(A highly addictive baby names blog founded by Pam Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz)
Dr. Seuss Baby Names: The Complete Guide, From Bartholomew to Ziggy
Look at our bookshelves!
One, two, three...
How many Seuss books
Do I see?
How can it be that our family owns only eight of his classics, not counting poetry within other anthologies or the duplicate, dog-eared copies of The Cat in the Hat? He wrote 40+ books in his lifetime, and the work of Theodor Seuss Geisel is ingrained in the English lexicon.
Still, we take Dr. Seuss's contributions for granted 'ever so muchly' that most of us pronounce his name incorrectly. Geisel's mother's German maiden name, Seuss, actually rhymes with "voice", not "use" (as in, "the Simplest Seuss for youngest use"). It's rumored that he didn't mind, due to the sound-alike quality of 'Seuss' to children's author Mother Goose.
In any case, the ultimate Seuss-ism could be naming one's child in homage to him. Here is a nearly-exhaustive list of Seuss names.
Cool Dr. Seuss Names
A handwoven Scottish cloth that is fit for a suit, and a tongue-in-cheek name from the poem Too Many Daves. Harris hits a sweet spot between the patronymic surname-name Harrison and the laid-back Harry, though. And I'd much rather be Harris Tweed than Dave McCave or Oliver Boliver Butt.
The pup in How the Grinch Stole Christmas has what is now a quintessential dog's name. A better dog name might be Roover, the name of the Doubt-trout-containing river in Seuss's What Was I Scared of?
Another Grinch character and foil to the sneaky protagonist is young Cindy-Lou (Who); if ever a name-check were Seussian with its alliteration, rhyme, and meter, it'd be "Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two." And speaking of ingénue names, a boat called Mary Lou is sunk and rescued again in Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!
Sam (Green Eggs and Ham)
This friendly nickname is much more wearable than Horton (...Hears a Who) or Thidwick (...the Big-Hearted Moose).
Monosyllabic names are found in abundance in Hop on Pop: Pat, Jim, Will, Red (in bed, along with Ned, Ted, and Ed), as well as in Fox in Socks: Sue, Slow Joe Crow, broom-abusing brothers Bim and Ben, and Luke Luck. Mike the bike-pushing brute (in One Fish, Two Fish...), Jack, Fred, Joe, Nat, Jane (And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street) and Jake the turtle (Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!) round out the list.
Theo LeSieg--LeSieg is 'Geisel' backwards--was one of Theodor Seuss Geisel's pen names, along with aliases Dr. Seuss and Dr. Theophrastus Seuss. The association with Seuss takes Theo away from The Cosby Show territory.
Theodor is the German form of Theodore; Theophrastus the Ancient Greek philosopher asserted that "life is ruled by fortune, not wisdom." Rosetta Stone was a particularly gorgeous name under which Geisel submitted work, and he also went by Peter Pessimist and the acidic "Theophilus Seuss, Ph.D., I.Q., H2SO4." Theophilus is a Colonial-era name meaning "friend of God."
This canine figure appears at the beginning of Fox in Socks. A girl named Nixie Knox also makes an appearance in Dr. Seuss's ABC. Just don't name your son or daughter Extra Fox unless Brad Pitt does so first. (Ezra Fox, on the other hand...)
Other distinctive names from ABC are Young Yolanda Yorgenson, Uncle Ubb (notable namesake is Ub Iwerks, the animator who created Mickey Mouse), and Oscar.
A generic page boy from The King's Stilts. "Normal" names for guys and gals also include Alice (Happy Birthday to You!), Benjamin (B. Bicklebaum; The Cat in the Hat Songbook), Peter (T. Hooper; Scrambled Eggs Super!); Daniel, the gun-slinging spaniel from The Butter Battle Book; David Donald Doo (Dr. Seuss's ABC); and brothers Fred, Fritz, Dwight, Cooper, and Jeffrey (Oh Say Can You Say?).
Helen Marion Palmer was Geisel's first wife; his second was Audrey Stone Diamond.
