to know your real name.
M: Yep. I don’t like the trend of names that are also colors: Mahogany, Blue, Amber
J: I’m sorry, I disagree with you on this one. I love some like Violet, Indigo, Rose, but I probably wouldn’t go with Orange, Navy, or Purple. It all depends. Blue wouldn’t be bad if it didn’t also mean depressed.
M: Who is Blue Ivy?
J: That’s Beyonce and Jay’z’s daughter.
Okay, I really wanted to do an entire episode on this one but there’s not much to say about it except I am completely flabbergasted that this is becoming a thing: LUCIFER.
J: Just that one name: LUCIFER. YES, we know it means “Bringer of Light” and in Roman mythology Lucifer was just another name for Venus. In Hebrew it translates to “Morning Star” and in the Bible, this name was given to the angel before his fall from grace, and eventually became the name for the Devil. And associated with the devil, and now is a synonym for the devil.
M: Why do you have to draw out the sound on devillllllll.
J: Devillllll! It’s a whole nother story but I used to have a client who was an exorcist.
M: Maybe this is just another manifestation of the Super-Tough name for boys. I mean you can’t get tougher than the devil. Well, God can beat the devil. That’s about the 11 on the scale from one to 10.
J: I never thought about that! It could very well be a subset of that trend, for sure.
M: I also think its popularity as a baby name might come from the tv series of the same name.
J: I would venture to say that’s correct. The TV series LUCIFER started a little over 5 years ago. It centers around a character named Lucifer Morningstar (played by Tom Ellis), who is DC Comic’s version of the Devil – and this devil abandons Hell for Los Angeles.
M: HA! Good luck with that. If I were driving, I’d go back to Hell.
J: Hahhaha. We both lived in L.A. and I’d say that was a good assessment. So Lucifer was a pretty popular show with 6 seasons, and the dude’s obviously an anti-hero like Dexter. IDK I’ve never seen it, I’m assuming. Now the name Lucifer hasn’t yet been on the top 1,000 in the U.S. to date, but I predict it will be for 2021 or 2022. There was a big brouhaha because it was picked up in the news that a UK couple named their son Lucifer and the internet had mixed reactions. If people weren’t particularly religious they didn’t have that association and their reaction was “Who cares let them name them whatever they want.” but then others say “There will always be people who identify the name with the devil and it’s cruel to do that to a child.” Mal, WDYT?
M: OK if you want the name go with Luke. I mean Luc would be a cute nickname and honestly the rest of the name is like yours -I*F*E*R SO! In fact, I don’t like people’s whose names end in IFER. HAHA.
J: K, so don’t name your twins Lucifer and Jennifer. There are so many great alternatives. Lucius, Luca, and even Lucky! Although Lucky is an expectation name and you have to be careful about that. You know he’s going to end up in front of a judge that’s going to make fun of his name.
M: Or her.
J: And OMG on the flip side of Lucifer – I don’t know how we missed this on the SocSec charts, but #939 is HALO. Ok maybe it’s after the video game but UGH PLEASE don’t do that to your child.
And finally – a trend I hate, especially for girls – is diminutive, condescending names, or nicknames as given name. We’re going to cover this in our next episode: Names & Women’s Rights, but a quick recap: it will not help your female offspring to give them a name like Pixie, Birdie, Tinkerbelle, Silly, Dizzy, Kitty, Teency, or the worst: Baby. You might be a Dirty Dancing fan, but even her character’s name was not named Baby – that was her nickname. The character’s real name was FRANCES!
M: Can’t wait for that episode – a great topic for Women’s history month!
J: Yes I’m eager to start working on it. Okay, are we done kvetching?
M: I think so! So listeners, do you agree with us? Disagree? Have you seen or heard of a trend that YOU absolutely hate? Let us know! You can join our facebook group – and talk with us and other listeners about this and other crazy name trends. Go to Facebook and search for the Baby Names Podcast. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
J: We love hearing from you! Now stay with us, and after the short break we’ll return with the latest Celebrity Baby News!
ANNOUNCER: AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR…CELEBRITY BABY NEWS! [dododoododododoo]
M: Ok so for top news, we of course need to refer to a Kardashian as everyone is on the edge of their seat waiting for it. Kylee Jenner and rapper Travis Scott had their baby boy on 2/2/2022, one day after their little girl Stormi’s birthday. They have decided to name this baby Wolf Webster. Whereas it does not violate the two noun rule, Wolf to me is an overused trend that we are seeing, regardless of how you spell it. The only time I would use it is if it were a middle name referencing a family surname. But when it is used as a first name it references the animal for sure and that’s like naming a baby Fox or Emu –uh-oh don’t get any ideas listeners!
J: Webster just reminds me of the 80s show with Emmanuel Lewis. Just a creepy vibe. Like the Michael Jackson thing
M: What did Michael Jackson have to do with Emmanuel Lewis?
