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Category: classic baby names

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The Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel of  Appellation Mountain

What makes a name a true classic?

Very few names have been in constant use, and those few evergreen choices differ across cultures and languages.

A definition is elusive.  A classic should be universally recognized and long established. It should possess either a measure of elegance or another distinguishing characteristic.  But classic isn’t a black and white line.  In baby name discussions, classic sometimes translates as “a name I like.”

Are Adelaide and Charlotte as classic as Mary? How do Walter and Jeremy compare to William and JamesHow about names like Samantha or Brooke – seldom heard before the twentieth century, but now solidly established?  How many years does it take to make a classic, bearing in mind that classic rock is sometimes as young as five decades old.

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boyangel

Our new book, The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys, selects the 600 very best choices from the 20,000 boys’ names on Nameberry.

We wanted to pick the top choices from a wide range of different types of names – classics and new inventions, adventurous and conservative – to help parents zero in on the best of the best.

Today we spotlight ten biblical names included in The Nameberry Guide to the Best Baby Names for Boys.

Abraham

Abraham was the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and is considered the founding father of the Jewish people. He was originally named Abram, until, according to Genesis, he was told, “No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.”

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Classic Baby Names: 10 timeless choices

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Classic baby names can encompass several different categories. There are Biblical names, from Anne to Zachary. There are names rooted in ancient cultures, including Atticus and Juno, which have survived or are being revived today.

And then there are the classic names that have been well-used in English-speaking cultures over the decades and centuries. While classic names by any definition do move in and out of style just like other names, some manage to endure better than others and become, well, the most classic classic names.

Here, our picks for ten of the best classic baby names today.

girls

Catherine – The Duchess formerly known as Kate has done much to swing fashion toward the C-beginning version of this most classic of girls’ names.  Catherine, classic in any spelling, has been borne by saints and queens along with some of the most inspiring literary heroines, including Heathcliff‘s Cathy of Wuthering Heights.   Greek for “pure,” Catherine comes in countless international variations and with a wide range of nicknames.  Most stylish today are Cate or Kate or the vintage-feeling Kay or Kitty.

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by Linda Rosenkrantz

The crystalline clear classic Claire has seen an impressive rise recently—entering the Top 50 for the very first time in 2011—and bringing Cousin Clara and other relatives slip-streaming along with her. The perfect time to take a closer look at this clear-eyed family.

CLAIRECurrently favored spelling Claire was introduced to England by the Normans, but its modern use only dates back to the nineteenth century.  Now at Number 45, Claire has risen more than forty places since 2000, one of those solid  ‘sweet spot’ names that is familiar but distinctive, feminine but not frilly, popular yet immune to trendiness. Most prominent Claire at the moment is Emmy Award-winning Homeland star Claire Danes (mother of a son named Cyrus), while characters called Claire have appeared in movies and shows from The Breakfast Club to Lost to Modern Family.

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posted by: upswingbabynames View all posts by this author
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by Angela Mastrodonato of Upswing Baby Names

Legions of expectant parents search for that “underused classic” name each year.

But what exactly is an “underused classic” name? Do underused classic names even exist? Are they some impossible standard like names that are universally appealing and forever-guaranteed-to-stay-unique?

“Classic” can be interpreted differently by different people. Instead of describing a name as “classic” I usually use “traditional” or “timeless” instead.

Semantics aside, a working definition of how I decide what makes a name “classic” might be useful. And in my world there is more than one type of classic name:

Authentic Classics – Evergreen names like Elizabeth and James. Ideally these names have never left the top 50 since 1880, the earliest year name rankings are available from the Social Security Administration.

Modern Classics – Names that were uncommon before WWII, but have become more common in recent generations and have morphed into traditional names. Examples: Allison and Kyle.

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