This week’s blog discusses names inspired by the TV show The Gilmore Girls. In addition to the names I contributed, I am especially excited to present name picks from two of the top GG gurus I know: (my aunt) Terri Gundling and (my sister-in-law) Carrie Gundling.
From the moment my friend Lauren Albright introduced me to The Gilmore Girls, I was smitten: a show focused on talkative, witty women? Yes please! I love Lorelei, Rory, and all the minor-yet-somehow-major characters that populate their idyllic small town of Stars Hollow, CT. Like all shows, of course, The Gilmore Girls has its downsides, like Rory’s and Lorelei’s occasional terrible decisions that make you almost unable to still root for them or the near-absence of any non-white, non-heterosexual characters throughout the show’s entire run. (And let’s not even talk about the disaster that is The Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.) Even so, there will always be a special place in my heart for this show. And whether you like The Gilmore Girls or not, it is undeniably an excellent source for baby name inspiration.
So, please enjoy Terri’s, Carrie’s, and my Gilmore Girls name picks, as well as a few GG-related names I “invented” for this blog.
Hanlin Charleston is a super preppy name, so it makes sense that this character is the high-and-mighty headmaster of the fancy-pants private high school Rory attends, Chilton Preparatory School. But don’t let this snobby character dissuade you from using Terri’s classy name choice, Hanlin (Han-lin), for your little boy. Not only does this full name itself sound really nice, but the possible nickname Han (as in Han Solo) is amazing.
“In Omnia Paratus” (ready for all things) is the motto of the Life and Death Brigade, a secret society at Yale where members partake of activities ranging from risky to straight-up illegal. Despite this dubious association, I agree with Terri that the girls’ name Omnia (Om-nee-uh) is absolutely gorgeous, and the meaning of this word—“all” is certainly appropriate, since your little one will no doubt be your everything from the moment she’s born. I like Minnie, Mia, or Nia as possible nicknames for Omnia.
Pennilyn Lott was Richard Gilmore’s girlfriend when he attended Yale. They were later engaged, but Richard left Pennilyn to be with his eventual wife (and Lorelei’s mom), Emily. Although Pennilyn is only a minor character, Terri is right that Pennilyn (Penn-a-lynn) is a majorly-awesome girls’ name with lots of terrific nickname options, including Penn, Penny, Nell, Nelly, and Lyn / Lynn.
The episode We Got Us a Pippi Virgin! includes an awkward double-date movie night where Lorelei, Luke, Rory, and (the newly-divorced) Dean watch—you guessed it—Pippi Longstocking. This is yet another great choice from Terri; I like the light and spunky feel of the girls’ name Pippi (Pip-ee), and I especially like Pip as a nickname.
Even though Rory spends the first few seasons dreaming about going to college at Harvard, she ultimately decides to go to Yale, her grandfather Richard’s alma mater. It is still unclear to me why Rory made this decision, but I agree with Terri that Yale is a cool boys’ name (and definitely a better name than Harvard). I wouldn’t personally use a nickname with a name as short as Yale, but you could go with Al if you really wanted to.
Dean Forester is Rory’s first boyfriend. These two seem like opposites in almost every way, and yet their teen romance somehow works well (until Jess comes to town…) As a nature lover, I really like the name Forester (Four-ist-uhr), though I’m a bit surprised that Carrie chose this name as one of her favorites, since I’m fairly certain she is Team Logan all the way. I also think Forest / Forrest is a great nickname, even though people will undoubtedly tell your child to “run” a lot or possibly recite candy similes.
The surname of the main characters on the show, Gilmore (Gill-more) is a name associated with wealth and status. Or, to be less politic, the original Gilmores (Richard and Emily, and Richard’s mother Trix before him) are rich, insufferable snobs. But Lorelei and Rory bring some goodwill to the Gilmore name by being much more down to earth. Though Terri and I did not rate Gilmore quite as highly as Carrie did, this is one of the names on our initial list that all three of us thought was very good. And I love the nickname Gil (probably because it reminds me of Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables—swoon).
Honor Huntzberger is the sister of Rory’s third serious boyfriend on the show, Logan Huntzberger. Whereas many of the people in Rory and Logan’s social circle are snobby and shallow (including to some extent, I would argue, Logan himself), Honor actually seems pretty nice and level-headed. (Maybe Rory should have dated her instead of Logan…are you picking up that I’m not a huge Logan fan?) As for the name Honor (On-uhr), I’m not as big a fan as Carrie and Terri both are, but I can see how this would be a great name choice for some people.
Sherry Tinsdale, portrayed by Mädchen Amick, is the mother of Rory’s half-sister, Gigi. Or, to say it a different way, Tinsdale is the ex-fiance of Rory’s father, Christopher. Got that? No? Doesn’t really matter. What matters is that, like Carrie, I love the name Mädchen (Mayd-chin), which means “girl” in German. Possible nicknames: May, Maddie, Addie, or Chi Chi.
The Gilmore girls—especially Lorelei—love snow, particularly the first snow of each new winter season. Lorelei often waxes poetic about how everything’s magical when it snows and how the best moments of her life all occurred during snowfalls. Despite the cheesiness of these sentiments and the fact that winter is my least favorite season, the way the show depicts the beauty of softly-falling snow on a Stars Hollow evening is admittedly enchanting. And, once again, since I love all things nature, I fully support Carrie’s choice of the lovely name Snow as one of the baby names that made the cut for this blog post.