Unique Dr. Seuss Names
Bartholomew; King Derwin; Sir Aleric; Duke Wilfred; Nadd (The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins; Bartholomew and the Oobleck)
Birtram; Lord Droon (The King's Stilts)
Boris Karloff, actor who narrated the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas and voiced the Grinch
Buzz (one of the sound effects from Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?)
Clark (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish)
Conrad Cornelius O'Donald O'Dell (On Beyond Zebra!)
Dake (Gertrude McFuzz)
Blinn; Gretchen; Blipper; Bud; Skipper; Jipper, Jud, Horatio; Hendrix; Hud; Dinwoodie; Dinty; Dud; Fitzsimmon; Fud; Lud; Dinn; Hooey (Oh Say Can You Say?)
Foo-Foo the Snoo (I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!)
Gerald McGrew (If I Ran the Zoo)
Gustav the Goldfish; Henry McBride; Tadd; Todd (The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories)
Henrietta Seuss, Geisel's mother; his father was Theodor
Herbie Hard; Ali Sard; Harry Haddow (Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?)
Horace P. Sweet; Quilligan (I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew)
Icabod (Dr. Seuss's ABC)
Ish (One Fish, Two Fish...)
Kitty O'Sullivan Krauss (Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!)
Looie Katz (I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories)
Marco (And To Think That I Saw it On Mulberry Street; McElligot's Pool)
Marvin (...K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now?)
Mayzie (Horton Hatches the Egg; Daisy Head Mayzie)
Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea; Buxbaum; Bixby; Bray (Oh, The Places You'll Go!)
Morris McGurk (If I Ran the Circus)
Norval (You're Only Old Once! Dr. Seuss's Book For Obsolete Children)
Solla Sollew and Boola Boo Ball, fictional cities; Genghis Khan Shmitz (I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew)
Sylvester McMonkey McBean (The Sneetches and Other Stories)
Truffula trees; Once-ler; Lorax (The Lorax)
Van Itch; Yookie-Ann Sue (The Butter Battle Book); voiced by Clive Revill in the animated TV version
Vlad Vlad-i-koff; Jo-Jo; Horton (Horton Hears a Who!)
Yertle; Mark; Gertrude McFuzz; Lolla-Lee-Lou (Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories)
Ziggy and Zizzy Zozzfozzel (The Cat's Quizzer)
Lolla-Lee-Lou and Yookie-Ann Sue? Whew! What's your favorite fanciful Seuss name?
On the Lighter Side: Sibsets to Avoid
|Not as awkward: brothers |
named Arthur and George.
Have you ever met an awkwardly named pair of siblings? A brother-sister duo named Clyde and Bonnie—or worse—Harold and Maude?
It’s an inevitable part of naming your first child: some names for future siblings immediately become off-limits. Most of these are perfectly good on their own but combine with certain others for an unintentionally comic (or tragic) effect. Here’s a lighthearted look at some impressively bad sibling sets.
Ace and Deuce
Anniston and Jolie
Apple and Cora
April, May, and June
Ariel, Sebastian, Eric, and Ursula
Arnie, Navy, Marinas, and Costa-Guard
Barbara and Ken
Birdie and Kitty
Blair, Natalie, and Tootie
Cain and Abel
Charlotte and Wilbur
Chaucer, Canterbury, and Miller
Clarice and Hannibal
Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril
Cressida and Troilus
Cricket and Grass Harper
Crimson and Clover
Daisy and Duke
Dave, Thomas, and Wendy
David, Lee, and Roth
Harry and Sally
Hero, Messiah, Nevaeh, Honor, and Diablo
Homer and Bart
Jack and Jill
Jon and Kate
Karma, Camille, and Boy George
Langley, Edwards, and Quantico
Lincoln, Jefferson, and Davis
Luke, Sky, and Walter
Marley, Clifford, and Benji
Martha and Stewart
Olive, Pepper, and Plum
Olivia, Newton, and John
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
Penelope and Odysseus
Peter, Paul, and Mary
Portia, Ford, Sienna, and Tesla
Prairie and Dawn
Romy and Michele
Rumer and Truth
Samuel, Elle, and Jackson
Sid and Nancy
Simba and Nala
Tom and Jerry
Will and Way
Wren and Stimpy
Zack and Miri
Wilder Baby Names: Little Names on the Prairie
All pioneer names didn't evoke subsistence, desolate winters, or dull prairie life--some of their baby names were as adventurous as the frontier folk themselves. Here are some stunning examples that are straight from the pages of Laura Ingalls Wilder's historical and largely-autobiographical Little House books.
