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HollyWord Name Game

Just plain Bill banned in Hollywood name game

If you have ever wondered what’s in a name, consider: Brooklyn, Moxie Crimefighter, Bluebell Madonna, Suri, Phinneaus, Apple and, debuting just last week, Shiloh.

All these are names that celebrities have bestowed upon their newborns in their quest for the unusual, outlandish or off-the-wall. Consider plain Bill boring and banned.

The experts say it is only a matter of time before the latest trendy new names spread to the general public. For example, ordinary people in the Bronx could start naming their children Brooklyn — a name British soccer star David Beckham and his ex-Spice Girl wife Victoria chose for their son.

Although some name experts think the public might embrace Brooklyn as a first name, they might not jump at the name another former Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell, gave her daughter — Bluebell Madonna.

Shortly before the birth, Halliwell told a British magazine she saw bluebells everywhere and took that as a sign. As for the name Madonna, she explained it this way: “No one else has the name except the Virgin and the singer, who I adore.”

It might take a few years to see if the name Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt gave their new daughter — Shiloh — when she was born on Saturday catches on with the general public.

A girl called MessiahPaul JJ Payack, the head of Global Language Monitor, which monitors word and name usage, says Shiloh is unusual in several ways: it is the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, a male name and means Messiah.

“This is, indeed, a very unusual trend, where the baby’s name is seen as just another Hollywood adornment,” Payack said.

“Having children has become a fad, and as will any fad emanating from Hollywood, self-augmentation, adornment and going to the extreme are going to be present,” he said.

Pam Satran, co-author of the bestselling baby naming book “Beyond Jason & Jennifer,” says that for years bland names were the order of the day, but not any more. In fact, the next edition of her book will be titled, “Beyond Jason & Jennifer, Madison & Montana” to recognize the first name revolution.

“Twenty years ago celebrity baby names were pretty simple. It was Kate, Kate, Max, Max. Now celebrities are trying to outdo celebrities,” she said.

In the 1950s, if a celebrity had an unusual name he or she would change it something simple and socially acceptable like Ken or Debbie.

As the decades passed, new fads included using boys’ names for girls, like Drew, Cameron and Stockard. Then came the place names: Madison, Brooklyn, Paris and now, Shiloh.

“These days if you have an ordinary name in Hollywood you change it to a weird one. The more distinctive your name is the better. There’s a whole issue of image and branding out there,” Satran said.

She added, “Celebrities are very much aware of the power of their image.”

And with that in mind, here are some example of what celebrities have recently called their children: Julia Roberts, Hazel and Phinneaus; Gwyneth Paltrow, Moses and Apple; Jason Lee, Pilot Inspektor; Joely Fisher, True Harlow; and Nicolas Cage: Kal-el.

According to the Social Security Administration the 10 most popular male names of the 2000s so far are Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Andrew, Christopher, Joseph, Daniel, Nicholas and Ethan.

For girls they are Emily, Madison, Hannah, Emma, Ashley, Abigail, Alexis, Olivia, Samantha and Sarah.

Or to sum up in a single word: BORING.

Top 15 HollyWORDS of The Year

HollyWords — Top Words of the Year from Films

WBAL, Baltimore, NBC Nightly News

Naturally, I’m way too uncreative and lazy to actually have come up with this list; it comes courtesy of the Global Language Monitor. I have no idea who they are or what they do, but I’m relatively sure they’ve put some severe sanctions on Sarah from Real World Philly, whose declarations of “How dare her!” plague my very soul. But for those of you want to see these top 15 words in action, I figured I’d be a benevolent soul and put ‘em to use in a sentence so you can get the gist on how to use ‘em correctly.

1. Pinot (Sideways): Recently, I compared myself to a pinot to try to show a waitress my “true self”; she suggested that unbuttered toast, being both bland and unpleasant, was a more appropriate metaphor.

2. Genius (Ray): The next film snob who tells me Lars Von Trier is a genius is going to be smacked…hard.

3. Hand Washing (Aviator, etc): I’ve tried obsessively hand washing for months, but I suspect I’ll always feel unclean ever since my hand accidentally grazed against a White Chicks DVD.

4. “Mo chuisle” (Million Dollar Baby): In Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood was originally going to buy a robe for Hilary Swank that read “girlie tough” but since they were out he settled for Mo chuisle.

5. Gipper (The Knute Rockne Story): My theory is that James Brolin’s portrayal of The Gipper (Ronald Reagan), not pneumonia, was what led to his demise.

6. Neverland (Finding Neverland): Remember the good old days when Neverland conjured up images of boys refusing to grow up instead of…well…ewwww?

7. Antiquity (Troy, etc.): In the eyes of Roman Polanski, Lindsay Lohan is probably an antiquity by now.

8. OCD (The Aviator): The portrayal of people with OCD in transparent attempts to win an Oscar is going to be the wave of the future. The wave of the future. The wave of the future.

9. Girlie Men (Arnold): When Chris Rock implied that only girlie men watch the Oscars, he pretty much ensured that he was no longer going to be invited to Orlando Bloom’s Oscar parties.

