Friday, September 05, 2008

What's in a Name: Elliot

We had a really hard time choosing the baby's name. I think because our last name is so common, we were hesitant to give him too popular a first name, since he would be one of thousands. (Although, maybe it's a good thing to be hard to find on Google.)

And yet, Kelly vetoed my efforts to give him too uncommon a name. Eustace and Auberon were rejected out of hand — even after I noted that Evelyn Waugh's son was named Auberon (apparently Kelly doesn't take naming guidance from a man named Evelyn!).

I also especially like classical names (Greek or Latin). But we couldn't really find one we both liked. So, there'll be no Agamemnon.

When we finally agreed on the name, I set out to find the most commonly spelled variant. Because even though I didn't want a super-popular name, I'm not a huge fan of the "kr8tive" spelling trend.

"Elliot," it turns out, was the 359th most popular name in America last year. "Elliott" was close behind, at No. 389 (the advantage of that version is the two L's balance the two T's). "Eliot" peaked in the 1960s and is no longer in the top 1000. And I don't think anyone would spell it "Eliott" — that's just silly.

It's also a girl's name, as you may know from "Scrubs" (and I've known at least one in real life). But I don't think it's in danger of becoming the next Lynn, Leslie or...well, Evelyn.

The Elliott character from "E.T." didn't really factor into the decision, though it occurred to me today that we had inadvertently put both main characters of that film within his name, since his initials are "E.T." (He also currently resembles an alien, but that hopefully will pass.)