Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bellamy

Bellamy Blake, portrayed by Bob Morley on the CW TV show 'The 100'

Bellamy is an interesting one. I started seeing this name pop up quite regularly in forums maybe a year or a little more ago. It felt like it came out of nowhere, and suddenly it was on everyone's favourites list.

Admittedly I didn't see the immediate appeal, possibly thrown by the fact that it was most often discussed as a boys name, when to me it felt more feminine. Possible nicknames all felt girly - Belle, Amy, Mimi and Bella. It's hard to escape the fact that the Bella sound is extremely popular for young girls these days. It also has the familiar three syllable, ends with Y sound and flow seen on so many other girly faves, such as Emily, Natalie, Serenity, Kimberly and Trinity (all top 100 names in the U.S).

But of course names following this pattern aren't entirely unpopular for boys too. Anthony, Zachary and Jeremy all spring to mind, not to mention unisex options such as Avery, Kennedy and Mackenzie.

And now recently there are two new TV shows featuring a male Bellamy - and suddenly I see its' masculine appeal.

Bellamy is best recognised as a surname of Norman (Old French) origin. Coming from the words beu/bel for 'good, fair, handsome' and ami meaning 'friend', it has been interpreted by different sources as having meanings such as 'my good friend', 'handsome friend' and 'good-looking companion'. Which are all pretty much different ways of saying the same thing.

There are plenty of people bearing this surname, including:
  • Pirates Charles and "Black Sam" Bellamy, 
  • 18th century Dutch poet Jacob Bellamy, 
  • American actor Ralph Bellamy, 
  • author of the U.S Pledge of Allegiance Francis Bellamy, 
  • Canadian Judge Denise Bellamy, 
  • American pop and country music duo 'The Bellamy Brothers'; and
  • the fictional family in the 70's British TV show 'Upstairs, Downstairs'
And this is just a small sample.

Despite it's widespread use as a surname, it took a lot longer for Bellamy to make the transition to given name. It barely made the U.S SSA charts for girls in 1993 and 1996, given to just five girls each year. Then in 2003 she was given to 23 girls, and she's been present on the charts since.

It's hard to pinpoint anything that happened in 2003 to give Bellamy the boost it needed to become a steady presence on the charts. At the time English band Muse (fronted by Matt Bellamy) had released their third album, the top selling 'Absolution'. American actor Bill Bellamy was starring on TV show 'Fastlane', and actress Bellamy Young was appearing on TV Western Crime show 'Peacemakers' and 'American Dreams'. She was born Amy Young, but adopted Bellamy in order to join the Screen Actors Guild, who already had another Amy Young registered.

Then in 2009 Bravo aired a reality show called '9 By Design', featuring designers Cortney and Robert Novogratz and their children, including twin daughters Bellamy and Tallulah. Bellamy's name was chosen because her parents love France, and even spent their honeymoon there. Subsequently 2010 saw another leap in popularity of the name.

Maybe 2014 will be the year that sees Bellamy chart for boys too. Those two male Bellamy's I mentioned earlier? One is 'Resurrection' Immigration and Customs Agent Martin Bellamy, played by Omar Epps. Being a Federal Agent, he's primarily referred to as Bellamy on the show. The other is Bellamy Blake, a main character on TV show 'The 100'. He's played by young Australian actor Bob Morley, and helps to give the name a youthful, bad boy edge. I also love the alliteration of his name - Bellamy is a name that really lends itself well to alliteration for some reason.

It's equal parts soft and flowy, yet solid and spunky, with a stylish feel. On trend but not trendy. Bellamy is a well balanced name that lends itself well to either boys or girls if you're looking for something familiar feeling but not weird.



9 comments:

  1. I am torn on this one because it is a common surname which I tend to like for boys however all of the nicknames are very feminine (Belle, Bella, Mimi) and visibly looks feminine to me. Oh well, just one of those names that I can appreciate but would probably never use because I wouldn't know what to do with it not liking unisex names. Plus I don't really like his character just yet!

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  2. For some reason Bellamy has never seemed feminine to me - maybe because of Guy de Maupassant's "Bel Ami", although for the same reason, it seems like the name of a right piece of work! :)

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  3. Keep this going please, great job!

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  4. Matt Bellamy, lead singer of British Rock band muse? cmon guys :p

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  5. I think Bellamy is in fact a very feminine name, especially now that I know it has French origins. "Belle" is a feminine adjective in French (the masculine equivalent is "Beau").

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  6. My son is 16 & we named him Bellamy. I was attracted to it's meaning "my dear friend" & never considered it feminine. As Bellamy is not spelled Bellemy, this distinguishes it from the french female adjective, but I think it works either way. He's happy with it & so are we!

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  7. My son was born in 2012 and I named him Bellamy, mainly from the band Muse. He really loves his name, and so far everyone we've met also likes his name.

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  8. We named our son bellamy, he's now almost 2. I hadnt heard of anyone with that name, fictional or real until after he was born. To be honest I loved it so much during pregnancy I would've named him bellamy whether he had been a boy or a girl! I've always loved surnames as given names, and this was unique but not weird.

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  9. Fuck yes Bellamy Blake

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