Category: International Baby Names
The Top 100 names of England and Wales are resplendent with choices that feel a lot more chic and surprising in the US than they must in the UK.
Freya, for instance, the Norse goddess name that’s become a Top 20 staple on the other side of the pond, just cracked the US Top 1000. Florence, which has been stylish in the UK for decades now and still stands at Number 29, fell off the US Top 1000 in 1982 and has yet to reappear. Harriet is Number 61 in the UK while it hasn’t been on the US Top 1000 since the 1970s, while Martha stands at Number 73 in the UK and rising yet is at 803 and sinking in the US.
Below the UK Top 100, it’s impossible to quantify baby name trends as statistics don’t exist. Instead, we must rely on anecdotal evidence: What fashionable young parents in Shoreditch and Swansea are naming their babies, compared with names considered stylish in Soho (the New York one) and Silver Lake. While there are some similarities — fashionable parents on both sides of the pond love Iris and Oscar, Ada and Arthur — there are many fascinating differences in taste.
Our prime examples of names that are more stylish on the UK side of the pond than the US:
Now that 2014 is coming to an end, here is a look at the main trends and influences that have proven popular in Britain in this eventful year.
ALL ABOUT THE AR
The hottest sound this year is the undoubtedly ‘Ar’. Archie, Arthur, Martha and Arran in Scotland have already obtained top 100 status, but 2014 has also seen a rise in the likes of Arlo and Archer for boys and Arabella, Aria/Arya and Ariana for girls.
Clara and Margot are two vintage ‘ar’ sound choices that have been gaining more attention this year, while the similar ‘Or’ sound has also bolstered Aurora, Aurelia and Scottish choices Orla and Rory.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Like most people, I love Celtic names, which makes it a lot of fun to check out the Irish and Scottish birth announcements in their local newspapers every so often, with their mix of revived Irish Gaelic names and familiar English appellations, and often surprising—to us—first and middle combos. All the babes listed below made their debuts in 2014, and they include such beauts as Libby Letitia and Bobby-Charles Jack.
Pronunciation of Irish names can be a minefield for non-Gaelic speakers, as words/names are not pronounced phonetically and there are many variations in dialect. If you need pronunciation help, you can get audio assistance at this site: http://www.babynamesofireland.com/.
By Alicia Chon
I recently watched a documentary titled The Grace Lee Project, where a Korean-American filmmaker named Grace Lee from Missouri investigated why people assume that most Grace Lees are ‘reserved, dutiful, piano-playing overachievers.’ The film explored the importance of a name and the stereotypes that are correspondingly cast as a result.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The Roman Empire reigned for more than five hundred years, led by 140 different emperors. In modern times, though, with a couple of exceptions, the names of these august figures were considered far too august and imposing for a twentieth/twenty-first century kid. But the times they are a-changin’ and lately several of these appellations have ridden into the realm of possibility.
Augustus—Augustus, Julius Caesar’s adopted son, who was born Octavian and given the name Augustus by the senate in honor of his great achievements, was the first of the Roman emperors. Augustus is a perfect example of a name that was well used in the 19th century, then deemed too fusty for decades, and now is back at Number 688 and a high 123 on Nameberry, recently modernized by the character nicknamed Gus in The Fault in Our Stars.