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Pnames2

Just as names move in and out of fashion so do sounds and initial letters.  In the 70s and 80s, J-names ruled, from Jennifer and Jason to Jessica and Joshua, and then came the Ms –Michael, Matthew, Melissa, Megan, the Bs—Brianna, Brittany, Brandon, the Ks—Kayla, Kimberly, Kelsey, and the still continuing As and Es—Ashley, Amanda, Ava, Emily Emma.

But what did they replace?  If you want proof of how an initial can fall totally out of favor, all you have to do is look at the performance record of the letter P.

In the last year counted, you have to scroll the Social Security list all the way down to #60 to find a single name beginning with that letter—the girl’s name Peyton—and for boys it isn’t until #124 that you get to Preston.  When P-names were in their prime, in 1950, you would have found nine names in the Top 60—Peter, Patrick, Philip, Paul, Peggy, Phyllis, Paula, Pamela and Patricia, none of which is found in the Top 100 today.

I’m not saying Phyllis is necessarily ready for her comeback (though those boys’ names could be), but there are certainly other P-names worthy of trying to resuscitate the reputation of that lost letter.  Such as:

GIRLS

PALOMAPaloma is one of the loveliest options, and among the best bets for success.  Meaning ‘dove’ and thus symbolizing peace, it’s both gentle and dynamic.  A similarly appealing Latin name is PALMA, namesake of the charming city on the island of Majorca.

PATIENCE and PRUDENCE – Two virtue names projecting calm and—well—patience and prudence.  And the latter has the great nickname Pru plus a Beatles song for lullaby time.

PATRICE – The French unisex version of Patrick/Patricia gives either of those old standards a touch of Gallic flair and sophistication.

PATSY – Saucy, spunky nickname name that hasn’t been heard for so long that it’s beginning to sounds fresh.

PAULINA/PAOLINAPAULINE is sweet; these Spanish and Italian versions are stylish and exotic.

PEARL – Definitely regaining some of its old luster.

PENELOPE/PENNYPenélope Cruz has single-handedly revved up the appeal of this former frump; Penny is its cute retro nickname.

PERSIS –A distinctive New Testament choice for the intrepid baby namer.

PETAL and POSY—Rather than choosing the popular Rose, Lily or Daisy, you could go for one of these more unusual generic flower-related options.

PHILIPPA – Whereas Philip feels dated, its female counterpart, which has never gained much traction in the US, sounds interesting and new. Plus it has that bursting-with-energy nickname PIPPA.

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Hot Baby Names: Max in the Spotlight

where_the_wild_things_are_poster

Max, the name of both the child hero and the young actor who plays him in Where The Wild Things Are, is one of the hottest boys’ names these days.

Max can stand on its own or may be a short form of the ancient Roman name Maximus, which means “greatest,” or of Maximilian or Maxwell.  It’s one of the down-to-earth cigar-chomping grandpa names last popular a hundred years ago and enjoying a huge revival now.  Like brothers Sam and Jake, Max is unpretentious and friendly but also sounds cool.

Celebrities led the way in launching the revival of the name, starting in the late 70s and early 80s.  Stars who are the parents of now-grown kids named Max include Dustin Hoffman, Henry Winkler, Steven Spielberg, and Nora Ephron & Carl Bernstein.

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beatlesbabies

What could be sweeter than for your baby to have its (I know–you can’t call it ‘it’) own theme song, a readymade melody featuring  his or her name,  for you to sing along and dance to together?  Some of the most appealing of these can be found in the Oldies section, from the era of first-generation, classic and folk rock.

A logical place to check out first is the Beatles Songbook, which actually has had something of an influence on baby naming.  It was no coincidence that when “Michelle, ma belle” won the Grammy Song of the Year award in 1966, Michelle was simultaneously shooting up the name popularity list.  And now Jude–which took awhile ( linking to the good looks and sunny personality of Jude Law didn’t hurt)–is moving up the charts.

Here, names taken from Beatles titles:

ANNA

BILL

ELEANOR

JUDE

JULIA

LIZZIE

LUCY

MADONNA

MAGGIE

MARTHA

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