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Top Baby Names 2009

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The top baby names 2009 were announced yesterday by the Social Security Administration, and the big news is that Isabella unseated Emma as the top girls’ name. Jacob remains for its 11th year atop the boys’ list.

Emma claimed the top spot for just one year before she was unseated by Isabella, the Spanish and Italian variation of Elizabeth that’s motored from the bottom of the top 1000 to Number 1 in the past two decades. Elizabeth itself has just fallen off the list, while Mia moved on.

Olivia and Sophia, which might be thought of as sister names to Isabella, also moved up.

Ethan is the new number 2 for boys, with Jayden, as in the name of Britney Spears’ son, and Noah newcomers to the Top 10, with longtime favorites Christopher and Matthew falling off.

Maliyah, along with Malia, was the fastest rising name for girls, inspired by the First Daughter. Cullen, surname of the Twilight hero, was the fastest rising boys’ name, with number 1 Jacob and Bella, as in Isabella, also claiming a Twilight connection.

Other pop culture-influenced names on the rise include Isla, Khloe, Scarlett, Violet, and Valentina for girls, with Jett, Romeo, and Maddox for boys. Moving down are Lindsay, Rihanna, and Tori.

We’ll be blogging lots more on the Top Baby Names 2009 over the coming days and weeks.

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Twilight Baby Names: Beyond Bella & Edward

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Stephenie Meyer‘s Twilight series has been one of the biggest influencers of baby name trends in recent times, propelling Bella, Edward, Cullen, Esme, and a host of other names up the charts.  Here, nameberry intern DANIELLE MIKSZA, a Twilight fan, analyzes the Twilight baby names.

There’s been a vampire epidemic going on ever since Twilight hit theatres. Everywhere you look there’s Rob Pattinson’s face or Taylor Lautner’s abs, not that I’m complaining. But what’s even more interesting are the names author Stephenie Meyer chose for all the characters.

Although Bella is a klutzy, plain, and moody teenager, Stephenie Meyer chose a name for her heroine that means beautiful. Also, she gave her the elegant surname, Swan. It’s difficult to see why a powerful and handsome vampire like Edward would fall in love with a boring human when he’s surrounded by immortal beauties like Rosalie and Tanya.  I guess aside from the floral scent of her blood, Edward sees something lovable in Bella that no one else sees.

The name Edward is suitable for Meyer’s other main character because it is an old-fashioned name that means “wealthy guardian.” Edward, Bella’s immortal love, is so protective of her that it becomes annoying. He sneaks into her room at night and once followed her all the way to the bookstore to make sure she was safe. He sees himself as a dark version of her guardian angel and tries to buy her lavish gifts like a new car. I guess being over a century old and never having to worry about buying groceries, he has a few bucks stocked away.

Esme is another name that seems to be from a more elegant age. It means “beloved,” which is perfect when paired with Edward’s sweet and charming foster mother.

Bella’s mother, Renee, became fed up with her mundane life and left in search of a more exciting one. Renee left her husband, Charlie, and took off to Phoenix, where she married a young baseball player man named Phil. The name Renee fits the character’s personality because it has a young and spunky feel to it. Bella’s mother may have a few laugh lines here and there, but her spirit is anything but ancient.

Jacob Black is my all time favorite Twilight character. The only thing I wasn’t too fond of was his name: too good boy for a motorcycle rider whose sole purpose is to kill vampires. But after learning that the Jacob means “supplanter,” I once again applaud Stephenie Meyer for choosing an appropriate name. A supplanter is something that takes the place of something else, fitting for a human who changes into a wolf.

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