Spotlights


I’ve been really into Allegra lately. Its bouncy sound, open look, and effortless femininity have been appealing to me big time. Of course, there’s the allergy medication problem. I don’t seem to see the commercials too much anymore, though, do you?

I think the primary appeal to Allegra is the sound. It’s open yet strong, feminine yet grounded. It’s unabashedly joyous but down to earth. Honestly, it’s quite perfect, going completely on sound. To my mind’s eye, Allegra is pink/red/green/yellow, god knows why. Very colorful, like its sound. I also love the general look of the name. It’s balanced, but the hanging tail of the g lends it a little quirk. That’s why I sometimes find names like Hannah boring; they’re so regular looking in writing. Sometimes I like balance, but a little quirk is likely to intrigue me more. Another possible plus, depending on your point of view, is the possible nickname Allie. If Allegra would rather blend in, she’s got that.

The problem with Allegra is obviously the allergy medication. that’s the first thing most people think of. In my traditional weirdness vein, though, that’s not my first association. I think of Allegra’s Window, the mid-90s children’s show. I don’t know if I ever watched it, but that’s my first association. It’s not unpleasant, and a lot better than medicine!

Some Allegra combos, for the halibut:

  • Allegra Corinne
  • Allegra Beatrix
  • Allegra Daphne
  • Allegra Frances
  • Allegra June

I’m in a two name combo mood today. I’m also lazy and don’t feel like thinking about second middles too much.

So what are your thoughts on Allegra? Would you consider it usable? Would you use it yourself? What would you pair it with?

I know Eowyn is properly spelled with an acute diacritic mark, but I have a laptop and it’s really annoying to do on it. Also, I don’t think it’s necessary: most people will know the pronunciation by now anyway.

I love The Lord of the Rings. And I’m not talking about “I’ve seen the movies, omg Aragorn is so hawt” love. I’m talking “read the series countless times, slogged through the Silmarillion, plan to read more of Tolkien’s literature, want wedding bands engraved in Elvish or Dwarvish” love. So you could say I’m a bit of a fangirl.

Which brings us to today’s topic: Eowyn. Its usability, particularly, and whether or not I’d use it over another LOTR name. The name itself is pretty, the character admirable (better than Arwen by miles and quite the proto-feminist) and the sound easy to grasp. I actually knew an Eowyn in high school, and she never had any problems that I knew of.

Now then, the problem with Eowyn. Fangirl much? I feel as though to name a child Eowyn is to brand her with the nerd stamp early. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a nerd (says the girl who writes a blog on names), but it feels a little presumptuous to decide that your child will be connected to a piece of well known literature for all time. This isn’t usually a problem with naming after characters, since most names are pretty well used anyway. For example, I have Jane for Austen and Eyre on my lists. It’s not like someone would go “Oh, like Austen!” upon meeting a little Jane. However, can you think of anything else besides the Rohirrim upon meeting Eowyn? The pronunciation also gives me fits: Ay-oh-win seems to be the accepted one, but it’s wrong, technically. It should be more like “ear-win,” but that’s not nearly as pretty.

There are some other LOTR/general Tolkien names I’d probably use before Eowyn: Lorien and Elanor, maybe Melian (hi!). Peregrine for boys. However, I’ve been finding Eowyn’s sound appealing lately.

All in all, I’d probably use Eowyn in the middle to honor my nerd-dom, if I were to use it at all. Elanor is a more likely choice for me, though.

What do you think of Eowyn? Usable? What about in the middle?

