What's In A Name?

Mar 6, 2014

Credit kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

While some of us may cringe at this unusual name, Messiah was the fourth fastest growing baby name in 2012. Increasingly, we are seeing names that are more unique, and nontraditional. Parents are abandoning “Mikes” and “Marthas” and opting for more trendy names like “Jayden” and “Madison.”  

From as early as the moment of birth, mothers and fathers attempt to establish their child’s individuality and show off their own creative naming skills.

Today, we’re talking about names – how they play a role in personal identity, and how they influence who we become.

And you ever wonder what goes into those quirky corporate names, like Yahoo…or Yelp?


  • David Figlio, Director of the Institute for Policy Research for Northwestern University
  • Laura Wattenberg - Creator of babynamewizard.com and author of “The Baby Name Wizard.”
  • Donna Lillian, President of the American Name Society, Associate Professor at Appalachian State University
  • Steve Manning - Managing Director of Igor, a California-based naming company

 This program was produced by Emily Boushee and originally aired on August 19, 2013.