Posts Tagged ‘ popular girls names ’

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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What Baby Names Are Skyrocketing in Popularity?

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The top baby names in the country were released today, and while there isn’t a whole lot of change in the top 10 baby names (still lots of A-names for ladies, and Irish root names for the boys), there are some names that are quickly rising to the top of the list. The biggest mover overall was Major, a Latin boys’ name meaning “great,” which moved up a mammoth 505 places to #483 this year. I loved it in Catch-22, though it was part of a farcical name (Major Major Major). For girls, the top mover-and-shaker was Arya, which jumped 298 places this year (on top of the 200 it jumped from 2010-2011), putting it at number 413 overall. The name  is a Sanskrit word that means “noble,” and has an equally popular variant, Aria, which moved up more than 60 spots into the top 100.

Messiah is currently the #4 mover and shaker, having moved up nearly 250 spots in the past year alone. (And it wasn’t even in the top 1000 before 2005!) It’s an interesting choice, which seems to follow a mini trend of choosing “powerful” royal/leader names for boys—also on the rise are names like King, Prince, and Kingston.

Raelynn and the sister spelling Raelyn were both on a major uptick, thanks to Season 2 Voice contestant RaeLynn. It’s been new on the list since 2008.

Here are the top 5 names on the rise for boys and girls:


  1. Major
  2. Gael
  3. Jase
  4. Messiah
  5. Brantley


  1. Arya
  2. Perla
  3. Catalina
  4. Elisa
  5. Raelynn

Keep watching for even more analysis of the top 1000 baby names in the country—and follow In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names! (P.S. If you need some baby name advice, feel free to drop me a line at!) Check out our Name Game to tell us what other names you love—or love to hate!

Image: Baby names by Amir Ridhwan/

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