Category: Baby Names Popularity
Certain names seem as likely to be on children as on their parents, but are unimaginable on grandparents and great-grandparents.
These names are modern classics, names that have been highly ranked on the Social Security list for about 30-40 years, but were very uncommon or even obscure before then.
To me, modern classics can follow two different paths. There are:
- Former revival names and,
- Former modern names.
Looking for a classic boys’ name that’s also unusual?
Way beyond the Williams and Henrys you hear every day are dozens of boys’ names that achieve this golden combination. These names have deep roots and have been used for centuries, yet are given to only a handful of boys each year.
Think you have to pick between names that are classics, with deep roots and centuries of use, and names that are unusual?
You don’t, as these classic girls’ names, all ranked below the U.S. Top 1000, attest.
Some were popular in recent years and are now sinking from view — Pamela, Jean — while others are rising stars we predict will soon appear on the official Top 1000: Imogen is a prime example, along with Mabel, the Margos, and Clementine.
That still leaves dozens of classic girls’ names that are neither coming into style nor sailing out but simply holding steady below the radar.
A note on how we chose the names: We did not include variant spellings of more popular classic names such as Emilee, and for the most part excluded short forms unless they have been traditionally used on their own. Our definition of classic embraces ancient names such as Phaedra and Keturah along with more recent widely-used girls’ names such as Maureen.
If you’re in search of a classic girls’ name that’s both traditional and unusual, consider these 100+ picks, ordered from those given to the highest number of baby girls in the U.S. in 2012 (Aurelia, at 250) to the least (Petal, used for just 5).
When people ask me what letter I would use if I had to name ten children with the same letter, my answer is S. But I also clarify that it is S and not Sh! To me, since they are different sounds they are different “letters” with which to begin a name. As my mind ran with this thought, I wondered how have the two sounds differed in terms of popularity?
To do this research, I used the S and Sh names with percentage of use above 0.01% since 1938*. This cutoff was chosen because the Top 1000 in 2012 include names with a percentage higher than 0.0131% for girls. Because the S and Sh sounds are not exclusive to the letters S and Sh, I also added the names that begin with the letters C and Ch that have the S and Sh sounds. This can be subjective as some of the names can be pronounced with either the S/Sh sound or the hard C/Ch sound, but I went with what I thought would be the mostly likely sound heard.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
For some time now we’ve been seeing a profusion of soft El-starting names, from Ella to Eleanor, Eloise, Elliot, Ellery, Elodie, et al. And now we’ve begun to notice some of her stronger, sharper, Ev-starting cousins coming into the picture, ranging from the ancient Eve to the nouveau Everest.
Eve—The simple, strong, Biblical Eve is clearly the mother of this family of names, with remarkable vigor for a three-letter name. It derives from the Hebrew word for “living” and was named by Adam ‘because she was the mother of all living,” and is now ranking at 558. Clive Owen is among the parents of an Eve.
Eva—Eva, the Latin form of Eve, is now a Top 100 name, perhaps gaining from some Ava-overflow from Ava, and influenced by the popularity of Eva Longoria and a few other sexy stars. It’s a true international favorite—Number 7 in the Netherlands, 13 in Scotland and 25 in England, and is pronounced as, yes, Ava in several cultures. One Ev-name that isn’t getting much love is Eva’s pet form, Evita, which hasn’t shaken its string connection to the longtime Argentine First Lady, Eva/Evita Peron.