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls (1867-1957) is the spirited protagonist who wrote a set of classic tales about her life at the request of her romantically-named daughter (and only surviving child) Rose Wilder Lane. Her first full manuscript was written under the working title Pioneer Girl and was rejected; this evolved into the nine-book series beginning with Little House in the Big Woods on through The First Four Years. Her lore didn't stop there, though. West From Home is a series of Laura's letters to her husband during a visit to the 1915 World's Fair. On The Way Home and The Road Back are diaries of her major trips; the latter three volumes were published posthumously.
The year of Laura's birth is likely to have seen her first name in the top 20. By 1880, Laura was ranked #17 in the U.S. and her middle name, Elizabeth, was #4. The surname Ingalls ("from England") has Scottish origins and goes back to Old Norse (Viking) days.
A devoted daughter, Laura is Pa's "little half pint of sweet cider half-drunk up" and steps up to the filial duties as a schoolteacher when older sister Mary becomes disabled. At age eighteen Laura marries Almanzo James Wilder, whom she affectionately calls Manly.
Almanzo appears to be an Anglicization of an Arabic name whose origin is explained to some extent in Little Town on the Prairie: "Way back in the time of the crusades there was a Wilder...and an Arab...saved his life. El Manzoor was his name." Almanzo isn't found on any SSA Top 1000 lists for at least 130 years, but similar name Alonzo was ranked at #126 when Almanzo Wilder was aged 23.
Caroline Lake (Quiner) "Ma" Ingalls; Charles Phillip "Pa" Ingalls. Ma's middle name, Lake, has been revived by the likes of Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, and Caroline (meaning "free man" and a feminine version of Charles) is almost as classic a choice as Mary or Laura.
Mary Amelia, Caroline Celestia "Carrie", Charles Frederic "Freddy", and Grace Pearl Ingalls are Laura's siblings. Mary, the eldest, becomes blind as a complication from what was (130+ years later) determined to probably have been viral meningoencephalitis. Carrie's striking middle name, Celestia, is a variant of the "heavenly" Celeste. Freddy is not mentioned in the original children's literature and tragically died at only nine months old.
Jack the brindle bulldog is a faithful companion of the family's in Laura's childhood. Against all odds, he survives an unexpected rise in the water level as the Ingallses float their wagon across a waterway on their journey to Plum Creek, MN. There is also a pet cat, Black Susan.
Charlotte the rag doll is Laura's dearest possession and one of her only childhood toys. She has black button eyes, black woolen curls, and a dress of pink and blue Calico. Laura's maternal grandmother's name was Charlotte Wallis (Tucker) Quiner, but it is uncertain whether this family tie is where she gets the inspiration for the name of her beloved companion.
Although it is never discussed in the books, Laura may have been named after Pa's sister Laura Ladocia "Docia" Ingalls. Aunt Docia first appears with cameo pin affixed and corsets pulled in Little House in the Big Woods, which is set in Laura's birthplace of Pepin, Wisconsin.
Docia's children with first husband August Waldvogel are Laura's cousins Lena and August Eugene "Jean." Aunt Docia later marries Hiram "Uncle Hi" Forbes. A festive and related word-name is Delaine: Ma's dark-green, fancy, special-occasion dress that she wears to the sugaring-off dance.