Alex Borstein (of MadTV fame) plays Drella, the Independence Inn’s harpist. I love this character because she is just one in a long line of the show’s female characters who don’t demure all day long but instead have sass, spunk, and sometimes just plain old attitude. (Paris and the below-mentioned Gypsy are two other great examples of feisty feminist characters.) Both Terri and I singled out Drella (Drell-uh) as a great choice. For my part, I have a thing for names that end in –ella; if I had had a girl instead of a boy, she would have been either Novella or Delaney (nn Della). I like Dre, Drea, Rell, Rella, Ella, Elle, or Ellie as nickname options for Drella.
I have always adored this girls’ name! And the fact that the character Gypsy on The Gilmore Girls is a rough-and-tumble, tell-it-like-it-is car mechanic just makes me love the name even more. Take that, gender stereotypes! Gypsy also brings some much-needed ethnic / cultural diversity to Stars Hollow. And, speaking of cultural literacy, the name Gypsy (Jip-see) of course has ties to the Roma ethnicity / culture, so this name could be especially appropriate if you come from that lineage. This name is pretty short, so nicknames might be hard to come by, but I think Gigi, Ipsy, or Cici could be good options.
Rory’s rockin’-and-rollin’ best friend, Lane Kim, is played by Keiko Agena. Having to watch Lane’s character hide something as innocuous as rock and roll music from her crazy-strict mother was really hard to take, and I always rooted for Lane to be able to stand up for herself (which she eventually did, to some extent). And, like Gypsy, Lane and her family bring some cultural diversity to the show (albeit in a caricatured and satirical way that I think sometimes borders on the offensive). I love the double K sound of the short, sassy name Keiko (Kay-co), with possible nicknames Kei, Key, Kay, Kiki, and Iko.
Who could forget the awkward date between Lorelei and Rune? (Well, technically it was a double date that included Sooki and Jackson as well.) While Jackson’s prickly, odd cousin Rune is not exactly a desirable role model, I am obsessed with the boys’ name Rune (Roon) in general, and Terri also picked Rune as one of her tops. And though Rune is already a single-syllable name, you could do Ru / Rue as a nickname.
The Stars Hollow Town Troubadour, played by singer-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips, was never actually named on the show. Yet this character is an exemplar of the quirkiness that makes Stars Hollow so charming. In one particularly memorable episode, another troubadour shows up and tries to encroach on the Town Troubadour’s territory, but then a vote at one of the infamous local town hall meetings confirms that the Town Troubadour is the one and only true music-maker Stars Hollow needs. Just as a town only needs one troubadour, your little boy or girl will be similarly unique with this one-of-a-kind moniker (pronounced True-buh-door). And I love the nickname True.
Vickie’s “Invented” Names
One of the biggest debates among Gilmore Girls fans was who Rory should “end up with:” Dean, Jess, or Logan. As a feminist, my real answer to this question is that Rory doesn’t have to end up with anyone to be a whole person. (And, to the credit of both the original show and the terrible continuation miniseries, they both ended without Rory technically being shacked up with anyone.) That said, if I have to choose one of Rory’s three suitors from the show to be her forever mate, then I’m Team (adult) Jess all the way (for Rory from the original show; I actually dislike the Rory in the continuation miniseries so much that I feel Jess would be way too good for her). So, the girls’ name Essry (Ess-ree) is a combination of Jess and Rory. But there are also some cool options for Dean and Rory (such as Rodea, Derry, Orea, and Rea) or Logan and Rory (Roan, Rogan, and Anory) if you happen to prefer one of those guys.
One of my favorite relationships on The Gilmore Girls is the hard-won friendship between Rory and Paris. To celebrate their strange but awesome bond, I wanted to create a name meld from their names. However, nothing was coming to me when looking at the names Rory and Paris. So, I decided to try to combine Rory’s full given first name—Lorelei—with Paris, and that’s when it hit me—Loreliss (Lore-a-liss). I don’t know why, but I think any girls’ name ending in an –iss sound is extremely beautiful, so I really love this name as an homage to these two unlikely but also totally likely gal pals.
Amy Sherman-Palladino is the creative genius behind The Gilmore Girls, so it is only right that our list contain a name to honor her (per Carrie’s great suggestion). The reason this name is under “invented” names is because I was originally going to use Asp (Sherman-Palladino’s initials) as the name. But I realize that, because most Americans are Christians, snakes have negative connotations for them (though snakes are actually revered or auspicious in many other religions, as I learned reading my husband’s recently-published book about Asian religions depicted by American fiction writers). But Palladino (Pal-uh-deen-o) is an amazing name that would be great for a girl or a boy. For girls, I like the nicknames Palla, Paula, Ali, Allie, Ally, Addi, Addie, Addy, Dina, or Ina. For boys, I like the nicknames Pallas, Alladin, Aladdin, Adino, Dean, or Dino.
There are two inns / bed-and-breakfasts central to The Gilmore Girls: The Independence Inn and The Dragonfly Inn. The former is the first place Lorelei ever worked, where she got a job as a maid to support herself after moving away from her parents at the age of 16 (because she was pregnant with Rory). The second is an inn that Lorelei and her best friend, Sookie, purchase and run later in the show. I wanted to find a name that combines these two important locations. So, I “created” the girls’ name Pendra (though a quick internet search suggests that this name does already kind of exist). You could also spell this name Penndra, and I love the nickname Penn, though Ender or Indra would also be good possibilities.
Because the town of Stars Hollow is a huge part of what I love about this show, I wanted a name to honor this homey hamlet. But both Star and Starr have been in the U.S. top 1,000 before, and while the word hollow sounds nice, its connotations are decidedly negative. So, I combined Stars and Hollow to make the girls’ name Starlow. (Though, apparently, this name has already technically been invented, as it was used for a star sprite character in some Mario video games.) While this name might initially seem odd, it is well in line with popular names like Marlowe and Harlow, both of which have been in the U.S. top 1,000 recently.