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meyerlemons

The Number One girls’ name of the decade so far is Emily, with about 190,000 babies receiving that name since 2000.  And the top boys’ name is Jacob, given to nearly 229,000 boys this decade.

But there are other names that are given to more than twice as many babies as those Number One names.  Not many parents realize that the names they’re choosing carry this huge degree of popularity.  No states or government agencies track these names or alert people to what vast numbers of children receive them.

Why not?  Because they’re not a single name but a meganame, or a cluster of names, if you like.  These are names that are closely related in form and spelling, with lots of overlaps that sound exactly alike.  There are many examples in modern U.S. baby names – including to some extent Jacob and Emily themselves – but let’s focus on three of the most notorious.

For boys, the premier meganame might be thought of as the Aden cluster.  It includes the following names, arranged so that the relationships are most obvious:

ADEN
AIDEN
AIDAN

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