Category: long baby names
By Abby Sandel
Looking at this week’s baby names in the news, you might think that parents are all about short names. We’ve heard high profile birth announcements for Edie and Della, Iyla and Poppy – no formal names required.
But it’s not that simple. Sure, Ava and Mia are in the current girls’ US Top 10. But so are Olivia and Isabella. Cheerful nickname Liam is the Number 2 name for boys, but classic William isn’t far behind.
For nearly every short name that’s trending upwards, there’s a longer possibility that’s also on the rise.
A glance at the US Top 100 lists from 1963 and 2013 suggests that the most popular names have gotten longer over the last fifty years. Back in 1963, the only Top 100 name longer than three syllables was Elizabeth.
There are more three-syllable names, and fewer single-syllable ones, too.
Maybe it has something to do with Harry Potter attuning our ears to long Latinate names like Bartemius and Xenophilius—after that, suddenly the four syllables of Tiberius and Cornelius or Persephone no longer seem too weighty for a modern little babe.
After all, Isabella is the Number 2 girl’s name– and other four-syllable names like Penelope, Amelia, Cecilia, Seraphina and Valentina are standing right in line to join her. So clearly, many parents today are looking for just such substantial names, just as others are seeking them out to balance a short, brisk surname.
Here are our Nameberry Picks of the 20 + freshest four-syllable choices on the table. (But do note that variations in pronunciation and/or speedy speech can sometimes elide four syllables into three.)
We got an email the other day from a mom with a very short, simple last name — let’s call it Cole — who wanted advice on a first name for her daughter.
All we could think was: Are you lucky! While it’s theoretically possible to give a child with such a last name an equally short and sweet first — Jane Cole may not feel inspired, but it’s acceptable — the field is open to get as elaborate as you want. In fact, with a surname that straightforward, it may be desirable to choose a first name that’s got lots of syllables.