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Category: Girl Names

Top Girls’ Names of 2012

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Our tally of the 100 most popular girls’ names of 2012 on Nameberry is in, and we have a new Number 1: Katniss.

The predominance of Katniss is more a testament to the power of the Hunger Games franchise than to baby name trends.

Our Number 2 girls’ name Charlotte, which has been Nameberry’s most popular girls’ name every year until now, is more reflective of a name that will actually be chosen by parents.  Imogen, which has moved up from Number 6 to claim the Number 3 spot, is another choice we see on the rise in the real world, though it has yet to break into the U.S. Top 1000.

Katniss is also the girls’ name that has risen the furthest on our list, followed by Penelope, propelled upward by its choice as a Kardashian baby name.

The girls’ names that have risen the most places since our 2011 count are:

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Sister and Brother Names

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To clear up any misunderstanding, let me say straight off that these are not literally sister and brother names — you would decidedly NOT want to name your children Oliver and Olivia or Seren and Soren.

What we’re talking about are names themselves that are closely related, male and female versions of names with similar sounds and feels, too close to bestow on actual siblings but offering parents boys’ and girls’ choices of what are virtually if not literally the same names.

We’ve written a lot recently about unisex names — the same name used for both genders, like Rory or Emerson — and we’ve also touched on the recent phenomenon of boys’ names that have risen to popularity on the coattails of their trendy sisters: Emmett from Emma, for instance, or Everett from the Eve contingent.

That can work the other way too, with a fashionable boys’ name inspiring the rise of a similar-sounding sister name.  In fact, does it really matter which gender’s popularity comes first?  We see a lot of trendy names these days with both female and male counterparts, so that if you’re attracted to a certain sound or style, you can use whichever version of the name fits your baby’s gender.

Some of these pairs, like Alexa and Alexander or Felicity and Felix, are connected in a conventional way: the female name is literally an offshoot of the male name.

But others don’t share an origin and developed separately, only to be connected at this point in baby name history by their similar feel and the desire on the part of parents for baby name parity, even if they’re not interested in using unisex names.

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Over-the-Luna About Baby Names

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In the Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s  Abby Sandel takes on one of the world’s longest celebrity baby names,  Rosalind A. A. A. F. Thurman-Busson aka Luna.

As summer slipped into fall, I was convinced we’d never learn the name of Uma Thurman’s new daughter.  And then suddenly, there was the announcement.  And what an announcement!  With five given names, a double-barreled surname, and a nickname to boot, no wonder last week’s baby name news was dominated by discussions of the not-quite-new arrival.

Uma and fiancé Arpad Busson have solid baby naming credentials.  Uma is already mom to Maya Ray and Levon with ex-husband Ethan Hawke.  Arpad has sons named Arpad Flynn and Aurelius Cy with supermodel Elle MacPherson.  The boys answer to Flynn and Cy.  It’s easy to imagine the parents struggling to narrow down their list.  I also wonder which of the six names they gave little Luna will prove to be the most influential.

Is it too much name?  Will she be forced to answer to Rosalind A.A.A.F. Busson-Thurmon on official documents?  Let’s say this: with family sizes shrinking, I completely understand the desire to use up all of our favorite names and honor all of our loved ones at once.  Yes, it makes for a long name – and yes, even the future King of England only has three middles – but I suspect many of us would be tempted to do the same.

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baby girl names

Around this time every year, we peek behind the Nameberry curtain to see which names are the most popular with our visitors.  This Top 100 for each gender, which reflects views of the name pages on our site, indicates which names have captured the most interest since the start of the year.

The girls’ list is evidence of both pop culture events along with future baby name trends.  Some analysis:

The Hunger Games is the obvious inspiration for Katniss at Number 1.  We don’t ever expect to see Katniss — or Primrose or Rue — in the U.S. Top 100 for real live baby girls.  But the appeal of the heroine inspires a great amount of curiosity about her unusual name.

Celebrities and their babies attract a lot of page views, which sometimes translate into baby name trends.  Names high on the Nameberry list thanks to celebrities and starbabies include Harper, Seraphine, Penelope, Violet, Isla, and Scarlett.  And these are all names that will continue to rise in the national name statistics as well, we predict.

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Mom Names

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There’s a new generation of mom names, not the midcentury Kathys and Sues that are fast becoming grandma names, but the names of young moms today, born for the most part in the 70s and 80s, their names acquiring a more grownup image as they’ve grown up themselves.

This blog was inspired by the discussion of mom names over on the forums.  On that board, berries are discussing their own moms’ names plus the names of moms they know who have young children.

Of course, not every name of a twenty-or-thirty-something mother qualifies as a mom name.  What does?

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