Celebrity Names Blog

Hugh Grant's "Happy Accident" Baby: The Mystery Continues

Hugh Grant's "Happy Accident" Baby: The Mystery Continues
Barcroft/Fame Pictures

All right, name sleuths, let’s play a little catch up! We’ve really got to talk about the Hugh Grant Baby Name Mystery of 2011. When Hugh’s baby was born to his ex, Tinglan Hong, there was speculation (albeit unfounded) that her name was Jessica. But that was never officially confirmed to be true. Then, Tinglan’s ex popped up on the scene and says the baby has a Chinese name that  means “Happy Accident.” He also says that Hugh refers to the baby as “Bamboo.”
This is sketchy, of course. In the world of celebrity gossip, an ex-of-an-ex who will talk to the press “on the record” is not always as trustworthy as we’d like them to be. After all, wouldn’t wouldn’t a person who knows the family well enough to know the baby’s secret name and nickname be sensitive to the fact that the couple has been very tight-lipped to the press? But, well, it’s been over a week with no other updates, so we’ll work with what we’ve got. Perhaps this dude is just impolite.

Anyway, there are three issues to cover:

1) How do we feel about names that reference the conception of the baby? Bryce Dallas Howard, who, like her siblings, famously received a middle name referencing the location where she was conceived, recently called the family tradition “gross” and said she will not continue it when she gives birth. However, since she is not Chinese, it's not totally fair to compare these two instances.  In Anglo North American culture,  it’s rare for our names to carry a very literal meaning, especially one that specifically references the birth, but that’s absolutely not the case worldwide.

It’s also common for Chinese people who live or do business in the West to have both a Chinese name and a Western name. Considering the baby was born in England and lives in England, she might have a name that’s separate from the the “Happy Accident” name, intended for primary use.

2) Do we have any NameCandy readers who speak a Chinese language? According to About.com, this is the “Chinese” (Mandarin?) character and corresponding pinyin for “Happy Accident,” but we can’t confirm  the accuracy, nor or how this would correspond to a modern name. (After all, technically speaking, “Felicity” is an English word meaning “happiness,” but it’s not part of the common lexicon. But in Spanish, Felicidad is widely accepted both as a name and the equivalent to “happiness.”)  Behind the name classifies Huan as a Chinese name that means “happy” or “joyous.” Perhaps Huan is part of the baby’s Chinese name.

3) Bamboo: Whether Bamboo is a nickname, actual name, or a completely baseless rumor, now we have another nature-inspired noun name to go along with Ivy, Rose, Violet, and the others. Bamboo could actually be a wonderfully sweet nickname for a baby. It’s quite beautiful, very strong despite its delicate appearance, and grows at an incredible rate. Like a like an infant.

What do you know about Chinese names that you can share with us? Did you have a special nickname for your infant?

-- K.L.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

November 19, 2011 9:17 PM
By PJR (not verified)

Bamboo sounds like bambino, italian for baby, but with an Asian twist. Sweet nickname. Hope it's not a real name.

November 21, 2011 3:19 PM
By Azure (not verified)

At first I thought that Bamboo was a silly and perhaps racially derogatory name, but then I realized that in our family, we call our in utero babies "beanie" and "peanut." Hence, we should cut people slack for semi-ridiculous baby bump names.

November 22, 2011 12:04 PM
By katybug (not verified)

I thought the same thing as Azure, that Bamboo sounded somehow racially insensitive, but it's true that baby bump and baby nicknames can run from the sweet to the silly. I've heard of bumps called Mouse, Booger, Niblet, Kumquat...

November 22, 2011 7:20 PM
By Candida (not verified)

Alternately the baby could have an English "happy" first name and a Chinese "accident" middle name.

November 23, 2011 8:18 AM
By Nina (not verified)

I don't think the about.com characters are correct. Chinese given names are almost always 2 characters, sometimes only 1, but in the years I lived in China I never met anyone with a 3 or 4 character given name.

Bamboo sometimes has a meaning of luck to it in Chinese so it's not a negative nickname at all.

November 29, 2011 6:47 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I actually love the name Bamboo and have for years- just the flowerchild in me. Probably would use it as a middle name

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