This is the transcript to The Baby Names Podcast episode 50 <a href=”/podcast/star-trek-names”>Star Trek Names</a>
Jennifer: I’m Jennifer Moss.
Mallory: and I’m Mallory Moss
Jennifer: and we’re the founders of BabyNames.com.
Mallory: and we’re sisters, too.
Jennifer: We ARE sisters. Hey Mal, welcome to EPISODE 50, can you believe it?
Mallory: I cannot believe it! So how many are we going to do, Jennifer?
Jennifer: One miiiiiiiiiiiiiillion episodes!
Mallory: Okay well at some point people aren’t going to want to hear two 110-year-old women talking baby names.
Jennifer: We’ll stop when we’re out of topics, I guess! Anyway, so our first segment is…Interesting names we found since the last episode. And I love that Netflix has some great international shows, and I love them not only for the culture, but also to find cool names. I’m on season 3 of Money Heist or LaCasa de Papel that is produced in Spain. And the plot is about a team of expert bank robbers and a genius leader called The Professor. And the first thing he tells in heist class is that nobody is to reveal their real names. So each person is assigned the name of a city and that’s the only name with which they can refer to themselves or others. So their heist names are Tokyo, Lisbon, Berlin, Nairobi, Rio, Moscow, Denver, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Palermo, and Manila. It’s so fun. And of course, I peruse the credits where I found these cool names: Álvaro Morte – he plays the Professor.
Mallory: Morte is death!
Jennifer: I know, isn’t that cool? Itziar (female), Darko (which I think is a Slavic name), Aitana, and Práxedes! If you want to know what all those mean, head over to BabyNames.com and search for them! I put them in the database.
Mallory: Alright, well, I heard some cross gender names that I thought were interesting. For a girl, I heard Hathaway.
Jennifer: Like Anne?
Mallory: It goes with the last name trend so popular right now. For a boy I heard Darcy. I never thought I’d like it for a boy but I kind of like it.
Jennifer: Like Mr. Darcy.
Mallory: Yeah! Oh and also I ran into a Kevyn with a y…and it was a woman at the corporate offices of my online teaching job.
And now… our topic of the week: STAR TREK Names!
Jennifer: FIRST A DISCLAIMER – we are not Trekkers, Trekkies or Superfans. I’ve seen the original series, a couple episodes of the other series and maybe 3-4 of the movies. I know I’ve seen the reboot. So if we mispronounce a name or get the mythology wrong, we apologize in advance. Feel free to email and correct us.
Mallory: Yah, I love the original series. My favorite of the movies will always be Star Trek 2: the Wrath of Khan with Ricardo Montalban as the titular character.
Jennifer: So a little background if you’re not familiar with Star Trek and have just heard about it over the years, it was originally created for television in the mid-1960s, written and created by Gene Roddenberry. Rodenberry co-produced it with Desilu Productions (named after its founders Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) and they pitched it to NBC which picked it up. At the time scifi was super trendy because of the new NASA space program and its missions.
Mallory: The original series, as it was later dubbed – premiered on NBC in September of 1966 and only aired three seasons – a total of 79 episodes – before it was canceled. After the Moon Landing in 1969, sci-fi was even more popular than ever, so Desilu syndicated the show, rerunning it in the U.S. and over 60 international markets. This is when it first gained its cult-like following.
Jennifer: Yes, and the fact that Roddenberry took a humanistic approach to sci-fi, he made it appealing to the masses – especially those who felt outcast or different, made it extra appealing. It was an action series, but it was also very character-driven, and it had storylines that supported civil and human rights in general. Currently, Star Trek has spanned 8 television shows and 13 films, with a 14th in the works. Viacom/CBS now owns the franchise with the latest show being Picard, and there are two more in the works, I believe.
Mallory: Very lucrative, for sure! The original story was about the crew of the Starship USS Enterprise which had a five-year mission “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!” The original series takes place in the years 2265 to 2269.
Jennifer: Woo Hoo! Okay, so that was a super quick summary… Now onto the names!
