literary names

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What Goes with Guinevere?

I am having a hard time finding a name that sounds good with our first daughter's name, Guinevere. I absolutely love her name and I keep hoping I will find a name I love as much as hers, but nothing has come up yet. Do you have any suggestions?

–Still Searching

Parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to find the perfect name, and the stakes only seem to get higher with subsequent children. If you've already used the best name out there, how can you follow that up?

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Is This Baby Name Really a Name?

I am pregnant with number 3. Our boy name is rock solid, easy, no questions. However, the girl name is hard. Recently the name Covie came to me. The problem is that I don't know if it's even really a name. I love it, though. Thoughts?

–Uncertain Mom

No, Covie is not traditional as a given name, surname, place name, or any other kind of established name. But is it "really" a name? It will be, if you give it to your daughter! After all, what makes a name a name is use. Writers have been inventing names for centuries, including now-familiar names like Amanda, Evangeline, Jessica, and Wendy. And parents have often chosen surnames and words to become first names, or adapted traditional names with nicknames or variants.

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KaDee Strickland and Jason Behr announce the birth of Atticus

 KaDee Strickland and Jason Behr announce the birth of Atticus

Former Private Practice star, actress KaDee Strickland, and husband Jason Behr announced the birth of their son Atticus Behr, born at home on October 17th.

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Neil Patrick Harris Shares Story Behind Twins' Names

Neil Patrick Harris Shares Story Behind Twins' Names

Now that their twins have reached toddlerhood, TV star Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka are sharing the stories behind Gideon Scott and Harper Grace's distinctive names. When Gideon and Harper were born in 2010, we nominated the pair for the best celebrity twin names of the year (up against Mark McGrath's Hartley Grace and Lydon Edward). Our commenters agreed that Gideon and Harper made an adorable sibset. Now the story's out: what inspired these twin names?

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By Any Other Name: Holly Golightly was almost Connie Gustafson

By Any Other Name:  Holly Golightly was almost Connie Gustafson

Would the charming Holly Golightly have won our hearts so easily if she were called Connie Gustafson? CBS News reported that Breakfast at Tiffany’s writer Truman Capote’s manuscript for his famous novella is up for auction in New Hampshire, and among the hand written edits is a change to the young heroine’s name. Even in the book her name was never really set in stone: close readers may remember that the famous flirt was born Eula Mae Barnes, married and got her fab last name of Golightly, and chooses the name Holiday for herself. The name Holly Golightly seems so perfectly suited for a lighthearted wanderer through life, it’s hard to believe Capote ever considered another name for his heroine.

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Sherlock Holmes as a Baby Name? Why Not?

Between the award-winning BBC series Sherlock, the new CBS series Elementary and of course, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law's Sherlock Holmes film series, Sherlock Holmes seems to be on everyone's minds lately. Except, it seems, baby namers. Despite being one of literary history's most beloved character for the past 125 years and especially one with such a unique name, neither Sherlock nor Holmes has caught on. 

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The Greatest Literary Characters and Their Modern Name Equivalents

The Greatest Literary Characters and Their Modern Name Equivalents

For many, the great joy of American literature of the early and mid-20th century was the lively and fascinating characters. We decided to stack up some of the names of those classic characters with their contemporary pop culture name equivalents. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote many great novels filled with wonderful characters, but perhaps his most memorable creation is the ambitious and mysterious Jay Gatsby. Jay was a fairly popular name in the 1920s when The Great Gatsby was published and peaked in the 1960s, but has since declined in popularity. Both of the most well-known pop culture figures with the name Jay, Jay Leno and Jay-Z, are not particularly reminiscent of each other or Jay Gatsby.

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Will "The Help" Boost The Popularity Of The Name Octavia?

Will "The Help" Boost The Popularity Of The Name Octavia?

The Academy Awards are five months away but Octavia Spencer is already being talked up as a nominee for her role in The Help. As her unforgettable performance as outspoken maid Minny Jackson resonates with movie-goers and critics, we brush up on the history of the regal sounding name Octavia, which you may hear a lot of — following the words "And the award goes to..." — come Oscar time.

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Beyond Willy, Dick and Peter: Naming Private Parts with a Celebrity Twist

Beyond Willy, Dick and Peter: Naming Private Parts with a Celebrity Twist

It's a name issue every parent has to face: what are you going to call junior's genitals? Will you choose the matter-of-fact "vagina and penis"? The politely euphemistic "private parts" or "bits"? The adorable "cupcake" and "lily"? The hilarious "wing wang" and "whoopsie"? 

Usually, these are private conversations. But every so often this issue rises in the pop culture zeitgeist, and once again, it's open season on the discussion of the many names one can call a wiener. Today, thanks to writer Nicholson Baker, we have some interesting new entries into the lexicon of genitalia nomenclature. Welcome Malcolm Gladwell.

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Edgar Allan Poe, Naming Savant

"It was many and many a year ago." 201, to be exact, since the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, naming savant, who knew the value of a good "bel" name long before our current mania for all things "bella."

Poe lived in the nineteenth century, in the decades that gave us the frock coat and steampunk. Like his prose, his names are thrilling, yet with a persnickety precision. Several are dactyllic, and they are full of "L"s.

They're also prescient.

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