Category: girl names
Is the way we name our daughters changing?
The way we name our sons in 2014 feels different. For years we relied on Biblical favorites with a few hardy Germanic go-tos mixed in. But since the 1990s, we’ve seen names like Tyler, Mason, and Jayden reach the US Top Ten. Jackson is more popular than John, while former favorites like Richard and Steven are less and less common.
Girls’ names have always been more volatile. And yet, our ideas about what makes an appropriately feminine name were once more set. Sophia, Isabella and Charlotte might be today’s darlings, but they’re not so different from Amanda, Melissa, and Heather in the 1980s or Barbara, Cynthia, and Karen in the 1950s.
Many of the stories about the recent US Popular Names list focus on the names at the top and on the rise: the Sophias and Jacobs, Khaleesis and Jayceons of the baby name world.
But, just as some names go up, others must come down. The following 20 girls’ names fell out of the Top 1000 in 2013, some of them perhaps just taking a nap, others on a long slide toward obsolescence.
Both of these short forms for Abigail sank even as the original remains in the Top 10. The venerable Abbie has been more popular over the decades than Abigail herself, spending only 35 years outside the Top 1000 since the list’s inception in 1880, compared with Abigail’s 43. Abbey, the younger of the sisters, entered the rankings in 1978 where it remained until this year.
Both Adelaide and Adeline are beautiful, classic sounding names that have been gaining popularity for the past decade. Although similar, they are also distinct enough that it’s very possible they would both appear on many people’s lists. So how do you choose if you are partial to both? Sometimes it helps to look at them side by side.
Origin and Meaning
Meanings can carry aspirations for our children, or be a way to honour someone or something we love, while origins can be a way of honouring a particular heritage or your ancestry.
Adelaide – Adelaide has quite the European heritage. She’s German, originally Adalheid from the words ‘adal heid’, meaning ‘noble kind’. In Adelaide‘s original context, noble was meant to denote that someone was highborn. These days though we’re more likely to associate nobility with the virtue.
Do you prefer your girls’ names short and simple, or long and elaborate?
From just one syllable to seven or eight, this week’s high profile birth announcements proved that parents can choose a long, stylish name – or a short one that packs just as much punch.
When it comes to naming a daughter, imagination reigns. From Hollywood birth announcements to literary powerhouses, blog babies to the most random of name spottings, a great name can come from anywhere.
This week’s potential seismic name influence? Disney’s big screen retelling of Sleeping Beauty. This time, we’re getting the villain’s side of the story in Maleficent. Angelina Jolie might make the two-horned headdress look elegant, but I doubt she can sell her character’s name to future parents. Maleficent is too downright evil! But plenty of other choices associated with the big summer film could get a boost.
On a sad note, this was also the week the world said farewell to the towering Maya Angelou. If Francis has gained currency as a hero name, could the widely admired writer’s names – first and last – be next?
Together, they point towards some of the most interesting sources for naming daughters in our age: myth, fable, and literature, much of it ancient and well-worn, but some of it modern, even newly invented.