A hot new trend: naming your baby after heroes and heroines from classic novels, as well as fictional characters from the movies. We've gathered top names from classic literature, futuristic fantasy, old Hollywood films, and modern animation, from nearly 2 million visits at Nameberry.

By Pamela Redmond Satran
June 11, 2015


The names of author Harper Lee and all her characters in To Kill A Mockingbird -- Atticus (an ancient Roman name meaning "from Athens"), Scout, even Radley -- have been taken up by the baby-naming public. It doesn't hurt that Atticus Finch was judged the number one movie hero of all time by the American Film Institute.


Darcy, as in Mr., may be the ultimate Jane Austen hero name, but these days it's enjoying a new turn in the sun as a name for girls, following in Emma's footsteps as an Austen-inspired favorite.


The mischievous little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel has been enjoying more widespread visibility since the death of author Kay Thompson, who had kept the books out of print. The name Eloise, along with many of its "El" sisters, from Ella to Eleanor, is a newly fashionable baby name that combines the heroine's worldliness and insouciance.


Esm? enjoys not one but two literary fan clubs, those that remember it from the J.D. Salinger story "For Esmé: With Love and Squalor" and a much larger, more modern group of Twilight fans.

GatsbyThe Great Gatsby has a new generation of fans who are taking up the antihero's last name Gatsby as a first, and attention to the name will only intensify once the new film version, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Isla Fisher, opens in December. The book's Jay Gatsby gussied up his name from Gatz, which, depending on the source, means "left-handed," "cat," "God," and "person from Gat."


The name of the alienated young hero of Catcher in the Rye, a favorite of teenage readers, is being taken up by this generation of baby namers. Not coincidentally, it's right in step with a trend for two-syllable boys' names that end in n and have a surname feel. It's number 316 on the popularity list.


Kairi, which means "sea" in Japanese, is the name of the main female character, voiced by Hayden Panettiere, in the popular animated fantasy series Kingdom Hearts. Kairi is one of the seven Princesses of the Heart and a new sweetheart of baby namers.


Katniss Everdeen is the heroine of the popular Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins; the name Katniss comes from the (very real) edible aquatic plant of the genus Sagittaria. Katniss's father tells her that if she "finds herself," she'll never go hungry -- a sentiment that modern parents may want to impart to their namesake babies.


Where Scarlett goes, can Rhett be far behind? Scarlett Johansson breathed new life into the literary moniker of Scarlett O'Hara, and now we've seen a dramatic rise in interest in the name of her Gone With The Wind companion Rhett, a variation of the (also newly popular) Welsh name Rhys.


Today's parents grew up watching It's A Wonderful Life on television every Christmas, and the nickname of the little girl who tells dad Jimmy Stewart that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings, is finding new favor, along with other double names such as Coco and Lulu.


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