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May 5, 2011 10:19 AM   Subscribe

The Social Security Administration has released the top ten baby names for both genders in 2010. Topping this year's list: Jacob and Isabella. Were Twi-Moms out in full force last year? Maybe. It should be noted, however, that Edward came in a distance 136.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (212 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course I meant "The"...
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:20 AM on May 5, 2011


and perhaps "distant"?
posted by lazaruslong at 10:21 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Topping this year's list: Jacob and Isabella


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
posted by The Whelk at 10:22 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I actually like the names Jacob and Isabella. I don't think that Smeyer is bad at naming characters at all. Except for an Alien called Wanda in that SF book of hers, maybe.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:24 AM on May 5, 2011


Shoot, Metafilter needs an edit button.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:24 AM on May 5, 2011


Jacob and Isabella were spiking in popularity before the first "Twilight" book -- I think Stephenie M. picked the names *because* they were trendy but also classic. If she'd pulled, say, Eunice out of her hat for the main character's name, and that shot to No. 1, I'd be more impressed.
posted by lisa g at 10:26 AM on May 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


If it was TwiMoms naming their sons after Jacob, then then it says a lot about America that we're naming our kids after runners-up.

EDWARD/EMMETT OTP!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:28 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


A little earlier than predicted. And look where they are moving.
posted by adipocere at 10:28 AM on May 5, 2011


I have also noted that at least 1 in 4 female dogs 6 years old and younger is named Bella.

(By contrast, in the late 90s at least 1 in 4 female dogs was named Buffy.)
posted by ErikaB at 10:30 AM on May 5, 2011


COMPARATIVE POPULARITY OF BABY NAMES: A SELECTION
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's probably worth noting that "Jacob" has been in the top 5 since the 90s. "Edward" peaked in the 1920s. (I haven't read the books or seen the movies, but isn't the vampire kid supposed to be, like, way old? Maybe picking a once-popular name for him was intentional.)
posted by phunniemee at 10:30 AM on May 5, 2011


Topping this year's list: Jacob and Isabella


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


Oh, come on, they're lovely names. Who cares where they came from. And I agree with lisa g that they were experiencing a resurgence before Twilight.
posted by orange swan at 10:30 AM on May 5, 2011


Also, this is fun: Name Voyager.
posted by phunniemee at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Having grown up with a boatload of Jennifers and later Britneys I can only imagine the frustrations all these infant Bellas will experience as they move into their teenage years with a ton of other Isabellas in each and everyone of their classes.

I can understand finding an "unusual" name in pop culture and thinking you'll be original in using it but if it seems original to you it probably will be original to umpteen million other people.

Can't people just go back to butchering spellings with extraneous consonants and vowels ;)
posted by vuron at 10:32 AM on May 5, 2011


When I was pregnant with my daughter, we were looking at a set of sweet, old-fashioned names. They were all in the top 50 but not super-popular. Those names? Lillian, Sophia, Amelia, Isabella, Olivia, and Cecelia. We ended up with Lillian, whom we often call Lily.

She is SURROUNDED by girls sliiiiightly younger than she is with exactly her name. CURSE YOU TRENDING NAMES!! For her little brother, we chose "Alden," which has been on the SSA's top 1000 nearly every year since they started keeping it but which has never broken the top 500. Apart from him constantly being called "Aiden" by mistake, I think we're in good shape.
posted by KathrynT at 10:32 AM on May 5, 2011


Maybe picking a once-popular name for him was intentional.

If you think this might be the case, you REALLY haven't read the books.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 10:33 AM on May 5, 2011


I have the satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of knowing that my non-mefi name has been pretty much out of the top ten since Fatty Arbuckle was on trial for manslaughter.
posted by blucevalo at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having grown up with a boatload of Jennifers

Me, Circa 1999

"This is more useless then yelling Hey Jennifer in a High School cafeteria."
posted by The Whelk at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


blucevalo: You know who else's name has pretty substantially fallen out of popularity?
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can't people just go back to butchering spellings with extraneous consonants and vowels ;)

Don't make fun of my sister Pfallyxeeania (pronounced "Sarah")
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Top Trending Names (Boys):
...
4. Enzo


For your father. For your father.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The girls list was full of names I find classy. So—no snark from me.
posted by Taft at 10:37 AM on May 5, 2011


Ah man, forget environmental pollution kicking into high gear next century. Garbage literature is going to do us in within the next twenty years.

Also, children scarred by Angst and Adverbs.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2011


Once again, Xerxes and Vipsania get robbed.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:39 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


There was a time when it seemed like every other guy I'd meet was named "Hunter".

I always wanted to ask them to introduce me to their sister, "Gatherer".
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:41 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's this family of ultimate frisbeers that I know through some friends. They all have crazy names.

Zahlen,
Vehro,
Xtehn,
Rohre,
and Qxhna (pronounced "Cheena").

I am not making this up.
posted by phunniemee at 10:41 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Every year I check to see if people have started stealing the names I have picked for my kids. Furious if it is a boy, Tas-tee if it is a girl. So far I still got a lock on them.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll be naming my first born Nasir (what? it's biblical).
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2011


As has been said, Jacob's been really high up for decades. It's just a consistently popular name. If you want something to be really pissed about in the top ten boy names, be pissed at #4. Seriously, fucking Jayden? Seriously? Fuck you. Putting that on a birth certificate should send a red flag in the system, and get Little Jayden given to a family that'll give him a real name.
posted by kafziel at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2011 [19 favorites]


We went with Westley.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My sister happily admits she named my youngest niece Isabella because of the Twilight series. She insists that if you call her by anything other than her actual name, it MUST BE Bella. Not agreeing with that so much and seeing as how I prefer nicknames anyway, I said as her weird old aunt, I'd call her Izzy. She went nuts and started raving about some character on Grey's Anatomy.

I think she watches too much television.
posted by Kitteh at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Seeing Jayden and Aiden on that list make me want to name a kid "Raiden."
posted by anthom at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


way to raise a farm hand.
posted by The Whelk at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2011


I picked the names on how awsome they would look as neck tatoos.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Pickman's Next Top Model: How do you know that's not my name?
posted by blucevalo at 10:45 AM on May 5, 2011


And while it's true that classic, grandma-sounding names like Ava, Sophia and Olivia are popular, parents are only picking a certain type of grandma names: Gertrude, Myrtle and Dorothy aren't going to break the top 10 anytime soon. (And, Wattenberg points out, babies born now likely have grandmothers born in the 1960s, when names like Karen, Susan and Donna were popular.)

Seriously? Because lots of my friends in their 30s are having kids right now, and our parents are true Boomers and were born in the 1940s. Some people turn generations over faster than others, I guess.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:46 AM on May 5, 2011


4. Enzo

So, from what I gather this year's parents are a strange mix of Twilight and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood fans?
posted by geoff. at 10:47 AM on May 5, 2011


You know who else's name has pretty substantially fallen out of popularity?

"Adolph is not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 11 years."

"Please enter another name."

"Osama is not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 11 years."

"Please enter another name."

"Barack is not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 11 years."

I must be doing it wrong....
posted by three blind mice at 10:47 AM on May 5, 2011


I think Stephenie M. picked the names *because* they were trendy but also classic. If she'd pulled, say, Eunice out of her hat for the main character's name, and that shot to No. 1, I'd be more impressed.

Well, she picked Isabella because that's what she wanted to always name her daughter, but she had all boys. I think many of the minor characters were named after her siblings.

Anyway, me and the hubz have recently found the perfect little boy's name if we ever spawn, which will probably never "trend" but is wonderfully geeky and awesome (hint: Mulder's first name; no, not "Spooky.") We still bicker about girls' names. He likes Miranda (bleeeeech), I like names like Opal and Verity. I think Miranda sounds ridiculous and 80s. He thinks the names that I like sound just plain ridiculous.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:48 AM on May 5, 2011


I breathed a sigh of relief that my new son's name isn't popular or trending (yet). My step-daughter's name exploded in popularity when she was five or so.
posted by Jpfed at 10:48 AM on May 5, 2011


The webcomic Templar AZ has some awesome names: Zebulon, Orpha, Ransom, Scipio, Zora, Godswill, Barnabas. Right at the middle point of roller derby and prophet.
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2011


Thanks for posting! I don't know why this is so interesting, but it is!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I won't bother to check to see if my wife's aunties Velma and Itha made the list.
posted by three blind mice at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2011


Jayden is definitely a big warning sign to me and it's the male name that stands out the most. After all male name popularity is far more static than female name popularity.

