Category: British baby names
What names are quintessentially ‘British’?
I see this question a lot but it’s a hard one to pin down. Do we mean solely British in origin, or only British in use? When Prince George was born our media heralded it as a “quintessentially British” name — and why not? We’ve had numerous kings bear the name, and it’s even the name of the patron saint of England. But George was originally a Greek name, brought late into our Royalty by German Hanovarians. Ask many Americans and the first George they think of is Washington or Bush.
For me, the quintessentially British names are those which are very familiar to us as a nation, that have been or are currently popular, but are little used in America, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries. Names such as Nicola – our darling of the 70s – Darcy, Imogen, Poppy, Freya, Alfie, Jenson, Gareth, Alistair and Finlay.
It’s official! The number 1 names in 2013 for England and Wales were Amelia, for the third year running, and Oliver, last at #1 in 2010. Steep climbers Ava and Isla both made it to the Top 5 and Oscar and Poppy were in the Top 10 for the first time.
According to a study on baby name trends by the Office of National Statistics , the Prince George Effect on names has been so far overrated — though the names of royals Harry, William, and George all now rank in the Top 10 for boys.
Here is a list of the Top 30 names:
When I was at University, I was lucky enough to study Ancient History as an undergraduate degree. l found the whole subject absolutely fascinating, but I must admit that I could often get sidetracked from my studies whenever a research paper or book contained a map or list of ancient cities. You see, the name-nerd in me couldn’t help revelling in the names of ancient places — I’d frequently roll the lyrical syllables around my tongue and scribbled them down on the corner of my research notes.
A whole heap of ancient place names are not only mellifluous but also aesthetically pleasing. Sadly, many are lost to us today or have long-since been renamed. Wouldn’t it be nice to reclaim a few of them back into nomenclature?
The British are known as much for their eccentricity as for their conventionality, two stereotypes evidenced in the names from the recent birth announcements in the London Telegraph.
Sometimes, the two images cross, with the same eccentric (to American ears, at least) names being used so often they begin to feel conventional. The first three months of 2014, for instance, seem to be rife with girls named Matilda and Ottilie and boys named every variation of Fred: Frederick and Wilfred and Alfred and Freddie.
But what we’re focusing on today are the truly eccentric names, the one-offs and the unusual choices that may prove fashion forward or may just be evidence of the infamous British wackiness. These eccentric new names fall into several different camps.
The first and largest might be thought of as the mainstream eccentric British names, such as:
The question isn’t really, Do you dare to give these names to your children, but should you dare?
As many Britberries have pointed out, the names usually found in the Telegraph represent not widespread British naming trends but eccentric aristocratic tastes, so perhaps most of us aren’t debating the merits of Digby and Venetia in any case.
Before we focus on our question, a few trendlets to note: Several girls named Jessica. Middle names Tom, Sue, and Adventure. And in a reversal of American style, boys’ names generally more daring than girls’.
Back to the issue at hand: What do you think of these adventurous, intriguing, but perhaps too-challenging names taken from recent Telegraph birth announcements? Would they work in the U.S….or anywhere else, for that matter?