1,108 Baby Names with Meaning, Character, and a Little Bit of Attitude
My children, from the moment they arrived, have been told their name is the first gift I gave them.
It is theirs alone and their responsibility to make it a good one.
I remember spending hours reading about names, finding one I loved the sound of as it rolled off my tongue, and then looking up its meaning only to find that it wasn’t what I was seeking for my child.
There was plenty of advice, and everyone had a family favorite that was a “Must Have” name.
I took the responsibility as one of the most important duties I had as a mother.
With my first, we didn’t know the gender.
We went the old fashioned route, armed at delivery with a girl name, Amy Elizabeth, and a boy name, Jacob Alexander.
A beautiful baby boy entered the world, and as I waited in recovery, I heard the other new Mommy’s talking about their new baby boy.
They all seemed to be Alexanders in one way or another.
I wanted my child to be his own person, and so, without speaking to my husband, I changed his name to, Jacob Robert.
I have never regretted that choice.
My grandmother out West called him “Big Jake,” while my mother in the South called him “Jakie Bob.”
Now we simply call him Jake.
Jacob, according to Bring Back Beatrice!, reads: “the Bible tells us, is the supplanter–the crafty younger twin who tricked his older brother Esau into giving him his birthright. Jacob has successfully supplanted all other names to become number one in the United States since 1999. How did he do it? By having a significant history-Jacob is a towering patriarch of Judaism; by appealing to Jews and Christians alike–both groups are using the name with enthusiasm; and by having a forceful but friendly nickname; Jake.”
Jakob, Jakobe, Jacoby, Jake, Coby, Giacomo, Jacques, Seamus, James
Jake, Jay, Coby
Zachary, Luke, Ezra, Caleb
Let’s go with the Alternatives mentioned above.
Back in 1989, I left the hospital 24 hours before my baby.
On the way home, I told my husband that he needed to make a promise to me.
The promise was that if we had another child, and it was a boy, we would name him Zachary, a name my husband was not at all fond of and adamantly refused to consider for Jake.
He, in his moment of pride for his newborn son, agreed, and in 1993, we were on our way to the hospital again.
We knew the gender–a boy.
I remember being on the way to the hospital and freaking out because I didn’t know if I loved the name we picked for him.
It was what I talked about through my delivery (which lasted all of 7 minutes after arriving at the hospital).
Then something happened.
When my actual doctor arrived to see the baby and me–I didn’t have time to wait for anyone, he kept pulling the umbilical cord up and saying, “Will you look at this cord?”
After a few rounds of this, I asked, “Is there something wrong with the cord?”
My doctor answered, “In my 25 years of delivering babies, this is the longest umbilical cord I’ve ever seen. It’s what saved your baby.”
Zac came out blue, depleted of oxygen, with his tiny hand between his neck and three winds of the umbilical cord.
If the cord had been “typical” he would have “hanged himself” coming out.
This information left no doubt that we had, indeed, selected the perfect name for our son: Zachary Nathaniel.
Together those two names mean: “God Remembered, a Gift from God.” He truly did, and he was.
Bring Back Beatrice! Narrows down the universe of names to 1,546 mostly classic examples, and it makes a strong case for each, featuring the name’s definition, its use in history, its connotations and subtleties, its “meaning” in the fuller sense. Included are variations, nicknames, and, especially useful for readers, alternatives— names that have the same flavor, but may sound better with a particular last name or family background. There’s a guide to the basic rules of baby naming: scansion— the sounds, syllables, and rhythm of a name, and how it goes with the last name—ethnic traditions, recent trends, effective use of a middle name, plus an invaluable “flaky test.” Still, considering a quirky name? Just imagine yourself buckling in for a flight when a voice comes on, saying, “I’m your captain, (insert quirky name here).” What do you think now?
Each of my children, with the exception of the two my husband had claimed decision-making for, have classic names.
I love them. I love the old-fashioned traditions.
Bring Back Beatrice! is the perfect collection of the more classic names, though some mainstream trendy names are peppered through the pages.
I also love the trivia and fun facts in the book like girl’s names that appear in songs: Veronica, Caroline, Clementine, Ruby…
The boy’s trivia and fun facts take on a more macho tone, appealing, I’m certain, to the husbands, with famous fictional characters: Charlie, Max, Milo, Atticus.
This is a one-stop name book.
It has so much more than just Name/derivative/meaning.
It tells a story, gives nicknames and variations along with alternatives.
It’s a great place to find the perfect name for any bundle of joy.