I tried hard to get into Dr. Who when I was younger—but even though I was digging the extra long scarf sported by the Doctor back when I was a kid, I could never manage to care enough about the Tardis and the Daleks. But I just finished watching the big 50th anniversary episode of the good Doctor’s show, and I have to say I might be interested in watching more. And I especially loved his current companion, Clara Oswin Oswald—the impossible girl who seems to have saved Doctor Who a whole lot. (Reminding me a whole lot of my other favorite girl who saved the world a lot…Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But with a much cooler name.)
Clara’s experienced a resurgence outside of the Doctor’s fans—after a dip through the 198s0 and 1990s, it’s now climbing and currently at #136. It’s a name of Latin descent, and means clear and bright. It also has some lovely historical meaning, thanks to Civil War nurse Clara Barton, silent screen star Clara Bow, and Clara, the lead character in the Christmas classic, Nutcracker. And it’s a nice alternative to the more popular Claire.
It’s a delicate name that works beautifully with some elegant middle names. I love it with Emily, Violet, Josephine, Margaret or even Scarlett. If you like the short-and-sweet middle names, there’s always Jane, Blue or even Bette.
What do you think of Clara? Is it a name you’d consider for your daughter?
Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/Shutterstock.com
Sophia and Jacob may be the most popular U.S. baby names overall, but they aren’t the top names in every state. In fact, Sophia only topped the charts in 17 states, and three names were actually tops in more states than Jacob. (Jacob ranked #1 in four states, while William, Liam and Mason all topped the charts in more states than that.)
But what’s even more interesting are some of the names that made the top 5 in some states, but aren’t even in the top 10 in the U.S. Washington DC had some unique girls’ names, Charlotte and Genesis. Harper was also #4 in Montana, Nebraska, Iowa and North Dakota, and #2 in South Dakota—I’m already predicting that it hits the top 10 next year. Some unique names in the number 5 spot include Aaliyah (New Mexico), Avery (Minnesota), Lily (Utah) and Ella (Vermont).
The boys’ names were even more varied. Henry’s making major inroads—it may be only #43 overall, but it hit the top 5 in Washington DC, Minnesota and Oregon. Logan was in the top five in Hawaii, Idaho, Vermont and Wyoming, while Wyatt continued to be red-hot in the West—it was #3 in Montana and #5 in Wyoming. Some other unique names included Gabriel (#4 in Alaska), Ryan (#3 in Massachusetts), Carter (#3 in Iowa and #5 in Michigan), and Bentley and Hunter, both in the top 5 in West Virginia.
Of course, if you take into account the variety of ways baby names can be spelled—like Sophia/Sofia, Aiden/Aidan/Ayden and other creative spellings, the top names may look pretty different across the board. (Take a look at this top baby girls’ names, compiled by listing all the variant spellings—and you’ll see a different picture of the top baby names.)
What baby names are you hearing a lot where you live?
Image: Baby names by Amir Ridhwan/Shutterstock.com
I now have a full year of baby-name experience under my belt—doing everything from analyzing celebrity baby name choices to helping readers like you with their baby name dilemmas (if you have one, feel free to write me at email@example.com with the scoop). And a few months ago, I tried to put some of my baby naming skills to work, picking 10 hot names to watch in the coming year. So how did I fare? Check out the results below:
Atticus This red-hot Romanesque name (most famous for the upstanding lawyer/dad in To Kill a Mockingbird) is still on the rise, climbing nearly 50 places in 2012—where it’s about to break into the top 400.
Camden I think I went a little too early on this one—it only rose four spots last year. But the celeb push this name received came all in the latter part of the year, with a pair of fall babies. Expect the name to make a bigger leap this year.
Carter was another modest mover—only up four slots. But it’s still squarely in the top 50 names in the country. I’ll be intrigued to see where it lands in some parts of the Midwest/Mountain areas, where the name was making big headway last year (it was tops in Iowa).
Declan moved up another 30 spots, after moving nearly 100 places between 2011 and 2012. I think as the -den names start to lose favor, this will move in to take the spot.
Penelope moved nearly 50 points itself—I still credit Tina Fey’s baby naming prowess for this classic’s resurgence!
Angelique looked like it was poised for a continued rise, but it actually dipped nine points over the course of 2012.
Merida I guess it isn’t a Brave new world for baby names—the feisty princess’s moniker didn’t crack the top 1000, as I had predicted. There’s always next year, though, right?
What names are you predicting to rise this year?
This weekend, Great Gatsby ruled the box office—and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic love triangle, set against the roaring 20s backdrop, is once again in the limelight. While some daring folks may decide to choose Gatsby as an offbeat first name in homage to the tale, Daisy seems to be the more popular choice for fans of the book—or the movie.
This garden flower has been steadily in the top 200 names since the 1990s, a fresh choice like Violet, Lily and Rose. Daisy is considered a nickname for Margaret, which makes it a nice choice in homage to a relative who bears the name. Daisy has a few other pop culture associations, beyond the Gatsby heroine. There’s Daisy Duke (of Dukes of Hazzard fame), Daisy Duck (Donald’s girlfriend), and Daisy Miller, from Henry James’ novel.
The name’s been relatively popular with celebrities—actors Jon Cryer, Lucy Lawless and Anthony Stewart Head all picked it for their daughters. Often, it’s paired with wordy middle names: Meg Ryan’s daughter is Daisy True, and chef Jamie Oliver named his daughter Daisy Boo. I like it with Bell, Claire, Kate and June.
And it’s a perfect choice for a baby born this time of year, when gardens begin to bloom. What do you think of Daisy? Is it a name you’d want to use for your daughter?
Check back later this week for more analysis of the top baby names of the year!
Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/Shutterstock.com
Some names have seen their day in the sun—and it’s clear by their precipitous fall, that they’re on their way out. While most monikers fall slowly into obscurity (hello, my sad, overused name Lisa, down yet another 8 places this year!), here are the names that took the biggest drop in popularity:
For girls, the name Dulce means “sweet,” but apparently, American parents aren’t that sweet on it anymore—it was the biggest loser, dropping 160 places on the chart. (I’m thinking it might make a pretty middle name, though!)
Estrella, a Spanish name that means star and has that hot -ella ending, and Danna, a mashup of Donna and Dana, both fell more than 120 places as well. Mikaela, a feminization of Michael, fell 140 spots, and Mikayla, its creative spelling cousin, also fell 45 points. The more traditional spelling, Michaela, fared much better. Maybe the creative spellings are starting a slow decline?
Adding fuel to that theory—Jakob was among the big decliners for the year, while Jacob continued to reign supreme. For boys overall, some of the -den names started to head . Leading the charge to the bottom was Braeden, which fell 105 points—and alternative spelling Braden also fell 45 points. (Zaiden and Zayden, however, are on the rise—combining that cool “Z” initial with the mega-popular “aden” sound.) Apparently, parents aren’t on Team Cullen anymore (is the Twilight effect finally over?)—the baby name Cullen dropped almost 80 spots.
A few other interesting tidbits: Some sports stars’ names are on a big decline (we’re looking at you, Lance, Jacoby, and Kobe!). For girls, “ey” names didn’t fare so well—Lindsey, Courtney, Tenley and Kiley were among the big droppers.
What do you think of this list? Are some of these names unfairly maligned—and are any of them on your baby name list? And would you rather pick a name that’s rising quickly, or fading fast?
Keep reading for more analysis of the baby naming trends next week! And keep up with the latest posts by liking In Name Only on Facebook!
Photo: Cute baby by postolit /Shutterstock.com