Naming in the time of coronavirus


I forgot to share here the latest piece I wrote for Nameberry, from a few weeks ago: Babies Named Corona Are No Joke. It was fascinating to research the various disaster-inspired names that were bestowed on babies in the last century, and, as noted, we’re already seeing the coronavirus pandemic inspiring baby names.

If I were naming a baby born during the pandemic or whose existence was inspired by it (whether because of the Stay at Home orders, or because of reordered priorities in light of this encounter with widescale grief and death, etc.), I think I’d like to nod to the difficulties in some way, though I think I’d probably be inclined to stick more to Saints I might have asked for intercession, and/or (God forbid) the name(s) of any loved one(s) that might have been badly affected or tragically lost, or the names of associated heroes (family/friend heroes or public heroes). What about you? If you’re expecting a baby during this time, or think you might in the near future, are you considering including some connection to the coronavirus in the baby’s name? If so, how do you think you would do so? On the flip side, are any of you abhorred by this idea?

My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!


14 thoughts on “Naming in the time of coronavirus

  1. This is so interesting, because I’ve been thinking about what will happen to the popularity of the name Cora this year. It has been climbing steadily, but now I think it’s too similar to Corona, don’t you think?
    But then, again, there is a baby named Noah Harvey because we was born right when hurricane Harvey hit his town, so we might get some surprises.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m due in 3 weeks, and we had nearly decided on Cora before all this started, but now it feels like it might just be too similar. (And, this is not a time we’d prefer to commemorate in our baby’s name.) We didn’t 100% toss it (because we really do like the name), but it’s becoming more and more unlikely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh so sorry I’m just catching up on comments two weeks later! You’re nearly due! I’m sorry about Cora — it’s such a beautiful name, with no connection to corona, and yet you’re not the first parent I’ve heard express this hesitation. I’m sure whatever you choose will be beautiful!!


  3. My husband are trying to conceive (not related to the virus at all…have been for 6 months or so) and have talked about Rocco if we were to conceive a boy, for St. Rocco, for whose intercession we have been requesting.

    I would never name a child something super obviously close to the name of a disaster. My middle name is Katrina and whenever people learned that in the ~5 years after the hurricane they always said “oh, like the hurricane?” Those questions have died down because we are farther away from it and because it’s a family name I hope to use it as a middle name for a daughter, but definitely wouldn’t name a child “Corona” or some other more recent disaster.

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    • I love Rocco! Prayers for your hopes for a baby! Your experience is so interesting, especially since Katrina’s your middle name — I would have thought it would be “safe” in that spot!


  4. I’m due with my second this summer, and while we’re still debating, there won’t be any obvious nods to the virus. It has, however, made me feel much more pressure to pick the right name. One name that was very high on our list suddenly felt too whimsical? for how I’ve been feeling this pregnancy. And it’s made me want to bring back weightier, more obviously religious names I’d nixed pre-COVID.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So interesting! I hadn’t thought of some names feeling too whimsical for usage now, but I can see that. Also, bringing “weightier, more obviously religious names” makes sense!


  5. So far the coronavirus and the quarantine haven’t changed my thoughts on naming the baby we’re expecting. But I’ve been thinking about names and naming babies for so long that my list of favorites is pretty firm. Sadly, I guess if someone we love passes away then maybe we’d reconsider. But even that’s unlikely as we’ve already given our older children’s our parents names as first or middle names.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I’ve been thinking about names and naming babies for so long that my list of favorites is pretty firm” — I get that! I hope you’re doing well during this time!


  6. I’m due in May with a boy, and no way is this affecting our name choice! No baby Kovyd here!

    And to reply to the first comment, our oldest is named Cora and we probably wouldn’t have changed it if we were giving birth to her now. Cora and Corona have 2 very different meanings and language origins, so nobody has teased her and she hasn’t made a connection herself (she’s 8 and very aware of what’s going on).

    Liked by 1 person

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