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Baby Names Made Easy: The Complete Reverse-Dictionary of Baby Names Paperback – February 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141656747X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416567479
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION

Birth of a Baby Name Book

When I was in elementary school, my mom gave me the baby name book she got while in the hospital having my older brother. I've been hooked ever since. Over the years, my fascination with names has grown as I've collected baby name books and spent hours reading them, making lists of names I liked and their meanings. Eventually the lists graduated into notebooks and, finally, a baby name book of my very own.

If you're a name junkie like me, you will immediately see that this book is an interesting and fun spin on the traditional baby name book. If you are a soon-to-be parent picking up a baby name book for the first time, you might find yourself a little overwhelmed with the options out there. There are dictionaries that give a list of names organized alphabetically. There are books that give opinions and statistics about names. Then there are the specialty books that include only certain types of names -- Irish baby names, Jewish baby names, even sci-fi baby names. Depending on what you're looking for, all these books can be helpful. However, my book combines the best of all these books for parents who want to decide for themselves which names are cool, strange, or too trendy.

Organization

The organization of this book is fairly self-explanatory. Naturally, the names themselves determined the chapters. My job was to group the names into categories according to their meanings. The result is an easy-to-use guide that will help parents in their search for the perfect baby name. Baby Names Made Easy has over forty chapters covering a wide variety of categories -- everything from Love & Affection to Nature to Religion & Faith to Intelligence & Wisdom and more.

My research showed me that some names have multiple definitions or interpretations. In instances where a name fits into more than one category, it is listed in all relevant chapters. For example, Violet is in the Flowers, Trees, & Things That Grow chapter as well as the Colors chapter.

One of the most useful and time-saving features of Baby Names Made Easy is that the definitions are listed after each name, not just under the root name. This might sound like common sense, but many baby name dictionaries refer readers to other entries in order to find the definitions of some names. This happens when one name is derived from another. It is especially common for feminine names that have their roots in masculine names. For example, in other books, the entry for Georgia might only tell you that it is the feminine form of George, forcing you to then look up George to find out what Georgia means. That's too much work! No more flipping back and forth to find definitions -- Baby Names Made Easy saves you time and frustration by simply telling you that Georgia is the feminine form of George and that it means "farmer." That was easy!

As you read through the book, you'll see that some chapters have more names than others -- and some chapters have more girls' names than boys' names and vice versa. There just aren't a lot of boys' names that mean "innocence" or that are derived from jewels. Likewise, there are fewer military-related names for girls than there are for boys. My research also uncovered names that refused to be categorized. To accommodate these names I created a Miscellaneous chapter where you'll find everything that didn't fit elsewhere.

Throughout the chapters you will find boxes that feature groups of names. Some boxes highlight a specific subcategory within a chapter. For example, the Physical Characteristics & Personality Traits chapter has a box full of names that describe hair -- blond hair, curly hair, red hair, and so on. Other boxes feature interesting names worth a second look. I had a good time putting these together and I hope you enjoy reading through them -- and maybe even get an idea or two.

Meanings Matter

Instinctively, we all know that meanings matter. This is why parents-to-be usually factor in a name's definition when selecting a name for their baby. While writing this book, I discovered that most people know what their namesmean -- and the people who didn't were really curious to find out. I also discovered that this conversation is a little awkward when you are talking to someone whose name has a questionable meaning. For example, people named Portia usually do not like to find out that their name means "pig." Other examples are Regan ("impulsive, angry"), Mallory ("unhappy, unlucky"), Kennedy ("oddshaped head"), and Trista ("sorrowful, sad"). That said, whether a definition is good or bad is very subjective. Other than the examples I gave here, I try not to make that judgment. I leave it up to you to decide for yourself whether the meaning works for you and your new baby.

I have a question for you. Which comes first, the baby name or the meaning? Different parents have different naming strategies. Some parents have meanings that are important to them and want to find names that fit into their preferred category. For example, you might have your heart set on a naturerelated name and prefer to see all your options before making a final decision.

Other parents already know what names they like and simply want to make sure the name they choose has an acceptable meaning. For example, maybe you have always loved the name Zachary and are pleased to find out it means "remember God." Maybe you have a list of family names you're considering. You can narrow the list by choosing the names with the definitions you like best. No matter what your naming style, this user-friendly book will make it easier for you to find the perfect name for your baby.

A Twist on Naming Trends

I have a few ideas for how you can use this book to update some current naming trends and create new family traditions. Let's consider sound-alike names and "Juniors."

Sound-Alike Names

We have all heard about siblings with sound-alike names -- Braden, Jaden, and Caden or Kolby, Kaleb, and Karter. You might like the idea of names that bond siblings and families together, but be worried about anything that is too cutesy or too trendy. As an alternative, you can choose names with similar meanings instead of similar sounds. Consider these options:

Animals: Philip, Jonah, and Penelope

Beautiful: Bella, Jolie, and Neve

Happiness & Joy: Felicity, Isaac, and Allegra

Flowers, Trees, & Things That Grow: Violet, Geneva, and Oliver

Protector: Alexander, William, and Gregory

There are endless combinations you can put together for your own family if you want a meaning connection. This book makes it easy to have fun coming up with your own group of names.