A lot of these female names were probably last popular in the 20s and 30s. They do have a degree of agelessness to them for the most part whereas I do agree that the Gertrudes, Myrtles, Mildreds, etc are unlikely to make a major return anytime soon.
posted by vuron at 10:49 AM on May 5, 2011


Oooh, I was just going to make a post on this but it's already here! (The Baby Name Wizard blog got slammed and her site was down for an hour.) Here's her take:

The Fastest Rising Baby Names of 2010: Triumph of the Teen Mom
and The Fastest Falling Baby Names of 2010
posted by flex at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2011


I need to meet more St.Johns and Augustinas.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2011


I can only imagine the frustrations all these infant Bellas will experience as they move into their teenage years with a ton of other Isabellas in each and everyone of their classes.

It's not so bad, ask any Mike or Dave in their late 20s to mid-30s. I've always had someone with the same name as me in my class; it usually just means the teacher will need to specify by adding the first letter of your last name. One year, I had 4 other people with the same first name in my class, and 3 of them had last names starting with the same letter as mine. I was known as "Ho" that year.
posted by Hoopo at 10:51 AM on May 5, 2011


Fastest fallers are more interesting.

Fastest-falling boys' names
5. Joshua
4. Kevin
3. Eduardo
2. Aidan
1. Aaden

Fastest-falling girls' names (and why)

5. Taylor
Here's a perfect example of the complicated relationship between baby names and fame. What celebrity of the past five years seems more err...tailor-made to launch a thousand names than Taylor Swift? But the name Taylor had already started to decline when Swift had her first hit song in 2006, and it has kept on dropping.

4. Malia
The rapid decline of the Obama daughter's name may look at first glance like a political statement, but Malia is just settling back in after a one-year publicity spike. This name is still more popular than it was before the Obamas hit the national scene.

3. Marley
Marley enjoyed a huge 2-year boom thanks to the film "Marley & Me." This year it retreated. Yes, I realize that the Marley in the film was a badly behaved male dog; I told you the relationship between baby names and fame was complicated.

2. Caylee
Caylee was top rising name in 2008 in response to the tragic death of toddler Caylee Anthony. (More background on this name and the general phenomenon of naming after crime victims can be found in this column from last year.)

1. Analía
Telenovelas are one of the top sources of one-year wonder names. "El Rostro de Analía" made this name the top rising girl's name just last year, and now it's the top faller.
posted by k8t at 10:53 AM on May 5, 2011


It's not so bad, ask any Mike or Dave in their late 20s to mid-30s.

Interesting- I was wondering why David had fallen out of the top 10, but the timing makes sense- all the boys who grew up knowing a thousand Davids are having kids, and picking other names.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:53 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And for the haters among us...

Naming your son "Bentley"? Really? This happens?
posted by vverse23 at 10:54 AM on May 5, 2011


Of course, that doesn't explain Michael being at #3, though it seems to be slowly dropping over the past decade or so.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:54 AM on May 5, 2011


There's this family of ultimate frisbeers that I know through some friends. They all have crazy names.

Zahlen,
Vehro,
Xtehn,
Rohre,
and Qxhna (pronounced "Cheena").

I am not making this up.


I'm floored that you included a pronunciation for Qxhna but not for Xtehn. My vote? Pronounced like either "Christian" or "chitin". I'm pulling for chitin.
posted by penduluum at 10:54 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And fastest rising names:

These make a stronger argument for the popularity of TEEN MOM than Twilight.

Hottest Boy's Names

5. Grayson
A generation ago, Jason established a new all-American masculine sound. Grayson updates that sound with a fashionable surname spin. The 2010 jump comes courtesy of young YouTube singing sensation Greyson Chance. (The spelling Greyson was also a top-10 riser.) Props to NameCandy.com blogger Lane for pegging this name a year ago!

4. Kellan
Last year's top rising boy's name keeps on chugging. Here's what I wrote last time around: "Twilight alert: vampire Emmett Cullen is played in the movies by actor Kellan Lutz. Mr. Lutz has also signed on as a Calvin Klein underwear model. Need I say more?"

3. Mason
Reality tv personality Kourtney Kardashian gave birth to a son Mason in December 2009. It was already a name on the upswing -- a surname with a classic feeling. And what did I just say about the sound of Grayson?

2. Easton
Country singer Easton Corbin's hit debut album came out in Spring 2010. Note that Easton is a perfect blend of the already popular names Ethan and Austin, making it an easy sell to parents.

1. Bentley
Bentley was the #4 riser in 2009 with the help of "16 and Pregnant," and was the 2010 champ as sequel "Teen Mom" became a phenomenon. For many years the name was a non-starter, as parents saw Bentley as either a stuffed-shirt name or a luxury brand name. But that was before country music star Dierks Bentley came along.

Hottest girl's names

5. Giuliana
Giuliana Rancic, E! Network celebrity news anchor, crossed the line from reporter to subject last year as the star of the reality series "Giuliana and Bill." Her Italian name offered a fresh take on the popular Juliana.

4. Kinley
Ooh, intriguing! No major media events, no updates on a classic name...looks like we may have a genuine, organic style phenomenon brewing here. Rhyming names Finley, Brinley and McKinley also rose, but Kinley really soared.

3. Khloe
Incredibly, this name has made the hottest-rising list three years running on the reality-tv coattails of Khloe Kardashian. Four years ago Khloe was just a fringe "kreative" spelling of the hit traditional name Chloe. Now it's a top-50 hit.

2. Quinn
This year the number of female Quinns leaped to catch up with the boys. A character on the much talked-about tv series Glee helped parents see the name as a feminine option.

1. Maci
A soap-opera heroine and a singer led the name Macy up the charts for years, but the name had hit a plateau. Last year Teen Mom Maci Bookout gave it new juice, and a new top spelling.
posted by k8t at 10:54 AM on May 5, 2011


And for the haters among us...

Most Hated Boys Names:

1. Jayden
2. Brayden
3. Aiden
4. Kaden

Haaaaaaaaaa.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:55 AM on May 5, 2011


Sorry flex... didn't preview.
posted by k8t at 10:55 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


No Morrocan or Monroe? Mimi must be crapping herself.
posted by stormpooper at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Naming your son "Bentley"? Really? This happens?

Teen Mom- Maci named her son Bentley. Of course, she says it like "BEEINT-leee".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My partial theory about the rise in trendy/offbeat boys' names is that the problem with boys' names is the pool is much smaller than girls' names. And you can always think of some guy you know with that name you might otherwise like who is an asshole.
posted by flex at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


4. Kellan
Last year's top rising boy's name keeps on chugging. Here's what I wrote last time around: "Twilight alert: vampire Emmett Cullen is played in the movies by actor Kellan Lutz. Mr. Lutz has also signed on as a Calvin Klein underwear model. Need I say more?"


Oh, and these things impact writers, too. I recently finished an MS with a love itnerest character named "Koen Adler" (Koen because it's kind of Jewish and . . . well, long story). I had to change his last name because there's a vaguely similar book with a love interest named "Kellan Aldridge." That made me grr.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm floored that you included a pronunciation for Qxhna but not for Xtehn. My vote? Pronounced like either "Christian" or "chitin". I'm pulling for chitin.

Sadly, Xtehn is pronounced...ex-ten. Nothing special going on there.
posted by phunniemee at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2011


blucevalo: With the Fatty Arbuckle reference, I assumed it was Roscoe - another name ripe for reclamation, I feel.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2011


My kid is 2.5 and even then the "ending-in-N" boy names were irritating me. (Plus my partner's last name ends in N, so our kid would be Whatever-en Last name-en").

