The naming bug

Photo 13-03-2013 07 48 52 AM

I promise I am actually thinking about things other than babies at the moment. Yesterday I thought an awful lot, for example, about European legislation – specifically, the grammar thereof – and had a right little chuckle when I found an article beginning ‘An old cleavage causes new divisions…’ (No, it was about Cypriot social policy.) It was the end of a really long working day.

(Still, it’s been a couple of weeks – weeks, and two of them – since I read a book. Urgh. Has anyone read anything amazing lately? I could use a recommendation.)

But anyway, back to the babies. Just for now, I promise. Because I don’t know how you feel about it, but the pressure of choosing a baby name that’s not so popular your kid will spend the entirety of his school career being referred to by his surname, nor so hideously ‘original’ that he’ll be marked out as the class punching bag for fifteen years, is TOO MUCH. It needs to fit when he’s a baby and a boy and an adult. It needs to go well with his last name. His initials shouldn’t spell out anything obviously dirty. It would also be nice if it came with a selection of accessible nicknames, though we got around that with Henry by getting out the Latin phrasebook.

And there’s also this vow I made to name all of my children after Shakespeare characters. Henry was a good start.

There are three obvious avenues that occur to me.

One, I rifle through my Arden Collected Works for some options. I did that this morning. I wish I’d thought of the fact that Shakespeare didn’t go in for normal names before I made the vow. Here are a few:

Titus Andronicus Jeffcoat

Horatio Jeffcoat

Oswald Jeffcoat

Edmund Jeffcoat

Francis Jeffcoat

King Lear Jeffcoat

Donalbain Jeffcoat

Ferdinand Jeffcoat

Falconbridge Jeffcoat

And there I stopped, because Falconbridge Jeffcoat is so obviously a winner there was no need to go any further. Falconbridge Jeffcoat, you guys. I am feeling it.

(Except, as my sister astutely pointed out, with a name like that he’d have no option but to be a superhero, and our genes tend towards the nerd end of things. Bother.)

Ok, then. Two, I look at some other names of English kings. Henry is obviously a popular choice. What else is there? I’m glad you asked.

Edmund Jeffcoat (again)

Edgar Jeffcoat (lots of E names, here)

Eadwig Jeffcoat (too far)

Harold Jeffcoat

Aethelred the Unready Jeffcoat

Harthacnut Jeffcoat

Sweyn Forkbeard Jeffcoat

WHOA THERE. Someone called Sweyn Forkbeard Jeffcoat will go far. I can just feel it.

But what if he takes after his father and can’t grow much of a beard, much less a forked one? How will he live with the crippling disappointment of being a clean-shaven Sweyn Forkbeard?

Third, I look in a baby names book. I had a crack at that this morning, too. Maybe we’ve just got a baby name book for dweebs. All I’m saying is, ‘Falconbridge’ is not present, and ‘Brick’, regrettably, is. Brick. There is no origin, because someone had a baby with a square head once and made it up.

I’ll keep looking.

Photo 12-03-2013 09 45 29 PM

Henricus Rex was always a keeper.

How did you choose your baby names? Shakespeare? English royalty? Or – hang on a minute – something else?

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16 thoughts on “The naming bug

  1. I’m trying to name the baby after characters in Anne of Green Gables, but my husband isn’t having it (and he doesn’t even know what I’m trying to do!). We also have quite a few Harry Potter-inspired names that actually made the list…

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  2. I haven’t read anything new lately (curse you, study week!), but I will always recommend “Suite Francaise” to anyone who asks (and a few who don’t): it’s beautiful, well-observed, and equal parts ruthless and compassionate. As for baby names, you could always check out http://www.youcantcallitit.com/ which has a “Names that Sound Like” feature and consulting. Also, try http://www.nymbler.com/ which lets you enter names you like and comes up with names other people who picked those names like.

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    • Yes indeedy – two little boys in this house come the summer! We’ve just been telling people when they ask – though I could’ve sworn I told you at enrichment the other night! Sorry. Feather-brained is not the word at the moment…

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  3. natalie hacking says:

    such a big and weighty job, naming your wee ones…there were so few names that jay and i agreed on, we were destined to only have three children. i felt strongly about names: that girl names need to be distinctly feminine, middle names need to have family significance and that (for both genders) it must be remembered that people are adults far longer than they are babies — sometimes (especially here in america) people name their babies ultra trendy names (which are difficult to spell and decipher gender — poor grade school teachers!) which won’t translate to adulthood well. a friend reccomended that one try to picture names on wedding announcements or office doors: if it doesn’t sound/look good there, going more classic might be a better choice. henry is, of course, fantastic and i am sure that you two will find an equally perfect name!

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    • What excellent advice! I love the thought that people are adults for longer than they are babies, and picturing the name on office doors and wedding announcements. So easy for something to be lovely as a little baby but less appropriate once they’re older!

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