There are a lot of different species in the Star Trek Universe – so we won’t go over them all but the most familiar in pop-culture are the humans, Vulcan, Klingon, Ferengi, Romulan – and believe it or not – Cardassian – with a C. Any good writer of sci-fi will take naming conventions into account when they create their worlds. We talked about that in our Character Naming episode, #24. And the various writers including the original creator, Roddenberry, did take that into account.
Now first we’ll go over the more iconic names from the series, and then pick out some names from the Star Trek Universe that can actually be used for real life human babies, and then we’ll discuss some cool names of cast members.
Mallory: Well, the most iconic character in the Star Trek Universe would have to be Captain James Tiberius Kirk, originally played by William Shatner, then Chris Pine (wawawa) in the reboot movies. Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa, to George and Winona Kirk.
Jennifer: So In the original series, he was only referred to James T. Kirk. But it was revealed in The Animated Series that his middle name was Tiberius. The story goes that at an early Trek convention, a fan asked screenwriter David Gerrold what the T. stood for, and he blurted out “Tiberius.” After that, he thought “Well maybe I should confer with Gene Roddenberry,” who approved that middle name.
Mallory: Here’s an explanation from the novel Star Trek: The Motion Picture – written in 1979 by Gene Roddenberry:
My name is James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk because my father and his male forebears followed the old custom of passing along a family identity name. I received James because it was the name of my father’s beloved brother as well as that of my mother’s first love instructor. Tiberius, as I am forever tired of explaining, was the Roman emperor whose life – for some unfathomable reason – fascinated my grandfather Samuel.
This is not trivial information. For example, the fact that I use an old-fashioned male surname says a lot about both me and the service to which I belong. Although the male-surname custom has become rare among humans elsewhere, it remains a fairly common thing among those of us in Starfleet. We are a highly conservative and strongly individualistic group. The old customs die hard with us.
Mallory: As Kirk said in his monologue, Tiberius was the name of the second Roman emperor, who reigned from 14 CE to 37 CE! It technically means “of or near the Tiber River.”
OK onto Spock – or Mr. Spock – He is a human/Vulcan hybrid, serving as the first officer and science officer of the USS Enterprise. Spock’s full name is S’chn T’gai Spock (I’m sure someone somewhere will correct us) – In the original series episode: “This Side of Paradise”, Spock said that his full name was unpronounceable to Humans. Spock is noted to mean “uniter” in Vulcan. According to the U.S.S. Enterprise Officer’s Manual by Geoffrey Mandel and Doug Drexler, Spock’s last name is spelled (and I will just spell it for you)
Jennifer: Because it is unpronounceable to humans.
Jennifer: Okay. So his first name is XTMPRSZNTWLFD! As for the real surname Spock as in Doctor Benjamin Spock, the famous baby doctor – it’s an Americanized form of Dutch surname Spaak, meaning spoke. Spaak is an occupational surname for people who made spokes for wheels.
Jennifer: Isn’t that cool? Ok. Nyota Uhura is the Enterprise’s communications officer – one of the first African-American female characters shown in a position of power. Uhura was played by Nichelle Nichols on television and Zoe Saldana in the movies. Nyota means “Stars” in Swahili, however Uhura didn’t have a first name until the film in 2009.
Mallory: Yeah, Gene Roddenberry had intended Uhura’s name to be “Lieutenant Sulu” but it was so close to Zulu, that they thought it might be racist for a black character. So they gave Sulu to George Takei’s character. “Uhura” comes from the Swahili word uhuru, meaning “freedom.”
Jennifer: Nichelle Nichols wrote that the name was inspired by Robert Ruark’s book Uhuru, which she had with her on the day she auditioned for the role.
Mallory: SO COOL!
Jennifer: Yes! So let’s talk about Sulu. Hikaru Kato Sulu – played by the legendary George Takei – was the ship’s helmsman in the original series. Hikaru is a Japanese male name meaning Light or Radiance. I wonder if they gave him the middle name Kato after Bruce Lee’s character in the Green Hornet? Although that was a C. Neither K or C Cato are Japanese names, by the way.
