Saturday, July 14, 2012

Inspiring Names - "Switched At Birth"

One of my favourite "new" names in the past year is Bay, the name of one of the main characters in the ABC Family show, "Switched At Birth". For those not familiar with the show (I am aware that I often have the TV viewing choices of a teenage girl), "Switched At Birth" tells the story of Bay Kennish (played by Vanessa Marano) and Daphne Vasquez (played by Katie Leclerc). Bay has always felt a little different from the rest of her family, and manages to persuade her parents to have a genetic test to prove she is not actually adopted. It is discovered that Bay is not actually the genetic daughter of either of her parents, which leads her on a search for her real parents. However when she finds her birth mother, she also discovers Daphne, a girl with the same birthday as her who happens to look a lot more like Bay's mother than Bay does. Yes, these two girls were switched at birth, and the show follows how the two families now cope with the news, and the girls build new relationships with their birth families while maintaining those with the family that raised them.

Obviously Bay is not new name, it is just that this is the first time I had seen it. And this character is largely responsible for why I like it so much - sweet but spunky, caring, clever, cute and artsy. Plus I've liked Vanessa Marano since seeing her play Luke's daughter April in "The Gilmore Girls". Bay has been used as both a boys and a girls name and actually has a few different origins and meanings:

Vanessa Marano as Bay Kennish
Old English - reddish brown (used to describe horses with brown coats and black manes and tails)
French - born on Saturday
Geographical - an indentation of land in a coastline
Nature - name of several different types of trees (such as Bay Laurel) whose leaves are used as herb and flavouring agent
Nature - Berry
Vietnamese - seventh child, born in July

This makes Bay - such a little name - rich with meaning and appealing on many levels.

The other star name in this show is Bay's counterpart, Daphne. Daphne is such a sweet, beautiful and charming name, one that has been regularly in use for a long time without ever being uber-popular. Daphne is often thought to be a French or English name, but it actually a Greek name meaning Laurel. It has roots in Greek Mythology, as a nymph who was changed into a laurel tree to protect her from the unwelcome amorous advances of the God Apollo. This also makes it somewhat of a virtuous name. 

Katie Leclerc as Daphne Vasquez
And don't let the fact that most people think of Daphne from Scooby Doo when they hear Daphne put you off this name- Appellation Mountain has predicted that one of the big naming trends in 2012 is likely to be the rise of girls names ending in "E", which could see Daphne as a trendier name to have in the next few years (

Both are lovely names, and I can't hep but think that the shows writers chose the names Bay and Daphne because they both have a connection to Laurel (another nature name I'm loving at the moment), just as the two characters will forever be connected to each other. I suggest you check out the show to see how well these names work on "actual" people. Maybe you'll fall in love with them the way I have, too.


  1. I love both names, but maybe Bay just a little bit more because it's a wonderfully quirky choice.

  2. But Daphne is Greek for the Bay Laurel tree. I wonder if Bay's middle name will turn out to be Laurel.

  3. I fell in love with the name Bay after seeing this show. I loved the name!! I even named my daughter Bay. Bay Elizabeth Mae. I thought it was unique and beautiful!