So we went with a boy's name ending in R, which seems to be on the rise in parts of the country that are a little bit more liberal with names.

(A brief tale... my partner said "I like this name!" and I said "err... I hate it." And we mapped it and it was the hottness in Alabama and Arkansas.)
posted by k8t at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm going to have to name a baby in about six weeks.

My wife and I have differing opinions on the importance of names. I tend to feel that first names don't really matter at all, and lean towards generic sounding names. She is shooting for something a bit more unique, but not something made up like Jayden/Kayden/Jahlen etc.

Does a first name define a person in any way?
posted by davey_darling at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2011


We're going with cheeses: Fontina for a girl, Stinking Bishop for a boy.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:59 AM on May 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


PhoB, I name characters based on how many awful deep-nerd references I can make with them.
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Naming your son "Bentley"? Really? This happens?

I ran across a woman who named her baby Aaliyah Lexus, so, comparatively, Bentley doesn't surprise me as much.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:01 AM on May 5, 2011


My partial theory about the rise in trendy/offbeat boys' names is that the problem with boys' names is the pool is much smaller than girls' names. And you can always think of some guy you know with that name you might otherwise like who is an asshole.

Augustus, Octavian, Julius, history is your playground!
posted by The Whelk at 11:01 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My sister happily admits she named my youngest niece Isabella because of the Twilight series. She insists that if you call her by anything other than her actual name, it MUST BE Bella.

Never underestimate the ability of a kid to establish a nickname for themselves. My niece Olivia (2-1/2) refers to herself as "Ee-ah," and the rest of my family thinks it's bloody adorable and so that's probably what she's going to end up with as a nickname. Your sister may have ideas about "Isabella/Bella", but just wait, your niece may be quite firm about "No, call me 'Za!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does a first name define a person in any way?

Freakonomics thinks that we THINK it does, but it doesn't have too much effect on a child's success in the end.

*A Roshanda by any other name: How do babies with super-black names fare?
*Trading Up: Where do baby names come from?
(and their high-income/low-income names list)
posted by flex at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2011


Names That Wiil Never Be Popular No Matter What Meme They Are Associated With:

Bongo
Slappy
Chachi
Hieronymous
Tippecanoe
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who would name their child Analia? Seriously?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


There is, as Freakanomics will tell us, a socioeconomic as well as cultural component here.

So when "people" hate Brayden/Jaden, etc., they're really (IMHO) indicating a bias against people in a lower socioeconomic category.

Least you judge folks... Brittney was a high SES name in the 70s and then tumbled down the SES ladder. I'd bet that there are some 10 year old high SES Braydens out there.
posted by k8t at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2011


Nothing special going on there.

So what you're saying is I'm all clear to name my first son Chitin. Fantastic.
posted by penduluum at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The decline of Katrina following the 2005 Hurricane has been one that has been interesting to watch. It was pretty consistently in the top 250 range and has since dropped in numbers every year following the disaster.

I wonder if there has been similar drops in popularity of names following big destructive hurricanes (Andrew, Camille, etc)
posted by vuron at 11:05 AM on May 5, 2011


Were Twi-Moms out in full force last year?

"Twi-Moms"? So I guess that makes me a "Saw-Dad" to my four year old?
posted by hal9k at 11:06 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm not one to talk about fiction inspired names. My son is named after the managing editor from Sports Night.
posted by m@f at 11:07 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


So when "people" hate Brayden/Jaden, etc., they're really (IMHO) indicating a bias against people in a lower socioeconomic category.

I associated these names with yuppie parents.
posted by Hoopo at 11:07 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oprah has never cracked the top 1000. That's a little bit surprising.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 11:08 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A generation ago, Jason established a new all-American masculine sound.

Goddamn Apollonius Rhodius and his trashy teen epic poems.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:08 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there has been similar drops in popularity of names following big destructive hurricanes (Andrew, Camille, etc)

The Baby Name Wizard's posts on that:
*Of Storms and Style
*The Year In Names: Katrina
posted by flex at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2011


Wonder if Rasputin is still kicking around...
posted by Slackermagee at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2011


Oprah has never cracked the top 1000. That's a little bit surprising.

There can be only one.
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Its interesting how names trend. When my mother named me Chad, it seemed original at the time but there were actually Chads everywhere (including one born in the same hospital a few days later). Similarly, a friend named her son Jayden about seven years ago and it seemed so weird, like she was naming a D&D character. Shortly thereafter, we began seeing Jaydens all over the place.
posted by charred husk at 11:11 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hoopo, those names have tumbled down the SES ladder quickly. So if you're thinking of "yuppies" (which implies people that were parents of young kids in the 80s), that'd make sense.

Brayden and Jaden had their higher SES peak in the early '00s, so those kids would be in upper elementary school right now. (Check this out to play with it...)
posted by k8t at 11:12 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


k8t: Hottest girl's names

Is it just me, or does that list of girl's names (Maci, Quinn, Khloe, Kinley and Giuliana) sound like the lineup at a sleazy strip club?

Also: Nevaeh (Heaven, spelled backwards.. I mean seriously wtf people?) is up to 25 per the SSA!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:12 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to work with a woman named Shontella. She never believed me when I told her I thought it was a fantastic name. It sounds strong and assertive and feminine to me. She hated her name and asked everyone to call her Shon, which inevitably got misspelled Shawn, which is nowhere near as euphonious. Shontella. I love that name.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:14 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


My mother's middle name is Isabelle, and her mother's first name was Isabella. As was her mother's mother's, and so on for several generations. I've wanted to name my daughter if I were to have one Isabelle or Isabella since I was about 10 years old. And lo and behold, just as we find out we're having a daughter, guess what names are super popular? Sheesh. We couldn't do it. So we hid Isabelle in as her middle name.
posted by zsazsa at 11:14 AM on May 5, 2011


Augustus, Octavian, Julius, history is your playground!

Heh, yeah. I suggested once I might be interested in naming a son Marcus. Turns out it doubles as a nice litmus test for proto-racist distant relatives, too:

Isnt that, ya know, a *black* name?

Said objections were noted and forwarded to Marcus Aurelius, post haste.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:14 AM on May 5, 2011


I can't tell whether people hating on "Jayden" in this thread know where the name comes from or not, but that's Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's kid. They named the boy, Jaden (pronounced ("Jayden"), after his mom, and the girl, Willow, after her dad. I thought that was really sweet actually.

Jaden Smith was in the Karate Kid remake with Jackie Chan last year. So that's my guess on where the name is coming from. Good movie with good family values, so no hate from me.
posted by subdee at 11:14 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually Subdee, Jaden/Jayden's been big for the entire decade.
posted by k8t at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2011


My imminent-spouse is named Emily. Her mom is Kay. I'm kinda pushing for "Eleanor Roosevelt" as first and middle names for notional future daughter, to keep with the "single letter name" theme (M, K, L). If it's fraternal twins, I'm suggesting "Bea" and "Arthur." Still haven't figured how to get her to accept "Ric" or "Rey" for a son.
posted by jtron at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to the stats, when I was born, "Craig" was the #52 most popular name, yet I never knew anybody else with the name growing up. Now, it has dropped from #199 in 2000 to #422 in 2010, in spite of the visibility of Craig's List, Craig Ferguson and Daniel Craig (maybe Jenny and Larry Craig killed it).

Don't even talk to me about "Wendell", which was in the #800s in 2000 and has now totally dropped off the list.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:18 AM on May 5, 2011


Koen because it's kind of Jewish and

I'm sitting this moment in the Hague beside a Koen. Short for Koenraad. It's Flemish. Means "brave advisor."
posted by three blind mice at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2011


The Most Hated Baby Names in America

Of course, "Nevaeh" is #1 on the girl-name list. Followed by:
Destiny, Madison, Mackenzie, McKenna, Addison, Gertrude, Kaitlyn, Makayla, Bertha, Hope.