Mallory: Well, okay, another icon who now has his own show – Jean-Luc Picard. Picard is the Commander and Captain in The Next Generation, played by British actor Patrick Stewart. Wikipedia states that Gene Roddenberry got the name from Swiss scientist Auguste Piccard (with two c’s), who designed the Bathyscaphe Trieste, a sea vessel that could go more than six and a half miles below sea level, and did so on January 23, 1960. AND Piccard had a twin brother named Jean-Felix.
Jennifer: That might just be the internet effect, though, of connecting two things because they’re similar. By the way Patrick Stewart is reading a sonnet a day now on his Instagram during quarantine. It’s very lovely – go check it out if you haven’t alread7: @sirpatstew
Ok my next one is Khaaaaaaaan! Khan Noonien Singh played by Ricardo Montalban in the original series and movie, and later played by Benedict Cumberbatch! The second movie was named after him like you said: Star Trek 2: the Wrath of Khan. Khan’s name is kind of an ethnic mashup, though: Khan is generally a surname from a Mongolian title meaning “King, Ruler,” Noonien is supposedly Chinese, and Singh is a common Indian/Hindi surname.
Mallory: Well don’t forget Worf – played by Michael Dorn, was a Klingon who married the Trill, Jadzia Dax. Worf is a created name, Jadzia is a polish name meaning War Battle.
Jennifer: I think in Polish it might be like Yadzia.
Mallory: It might even be like Yadzya.
Jennifer: Data – Played by Brent Spiner, is a Robot. Data is a synthetic life form with artificial intelligence. He was designed and built by Doctor Noonien Soong in his own likeness. So there’s that unusual name again, Noonien. There’s a story behind it! Gene Roddenberry used the name because he had lost touch with an old WWII buddy of his named Kim Noonien Wang. Roddenberry hoped that Wang would see the show and contact him if he used his name. Ya know, that was back before email and the internet and social media! But, unfortunately, he never heard from the original Noonien.
Mallory: Awww sad story, but great background to the name. What does it mean?
Jennifer: You know, I couldn’t find that and if it is a Chinese name, it would not be spelled like the character Noonien or ian. But if anyone out there knows about the actual name and its origin, please write use and let us know.
Mallory: OK! Another iconic character is Guinan Guinan – she is an El-Aurian, who ran a lounge and gave sage advice. Played by – Whoopi Goldberg!
Jennifer: Which I think is the most random casting in the entire series. Whoopi and Kirstie Alley. And Sarah Silverman was in an episode, too, I believe.
Mallory: Maybe people just say that they want to be on Star Trek.
Jennifer: Maybe. Seth McFarland was on an episode as Engineer Number Five.
Mallory: Alright then! The character was named after a woman named Texas Guinan, a famous saloon owner and entrepreneur in Texas during the early 1900s.
Jennifer: Oooh, she sounds interesting – I’ll have to look her up for Chixstory!
Here’s another with a story: Geordi La Forge – expertly played by Levar Burton. Roddenberry named the character in honor of George La Forge, a quadriplegic fan of the original series who died in 1975. The name Geordi is actually a diminutive/nickname of the name George or the name Jordan, if spelled with a J. In this case it’s spelled Geordi. The character Geordi also had a disability – he is blind. But his super techie computer glasses – a precursor to Google Glass – allowed him to see.
Mallory: Hey I like the name Jeordi more than Jordan. So In 1993 actor Avery Brooks debuted in Deep Space Nine as Benjamin Lafayette Sisko. Sisko was the first African American to be depicted as a commanding officer on the series. Benjamin was a human from New Orleans, hence the middle name Lafayette.
Jennifer: Star Trek: Voyager gave us Chakotay, B’Elanna, and Seven of Nine.
Mallory: I could use some Chakotay right now.
Jennifer: That could mean some chocolate or that could be a euphemism. I don’t know. Anyway, Chakotay is a fictional name meaning Man Who Walks the Earth But Who Only Sees The Sky in the Anurabi language. B’Elanna Torres is half-human half-Klingon played by Roxann Dawson. And Seven of Nine – awesome name – was played by the wonderful Jeri Ryan. She is a human but assimilated Borg – whose full Borg designation is Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One. Her human name is Annika Hansen, but after joining the Voyager crew she still preferred to still be called Seven of Nine or just “Seven” as a nickname. That kinda reminds me of Battlestar Galactica – one of my all-time favorite shows – with Six.
