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Favorite Name Too Popular? Here Are Some Fresh Substitutes

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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.

Girls

ABIGAIL

Abel, Abraham, Abram, Abelia

ADDISON

Adelaide, Adeline, Adriel, Adele

ALEXANDRA

Alexa, Alexis, Alexia, Alec, Alexei

ASHLEY

Ashlyn, Asher, Ashira, Ashton, Ashby, Ash, Cash, Nash

AUDREY

Aubrey, Auberon, Auburn, Audra, Audria, Audrina, Audriana, Aurora, Auria, Aurelia, Autry

AVA

Avery, Aveline, Avis, Avalon, Averill, Avi, Aviva

CAMERON

Camden, Camilla, Camille, Campbell, Cambria, Cameo

EMMA and EMILY

Emilia (and Amelia), Emmeline, Emmalyn, Emme, Emmett, Emerson, Emory

EVA

Evelyn, Eveline, Evaleen, Eve, Evie, Everett, Evangeline, Ever, Everly

GRACE

Gracie, Grayson, Gray, Gracia, Grania

ISABELLA

Bella, Belle, Arabella, Annabelle, Bellamy

JULIA

Juliana, Juliet, Julissa, Julius, Jules

LILY

Lillian, Liliana, Lilia, Lila, Layla, Leila, Lola, Leilani, Lorelei, Delilah, Tallulah

LUCY, LUKE and LUCAS

Lucia, Luca, Luna, Lucan, Lucian, Lucius

OLIVIA

Alivia, Olive, Liv, Livia

REAGAN

Ronan, Rowan, Roman, Keagan, Teagan

Boys

BRAYDON et al

Brayan, Braylon, Braxton, Brady, Brayson, Brannon

CADEN/KADEN

Cadence, Cadman, Cadigan, Cady, Kai, Kailin

FINN

Finley, Finnegan, Finnian

JACK

Jackson, Jaxon, Jax

JAYDEN

Jada, Jaylen, Jay, Jayce

MAX

Maximilian, Maximus, Maxwell, Maxine, Maxen

SEAN

Shane, Shaw, Sawyer, Sayer

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