Posts Tagged ‘ top baby names ’

Is This Game of Thrones Baby Name Really Becoming Popular?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Could Game of Thrones be inspiring a lot of baby namers? I’ve posted about a few of the more wearable names in my Cool Name of the Week series (hello, Arya, Stark and Margaery), and did a whole post about some of the other Game of Thrones names that I thought might not be too out there for standard use—I love Brienne, Sansa and Tyrion, especially.

But apparently, baby namers have their own ideas—as Khaleesi, the royal title of the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, is an up-and-coming name—in fact, 146 girls were named that last year. The royal title was even more popular than regular standard-issue names like Brandy—and even more popular than the character’s actual name. (Only 21 people decided to name their daughters Daenerys last year.)

I guess this falls in with the trend for title baby names—Major was one of the hottest names for boys last year, and names like King, Prince and even Messiah have ranked pretty highly. And I guess Khaleesi could be kind of wearable—you could shorten it to the less exotic Ally or Lee or Callie if you’re feeling like Khaleesi doesn’t make sense for your daughter’s future career as an accountant. But still—Khaleesi was the last name I’d expect to be a big breakout from the show and the book.

What do you think? Is Khaleesi too weird for a baby name? Or is it wearable for a modern baby girl? Did you or someone you know pick a Game of Thrones name for your baby?

Find your perfect baby name with our Baby Name Finder—or email me at with your baby name dilemma for a little expert advice. And if you want to keep up on the latest news in baby names, don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to stay up on it.

Image: Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen, courtesy of HBO

Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?
Baby Names: Is It Too Unusual?

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Cool Name of the Week: Rory

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

It had to be an Irish name for this week, when everyone’s just a little bit Irish. But Patrick seemed to be a little too cliche—and while it’s a timeless name, it’s not exactly red-hot these days.

But compare that with the equally Irish name Rory, and you’ll see what red hot really means. This Irish name means “red king,” and it’s on a sharp spike here in the U.S. since 2007, sitting at #481. In Scotland and Ireland, it’s a top 50 name!

You can attribute the sharpest part of the spike, from 2010-present, to the recent renaissance in popularity of Doctor Who—and two of his most beloved companions, the Ponds. That’s Amelia Pond (the girl who waited), and her future husband and true love, Rory, who died off and was resurrected a record number of times during his two years of traveling with the Doctor.

To me, Rory’s kind of a perfect name for someone looking to share their Irish heritage with their son—it’s a simple and straightforward, without the difficult spellings and pronunciations, like fellow Irish monikers Aoife and Ciaran. And if you’re daring, Rory works pretty well for a daughter, too.

I’d pair Rory with something else equally cool—Knox, Shea, True or Sage.

What do you think of the baby name Rory? Is it worthy of consideration? Check out our baby name finder to choose the perfect name for your baby, and don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names.


Irish Baby Names
Irish Baby Names
Irish Baby Names

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Throwback Thursday: 1910s Baby Names

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Today we’re finishing up our Throwback Thursday series with a visit back to the 1910s—exactly 100 years ago. And the intriguing thing is that so many of the top names are coming back into vogue from then—names like Alice, Lillian and Rose for girls, Charles, Henry and James for boys.

But there definitely are names that haven’t been mined quite yet, and are worthy of a look. Check out these choices:


Helen was the number two name of the decade—it has a lovely background, the name of a mythical queen whose legendary beauty set off the Trojan War. The name means shining one, and is currently near the top 400 baby names.

Irene was a top 20 name a century ago, but it’s currently down in the top 700. It’s a beautiful name with an equally beautiful meaning: peace.

Mabel now has a celebrity baby in her corner—unique baby namer Bruce Willis picked it for his daughter. It’s a short version of Amabel (also lovely) and it means lovable. It might be a nice ancillary to the up-and-coming Mavis.

Thanks to red-hot Girls star Lena Dunham and Game of Thrones star Lena Headey, Lena, a shortened version of Helena and Elena, is likely to make a big comeback.

Genevieve peaked at 82 a century ago, and it’s definitely on its way back into prominence (it’s about to break the top 200). It’s a French name that means tribeswoman.

Maxine means the greatest—and it hit its peak as the 100th most popular name back in the 1910s.  With celebrities like Jessica Simpson picking Maxwell, this might be a more traditional way to get to that cute “Max” nickname for a girl.


Carl is a Germanic take on Charles, and was in the top 25 a century ago. It bottomed out at the top 600 two years ago, but seems to be on an uptick since it was used for the son of lead Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.

Bernard means “brave as a bear,” and was a top 50 name in the 1910s. It fell out of the top 1000 a few years back, but I think it makes a nice, classic alternative to some of the popular “B” names, like Bentley and Brayden.

Woodrow was the 67th most popular name in 1910, thanks to the popularity of President Woodrow Wilson. Modern bearers of the name go by Woody (we’re talking Woody Guthrie and Woody Harrelson). I also think you could make the case for Drew as a nickname.

Edwin peaked way back in the 1910s, and could be a cooler way to honor an Edward. If you don’t like Eddie as a nickname, Win could be a winning choice.

Similar name Edgar, meaning wealthy spearman, has been on a slight uptick lately, after a period of slow and steady decline. With cool literary icon Edgar Allan Poe and Impressionist artist Edgar Degas as the most famous bearers, it could be a cool choice for academically oriented parents.

Want to take a tour through the entire Throwback Thursday series? Here are my picks:

1880s Baby Names

1890s Baby Names

1900s Baby Names

1920s Baby Names

1930s Baby Names

1940s Baby Names

1950s Baby Names

1960s Baby Names

1970s Baby Names

1980s Baby Names

1990s Baby Names

Still searching for a fab name? Try our Baby Name Finder! And don’t forget to like In Name Only to keep up with the latest in baby names!