Mallory: Or Eleven from Stranger Things.
Mallory: The CBS All Access series Star Trek Discovery features Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green. This is the first time that a black woman leads the series, although she’s not the commanding officer. The character was originally to be referred to only by the name Number One, to honor the character of that name played by Majel Barrett in the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage.” But she loses her first Officer ranking by the end of the pilot, so her name was revealed to be Michael Burnham. The series creator, Bryan Fuller, has a history of giving his female characters traditionally male names. George Lass from Dead Like Me, Chuck Charles in Pushing Daisies, and Freddie Lounds in Hannibal who was cast as a woman but as you and I both know, Jennifer, that Freddie was originally a male character in the previous movies and books.
Jennifer: Yes. I wish Hannibal the TV series had lived longer.
Mallory: Okay, so I know everyone has their favorite iconic Star Trek characters, but we don’t have five hours for this episode, so we’re going to move on to…
Jennifer: Some choice Star Trek Names that can actually be used for human babies.
I’ll go first. Here would be my recommendations if you want to give your baby a ST name:
I like Ayala from Voyager
Varria (Mal: I like that)
Phillipa which is an actual human name.
I think Uhura would be a great name to honor the character, or even Nichelle which is a created name like Michelle with an N
Jett – Lt. Jett Reno – played by Tig Notaro. I talk about that a little later.
Ezri Like Ezra with an i.
I like B’Elanna, but not sure I’d use the apostrophe.
Mallory: I don’t like it. It sounds like blah to me. Actually, it sounds like someone is vomiting.
Jennifer: I like the name Cyrano Jones – which is from the original series and one of my favorite episodes – The trouble with tribbles.
Mallory: Mine too, mine too!
Jennifer: There’s Rixx
T’Pau – Great Vulcan Leader and a cool 80s band.
Mallory: No one is going to name their baby T’Pau.
Jennifer: I would name my baby T’Pau. Ok, maybe a dog or cat.
Kobayashi Maru – this is not a name, per-sé – but those who know Star Trek know what it is and would be a really cool baby name – or maybe for a dog or cat.
And l but not least, Miri – the name of a character and title of episode on the original series on which MY BFF KELLIE FLANAGAN played “Blonde Girl.” YEP, I am TWO DEGREES from everyone on the original series. SO BAM!
Mallory: Mmm, okay. Of course, I have to recommend Mallora. Although on the show Mallora was male, I think it would make a beautiful girl name and a unique alternative to my name, Mallory.
Jennifer: I like it and have never heard of it before.
Mallory: While researching for this podcast, I came across this article or blog on trekbbs.com. The author, who goes by Deranged Nasat, states that “TV Trek went overboard with the it’s-feminine-so-it-ends-with-A naming convention.” Names from the blog that I liked and could envision as baby names include: Tel, Kell, Tam, Xerix, Kimora, and Pava.
Names I found in the online universe hahaha are Flint
Pavel (Do you know his last name? It is Chekhov.)
Jennifer: He was my least favorite character.
Jennifer: It sounds like you are saying, “Damn, Ron!”
Chaotica (for a dog, cat, or fish)
And, of course, Spock.
Jennifer: There were several characters named Jennifer.
Mallory: And an Ensign Mallory in the original series!
Jennifer: Ya but he was a REDSHIRT so you know what that means!
Jennifer: Look it up. And lastly there’s a lot of superfan chatter out there about the various naming conventions for the various species. They would be too lengthy to go over because there are so many, but we’ll put the link in our show notes. Now let’s go over some cool names of the actors – you know me and credits.
Mallory: I do! In the original series DeForest Kelley played Dr. McCoy. His real name was Jackson DeForest Kelley – with Jackson and DeForest both surnames. Wow, he was a Jackson before his time!
Jennifer: Yeah definitely! Now Gene Roddenberry’s wife as we mentioned before was named Majel Barrett, who played Nurse Christine Chapel in the original series and Lwaxana Troi on The Next Generation and also she provided the voice of the computers for four of the series and many of the movies. I think that’s cool. We couldn’t find any information on the name Majel, it was most likely a created or combination name. MAJEL, like Mabel with a J in the middle.
