Category: baby name Oliver
Apart from the letter ‘U’, ‘O’ is the least likely vowel to be used at the beginning of names. In fact, there have been zero ‘U’ names in the Top 100 since 1880. On my blog I have already looked at I names, and putting together posts on’ A’ names and ‘E’ names is a daunting task at this point, so, without further ado, the ‘O’ names!
In 1880, there were three ‘O’ boy names in the Top 100: Oliver, Oscar and Otto. While Otto fell out after 1898 and Oliver became sporadic from 1897 until it fell out after 1903, Oscar stayed on top through 1925. Otis also made some appearances in 1899, 1905 and 1909, but from 1926 through 2001 there were no ‘O’ boy names in the Top 100. In 2002, Owen appeared and remains so currently. Oliver returned to the Top 100 in 2009 and also remains.
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.
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.
The Nameberry Nine by Abby Sandel
Let’s talk about vowels.
The letter A is wildly popular, #1 for girls and #2 for boys according to the most recent analysis at Nancy’s Baby Names. As I looked through this week’s birth announcements and baby name news, it seemed like the letter A is everywhere.
E trails a few places behind A, fifth overall for girls and eighth for boys.
It wasn’t always like this. Look at the data for the 1920s or 1950s. None of the Top Ten names for either gender start with a vowel. But in recent years, names like Andrew, Ethan, Emma, Olivia, Abigail, and Isabella have dominated the lists of most common names.
A has a strong lead, with Alexander, Ava, and Aiden in the current Top Ten. Our affection isn’t limited to the first letter of the alphabet.Owen, Eli, Isaiah, and Easton are all rapidly rising favorites for our sons. For daughters, there’s Eva and Ella, plus lots of names with the Ev- and El- sound, and up-and-comers like Isla and Olive.
The vowel-centric names in the baby name news last week included:
Italy – Parents continue to search the map for meaningful, attractive place names for their children. Italy is an intriguing option. She’s part-Avery, part-Isabelle, and very much a destination with a positive vibe. For Real Baby Names spotted a birth announcement for Italy Margie Anne, but I think this is a gender neutral possibility.
In 1642, Oliver Cromwell led a contingent of parliamentarians against King Charles I, defeating him in what became known as the English Civil War and giving rise to the only occasion in modern British history where the monarchy has not held power. Three and a half centuries later, he became my husband’s hero for it, my husband who is a constitutional lawyer and a committed republican (small ‘r’). In the years before the arrival of our first child, we lived in Oxford, both of us affiliated with the University there. Amidst its hallowed halls and Gothic spires, people would talk in hushed tones about their ‘periods’ of expertise. My husband’s period was the seventeenth century. Cromwell was his guy.
Unsurprisingly, Oliver was always his first choice for a boy’s name. It became mine too. We said we weren’t having children, though, so we bestowed instead the name Cromwell upon our future dog, a brown and white beagle. Things changed and we didn’t get the dog. But we did welcome a son who was, of course, called Oliver. My husband wanted it because it was traditional and historically grounded. I wanted it because it was sparky and unconventional. It is both of those things, depending on where you come from: this is what has made the Venn diagram effect of our name selection so successful. The year Oliver was born it was the fifth most popular baby name in the UK. In the US, it hadn’t even broken the top 100.
The big trend in baby name news this week? It has to be borrowing a name from your family tree.
Once upon a time, it might have been expected that your firstborn son was a junior, or maybe shared his name with grandpa. In other places, family surnames were handed down along with the silver.
These days, there’s less pressure than ever to choose heirloom names. And yet we’re still inclined to honor our loved ones.
Other parents aren’t passing down family names, but they are coordinating their children’s names. Sometimes it is a shared first initial; other times, the theme is more subtle.