Category: Trends and Predictions
By Tara Ryazansky
We all took guesses at what the British royal baby would be named. We brushed up on ‘K’ names to make bets at what Kimye would name their daughter. I haven’t thought much about celebrity baby names now that George and North are here though, but it looks like 2014 is going to be a great year for famous baby names, judging by the pregnancies that have already been announced. I thought I’d make some predictions.
Actress Olivia Wilde & comedian, Jason Sudeikis are expecting their first child together. Wilde is a stage name—her original surname being Cockburn, coming from a celebrated family of writers. The choice of Wilde makes me think she has a clever sense of humor and might pick a name with an equally interesting namesake for her child–something bohemian or perhaps she will favor a nature name. Since her partner is a writer and comedian, I expect that they will pick something compelling, with intellectual wit and hipster cool.
My guesses: Ulysses, Beauregard, Vernon, Maude, Lake, Lavinia
By Arika Okrent, mentalfloss.com
The Social Security website has data on the thousand most popular baby names for boys and girls going back to 1880, when John and Mary came in first. A look at the old lists shows that the most popular names are always changing, but some of the naming trends have been around for longer than it might seem. Here are 11 naming trends of the past.
1. IMPORTANT TITLES
The current list has some names that carry a grand sense of importance (Messiah, King, Marquis), but the 1880s and 90s also had its grand titles in the 200 to 400 range of ranked popularity. For the boys, there was General, Commodore, Prince, and Major. For the girls there was Queen, which hovered around the 500 mark until the 1950s.
2. CITIES & STATES
Cities as names are not a new thing, however. Boston was a boy’s name in the 1880s. Dallas and Denver have been around since the 1880s, as has Cleveland (though it peaked in popularity during the presidency of Grover Cleveland, so perhaps should count as a president name instead.) Some of our state names come from women’s names, so it is expected that states like Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia should be represented on name lists. But other state names have made the list too. Missouri made the girl’s name list from 1880 until about 1900 and Indiana, Tennessee, and Texas also showed up a few times as girls’ names in the 1800s.
While such monikers as Handy, Spurgeon, Icy, and Toy, culled from the bottom of the Top 1000, are indeed laugh-inducing, it may be even more remarkable to consider the baby names that were equally unpopular back then that went on to win widespread favor.
Rowan attracted the most views of all the unisex names on the site, defined as names given to at least 10% of the minority gender. Rowan, a Scottish and Irish name meaning “little redhead,” is more evenly unisex than Quinn, ranking 455 for girls and 301 for boys on the U.S. popularity list.
The other big news on our unisex list is the appearance of North, thanks to little North West, daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. While North was used for only 12 boys and fewer than five girls according to the official U.S. tallies for 2012, the current interest is almost entirely as a girls’ name.
The unisex names ranking highest in the 14 million views of our name pages in the first nine months of the year are: