Thursday, February 21

Preppy Prep

photo by laliseuse

Here's something fun I randomly came across a couple of days ago
 — a set of articles gathering the preppiest preppy names found amongst the rosters of various college lacrosse teams. (Told you it was random. I've never even watched a lacrosse game, though I remember not totally sucking at it in gym class.) I love that the writer of the article is clearly a namer at heart, interested in organizing them and finding his own sub-themes, like the team made up entirely of Mackenzies. It was such a fun read with tons of great names mentioned — here are some that stood out.

For boys  — 

Challen — like Challen, many of the names on the list are generally found as surnames. Though the Challen listed in the article is male, a quick Facebook search turns up many more girls with the name, including an actress named Challen Cates. It's very rare, however, and was used less than 5 times in 2011.  I'm tempted to pronounce it like challa ...

Chapin — another surname, it's also used as a place name across the US. It was also used less than 5 times in 2011, for either gender, though I thought it might be a bit more popular, made recognizable by singers Harry Chapin and Mary Chapin Carpenter

Corbett — actor John Corbett played Aidan on Sex and the City, jettisoning that name to the top of the US charts in crazy-fast rise, I fee like all those people who liked the name after watching the show must have seen "Corbett" right next to it, and similar Beckett is shooting up the charts — it first appeared in 2006 at #750, and has risen to #330 in just 5 years. There were only 15 baby boys named Corbett born in 2011, I wouldn't be surprised if it's slowly, slowly catching on

Draper — here's another one made more recognizable by a popular TV show. Draper was used on 6 boys in 2011, probably inspired by Mad Men. I talked about it a bit here

Ehret — another surname, but one that really transitions well to the first-name spot, since it sounds and looks so much like Eric or Garrett. I can't find much about it, and it's another rare one, used less than 5 times in 2011

Grove — a word name that I can see appealing to nature/hippy namers looking for something a little more dignified. I've always liked Grover, and simple Grove gets rid of the muppet problem while keeping the cool sound intact. Used less than 5 times

Kessler — Kessler is the only one of the names in the boys section that appears on the popularity charts for both boys and girls. It's very low for both — 5 girls and 21 boys were named Kessler in 2011 — but I think this speaks to the broad appeal of its sounds. "Kess" can be quite feminine, bringing to mind girly choices like Tess or Bess, and "-ler," as in Tyler, Schuyler, Kyler or Taylor, is a trendy, popular ending for both sexes

And for girls  — 

Austin — the appeal of Austin on a boy is lost on me, but occasionally I think of it for a girl and am intrigued. Jane Austen is probably responsible for this blip in my usual naming style, and somehow that spelling does read a bit more feminine, right? Anyway I think it's pretty cool mix of cowgirl, hip and literary, and it was used on 85 girls in 2011, so I'm not alone. (It was used on 6,979 boys ...)

Elspeth — love seeing this Scottish form of Elizabeth used. I love the cross-vibe (that's a thing) of "vintage doily" meets "witchy." And I always find it interesting when a legitimate, "real" name with a long history of regular use in Britain ranks super-low on the US charts. Only 10 girls were named Elspeth in 2011 — any parents out there looking for a longer form of Ellie that won't get lots in a sea of Ellas and Eleanors? Elspeth's up for the taking ...

Linley — why haven't trendy namers "discovered" this one yet? Lindsey was a popular 70s/80s choice, the sounds are spot-on. It's flowery and feminine, a great way to honor someone named Lynn or Linda. It was used 58 times in 2011

Meris — more commonly found as Maris, this name means "of the sea." Such a pretty choice,  perhaps marred by the character on Frasier? Meris was only used 5 times in 2011, but Maris is actually on a little rise. It was used 42 times in 2009, 47 times in 2010 and 55 times in 2011
Stevie — Stevie is one of my favorite "boy nicknames on a girl" names, though it's never been as popular as, say, Frankie or Billie, and I can't figure out why. Fleetwood Mac is amazing, Stevie Nicks is amazing, everyone loves them, right? It's fun to say. It's spunky and sweet and is actually, as a given name, more popular on a girl than on a boy. Only 31 boys were named Stevie in 2011, and 189 girls were

 — Tatum is the only name on this list that breaks into the top 1000. It first appeared in 1994 and took off, peaking relatively recently, in 2010, at #332. I knew quite a few growing up in Arizona, and it's not really my style, but I've always thought it was a funny one to become so popular. I can't think of any other name that sounds like it, can you?

Whitley — like Linley, I wonder why Whitley hasn't found more of a following. It is also an update on a popular 80s name (Whitney) and has the even more popular "-ley" ending. It was used on 8 boys and 155 girls in 2011

I really encourage you to check out the articles I linked to above. They are full of gems, and many of the names have to be appreciated as full first-last name combos — I mean, where else can you find genius names like Cutty Diamond, Deemer Class, Westy Hopkins, Kam BumpusRonjohn Dadd, and Peer Fish? There are girls named Gabe, Jake, Jack and Alec!  It's so fun.

PS — hello, Ronjohn or Peer, if you're Googling yourself. I love your names. Yay Lacrosse?

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