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popular baby names ’
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
Disney’s latest princess flick comes courtesy of Hans Christian Andersen’s legendary tale, The Snow Queen. While they took quite a few liberties with the story (no talking snowmen, from what I remember!), Frozen’s a beautiful modernization of this classic.
My daughters and I loved the movie—and I adored the names they picked for several of the characters. With Scandinavian names becoming a trendlet in baby names, maybe we’ll see a few of these hitting the big time.
Elsa The Snow Queen gets this lovely variant on Elizabeth, which might be a worthy (and currently under the radar) choice if you like the uberpopular Ella. It means “pledged to God,” and after nearly falling out of the top 1000 in the late 1990s, it’s now recovered into the top 500.
Anna Little sister Anna was the focus of the story, and the person on a quest to save her sister. Anna means grace, and it’s been a consistent top 100 baby name for the past century and a half.
Olaf This Norse name that means “relic” was picked for the comic relief snowman sidekick—and I’m afraid that it’s a relic that won’t see a revival. (It hasn’t been in the top 1000 names here for nearly a century.
Kristoff I like the odds on this Scandinavian variant on Christopher finally cracking the top 1000 here. After all, it was the name of Anna’s hunky helper.
Hans A Scandinavian alternative to John, Hans dropped out of the top 1000 at the turn of the 21st century. I’m not sure its bearer in Frozen will do much to change that around.
Sven Kristoff’s trusty reindeer sidekick bears the most Swedish of names—it’s actually how Sweden came to be named (Svealand). Sven means youth, and has a very hunky ski instructor vibe to it.
What did you think of Frozen? Did any of the names sound baby worthy to you? Don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder to help you pick the perfect name, and like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Image: Frozen movie poster, courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios
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Baby Name News, In Name Only, Must Read
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
It’s a girl for Jennifer Love Hewitt and her new husband, Brian Hallisay. And the pair gave their brand new daughter a perfectly apropos name for the season—Autumn James.
Autumn is the most popular of the season names, currently at #68 in the U.S. (It’s followed by Summer, Winter, and then finally, Spring, which hasn’t been in the top 1000 for decades.)
And James has become the hot middle name du jour for celebrity daughters—Autumn is the third celebrity daughter who has James in the middle. James was actually a reasonably popular name for girls through much of the last century—it dropped out of the top 1000 back in the 1980s, and it’s been a top 20 name for boys for the past century and a half.
I like the flow of the names together, with the soft ms and ns. What do you think of the name they picked? Do any of the seasonal baby names appeal to you? (I’m digging Winter myself.)
If you’re still looking for the perfect name for your kids, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder—or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a little expert advice.
Baby Names: How to Know You've Picked the Right Name
Image: Jennifer Love Hewitt by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name News, Celebrity Baby Names, In Name Only, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
Today we’re heading back in time to the 1880s, the earliest time when we have actual statistics on the top baby names. Back then, we stuck with the basics—John and Mary dominated the charts. As we found with the 1890s, nickname-names were surprisingly popular for girls, including Minnie, Nellie, Mamie, and Sadie—all names that might make sense with the trend toward nickname names like Millie and Maisy. But there were some unique names that might be worth mining for your baby. What do you think of these?
Effie peaked at #62 back in the 1880s, when people gave their daughters this shortened form of Euphemia as their whole name. With The Hunger Games‘ Effie Trinket bringing the name back out into the limelight, perhaps this name will make a comeback? (There were only 37 girls who were given the name last year!)
Lula was another sweet nickname name that topped the charts back in the 1880s—it was often used as a nickname for Tallulah or Lucy. It hasn’t hit the top 1000 since the 1960s, but makes a nice alternative to Lily and Lilah.
Martha topped the charts for nearly 70 years, finally starting to fall out of favor in the 1950s. But this name, which means lady, is just starting to make its comeback.
Della is a short and sweet name that was a favored variant of Adela. It peaked in the 1880s, at the 68th most popular name, and hasn’t been seen in the top 1000 since 1977. It might be a nice choice if you like names like Adele, Ella, or Isabella—and don’t want to use any of those uberpopular choices.
Harriet (#90 back in the 1880s) seems to be a name that name nerds like me absolutely love—but no one’s really using it. (Only 9 girls were given the name last year.) It has a regal meaning—ruler—and some great resonance, with historical figures like abolitionist Harriet Tubman and author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and pop culture references like children’s book character Harriet the Spy. But it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1970. Is it finally ready for a revival?