So, I’m still head over heels in love with Alice. I think it’s sweet, unusual (for the moment- we’ll get to that), and refreshingly down to earth. The sound is gorgeous and the associations positive. So, it’s gone from an infatuation to a long term relationship, you might say. Speaking of, Sean likes it too; I asked him if he could see naming a girlchild Alice and he said yes, so, I’m good there. Honestly the Alice arc is very similar to the Daphne one, if I think about it; names I thought were short term loves that have stuck around much longer than expected. The only qualm I have is that between Twilight and the vogue for “honest names,” Alice is due for a comeback in a big way. I hope not! I love the name, but I want to use it! Anyway, of my combos back from December, I’m still fond of:

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I’ve been really digging Augusta lately, inspired by Chanel’s lovely double barrel, Mary Augusta, as well as her combo Martha Augusta. I think that Martha and Augusta sound like sisters; slightly severe yet friendly, and dignified as anything. It last charted in the 30s, so I think Augusta is due for revival. The male “August” names are gaining steam, so why not this equally dignified female equivalent? I think that the strait-laced aspect is more fun than anything these days. People know that you aren’t trying to sound particularly formal, given today’s casual environment, so the name comes off as funky and cool instead of stuffy and pretentious.

To me, Augusta is a stately forest green, which is interesting, considering August and Augustus are shades or orange and red. I think this is probably because of the city in Maine. I think it’s got a nice New England feel to it.

The cons to Augusta would be the very formal feel of the name in its entirety, exacerbated by the lack of nicknames aside from Gussie. If you don’t like Gussie, you have Augie, which isn’t cute at all, or Usta, which reminds me of estuary. Gusta sounds like gusto and Aug is just sort of unfortunate. So, you either use Gussie or the full name, which could be very difficult for people to envision on a tiny baby; this might delay a revival or prevent a full one. I like Gussie, though; it feels very flapper to me.

And, some combos:

  • Augusta Marianne
  • Augusta Daphne
  • Augusta Fern
  • Augusta Lucille
  • Augusta Ivy
  • Augusta Daisy
  • Augusta Ruby
  • Augusta Scarlett (usually I dislike Scarlett but I like it here)
  • Augusta Marisol

I feel like you can go with something a little less substantial in the middle, since Augusta has such heft. And I think I prefer it with one middle, just because of that same weight. I also love to play to the 20s vibe with Augusta Ruby and the like. What would you pair Augusta with?

So what do you think of Augusta? Is it due for a comeback? Am I crazy? Would you use it yourself? What kind of middles do you think work? So many questions, as usual!

I’ve been loving these two lately. I think they’re unusual and exciting, maybe a bit flighty (I’m looking at you, Henrietta) and a great way to honor an Uncle Harry or Grandpa Henry without using their names, exactly. Honestly, I just feel like singing the virtues of these two from the rooftops! I seriously am loving them.

First, Harriet. I love the sound of the name (no “hairy” problem here) and the energetic -t ending. It’s quaint and charming, and very uncommon; it last charted in the 60s, and probably isn’t due for a comeback yet. You would think it would be, but I think the consonant heavy sound keeps it on the distant, rather than near, horizon. I don’t even see it too much on message boards, which are usually decent predictors of trends. The nickname possibilities are good, too: Etta, Ette, Hattie, etc. Just avoid Harry! Some Harriet combos, off the cuff:

  • Harriet Cecilia Alice
  • Harriet Dahlia Daphne
  • Harriet Felicity Fern
  • Harriet Margareta Iris
  • Harriet Emma Jane (Jane Austen for the win!)
  • Harriet Eliza Jane

Henrietta is girlier than Harriet, no doubt about it. It also seems more “upper-class,” in much the same way Henry sounds more upper class than Harry. However, I feel as though the name might be a little too flighty for a real girl. Whichever way you slice it, it’s a whole lotta name. The sound is softer than Harriet’s, so that might make it a contender for revival down the line. Feminised male names aren’t incredibly in vogue, though (although I wouldn’t say they’re particularly unfashionable).  I think Hen or Henny is a darling nickname, and I would love to see Henrietta revived. I think I would view it as more usable if I saw it on an actual person! Again, some off the cuff ones:

  • Henrietta Dorothy Jane
  • Henrietta Georgia Beatrix
  • Henrietta Juniper Josephine
  • Henrietta Rosemary Joan/Jane
  • Henrietta Daphne
  • Henrietta Josephine

Just having some fun, as you can see; I would never name a kid Henrietta Juniper Josephine! I still think it’s awesome, though, and if I had a superhero to name, that would be it!

