By Pamela Redmond Satran
Let’s forget about the vowel-starting baby names that have dominated the current era.
When it comes to consonants, the J names of the 80s — Jennifer and Jason, Jessica and Joshua — were followed by the K names of the 90s were followed by the L names that are both popular and stylish today: Lila and Liam, Lucia and Laszlo.
So what might be coming up but names that start with M? Sure, we’ve had dominant M names — think Mary and Michael — in the past, but the next wave of M names are more unusual examples.
And after the lovely, lilting L names, we are ready for M’s fuzzy warmth. There are so many marvelous, miraculous M-starting names that are already being discovered by stylish parents: Mila and Milo, Maisie and Maxwell.
But today we’d like to focus on the M names of the future, those waiting in the wings for revival. Some of our favorites:
The names Mary
were once so ubiquitous (there sometimes would be two in one family) that it was inevitable that a ton of nicknames and variations would evolve, not to mention international versions. Running a close third to those ultimate girls’ classics is Margaret
, which means ‘pearl’ and which in fact shares a number of Mary
’s pet forms. Here are just a few of Margaret
’s offspring, and their recent bearers.
Thank you, Jimmy Fallon
, for naming your new daughter Winnie Rose
, and proving our point— which is that we’re into a whole new era of nickname names. These are worlds away from midcentury short forms like Cindy
, but go further back in time to faded Victorian favorites. It’s a trend that started in the UK, where 10% of the current Top 100 girls’ names fit this description, and several of the boys— Alfie
—rank high as well. Here are some of the vintage girls’ nickname names, with their uniquely charming combo of sentiment and sass, which illustrate the trend.
This week for her Nameberry 9 newsiest names, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel highlights some names that so unusual, they really off the grid!
Jacob and Sophia might still be on top of the US rankings, but any name nerd knows this for sure: names change.
Sometimes the changes are subtle. In the late 1800s, Sallie was more popular than Sally. In the 1950s, Kerry, Jimmie, and Lester were ordinary names for little boys, and their sisters were called Toni, Yolanda, and Marlene.
It’s easy to focus on the big stories – the headline-grabbing rise of Messiah and King, for example – but I like this quote from last week’s Oxford Dictionaries blog:
… it makes sense that we constantly adapt and expand our vocabulary to account for new concepts, events, inventions, etc. For example, we may invent new words, give existing words new meanings, or borrow words from other languages.