Among Pa's siblings that appear in Laura's stories are Ruba Celestia "Aunt Ruby", Pauline Melona "Aunt Polly", and George Whiting "Uncle George" Ingalls. Uncle George gets beaten in a jigging contest with Grandma.
Uncle Peter Riley Ingalls and his wife, Eliza are parents to Laura's cousins Alice Josephine, Ella Estella, and Peter Franklin Ingalls. Aunt Ruby's baby is named Dolly Varden Card, but in the first book she is mentioned as "Aunt Eliza's baby".
Ida Wright Brown is Laura's schoolmate who crochets lace for Laura as a wedding gift. Ida later marries Elmer McConnell. Oscar Edmund "Cap" Garland is one of the young suitors in Laura's social circle. The easygoing nickname Cap could fit any number of formal first names for either a 19th or a 21st century fella.
Royal Gould, Eliza Jane, and Alice are the siblings of Almanzo's that are mentioned in Farmer Boy. When their parents go out of town, the Wilder children do some damage to the wallpaper in Ma's pristine parlor. The day is saved when bossy Eliza Jane takes pity on Almanzo and patches the ink splotch by hand. Almanzo's youngest brother, Perley Day, has not yet been born at the time of the story.
More details and postscripts that aren't in the original nine books: Almanzo's parents are James Mason Wilder and Angelina Albina Day. Eliza Jane marries later in life and has a son, Walcott "Wilder" Thayer--he lives up to his family surname nickname when he visits Laura and Almanzo's Rocky Ridge farm and makes mischief.
"Old Dan Tucker" is a song Pa's friend Mr. Edwards sings for the Ingalls children. The Ingallses are also close with Robert and Ellie Boast.
Nellie Oleson is Laura's childhood frenemy who in the later books represents her three real-life nemeses: Nellie Owens, Genevieve Masters, and Stella Gilbert.
Last but not least, Reverend Edwin Hyde Alden (meaning "old, wise friend") is the Walnut Grove (MN) patriarch who founds the church; later, he reunites with the Ingalls family in the Dakota Territory.
Aerospace Names: Rocket Men and Women From Rosa to Rudy and Beyond
Are you a physics whiz who daydreams of soaring through Earth's atmosphere? Did you meet your spouse at a screening of Black Sky: The Race for Space? Have you ever parked on the shoulder of a freeway to watch a shuttle landing? If so, your youngster may need an aerospace name.
Here are a few uplifting options that are more accessible than Moon Unit.
Valentina (Tereshkova)--She was the very first woman in orbit, floating aboard the Soviet capsule Vostok 6 in 1963. Salma Hayek's daughter has helped to re-launch this euphonious name, which is from the Latin Valens for "healthy, vigorous, strong."
Camille (Wardrop Alleyne)--Born in Trinidad, she worked as an aerospace engineer for the U.S. Department of Defense before rising to Assistant Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS) at NASA. The elegant Camille has the added bonus of a trendy nickname--Milla. See also: fellow NASA leader Ginger Kerrick, who has served as Flight Director of 13 ISS missions.
Sally (Kristen Ride)--First American woman in space, and Sally was the full first name on her birth certificate. She also launched an educational series on space and co-wrote several children's books with her partner, Tam O'Shaughnessy. Dr. Ride famously likened the acceleration through the atmosphere as having "a 600-pound gorilla sitting on top of you...then the space shuttle engines stop. The gorilla vanishes...and your notebook floats in front of you and you're in space." Her ascent within the male-dominated field influenced one of the last astronauts of the shuttle program, Dottie Metcalfe-Lindenberger.
Rosa (Obregon)--Lead mechanical engineer and rocket tester at NASA Stennis Space Center. Rosa is as iconic and classic as Mary, as in Mary Sherman Morgan, inventor of the rocket fuel Hydyne. A play called Rocket Lady that was based on her life was produced at Caltech. Another aerospace Mary is Mary Roach, author of the hilarious and informative bestseller Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void.