10. Yo! (Garden State): Yo, Zach! I beg of thee, please tell me that Mandy freakin’ Moore is the one who makes you like you’re at a Motel 6 and not like you’re “home”?

11. Animation (Incredibles, etc.): Due to her excessive use of Botox, Nicole Kidman is no longer able to show any animation on her face whatsoever.

12. Snub (Giamatti, Saarsgard, etc): With this year’s snub of actors like Paul Giamatti, Peter Saarsgard, and Javier Bardem, the Academy continues to prove it’s about as good a judge of talent as anybody who publishes Michael Medved.

13. Small screen (Depp, DiCaprio, etc.: With flicks like Hitch and Welcome To Mooseport, isn’t it clear that we must ensure by any means necessary that stars of CBS comedies like Kevin James and Ray Romano need to stay on the small screen instead of further polluting the big one?

14. Frass (Sideways): The people who created this “relevant” list insist that the word frass from Sideways has profoundly influenced the English Language, but have you ever heard a person say this word? Ever?

15. Fahrenheit (Fahrenheit 9/11): I had a really good line I was going to use about a certain fella who’s not a fan of Fahrenheit 9/11, but I hear the weather in Guantanamo is unbearable this time of year.

Related tune: No More Words by Berlin (Windows Media via

Pandora from Avatar Wins Top HollyWord of 2009

Beats out ‘Hurt Locker’ from The Hurt Locker,

‘Barley Pop’ from Crazy Heart, ‘Vampire’ from Twilight and

‘‘Squeakquel’ from Alvin and the Chipmunks.



7th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, TX. March 12, 2010.  ‘Pandora’ from James Cameron’s Avatar tops the 2009 list of words from Hollywood that most influenced the English Language in 2009 released by the Global Language Monitor.  Closely following were ‘Hurt Locker’ from The Hurt Locker, ‘Barley Pop’ from Crazy Heart, ‘Vampire’ from Twilight and ‘‘Squeakquel’ from Chipmunks.  Rounding out the Top Ten were:  ‘December 21st, 2012’ from the film 2012, ‘Vichy’ from Inglorious Basterds, ‘Her’ from Star Trek, ‘Their’s but to do or die’ from The Blind Side, and ‘Prawns’ from District 9.

Each year, GLM announces the Top Hollywords in conjunction with the annual Oscar ceremony.  The 82nd Annual Academy Awards was held last Sunday at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

“Last year the top word, ‘Jai Ho!’ was from the other side of the planet; this year it’s from across the Galaxy,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “In an especially rich year for language, we are also see a slang term for beer, a calendar date, perhaps, the first politically incorrect word for space aliens, and a neologism created for children.”

The Top Hollywords of the 2009 with the largest impact on the English language with commentary follow.


1.       Pandora (Avatar) – There are 1,000 words in Na’vi language specifically constructed for Avatar, but the name of the alien planet is originally from classical Greek meaning ‘all blessings or gifts’.  The Pandora’s Box myth has the first mortal woman opening a box that holds all the ills of the world, which inadvertently escape.  A later version has all the blessings of the world escape except for hope, which remains.

2.       Hurt Locker (The Hurt Locker) – In GI vernacular, explosions send you into the ‘hurt locker’, synonymous with ‘a world of hurt’.

3.       Barley Pop (Crazy Heart) – Bad Blake’s reference to beer; similar to ‘oat soda’ and the like.

4.       Vampire (Twilight) – The living dead are enjoying an unprecedented revival in the 21st Century.  Undoubtedly, PhD fodder for sociologists of the future.

5.       Squeakquel – Any movie that gets millions of kids (and parents) to use a neologism with two qq’s in it, should be noted in an influential word list.

6.       December 21, 2012 (2012) – According to some, the end of the world so marked by the Mayan Calendar; actually it is simply the first day of the 14th b’ak’tun in the Long Count calendar of the Maya.

7.       Vichy (Inglorious Basterds) – Shosanna Dreyfus’ suggestion to Frederick on where to find ‘girlfriends’.  Yet another generation is introduced to the seemier side of the Free France narrative.

8.       Her (Star Trek) – “These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission:  to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.”  Several hundred years from now, though ‘man’ is replaced by ‘no one’ in the mission statement, starships apparently proudly maintain their female gender status, ‘Her’.

9.       ‘Their’s but to do or die’  (The Blind Side) – Sean Tuohy teaches Charge of the Light Brigade to Michael.  When was the last time you recall the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson being recited in a football movie — or anywhere else for that matter?

10.   Prawns (District 9) – Politically incorrect name for Space Aliens in District 9, since they seem to resemble crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads.

Previous Top HollyWord Winners:

2008     “Jai Ho!” Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from “Slumdog Millionaire”

2007     “Call it, Friendo,” from “No Country for Old Men”

2006     “High Five!!! Its sexy time!’ from “Borat!”

2005     ‘Brokeb ack’ from “Brokeback Mountain”

2004     “Pinot” from “Sideways”

2003            ‘’Wardrobe malfunction” from Super Bowl XXXVIII

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.