Category: British baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There’s a new novel out that’s attracting quite a bit of attention titled Vanessa and Her Sister, the story of the Stephen sisters, Vanessa and Virginia—the latter far better known by her married name, Virginia Woolf. The two of them were key members of the influential literary circle known as The Bloomsbury Group.
Looking at the names of both the main members and the more ancillary ones in this creative coterie sometimes called the “Bloomsberries,” we find some appropriately distinctive, sometimes arcane, appellations. Beyond Vanessa and Virginia (who was born Adeline Virginia), here are the most interesting.
Names travel among cultures further and faster now than ever before.
The British like such French names as Sophie and Chloe, while in France there’s a craze for British names such as Emma and Tom. And then there are those names used throughout Europe that are gaining some attention in the US: Cosima, Leonie, Roman.
The Top 100 names of England and Wales are resplendent with choices that feel a lot more chic and surprising in the US than they must in the UK.
Freya, for instance, the Norse goddess name that’s become a Top 20 staple on the other side of the pond, just cracked the US Top 1000. Florence, which has been stylish in the UK for decades now and still stands at Number 29, fell off the US Top 1000 in 1982 and has yet to reappear. Harriet is Number 61 in the UK while it hasn’t been on the US Top 1000 since the 1970s, while Martha stands at Number 73 in the UK and rising yet is at 803 and sinking in the US.
Below the UK Top 100, it’s impossible to quantify baby name trends as statistics don’t exist. Instead, we must rely on anecdotal evidence: What fashionable young parents in Shoreditch and Swansea are naming their babies, compared with names considered stylish in Soho (the New York one) and Silver Lake. While there are some similarities — fashionable parents on both sides of the pond love Iris and Oscar, Ada and Arthur — there are many fascinating differences in taste.
Our prime examples of names that are more stylish on the UK side of the pond than the US:
Now that 2014 is coming to an end, here is a look at the main trends and influences that have proven popular in Britain in this eventful year.
ALL ABOUT THE AR
The hottest sound this year is the undoubtedly ‘Ar’. Archie, Arthur, Martha and Arran in Scotland have already obtained top 100 status, but 2014 has also seen a rise in the likes of Arlo and Archer for boys and Arabella, Aria/Arya and Ariana for girls.
Clara and Margot are two vintage ‘ar’ sound choices that have been gaining more attention this year, while the similar ‘Or’ sound has also bolstered Aurora, Aurelia and Scottish choices Orla and Rory.
By Eleanor Nickerson, British Baby Names Are Amelia and Alfie the most popular British A names? You would be forgiven for thinking so, but the answer depends on where you live. Scots would say it’s Ava and Alexander, while Northern Ireland would quote Aoife and Adam. Though we are all held together by common trends, each part of the UK has its own regional favourites. Sophie, for example, holds sway as the most popular S girls’ name in most of Britain except Wales, where Seren is favourite. Northern Ireland likes Finn better than Finley, and Scotland prefers Brodie to Benjamin.