For boys:
Jayden, Brayden, Aiden, Kaden, Hunter, Hayden, Bentley, Tristan, Michael, Jackson.
posted by flex at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2011


Notyou is not in the top 1000 male names for any year of birth in the last 11 years.
Please enter another name.
Still special!
posted by notyou at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2011


I was just noticing this yesterday - my mom's best friend had her first daughter at age 21, a surprise daughter at age 36...and another surprise daughter at age 48.

Each of those girls is named with a top #5 name from the decade they were born in. The youngest, age 2, is named "Isabella".
posted by annathea at 11:23 AM on May 5, 2011


Interestingly, Atticus appears not to have been in the top 1,000 names until 2003 - and it's been climbing sharply since then. To Kill a Mockingbird was Chicago's "One City, One Book" book in 2001; it was apparently adopted in 25 other places for similar programs by 2004. Surprisingly to me, it has never been an Oprah's Book Club selection.
posted by nickmark at 11:24 AM on May 5, 2011


I’ve had this conversation with many parents and have never got a good answer; why do you want your child to have a unique name? Most of them do, to some degree, but no one has ever been able to say why.

As others have noted here, all my friends kids with "unique" names were in classes filled with kids with the same name. Lose, all the way around.
posted by bongo_x at 11:25 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm sitting this moment in the Hague beside a Koen. Short for Koenraad. It's Flemish. Means "brave advisor."

It's also an alternate spelling for "Cohen."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:25 AM on May 5, 2011


Sallah: Please, what does it always mean, this... this "Junior"?
Professor Henry Jones: That's his name.
[points to himself]
Professor Henry Jones: Henry Jones...
[points to Indy]
Professor Henry Jones: ...Junior.
Indiana Jones: I like "Indiana."
Professor Henry Jones: We named the *dog* Indiana.
Marcus Brody: May we go home now, please?
Sallah: The dog?
[starts laughing]
Sallah: You are named after the dog? HA HA HA...!
Indiana Jones: I've got a lot of fond memories of that dog.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:26 AM on May 5, 2011


Jayden drives me nuts. It feels like a half-hearted attempt of trying to make an established name unique. And it feels like it came out of nowhere, like after 2003, BOOM - Jayden-ville.

Who would name their child Analia? Seriously?

I know an Amalia, an Amelia, and an Amelie. This thread has made me realize how many unconventional names my friends/relatives' kids have. The latest is Skylar.
posted by zix at 11:26 AM on May 5, 2011


So, from what I gather this year's parents are a strange mix of Twilight and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood fans?

Surely the crop of Enzos are named after Uncle Enzo, not Mr. Da Firenze.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


What, no Isambard?
posted by Hoopo at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow Skylar is like an instant trip back to the early 90s.
posted by The Whelk at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am well aware that people will not believe this story, but it is absolutely true.

I just recently was appointed to represent a female named "Le-a."

I looked at the name and contemplated how it was to be pronounced. I figured it was likely either "lee-uh" or "lay-uh." I thought there was an outside chance that it was pronounced "lee" or "lee-ay."

When my secretary spoke to Le-a's mother, she was surprised to learn that it was pronounced "la-dash-a." Offering a further explanation, her mother said, "The dash don't be silent."

This led to people in my office spending the rest of the day using this new name formula to come up with some new ones. The two I remember were Le'a (pronounced "le-pos-tra-fay") and Th_ (pronounced "Thunderscore).
posted by flarbuse at 11:28 AM on May 5, 2011 [20 favorites]


Nickmark, I was just going to post how I ran into an infant Atticus at work within the last 6 weeks. We all loved it as a name.

For a while I worked as an analyst for a guy doing research on neonatal outcomes; all the files were for the infants, listed as number/first name-last initial, so I saw a lot of interesting first names. What used to drive me crazy were twins where one had a, uh, creative name and one had a traditional one. If they were M/F twins, it was always the girl who got the trendy one.

My parents, though, with our unpronounceable Swiss-Italian last name? Picked the top name for each year for my brother and myself. I barely respond to it being said in a crowded place now.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:29 AM on May 5, 2011


OH GOD NOT THIS AGAIN.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:29 AM on May 5, 2011 [17 favorites]


None of the names we have selected for the impending Baby Enormous to be born in September are in the top 500 of this list....maybe we're doing it wrong....
posted by zizzle at 11:30 AM on May 5, 2011


My parents insist that they didn't know any Jennifers when I was born, and then all of a sudden there were BILLIONS of them. I don't think my parents were exactly trendsetters, so how does this synchronicity happen? 1974, for reference.
posted by desjardins at 11:31 AM on May 5, 2011


That's to flarbuse; context.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:31 AM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am well aware that people will not believe this story, but it is absolutely true.

I just recently was appointed to represent a female named "Le-a..."


flarbuse, you seem to be using some definition of "absolutely true" of which I have been previously unaware.

Unless you've been talking about this all over the internet for the past few years and Snopes has been covering it up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


I don't think that Smeyer is bad at naming characters at all.

When do you reckon Renesmee will be on the baby name list?
posted by Gordafarin at 11:38 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


When I was pregnant with my daughter, we were looking at a set of sweet, old-fashioned names. They were all in the top 50 but not super-popular.

The lesson here is don't use a name in the top 1000.
posted by orange swan at 11:38 AM on May 5, 2011


Heh, yeah. I suggested once I might be interested in naming a son Marcus. Turns out it doubles as a nice litmus test for proto-racist distant relatives, too:

Isnt that, ya know, a *black* name?

Said objections were noted and forwarded to Marcus Aurelius, post haste.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:14 PM on May 5 [+] [!]


Huh, my two year old is named Marcus. Never thought of it as a 'black' name at all.

On the topic of Isabella, my daughter is in a gymnastics program with a bunch of five and six year olds. We thought about Isabella as a name for her but didn't go with it. Good thing, in her class of 20-25 kids there are three Isabellas.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:38 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I had a dollar every time someone told me their "absolutely true, firsthand" story of Ledasha...
posted by Gordafarin at 11:39 AM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


What, no Isambard?

I am totally naming my kid Isambard.

I'm gonna get him a tiny baby top hat and some tinker toys.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:41 AM on May 5, 2011


desjardins: Why Your Baby's Name Will Sound Like Everyone Else's

I see it happen over and over again. For instance, everyone likes old-fashioned grandma names right now but don't realize everyone else is using them too - especially if it's your first kid, you're probably not around a lot of other kids to see the trends. Olivia, Ava, Hannah, Emma, Sophie, Isabella... I just had a months-long back and forth with my mother over the name Grace. She loves it, and never hears it, and wonders why I wouldn't use it. I told her it's so popular I hear it all the time. I think a lot of people don't realize how popular a name really is until they have the kid and it's already named and they start noticing other kids' names from playgroups and preschools and their friends having kids too. (My daughter's preschool class this year, out of 17 kids, had three "Finn"s/variations thereof. Three years ago I too would have thought it was an unusual/hipstery pick, but now I'm hearing Finn everywhere!)

It happened to us - despite my mild baby-name geekery, I simply didn't realize how popular Aidan was until we'd used it, because I'd decided on it years before the trend. Everyone that asked us what we were naming him while I was pregnant said "oh that's unusual, I never hear that name!" As soon as he was born, everyone was telling us about their nephew or cousin or co-worker's kid with that name. You can't win!
posted by flex at 11:46 AM on May 5, 2011


Landon is #32. I bet they were all born within a week of each other.
posted by troika at 11:50 AM on May 5, 2011


When I worked for the City of Oakland, I spent a lot of time with our client rosters. There were many, many unique legal names that I had not run across before or since. My coworkers and I had a running game to find the best names; the "Le-a" name was told to me, possibly apocryphal, but honestly not surprising given some of the things I saw in my time there. The three best names I personally witnessed, and these were on actual government paperwork, were: Shithead, pronounced "shuh-HEED" (I actually met him, surprisingly personable fellow) and two brothers, Orangejello "uh-ron-jullo" and Lemonjello "luh-mon-jullo". Oakland is amazing.
posted by duende at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the names I propose every time my wife and I discuss children are part of the reason why we don't have any.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2011


When we were contemplating what to name our tot last winter we were stumped for boy names. We mused out loud about giving the child a name from Ghostbusters and I was really shocked at the number of people in our lives where were like "YOU. MUST DO. THIS!" I'll admit that it would have been really cool to have a little Winston, or Egon, or Vigo the Carpathian. Vigo was the frontrunner by far.

