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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 73 > Articles > What's in 68 Million Names?

What's in 68 Million Names?

by scriptfox

PET CENTRAL - A recurring and frequently mentioned problem among Neopets users is thinking up a good name for their pets. Personally, I've never found this to be much of a problem, although it can be quite a challenge. After reading through endless names with numbers, underscores, and other odd characters that people have used to guarantee a unique name, I've decided to share my own system for coming up with a good pet name.

First, let's define a "good" pet name. Good, in this case, means a pet name that does not contain numbers or other "nonsense character" type additions. It is also a name that is relatively easy to pronounce - or at least close enough to be readable. (For instance, "zxweycvnz" is out.) The best types are those that also have some meaning of their own.

Method One: mangled meanings
Think about your proposed pet's species, desired colour, and personality. Come up with descriptive words and phrases. Now see if you can create a name that combines parts of a couple of those words. For instance, let's say you had a Nimmo who hates flies. (Hey, it's got to be unique, right?) He's going to be blue. Rather than going for "blueflyhater54563", let's try coming up with something a bit better. For instance, hate can easily be turned to phobia... or -phobe. Fly? What about aerial, wings, glitter, splat, buzz... so what could we try... splatterphobe! Enter that into the search button on the yellow sidebar and see what happens... well what do you know?

Search Results -

ERROR : Sorry, nothing with the name 'splatterphobe' exists. Please try again!

You got lucky! Usually, you can count on your first couple of ideas as being taken. After all, there ARE a lot of pets out there. But even with that, these are available as well: wingsic (sic = sick), aerophobe, nohifly, and flychoke. So if you're creative, finding a name that's not taken isn't all that hard, even with millions out there.

Method Two: common variations
Start with a common name, and keep trying variations on it until you come up with one that is unoccupied. For instance:

          • Darien (taken)
          • Darient (taken)
          • Dariant (taken)
          • Darianet (available!)
          • Davian (taken)
          • Davianine (available!)
          • Datienk (available!)

Three tries before we found one available. That's about what you can expect. Notice how I changed things. First, I tried adding a letter on the end, then I changed a vowel. Next, I added a vowel and made another syllable for the name. Then back towards our original name, and off in another direction - adding another syllable, and changing a couple of letters. Although I'm using two or three types of changes, a more methodical search can easily be made.

The simplest variation is to change a single letter. The results would look something like this:

          • Richard (taken)
          • Vichard (available)
          • Wichard (taken)
          • Lichard (taken)
          • Nichard (taken by a not yet born skeith)
          • Sichard (available)
          • Fichard (taken)
          • Cichard (available)
          • Gichard (taken)

And so on. It's obvious to see from this list that just changing ONE letter from a common name might work, but it's not very fruitful. But what happens when you change two?

          • Thomas (taken)
          • Thokan (available)
          • Thotar (taken)
          • Tholap (available)
          • Thocan (available)
          • Tholaw (available)
          • Thotas (taken)
          • Thofal (available)
          • Thogak (available)

Notice that I always used consonants! This is something that you need to remember when you're doing this sort of changing around. Simply keep the consonant-vowel-consonant (etc.) pattern the same, and it's relatively easy to come up with "reasonable" sounding names.

Another trick is to add a syllable or two onto the end. Suggested syllables might be:

          -nin, -rit, -dar, -dan, -rey, -wen, -tor, -can, -lon

Notice that all of these examples have the same consonant-vowel-consonant pattern. Let's see how well this works out in practice. To give it a better chance, let's use a relatively uncommon starter.

          • Hurl (taken)
          • Hurlnin (available)
          • Hurlrit available)
          • Hurldar (available)
          • Hurldan (available)
          • Hurlrey (available)
          • Hurlwen (available)
          • Hurltor (available)
          • Hurlcan (available)
          • Hurllon (available)

Wow! Clean sweep! You've got a nice set of possibilities here, and all you had to do was to play mix and match with the ending syllable. This leads us to the next method:

Method Three: pure nonsense
The results from the previous list of variations were achieved by using an "ordinary" starter, and adding or changing to get an available name. But there's nothing that says you have to start with something that "makes sense". How about starting in the wild blue yonder with pure nonsense?

Remember our vowel-consonant patterns? They come in handy again. Let's say we want an eight letter name. We'll give it a pattern of "cvccvvcc" ( c = consonant, v= vowel) (Note: do not use more than two vowels or two consonants in a row in these patterns!) Here are some results with that pattern:

          • Hertailv (available, and no, "hertail" is NOT available)
          • Falseowt (available)
          • Lewraind (available)
          • Tirgeolm (available)
          • Kendoify (available)

Good results, but it can be a drag thinking up a name from just a vowel-consonant pattern. Still, you can do it just once, then try single letter variations. Changing a different letter each time could let you "word ladder" your way into a number of interesting ideas!

What about other ways to speed up the process? Try using whole syllables rather than just a consonant or a vowel. The hardest part is thinking up good syllables! Let's try expanding on our previous list:

          nin, rit, dar, dan, rey, wen, tor, can, lon,
          ata, ero, ili, uga, ewo, ica, ehu, esa, ehi
          dig, roc, wad, pol, dex, bom, nif, red, sik

Note that the syllables in the second line are all "vowel consonant vowel" and the third line is back to our "consonant vowel consonant". Now, to create names from this list, we take one syllable from each line. By doing them in order (I'm going to take them from the bottom and work up) we will get a nine letter name with the pattern of "cvcvcvcvc". Let's see what the results look like:

          • digatarit (available)
          • roceronin (available)
          • wadilidar (available)
          • polerotor (available)
          • bomeworey (available)

I would continue, but I think the general trend is obvious. Sixty-eight million names as I write this, and for some odd reason, no one has tried any of those possibilities! Granted, the effort to think them up might seem formidable, but it's not really as hard as you might think. I even wrote a utility that can give me dozens of possible name ideas at the click of a button, but it can't match what you the reader can do with your own efforts. It's a rich field that is yours for the taking, so by all means, enjoy it.

Note One: availability is as of the time I wrote this, not at the time of publication, and certainly not afterwards! It's quite possible that someone saw a name they liked in this article and created the pet before you could get to it. Sorry, but it IS first come, first served!

Note Two: the author of this article disclaims all moral and legal responsibility for any physical or psychological harm caused to pets or their owners because of names derived from any of these methods. Use of these methods is at your own (and your pet's) risk!

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