How do you like Harriet? Henrietta? What combos do you like, and do you have any of your own?

I know what some of you guys are probably thinking: “She’s hopped onto the frumpy wagon towards frumpville, hasn’t she?” Well, obviously I don’t think Judith (or Martha) are frumpy, but if you think they are…oh well! Actually, my recent thoughts about Judith have been prompted by yet another singer, this time Wir Sind Helden’s Judith Holofernes (born Judith Holfelder von der Tann). I’ve been quite obsessed with this band as of late, and let me say: Anyone who thinks German is an ugly language should listen to her sing. Anyway, I’m still feeling ambivalent about Judith the name, so I’ll do a post to sort it out, I think.

So, let’s start with what I like about the name Judith. First and foremostly, Judy. I think it’s a great nickname, sprightly yet adult. I even think it stands alone anymore, although I wouldn’t use it in that fashion. Second, I like the history of the name; it’s legitimate without a doubt. Third, the Wir Sind Helden singer/songwriter. She’s the awesome-sauce, without a doubt. Last, I suppose, would be the strong sound of Judith. I miss strong girl’s names. All in all, I think Judith is a nice name and a refreshing choice for a daughter these days.

Now for the cons. The name is dated, no two ways about it. It screams 40s. In addition, it reminds me of my senior year biology teacher, who was a nutcase of the highest order and sort of creepy besides. Third, I don’t think it fits with my other favorites at all, and honestly, there are a lot of names I like better. I’m also not fond of -th endings.

Hm. Judith isn’t for me, I think. It’s like knee high boots: I can admire them from afar, but they looks like hell on my short legs. Judith is very much the same. I’d love to meet little Judys but the name isn’t for me. I think it’s the Bio teacher that really put the nail in the coffin. She was freaking bizarre, and couldn’t teach besides. It’s a super-unpleasant association. Well, some Judith combos for your trouble of reading this post:

  • Judith Felicity Fern
  • Judith Viviana Eve
  • Judith Christabel/Annabel
  • Judith Lucienne
  • Judith Rosemary
  • Judith Mina Melisande

That’s it, really. Just off the cuff, since I realize I’m not wild about Judith anyway. I still think Judy is swell, though. Judit, maybe. Actually, I think I like Judit a lot better. JOO-deet. Hm. Could be Yoo-deet though, I’m not sure. I think I like it, though!

What’s your opinion, guys?

That’s right, Martha. I’ve been really liking it lately, matter of fact. Also, my Rufus Wainwright obsession as of late has brought me back to his sister (aren’t they a great sibset?), who is one hot tamale and my primary association with the name.

Teh hot, part two.

Teh hot, part two.

Seriously, check out those gams! Where do I get a pair? Someone needs to tell Kate McGarrigle she makes damn good-looking children.

Ahem, anyway, I know that Wainwright probably isn’t most people’s first association, but it’s enough to put Stewart out of my head and think of Martha as a really attractive name. I like the history and legitimacy, and the sound, of course. I also like that it’s terribly unpopular, at 586. My only quibble is the meaning; it comes from an Aramaic word meaning “lady,” or “mistress of the house.” This feminist isn’t too cool with that, but this normal person also realizes that few people know the meaning of names, and that it doesn’t mean anything anyway. Actually, you know what, I could care less. It doesn’t matter. However, I don’t like any nicknames for Martha; Marty makes me want to puke. I don’t think it needs a nickname, though, since it’s only 2 syllables.

No combos, just some nice Martha thoughts. I’d be more inclined to use Rufus, though, which puts Martha right out. I’m not that fan-crazy. What kinds of names would you pair Martha with? I think something light and fluffy is best. Also, how do you like Martha? Old lady, hipster cool, or cool in 10-15 years?

Full disclosure: I don’t really listen to Martha Wainwright at this point, but would really like to. Unfortunately, I’m broke. Care to donate to the Martha Wainwright CD fund? Send your money to me…it’s for CDs research…of…the CD naming market…yeah that’s it.

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