Unfortunately, it was moot when we found out we were having a girl. I hope little Mefissa Jessamyn Hamburgersen likes her name.
posted by Alison at 11:54 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, I feel like a jackass. My secretary presented that "Le-a" thing to me a couple weeks ago. As I have seen some incredible things with names, I assumed it was true. She told me it was true. As I was just called out on here, I became a bit annoyed and was going to link to something about her case to prove she was real. I asked my secretary what her last name was so I could look it up and provide the link. At that point she informed me that it was something she had heard and not something that had happened here.

I am not happy with her at all about this, and I apologize profusely. I honestly thought it was real. I never believe shit like that, but my own secretary told me that it happened here. I believed her. This is my fault. I am mortified.
posted by flarbuse at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


When I worked for the City of Oakland, I spent a lot of time with our client rosters. There were many, many unique legal names that I had not run across before or since. My coworkers and I had a running game to find the best names; the "Le-a" name was told to me, possibly apocryphal, but honestly not surprising given some of the things I saw in my time there. The three best names I personally witnessed, and these were on actual government paperwork, were: Shithead, pronounced "shuh-HEED" (I actually met him, surprisingly personable fellow) and two brothers, Orangejello "uh-ron-jullo" and Lemonjello "luh-mon-jullo". Oakland is amazing.

Why, I bet you know some immigrants who named their kid Diarrhea, too!

Metafilter, why must we do this every time a naming thread comes up? Be better than the rest of America, please!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:57 AM on May 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


The three best names I personally witnessed, and these were on actual government paperwork, were: Shithead, pronounced "shuh-HEED" (I actually met him, surprisingly personable fellow) and two brothers, Orangejello "uh-ron-jullo" and Lemonjello "luh-mon-jullo". Oakland is amazing.

So this is the thread where we tell our favorite urban legends? Because if you thought "Sing a Song of Sixpence" was just a nursery rhyme...
posted by Gordafarin at 11:59 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


The three best names I personally witnessed, and these were on actual government paperwork, were: Shithead, pronounced "shuh-HEED" (I actually met him, surprisingly personable fellow) and two brothers, Orangejello "uh-ron-jullo" and Lemonjello "luh-mon-jullo".

I'd heard about Orangejello and Lemonjello before, probably becasue they were so unusual someone did a sort of "is this for real?" article. As for "Shithead," I swear I've read that that's actually a somewhat common name in a country (which name escapes me).

And flarbuse, don't take it so hard, goodness! Just chalk it up to a lesson in taking some things with a grain of salt.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:00 PM on May 5, 2011


My first born will be named Clap. And I don't mean the word "Clap" but the noise made by two hands smacking together.

He/she will have severe issues in public events.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:00 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


...Hmm. I could indeed be wrong about "Shithead", now that I investigage it on Google. (oops.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:01 PM on May 5, 2011


More from snopes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2011


duende, aren't those last two football players or something? Or am I thinking of the guy whose mother named him after Saran Wrap or something? (Can't keep these legendarily stupid naming anecdotes straight.)

I am SO HAPPY our daughter's name hasn't even come up here yet. Anything in the top 100 was off our list, especially since she got my ultimate-bland last name.

And wouldn't you know, there's another Ivy Smith at both her pediatrician (born two weeks earlier!) and - different one - her new daycare (whose mother has the same name as my wife!). I just hope we're not leading a trend.

If we were to have a boy, I'm leaning toward August, in part to continue with the Roman-emperor theme and in part because I just think it sounds cool. Not sure the Mrs. agrees yet...
posted by gottabefunky at 12:02 PM on May 5, 2011


August And Ivy sounds like a lost BBC SF show.
posted by The Whelk at 12:04 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Charting the rise of a trendy baby name (Why Khloe is hot and Aaden is not)

What makes a name come or go? Naming a child is—or feels like it should be—a uniquely personal decision. And yet each name on the top 10 list represents the collective wisdom of a whole generation of parents. In other arenas of fashion, we know we're subject to commercial pressures. Clothing trends, for instance, are coordinated assaults on public taste. The colors you'll want to wear this fall were determined years in advance by professional colorists on behalf of manufacturers and retailers. But nobody advertises baby names. No one stood to pocket a dime when you named your daughter Isabella. You just felt, personally, that Isabella was the best possible name for your child. You and 22,730 other people...

So a naming phenomenon—a name that spontaneously captures the hearts of thousands of parents—can't be chalked up to a single celebrity's status. Instead, it usually arises from a mix of powerful factors, including historical naming patterns and phonology...

...Chloe, though, was still on the upswing. Its popularity was rising every year, leaving the name well-balanced between fresh and familiar. And it provided an opportunity for creative spelling. Starting the name with a "K" gave it new appeal for parents with creative, contemporary tastes in names. (K is the consonant of choice for these namers, the types who choose Kamren over Cameron.)

...But why was Chloe rising in the first place? To start with, it was an old and familiar name that had never been common. It therefore appealed to traditionalists, but unlike old favorites like Helen and Kathy it didn't trigger the dreaded "mom" or "grandma" associations. That's the same recipe that has worked magic for other formerly rare names like Olivia and Gabriel.

Chloe's sound matters, too. The single most powerful trend guiding current name choices is a fondness for vowels. The more a name is packed with long, strong vowels (and not clusters of squishy consonants, like Myrtle or Elmer), the more likely it is to appeal to parents. Look at the long A in Ava, the O in Noah, the E in Ethan...

posted by flex at 12:05 PM on May 5, 2011


So who thinks Bertha will ever make a comeback?
posted by gottabefunky at 12:09 PM on May 5, 2011


August And Ivy sounds like a lost BBC SF show.

Or a historical Sort of like an alternate "Upstairs Downstairs" kind of thing, where August and Ivy are sisters born into the upper class during the Edwardian period and then August goes on to be a Bohemian and then a radical socialist and lives in council housing because she's an artist, while Ivy stays home with the parents and marries someone proper but stultifying and spends all her time fretting about August and just what the family's going to do with her...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2011


When I worked for the City of Oakland, I spent a lot of time with our client rosters....The three best names I personally witnessed, and these were on actual government paperwork, were: Shithead, pronounced "shuh-HEED" (I actually met him, surprisingly personable fellow) and two brothers, Orangejello "uh-ron-jullo" and Lemonjello "luh-mon-jullo". Oakland is amazing.

You know this is discussed in Freakonomics, right?
posted by Dr. Zira at 12:10 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


In one of Beverly Cleary's books, Ramona names her doll "Chevrolet," and thinks it's the most beautiful name in the world. She doesn't understand why people laugh about it.
posted by JanetLand at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Chevelle is nice too.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:12 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder if names that currently sound aunty-uncley will make a comeback in twenty years, and kindergartens will be full of Larrys and Sheilas.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:12 PM on May 5, 2011


In one of Beverly Cleary's books, Ramona names her doll "Chevrolet," and thinks it's the most beautiful name in the world. She doesn't understand why people laugh about it.

This is also the girl who, at her teacher's suggestion that she sit in a certain seat "for the present" believe she's going to be given a gift. Loved Ramona, but she wasn't exactly the brightest crayon in the box.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:13 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


In one of Beverly Cleary's books, Ramona names her doll "Chevrolet," and thinks it's the most beautiful name in the world. She doesn't understand why people laugh about it.

One of my friends has lamented that 'Chlamydia' had to be the name of a venereal disease, for this very reason. It does roll off the tongue quite well.
posted by Gordafarin at 12:13 PM on May 5, 2011


Seeing Jayden and Aiden on that list make me want to name a kid "Raiden."

