Category: classic 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.
These names could be your middle-aged neighbor or a kid in your child’s class. These names are all familiar. Most are traditional. Most are likable. Most are timeless.
And not one has ever made the top 10 on the Social Security list since 1880.
To me, this seems remarkable.
These names seem like they should have hit the top 10 by now. Take a look at the list and tell me if you agree:
We love to talk about celebrities who choose far-out names for their children. But how about those who take the royal route, giving their kids names that are more Buckingham Palace than Hollywood play date?
I thought there might be oodles of starbabies with monarch-worthy monikers. But if we’ve learned anything from the Great Kate Wait, it’s that the list of possible names for a new prince or princess is pretty short.
Plenty of high profile parents play it safe, sticking with popular picks like Ava and Zoe, or traditional names like Daniel and Joseph. But despite their popularity and long history of use, those aren’t names fit for a future king or queen
Many of the names rumored to be on the royal shortlist are rare in Tinsel Town. Alexandra, Caroline, Victoria, Diana, and Anne are seldom heard, and the same is true for the boys’ list. Then again, actor Sean Astin has three regally named girls, and Eva Herzigova’s three sons all wear royal appellations, too.
Maybe it’s because I used to be a fashion editor, but I’ve often thought that names were like clothes: coming into and going out of style, some choices enduring through the ages while others are momentary trends, everywhere for a season and then sinking from sight.
But the other day I started thinking that names are like clothes in a different way. Some names, I decided, are like magnificent couture ballgowns – gorgeous, luxurious, distinctive, dramatic, but a bit grand for everyday use. This may be the factor that keeps parents from choosing names like Raffaela and Orlando, Atticus and Anastasia, lovely as they may be.
More comfy and cozy, better suited to real modern life, may be the blue jean baby names. Down-to-earth and easy to wear, these blue jean names are popular but not trendy, attractive but never showy. With these names, you register the person first and the name second….or maybe fifth.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There are few names that have given birth to as many variations as Ann, the simplest and softest of the classic girls’ names. But while others like Mary and Margaret and Elizabeth have spawned almost unrecognizable progeny—from Daisy to Bessie to Peggy to Polly—most of the Ann derivatives have stayed pretty close to their mother name.
Yet Ann herself is an offshoot, coming from Hannah, a Hebrew name meaning ‘grace,’ who in the Old Testament is the mother of the prophet Samuel. This version was taken up by the Puritans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and remained a commonly used name in the Jewish community for several generations.
Anna is the Latin form widely used in countries across the world, while Ann was originally the English spelling and Anne the French. St. Anne was the traditional, non-biblical name of the mother of the Virgin Mary, which explains its popularity among Christians—and is the name of several saints. In more modern times, the affection felt for the character Anne Shirley in the childhood classic, Anne of Green Gables, also contributed to the spread of this spelling.