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The Newest, Hottest, Oldest Baby Names

hot baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Every year, the US government issues a list of the names that are making the biggest leaps up the popularity list.  And there, among the reality TV-inspired Daleyzas and Jayceons, sprinkled in with the new-fangled Jurnees and Zayns, is a collection of vintage names that for a range of reasons have suddenly become hot.

Sometimes, the inspiration is a film or television show, as with Marjorie and Game of Thrones or Walter and Hank from Breaking Bad.

A name’s choice by celebrity parents can make it go from sleepy to sizzling too, as happened with Olive after it was used for their daughter by Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Here, 40 vintage baby names making big leaps up the popularity list.  The +number indicates how many places each name moved up the US popularity list in 2013.  And the second number is the name’s standing on the popularity list.  Please note: Only those names in the Top 1000 are tracked.

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hot baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

What are the hottest baby names today, those zooming toward the top of the popularity list?

Identifying which names are moving fastest toward the top is an art, but there can also be some science to it.  We asked the Wizard of Nameberry, our engineer Hugh Hunter, to plot the upward trajectory of 20 names that have been vaulting up the charts over the past decade.  He crunched the numbers and came up with a Hotness Quotient: a number that plots each name’s relative hotness and stands for the number of places it will jump each year if it continues moving up the ranks at the same pace.

We tracked all the names on our list from 2001 through 2013; entering the Top 1000 more recently than that skews the HQ unfairly high.  Eloise, which reentered the Top 1000 in 2009, for instance, has an HQ of 145, nearly three times as high as our Number 1 name Adeline, while newcomer Jax, which entered in 2005, stands at 96, twice as high as our top boys’ name Finn.   But these names are unlikely to continue moving up at this velocity.

Here, our ten hottest girls’ and ten hottest boys’ choices., with their individual Hotness Quotients:

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28 Surprising Baby Names on the Rise

baby name Azalea

Swimming just below our Most Popular lists are other baby names that are attracting new levels of attention. Some of these are unusual names from traditional sources like the Bible and nature. Others are classic choices that have suddenly gone from dowdy to stylish.Many of these names share a darkness, an edginess I didn’t notice until I began researching illustrations to accompany the text. It may be that, in these vampire-threatened times, we’re more drawn to myths and pop culture sources that have a shadowy underside. Or it may just be that we’re looking harder for unusual names, in places parents may have shied away from in the past.Wherever we find them, here are 28 surprising baby names on the way up:

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Nara

By Pamela Redmond Satran

The hot baby names making the most dramatic leaps up the popularity list at Nameberry so far this year include several surnames newly favored as firsts; names inspired by a beloved literary character, a historic president and a new pope; the name of a cuddly animal and a term for a laid-back attitude.

Our 2013 hot baby names list is made up of those names whose views on Nameberry for the first half of this year show the largest gains over views during the same period in 2012.

While our hot list includes a couple of traditional girls’ names – Francine and Margo in all her spellings – along with one choice, the Irish Declan, that is decidedly a boys’ name, most of the hottest names today can work for either gender.

And most have until recently not been used as first names.  Sometimes it’s a celebrity, like funny girl Rebel Wilson, who brings a new name to the fore.  Celebrity babies or pop culture influences can also introduce new names to the lexicon.

But mostly, what makes a name hot is some combination of factors that catches fire in the moment.

Our hottest baby names for the first half of 2013 are:

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baby name Cataleya

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Trendy baby names have been around a lot longer Miley Cyrus or any of the famous Kardashians. From the dawn of recorded U.S. baby name history — aka 1880, when the federal government began keeping records — we’ve adopted names inspired by current events and popular people and culture, only to leave them behind for a new inspiration the next year.

The inspiration for name trends a century ago may have been politicians and war heroes rather than reality stars, but the definition of trendy baby names was the same: Names that spiked in popularity thanks to an outside influence, then sank from view along with its original bearer.

An organization called Flowing Data has calculated the trendiest names in US history, a fascinating look at which names burned the brightest only to fade the fastest.

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