Juniors and Namesakes

Some people have mixed feelings about naming a child "Junior." On one hand, it's a nice way to connect a parent and child. On the other hand, the child might feel like he or she never had the chance to create an individual identity. An alternative you might consider is choosing a name from the Heritage & Family chapter. This chapter is full of names that describe family relationships. Instead of William, Jr., consider Wilson, which means "Will's son." Instead of Adam, Jr., consider Addison -- and because Addison has become a unisex name, this could work for a son or a daughter. You can also choose a name with a similar meaning to the namesake you want to honor. Flip to the relevant chapter and you'll find a wide range of possibilities.

Birth Announcement

In the end, I hope you have as much fun reading Baby Names Made Easy as I had writing it. With the wide selection of names ranging from classic favorites to current trendy names to international names and beyond, I know you will find the perfect name for your baby within these pages. And if I've done my job, my book will make your search easier.

Please visit me at my website (www.amandabarden.com) and send me a "birth announcement" letting me know what name you chose and why the meaning was important to you.

Good luck & happy naming,

Amanda Elizabeth Barden

Copyright © 2009 by Amanda Barden --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

Amanda Elizabeth Barden is the author of BABY NAMES MADE EASY: THE COMPLETE REVERSE-DICTIONARY OF BABY NAMES -- the only baby name book organized by name meaning.

Visit her website and read her popular baby name blog at www.amandabarden.com.
You can also follow her on Twitter for the latest celebrity baby name news, baby naming tips and more -- @amandaebarden. If you're on Facebook, you can connect with Amanda at her page -- www.facebook.com/aebarden

She loves hearing from readers! Email Amanda at amanda@amandabarden.com.

Customer Reviews

It was very informative and extensive.
Diana Belenky
The book only lists how the names relate to the section you are reading, there is no mention of the other definitions of the name.
Nathan
I feel like it is a lot less overwhelming than a 5,000 page book of names.
Denae

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By T. Fisher on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
`Baby Names Made Easy' is truly a unique approach to the traditional baby name book. As an aspiring writer, I found this book's organization to be extremely useful. Names are grouped into categories according to their meaning instead of in long alphabetized lists. If I want to find male names with animal meanings or those denoting strength, for instance, I have simply to flip to the relevant chapters.
Also, if you just want to look up a name there is an index, divided into both male and female names, at the back of the book. I see this book becoming a `must-have' reference for fiction writers searching for meaningful names for their characters and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jen Terry on November 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So far this is my favorite- I'm all about meaning in names, so I really enjoy the way this book is set up!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jasmine Guillory on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I love the organization of this book: it's organized by meaning and not just alphabetically. So if you're looking for biblical names, or names that mean strength, or beauty, or love, you can find them all in the same place. Great if you want to give all of your children names that have a common theme (instead of just with the same starting letter or something like that), or want to name a baby after a family member but not give them the exact same name. So much more interesting to flip through than the average baby name book, and it has a great range of names from all over the world.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Gibson on April 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
Even after your kids are named and grown, you will find yourself picking this up and using it again and again. We use it whenever my daughter needs to name a stuffed animal. I find myself giving a copy of "Baby Names Made Easy" to every person I know who is having a baby. It's so much fun to browse and find out the meaning of names you use every day!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diana Belenky on July 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the best baby name book. What makes this book different than other baby name books on the market is the way that it is organized.
This focuses on the meaning of names. This is very important when choosing a name. It also has more than 20,000 names.
It has both traditional names and very unique options as well. It was very informative and extensive.

She also has a cute Esty shop called LetterLuxe that features beautiful nursery art. Check it out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Giusti on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is an outstanding resource! Unlike more traditional name books it is such an added bonus that the names are arranged categorically. A real help for anyone wanting a name with real PIZZAZZ for their bundle of joy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vilia Ann Payne on May 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has about 50 chapters of baby names organized by meaning. The first few chapters are (1) Animals & Insects, (2) Astronomy, (3) Beautiful & Handsome, and (4) Blessings & Gifts. Each chapter has two sections, one for girl names and one for boy names. I like learning about names so I enjoyed just paging through the book. There is a chapter for Sadness & Trouble with some common names in it whose original meanings surprised me. This is more of an idea-generating book than a comprehensive dictionary. There isn't an index where you can look a specific name up to see if it's in the book, so I think that's something the author might think about adding in a future edition. Overall though, I'm glad I bought it and I enjoyed looking through it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Monica on September 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to name lines/collections of products at work and this book is perfect for finding several names on a related subject
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Most Recent Customer Reviews