J: He would carry him around.
M: Oh yeah.
J: OK Supermodel Ashley Graham and husband Justin Ervin have announced the names of their twins, who were born in January. The boys have been named Malachi and Roman. Malachi is a Hebrew name for “messenger of God” and I picked Roman in one of our name bite episodes – it unsurprisingly means “from Rome, Italy.” I predict Roman is going to keep climbing the charts. SUCCESSION!!!
M: Succession what does that have to do with anything?
J: It’s a character from Succession, I told you a million times you have to watch it.
M: Anyway, Anderson Cooper and ex: Benjamin Maisani have welcomed their second child. It’s a boy! They have chosen the name Sebastian Luke, which I think is really classic. Born via surrogate, the ex-couple have decided to co-parent both of their boys. Sebastian’s older brother is Wyatt, named after Anderson’s father.
J: Yes I think these are both classically beautiful names and they did a great job.
M: Me, too.
J: Actor Jason Statham and wife Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have welcomed their second child. It seems like we have a lot of “second children” this month! They named their daughter Isabella James Statham. Isabella means God is my Oath and is of Italian origin. Her older brother is Jack Oscar born in 2017. This follows the new trend using James for girls.
M: Dollface star Shay Mitchell and longtime partner Matte Babel welcomed their second child together. Their first child, daughter Atlas Noa, was born in 2019. Wow that’s an interesting name choice. I wouldn’t think of Atlas as a gender neutral name. What do you think, Jenn?
J: I like it. I like Atlas as a gender neutral name for any gender.
J: FBI actress Missy Peregrym and actor husband Tom Oakley are expecting their second child together. Their first child, a boy, is named Otis, an English name meaning Wealth. I wonder if they got that name from Chicago Fire. There was a beloved character on that show nicknamed Otis, and then another firefighter named their baby Otis.
M: Yikes, one of my least favorite names (Otis, I mean). It reminds me of elevators and a serial killer. Anyway, Nick Cannon continues his mission to populate the earth with his seed.This time, his gf model Bre Tiesi is pregnant with another Cannon baby, making this Nick’s 8th child and Bre’s first. We wish this baby (and all babies) good health and an easy pregnancy.
J: Welllllll everyone knows by now that Rihanna is pregnant! She and her boyfriend fashion mogul and rapper ASAP Rocky were seen walking in NYC last month and her baby bump is in full view. Can’t wait to hear what this baby will be named! I’ve always loved the name Rihanna, which means “great queen” and is of Irish origin.
M: Celeb chef and chopped judge Marcus Samuelson and partner Maya Haile revealed they had another baby. The new baby girl’s name is Grace Ethiopia. Marcus and Maya are both Ethiopian and they wanted to celebrate their country of origin. See, I like that. There is meaning to using a place name instead of like Paris, just to be trendy.
J: (Moroccan). Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra announced that they are parents. They did not share that they were expecting. They welcomed their baby via surrogate and have asked for privacy. We’ll fill you in more if and when they release more information.
M: Well, it’s not like we are going to follow them around. We’re not TMZ. Singer Michelle Branch and husband Patrick Carey have welcomed a baby girl whom they have named Willie Jacquet Carney. She is named after Patrick’s grandmother Willie Madge (that’s so cute) and her middle name matches Michelle’s middle name, which is also her mother’s maiden name.
J: I would guess though that Willie Madge are contractions or nicknames like for Wilhelmena. Or Willa. I think Willie is diminutive and I don’t like it,
J: Actor Brian Austin Green and girlfriend DWTS pro Sharna Burgess were seen in Hawaii and Sharna had a noticeable baby bump. We’ll keep you posted once we know more. I saw him pop up on the Connors, which is a show that I like. Used to be Rosanne’s show. He shows up like every 10 episodes. M: Maybe he’s friends with someone on it like Brad Pitt on Friends.
M: Actor Shia LeBeouf (I can never pronounce that) and partner Mia Goth seem to be expecting as Mia also had a baby bump. No announcement has been made yet but we are eagerly awaiting info. And as we said before, these celebrities are playing it close to the chest. They are not releasing info, they don’t want TMZ following them.
J: Kellan Lutz from the Twilight Saga has announced that he and wife Brittany are expecting baby #2. The actor, who played Emmet Cullen, learned of the pregnancy while being filmed and later posted on Instagram.
M: I dont’ know – seems like a publicity stunt. What do you think Jenn
J: Possibly so. Speaking of Twilight, there was mass-hysteria when Taylor Lau-tner pronounced his name Taylor Lau-tner on TikTok. Apparently the entire world has been saying LAWtner. Don’t tell a person he’s saying his name incorrectly.