Image: 1910 Woman by LiliGraphie /

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

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Throwback Thursday: 1940s Baby Names

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The 1940s saw us enter—and win—a world war, then soldiers came home to start the biggest baby boom in U.S. history. The top names of the era are likely the names of your parents or your grandparents. Odds are you have a James (or a Jimmy or Jim) and a Mary in your past.

But while James and Mary still do relatively well, you’ll find other chart toppers that have fallen by the wayside—and may be ready for a comeback. Here are the top 1940s names you might want to consider for your kiddos.


Many of the top 100 baby names in the 1940s don’t feel fresh enough yet for their comeback—perhaps our sons and daughters will help bring stalwarts like Linda and Barbara back into vogue. But there are a few names that may be ready for a second shot at the top spot.

Rosemary was one of the classic nature names, for the herb that symbolizes faithfulness. It hit its peak in the #91 spot back in the 1940s—but after decades of decline, is finally starting to stage a comeback. (Probably because it makes a lovely and less-expected way to get to “Rose.”)

Carol (with or without an “e”) has a special place in my heart—it’s the name of my mother. And given that Carol was the 5th most popular name and Carole the 57th back in the 1940s, odds are you have a relative with the name, too. Both versions have fallen out of the top 1000, but perhaps a little of the popularity of the more traditional Caroline (currently #80 in the U.S.) may rub off on these shorter forms?

Judith has been on a downward spiral since it hit the top 10 in the 1940s—and it’s barely in the top 1000 right now. But the name has an interesting meaning—praised—and a cool new pop-culture association, in the doomed daughter of Walking Dead‘s Rick and Lori. Jude makes a cooler short form than the old-school Judy.

Elaine, a form of Helen, was a top 50 name back in the 1940s—it means “shining one.” One would have thought that Seinfeld’s Elaine could have brought it back into vogue, but it’s still on the decline. (P.S. It’s a cool way to get to the uberpopular nickname Ellie.)


Boys names don’t have the turnover you see in the girls’ side—many of today’s top names, like William, Charles and the like, were top 100 back then, too. But here are a few gems that haven’t been as popular of late.

Keith was just entering its heyday back in the 1940s, when it charted as the 100th most popular name. It’s a Scottish name that means “woods,” and is currently residing at the edge of the top 400.

Lee has become a popular middle name for girls, but I think its meaning, “meadow,” and its simplicity make it a nice contender for today’s boys—either front and center or in the middle spot.

Dennis, a top 20 name back in the 1940s, lost its mojo the second the rough-and-tumble comic book character Dennis the Menace made its debut. But the name, a French take on Dionysus, deserves another look.

Timothy hit its peak not long after ranking as the 63rd most popular name back in the 1940s. It fell out of the top 100 five years ago—but given its Biblical pedigree and its classic-but-not-overused status, it’s worthy of another look.

We’re almost done with our Throwback Thursday series! Check out the previous posts and let me know what your favorite decade was.

And if you’re still on the baby name hunt, check out the Baby Name Finder for some guidance—or send me an email at And don’t forget to like In Name Only on Facebook to keep up with the latest in baby names.

Image: 1940s woman by Everett Collection/

Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret
Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret


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Throwback Thursday: 1960s Baby Names

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

You might think hippie names like Rainbow and Sunshine were all the rage in the 1960s, but when it comes to the decade’s monikers, the old standards topped the charts. Michael and Lisa reigned for the decade (that’s my hubby and me!), and while Michael has maintained its popularity, many other of the top names from the 1960s have lost their mojo. We’re talking 1960s top names like Susan, Karen, Kimberly, Linda and Donna for girls, and Richard and Kevin for boys, which aren’t heard quite as often today. But there are some top names that could be viable for a repeat performance. Here are my hidden 60s gems.


Tracey is a sweet variant on Theresa, which means harvest. It peaked at #98 in the 1960s, and hasn’t been heard from much since the 1990s. If you like some of the “ee” ending names like Lacey, Aubrey and Zoe, this might make a wonderful (and less-used) alternative.

The regal name Regina reached its pinnacle in the 1960s, and it means queen. Its most modern pop culture reference is reigning “Mean Girl” Regina George, but I think it might make a cool, classic name for a girl today.

Rhonda screams California girl, and thanks to the Beach Boys’ classic “Help Me, Rhonda,” it topped the charts at #44 in the 1960s. The name means “noisy one.”

Amy started reaching the top of the charts in the 1960s, when it was #35. And with names like Emily, Amelia and Emma among the most popular, this might be a natural alternative. The name means beloved.


Darryl peaked at #94 in the 1960s, but more than a half-century later, this name, which means beloved, is barely charting in the top 1000. Could the cool character Darryl Dixon from The Walking Dead bring about a Darryl-assance?

“L” ending names were apparently red-hot in the 1960s, and I also like both Randall, #65 back then—and Russell, #59. Russell especially feels like it’s ready for a comeback—it means red-headed.

Troy peaked in the 1960s at #55, thanks to handsome actor Troy Donahue. It means foot soldier, and might make a cool alternative to the uberpopular Tyler.

Glenn was in the top 100 for nearly a half century, and peaked in the 1960s at #74. It fell out of popularity in the past decade, but thanks to Glenn on The Walking Dead, it could be ready for its comeback.

What 60s-era names do you love?

Find your favorite names on our Baby Name Finder!

Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name
Baby Names: How to Pick a Great Name

Image: 60s high school photo by Kristin Smith/

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