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By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Some weeks, the baby names in the news are aggressively modern.  Rocket and Rebel, Ryder and Stryker.  Girls can be James.  While boys can’t be Sue, there’s no guessing if Kayden, Peyton, and Riley are boys or girls.

Factor in names borrowed from nature, colors, virtues, meanings, and the map, and it can feel like every parent-to-be is considering names that would be right at home in The Hunger Games.  Welcome to the world, Ocean, Indigo, and Haven.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

All of that novelty can make classic, even conservative names seem refreshing.

Little ladies and gentlemen dominated this week’s headlines.  They’re names with history and roots, vintage revivals that are back in 2014, or will be back by 2024.  Or 2054.  And they’ll always come back – eventually – because they’re just that enduring.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

In most places, Spring—to use an overused phrase—has sprung.  The snows of winter have finally melted, buds are budding, birds are chirping.  Which means it’s time to offer a seasonal menu of names—this time a multi-cultural mix whose meanings connote spring, plus names of ancient goddesses, and a few flowers and birthstones.

Amaryllis, the lovely spring-blooming bulb, is one of the more extreme flower names now beginning to be cultivated; others include Hyacinth and Daffodil.

Aviv and Aviva are male and female versions of a Hebrew name meaning ‘springtime’; another variation is Avivi, which means ‘springlike’ and is also the word for lilac.  (Tel Aviv , btw, means ‘hill of spring’.)  Aviva has long been popular in Israel and its two vibrant v’s could work well here as another path to vibrant nickname Vivi.

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February names

By Denise K. Potter

There’s more to February than roses and chocolates. It’s also Black History Month plus the month that hosts Presidents’ Birthday and Groundhog Day – and let’s not forget Ferris Wheel Day and Polar Bear Day. Whether you’re naming a baby this February or just looking for more ways to celebrate, here are ten ideas themed to the second month of the year. And none of them are Cupid.

Amethyst – The birthstone of babies born in February was worn by ancient Romans and Greeks in the belief that it protected against intoxication. Today, Amethyst can be used as a girl’s name, along with Violet, the official flower of February. Another gem name associated with February is Pearl, as the Finnish call February The Month of the Pearl, a much lovelier designation than the English nicknames mud month or kale month.

BradyMatthew B. Brady, celebrated American photographer of the 19th century, took the first photograph of a U.S. President in Office in February 1849 and left a powerful legacy in documenting much of the Civil War. Today, Brady is a popular Irish boys’ name.

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By Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain

The world is awaiting a royal birth announcement, and I’ll admit I’m unreasonably excited.

But it is different this time, isn’t it?

A high-profile arrival usually comes complete with a headline-grabbing given name. There’s North and Knox and Rainbow Aurora, Apple, Hattie and Everly, Zuma and Bronx Mowgli.

Some are prime for imitation, and catch on with non-Hollywood types. Others are unlikely to be used by anyone other than celebrity parents, and while unusual names are more accepted than ever, Suri has yet to crack the US Top 1000.

This time we know one thing for certain: the prince or princess won’t have a wacky name. I suppose Kate and William could slip in a quirky Anglo-Saxon royal as an extra middle – Elswith or Athelstan or Godwin. But the couple doesn’t seem likely to go that route.

Instead, we’ll be celebrating an evergreen classic of a name, the kind that we too often ignore.

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by Linda Rosenkrantz

It’s an inarguable fact that celebrity baby name choices have an impact on the rest of the population.  But which of them have had a lasting influence and which luminaries have hit the sweet spot more than once?

With some names it was not a single celeb but a confluence of several that helped propel a name to stardom– among these are the namers of Becketts, Dashiells, Harpers, Romys, Romans and, perhaps most of all, the now ubiquitous Ava.  And we see that even a middle name can pack an impact, as in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s (Blue) Ivy.

TRENDSETTERS

Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn introduced a whole style of names with their three daughters, Avery, Emery and Finley, all boyish names ending in ‘y.’ First came Finley, born in 2003, when that name was nowhere to be seen on the girls’ Top 1000.  It appeared there two years later, and is now at Number 349, with close to a thousand baby girls bearing that name annually.  Daughter Avery was born in 2005; there were approximately 4,000 girl Averys born the year before her arrival, 5,000+ the year after, and 8,000+ this past year. The third daughter, Emery, was born three years later, when the name was Number 467; it is now at 211.

Two of the Jolie-Pitt kids’ names have made their mark. The eldest, Maddox, was born in 2001, the name popped onto the list two years later, and is now at Number 167, accounting for almost 2,300 baby Maddoxes.  Another x-ending Jolie-Pitt boy name, Knox, also stuck a chord.  He arrived in 2008 with twin sister Vivienne (whose name is also rising); the following year Knox entered the list, and it is now Number 368.

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