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Category: baby name popularity

1914alice

At the beginning of the year, we like to flip back the calendar a hundred years to see what the baby name landscape looked like a century ago. 1914 was a year in which World War I was in full swing, the year that President Wilson officially established Mother’s Day, Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth made their debuts, and saw the births of Dylan Thomas, Jonas Salk and Joe DiMaggio.But the babyname universe was relatively calm, as we can see by looking at the stable top dozen girls’ names. Here, they are, in order of their 1914 popularity, and what their status is today:

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abbypp1-19-14

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

How far would you go to find a truly stand-out name for your child?

Self-described geek dad Stephen McLaughlin has decided to let the internet name his daughter.  His wife insisted that they retain veto power, so the #1 name doesn’t automatically win.

Good thing, too, because as of Saturday morning, the wisdom of crowds had Cthulhu All-Spark as the top choice.

Other suggestions are very wearable, and a few of the most popular suggestions have ties to scifi that would make the geekiest gamer parents proud: Amelia, Luna, Zelda.

The full list alternates between the silly – Unicorn, Moonpod, Sprinkles, Fluttershy, and the truly lovely – Alice, Isla, Aria, Iris, Adelaide, India, Caroline, Claire, Elsa.  Odds are that baby McLaughlin will end up with quite the wearable name when she arrives in April.

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Contagious: What makes a name catch on?

contagious

By Jonah Berger, author of Contagious

In this year’s third-grade classes, teachers might have noticed an unusual number of Kaylas, Katies and Kyles. This follows an earlier bump for Alexes and Amandas, and other names that start with A. Why? One factor might be…the weather.

As part of our research on trends and how ideas catch on, my colleagues and I analyzed more than 125 years of data on the popularity of baby names.  We found that names that begin with K increased 9 percent after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And names that start with A were 7 percent more common after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It wasn’t that people named their babies after the storms. (In fact, fewer people named their children Katrina and Andrew after each respective hurricane.) Rather, it was similar sounding names that spiked after particular storms. Predicting cultural trends is of great interest to companies, consumers and cultural critics. Will a new song be a hit or a flop? Will turquoise be the new black? Will a particular public policy idea catch on or fizzle fast? There are big stakes — big rewards — in being able to accurately forecast cultural trends.

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Same Name Syndrome–Jillions of Jens

jenniferr

by Jen Kim

A quick Google search will render more than 11 million results for the name Jennifer Kim, while White Pages will say there are more than 600 of us in the United States. Personally, I think there are more.

There is a Jennifer Kim who is a journalist and writer (not me) and another Jennifer Kim who is an actress (also not me). One of my best friends from childhood is also, coincidentally, named Jennifer Kim. We never really ran into problems, except for that one minor grade swap in 9th grade geometry, but really, who remembers such trivial things?

During high school, I knew four Jennifer Kims, not including myself. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of plain old Jennifers I knew. Not surprising considering Jennifer was the most popular girl’s name from 1970 to 1984.

At UCLA, I realized that I could reinvent myself–or someone else could. One day, my college sweetheart called me ‘Jen,’ and suddenly, the whole world followed. At last, I became the unique special butterfly: Jen Kim. Until that is, I met a dozen other Jens and a handful of Jen Kims who were all similarly trying to shed their common names for cooler nicknames.

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Nook of Names Berry Juice profile image

The Blooming of Lily

posted by: Nook of Names View all posts by this author
Lily

By K. M Sheard of Nook of Names

I have been musing about names which, on the surface, appear to be straightforward adoptions of English words, but are, in fact — in origin at least — entirely unrelated. The most popular name of this kind currently in use is Lily.

Lily — now almost exclusively associated with the flower (so much so that the Wikipedia entry entirely fails to mention its original roots) — actually arose in the Middle Ages as a short-form of Elizabeth — Lylie.  This quickly developed its own pet-form — Lillian/Lilian, which has been treated as a name in its own right since at least the 16th Century. It didn’t see much use, though, until the latter 19th Century, when it rapidly became one of the most popular girls’ names across the English-speaking world. And, inevitably, it was usually shortened to Lily. Lily was also very popular in its own right in the early 1900s in the UK; in the US, however — where short and pet-forms often seem to be shunned in favour of the full form — Lily remained relatively rare.

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