Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Baby Names Made Easy: the Complete Reverse Dictionary of Baby Names by Amanda Elizabeth Barden

Reviewed by Kristin

Whether you are preparing to name your upcoming bundle of joy, fur child, or researching names for the next New York Times fiction bestseller, check out the wide variety of baby name books available at the library.  Baby Names Made Easy takes an alternative approach to the standardized alphabetical listing.  These 20,000 names are organized by meaning, so you can be sure to name your baby (or character!) a name that perfectly matches their personality.  Perhaps we should go back to the tradition of waiting to see what fits a baby before assigning a name.  I’m pretty sure that most children would be named before they headed off to kindergarten, although in many families “Sonny” or “Junior” sticks as a forever nickname.

To name someone based on physical characteristics, how about Nigella,  meaning “dark haired?"  Or maybe you should go with Crispin, from the Latin for “curly” or “wavy."  If your baby has chubby cheeks, try out the French name “Gifford."  “Bronwen” summons up the image of a woman on the cover of a bodice-ripper paperback.  And that’s appropriate, since the name is of Welsh origin, meaning “fair-bosomed."

Have a girl who is filled with happiness and joy?  From the Italian, meaning “merry” or “cheerful”—how about “Allegra?"  Wait, suddenly I feel the need for a tissue.  Maybe the pharmaceutical companies have been reading this book and want us to feel happy at the prospect of taking their latest pill.

Want to encourage hard work with a name?  “Emily” and its many variations means “energetic” or “hardworking."  For a boy’s version, try “Amery” (also “hardworking”) or “Trevor” (“industrious.”)  Perhaps try “Zola” for a girl, which is of African origin and means “productive."

Large family?  Running out of names?  “Bathsheba” means “seventh daughter” or “daughter of the oath."  Hmm, there might not be too much of a call for that name these days.  But you never know—names do go in and out of style.

Want to hint at a connection to royalty?  Maybe “Duke” or “Princess” is too obvious, but you can also try “Darius," meaning “king," “Elmer," meaning “noble," or “Tiana/Tatiana," both meaning “fairy queen."

Naming someone after a geographical location can be quite stylish.  Greek “Olympia” somewhat obviously means “from Mount Olympus”.  Listed as popular geographic names, “Virginia” is great for a girl, and “Tennessee” is listed in the boy category.  What’s next, naming someone “Bristol?"  Oh, wait, that's already happened.   If you’re feeling exotic, try “Waikiki," “Fuji," or “Vegas."  Maybe not.  After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

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