Others have already beat you to it. From the SSA website:

Popularity of the male name Raiden
Year Rank
2010 640
2009 670
2008 778
2007 944
posted by fings at 12:14 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


flarbuse, your story was totally worth it if just for Th_. That made me laugh. :)
posted by arcticwoman at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Popularity of the male name Scorpion
Year Rank
1994 750
1993 35
1992 6
1991 1522

posted by uncleozzy at 12:17 PM on May 5, 2011


Heh, yeah. I suggested once I might be interested in naming a son Marcus. Turns out it doubles as a nice litmus test for proto-racist distant relatives, too:

Isnt that, ya know, a *black* name?

Said objections were noted and forwarded to Marcus Aurelius, post haste.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:14 PM on May 5 [+] [!]


This amuses me, because I work with a man named Marcus Aurelius, who is black. Now that's a name that gets one's attention.

I kind of love my slightly off-the-beaten-path name. Never made it into the top 1000; variants do, but since mine is spelled from the Hebrew it's not like it's some weird made-up spelling (and scores really high on the "educated parents" scale, via Freakonomics). I was named for an Irving and a Frieda; believe me when I say Ilana Freya is preferable to Irvinga Frieda.
posted by ilana at 12:17 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Last year my local soccer team had a player named Two-Boys Gumede. If I recall correctly (and I may not, but I hope so 'cause it's great), he wore the number 22. He was a decent player and a good guy; the fans liked him. I loved the reported origin of his name: "His mother, Thandi Gumede, already had one son when she was pregnant again in 1985. She longed for a daughter. Alas, when her second child arrived, she told friends and neighbors, 'I have two boys now.' And the wonderful name stuck."
posted by nickmark at 12:22 PM on May 5, 2011


the worst thing about orangello is that he did so much acid he thinks he's a glass of orange juice but this is not a huge problem on account of he woke up one day in a tub full of ice having had his kidneys removed by organ thieves so we poured in some vodka and what with the ice and all he now believes he is a screwdriver
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:26 PM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Metroid Baby: The Generational Sweet Spot, Or Why Your Parents Have Such Bad Taste

When it comes to our own personal taste, though, it's hard to feel the generational influence. Here's how I usually describe it: the names of your own generation sound too ordinary, your parents' too boring, your grandparents' too old. But by the time you make it back to your great-grandparents' names, things start to perk up. You've never known a young Vivian or Julius, so those names sound fresh to you.

That places a style "sweet spot" at naming generations roughly 60-90 years older than you. But it also points to a second sweet spot at names 20-40 years younger than you. Those are the names that you and your friends name your children. Meanwhile you're turned off by names in middle, particularly your own age and 10-20 years older. So if you were born in the 1970s, you probably didn't consider '60s names like Sheila or Kent for your kids.

Now here's the kicker. That same generation of names that marks your style nadir is your parents' sweet spot. And those charming antiques you love? They're your parents' stodgy grandma names...


I keep telling people now is the time to use names like Joan, Donna, Vera, Moira, Laurel, Jeanne, Rosalie, Susannah, Lorraine, Isadora, and Fern because no one is using them! They're all off the top-1000 and are truly unusual right now (well, Vera is starting to rise, because it's an old enough.) But people just make faces at those names. We got a lot of pushback for using Vera from just about every generation - our peers, our parents, and even my husband's grandmother. Names like these are neither old enough or young enough right now to most people.
posted by flex at 12:27 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel like I should drop in a mention of the Name Of The Year blog here. They try as far as possible to confirm all the names they turn up are held by actaul people.

They're voting now on the 2011 name of the year. Although they've really never been able to top the best name from 2009, Barkevious Mingo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:30 PM on May 5, 2011


I like the name Vera a lot, but that may be because it immediately makes me think of the Beatles' "When I'm 64." It would be interesting to do the math and figure out if Vera would be in the right sweet spot to be a popular name for Paul McCartney's granddaughter (my guess is no, but maybe the English naming trends are on a different schedule).
posted by nickmark at 12:36 PM on May 5, 2011


Augustus, Octavian, Julius, history is your playground!

Man, everyone is going Julio-Claudian now. The new hotness is Merovingian:

Guntram
Siegebert
Arnulf
Rusticula
Aldegunde
Austreberta

If those seem a little fancy, you can always go for a good old-fashioned Anglo-Saxon Ecgric or Æthelred (Seaxburh if it's a girl).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:39 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


phunniemee: "There's this family of ultimate frisbeers that I know through some friends. They all have crazy names.

Zahlen,
Vehro,
Xtehn,
Rohre,
and Qxhna (pronounced "Cheena").

I am not making this up
"

Oh, I know the Titcombs. Nice folks. They also started Five Ultimate and Five Bamboo: two pretty nifty ultimate and casual apparel companies. I kinda like the whole silent-H theme they've got going on.
posted by Cogito at 12:56 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My wife and I seriously considered naming our daughter Siobhan but the thought of her putting up with decades of "How do you spell that" or "How do you pronounce that" made us settle on the much easier to spell/pronounce Fiona. Other than fielding questions about whether she is named after the princess from Shrek (didn't even enter our heads) or maybe the gun-toting love interest on Burn Notice (okay somewhat entered my consciousness) it seems to be only mildly popular as a female name.

Settling for something in between ungodly popular and huh-wut? seems to be something most parents struggle with and it's not completely surprising that we tend to gravitate to popular names when struggle to name our offspring.
posted by vuron at 1:00 PM on May 5, 2011


I looked for an uncommon name when I was expecting. My kid's name was buried in the 400's when I named him, in 2002, but has been steadily on the rise and is now in the 130's. It's on the Freakonomics "Top Names of 2015?" list. I wonder what's up with that? I've never been one to spot trends early - usually I'm completely unaware of them.
posted by Daily Alice at 1:02 PM on May 5, 2011


I like the name "Stan".
posted by Redfield at 1:03 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been watching these lists closely, because my daughter is due in a few weeks and I don't want to burden her with a name that's too common. My own name is Jessica so I grew up surrounded by girls sharing our name (along with the Jennifers, who were mixed up with us all the time).

The problem with having a mega-popular name (for me) is that it's never really felt like my name. It's just a word that people call me and a million other girls. I don't even turn around when someone calls it unless I recognize the voice.

I'm not saying that I'm traumatized by this, ha. It's never seriously bothered me. It's just something I've noticed and I find it kind of curious.

So far I'm leaning towards Penelope for my daughter. I can only hope that no one writes a book about a vampire named Penelope in the next ten years.
posted by Toothless Willy at 1:05 PM on May 5, 2011


Name tip: Clementime. My kid loves it and wishes it was her name, and it hasn't ranked at all since the 1940s.
posted by mikepop at 1:07 PM on May 5, 2011


Penelope is trending up rapidly - it's gone from #946 in 2001 to #200 in 2010.
posted by flex at 1:09 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My parents insist that they didn't know any Jennifers when I was born, and then all of a sudden there were BILLIONS of them. I don't think my parents were exactly trendsetters, so how does this synchronicity happen? 1974, for reference.

I'm a 1974 Jennifer, too. Always 5-6 Jennifers in all of my classes and on all of my teams. When I first started playing soccer as an adult, in my mid-20s, there were six other Jennifers on my team and we all had to go by last name. Now, ten years later and with many women on my teams in their 20s, it's not a problem at all.

I always hated having such a common name, though I do appreciate that most people know how to spell it and I don't have to repeat myself. I don't have kids yet, but I always wanted to name a daughter after my mother, who passed away several years ago (Cecelia). So far it's not in the top ten but I've been getting nervous. Oh, and I do love some of the top names: Emma, Isabella, Sophia, Lily. Still, it would be hard to pick a name that is so popular, knowing there would be so many others of the same name running around.
posted by JenMarie at 1:16 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My friend went to school with a girl named Placenta. She said when the mom heard the nurse/doctor talk about it, she thought it had a pretty ring to it.

Sometimes, people need to just pipe in and say "No. Stop. Just stop".
posted by stormpooper at 1:16 PM on May 5, 2011


Mikepop - there were 3 Clemetimes in my 2.5 year old's baby group. And 2 Penelopes.
posted by k8t at 1:16 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


One of my acquaintances named her daughter Clementine. I was just stuck on the nickname problem. Clem? Clemmy?
posted by JenMarie at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Antigone and Clytemnestra.
posted by The Whelk at 1:21 PM on May 5, 2011


Oh, just remembered a story; a family in my neighborhood had a daughter due in early January of 1999, and the parents wanted an unusual, but not "weird", name. They were fairly literary, and took a pretty-sounding name from literary tradition -- one of the standard characters in commedia d'ell arte, "Columbine." So that's what they named her.

