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The 12 Most Notable Names of 2012

Malala Yousafzai

The most notable names of 2012 take a colorful direction this year, with influences that range from presidents to K-pop, celebrities and the characters they play, and from the web to the weather.

Our picks for the 12 names most emblematic of 2012 – plus the dozen also-rans – are:

Malala.  Runnerup: Dilma

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani 14-year-old who was gunned down by the Taliban for championing girls’ education, wrote that her melodious name means “grief stricken.”  Malala could well become an inspiration name choice for young girls in the Western World.  Another female name to emerge from world politics this year is Dilma, via Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff, who was named after her mother.

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detectv

Hear the words ‘detective’ or ‘private eye,’ and you probably picture a tough guy like Mickey Spillane or a cooler customer like Sam Spade.  But it turns out that mystery fiction also features a lot more female sleuths than you might think, dating back to Loveday Brooke in the 1890s and coming right up to today.

It’s interesting to note how many of these earlier crime-solvers were given “ladylike” professions as covers—either as antique dealers or esoteric academics –or the more modern wedding planners or pet sitters.  It wasn’t—for the most part—till the TV era, that they would become career private or police investigators.

One thing that they do have in common though is some pretty fantastic first names, and here are some of the best.

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deborah2

The Bible contains hundreds more boys’ than girls’ names, but the female names in its pages are among the most beautiful and enduring of Western culture.  It’s difficult to pick just a handful of our favorites.  Setting aside such timeless beauties as Anne, Mary, and Elizabeth, we spotlight these choices that combine distinctiveness and style.

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