Category: baby name Archie
The Victorian nickname trend that’s hot in the U.K. is getting attention in the U.S.—for girls.
Believe it or not, these names have potential on modern American boys.
Charlie is an example of a nickname-style name that is steadily becoming more popular in the U.S, although it has yet to capture the success it enjoys across the pond, where it ranked at #4 last year.
In the U.S. Charlie is a comeback name that was fashionable in the late 19th century when it consistently ranked in or near the top 30. Through most of the 20th century, Charlie gradually declined to its lowest rank in the 90’s when it ranked in the 400s. This past decade, Charlie has rebounded. Last year it reached #233.
Here are some other nicknames that share the same boyish charm as Charlie. Many were once popular in the U.S. and have comeback potential.
The Next Olivia
Olivia was the supreme queen of girls’ names in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in England and Wales, and was only marginally beaten by Amelia to the number 1 spot in 2011. It entered the Top 100 for the first time in the late 1980s, and has been in the Top 10 since 1999. Further down the ranks, Eliza stands at #62. Like Olivia before, Eliza has not ranked in the Top 100 for a century, but is now steadily rising.
Conventional wisdom holds that baby names tend to follow the Hundred-Year-Rule, cycling back after a century has passed. But with everything speeding up exponentially in modern life, and with the great interest in all things mid-century, we’re thinking maybe we should change that to the Fifty-Year-Rule.
Which prompts us to a close look at the Top 1000 names of 1962.
At first glance, the Top 10 are not very inspiring—mostly classics for boys: Michael, David, John, James, Robert, Mark, William, Richard, Thomas, and Jeffrey, and for girls names very much of the period: Lisa, Mary, Susan, Karen, Linda, Patricia, Donna, Cynthia, Deborah, and Sandra.
But digging deeper into the data, we find an interesting mix of revival possibilities—all of them missing from today’s Top 1000, and most of them gone for decades. Towards the lower end we find vestiges of a still earlier time—names like Percy and Virgil, Myrtle and Minerva– as well as nickname names that have been lost to time, some ethnic choices no longer prominent here, plus more archetypal midcentury names which might possibly be ready to return.
What with the movie Ted, starring an outrageously potty-mouthed teddy bear, having been a box office sensation, and celebs giving their baby boys the actual first or middle name of Bear, this seems like a perfect time to think about Teddy and other fictional bear names for possible inspiration.
So, though you might not want to name your son Paddington, Fozzie, Corduroy, Smokey, Yogi, Bobo or Baloo, here are some ursine character names you might want to consider if you’re into the idea of animal names.
Ted, Teddy, Theodore—These ultimate bear name cluster was inspired by a Theodore Roosevelt hunting trip incident that became the subject of a political cartoon which in turn inspired the making of a little stuffed bear cub toy dubbed “Teddy’s Bear”–which soon ignited a national craze. The name Theodore is currently experiencing a resurgence—it’s now at Number 231, partially sparked by love for the nickname Theo, which itself entered the Top 1000 in 2010 and is a Nameberry fave. Not so many Teds or Teddys these days, though. In addition, of course, many Edwards—as in Edward Kennedy, have also been known as Teddy.
Winnie, Winifred, Winston—Winnie the Pooh, second only to teddy as an ursine icon, was created by A. A. Milne in 1926, and named after a stuffed teddy owned by his son Christopher Robin. The boy had taken the name from a bear that he often saw at the London zoo called Winnipeg, nn Winnie. In real life most Winnies are more often formally Winston (as in Churchill) or Winifred—both of which are starting to be used again. Maybe Winnie could be the next Hattie.
Do you ever imagine an alternate life? Specifically, what you might have been named, or what you might have named your children if your life was just slightly different?
My husband’s taste in given names is buckets more conservative than mine. From the color of their eyes to the shape of their toes, I cannot imagine our children even a scintilla changed. And yet imagine just one twist in life’s journey, and all of a sudden they’re Dexter and Domino instead of Alex and Clio.
The given name that I so actively disliked as a child was chosen, in large part, because of a clumsy surname, poorly exported into English without harmonizing the improbable consonant clusters. What if my parents had decided to overlook the glaring limitations of a let-me-spell-it-for-you last name? Or what if my ancestors had blanded out their surname to something that accommodated any number of appellations?