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Baby girl wearing pettiskirt tutu and pearls

For her The Nameberry 9 this week, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain sees more adventurous names for boys, some recent revivals for girls, and one surprising gender switch.

Last week’s baby name news demonstrated two things: first, there’s no such thing as a name too fusty to make a comeback. Girls’ names change constantly. Now that Emma, Charlotte, and Evelyn are appearing on kindergarten rosters all over America, choices like Alice, Josephine and June feel fresh.

Does this mean that Joan and Geraldine could be the hot names of 2032? Never say never.

Second, parents truly are becoming quite daring when naming their sons. For years we took risks with our daughters’ names, using frilly feminissa appellations like Arabella as well as tailored ones like Ingrid or Sawyer. The name pool for boys remained relatively shallow.

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For this week’s baby name news, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel picks the nine newsiest names, but looks at why it’s a plus to pick a popular name ahead of the curve, what the hottest new nickname is, and when some names have run their course.

Let’s say you named your daughter Stella back in 1999.  Your Stella is now in her teens, but somehow every friend-of-a-friend is using your name for their new daughter, and it isn’t just your imagination.  Stella barely registered in the US Top 1000 back in 1999, but today, it is a Top 100 pick – and rising.  You find yourself thinking unkind thoughts about Tori Spelling, and wondering why other parents can’t be just as creative as you were, back in the day.

While parents might find it irritating, I suspect that the kids who grow up with ahead-of-the-curve names probably like it just fine.  I know a 30-something Mackenzie, a 20-something Hannah, and a recent conversation about a teenaged Sophia made me think: is the happiest of occurrences to receive a fashionable name early in its rise?

It is a tricky feat to pull off, but if you’re lucky enough to be the parent of a 6 year-old Harper or a tweenaged Lucy, congratulations.  Your child will probably grow up sharing her name with attractive fictional characters, as well as the kids she babysits.

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