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antonia

Too often, it can feel like all the classic baby names are too, well, ordinary, while all the under-the-radar names stay undiscovered for a reason.  But swimming beneath the Top 1000 baby names are many choices that are both classic and distinctive.We’ve brought 14 such treasures for girls’ to the surface for your consideration.  They encompass a range of styles and origins, from biblical to literary, buttoned-up to offbeat.  One might be right for your baby.

Manipulated image of Princess Antonia by Linnea-Rose

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Classic Girls’ Names: All about Alice

alice2

With a number of classic names taking a downward turn these days, it’s nice to see that a few are going in the other direction—William, James, Charlotte –and one that we’re especially happy to see making a return: our featured name of the day, Alice.

Alice is unique among the body of traditional, classic girls’ names.  She’s more feminine and dainty than Mary and Helen, more substantive than Ann or Jane or Jean, yet with more lightness, sweetness and innocent charm than Margaret and Katharine.

From the late nineteenth century through the 1920s, Alice was an enormously popular Top 20 name–reaching as high as Number 8 several times—then slowly made its way down until 2005 when it suddenly reversed direction again.  TinFey named her baby Alice the following year, and from then on its upward trend has accelerated, with the name getting to 142nd place last year.

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Baby Girl Names: Two-for-One Choices

twin-girls2

Maybe because Nameberry attracts such serious name lovers, many visitors to the site can’t settle for choosing just one name for their babies.

I’m not talking about the trend toward picking two middle names but about the taste for baby girl names that have two very different versions: a classic, elaborate, elegant, formal name with a cute, modern, spunky nickname that may be very distinct in sound and feel.

These two-for-one names seem to work best for girls, as evidenced by a recent message board rundown of the possibilities.  And of course it’s a phenomenon we’ve come across frequently on Nameberry before.

Many parents, in fact, say they’re only interested in baby girl names that go two ways.  And most don’t want to settle for the obvious, traditional short form — Penny for Penelope, for example — but are seeking a proper name and an inventive short form.

Some examples of fresh two-for-one names for girls, with thanks to our wonderful berries for some of these creative ideas:

AlexandraLexi or Sasha

AramintaMinty

AureliaGoldie

BeatrixBetty or Trixie

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abby4-2

In The Nameberry 9 blog this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel, addresseses the question of “What is a ‘normal name?”

The news was filled with so-called normal names this week.  But what defines a normal name?  Is it a Top Ten choice that plenty of people your age share?  Or are normal names the ones that remain in popular use for decades?

Singer Ne-Yo insisted that his son’s name is fit for a gentleman, and I wouldn’t argue – it’s a great name.  But it is also a name that seems poised for the Top Ten, meaning that some perceive him as trendy, a cousin to Jayden and Aiden.

A widely-discussed report trumpeted the demise of Mad Men names, citing Don and Betty as examples of the most endangered appellations in all of nameland.  There’s some truth to that, but it is equally true that plenty of names are enduring classics, the kind of choice that makes it difficult to pin down a child’s year of birth.

Normal changes, at least when it comes to given names.  The endangered name list included plenty of perennial favorites, and that leads us right to our nine most newsworthy names this week:

James – The buzz about poor Betty and Don being so out of fashion included a list of others supposedly on the brink of extinction, like James – a name never out of the US Top 20 – and William, currently in the US Top Ten.  The boys’ list was packed with timeless choices, including David, Charles, and Thomas.  Maybe you won’t name your next son Roger, but many of us would consider one of the names on their so-called watch list.

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Nameberry Picks: The 12 best feminizations

georgia

In this era of boys’ or at least boyish names for girls, feminizations — classic feminine forms of male names such as Charlotte and Georgia — seem almost quaint.  Why not just name your daughter Charlie….or George?

Well, there are a lot of reasons.  And choosing a more traditional feminization can give you the best of all name worlds.  Most are distinctly female without being frilly, have deep roots yet feel right for the contemporary world, let you honor a male ancestor without creating any confusion about the gender of his little namesake.

There are so many great feminine forms that it was difficult narrowing the list down to just a dozen.  But these are our current favorites:

Antonia Antonia is a lush and gorgeous name that has not found favor the way sisters Charlotte and Georgia have.  In fact, it fell off the US Top 1000 in 2007 — which may be a very good reason to use it now.  While some may find it too Old World, we think it’s lovely in its full form, not shortened to the considerably less classy Toni or Tonia.

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