The Perfect Baby Blog

Insider baby-naming secrets, part I

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

One of the more popular parts of the The Perfect Baby Handbook, it seems, are the tips on finding unexpected sources for unique baby names on p. 6. Those readers who’ve been pleading for more, equally sound advice on this topic are in luck: When writing the book, I researched several extra lists that didn’t ultimately fit because—for reasons I still don’t understand—book pages are not as large as Persian carpets. Today’s bonus moniker mine: The works of William Shakespeare! (Remember that for every perfect baby name a source yields, an imperfect name is lurking seductively, so beware.)

Perfect Shakespearean Baby Names


WINNER: A Midsummer's Night Name.

• Balthazar
• Bianca
• Conrade
• Cordelia
• Cymbeline
• Edmund
• Grandpré
• Helena
• Iris
• Oberon
• Octavia
• Olivia
• Patience
• Portia
• Prospero
• Sebastian

Imperfect Shakespearean Baby Names



• Abhorson
• Cobweb
• Curio
• Dorcus
• Dull
• Elbow
• Floritzel
• Fluellen
• Froth
• Goneril
• Mopsa
• Pinch
• Scarus
• Shallow
• Snout
• Violenta

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What people are saying

  1. What about Viola?

  2. I think I would be pretty careful about choosing names from literature, especially without knowing the characters. Cymbeline, for example, sounds decidedly feminine to most ears, but is in fact a boy’s name pronounced cum-buh-linn.

    On the female side, Cordelia’s a lovely, mythic name, but the legendary queen *did* commit suicide.

    Even the winner “Oberon” has pitfalls. Kids can be cruel, and being named after the king of the fairies may elicit homophobic attacks. Never mind that King Oberon casts a spell to make his wife fall in love/lust with another man. To those unfamiliar with Shakespeare, Oberon may evoke thoughts of the demon from the Shibuya online gaming universe.

  3. Viola is so lovely, it should have been on the list! And Katherina (Taming of the Shrew) is gorgeous, too. As for Shakespearean boys, I love Lysander, Orlando and Valentine.

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