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Category: middle name Elizabeth

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by Angela Mastrodonato of Upswing Baby Names

Some names are common in the middle but rarely used as first names. Others are common first names but hardly used in the middle. And then there are a lucky few that are popular first and middle names, such as Grace and James. But the ultimate double-threat is Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s status as a popular first name has endured over a century. Elizabeth is the only girl name that has remained in the top 30 since 1880, the earliest year baby name rankings are available from Social Security Administration. This places Elizabeth among the baby name elite.

While Elizabeth’s many nicknames has kept it a popular first name, Elizabeth’s distinctive rhythm has kept it a popular middle name. This distinctive pattern is four syllables with the stress is on the second syllable.

Four syllable names with the stress on the third syllable don’t flow as well with most first names. For example, compare the following name combinations with Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s Spanish counterpart, Isabella, which has the stress on the third syllable:

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This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel considers the impact of baby name popularity–does it sway our choices more than it should?

Lately I’m wondering: is all this talk about baby names changing the names we use?

A century ago, parents could draw inspiration from the newspaper, the Bible, literature, music, and anything on the family tree.  There was room for creativity, but actual data gathering would have been difficult.

Today a few keystrokes will tell you how many girls were named Isabella last year, or whether hundreds of random strangers think that Ethan Alexander is a good name for your son.  No wonder an expectant mom actually grimaced when I asked her if they’d chosen a name yet.

With all of this information, could it be that trends will accelerate?  Will we talk ourselves out of using great names?  I’ve heard of dozens of parents deciding against their top choice for fear that Stella is the next Ava. Or maybe they’re desperately searching for a name just like Logan, but much less popular, without actually being too unusual.

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