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abbymarigold

In this turned-around pre-holiday week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel offers her baby name wish list, as well as her picks of the newsiest Nameberry 9 names.

With the holidays in full swing, I thought it was time for a wish list.

I’d love to magically know how to pronounce every child’s name at first glance.

A crystal ball to find out which noun names will wear well, and which just plain won’t work.  Or, alternately, a detailed explanation as to why Pilot and Apple still seem outrageous while Chase and Genesis are mainstream.

A trip to the most fashionable of playgrounds in Paris and the ability to speak fluent French in order to grill expectant mamans about their favorite baby names.  Cosette probably isn’t one of them … but in Pittsburgh or Pensacola, I think she could be a smash.  Or wait, maybe I’ll visit Toronto, because their list is just different enough from the US to pique my curiosity.

A promise that there will be a bunch of fabulously named starbabies every week … never mind, Santa – we have Claire Danes!

The nine baby names that inspired my wish list are also this week’s nine most newsworthy appellations:

Calin – Television veteran Samaire Armstrong is a new mom.  She welcomed son Calin a few days ago.  But t riddle me this: does Calin sound like Caylen, Colin, or Calvin without the v?

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britflorence

Eleanor Nickerson, of the wonderful blog British Baby Names, offers her predictions of the names that will succeed today’s trendiest in England and Wales.

The Next Olivia

Olivia was the supreme queen of girls’ names in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in England and Wales, and was only marginally beaten by Amelia to the number 1 spot in 2011. It entered the Top 100 for the first time in the late 1980s, and has been in the Top 10 since 1999. Further down the ranks, Eliza stands at #62.  Like Olivia before, Eliza has not ranked in the Top 100 for a century, but is now steadily rising.

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brit topgirls2009

At long last, the official list of the most popular names for baby girls and boys born  in England and Wales in 2009 has been released.  And, to cut to the chase, here are the Top 10 for each gender–all of which were there last year, with several remaining in the same spot:

GIRLS

  1. Olivia
  2. Ruby
  3. Chloe (up 3 places)
  4. Emily (down 1)
  5. Sophie (up 2)
  6. Jessica (down 1)
  7. Grace (down 3)
  8. Lily
  9. Amelia
  10. Evie

BOYS

  1. Oliver (up 1)
  2. Jack (down 1)
  3. Harry (up 1)
  4. Alfie (up 2)
  5. Joshua
  6. Thomas (down 3)
  7. Charlie
  8. William (up 2)
  9. James
  10. Daniel (down 2)

So Jack hit the road, after reigning as #1 for 14 years–though he was still on top in Wales and some areas of England.  But it’s interesting to note that if the 12 different spellings of Mohammed that were listed separately had counted as one name, it would have topped Oliver.

The biggest climbers in the Top 100 were Maisie for the girls and Austin for the boys.  There were also regional differences (Isabella in London‘s Top Ten, Seren #3 in Wales) and seasonal (Holly was the favorite name for the month of December).

The Royalist spirit was reflected in the naming of 16 Kings, 68 Princes, eight Dukes, 11 Earls, four Barons and four Lords, as well as 12 Queenies, seven Queens, 109 Princesses and five Ladys.

There were only six new boys’ names in the Top 100:

  1. Aiden
  2. Arthur
  3. Frederick
  4. Jude
  5. Stanley
  6. Austin

…replacing Blake, Jay, Billy, Corey, Zak and Sean.  Showing the greatest rise within the Top 100: Lucas, Sebastian, Aidan, and Noah.

New entries in the girls’ Top 100 were Heidi, Sara and Mya, replacing Maryam, Alicia, Courtney and AbbieMaisie was the highest climber within the Top 100, followed by Lexi, Layla and Aimee.

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Will Maisie Be the Next Daisy?

namesub1

We’ve seen it happen again and again.  A name–say Emily–becomes mega-popular.  Parents like the sound of it, but fear there are too many Emilys, so pick something similar but a little different: Emma.  When Emma gets to #1, they turn to Ella–and then perhaps to Ellie, Elle, Emme, Emery, Embry or Emerson.

In the recent past we’ve seen a number of examples of this phenomenon–some rhyming names, some similar in sound or feel–for instance Cody leading to Brody, Brian to Ryan, Kevin to Evan, Jason to Mason to Greyson, Madison to Addison, Brandon to Landon, Kayla to Layla, Kaylee to Bailey, Kylee to Riley, and of course Aidan to its 999 offshoots.

What’s next?

Here are some possible successors to current names, including some unstylish vintage ones (as Ava and Ada were not so long ago) that might be coaxed back, plus a few that are already showing signs of success:

GIRLS

Will ADELAIDE follow ADELINE?

Will ALMA follow ALYSSA?

Will ISADORA follow ISABELLA?

Will AVIS follow AVA?

Will CHARLIE follow CARLY?

Will CLEO follow CHLOE?

Will DORA follow CORA and LAURA?

Will DELLA follow ELLA, BELLA and STELLA?

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Oscar Names: Girls’ edition

oscarolivia

In honor of the Academy Award nominations announced yesterday, one of our favorite bloggers, Abby Sandel, creator of the always informative and witty appellationmountain.net, continues the tradition she started last year with boys’ red carpet names, and has again searched through the annals of Oscar history to come up with some great lists of award-worthy female winners’ and characters’ names.

Ava, Audrey, Natalie, Grace, Olivia.  Is it my daughter’s kindergarten class roster, or a round-up of Hollywood screen legends?  With so many parents turning to Tinsel Town for inspiration, no wonder I’m confused.

Despite the popularity of borrowing a name from the big screen, plenty of appealing choices remain underused.  Here’s a short list culled from Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominees and winners, and the characters they played, from the 1920s through today.

LEADING LADIES

Some of these are easy to imagine on a girl born today, while others might not be quite ready for a comeback.  All of them offer at least one glamorous namesake.

ANOUK

BETTE

CLAUDETTE

DOROTHY

FAYE

GLYNIS

GREER

GRETA

HALLE

HATTIE

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