Mallory: LeVar Burton and Gates McFadden from The Next Generation – LeVar’s full name is Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr. That’s a mouthful. And he says the name comes from the Latin word “veritas” meaning “truth.” Gates’s real name is Cheryl Gates McFadden, another surname as a middle name – most likely familial.
Jennifer: Yeah, and from Enterprise, comedian Tig Notaro’s real name is Mathilde O’Callaghan Notaro! Her mother was also named Mathilde but went by Susie. She has an older brother named Renaud Notaro. I reached out to him and he said Renaud is his great-grandmother’s maiden name – she was from New Orleans. He also said that Tig’s character on the show was supposed to be named Kit Reno after his wife and him, but somewhere in Hollywood that name was taken, so they renamed the character Jett Reno. Kind of like after Janet Reno. Reno/Renaud potato potahto. Anyway, thanks, Renaud for the info!
Mallory: Well BAM!
Jennifer: Yeah, BAM! That’s our list of Star Trek names. Again, we apologize if we butchered some names with our shrill voices but feel free to email us with your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org We want to hear from you!
AD: Okay, everyone, in these days when we’re at home and some are looking for online work, I want to give a shout out to my side gig teaching English online to Chinese children. Besides BabyNames, it’s my favorite job I’ve ever had. The only requirement is that you need to have a bachelor’s degree in any field. If this is something that you think you could do and are looking for some extra income, or just want to know more about it, email me at email@example.com and I’ll walk you through the process. Alright, announcer, what time is it?
Announcer: And now it’s time for …Celebrity Baby News!
Jennifer: Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom had a gender reveal, announcing that they are having a GIRL! This will be Katy’s first child, and Orlando’s second. He has one daughter, Flynn, with ex-wife Miranda Kerr. I thought she and Russell Brand made a better couple. Anyway, Perry and Bloom got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2019 and I guess wedding is on hold until after the quarantine and bebeh.
Mallory: You might recall that we reported Hilaria Baldwin lost a baby about five months ago. But she took to social media this week to announce that she is pregnant again! Hilaria and husband Alec’s new baby will become their fifth child and join three sons, Romeo Alejandro David, Leonardo Ángel Charles, and Rafael Thomas and daughter, Carmen Gabriela. We wish the family a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Jennifer: Yes! Hollywood couple Adam Brody and Leighton Meester are rumored to be expecting their second child, although nothing official has yet been announced. Brody and Meester recently celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary, and have one 4 year old daughter named Arlo Day.
Mallory: Hm I don’t like Arlo for a girl, I wonder why they went with that? Ok, on to Tony-award winning actress Ruthie Ann Miles, announced that she and husband Jonathan Blumenstein are expecting a child. Ruthie was on Broadway as the star of The King and I and is currently on the CBS show All Rise. This comes after Miles lost both an unborn child and her 4-year-old daughter, Abigail, in a bad car accident in 2018. Oh, that’s horrible. We wish Ruthie and Jonathan all our good wishes.
Jennifer: YES! So many sticky vibes being sent out into the universe. NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. and wife Amy are expecting their second child. Amy announced it on Instagram last Wednesday with the help of their first child, Isla. Isla will celebrate her second birthday on April 30th. Vroom Vroom!
Mallory: That’s stupid. Well, anyway, actor Rupert Grint, famously known for portraying Ronald Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, is expecting his first child with girlfriend Georgia Groome. She sounds like a character from Harry Potter!
Jennifer: Yeah she does!
Jennifer: This makes 31-year-old Rupert the first of the famed Harry Potter trio to become a parent. Good God, can he possibly be 31?!?
Jennifer: Washington Nationals pitcher Aaron Barrett announced that he and wife Kendyl are expecting a baby boy. The baby is due in September and will join older sister Kollyns
Mallory: B’lannah! (Vomit sound.)
Jennifer: born in 2017. I am NOT a fan of these spellings. But I did add them to our database.
