Posts Tagged ‘ creative spellings ’

How Creative Baby Name Spellings Mess With the Popularity Statistics

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Whether you name your baby Addison or Adysyn, it all adds up to the same name. But unfortunately, baby name statistics don’t combine all those spellings when they determine the top 20 names—and so you could end up picking a name that’s much more popular than its current standing suggests. Several blogs have sussed the numbers on the current lists, and while it doesn’t change the top 5 girls’ names, it does change the top 5 for the boys—which now become Aiden, Jackson, Jayden, Jacob—and the official top name, Noah, moves to number 5.

But what’s even more interesting is to see which names move way up in the standings, thanks to the addition of all those creative spellings. Names like Layla, Madeline, Adeline, and Arianna soar on the list for girls—and each has nearly a half-dozen different ways they’re spelled. And for boys, don’t think you’re in the clear if you pick a variant of a name like Jace or Caden—Caden looks like a top 100 name, but the variant spellings—Kaiden, Caiden, Kaden, just to name a few—moved it into the top 10.

And based on the vast number of creatively spelled names on this year’s movers and shakers list, I think this problem is only going to continue. My advice? If you don’t want your son known as Aidan W. for his entire school career, think of all the different ways that people could spell a potential name, and make sure that none of those rank higher than you desire. And maybe think twice about picking one of those creative spellings, which don’t really make your child’s name different enough to avoid the Aidan W. syndrome.

Tell me: How worried are you about the popularity of a name when you picked it? Were you surprised at how popular your baby’s name actually was?

If you’re still looking for the perfect baby name, check out our Baby Name Finder. And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in baby names.

Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?
Baby Names: Is It Too Popular?

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What Baby Names Are Falling Out of Fashion–Fast?

Friday, May 10th, 2013

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 up with the latest posts by liking In Name Only on Facebook! (And check out our Name Game to tell us what other names you love—or love to hate!)

Photo: Cute baby by postolit /

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Find the Right Name for Your Baby: Tips from ‘Baby Name Wizard’ Author Laura Wattenberg

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

One cool part of running the In Name Only blog is getting to talk about baby names with some of the top naming experts in the country. And I love nothing more than chatting with Laura Wattenberg, the lady behind the super cool Name Voyager tool, and author of The Baby Name Wizard, now in its third edition.

What’s new in the latest version? You’ll find, of course, updated stats on each name, but also new naming maps of the United States show the distinctive styles of boys’ and girls’ names you’ll find in each state, from “Preppy Cowboys” to “Romantic Flourish” names. A name that’s rare in the rest of the country can be surprisingly common in your own backyard. Each name entry also includes a new section called “In the World” that lists the associations most likely to come to people’s minds when they hear a name. Those associations could be people, like reality tv judge Simon Cowell, but also phrases, products or titles, like “Simon Says.” That real-world context helps paint a fuller picture of each name.

(Want to know more? Check out our Mom Must Read blogger Kristin Kemp’s review of the updated version of Baby Name Wizard!)

I interviewed Laura to get a few pointers for anyone looking for a little help in the baby naming department:

So many parents today are worried about picking a name that’s too popular. How can parents avoid that?

We all wish we had a crystal ball to predict the next hot name. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that the only way to make sure that the name you choose won’t become popular is to choose a name you don’t like, that feels really boring to you.

Rather than just looking at a ranking, you should look at Name Voyager, to see in what direction a name is going. If it’s been pretty steady for past decade, or if it’s already heading down, it will probably keep going that way.

What’s your take on the creative spelling trend? (We’re talking Aiden, Aidan, Ayden, etc.)

It’s easy to fall into trap that if you spell it differently, it’s going to be different. But it’s still going to be the same spoken out loud. Some kids love having creative spellings, but most just end up frustrated that everyone gets their name wrong.

What baby name advice do you think is most important for parents to consider?

Choosing a name has become more difficult. The more choices you have, the harder it is to know that you’ve chosen right. But as long as you love the name you chose and it brings a smile to your face, it doesn’t matter that there’s another name out there.

It’s important to stay positive, and focus on what you love rather than getting too caught up in the competitive drive to choose a unique name. That’s easier said than done, though! Once you have a short list, try to “narrow up” to a choice by thinking about what delights you about the names, rather than “narrowing down” by finding fault. (You can read more about her baby name strategies here.)

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