Category: Spellings, Sounds and Initials
There’s a new class of boys’ names trending today that has a short clipped sound, contains only one syllable, is undeniably masculine yet not traditionally so. Many of these boys’ names barely existed a generation or two ago: They’re definitely not your father’s or grandfather’s baby names.
But in some ways, they are the heirs to names like Glenn and Craig and Sean that took over in the 1960s and 70s from the traditional Bills and Toms. They seek to reinvent masculinity while preserving qualities like strength and energy.
But I’d like to focus today on those boys’ names that are newer and, some may say, fresher than Jack or Jude. In 1970, most of these boys’ names barely squeaked onto the Social Security extended list, given to only a handful of baby boys. Today, most are on the Top 1000, many of them moving up quickly.
The new boys’ names on the block include:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Back in the 1930s and 40s, girls’ names ending in the feminissima French suffix “ette” were the cat’s pajamas. There were glamorous movie stars named Claudette, Paulette and Jeanette, and lots of little girls dubbed Annette and Nanette. But now a funny thing has happened on the way to the nursery: the final ‘e’ has disappeared and suddenly ‘ett’ is one of the hottest endings for boys.
In the recently released list of top names on Nameberry so far this year, there were three two-syllable ‘ett’ boys in the Top 45—Emmett, Everett and Beckett, while also high up on the national list were Bennett, Garrett and Barrett—and if you throw in the single syllable Jett, Rhett and Brett, and sharing the double ‘t’ Wyatt and Elliott, you’ve got the makings of a full soccer team.
When Americans think about chic European names, they tend to imagine the exotic, the elaborate, the intriguingly complicated and foreign.
Yet when Europeans think about chic names, they often these days mean the short and simple and sometimes even the Anglo-Saxon: Tom, Emma, Lou. Think of them as the baby name equivalents of a perfectly-cut bob or little black dress, elegant and always in style.
Short, simple names that are chic and popular in France, the Netherlands, and indeed throughout Europe include:
By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain
Here’s something I overheard recently:
There’s something to that statement, isn’t there? Olivia feels like a vintage revival, a literary choice thanks to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a wildly popular name for over a decade. Aria is a newcomer, a noun name that leapt from obscurity to prominence thanks to more than one pop culture reference. They’re very different names.
Yet on sound alone, Aria and Olivia are similar. Reverse the histories – make Aria the Shakespearean choice and Olivia the twenty-first century television darling – and it is easy to imagine the statement reversed, too. After all, five of the current US Top 20 girls’ names end with -ia.
Nouveau or traditional, popular or obscure, our favorite names tend to share sounds.