Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Most Ridiculous Baby Name Book Ever: Part III

If you've already read parts One and Two, you know that 40,001 Best Baby Names displays a remarkable insanity before you even get to the actual name listings. And if you're like me, you'd think that except for many containing some of the names in the lists, a name dictionary can't really go wrong.

And then you remember that this is the book that suggests Dusky-Dream as a name, giving its origin as "invented." It would like you to believe that "dusky" means "dreamy" (it doesn't), so the book wants you to name your daughter "dreamy dream."
Fun with names: according to the book, another female American name that means "dreamy" is Fog, so presumably you should feel free to name her Dusky-Fog or maybe Fog-Dream.
Admittedly, it would be hard to find fault with a lot of the names listed simply because it's normal for name books to contain names that would seldom be used, either because they're out of date (Eustace) or just aren't a real choice (Agamemnon).

The book is full of "American" names--that is, names with American origins, as opposed to Scottish or Arabic. And that can be legitimate: the name Colleen, for example, although quintessentially Irish, is not a name in its country of origin; it's a term for a young girl. So I'm not going to pretend that there are not names that are unique to or more common in America.

But then you have names that are deemed "American," and assigned a meaning with no reference, which makes no sense because America is a nation of immigrants. Will someone please tell me how "Ajay" (A.J.) came to mean "spontaneous"? Other "American" names include:
Cowboy (male; "western")
Curb (m, "word as a name; dynamic")
Dearon (m; "dear one")
Devender (m; "poetic")
Dobes (m; "unassuming")
Dravey (m; "groovy")
Gaddis (m; "hard to please, picky")
Kyzer (m; "wild spirit")
Momo (m; "rascal") It doesn't tell you it's actually Japanese for peach.
Orenthiel (m; "sturdy as a pine")
Phex (m; "kind")
Poogie, Pookie (m; "snuggly")
Skeetz (m; "zany")
Trocky (m; "manly")
Wize (m; "smart") and Wyze (m; "sizzle, capable")
Beige (female; "simple; calm") and Beige-Dawn ("clear morning")
Bootsey (f; "cowgirl")
Chessteen (f; "needed")
Essence (f; "ingenious")
Fluffy (f; "fun-loving")
Fushy (f; "animated; vivid")
Gregory (f (!); "scholarly") Note that in the boy's section, Gregory is a Greek name that means "cautious."
J-Nyl (f; "flirtatious")
Meashley (f; "charmer")
Nurlene (f; "boisterous")
Poodle (f; "dog; froufrou girl" )
Schmoopie (f; "baby; sweetie")
Wood (f; "smooth talker")
Yuette (f; "capable")
Zoom (f; "energetic")

Other names deemed "American" are actually combinations of other names, with meanings assigned to the combination with no apparent regard for what the original names meant. Try these on for size:
Hughdonald (m; "combo of Hugh and Donald; southern." Hugh="intelligent," Donald="powerful; world leader")
Jathan (m; "combo of Jake and Nathan; attractive." Jake, from Jacob="replacement; best boy," Nathan="magnanimous")
Johnny-Dodd (m; "country sheriff")
Rajoseph (m; "combo of Ra and Joseph." Ra has no entry, Joseph="asset")
Tedwayne (m; "combo of Ted and Wayne, friendly." Ted, from Theodore="a blessing," Wayne="wheeler-dealer")
AthaSue (f; "combo of Atha and Sue; sweet and discriminating." Atha has no entry, Sue="lily")
Caykee (f; "combo of Cay and Kee; lively." Cay has no entry, Kee has no entry although "Keekee" is American and means "dancing." Apparently this is different from "Kiki," which is both Spanish and American and means "vivacious")
Deandralina (f; "combo of Deandra and Lina; divine seer." Deandra="combo of Sandra ("protective") and Deanna ("divine girl"); Lina="light of spirit")
Jo-Allene (f; "combo of Jo and Allene; effervescent." Jo ("from Josephine")="spunky," although Josephine="blessed;" Allene="wonderful")
Maryalice ("friendly"), Maryann ("special"), Mary-Catherine ("outgoing"), Mary-Elizabeth ("kind"), Marykate ("splendid"), Marykay ("adorned"), Mary-Lou ("athletic"), Mary-Marg ("dramatic"), Mary-Margaret ("dramatic, kind"), Marypat ("easygoing"), Marysue ("country girl")
Michaelannette ("combo of Michael and Annette; spirited")

If you're sick of Mary-Anything right now, consider that I did you a favor and left out all the Mari-Names and Marie-Names.

And the insanity doesn't stop there. You may remember, from Part Two, the inclusion of a list of "made-up names." If that list wasn't enough for you, here are a handful of the names with no cultural background; they're just listed as "invented" although that apparently doesn't stop them from having definite meanings.
Delete  (m; "ordinary")
Jadall (m; "punctual")
Jagit (m; "brisk")
Kelts (m; "energetic")
Odisoose (m; "invented form of Odysseus")
Chinadoll (f; "fun")
Crispy (f; "fun-loving; zany")
Dijonaise (f; "condiments; combo of Dijon and mayonnaise")
Likiana (f; "likeable")
Rockella (f; "rocker")

These barely skim the surface of what's contained within the seemingly-innocuous pages of the 40,001 Best Baby Names. It's the most baffling collection you may ever read. However, I'm sure it (and its successors of 50,0001 and 60,001 names) has its uses: announce that your twins are going to be Tankie Austeena ("big" and "statuesque") and Swoosie Tygie-Jimbo ("unique" and "energetic"-"cowhand"), and when they're born and you announce what the names really are, no one will complain. Ever.

Part I, An Introduction: Just in Case You Wanted You Child to Have a Death-Row Name
Part II, The Lists Get Weirder: Afrodytee is Much Easier to Pronounce than Aphrodite

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