Elmer was #38 back in the 1880s, and made a slow and steady decline to obscurity right after the 21st century. But it has a great name meaning—noble—even if it is associated with the bumbling Elmer Fudd from the Looney Tunes cartoons.
Milton followed a similar path—it was the 100th most popular name in the 1880s, and just fell off the radar after 2000. But it’s shown up in some new ways lately—including a character on The Walking Dead, so it might be worth revitalizing.
Grover peaked back in the 1880s, thanks to President Grover Cleveland. But it lost its top 1000 ranking back in the 1970s, around the time the Muppet appeared on Sesame Street. It’s a charming name, though, with a pastoral theme—it means living near a grove of trees.
Clyde is a name of a river in Scotland—and an infamous outlaw. It was a top 60 name back in the 1880s, and fell out of favor back in 1990. But I think it could be worth resurrecting for this century.
Emil was just outside the top 100 back in the 1880s, and only went downhill from there. It means rival, but makes a fun and funky alternative to some of the “e” names, like Evan and Ethan.
What do you think of these vintage names? Any ones worth adding to your short list? Don’t forget to try out our Baby Name Finder to find the perfect name for your son or daughter, and like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.
Image: 1800s woman by Donna Beeler / Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name Help, In Name Only, Must Read
Sunday, November 17th, 2013
You just need to say the words “Bat Kid” to me this week to bring me to tears. Just trying to explain it to my husband left me bawling, and I managed to even get him to tear up just by showing him some awesome images of 5-year-old Miles Scott, AKA “Batkid.” If you didn’t get a chance to see this amazing story, Miles spent a day last week saving San Francisco (AKA Gotham City) from the Penguin and the Riddler, as part of his Make a Wish event after battling leukemia. And he drew not only a crowd of thousands throughout San Francisco, but celebrities and even the President, who all celebrated his big day with him.
Miles really seems apropos for a young boy who has had such a challenging journey so far in his life—and it kind of sounds like a superhero name, doesn’t it? (Think Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Clark Kent, Miles Scott). But the name Miles actually has a different meaning than you might imagine—it means generous and giving. It’s the 111th most popular name in the U.S., currently at the highest point in popularity over the past 130 years. In addition to Batkid, there are other famous Miles out there—like jazz great Miles Davis and Myles Standish, a leader of the Plymouth Colony.
Miles pairs beautifully with longer middle names. I like Miles with Theodore, Felix, and Everett.
What do you think of Miles as a baby name—and what did you think of Batkid’s story? If you’re still looking for a name worthy of your future superhero or super heroine, check out our Baby Name Finder.
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Baby Name Help, Celebrity Baby Names, Must Read, Top Baby Names
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
It’s often hard to predict which pop culture names will inspire parents to choose them. I would have thought that Barack might have cracked the top 1000 after our 44th president, but no such luck. Only a handful of people have used Katniss or Peeta for their offspring, despite the Hunger Games’ popularity. And there’s really only one Beyonce—that name, created for the singer by her parents, still hasn’t cracked the top 1000.
But another celebrity catapulted her totally made up (and not even official) name into the baby name stratosphere—Miley Cyrus, who was born with the name Destiny Hope. Miley was her nickname because she was so “smiley” as a kid, and it became both her stage name and her alter ego’s name from Hannah Montana, too.
The year after the show Hannah Montana hit the airwaves, the name hit the big time, becoming the 278th most popular name in the country. Its popularity peaked in 2008, and it’s been on a slow and steady decline since then—in 2012, it ranked 335th.
I’m curious to see if it’s going to make a much sharper trajectory into the basement with all of Miley’s latest hijinks—maybe parents don’t want their kids named in honor of someone so controversial. My guess? It probably will take a huge nosedive. For reference, take a look at the trajectory of the name Lindsay (a la Lindsay Lohan), which took a big bump down starting with her first brushes with the law in 2006. And Lindsay is an actual name with a real meaning behind it, so it has that going over Miley’s name.
What do you think? Is Miley destined for a big drop in popularity? Or will parents still like that “smiley” message behind it?
If you’re still looking for a baby name, don’t forget to check out our Baby Name Finder, and be sure to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names!
Image: Miley Cyrus by Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
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Baby Name News, Celebrity Baby Names, Must Read