Thursday, July 07, 2011


I'm an armchair onomast.  Perhaps amateur onomast sounds better.  An onomast is a person who studies onomastics.  Onomastics is the study of names.  I LOVE names!
I don't blog about names often.  I don't want to offend.  Names are incredibly personal.  I certainly have my favorites and there are names that I really don't like.

I love to read what's popular and I've made some fairly accurate predictions about what might be popular in the future.  However, some of the names that have become popular have really surprised me.  When I was a kid, I had a great name book that talked about name trends.  At the time of publishing, the early 80's, names like Olivia, Ava, Emma, Max, and Owen were considered "Grandparent names."  Who knew they would surface again?  The three girl names I just mentioned are all in the top 10 for 2010 in the United States.  I don't particularly care for these names, but I have always tended to shun the trendy names for my own personal slightly unusual tastes.

Anytime a member of the family finds out they are expecting, I start making up lists for them.  Most of the names are intended as funny jokes, like unpronounceable Celtic names being a favorite category of mine - MacFhlannchaidh for example.  Personally I love Gaelic names and so does America right now.  There are a lot of popular names with  Gaelic origins.  I like the more unusual names.  With each baby, I tried to convince my hubby that we should use the girl name Ailish.  He didn't go for it and neither has anyone else in the family.  I also tried to get him to agree to Moira.  Nope.

Secretly, I would love to have 19 kids like that one family.  I would love the opportunity to pick names nineteen times.  So, if I could pick some names right now, what would I choose?
Ailish, Moira, Freya, Peter, Colin and Richard.  OK, my girl name choices are quite distinctly cultural, two Gaelic and one Scandinavian.  The boy names on the other hand are good ol' names that have fallen out of the top 100.  The are unused enough that they won't have several kids in their class with their name, while remaining familiar, accepted and masculine names.

I just love names.  I've had 7 or so friends have babies in the last 2 months.  I love to hear what name the parents have picked out.  Did they just find the name in a book and like it?  Is it a family name?  Is it a favorite literary or movie character?  Each name has a story and each story is, for me, fascinating.

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