Rudy (Kennedy)--Born Rudi Karmeinsky, his life story is one of triumph over extreme adversity. Karmeinsky survived Holocaust slave labor camps and the murder of his family when he was a teen. After he escaped from a British-liberated Bergen-Belsen and lost a lung to tuberculosis, he attended night classes and ultimately became a rocket scientist/entrepreneur. In the mid-1990's he campaigned for reparations from the German companies that used slave labor. His adopted surname, Kennedy, has a not-so-subtle tie to aerospace, too--John F. Kennedy 's "We Choose to go to the Moon" speech later propelled the U.S. into the space race. As with Rani, Kate Hudson's daugher, the name Rudi works for a girl, too.
Burt (Elbert Leander Rutan)--Elbert has been pegged by Nameberry as a "colonial craftsman" name, and the skilled-artisan image is fitting for the award-winning aeronautics engineer and designer Rutan. He is strictly known as Burt, though. His suborbital rocketship SpaceShipOne won the 2004 X-Prize, and in his retirement he is rumored to have worked on a hybrid flying car. Variation Bert hasn't been popular in the U.S. since the late 1800's, but the similar name Albert has a certain "stodgy-cool" appeal.
Buzz (Edwin Eugene Aldrin)--Decorated astronaut and second human to set foot on the moon. He legally changed his name from the stolid Edwin Eugene to punchy nickname Buzz in 1988. The nickname evolved from a mispronunciation by one of his sisters, who called him "buzzer" ("brother").
Gus (Virgil Ivan Grissom)--A NASA astronaut and test pilot who died during testing of Apollo I. He was a tremendously talented command pilot--the first to fly into space twice--and received a posthumous Congressional Space Medal of Honor. Saint Virgil of Salzburg believed in human life on the other side of our planet based on accounts from ocean explorers. Honorable mentions are fellow astronauts Alan Shepherd and Neil Armstrong, and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Jet---could be inspired by the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) at NASA or George Jetson of cartoon fame.
Cosmos--From the Greek Cosmo ("order; beauty"), it needn't be forever associated with Kramer's first name. A cosmonaut is a sailor of the universe, according to the Russian and Greek translation.
Science Geek Chic Names: Biology Department
Everyone loves a freshly hatched word name or a fledgling celebrity baby name, and many of us appreciate names that stem from flowers, trees, and animals. But for the true biophile, the bug-sketching natural philosopher or the biochemistry disciple who chops thale cress in the lab? Here are some worthy tribute names for the lovers of the life sciences.
Rosalind (Rosalind Elsie Franklin)--Rosalind Franklin was an X-ray crystallographer and unsung hero of molecular biology, and her diffraction patterns gave competitor-colleagues James Watson and Francis Crick crucial insight on the three-dimensional structure of DNA. Her death at age 37 disqualified her for the 1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The meaning of Rosalind is as prepossessing as Dr. Franklin's acclaimed x-ray photographs--"pretty rose".
Jane (Valerie Jane Morris Goodall)--Jane is a true classic, not only in the English-speaking world of names but also in conservation biology. Goodall's observations on chimpanzee behavior have done much to promote empathy toward animals. The name of the childhood toy chimpanzee that inspired her enthusiasm for animals was Jubilee, and later, one of her favorite female chimps she dubbed Gremlin. Gremlin may not be the next great classic for a baby girl, but other renowned conservationists with classic names will inspire: Helen Beatrix Potter and Rachel Carson.
Dolly (the sheep)--Born in the mid-1990's at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Dolly the Finn Dorset sheep may have generated the most controversy ever associated with a breast. She was named after Dolly Parton, patron saint of mammary glands (it was a sheep's mammary gland cell that provided the nucleus used for transfer). Dolly was not the first cloned animal; rather, she was the first mammal to be cloned from a somatic cell of an adult. She went on to have six lambs: Bonnie, Sally, Rosie, Lucy, Darcy, and Cotton. The dyed-in-the-wool genetics buff will also love model organism name Thaliana (of Arabidopsis thaliana fame).
