Streams

Open Phones: Baby Name Outer Limits

Thursday, June 06, 2013

According to the New York Times, parents-to-be are having a hard time choosing the perfectly unique name for their baby. The percentage of babies with names in the top 1000 most popular names is on the decline, which means that more people are going further afield when choosing names. Why? Is having an uncommon name good? And what, for you, is the outer limit on acceptable baby names? Fruit? Colors? Numbers? Call us at 212-433-9692 to weigh in on the virtue of a unique baby name.

Comments [35]

Paul from Ft. Salonga

I think we should all get to choose our own name on our 16th birthday.

Jun. 06 2013 07:08 PM
Keith Malek from Brooklyn, NY

From such a disgusting, narcissistic culture, none of this should come as a surprise. If you want your little human accessorie to be unique, teach it to be a good person. That certainly hasn't been tried yet.

Jun. 06 2013 06:20 PM
Yvonne from Park Slope, Brooklyn

In Shambhala Training which is an off-shoot of Tibetan Buddhism, animals are symbols and tiger (rules the lower lands), lion (rules the upper lands, mountains), Garuda (large bird which rules the skies) and dragon (rules both earth and skies) represent levels of spiritual development with dragon being the highest and these may have similar meanings in both Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese culture. Dragon may have all sorts of meanings related to being powerful, etc. and, perhaps, this is why a woman might be referred to as "Dragon Lady" ... just a guess.

I do not think, even if I am right, that I would name my daughter Dragon but it might be, for some, a very auspicious name.

Jun. 06 2013 02:56 PM

I always liked the names of my friends brothers daughters. They are from Argentina and he and hiw wife named their daughters, Sol, Luna, and Estrella. The Sun, Moon and Stars.

Jun. 06 2013 12:05 PM
Angie from Bronx

Susan St. James has a daughter named Sunshine (b. 1972) and a son named Harmony (b. 1974)

Jun. 06 2013 12:01 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Please; kids will be teased regardless. Why choose a name in deference to ignorance?...A parent should at least understand the meaning of the child's name (if it has any) and it should be positive. Other than that, it's all good.

Jun. 06 2013 12:01 PM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

All of these misguided, awful, made-up names really make me appreciate the most common names like John, Michael, Jennifer, Mary, etc. It's cruel to give your child a "unique" (i.e. stupid/retarded) name when he/she will have to deal with the ridicule at school.

Jun. 06 2013 12:00 PM
Bob from Brooklyn

Bye Brian!

Jun. 06 2013 11:58 AM
The Truth from Becky

How dare you hold George Foreman up as an example here Brian!!! After all you have just heard??!! Really??

Jun. 06 2013 11:58 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I'm going to name my kid PoliceState in honor of America.

Jun. 06 2013 11:56 AM
Alistair from Inwood

In a world of Quinns and Dakotas and Apples and Ivies we decided to give our son a totally out there name that nobody would see coming: John. He's the only one his age we've ever met.

Jun. 06 2013 11:56 AM
The Truth from Becky

Dragon, Unicorn, Nemesis, PINEAPPLE?? What do all of the callers have in common?

Jun. 06 2013 11:56 AM
Matt from Upper West Side

We named our eldest son Eli Zachary with a nickname we often use as "EZ". And, he did turn out to be easy.

Jun. 06 2013 11:55 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Dragon? Unicorn? Nemesis?

Good lord! Parents are clueless.

Jun. 06 2013 11:55 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

How about "Tabula Rasa"?

Jun. 06 2013 11:54 AM
Ben from Manhattan

I've seen a couple of people name their kids Kezia (or Keziah). Usually people smooth it out from the original biblical version to Cassia.

Jun. 06 2013 11:54 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Erykah Badu & Tyler, the Creator - Treehome95

Check it out.

Jun. 06 2013 11:53 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

A couple of things to remember:

When naming a baby, try to put yourself in the kid's place and imagine how much teasing that name will incur.

Some names sound better on adults than children.

Any name we use is a word in some language on the planet. Make sure it's not obscene.

Jun. 06 2013 11:52 AM
Anin from Manhattan

Friend named beautiful baby girl "Unicorn".

Jun. 06 2013 11:52 AM
Joe from nearby

I've always been partial to Jellyroll.

