Category: baby name trend
By Linda Rosenkrantz
For some time now we’ve been seeing a profusion of soft El-starting names, from Ella to Eleanor, Eloise, Elliot, Ellery, Elodie, et al. And now we’ve begun to notice some of her stronger, sharper, Ev-starting cousins coming into the picture, ranging from the ancient Eve to the nouveau Everest.
Eve—The simple, strong, Biblical Eve is clearly the mother of this family of names, with remarkable vigor for a three-letter name. It derives from the Hebrew word for “living” and was named by Adam ‘because she was the mother of all living,” and is now ranking at 558. Clive Owen is among the parents of an Eve.
Eva—Eva, the Latin form of Eve, is now a Top 100 name, perhaps gaining from some Ava-overflow from Ava, and influenced by the popularity of Eva Longoria and a few other sexy stars. It’s a true international favorite—Number 7 in the Netherlands, 13 in Scotland and 25 in England, and is pronounced as, yes, Ava in several cultures. One Ev-name that isn’t getting much love is Eva’s pet form, Evita, which hasn’t shaken its string connection to the longtime Argentine First Lady, Eva/Evita Peron.
When it comes to names, a small change can make a big impact. Ella-ending names have been loved for a while for their elaborate elegance. To find fresh alternatives, simply swap a vowel in the suffix: Illa-ending names are just as graceful, but not nearly as ubiquitous, as their Ella-ending cousins.
The most popular illa-ending name, Camilla, has steadily climbed the U.S. Social Security list over the past decade, but is still relatively uncommon compared to its super popular ella-ending counterpart. There were over thirty Isabellas for every Camilla born in 2011, the latest year Social Security statistics are available.
Here in our baby name bubble, in case you haven’t noticed, we tend to parse every element of every name for hints of incipient baby name trends. This would include first syllables, middle letters (like the current x), and endings like en and er for boys.
Just recently we’ve been noticing some suddenly increased attention focused on a group of Latinate names starting with the syllable Cas, which seem to be marching ahead in tandem. They all have a soft a sound, eliminating such oldies as Casey– and the Cas element is often pronounced Cash.
Here are the main contenders in this latest of baby name trends:
Cassia—This lovely, elegant name carries the scent of cinnamon, which is what its meaning is in Greek.
Cassian —Has the stylish Roman feel of names like Atticus; associated (not in the best way) with Julius Caesar, and also with abolitionist Cassius Clay, who inspired the birth name of Muhammad Ali. Variation Cassian is an ancient saints’ name primed to burst onto the modern scene ala Asher.
Have you noticed the sudden pop in popularity of girls’ names starting with the happy-go-lucky syllable ‘Ha’—some on them shamelessly stolen from the boys? Caught in the spotlight by two recent high-profile starbabies, Harper Seven Beckham and Jessica Alba’s Haven Warren, this is among the baby name trends that seem to be spreading like wildfire both inside and outside the celebrity sphere.
Harper. Originally a Scottish family name, this is the biggest hit of all, now Number 119 on the girls’ list, after just arriving in 2004, and jumping more than fifty places in the last year. It was inspired at least in part by America’s romance with the much-loved classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper (born Nelle) Lee, the book that has also propelled the name Atticus for boys. Harper’s cred was then reinforced by the character of Harper Finkle on The Wizards of Waverly Place, introduced in 2007 and to a lesser extent by a more minor one in Gossip Girl. Though Harper is still used for boys, most of the many recent starbaby Harpers—from Lisa Marie Presley’s to Neil Patrick Harris’s, have been girls. Trivia note: During fashionista Posh Beckham’s pregnancy, there were some snide rumors that her future daughter’s possible name was inspired by Harper’s Bazaar magazine.