Then when their daughter was about three months old, this happened.

I don't think anyone makes a big deal of it. They do use "Bina" as a nickname, but no one really ever made a fuss over the connotation so much as I know. Although her parents did admit that when the high school incident went down, they both looked at their baby daughter and thought, "well, FUCK."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing I didn't like about being a Jennifer is that people use diminutives and derivatives of it to distinguish you from others. So I non-consensually became "Jenny" for many years, and I hate hate hate it. People will still shorten my name to that, and after one correction I just refuse to respond to it.
posted by desjardins at 1:22 PM on May 5, 2011


When I was teaching undergraduate German classes back in the late 80s/early 90s, I had a (white, if it matters) girl from a small Texas town in my class named D'Arlen. She pronounced it Dee-Arlen. It later dawned on me that her parents' intended pronunciation was probably Darlin'. I'd change the pronunciation, too, if I were her.
posted by tippiedog at 1:26 PM on May 5, 2011


Wait...so...there actually are kids named Raiden?
Apparently, I'm choosing the wrong fighting game franchise.

"Mokujin is not in the top 1000 names for any year of birth in the last 11 years."

That's better.
posted by anthom at 1:31 PM on May 5, 2011


We had elaborate plans to name our offspring after Asian corporations. The obvious ones are Toshiba for a girl, and Kawasaki for a boy, but there's lots of other great possibilities: Honda (boy), Daihatsu (boy), Mitsubishi (girl), Fuji (probably a boy).....so many choices! Our other idea was along the lines of the whole Rain, River, etc. thing--Con or Ash (short for Concrete and Ashphalt, of course).

I went to university with a girl called Swith. As in "with" plus an S. Poor girl. When she explained her name you could could tell she'd done it wayyyy too many times.
posted by Go Banana at 1:31 PM on May 5, 2011


'Chlamydia' [...] It does roll off the tongue quite well.

Eeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww!!! Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew!!!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:36 PM on May 5, 2011


So far I'm leaning towards Penelope for my daughter. I can only hope that no one writes a book about a vampire named Penelope in the next ten years.

LOTS of LOST fans out there like that name, too.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2011


Well, with that and my husband insisting we name our son Hayden after himself, his father, and his grandfather, I'm just fucked.
posted by Toothless Willy at 1:53 PM on May 5, 2011


We had elaborate plans to name our offspring after Asian corporations.
Taiyo Yuden!
posted by Redfield at 1:56 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a 1985 Jennifer, so I grew up knowing very few Jennifers my age, but a bazillion of them 5-10 years older than me. It wasn't until I got to college that I started being surrounded by Jennifers my own age, except this time they were all Asian. Jennifer is extremely common among Asian girls who immigrated here in elementary school and adopted an "American" name.

What made this infinitely more complicated is that my last name is Lee (though I'm not Asian). In my Red Cross club in college, myself and two other members of the board were Jennifer [Asian last name]. And we all went by Jen. (Well, one of them was a Jenn, but it's hard to pronounce the second N.) People called us "the Asian Jens". Hiiiiilarious.
posted by phunniemee at 1:58 PM on May 5, 2011


I'm one of a zillion Beatles-Era Michelles, so I'm right there with you, all you Jennifers. Though I also have to say I was teased a lot because of various sorts of personal geekishness, and when going through that period it was really a comfort to not have anyone pick on me because of my name. So even though I've always hated my name, in some ways I'm also grateful to my parents for choosing it.

Meanwhile, my son's name (not a common one here) turned out to be the number one name for his birth year in Israel - largely because this year it suddenly became a trendy name for girls. Not sure how I feel about this.
posted by Mchelly at 2:08 PM on May 5, 2011


Name tip: Clementime. My kid loves it and wishes it was her name, and it hasn't ranked at all since the 1940s.

So let her change it! Names don't have to be permanent, and the paperwork isn't hard if you decide to make the change formal.

The half-dozen Jennifers in my circle of friends are all called by their full names. One of them got tired of it and changed her name to Serena. I can think of a handful of other friends off the top of my head who have also changed their names.

As for me, well - it's one thing to be saddled with a weird name your parents liked and quite another to pick it out for yourself. Nothing against the name my mother picked for me, but "Mars" suits me, and nobody ever forgets it once we've been introduced.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:12 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


ThePinkSuperhero: "And for the haters among us...

Most Hated Boys Names:

1. Jayden
2. Brayden
3. Aiden
4. Kaden

Haaaaaaaaaa
"

My daughter's preschool class, over the past two years, has held an Aiden, a Jayden, a Hayden, and a Vaden.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:15 PM on May 5, 2011


My uncle is named David PopularLastName and is in a band with three other guys all named David PolularLastName its called The David PopularLastName Band
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 2:25 PM on May 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


My dad really wanted to name me Brooke, not Jennifer, but he was overruled by Mom, who thankfully made the case that Brooke sounded horrible with my surname. (It'd sound OK with my married name, though.)
posted by desjardins at 2:25 PM on May 5, 2011


God if my dad has his way I'd be Donald. I was unpopular enough without sharing a name with a lipsing, pantsless duck.
posted by The Whelk at 2:28 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend and I were discussing the real problem with baby boy names--all the classic, standard names are forever ruined because we dated all of them.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:48 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel like it's pointless to try to outsmart naming trends. I just want classic names that wear well; my husband wants slightly unusual names so the kid won't have the same name as every other kid in class. But here's how every conversation we have about it goes:

"What about Jacob? I don't know anyone named Jacob."
"There are like four Jacob's in First Child's music class. It's in the top 10 for boys right now!"
"No it isn't!"
"YES IT IS!"
"Well, what about Noah? NOBODY names their kid Noah."
"THAT NAME IS IN THE TOP TEN AND YOU'VE MET THREE NOAHS UNDER THE AGE OF TWO! What about Thomas?"
"No, there are way too many boys being named Thomas."
"IT'S NOT EVEN IN THE TOP FIFTY!"

The moral of this story, boys and girls, is that you only get to hunt for unusual names if you can be bothered to check the statistics on popularity and not drive your wife crazy for nine months with your SUPER-TRENDY names that you think are totally unusual.

I shared a name with a girl who was in my class from kindergarten through 12th grade who lived 3 houses down (of course there were others, it was a popular name, but we were together so MANY years). We'll pretend it's "Sarah." We were always "Sarah A." and "Sarah B." which annoyed me a little bit but not really worth mentioning. But we called each other "Saree" and "Sarai" because it was silly to use our last initials with each other!

A few years ago she joined Actor's Equity (whatever it's called) and there was already a "Sarah Smith" so she had to pick a stage name. She became "Saree Smith" and I was just tickled, and probably the only person in the world who knows where she got that name from!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:02 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dude, flex, I'm gonna have to cut you if you don't stop telling people to use those names. One of them is the name of my mother, and her grandmother, and her grandmother's grandmother, etc., since time immemorial. I have long planned to continue the tradition and use the name if I ever have a daughter. Every year when the list comes out I check it to make sure the name isn't getting too trendified. Since its recent inclusion in a certain popular fiction franchise, my concerns have been even greater. DO NOT ADD TO MY ANGST. Keep it under your hat, woman!
posted by katemonster at 3:12 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


My name is the name of many awesome heroes in fiction, and it is the top CEO name. It has been trending downwards over the last 50 years, and was at its peak barely breaking the top 40 mid-century.

At any given time, it will be very, very rare that I work with somebody or have a class with somebody that shares my name. Although my name has never been popular, it has always been common. I don't complain; I like my name where it is, how it rolls off the tongue. I will likely never have to worry about my name becoming either too popular, or becoming associated with any particular economic status.

