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Popular Boys’ Names: Top 100 Makeover

boys' names

by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz

 It was the Case of the Great Missing Baby Names Blog.

One of our most-read blogs of all time, a makeover of the top 100 most popular boys’ names, disappeared from our archive.  We didn’t even notice it was gone until a Berry wrote wondering where it was.  The girls’ makeover, also written by Elisabeth Wilborn of You Can’t Call It It, is still there.  But the boys’: stolen, zapped, vanished into thin air.

So we set out to fashion a new version, using the current popular boys’ names list of 2012.

These are our suggestions of similar-but-different names you might substitute if you like the original boys’ name, but it’s just too popular.

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Boys’ Names 2012: Nameberry’s Top 100

boys' names 2012

Now it’s the boys’ turn at the Top 100 list.  These are the most popular names gauged by visitors to their pages so far in 2012.

As with the national list, the boys’ top names are more stable than the girls’ — though the Nameberry list is very different from the U.S. list.  Our Top 5 names are the same as in 2010, with the exception of new entrant Milo.

Trends on our boys’ Top 100:

The Nameberry list is geared to non-traditional but deeply-rooted boys’ names.  We see this trend on the U.S. list as well, but it’s even more pronounced in our statistics — which indicates that overall trend will continue to move toward unconventional boys’ names and away from standards such as Robert and John.  The exceptions: Henry, James, and William.  But however unconventional, the Nameberry favorites, from mythological Irish Finn to Biblical Asher, have deep roots.

– Celebrities and pop culture are important, but not as important as for girls.  We see Finn, partially inspired by Glee, at Number 1 and Atticus in the Top 10 thanks to To Kill A Mockingbird.  While other names — Jude, Liam, Emmett, Hudson, Arlo — have risen on the heels of popular stars, celebrity babies, and movie and TV characters — we see this influence on boys’ names less pronounced than on girls’.

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abby-7-2c

This week, for her Nameberry 9, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel picks the newsiest names on the boys’ side of the gender divide.

Midway through compiling this week’s list, I realized just how many great boys’ names are out there.

This is a subject of some debate.  Creativity in naming a son was long frowned on, and parents tended to fall back on the most familiar choices.  In 1900, more than 6% of all newborns were named John, while just 5.25% answered to Mary.  #2 name, William, was given to almost 5.3% of boys, but the #2 girl name, Helen, represented just under 2% of new births.  The names change, but the pattern holds.  In 1965, 4.3% of boys were Michael, and 3.3% of girls answered to Lisa.  Generally speaking, more boys receive the most popular names.

Reasons are plentiful, and even the most daring namer of daughters may very well veer towards the classics for a son, leading to sibsets like James, Henry, and Persephone.  But could this be the generation to challenge that pattern?

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Boys’ Names: Names gone wild

dog-riding

Boys’ names have gone wild. You can hear a sudden growling on the popularity and starbaby lists, with sweet little babies being given such fierce animal appellations as Wolf and Puma, born-to-be-bad names like Bandit, Wilder, Maverick, Rogue and Rebel, Gunners with Colts, and others suggesting such heavy duty gear as Cannon and Diesel, as well as the names of powerful mythological gods like Thor and Ares and Mars.  There are lots of boys named Blaze, and even one starbaby called Fire.

What’s with the fashion for fierceness in boys’ names?  We see it as a wish to recapture traditional male strength and power along with an impulse to leave conventional civilization behind.  These names suggest old school bad boys in a brave new world, one in which boys still throw rocks and ride dirt bikes but also wear earrings and headbands.

Here are the fierce names we’re hearing today:

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hungergamesvanity

Click here for newest popular baby names.

Baby names 2012 are already proving themselves to be very different from last year’s choices, with The Hunger Games taking over from Twilight as the primary cultural influence on names, the hottest boys’ names taking a cue from the girls, and musical names trumping Hollywood for inspiration.

In an analysis of nearly 3 million views of Nameberry’s individual name pages in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year, these names are enjoying the biggest jumps in attention.  Here, our picks for the top baby names 2012:

Rue – Credit The Hunger Games, which has turned the spotlight on a range of exotic botanical names for girls, from the heroine’s name Katniss to gentle Primrose to Posy and Clove.  But the hottest choice for babies, according to the Nameberry statistics, is sleek, simple, if somewhat mournful Rue, the name of the agile young girl who meets a tragic end in the series.  In real life, however, we see Rue as having a bright future.

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