It’s become a truism that once a name gets too popular, no one wants to use it anymore. (Which reminds me of the famous Yogi Berra saying: Nobody goes to that place anymore. It’s too crowded.)
So what do they use instead? Often, a name that’s the same but different.
Consider Emma, 2008’s Number One girls’ name. Part of Emma’s success, I’m sure, is that it resembles Emily, long the girls’ top name, but has an individual pedigree and style all its own.
An older spin on this theme was Jessica, which took over the top spot from big sister Jennifer. It works on the boys’ side too, with Jacob and Justin picking up where Jason left off.
More interesting, though, are the names that are just now appearing on the horizon as similar-but-different substitutes for names that are becoming overly popular. The appeal of these names is obvious: They seem to offer fresh spins on favorites that are feeling a bit tired.
The down side is that so many people tend to flock to them, they’re often in danger of becoming – like Emma – overexposed themselves.
Here, some current favorites and the daughters (and sons) they’ve spawned. Interestingly, some popular names inspire new choices that may cross gender lines.
Abel, Abraham, Abram, Abelia
Adelaide, Adeline, Adriel, Adele
Alexa, Alexis, Alexia, Alec, Alexei
Ashlyn, Asher, Ashira, Ashton, Ashby, Ash, Cash, Nash
Aubrey, Auberon, Auburn, Audra, Audria, Audrina, Audriana, Aurora, Auria, Aurelia, Autry
Avery, Aveline, Avis, Avalon, Averill, Avi, Aviva
Camden, Camilla, Camille, Campbell, Cambria, Cameo
EMMA and EMILY
Emilia (and Amelia), Emmeline, Emmalyn, Emme, Emmett, Emerson, Emory
Evelyn, Eveline, Evaleen, Eve, Evie, Everett, Evangeline, Ever, Everly
Gracie, Grayson, Gray, Gracia, Grania
Bella, Belle, Arabella, Annabelle, Bellamy
Juliana, Juliet, Julissa, Julius, Jules
Lillian, Liliana, Lilia, Lila, Layla, Leila, Lola, Leilani, Lorelei, Delilah, Tallulah
LUCY, LUKE and LUCAS
Lucia, Luca, Luna, Lucan, Lucian, Lucius
Alivia, Olive, Liv, Livia
Ronan, Rowan, Roman, Keagan, Teagan
BRAYDON et al
Brayan, Braylon, Braxton, Brady, Brayson, Brannon
Cadence, Cadman, Cadigan, Cady, Kai, Kailin
Finley, Finnegan, Finnian
Jackson, Jaxon, Jax
Jada, Jaylen, Jay, Jayce
Maximilian, Maximus, Maxwell, Maxine, Maxen
Shane, Shaw, Sawyer, Sayer