Category: cool girls’ names
It’s astonishing to think that Hattie – just Hattie, all by itself, not Harriet — was Number 27 in 1880, until you realize that many other short forms were among the top choices that year. Minnie was all the way up at Number 5, Annie was Number 11, Nellie, 18, and Bessie, 23. Other nicknames for girls in the Top 50 included Carrie, Jennie, Mattie, Jessie, and Fannie (and obviously, the ie ending was the popular one).
Cool baby names today may reference celebrities, sure, but more and more parents are looking to fictional characters for inspiration when naming their children.
Based on nearly two million visits to Nameberry’s individual name pages over the past three months, we see these character names — from classic literature and futuristic fantasy, Old Hollywood films and modern animation — attracting big jumps in interest.
This is one cool baby names trend that makes sense. Fictional characters embody positive, uplifting qualities that their mortal counterparts often fall short on. And in the ever-broadening search for names with personal meaning, parents may find referencing a favorite book or film to be a perfect way to make an important style statement and give their child a namesake to look up to.
Here, the hottest character names on Nameberry right now:
But we’ve got a quieter, less obvious, but potentially more interesting list for you: those girls’ names that don’t make the Top 100 but that are attracting a dramatic rise in interest this summer over last.
Some of the names here bear a relationship to those on the most popular list: Aveline instead of Adeline, for instance, or Indigo rather than Scarlett, or Clover as opposed to Ivy or Poppy. While not all of these names are destined for future popularity, the baby namer in search of a name that will feel as fresh in ten years as it does today should take heed.
Our list of secretly popular girls’ names 2011 (look for the boys’ list next week):
When I was expecting my first child, I wanted a name with a lot of energy, for reasons that seem insane from the perspective of having raised three kids. But I didn’t anticipate that a high-energy toddler might run me ragged; I just knew I wanted my little boy or girl to be active, outgoing, not hobbled by the shyness and insecurities I felt had plagued my own childhood.
Well, I got my wish. Rory burst into the world, all 9 pounds, 5 ounces of her, with a shock of jet black hair and a voice that woke the whole maternity ward. At two weeks old, she was able to stand on my husband’s lap and sing along with him. As she grew, she starred in all the school plays and dominated on the lacrosse field.
The search for a high-energy name was part of the inspiration for our first name book. It was so difficult to sift through all the conventional name dictionaries on the market at the time and try to find names that sounded energetic (and Irish and that meant red, two of my other criteria). There should be a name book that put all the energetic-sounding names in one place, I thought, along with all the names that sounded smart and stylish, that were good for redheads or popular in the 1920s. That’s the thinking I brought to the first Beyond Jennifer & Jason (Linda, meanwhile, a friend and fellow writer, had conceived the same idea from a different direction), now grown up to Beyond Ava & Aiden.
Some stylish names share a first initial: Vowel names are particularly popular right now, for instance. Other times, it’s a rhythm or ending sound: Boys’ names with two syllables that end in N or R are big these days.
Still other fashionable names share an ethnic origin such as Irish or a gender identity like unisex or girly-girl.
But the names here, among the most popular AND the most stylish names of our day, have something much more illusive in common. You might even find yourself adding many of them to your shortlist without putting your finger on their mutual appeal.
The secret: An L in the middle.
That might seem like a little thing, but we posit that the L sound, particularly fashionable now too as a first initial, rings all kinds of positive bells in our subconscious, relating to such uplifting qualities as lovely and lilting and, well, even uplifting.
It’s no accident that the following L-in-the-middle names are stylish these days, particularly for girls. Some examples:
Alice (plus Alyssa and sisters)
Brooklyn (plus most names that end in lyn)
Celia (and Cecilia, Cecily etc)