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Noah's Ark - 2002 - 20x28 - Framed

Noah has unseated Jacob to become the new Number 1 name for boys – the first new top boys’ choice of the 21st century.

The boys’ side of the list claims all the hottest news, in a turnaround from the usual pattern in which girls’ names dominate the trend shifts.  Liam leapfrogs up to second place in only his second year on the Top 10, above father name William.  And the boys’ roster includes the only new entrant to the Top 10, longtime favorite Daniel, elbowing aside the trendier Aiden.

The girls’ Top 10 is comparatively stable, with Sophia and Emma maintaining their status of Number 1 and Number 2.  Olivia and Isabella switched places at 3 and 4, while Mia moved up and the traditional Emily and Abigail slid down.

The full Top 1000 baby names list for 2013, is now up on Nameberry here.

The focus on fashion changes for boys’ names with relative stability for girls is evidence of a larger shift in baby name style for both genders.  Boys are less often named for fathers and other family members and more often given names influenced by current styles and culture, while girls’ names are becoming more serious and more deeply rooted in tradition.  The result: Greater gender equality in baby names.

The 2013 US Top 10 baby names, announced exclusively on The Today Show this morning, are:

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The Most Popular Biblical Names for Boys

noah

Biblical names have always been popular for boys, and their influence has only risen in recent years.  The dozen boys’ names here all stand below the Top 20.   Eight derive from the Old Testament, three from the New, with one – Michael – figuring in both.  A half century ago, there were fewer biblical names on the boys’ Top 20 and more of those were from the New Testament.  What hasn’t changed is that all these names are well liked and have deep roots, and will serve any boy well.  The most popular biblical names for boys today, and the figures behind them, are:

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abby--8-31-13

By Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

It’s been a great week for welcoming boys!

Eric Christian Olsen, Kate Levering, Fergie and Josh Duhamel have all brought home new sons.  The parents have something in common besides making headlines.  Their naming style might be called modern classic.

On Friday, Angela wrote about some appealing and underused choices, like Patrick, Lawrence, and Lewis.

This category is different.  These are names that would have been considered unusual – maybe even strange – just a few decades back.  But today, they’re mainstream, go-to appellations.

Call them Goldilocks names.  There are buttoned-down classics like James and George, and daring never-heard-before ones like Pilot and Zuma.  Goldilocks choices are at neither extreme.  They’re just right, falling into the wide middle: very wearable, but probably not your grandpa’s name.  Sure, they might be this generation’s Larry and Jerry, Ronald and Keith.  But they make for great choices in 2013.

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Biblical Baby Names: Why Noah now?

noahark

It seems that just about every few decades since the 1940’s, one Old Testament patriarch name has entered the popularity list’s Top 5, some lingering longer than others.  From the forties through the early eighties it was David,  joined by Joshua in 1983, Daniel for the single year 1985, Jacob ten years later– and holding first place for the past thirteen years– and Ethan (a more minor biblical figure) in 2002.

And now we have Noah, which entered the golden circle last year at Number 5.

Noah fits right into this group—like the earlier Joseph, and David, Jacob and Ethan, it’s a simple, modern-sounding  two-syllable name with a strong first syllable and softer second.  And like Joseph, David, Daniel, Joshua and Jacob, Noah comes with a dramatic narrative that’s well known to most children.

As every Sunday school alumnus knows, Noah was deemed the only righteous man of his time, singled out by God to survive the great flood sent to punish an evil world, and instructed to build an ark to save his family and all species of animals from the flood.

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abby-7-9

For The Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel picks names that are both inside and out of the safety zone.

If you’re a long-time name nerd, I have a question for you.

Have you become more tolerant of names that fall outside your personal comfort zone?  Or are your convictions about certain topics – spelling, gender, nicknames – growing stronger?

This week’s most newsworthy baby names run the gamut, from the truly unusual to the just-a-little-different.  They remind me that I’ve become far more accepting over the years, appreciating the most common and the outlandish choices alike.  After all, there’s a fellow called Barack in the White House and a challenger called Mitt, making it tough to argue that only people called John and Elizabeth can attain lofty positions of power and influence.

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