creative names

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Can I Turn a Word Into a Name?

I'm obsessed with the concept of 'Chlorine' and 'Adrenaline' being names for girls, as I love the way they sound, but I'm worried that people will find it odd or weird because... well, they're words. Would altering the spellings (Clorine, Adrenalyn, etc.) preserve the sound but keep people from connecting it with the word?
- Name Lover

This Name Lady wasn't born yesterday. I'm not convinced that you're really planning to name your daughter Adrenalyn. I am convinced, though, that your question has a worthwhile point behind it.

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Is My Favorite Baby Name Too Weird?

I've been having a love affair with the name Calypso since I was 16 years old! I love the name, I love the sound, I love the Greek mythology, and I love the nickname Caly to go with it. My husband also loves the name, but neither of us are sure if we should use it. We aren't sure how our families, or friends, or anyone else will react to this name! Do we take a chance? Or should we be looking elsewhere with these doubts? - Calypso Lover

You want to know how people will react to the name? I have two syllables for you: Day-O. A typical person who hears Calypso is more likely to think "Harry Belafonte" than "Greek nymph."

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Why Does Everybody Get My Name Wrong?

My birth first name is Garold. My mother intended for it to be pronounced like Harold, but with a G instead of a H. She went to school with a Garold. I've had an English teacher tell me my name is not spelled correctly -- that my mom made a mistake naming me with that spelling. I was told by another teacher it was Old English for Harold. It seems like most people want to call me Gerald. I'm curious to know what your opinion is about my name, and how it should be pronounced. - Garold

For all that folks complain about eye-popping, unpronounceable names, it's a more modest group of names that are the true mistake magnets. Names like Katheline, Johathan...and Garold. These are the "almost names," just a slim step away from something more common and familiar.

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Do We Need New Baby Name Etiquette?

America, we are facing a crisis in baby name etiquette. Names have changed dramatically over the past generation, and our manners haven't kept up. As you can see from my "Grumpy" and "Steamed" correspondents, tempers are rising on both sides of the divide. It's time to take a step back and rediscover common courtesy.

If you're in "Grumpy's" spot, you have to face facts. When it comes to names, normal just isn't normal any more. Last year alone, at least five American babies received each of these names:

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I Gave My Baby the Wrong Name!

I heard the name Nevaeh (pronounced neh-VAY) and liked it for my daughter. To prevent people from pronouncing it neh-VAY-uh I spelled it Nevae. Now everyone completely mispronounces it. I have even had people ask if it's a boy or girl name. I want to change it now to prevent my baby girl from having major frustrations but everyone thinks it's weird to change her name. She is only 7 months old. Am I being too sensitive about people mispronouncing it? Is it a bad thing to change someone's name? - Nevae's Mommy

What's so weird about wanting your daughter to have the name you chose for her from the beginning?

Most parents who choose the name Nevaeh do it for the spelling, which is heaven backward. But you fell in love with a sound. Guessing (rightly) that people would pronounce Nevaeh as three syllables, you changed the spelling in order to capture the sound you love. But it didn't work. People didn't get Nevae.

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Nobody likes my favorite baby name

I have been in love with the name Bright for a girl for a while now, but my husband is not so keen. He thinks that the name is too 'out there' and that she'll be teased very badly at school. I've been trying to think of nicknames for Bright to convince him, but as it's such a short name I can't think of anything! Can you help? Also, my mother thinks that the name is too juvenile and that Bright would encounter the 'Katie' difficulty when she's older. What do you think? - Questioning Mom

I can see how you'd fall in love with the name Bright. It's like a burst of positive energy, so that the more you think about Bright, the more other names seem, well, dim in comparison.

When you dive into a name so deeply, though, it's easy to lose perspective. For a fresh view, consider these names: Gleam, Clever, Glow. They all have positive meanings and plausibly name-like sounds. To a lot of people--including your own nearest and dearest--Bright belongs in that group. If those names give you pause, maybe that will help you understand their concerns.

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Beyond John and Priscilla: Surprising Names of the Mayflower Pilgrims

Looking for creative baby name ideas? You could flip through an atlas, check tonight's reality TV listings or even browse the models at your local car dealership. Chances are, though, that even at Thanksgiving time you won't be tempted to search the passenger manifest of the good ship Mayflower. Most parents today give 17th-century style a pass. After all, of the 74 men aboard the Mayflower, 16 were named John.

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Babies named Abcde?

Someone I know just named her baby girl "Abcde." What do you think of that??? - Julie

Someone you know? Not just someone you heard about? I'm just asking because reports of babies named Abcde outpace real Abcde's by a mile.

That said, this name is not just an urban legend. There are some real Abcde's out there, ranging from babies to young adults. The name is pronounced AB-si-dee, and it seems to be exclusively female. You'll find Abcde's most often in Latino families and in creative-naming outposts like Hawaii and New Mexico.

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