Oh yeah, apparently it's also slang for penis, even though I've never actually heard somebody use it that way in normal parlance.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:48 PM on May 5, 2011


Unique baby name generator
posted by ymgve at 4:03 PM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am facebook friends with ten our so people with my first and last name. Very glad my folks gave me a middle name that's very rare (at least in the US, not so much in Nepal/Bhutan/north India) so I can use my full moniker for professional/art stuff.
posted by jtron at 4:57 PM on May 5, 2011


Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing: actual proposed children's names collected from parenting message boards across the internets
posted by decathecting at 5:23 PM on May 5, 2011


I know kids named Holly, Franka, Fritz, Maerose, Lincoln, and Lucy. I've never met any other kids except those with those names (they range in age from 11 down to 4).

My name is Candace and I didn't meet another Candace/Candice until college. If any of you decide to name your daughters Candace (that's the only right spelling, if you must know*), do those girls a favor and do not, I repeat, do not, use the nickname "Candy" for them. They won't like it. They'll get teased endlessly and people absolutely will not take them seriously during the years they feel the most vulnerable. Just stick with Candace.

I kid! Well, mostly anyway.
posted by cooker girl at 7:22 PM on May 5, 2011


"Isabella--she a no show. Isabella she-a seeck."
posted by neuron at 7:31 PM on May 5, 2011


My daughter's preschool class, over the past two years, has held an Aiden, a Jayden, a Hayden, and a Vaden.

GTFO!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:37 PM on May 5, 2011


Vaden sounds like a short-lived car brand for young urban couples.
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2011


Vaden sounds like a short-lived car brand for young urban couples.

Funny you should say that. In the city where I grew up, there's a (Dan) Vaden Nissan dealership.
posted by phunniemee at 7:45 PM on May 5, 2011


"My daughter's preschool class, over the past two years, has held an Aiden, a Jayden, a Hayden, and a Vaden."

We have a Brayden and a Caden and a Layden (Laden? Not sure) in our mommy-and-me class. There are only 10 kids.

I swear the kid in the class with the most unusual name is "Ben." So many, many trend names.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:52 PM on May 5, 2011


We know of a Drayden and a Braeden, and both boy and girl Haydens and Jaidens.
posted by flex at 8:57 PM on May 5, 2011


In middle school, one of my friends would sometimes lament that Nicorette would be a great name. (She grew up to name her cat Pants.)
posted by Nattie at 9:20 PM on May 5, 2011


I don't meet enough Justines.

Or Sigorney.

Or Gordon.

Or Bertram.

C'mon Internet, you've got a whole corpus of fantasy novels to mine, I'd like to see a few Boromirs now and then.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 PM on May 5, 2011


C'mon Internet, you've got a whole corpus of fantasy novels to mine, I'd like to see a few Boromirs now and then.

My grade school best friend's younger brother was, in all honestly, named "Theoden."

I'm not kidding.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to work with a guy named Dave Park. He named his son "Fenway." (Totally true; Fenway and I are friends on Facebook!)
posted by web-goddess at 10:41 PM on May 5, 2011


And as for fantasy novel names, I know a Merry and a Peregrin, both girls. And I think those are awesome names.
posted by mudlark at 11:03 PM on May 5, 2011


My name is one of those monosyllabic ending-in-n-or-m names and I frequently mistake it when someone else's turn is being called in a restaurant. So I tell them my name is "Rico". Very easy to hear when called out...side effect is that a number of waiters and counter people think my name is Rico...maybe not such a bad thing after all.
posted by telstar at 3:06 AM on May 6, 2011


Nattie: "In middle school, one of my friends would sometimes lament that Nicorette would be a great name. (She grew up to name her cat Pants.)"

How about Nicolette?
posted by Gordafarin at 6:16 AM on May 6, 2011


Through a series of conversations, some joking and some not, with my friends, I came up with these names for my hypothetical children:

Suzume ("Sparrow" in Japanese. I'd make sure it was written as すゞめ because I am a terrible person.) and nicknamed Susie.

Tomoharu (智春) Alligator, nicknamed either Tom or Wani (ワニ - alligator in Japanese).
posted by emmling at 6:42 AM on May 6, 2011


I shouldn't have told him this, but my boyfriend thinks giving our imaginary kid a middle name that also happens to be a yarn company = totally obvious way for me to score free yarn. What? It's a nice name. Damn. My ideal first name is a Norse goddess, you don't think I picked it just to get a necklace made out of dwarf-gold, do you? Sheesh.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:48 AM on May 6, 2011


I swear the kid in the class with the most unusual name is "Ben."

In 2009, nine of my friends or relatives had babies and four of the babies were named Ben.

I went to school with a April Gale and worked with a Sandy Vallee. I found it a bit odd that parents would deliberately give their kids a "joke" name like that. I mean, I also have gone to school with a Rob Lowe, worked at the same company as a Frank Burns and have a niece named Rachel Rae, but they were all born before their names became household names. A coworker of mine with the last name of "Love" said he and his wife were very careful not to saddle their baby with a joke name, such as Justin Love.

I don't tell anyone what my favourite names are because I don't want anyone to steal them.;-)
posted by orange swan at 7:44 AM on May 6, 2011


Ooh, I want to guess the hypothetical middle name!

John Rowan Smith
Anne Karabella Smith
Olivia Wollmeise Smith
Brian Knitpicks Smith
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:45 AM on May 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Naming your son "Bentley"? Really? This happens?
posted by vverse23 at 12:54 PM on May 5


Hey!

I picked the username Bentley about 20 years ago. Nothing to do with teen moms.
posted by bentley at 8:45 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your first guess was correct, Metroid Baby, although I would have also accepted "Sanguine Gryphon."

(Oh man. That WOULD be a great middle name! Quick, no one tell my boyfriend, because if this should ever actually happen, all I'll have to do is wait until he REALLY needs a cigarette and then sign the birth certificate while he's gone...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:57 AM on May 6, 2011


Years ago when I was working for Renowned Teaching Hospital I came across multiple records for doctors with the last names "Doctor" and "Love." No Doctors Feelgood, unfortunately.
posted by jtron at 9:06 AM on May 6, 2011


Augustus, Octavian, Julius, history is your playground!

My greatgrandfather Milt was the youngest of seven. The last three were named Homer, Virgil, and Milton.
posted by bentley at 9:11 AM on May 6, 2011


My father's grandfather was named Virgil. In an epic fail of in-law relations, my mom's dad made an offhand comment a la "Who the fuck would name their kid Virgil?", which of course forced my father to say "My great-grandparents, apparently?"

Virgil was still around into my 20s. He liked to put on big glasses, grab a tin cup and walk around the living room pretending to be blind. This passed for humor with my elderly relatives. Their stories were early evidence that grownups weren't always as well-behaved and good as they liked to let on (plenty of bootlegging and skinny dipping and other misadventures).

His wife Dorothy (now that is a great and underused name) once said to my dad after I'd shaved off half my hair (about which he was all het up): "Shut up, I like it. I had my hair like that when I was her age."

Dad: "YOU HAD SCARLET FEVER!"

Good times.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:25 AM on May 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just remembered this kid I met when I worked at a pediatrics-related department at the hospital years ago. His first name was Little Joe and he also had a middle name but it was unremarkable. Yes, he was named after Bonanza and yes, he had heard all about it. Polite kid, but, at age 13 or so, clearly tiring of discussing his name.
posted by bentley at 11:46 AM on May 6, 2011


Hm, no mention of "Tyler." I might have named my hypothetical kid that if my best friend hadn't stolen it first.
posted by desjardins at 12:03 PM on May 6, 2011


Oh, I hear plenty of "Tyler!"s at the playground. I think it goes with Bella, Aiden, and Brooke.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:35 PM on May 6, 2011


How To Name Your Baby Properly by the Vlogbrothers
posted by flex at 7:55 PM on May 6, 2011


I'm not sure if Nymbler has popped up on the blue before, but I think it's worth a look. They also have a blog where the preferences of name-addicts are displayed (I'm guessing that most of their traffic is from the Baby Name Wizard site).
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 4:26 PM on May 9, 2011


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