Category: Trends and Predictions

Invent-a-Baby-Name Challenge Champs!

Invent a name winner

By Abby Sandel and Linda Rosenkrantz


If we’ve ever had the slightest doubts about the creativity of the Nameberry community, they are hereby gone forever.

When we announced our latest Invent-a-Baby-Name challenge two weeks ago, we expected something like the healthy response we got last time—which was 222 entries.

This time we were overwhelmed by 590 separate responses. And since we generously invited you to not limit yourself to a single suggestion,  some of the comments packed with dozens of names, as you opened the floodgates to your inventive ideas, bringing the total number of names well into the several thousands. Our intrepid intern, Laura, counted 5,665 separate entries!

After painstakingly (and exhaustedly) considering every single name, we soon realized that it would be almost impossible to narrow down the winner to just one name.

And so we have broken it down into seven of the most highly represented categories—after realizing that inventing a name doesn’t have to mean completely creating one out of whole cloth, but could also include transforming words and surnames and place names that haven’t been used for real-life kids before into viable baby names. In fact, one of our prime criteria was wearability–could we see this name actually being used?

The overall winner for 2016 is at the very bottom of the post, but first, let’s look at some of the best invented names entered this year, with the favorite name in each category in boldface type!

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By Pamela Redmond Satran

Kindergarten teachers across the US are learning the names of all their new students, which might present an especially big challenge this year.

Children entering school this fall were most likely born in 2010 or 2011, when the Number 1 names both years were Jacob for boys and Sophia for girls. (Even when Isabella took first place in 2010, Sophia and Sofia together outnumbered her.) That makes nearly 100,000 children named Jacob, Sophia, or Sofia starting kindergarten this fall, an average of 2000 in every state.

If you throw Jake and Sophie into the mix, that’s nearly as many children as were named Michael and Jennifer in 1983, the year today’s average kindergarten parent was born. Welcome to school, new generation of kids destined to be known as Jacob R. and Sophia W.

Other kindergarten students most likely to have a last initial appended to their popular first names are little boys named Ethan, William, and Jayden, and girls called Emma, Olivia, and Ava.

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girls' baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Many girls’ names come in two forms: a straightforward version ending in e and a more romantic variation with a final a. And these tend to move in and out of fashion as a group, reflecting the tenor of the time.

Right now, we are in a relatively elaborate era, with few parents picking girls’ names like Julie over Julia or Diane over Diana.

But I have a hunch that we’re moving into a more evenly divided time, with the rising of names like Olive and Sophie and Sylvie.

Let’s take a look at some more examples.

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Vintage Girl Names: 9 Fresh Ideas

vintage girl names

By Abby Sandel

Vintage girl names can make great choices for a daughter born today. They’re tied to the past, have plenty of great namesakes, and yet feel fresh and unexpected, too.

The only problem? Many of them are far more popular than you might expect.

Anna Chlumsky, the My Girl child star turned Emmy-nominated Veep cast member, recently welcomed her second daughter. She and husband Shaun So embraced the vintage girl names trend with her name: Clara Elizabeth, a little sister for Penelope Joan.

A former Top Ten favorite, Clara brings to mind The Nutcracker, silent film star Clara Bow, and Red Cross founder Clara Barton. No surprise, then, that the name ranked Number 98 in 2015.

That’s not nearly as common as Emma, Sophia, or Charlotte. But with similarly antique choices like Lucy, Violet, and Eleanor in vogue, it’s likely that Clara is catching on.

What’s a lover of vintage names to do? Look farther down the list, of course! Here are nine vintage girl names that remain quietly under-the-radar – for now.

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Lu-Girl Names Inspired by Paris

Lu-girl names

By Abby Sandel

What’s popular in Paris? When it comes to French baby names, Lou rules. Louise has held the top girls’ spot for eight years running, while Louis is a Top Ten pick for boys.

That tracks with the trend reports French baby name site Meilleurs Prenom’s Stephanie Rapoport has filed for Nameberry in recent years. Louis and Louise are in the nation-wide Top Ten for France, and other names, like Lilou and Louna, have been in favor, too.

At first glance, American parents have let this trend pass us by. But when Lu– names are added in, it’s a different story.

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