2013 has been an interesting year for British appellations. As it comes to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the most prevalent trends and influences on baby names in Britain this year.
One syllable ‘B’ names have been particularly noticeable this year. Beau/Bo and Bay have proven to be popular unisex choices while vintage Bea is also seeing a revival as both a nickname for rising Beatrice and Beatrix and a stand-alone choice. All three have been particularly popular this year as short and sweet middle names
Similarly, Bear not only made headlines as the name of Kate Winslet’s newborn son recently, it has also seen action as a middle name in the UK this year, much akin to Jamie Oliver’s Buddy Bear Morris. Some intrepid British parents are using Bear as a creative nickname for Arthur; others are braving it as a first name.
EDS AND EVS
Speaking of bears, vintage nickname Teddy has also been on the up during 2013. It didn’t make the Top 100 last year, but expect to see it there very soon. Other ‘ed’ names such as Edward, Freddie, Frederick, Ted, Wilfred, Ned, Eddie, Edwin and Edgar have also seen rising interest this year.
The Victorian floral name trend is, by now, in full revival swing. Lily, Daisy, Poppy and Holly are all in the Top 30 and 2012 saw Ivy and Violet both enter the Top 100. This year has undoubtedly been Iris’s revival year, liberally gracing birth announcements across the country. Don’t be surprised if you see Iris in 2013s official Top 100 for England and Wales next summer.
Wales has also seen a rise in the unisex Welsh choice Celyn (KEL-in), meaning “holly.”
Several high profile television programs have had an impact on names in the UK in 2013.
ON-TREND CELEB BABIES
2013 saw a whole bevy of British celebrity babies, including Klay Anthony, Jett, Spike and Phaedra for boys, and for girls, Azura Sienna, Ariana Siena, Anya, Rosabella, Margot, and girl-twins Nico and Blake.
Some British celeb parents were right on the money for current style:
Marnie Rose – In a country full of Millies, Mollies, Bobbys and Freddies, Lily Allen picked up on a very popular British trend with this vintage nickname. Not only is Marnie on the rise thanks to Lily herself and TV series Girls, other vintage pet-names such as Edie, Lottie, Polly and Betsy are also on the upswing.
Parker – Frankie Sandford has been highly praised for her choice of Parker for her son this year. And while Parker is moving up for boys this year, so are other surname choices for boys, such as Carter, Fletcher, Hunter and Cooper.
Alaia–Mai and Sienna–Rae –Rochelle and Marvin Humes’ Alaia–Mai, and Lucy–Jo Hudson and Alan Halsall’s Sienna–Rae followed the highly popular British trend of hyphenated first names. Sienna has also proven quite popular among celebrities and the general public alike this year, though, according to Lucy–Jo, she and Alan almost opted for upswing name Skyler.
Eva Madelief – My favourite British celebrity baby name this year has to be Eva Madelief. Joanna Page combined on-trend Eva with the delightfully unconventional Madelief – a Dutch name meaning “daisy.” With its floral meaning and similarity to Madeleine, I think she was on to a winner there.
THE “GEORGE” MYTHS
Of course, the most famous British baby of 2013 was undoubtedly Prince George of Cambridge. Since his birth, much hullaballoo has been made of his name and the myths surrounding its usage are as frustrating as they are exaggerated.
I feel that a crucial point is missed here: George was already popular before the little Prince was named. George ranked #12 in England and Wales in 2012, was the #1 boys’ name in The Telegraph birth announcements and #2 in The Times last year. The sheer number of birth announcements for little British Georges this year also shows little change in this usage.
The idea for George’s decline all hinges on a recent compilation of top names for 2013 by Babycentre.co.uk which saw George drop seven places. There are several points to consider around this. Firstly, the BabyCentre yearly poll is only drawn from parents who registered on that site that year so is in no way comprehensive. Secondly, a drop from #6 in 2012 (which was already higher than the official rank) to #13 in 2013 hardly makes a name unpopular. In fact, it arguably shows that George has relatively sustained its popularity.
Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Elea, is a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British Baby Names.