Jun. 06 2013 11:52 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Mike from Sunnyside -- great name! Congrats.

(By the way, Seven is Erykah Badu's son's name.)

Jun. 06 2013 11:51 AM
Joe from nearby

"Blanket"

Jun. 06 2013 11:50 AM
Mike from Sunnyside

We just had our first child this past Monday, a boy!

In deciding his name, we searched my family's genealogy for ancestors and found one of the original members of our family to have left or rather to be driven-out of Scotland during clan wars in the 17th century under King Charles 11. This ancestor and his brothers landed on an island just off the north coast of Ireland, called Rathlin Island and our family stayed there (and multiplied!) for generations. This ancestor's name was Finlay... it seemed to be a great fit for the newest member of our family!

Jun. 06 2013 11:40 AM
fuva from harlemworld

...friend...

Jun. 06 2013 11:23 AM
lolza from NYC

remember george constanza on Seinfeld wanted "soda" and "seven."
horrible names but funny.

Jun. 06 2013 11:22 AM
fuva from harlemworld

My mama blessed me with a name that is non-European and, therefore, different in this country. It has shaped my character and perspective in many, many positive ways.
(A good frind just named his new son "Meschet" (Ma-shet). Love it.)

Jun. 06 2013 11:19 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Moon Unit Zappa

^Best Baby Name Ever^

Jun. 06 2013 11:17 AM
LOLZA from nyc

i think you need to do a follow up segment for those of us who were given common names in other countries and have found ourselves outcasts in america where our names are alien and difficult to say.
my name is very common where i'm from...but here in america i have resorted to totally different name that american would feel comfy with saying...it's my new adoptive name.

Jun. 06 2013 11:09 AM
Tema from Long Island

My name is rather unique - I have alternately loved it and hated it. On the one hand, when I make a phone call to frends, I never (used to) have to include my last name (kind of like Cher or Shakira). On the other hand, my name is always pronounced with a long "a", and it's supposed to be a short "a"
When it came to naming my kids, I bristled at the thought of the Jareds and the Jennifers, I ended up naming them names that you run across now and then, but not, as in Mad Men, Bobby #5.

Jun. 06 2013 11:05 AM
Pete from UK

On the BBC kids channel in the Uk the other day, a birthday card was read out to a little girl actually called Unique...

Jun. 06 2013 10:45 AM
Denise from Huntington

Ha! I wrote about that article on my blog the other day: http://bit.ly/11p5aqu

Denise

Jun. 06 2013 10:35 AM

I growing up as a boy named Kelly, was tough but even as a child I knew it was special and different. My last name rhymes with "hole" so I grew up being called smelly hole, it was hard at times, but after a while I was like: "Is that all you got?" I wouldn't change a thing. It took a long time for my wife and I to settle on a name for our daughter and we finally ended up naming her Io (after Jupiter's moon) and have gotten loads of good feedback and the name seems to fit her, I prefer her to have a name unlike anyone else's and I think it will set her apart from the crowd and imbue her with a sense of singular specialness. PS: I love the name Jupiter for a boy!

Jun. 06 2013 10:18 AM
Alice from Brooklyn

Uncommon names that don't seem like they were chosen by opening the dictionary at random are the best. I love names that have fallen out of fashion. My own name, Alice, is uncommon for people my age (under 30)- normally someone has a Great-Aunt Alice or a grandmother. But, it is a strong, solid (and pretty if I do say so myself) name that is not widespread and it has shaped some parts of me without a doubt. I wouldn't have any other name! Good job, Mom.

Jun. 06 2013 10:11 AM
rachel from Manhattan

As a person who has changed her first name a couple of times, whatever your parents name you can be a torment growing up but anyone can change it at a later time.

Jun. 06 2013 09:53 AM
Steve from Rockville Centre, NY

I know a boy named "Jupiter". To me, that's just cruel. We ARE our names . A child with an odd name is not only burdened with the name on a daily basis but will likely have to face a name change later in life. How many of us can even briefly entertain a name change, let alone pull it off? It’s wrong for a parent to play with their child’s life like this.

Also, if you have an accent, don’t give your child a name you can’t pronounce correctly. For example, I’ve encountered New Yorkers who pronounce Taylor “Tailuh” and Robert “Robit”.

Jun. 06 2013 09:42 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.