Category: Classic Baby Names
Classic baby names can encompass several different categories. There are Biblical names, from Anne to Zachary. There are names rooted in ancient cultures, including Atticus and Juno, which have survived or are being revived today.
And then there are the classic names that have been well-used in English-speaking cultures over the decades and centuries. While classic names by any definition do move in and out of style just like other names, some manage to endure better than others and become, well, the most classic classic names.
Here, our picks for ten of the best classic baby names today.
Catherine – The Duchess formerly known as Kate has done much to swing fashion toward the C-beginning version of this most classic of girls’ names. Catherine, classic in any spelling, has been borne by saints and queens along with some of the most inspiring literary heroines, including Heathcliff‘s Cathy of Wuthering Heights. Greek for “pure,” Catherine comes in countless international variations and with a wide range of nicknames. Most stylish today are Cate or Kate or the vintage-feeling Kay or Kitty.
By Agnes Lively
My husband and I are in the process of naming our second daughter, and we’re looking for a name that’s beautiful, strong, wonderful, and bold with a touch of magic. Finding a name with a namesake that embodies all this qualities have been difficult, but we’ve made ourselves a neat little list, and these are eight of our fiercest contenders for Aphrodite’s little sister..
Cleopatra: The illustrious Queen, the last Pharaoh of Egypt who claimed to be the reincarnation of the Goddess Isis. She was a clever politician and a resourceful woman; she joined forces with both Caesar and Mark Antony to retake the throne after her brother exiled her. Cleopatra is one of the boldest and most obviously powerful of the names on our list, but it goes beautifully with our first daughter’s name. It’s epically beautiful with a treasure trove of gorgeous, fun and wearable nicknames.
Gwenllian: Gwenllian was a Welsh princess, a shield maiden and a fierce warrior. Her land was attacked while her husband, the prince, was away, and in his place Gwenllian led her army in battle. She was captured and beheaded, but her death caused the Welsh people to come together and drive their enemy out of the country. Gwenllian was maybe a bit of a hothead, someone who acted before she thought, but she was brave, loyal and passionate.
by Linda Rosenkrantz
The crystalline clear classic Claire has seen an impressive rise recently—entering the Top 50 for the very first time in 2011—and bringing Cousin Clara and other relatives slip-streaming along with her. The perfect time to take a closer look at this clear-eyed family.
CLAIRE–Currently favored spelling Claire was introduced to England by the Normans, but its modern use only dates back to the nineteenth century. Now at Number 45, Claire has risen more than forty places since 2000, one of those solid ‘sweet spot’ names that is familiar but distinctive, feminine but not frilly, popular yet immune to trendiness. Most prominent Claire at the moment is Emmy Award-winning Homeland star Claire Danes (mother of a son named Cyrus), while characters called Claire have appeared in movies and shows from The Breakfast Club to Lost to Modern Family.
Legions of expectant parents search for that “underused classic” name each year.
But what exactly is an “underused classic” name? Do underused classic names even exist? Are they some impossible standard like names that are universally appealing and forever-guaranteed-to-stay-unique?
“Classic” can be interpreted differently by different people. Instead of describing a name as “classic” I usually use “traditional” or “timeless” instead.
Semantics aside, a working definition of how I decide what makes a name “classic” might be useful. And in my world there is more than one type of classic name:
Authentic Classics – Evergreen names like Elizabeth and James. Ideally these names have never left the top 50 since 1880, the earliest year name rankings are available from the Social Security Administration.