Namenculture’s First Anniversary and 2017’s Year Review

What a year! Namenculture was founded on December 20th, 2016, with Popular Names that May Surprise You. The most popular list of the year was also my favorite: Lyrical Bohemian Names. I love that unusual style, and the more I write about it, the more I love it! I’d originally intended to get all the way through my Fascinating Names series, but I only made it to L. At this rate, I’ll be writing about these names until 2019- though I’m not complaining! But the world of naming is much bigger than just Namenculture. Plenty of other name news emerged elsewhere.


Noteworthy Names

Quite a few noteworthy names this year come from nature. On August 21st, a solar eclipse swept across the US, which inspired one couple to switch their planned name, Violet, with one name honoring the day their daughter was born: Eclipse Alizabeth. Fall brought a trio of hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Harvey was actually Laura Wattenberg’s Name of the Year, due to both the hurricane and disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Pop culture brought us the names Eleven (Stranger Things) and Offred (Handmaid’s Tale). Comedy and politics brought us two noteworthy names: Spicey, SNL’s take on former press secretary Sean Spicer, and “The Mooch,” nickname of the very briefly employed white house communications director Anthony Scaramucci..


2017 Celebrity Babies

This year was full of wonderfully named celebrity babies, many of whom proved my theory that celebrity names aren’t all that crazy. Some classically named babies this year included Zooey Deschanel’s son Charlie Wolf, Mindy Kaling’s daughter Katherine Swati, and Sutton Foster’s daughter Emily Dane. Jimmy Kimmel, father to Katie, Kevin, and Jane, again proved his commitment to classic names when he and wife Molly welcomed their son William John (Billy) in April. Benjamin Milipied and Natalie Portman welcomed Amalia, a sister to Aleph, and Mark Zuckerberg welcomed August, a sister for Max(ima). On my birthday this year, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott added a fifth child to their clan. Beau Dean joined siblings Liam, Stella, Hattie, and Finn.

Not all celebrity baby names were quite so ordinary; Glee star Matthew Morrison chose the celebratory Revel James Makai for his son, while Bristol Palin continued her family’s tradition of unusual names with daughter Atlee Bay. Zoe Saldana and Marco Perego welcomed their third son, Zen, who joined 3-year-old twins Bowie and Cy.

June brought three sets of celebrity twins, all one boy and one girl. George and Amal Clooney welcomed Ella and Alexander. Beyonce and Jay-Z raised eyebrows with their choices of Rumi and Sir, but with a mom named Beyonce and a sister named Blue Ivy, I don’t think Sir will feel too odd. Cristiano Ronaldo had a very busy 2017; he welcomed Eva and Mateo in June, rumored to be born via an American surrogate, and then welcomed singleton Alana Martina with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez in November.

Some of my favorite names this year were Jeremy and Audrey Roloff’s Ember Jean, Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian’s Alexis Olympia (named of course for her father,) and Bradley Cooper’s Lea De Seine. Amber Tamblyn had some fun with her daughter’s name announcement; she falsely announced that the baby was named “Dauphinoise Petunia Brittany Scheherazade Von Funkinstein Mustard Witch RBG Cross Tamblyn-Bey Jr.” The actual name she and husband David Cross chose? The simple and lovely Marlow Alice.


Thanks to all of you who’ve read the blog throughout the year! All the best for 2018.

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