But here’s a strategy that might work – pick a name that qualifies as a twist on a classic. It works for Swedish royals, Olympic gold medalists, and Hollywood types, too.
Need proof? Try the Zato Novo baby name visualizer. Elizabeth consistently turns the map various shades of blue, showing a long and steady history of use. But try Elsa or Bess or Elizaveta, and suddenly, she’s far more rare.
All too often, the names that strike us as outlandish are on their way to the top of the popularity charts. Remember when Top 100 picks like Harper and Trinity were surprising? Now names like Haven, Skyla, and Aspen are on the rise, slowly transitioning from “what an unusual name” to “oh, my cousin/co-worker/neighbor’s sister named her baby that.”
Twists on classics elicit a very different response. They usually can’t be dismissed as trendy or fleeting. Of course, some – like Nora, Eliza, or Kaitlyn – can become very popular. But many of them occupy a middle ground – pleasing names that show their history, while still standing out on the playground.
You have only to look at the popularity lists to know which names are used most widely now. There’s Sophia, Isabella, Emma, and Olivia for girls; Jacob, Mason, and Ethan for boys. Which reminds us: Have you seen our new, searchable U.S. Top 1000 list? It’s awesome; have a peek.
Beyond the most popular names are the names we might think of as most stylish today. These are represented on the Nameberry Top 1000 list, which gauges the names that are viewed most often on our site, updated monthly. While the U.S. Top 1000 list tallies names used most frequently for babies born in 2012, the Nameberry Top 1000 surveys names capturing the most interest from prospective parents in 2014 — so it’s more theoretical, and up-to-date.
Based on the Nameberry list, we’d place the following baby names atop the current style wave. What many of them lack in popularity, they make up for in stylishness.
Here’s my true name confession: We almost named our youngest son Pike.
So sue me.
I still like it. Sometimes, about as often as I miss that bright orange sweater I gave away in 1994, I wish we’d actually named him that. We like fish! In fact, little coulda-been-Pike grew into a boy who loves to fish!
But we chickened out, and Owen he became.
I could confess to other name indiscretions I contemplated but now it’s your turn to tell all.
Did you spell your name with an i at the end with a little heart drawn over it when you were 13?
Attempt to change your name to Sigourney when you were in college?
Did you contemplate a baby name crime: name-napping, perhaps, or….well, I can’t think of any other baby name crime, but maybe you can confess to one anyway.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
For some time now we’ve been seeing a profusion of soft El-starting names, from Ella to Eleanor, Eloise, Elliot, Ellery, Elodie, et al. And now we’ve begun to notice some of her stronger, sharper, Ev-starting cousins coming into the picture, ranging from the ancient Eve to the nouveau Everest.
Eve—The simple, strong, Biblical Eve is clearly the mother of this family of names, with remarkable vigor for a three-letter name. It derives from the Hebrew word for “living” and was named by Adam ‘because she was the mother of all living,” and is now ranking at 558. Clive Owen is among the parents of an Eve.
Eva—Eva, the Latin form of Eve, is now a Top 100 name, perhaps gaining from some Ava-overflow from Ava, and influenced by the popularity of Eva Longoria and a few other sexy stars. It’s a true international favorite—Number 7 in the Netherlands, 13 in Scotland and 25 in England, and is pronounced as, yes, Ava in several cultures. One Ev-name that isn’t getting much love is Eva’s pet form, Evita, which hasn’t shaken its string connection to the longtime Argentine First Lady, Eva/Evita Peron.