Friday, July 1, 2016


There are plenty of name lovers out there who are probably shuddering a little at this one. It looks invented; it looks like a creative spelling. And maybe it is. But I saw this one on TV recently (it was the name of a real estate agent on the show 'House Hunters') and the more I turned it over in my head, the more I liked it. So of course I thought I'd share it.

The main thing I like about this name is the sound. It's kind of like a Paisley-Peyton-Kaylee smoosh. Considering how popular these three names are (in 2015 they were #45, #72 and #61 respectively in the U.S), I'm a little surprised more people haven't jumped behind this one yet.

With almost 20 different spellings of Paisley recorded by the SSA in 2015, a lot of people have no problem with a creatively spelled name. Admittedly, this is probably not how I personally would choose to spell this name though.

Mae and Rae may be gaining popularity as alternatives to May and Ray, but I just can't see Pae finding favour with many people.

The two versions that did chart in 2015 were Pailey and Paylee. Both were given to just 5 girls each - placing them in the 18,000's, a long, long, long way from the top 100 - and only Pailey has already charted in previous years. But I personally don't find these to be very elegant either. I'd tentatively say that Payleigh might be the way to go. So maybe this illustrates why Paeleigh hasn't caught our attention before - it has a currently stylish sound, but it's difficult to settle on an appealing-looking spelling for it.

And it does seem to be a modern invention, as you'd be hard pressed to find a meaning for it online. So if a solid history of use; an established and attractive spelling; and a solid meaning is important to you, then this is not the name for you.

But still, as someone who personally likes the names Paisley, Peyton and Kaylee, the sound of Paeleigh really draws me in. Its just so cheerful feeling; so happy-go-lucky. If I was introduced to one I'd definitely compliment them, and be very intrigued to see what spelling they settled on.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


I found this one when watching 'Ellen' the other day. As Ellen often does, she was surprising a deserving viewer with a present after a woman's daughter - named Oviri - had written to Ellen. It struck me as an exotic sounding (pronounced oh-VEER-ee) and quite unique name, so of course it caught my attention!

And rare indeed it is. It has never appeared on the United States SSA records (so hasn't been given to more than 5 children in a single year). However a quick search on Facebook shows a small number of both males and females named Oviri, so it is used but there's a good chance you've never met one.

But if you are an art lover there is a better chance that you may have heard this word before. Oviri is perhaps best known as the name of a sculpture by French artist Paul Gauguin. Gauguin encountered it during his time in Tahiti, where Oviri is a Tahitian word meaning 'wild'. It is reportedly also the name of the goddess of mourning in Tahitian mythology, but I haven't seen that anywhere besides Wikipedia so maybe take that idea with a grain of salt.

I get the impression that Gauguin was quite taken with Oviri as the concept of its' meaning of wild or savage rather than as a name. He applied the term to several works, and even to a self portrait he did in plaster. A 1986 biographical movie about Gauguin was titled 'Oviri' (also known as 'The Wolf at the Door') and based on his life in Paris after his return from Tahiti. So it seems to have had a lasting impact on his life. If you're a fan of his work it could be a great choice.

Perhaps what most struck me most about Oviri though is what a lovely alternative it would make to the extremely popular Olivia. Or Oliver for boys. In fact, despite hearing it first on a girl, now that I've seen it used for both genders I'm liking it more for a boy. And if we're being a little fanciful, I could imagine Oviri as a sibling for Kai, Mowgli or Shiloh. What do you think?

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Photo courtesy of Sandra Bianco Photography
West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle was in the headlines this week for announcing that he had named his new baby daughter Blush.

The reason this has caused such a stir is two fold. Firstly, there is the name itself. As with almost any time someone in the public eye dares to use a name not deemed "normal" there are plenty of people declaring it to be wrong. They say things like "that's not a name!", "surely that's not right!" and the inevitable "is this a joke?".

Except in this case the context of this particular person naming his baby Blush gives people extra cause to wonder if it is a joke. Which brings us to the second reason it has caused such a stir. In January this year Gayle caused controversy for his sexism towards a female sports reporter. He had been flirting with her in a post game interview and made the comment "don't blush, baby" as she tried to ignore his unwanted flirtations. He tried to brush it off as being a joke, but was fined for his unprofessional conduct.

Reportedly this name is also a joke though, and his child is instead a boy (not named Blush). Which would mean that while Gayle may think that his tweets of "We would like to welcome the arrival of our beautiful daughter 'Blush'" and "Thank you all for the sweet and kind messages. Blush won't Blush, my baby" are funny, he has sadly learned very little from the whole incident. Which makes sense as "don't blush, baby" has basically become his signature catchphrase.

The overpoweringly negative reaction to the name Blush is interesting though. Let's take a step back for a minute. If someone had actually named their daughter Blush, and didn't have the background with the word that Gayle does, is it really that bad as a name?

I saw a discussion about the story on morning TV where one person used the extreme insult of "It's akin to child abuse" (I hate it when people use that phrase as an argument against a particular name. Seriously, a ridiculous - in your opinion - name does not automatically equal abuse. Such statements just trivialise the very serious subject of child abuse. But that's a discussion for another place and time).

The more considered argument I heard against naming your baby Blush was that as it's a word commonly associated with shy, young, awkward girls it would be belittling to give a female this name. Furthermore, it would be hard for an adult woman to be taken seriously with a name for an involuntary physical reaction, especially within a professional environment.

Which I understand and agree with. And is why I feel kinda bad for saying that I think Blush would actually be quite pretty as a name. It has a sweetly romantic feel, and makes me think of other soft pink flowery names like Bloom, Blossom or Posey. I could totally see it as a possible name should Jules and Jamie Oliver's next child be a girl.

But I think this is one that is best left for a surprising and demure middle name. And listening to the general reaction when Gayle announced the name (be it the real name or not), it's safe to say that most people would also prefer not to see Blush as a first name.