6 Ways to Fight Back on Name Popularity
Have you fallen in love with a name that everyone else in the world loves, too? If your favorite name is at the top of the baby name popularity charts, here's how to deal.
1. Give it a little tweak. Look at the names that are similar to it, and see if there's something along the same lines that you love. Emma can become Emmeline, you can choose Eve instead of Ava, and Nicholas can be traded for the shorter and sweeter Nico. You may find a name that you love even more—and your baby may not end up as the fifth Emma in their class. You can also give your son or daughter the full name, but plan to use a short nickname—so Olivia becomes Liv, and Alexander, Xander.
2. Translate it into another language. Many popular names have intriguing variations in other countries. So consider swapping Catherine for the more exotic Catriona, Katenka, or Reina, or opt for Mattias, Mateo, or Teo in lieu of Matthew.
3. Consider how you spell it. Some parents have chosen alternative spellings of the same name—often going to great lengths to differentiate it. (We've seen an Alyxszandre, for instance.) Word to the wise if you're going this route—remember that your child will still be called by the same name, but will have to meticulously spell it for everyone. And in some cases, such as Aidan/Aiden and Sophia/Sofia, the alternative spelling becomes almost as popular—if not even more popular—than the original.
4. Choose names with a similar meaning. If you've chosen a particular name because a specific meaning is attached to it, consider researching other names that share the same meaning. For instance, if you love that Abigail means "beautiful," consider names like Callista, Jolie, and Bella, that all mean beautiful. Ethan, a red-hot name associated with strength, could be swapped out with names like Andrew, Brian, or Garrett and maintain the same meaning.
5. Put it in the middle. Rather than use it for their first name, use the more common baby name pick as a middle name, and look for another fabulous name that isn't quite so popular as the one you loved.
6. Remember that popularity isn't everything. Even the top names today are less popular than their predecessors. With more people choosing unique baby names for their kids, top names like Noah and Emma are far less common than top names like Michael and Jennifer were a few decades ago. (For instance, nearly 50,000 girls were named Jennifer in 1970, when it topped the charts—while Emma was given to less than 20,000 girls to reign supreme.)