Category: baby girls’ names
The president hosted a fireside chat on Google+ last week. He tackled complex, divisive topics like the environment and the economy.
But baby names?
Giving baby name advice is tough. It means sorting names into the good and the bad, or maybe the good and the less good. Explaining why we like a name is nearly impossible sometimes, isn’t it? Explaining what we dislike can be too easy.
This week’s news was filled with gorgeous girls’ names representing every possible style and trend, from imports to underused classics to modern discoveries.
The nine most newsworthy baby names are:
It’s a name nerd’s fantasy: Naming twin girls.
You want two girls’ names that are compatible yet distinct, that are consistent in style and image and gender identity yet sound no more alike than the names of sisters.
The most popular names for girl twins range from the top of the charts Olivia and Sophia to cutesy pairs such as Faith and Hope or Heaven and Neveah to sound-alikes Ella and Emma. But we know you can do better than that.
The other day we offered eight fresh choices for boys, and now it’s the girls’ turn—girls’ names ranging from a rare botanical specimen to a nostalgic nickname to an undercrowded place name.
1–Acacia—This a a pretty and delicate botanical name that has hardly been heard in this country, though it ranked as high as Number 273 among girls’ names in Australia, where the Acacia is a common flowering shrub, in 2008. Acacia has a heritage that dates back to ancient Egyptian mythology, in which it was considered the tree of life due to the belief that the first gods were born under a sacred Acacia tree. There is also an eponymous fantasy novel, Acacia. Caveat: just don’t think about the other name of the Acacia tree—the Golden Wattle.
2–Amabel—Not to be confused with Annabel (though it well might be), the lovely Amabel has been around since medieval times, and has appeared in a number of British novels, including Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death, and heard as well as among the English aristocracy. Amabel gave birth to the shortened form Mabel, which has a much brasher image, and we think a name that means lovable, deserves more love than it’s gotten.
See lots more classic girls’ names.
But very quickly, as Linda and I discovered classifying names for our books, what’s classic and what’s not becomes really murky. Anne, sure, but Anna? Annie? If Annie’s in, does that mean that Laurie also gets to accompany Laura?
Then recently, we hit upon a quantitative formula for choosing the classic girls’ names: We’d define that as every name that had been in the U.S. Top 1000 every single year since 1880.
We came up with 114 names, but many on the list will surprise you as much as they surprised us. Elizabeth is there, for instance, but so are Elisabeth and Elise. Jenny makes the grade, but not trendier sister Jennifer. Caroline and even Carolyn, yes; Carol, no.
To make the roster of classic girls’ names easier to digest, we’ve divided it into groups. If you think we misplaced anything, let us know. You always do!
To check out the latest trends in French baby names, we turned to a true expert, Stéphanie Rapoport, creator of the popular site meilleursprénoms.com and author of L’Officiel des Prénoms 2010. For anyone conversant in French, the site is filled with interesting lists, charts and analysis on French baby names.
And for those whose high school French is as shaky as mine, we asked Stéphanie to give us a recap, which she’s been kind enough to do:
“Baby names in France have never been shorter: exit Sébastien, Alexandre, Frédéric, Caroline, Nathalie, Angélique—the popular names of the 1980’s. Emma, Léa, Clara now take the limelight as the most popular feminine names, while Lucas, Enzo and Nathan dominate the masculine ranking tables.
Ending sounds are also shaping to a large extent what becomes trendy and what does not. Fashionable feminine names tend to end in the vowel ‘a’ (Emma, Sara, Léa, Clara, Lola, Éva, Louna and Lina being in the forefront). Then there’s the explosion caused by Lilou, a new name which has led to the discovery of Louane and renewed interest in hyphenated names such as Lou-Anne. For boys, names with ‘eo’ vowel juxtapositions abound, as in Léo, Théo, Mathéo, also o-endings (Hugo, Enzo) and names ending in ‘an’—Nathan, Ethan, Kylian, Evan, Esteban.