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For this week’s baby name news, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel picks the nine newsiest names, but looks at why it’s a plus to pick a popular name ahead of the curve, what the hottest new nickname is, and when some names have run their course.

Let’s say you named your daughter Stella back in 1999.  Your Stella is now in her teens, but somehow every friend-of-a-friend is using your name for their new daughter, and it isn’t just your imagination.  Stella barely registered in the US Top 1000 back in 1999, but today, it is a Top 100 pick – and rising.  You find yourself thinking unkind thoughts about Tori Spelling, and wondering why other parents can’t be just as creative as you were, back in the day.

While parents might find it irritating, I suspect that the kids who grow up with ahead-of-the-curve names probably like it just fine.  I know a 30-something Mackenzie, a 20-something Hannah, and a recent conversation about a teenaged Sophia made me think: is the happiest of occurrences to receive a fashionable name early in its rise?

It is a tricky feat to pull off, but if you’re lucky enough to be the parent of a 6 year-old Harper or a tweenaged Lucy, congratulations.  Your child will probably grow up sharing her name with attractive fictional characters, as well as the kids she babysits.

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Hurricane Names: Oddballs on the Lists

Baby Holding Teddy Bear

Reflecting upon recent hurricanes, Nameberry’s newest intern Deanna Cullen delved into “the eye of the storm,” so to speak, and returned with a flood of information on the hurricane naming process.

Mother Nature gives birth to a whole set of little terrors each hurricane season, so it’s only natural that we have a set of names by which to reprimand them- six sets of names, actually.

You don’t have to be a Weather Channel enthusiast to know that hurricane names are, by design, short, distinctive male and female names, listed in alphabetical order each year . What you may not know, however, is who is responsible for naming the hurricanes and why odd names like Gaston and Virginie made the 2010 list.

Since 1979, there have been six lists in rotation for Atlantic hurricane names, each established and maintained by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

A sanity check for all of you who may have thought “I swear I remember a hurricane with that name before…:” You’re right. Each list is repeated every seventh year, so this year’s list will reappear in 2016.

An exception to the rule. If a storm is so deadly or catastrophic that its continued use would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity, the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected by the WMO committee to replace it. Katrina, Floyd, and Ike? All gone.

So how are new names decided upon by the WMO? Just like any proud mother and father, a lot of thought goes into naming a newborn.

The committee takes into consideration the public’s response toward a name.  While a child with a complicated name may become exasperated by teachers’ constant mispronunciation of their names, a complicated hurricane name could have more catastrophic consequences. Thus, hurricane names should be easy to recall and on the shorter side.

The popularity of the first letter in a name is also a factor in the naming process. Current lists exclude Q, U, X, Y, and Z due to the dearth of names starting with those letters (Though hurricane names from 1958 included Udele, Virgy, Xrae, Yurith, and Zorna.)

The committee also considers ethnic names. Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, much like many of our country’s immigrants, have ties with European nations. Thus, the names may be French, Spanish, and English, in lieu of the  major languages bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Here are some hurricane names that really stand out (and haven’t made it into the Top 1000 in the last ten years), whether their respective hurricanes have been but a blip on the radar or otherwise.

On this year’s list:

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