Posts Tagged ‘ popular girls names ’

The Rise (And Fall?) of Celebrity Name Miley

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 /


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Throwback Thursday: 1970s Baby Names

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Were the 1970s long enough ago that the top names of the era deserve another look? Top girls’ names like Jennifer and Lisa may be a little too overdone to make a comeback now—and top boys’ names like Michael and Christopher never exactly go out of vogue. But the age of disco does have a few names in the top 100 that might be worth a second glance.


Kevin didn’t exactly drop too far from its pinnacle in the 1970s. It was #13 back then, but #67 now. The Irish name means handsome—and is a nice break from the Celtic Aidens and Dylans.

Jeremy, on the other hand, has fallen mightily from its peak in the 1970s—it was often a top 20 name, but now, this name that means “appointed by God,” is well below the top 100.

Gregory means vigilant—this #29 name in the 1970s has fallen to the top 300. I kind of like it in lieu of the equally classic Gabriel. Gregory’s a saint’s name and the name of legendary actor Gregory Peck.

Craig was the #56 baby name in the 1970s. But this name, which means “from the rocks,” has had a rocky time since then—it’s been on a precipitous fall from grace since the early 1990s. I like it in place of Caleb or Carter.

Shane is a real “cowboy” name, thanks to the film. It’s on a long, slow slide currently, after being the #60 name in the 1970s. Perhaps the fact that it’s been in a number of modern hits, including The Walking Dead, may give it a new lease on life.


Angela was red hot in the 1970s—a top 10 baby name all the way. I’m seeing it as an alternative to the uberpopular Amelia. What do you think?

I’m a little sad to see the name Tracy (the 1970s 24th most popular name) fall so far—my sister was given the variant spelling Tracey back in the 1970s. My mom seemed to know how to pick names at their pinnacle of popularity! Tracy’s now fallen completely out of the top 1000, though it could make a lovely name for a boy, too—think Tracy Morgan.

Dawn was the perfect popular name for the post-hippie 1970s—and it’s no wonder it was the 26th most popular name. It fell out of the top 1000 at the dawn of the century, but might make a sweet middle name, if nothing else.

Monica was the perfect name for the Friends character who seemed to run the whole group—it means advisor. It was in the top 45 back in the 1970s, but these days, it’s hanging around in the top 500.

Melanie means dark, and it’s held pretty steady in the bottom of the top 100 ever since it hit #56 in the 1970s. It’s most famous as the name of Scarlett O’Hara’s best friend/rival from the classic Gone With the Wind. 

What do you think? Any of these 70 names worth a comeback? If you still haven’t found a baby name you love, email your question to me at, or check out our Baby Name Finder for more help!

Image: Disco chick by Nemanya/

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Cool Name of the Week: Annabel

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

My daughters start school this week—and while I’ve loved having them home this summer, I think we’re all ready to start a brand new school year. My older daughter is heading into fourth grade, which I remember as a big year for having more “grown-up” work. She’s starting to work in pen, for crying out loud!

One of my favorite assignments from fourth grade was choosing a poem to memorize and recite in front of the class. I picked one by one of my all-time favorite authors: Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe, a beautiful poem that he wrote after the early death of his wife Virginia. I can still recite the lines—”I was a child and she was a child in this kingdom by the sea/but we loved with a love that was more than love, I and my Annabel Lee…”

And I do love the name Annabel. It means “loving,” and it’s been on a big upswing since the beginning of the 21st century—though still outside the top 500. The spelling Annabelle is much more popular, currently sitting at #100—but I prefer Poe’s spelling.

It’s a name that could lend itself to an array of popular nicknames—Anna, Bella, Belle and Ella, to name a few. And it works beautifully with a number of middle names, including Poe’s choice of Lee. I also love June or Juno, Pearl, or Rose.

What do you think of the name Annabel? Does it seem too similar to the popular Isabella? Or is it cool enough to earn a spot on your short list?


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Cool Name of the Week: Willa

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Anyone else watching True Blood? This week’s steamiest scenes (in one of TV’s steamiest shows) were between red-hot vamp Eric Northman and his captive, Willa Burrell, the daughter of the governor who’s declared all-out war on the vampires. While the show is filled with some pretty standard names, like Bill, Pam and Jessica, Willa’s an intriguing up-and-comer. This female variant on the uberpopular William means protector, and it’s a hot one—it rose nearly 300 spaces in the past year alone.

You can see how it’s become so popular—it’s so similar to several baby names that top the charts: Ella, Mila and Willow, to name a few. But Willa has the literary cred, thanks to author Willa Cather. And two celebs, Keri Russell and Philip Seymour Hoffman both chose the name for their daughters.

Personally, I think it’s a pretty perfect name—classic enough for the traditionalists, but offbeat enough (at least for now) to please the creative namers.

I love Willa paired with other baby names that have soft consonants—Willa Snow, Willa Jane or Willa Rose all sound lovely, don’t you think?

If you’re watching True Blood, let me know if any of the other names on the show might make your short list—and if you’re digging this season thus far.

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Celebrity Baby Names: Channing Tatum’s New Daughter

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

It’s a girl for heartthrob Channing Tatum and wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum. And though initially, the couple were hush-hush about the baby name, it’s finally been announced: Everly.

Everly sounds like it should mean something along the lines of “forever,” but it actually means wild boar (maybe not the meaning you were seeking for your baby girl!). It’s an English name that began its life as a boys’ name (Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman Anthony Kiedis picked it for his son). But lately, parents have started to consider it for their girls. (Twilight actor Cam Gigandet picked an alternative spelling, Everleigh, for his daughter.) And in fact, it charted in the top 1000 for the first time last year, as a girls’ name. And it’s also associated with the pop greats, who were noted for the song “Bye, Bye Love.”

I actually wondered if they were going to pick a name with a double-n in it, to work well with their names—a name like Annabel, Hannah, Quinn or Sienna would have been my choices if they’d gone in that direction.

No word on a middle name for Everly, but I would pick something short and sweet—Rose, James (the current vogue celeb middle name for girls) or Maeve.

What do you think of the name Everly? Is it one you’d pick for your daughter—or your son? And what middle name do you think Channing and Jenna picked for their baby?

Photo: Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum by Featureflash /

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