Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

names

Happy New Year! It’s nice to have you near. The New Year is often represented as a baby, so this is a good time to talk about what to name — and what not to name — your bundle of joy:

Namesakes. Honoring a beloved elder in your family is admirable, but the practice can lead to unfortunate name choices. Names like Bertha, Beulah, Ethel, Gertrude, Hortense, Mabel, Mildred, Priscilla and Wanda don’t fit a little girl comfortably these days, although they’re fine for your 85 year-old great aunt. Ask yourself how will Bertha or Ethel feel in a classroom of Taylors and Madisons?

Gender.Beware and be wary of choosing names that can be given to boys and girls alike, such as Beverly/Beverley, Carol/Caroll, Leigh/Lee, Leslie/Lesley, Kim, Marion and Terry. It can be psychologically scarring to require a child, especially a boy, to explain which gender he or she is. (Remember the song “A Boy Named Sue.”)

Spelling. In “Don Juan,” romantic poet Lord Byron wrote, “Thrice happy he whose name has been well spelt.” Saddling your offspring with a weirdly spelled moniker like Beverlee, Jonn or Jenifer means that the child will rack up hours of his or her life explaining to others how his or her name is spelled.

Initials. Pay attention to the initials of your baby’s name if they spell a word. It can be embarrassing and irritating to have the initials for Zackary Ian Thompson or Peter Ira Green or Alice Samantha Sanders or Hannah Ann Gardner stamped on your jewelry, backpack, luggage or psyche. A real-life initials trap turned out to be Ian Paul Daily (I. P. Daily). Make a final check to be sure that your baby’s name does not create an unfortunate acronym.

Length. You can save your child a world of frustration when, later in life, he or she is filling out forms and applications by going easy on the syllables, especially if your last name is already long or complicated. The rule of thumb and naming is to confer a short first name upon a baby with a long last name and a longer first name to accompany a short last name.

Originality. If you have a common surname like Smith, you would be wise to consider giving your bundle of joy a distinctive first and middle name. But a name that is bizarre may be a disservice to your child. A child with a popular name is likely to be more readily accepted by peers than a child with a weirdly uncommon name.

Nicknames. Think twice about conferring a name that is usually considered to be a nickname. That might be cute for a child but embarrassing and cloying after childhood. Billy works for a baby, but Billy will likely become Bill as a teenager and William as an adult professional. Bertie, Becky, Missy, Robby and Weezy will have to spend hours of their lives explaining that they are not Albert, Rebecca, Melissa, Robert and Louisa. Give your precious little ones names that age well so that they can choose the nicknames that will come and go with time.

Sound.Keep your ears wide open for names that smoosh together.Think about the intersection between first and last names. In the playground, Stu Bass will be sure to be dubbed Stub Ass, Thomas Sweeney Thomas Weenie and Mike Easter My Keister. Was movie hunk Chris Pratt ever called Crisp Rat?

Meanings. Most names have meanings, so you should find out what your favorite choices for names mean before making them official. Consult a few of the plethora of baby name books on the market. Such diligence will ensure your children’s happiness when one day they discover that their first name signifies a person who is handsome, beautiful, noble, powerful, admirable or blessed and that you were so thoughtful in naming them.

Impressions. Adolph used to be a fairly popular first name, but after the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler, Adolf and Adolph as birth names were vaporized. More recently, after the double whammy of sexual predator and catastrophic hurricane, Harvey has plummeted out of favor. Pressing into service an olfactory metaphor, the names Adolph and Harvey have been skunked.

Speaking of impressions, one mom and dad named their daughter LaTrina, while a foreign couple wanted to confer upon their first daughter the most beautiful word they had ever heard in English. So they called her Diarrhea.