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Unique Baby Names

What's in a name? Er…well, everything, really! Of course your little bundle of joy is the sweetest, most beautiful thing you have ever seen and you want to choose a name that reflects his/her individuality, spirituality, uniqueness and all-round special-ness. But wait a minute! Remember that the unique baby name you choose will help define junior's life - how they are viewed and accepted - for many, many years. What sounds cute and original for a 5-year-old, may not sound so funky for a 15-year-old…and what about a 55-year old? Time was when only celebrities could get away with unique baby names (Zowie Bowie, Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa, etc), but in the modern world, individuality is more prized than ever before, and increasingly, this starts with our names. Great idea - but don't allow a flash of a self-indulgence to condemn your child to a lifetime of problems; it's reported that a Chinese couple named their child "Saddam Sars" to mark the current world events at the time of the birth! I just hope it means something nice in Mandarin, or Cantonese! This probably wouldn't have happened in Germany, where names can only be registered if they recognizable, do not ridicule the child and are gender specific. Perhaps there is at least one Chinese child in the world, who will grow up wishing he/she were German! So - assuming you are not German - what should you do if you want to create a unique baby name, without creating too many problems? Here are some tips and some warnings to make the process less painful:

1. Anagrams: try creating an anagram of an existing name.

2. Father and Mother: try using derivatives of one of the parents' names, or a combination of both. Alternatively, how does the mother's maiden name sound as a first name?

3. Telescoping: try dropping letters from another name or a word, until you get a nice-sounding unique baby name.

4. Spelling: an unusual spelling of a common name creates uniqueness. However, remember that your child will be condemned to a lifetime of "…that's David spelt D..A..Y..V..I..D…" conversations.

5. Pronunciation: another trick is to pronounce a common name in an unusual way. But this can also lead to a lifetime of corrections and explanations - as well as teasing and accusations of pretentiousness.

6. History: do some research into names that were popular in previous eras, but have become less so.

7. Family History: are there any unusual baby names that can be used to honor family members or ancestors? But beware family politics…

8. Nature: many names come from the natural world, particularly flowers (e.g. Rose) and it's a great source for unique baby names (e.g. Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple).

9. Geography: another useful source of great names - grab an atlas and start searching. David and Victoria Beckham called their first son Brooklyn, which many people think is a cool-sounding name. However, it's reported that the choice was made because that's where conception took place. Hmmm, imagine a lifetime in which your name is a constant reminder of your parents having sex! Eeeuuuuww!!!


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