Linnea (Carl von Linné, AKA Carl Linnaeus)--Linné was a Swedish botanist whose publication Systemae Naturae ultimately established a classification and binomial naming system for over 10,000 species. The twinflower genus Linnaea is named after him, too. The less-common spelling Linnaea is truer to the name's botanical association and a bit more cumbersome, but Lindy could be a lithe nickname. Some may worry about an association with Linea Nigra, which is a medical term for the dark line that appears on a woman's belly during pregnancy, but Linnea's American pronunciation (Li-NAY-uh) distinguishes the two.
Cilia--It may sound silly (pun intended) at first, but this near-homonym of Silje has a similar sound and pleasing quality to Celia. While Silje is Norwegian for "musical" and Celia from the Latin for "heavenly", Cilia's literal meanings leave something to be desired ("short, hair-like projections"; the singular cilium is Latin for "eyelash"). The importance of cilia in reproductive biology is huge, though. Without the movement of these organelles in the human fallopian tubes, the fertilized egg might not make its way through to embed in the uterine lining. Naming a twin sister Flagella might be taking things too far...
Eugenie (Eugenie Clark)--A tropical ichthyologist with an interest in sharks and poisonous fish. A prioneer of field research in scuba diving, she conducted studies in the Marianas Islands, the Caroline Islands, and other exotic locales. Dr. Clark chronicled her shark-chasing experiences in Lady with a Spear (1951) and lived to be 91. With the popularity of Claire and the cool novelty of Lark, could her surname Clark work on a girl?
Francis (Francis Harry Compton Crick)--A science underdog who became a Nobel Laureate. Watson (James Dewey) and Crick have been household names ever since authoring a 1953 Nature paper that remains a blockbuster. The pair, along with Maurice Wilkins, is credited with deducing the double-helical structure of DNA and elegantly solving a series of long-standing bio-mysteries. However ingenius their interpretations, their discovery would not have been possible without the work of Erwin Chargaff, Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling, Linus Pauling, and others. Francis Sellers Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, is another marquee name in genetics.
Louis (Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey)--A celebrated natural historian and archaeologist who worked at Olduvai Gorge, a major fossil site for remains of early humans. Olduvai could be a good choice for parents who like an Old-Testament-y feel (as with Levi or Obadiah) but are also inspired by the sciences. Olduvai is "Oldupai" (Maasai word for the area's ubiquitous sisal plant) misspelled. See also: Louis Pasteur, "father of microbiology".
Finlay (Carlos Finlay)--Born Juan Carlos Finlay, he was a Cuban physician-scientist and public health officer who practiced in Havana during the cholera and yellow fever epidemics of the mid-1800's. With American Drs. Walter Reed, Jesse Lazear, James Carroll, and Aristides Agramonte, Finlay investigated yellow fever ("Yellow Jack") etiology. His mosquito hypothesis was proven after two decades of work; ultimately, a vaccine was developed. Could Reed, Jesse, or Carroll come back for the boys?
Larson (Gary Larson)--Not a formally-trained scientist, but his cartoons of anthropomorphic animals, plants, and insects helped children of the nineties fall in love with biology. A biting louse, S. garylarsoni, was named after him, as were butterfly and beetle species. With names befitting his gawky human characters, Larson's parents were Verner and Doris.
Gregor (Johann 'Gregor' Mendel)--Botanist, pea plant propagator, and first geneticist. While at St. Thomas's Abbey, Mendel switched from mouse to plant studies because his watching the animals have sex didn't fly with his bishop. In this case, abstinence made the heart grow fonder for the name Gregor.
Axel (Axel Gudbrand Blytt)--Peat bog scientist and correspondent of Darwin's. He continued his father Matthias Blytt's botany work at the University of Kristiana (named for King Christian IV) in Oslo, and published Essay on the Immigration of Norwegian Flora in 1876. See also: paradigm shatterer Charles Darwin, his naturalist co-author Alfred Russel Wallace, and the comparative anatomist Thomas Huxley.