Ink Out Loud: Names of fame and shame |

Ink Out Loud: Names of fame and shame

Just before Christmas while my oldest daughter Nicole and I were enjoying our annual holiday movie marathon we had a revelation.

Rudolph spurred a conversation about names.

It seems that even though the once-banished red-nosed reindeer emerged triumphant, the name lost its luster.

It was a popular name after Rudolph Valentino gained fame. He was the magnetic, charismatic heart-throb of the silent film-era. The name plummeted in popularity after the 1944 release of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” hit the silver screen.

And then there’s “Homer.” Once associated with the Greek poet who wrote the “Odyssey” — D’oh — not so much anymore. Homer Simpson was named after Simpsons’ co-creator Matt Groening’s father.

It is tough to measure the impact, but my best guess is not too many people are naming their little boys Homer.

What about “Adolf”? A friend told me he knew one Adolf in his life and that man went by “Dolf” instead. I can’t say I blame him.

In publications about the etymology and history of names, Adolf, which means “noble wolf,” is scarcely ever given to infants in current times.

Another friend named her daughter Maile, pronounced “Miley,” about 20 years ago. The meaning of the name is Hawaiian for “sweet smelling vine.”

Will it remain a popular name or become one associated with shame or loose morals? Time will tell.

Mandy Feder is the Managing Editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She can be reached at or 530-542-8006.

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