Jennifer: And our last segment is Baby Names Q&A – where we take name and naming questions from YOU, our listeners! Here’s the first one:
Dear Mallory & Jennifer,
What are your thoughts on using a name that’s typically associated with the opposite sex? My husband and I are expecting our third and final child. We don’t know the sex yet, but want to honor my mother by giving our child the middle name Meredith. If the baby’s a boy, would it be cruel to give him Meredith as a middle name? Is Meredith now in the same camp as names like Ashley and Alison?
My mom gave me a name and middle name that I love. I want to do the same for my child.
Jennifer: I think Meredith is like Mallory. It used to be a guy’s name that now is associated with girls.
Mallory: I think it would be assumed that it was a surname. Like Burgess Meredith. To bring some Batman to the show.
Mallory: I’m not a fan of it personally, but we always say middle names do not matter.
Jennifer: We had a whole episode about that! And all we said was “Middle names. What do they matter?
Mallory: Yes, it was 30 minutes of just that! You know often I don’t like names that cross over or that are forced to cross over. Like if there’s an organic way that crossed over like Mallory did then it isn’t just like “Hi I’m going to name my daughter George or my son Sally. My point is that if it’s organic, then it’s fine.
Jennifer: I don’t see a problem with Meredith. Like we said in the middle names episode, it comes out like in roll call, he might get some giggles if his middle name is Meredith. Now it is more considered a girl’s name. So is Allison and I know a guy named Allison, and If you want to do it, then make sure he has the strength to deal with it. If you don’t want to expose him to the ridicule, then don’t do it.
LETTER: Hi! My name is Kalli (like Cali). I’m a big fan of your podcast and website. Though I don’t have children (maybe one day), I am a big history and name enthusiast. That said, I have a couple of questions for you.
My spouse and I have talked quite a bit about potential names that we like and may use one day. However, we both have sides of our family who are Catholic and have 10-13 kids in a family (OH MY GOD, I KNOW). That’s her, folks, not me. So, a few names that we like are already used in our families though they are not all particularly trendy. It is driving us crazy! Do you think it’s okay to repeat names? We’re afraid that it may take away from any ‘newness’ our kids may bring to the family. Granted, we aren’t close to extended family.
Secondly, I really like the boy name Eivin which is pronounced like Ivan but has a different meaning. I don’t particularly like the name Ivan, and frankly pronounce it Eee-von like characters in the famous Russian novels I grew up reading. But my spouse can’t get on board with it because it reminds her too much of the anglicized pronunciation Ivan. Do you like the name/spelling Eivin enough that I should fight for it? And, can you add it to your website?
Thanks, and sorry for the lengthy email.
Jennifer: OK first question, can you reuse names? She did not let us know if they would be cousins of kids with the same names, like children of brothers and sisters? But I assume that’s what she meant. I think that would be a little confusing, specifically if they have the same surname. But even just having first cousins with the same name can be confusing. I would try to avoid reusing names and I would try to think of alternatives.
Mallory: I think it’s important to keep into consideration if they are going to be going to the same school. Like are they going to be George #1 and George #2? Or are they going to be Jordan Henderson and Jordan Moss?
Jennifer: I think that if it’s in the same family, and go to the same events, I would just avoid it. or the second question for Eiven, it looks like Elvin to me, like of the elves. If you want Ivan, use the traditional spelling. Otherwise it looks like Elvin. I am really a proponent of the original spelling.
Mallory: What about Evaughn?
Mallory: Yes, it works!
Jennifer: Thank you again for tuning in! We love our listeners – please follow all quarantine directives – stay safe, stay healthy, and stay HOME!
Mallory: And even if there aren’t quarantine directives in your neighborhood or state, we suggest that you stay home as well. It’s the only way we are going to flatten that curve. Now, my belly is not a curve that is going to be flattened during the quarantine. I will promise you that. I just ordered Oreos to be delivered. And a special shoutout to all who are pregnant and new moms – it must not be easy during this time and our hearts are with you.
Jennifer: Yes! Our next episode is going to be NAMES FROM FASHION – that will be fun one. If you’re a fashionista or fashionistO, join us!
Mallory: And don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode. Bye everyone!
Mallory: Love you, Jenn!
Jennifer: Love you!