M: I agree with that.Ok! And the news you have all been waiting for, at least since the top of this segment, Rapper Eve also known as Eve Jihan Jeffers and husband Maximillian Cooper are proud new parents. This is Eve’s first child and Maximillian’s fifth. The baby, born February 1st, has a very long name: Wilde Wolf Fife Alexander Somers Cooper. To me, this violates the never name your baby longer than four words, including the last name. You know if you’re the queen, then maybe you can name a baby seven names but even they use four names. Also, it violates the noun rule and takes it one word longer! I would like to know where the other names come from…like is Fife a family name? It’s very unusual, that’s for sure. What do you think, Jenn?
J: Ok wait. Let me go get my fife – or tinwhistle – as they call it…
M: Please don’t.
J: Blah blah blah. OK other quick baby announcements so we can get onto the next segment:
Actress Julia Stiles had a baby boy with husband Preston J Cook. They named him Arlo.
Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild are expecting this summer. That is going to be one wealthy child!
And lastly, country star Luke Combs and wife NIcole will welcome their first child together this spring.
J: And now our last segment… LETTERS FROM OUR LISTENERS
Hi Mallory and Jennifer!
Absolutely love your show! I’m pregnant with my second child and we’re having another girl! My husband and I like old-fashioned names, but we’re stumped. Our first daughter is Ramona and we both really like the name Rosemary, but we’re worried they’re a little too similar and we want them to have their own, separate names. Do you have any suggestions for old-fashioned, 100 year names that are not super popular right now? I know that’s a current name trend but surely there’s something else out there! Middle name would be Emma after my great-grandmother.
Thank you both!
M: I like the name Beverly (like Beverly Cleary), I know she wrote Ramona and Beezus but I think that would be totally cute. I kind of like the name Rosemary. The musical How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying has a great song named Rosemary in it. I think you could do things that are connected but not too obvious. I mean who knows about the books Ramona and Beezus right now.
J: Children. I say ditch the 100-year name trend that seems to have been trending for 100 years and go with something completely different. How about another children’s book character like Eloise?
M: Love it!
J: That would be cute, Ramona and Eloise. Come to think of that, Eloise is pretty old-fashioned so you got both categories in there. Other choices would be Madeline, Stellaluna – I don’t mind Luna in that context. But my primary recommendation would be Eloise.
M: Stellaluna? No one name your baby Stellaluna.
M: It’s a bat!
J: So it’s a nice bat.
M: You’re a nice bat.
J: My primary choice would be Eloise. Eloise Emma.
I never said anything because it’s delightfully feminist that every time you mention Colleen Ballinger’s twins on the website or podcast, her accolades are listed and her husband is just her husband 😀 but in case you were wondering, he was also in the Netflix show Haters Back Off, that’s how they met! He’s also an actor in other things, too.
As far as their twin names go, I do really like Maisy, but spelling wise it’s hard to keep track of Maisie vs Maisey vs Maisy (and I’m not even positive if I’m using the correct spelling here. I think Maisie would be my favorite of the three spellings).
J: Thank you. I don’t think we meat to be delightfully feminist but I’ll take it. I like the Y spelling because it rhymes with Daisy and I think most people would know how to spell it.
M: Maisy like Daisy. That’s what you are doing to that child. I like the spelling with IE. But if you do Y it’s forever going to be Maisy like Daisy with a D. Like I was Mallory like Valerie with an M.
J: Yeah but you were spelled differently.
M: Yes, but when I said it to someone who had trouble hearing it, that’s what I’d have to do.
J: And prior to Family Ties no one heard of that name.
M: Yeah and now there are a ton of them.
M: Hello! My boyfriend’s name is Temp. He is the 3rd Temp [retracted] in his family. I can’t seem to find anything about the name, any help would be appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
J: Temp was most likely a shortened form of a family name like Temple, Templeton, or Tempest. It would come from a family that came from a town centered around a church or temple. It’s also a Scottish name originating from the Knights of the Templar. A Templar was a knight of a religious military order established in the early 12th century in Jerusalem to protect religious pilgrims and the tomb of Jesus. (Mallory corrects Jennifer’s pronunciation of Templar). Temp originated as a longer name and is also an abbreviated form of the English words Temperature or Temporary. That is how we use it in English as an abbreviation.
Now back to origins – Wealthy families liked to show their lineage in baby naming, often using surnames as first names to do so. Since the surname would come from the father’s line, if the mother’s family had clout, power, and wealth, they would often use that as a first name. So that could also be how Temp originated in this family since your boyfriend is the third.
M: OK then!
J: OK so that’s the show. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And don’t forget to join us on our facebook group. It’s so much fun. Mallory and I hang out there all the time and we love interacting with our listeners.
M: We do.
J: And stay tuned for our March episode, “Names from Women’s Rights.”
M: Names from Space!
J: Not from Space. Women are not from Space. Or maybe we are. Anyway, love you, Mal. Thanks for joining us!
M: Love you Jenn, bye!