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Combo Names: When 1 plus 1 equals 1

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By Angela Mastrodonato of Upswing Baby Names

Reminiscent of fifties doo-wop songs and southern cotillions, combo names are finding their way back to baby name lists after a decades-long absence.

Combo names are two existing names combined to create one. They can also be called “smoosh names” or “mash-up names” or compound names. Some examples: Annalee, Marylouise, and Miabella.

Sometimes they are spelled with a hyphen (Anna-Lee) and sometimes they are spelled as one name (Annalee).

Contemporary Combo Names

The top ranking combo names in the U.S. have something in common. These names have origins besides being a simple combination of two names. For example:

These names are all wonderful, but soon U.S. parents could embrace more inventive combo names or revive established examples that have become obscure in recent decades. There was a place for them on the U.S. top 1000 Social Security list not too long ago.

Combo Names: Looking Back

Combo names went through typical fashion cycles, but were never very common in the U.S. The highest ranking combo name for the late ninettenth century was Louella (or Lou-Ella*). Louella peaked at #238 in 1881.

*Note: punctuation is not included in the U.S. Social Security Administration data. Both Louella and Lou-Ella are counted as “Louella” in U.S. name statistics.

The decade with the most combo names in the top 1000 was the 1920s. Here are 1920-30s-era compound names:

Annamae
Bettyjane
Ellamae
Marybelle
Marylou
Maryjane
Shirleyann

In the mid-twentieth century combo names saw a resurgence. The highest ranking combo name ever was Maryann at #135 in 1943. Here are mid-twentieth century era (1940s-50s-60s) combo names:

Annmarie
Leeann
Louann
Maryann
Marybeth
Maryellen
Roseann

Combo Names: Looking Ahead

The next wave of combo names could be arriving in the near future

In the U.K. combo names are stylish, where Ellie-Mae and Lily-Mae were among the Top 300 girl names.

Combo names are a U.K. trend that could well migrate across the pond, as suggested by these combo names hitting the U.S. top 1000 for the first time in recent years:

  • Annalee in 2012 at #920
  • Emmalynn in 2012 at #910
    (Emmalyn in 2010 at #746; by 2012 it rose to #505)
  • Gracelynn in 2010 at #844; by 2012 it rose to #615
    (Gracelyn in 2004 at #919; by 2012 it rose to #507)

Whenever combo names start coming back in fashion, the names are a little different from those of bygone eras. There are many names that could join Annalee, Emmalynn and Gracelynn in the next wave of combo names.

Fresh Combo Name Possibilities

Here are some combo name ideas that combine traditional, vintage, and modern names:

Adamarie
Annalisa
Annalora
Annasophia
Annesophie
Avajane
Avalouise
Dulcemaria
Ellajane
Ellarose
Emmalouise
Idamae
Larajane
Laramarie
Lisamarie
Louisamay
Mariechantal
Marieclaire
Mariesoleil
Marylee
Marylouise
Miabella
Rosabeth
Zaralee

What About Combo Names for Boys?

If you are wondering how boy combo names fare in the U.S., historically, they have been  far less popular than girl combo names.

The only boy combo name to chart in the U.S. was Johnpaul. Johnpaul ranked in the bottom top 1000 in the 1970s-80s, and 2005-2006.

Boy combo names are often heard in France, where Jean-Baptiste, Jean-Francois, Jean-Paul, and Jean-Philippe are familiar. These names have declined in recent years.

For boy traditional combos beyond Johnpaul, there’s Jamesfrancis, Johnpeter and Johnphillip.

With contemporary names, some possibilities are: Aidanpaul, Aidansean, Evanscott, Henryowen, and Peterowen.

These names present some practical questions, such as: hyphen or no hyphen?

But they are also endearingly kitschy and might be a great way to honor both grandparents and still give your kid their own unique first name.

How many combo names can you create? Would you use an established one?

Angela Mastrodonato created http://upswingbabynames/to celebrate names on the upswing. She is a big-time name watcher, and has a growing list of names she watches by tracking their popularity each year. Sign up here to get your copy of this Watch List. 

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upswingbabynames

Angela Mastrodonato created Upswing Baby Names to celebrate names on the upswing. She is a big-time name watcher, and has a growing list of names she watches by tracking their popularity each year. Sign up here to get your copy of this Watch List.
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