Category: cool girls’ names
The other day we offered eight fresh choices for boys, and now it’s the girls’ turn—girls’ names ranging from a rare botanical specimen to a nostalgic nickname to an undercrowded place name.
1–Acacia—This a a pretty and delicate botanical name that has hardly been heard in this country, though it ranked as high as Number 273 among girls’ names in Australia, where the Acacia is a common flowering shrub, in 2008. Acacia has a heritage that dates back to ancient Egyptian mythology, in which it was considered the tree of life due to the belief that the first gods were born under a sacred Acacia tree. There is also an eponymous fantasy novel, Acacia. Caveat: just don’t think about the other name of the Acacia tree—the Golden Wattle.
2–Amabel—Not to be confused with Annabel (though it well might be), the lovely Amabel has been around since medieval times, and has appeared in a number of British novels, including Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death, and heard as well as among the English aristocracy. Amabel gave birth to the shortened form Mabel, which has a much brasher image, and we think a name that means lovable, deserves more love than it’s gotten.
Now we bring you our full list of Top Names 2011, the 100 most popular for girls and boys as well as the 25 most-searched unisex names, based on Nameberry’s figures for the first six months of the year.
Remember, these are the names that are getting looked at the most on Nameberry, not yet the names people are using the most for their babies. The Social Security Most Popular Names list comes out in May and is based on births the year before, so the most recent data is for 2010.
With our 2011 list, we’re gauging the names that are attracting the most interest right now, which we believe will translate into actual name choices over the coming years. Consider this list a predictor of future baby name trends.
Warning: These lists are really long. But we know the Berries can never get enough.
Here are the Top 100 for girls and boys and the Top 25 unisex names:
What are the hottest new baby names this year? Based on an analysis of over 23 million page views at Nameberry since January, we’ve pegged these choices as the Hottest Names of 2011.
It’s a surprising list, driven by unexpected celebrities, rediscovered classics, and the year’s most compelling events.
Nameberry’s Hottest Baby Names of 2011:
Pippa – It wasn’t only Pippa Middleton’s bottom that attracted widespread attention at the Royal Wedding; her name – both the familiar Pippa and the more formal Philippa – is the Number 1 hottest baby name of the year on Nameberry. Pippa ranks 35 on our most-searched list so far this year and did not appear at all among the 200 most popular girls’ names of 2010. While Kate is up too, it’s not nearly as hot.
Asher – The soft, Biblical Asher takes the Hottest Boys’ Name spot by virtue of having unseated Henry as the all-time Number 1 name for boys on Nameberry. For the first time in 2011, Asher has pulled ahead.
Elula – New celebrity baby name trend: Parents choose attention-getting name, then refuse to reveal the name they’ve picked, perhaps to heighten interest and publicity? This unusual choice of Isla Fisher and Sasha Baron Cohen for their second daughter was not even in our database last year – it’s a name drawn from the Hebrew calendar — and now is the Number 38 most-searched name on Nameberry.
When Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany recently named their newborn daughter Agnes, I was very excited. For a baby name connoisseur, the choice of Agnes by two stylish and attractive stars heralded the arrival of a new kind of cool name: the slightly awkward, somewhat geeky name that’s so uncool it’s cool.
Of course, Geek Chic has been around for awhile now, in names as in other aspects of fashion. In our book Beyond Ava & Aiden, we featured a category – now on Nameberry – of Clunky but Cool Names for boys and for girls. (There are also more, similar choices on the lists of Old Lady Names and Old Man Names. The list of Old People Names, taking off from the twitter sensation, is full of names that are terminally geeky.)
Some of these choices, like Hugo and Oscar for boys, for instance, and Imogen and Matilda for girls, sound a lot more cool than clunky these days. As vintage names become more mainstream and our tastes broaden, names that seemed edgy just a few years ago now feel normal and pretty – pretty normal.
How would you describe your favorite name style?, asked a recent Nameberry Question of the Week. Do you prefer cool names? Classic? Stylish? Or what?
Which put me in mind of trying to characterize my own name style. You might think that we at Nameberry were born knowing our personal name styles, since we’ve made a life’s work of classifying names into styles and helping other people figure out what kinds of names they love.
But like the shoemaker’s child, I’d never really defined my own name style until Linda posted this question. I definitely like vintage names, I decided, along with names that are a bit unusual. Cool names, but not too cool. Classy, yet quirky.
And then the right term for it came to me: Eccentric Aristocrat. You know, the kind of names that might belong to madcap lords and exotic baronesses (baronessi?) dashing around the countryside in yellow roadsters, drinking champagne and weekending at castles.
Yes, it’s a little bit British, but it’s also kind of Eurotrash and pretty F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton sophisticated American too. Eccentric Aristocrat names hint at a Russian count as a grandfather, a Scottish pile as an inheritance, ancient relatives who have to be honored with highly unfashionable names – except now that you think about it, those names are actually kind of cool.
Regular readers of Nameberry will recognize the Eccentric Aristocrat in many of the names that, not coincidentally, are favorites on this site: Violet and Jasper, Flora and Felix. Those are the kinds of names that I’d choose for my own children. (The fact that I didn’t choose those kinds of names for my own children is another story, one that starts with my husband’s name style being more Solid Midwestern than Eccentric Aristocrat.)
A few rules on what makes a name an Eccentric Aristocrat:
2. It must have a distinct gender identification, but not a conventional one. The name Inigo is clearly male, while India plainly female. Yet Inigo might just as well design clothes as play football, and India seems as appropriate a name for an international financier as for a supermodel.