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Unisex Baby Names….or are they really?

unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

There are many names that look unisex, feel unisex….but are they really?  Going by the strictest definition of the term, are these names truly used for babies of both genders?

In many cases, no.  The names here, which many people consider unisex, were actually used overwhelmingly for one gender over the other.  Figures are based on the 2013 US statistics, and were compiled with the help of intern Megan Garon.

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Baby Name Trends: Sleek, simple, cool names

cool baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

People often ask us how we come up with our baby name trend predictions.

The short answer: It’s a mix of science and inspiration, with a dash of magic.

One of our major predictions for baby names 2015, for instance, was a trend toward short, simple names.  The basis for this prediction was scientific: These names are now stylish and popular throughout Europe, and the names themselves are both fresh and easily translated to the American culture.

But now suddenly we see that trend for sleek, cool names really taking off, and here’s where the magic comes in.  First, early this morning, we noticed extremely positive comments on the Nameberry pages for both Jude and Lux, perfect examples of this kind of short, modern, stylish name.

And then, just as we were beginning to compile a list of similar names we saw as fitting the same attractive mold, we opened the New York Times magazine to read about a hot new clothing company called Kit and Ace, named for two prototypical millennials who personify the cutting-edge brand.

In the baby name trend predicting world, three influences like this from three different sources — international statistics, grass-roots comments, and the fashion world — add up to a bona fide trend.

And then a fourth item drove the idea home: Abby Sandel’s Monday column right here on Nameberry, discussing all the new celebrity baby names that fit the short, simple trend.

Here, our picks for baby names that embody this major trend toward sleek, simple, cool names.  Most of these move beyond traditional choices such as Bill and Anne but stop short of being word names or nature names such as Wren or Snow (though there are selections here that veer toward both the traditional and the nature categories).  But the best of them, to our mind, live somewhere in the middle.

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reclaimed boys names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Girls have been borrowing from boys’ names for generations. Shirley and Ashley were once more common for men. Ditto Madison, Avery, and Harper.

It’s easy to fume about name theft. After all, conventional wisdom is that once a name is widely used for our daughters, it cannot be given to our sons.

The truth is messier. Consider:

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eclectic baby names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

It’s tempting to predict the future.  Difficult, too.

Last week, I stumbled across this 1994 article in the L.A. Times.  Nameberry’s Pam predicted the stylish names of the future would be Felix and Frances, Charlotte and Claire, Hazel and Dexter.

Twenty years later, it’s all come true!

But it’s also become increasingly difficult to imagine what’s next for names, and the most recent high profile birth announcements illustrate why.

In our anything-goes age, possibilities abound.  From Arabella to Zhang, the names parents are choosing make for an eclectic bunch.

And yet there are definite trends to spot and celebrate in this creative and daring age.

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Instrumental Musical Names

musical baby names

We’ve written and talked about musical words like Aria, about jazz, rock and country singers, classical musicians, and opera and operetta and Broadway musical name, but we’ve never looked at the music instruments themselves. We’ve found some are as common as Viola, others as rare and exotic as Chiaramella.

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