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Category: name predictions

Brits Take Bets on Baby Names


When British Prime Minister David Cameron’s wife Samantha was due to deliver their baby recently, there was a flurry of publicity on both sides of the Atlantic concerning the odds being given by bookmakers on various name possibilities. Since this practice is unknown in the US, we put a shout out for a Britberry to explain it, and ‘Auburn’ answered the call.

On-track betting agencies, or “bookies”, have been around for decades, but it was with the legalisation of high street bookmakers that the industry boomed in the UK. Now, the main betting agencies – William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and the Irish Paddy Power -  not only take bets  on the outcome of sporting events, but also novelty bets on the winners of TV reality shows and, most recently, what name would be given to British PM David Cameron‘s new little girl.

It would take someone with only the most casual of name interests to see that Ladbrokes sorely needs a Nameberry intervention. Its favourites were Lucy, Daisy and Samantha. Lovely names, certainly, but the first two are clearly much too popular for the Camerons, with Lucy at #14 and Daisy at #25 in the UK. The name of their older daughter, Nancy, isn’t rare but is nowhere near that level of popularity. The names the couple chose for their sons Ivan, who died tragically at age six last year, and Arthur Elwen, who goes by his middle name, are downright obscure. As for Samantha, the likelihood of Sam Cam giving her second daughter her name in the first slot, when that passing down of names is fairly rare in Britain anyway, is … well, let’s just say I wouldn’t bet on it.

Certain other companies must have been consulting with Pam and Linda, because William Hill did much better – they gave Florence odds of 16/1: the baby was named Florence Rose Endellion, the last the Arthurian name of the patron saint of the Cornwall village where the child was born. Unfortunately, no bets were placed in her favour, but given their history of comparative accuracy you might want to put your money on Nick Clegg being Flo Cameron’s godfather (odds of 6/1).

Why has this trend of baby name betting sprung up? It’s all about what sells, and celebrity certainly does that. Novelty bets like these attract people who have no interest in more traditional wagers. It’s the same reason that newspapers report the odds so eagerly, too; celebrity babies make good news, but you can’t just publish an article speculating on names with no evidence. It’s beneficial to both parties for the media to quote the betting stores as though they were an authority on etymology. The pinch of salt these articles have to be taken with is indicated by the fact that one newspaper claimed Lucy was #12 on the top baby names of 2009 … even though statistics for the whole year of 2009 haven’t been released by the government yet.

It’s not just names that the bookies are taking an interest in, though – Paddy Powers has novelty bets on the first country to have their head of state confirm that they’ve been in contact with aliens, when the Hadron collider will reach full power and which will be the next volcano to erupt.

Making money aside, several things imply that the betting agencies just like a bit of a giggle over their novelty bets – odds of 500/1 that the panda born recently on a Chinese reserve will be named Paddy Power suggest they don’t take themselves too seriously. If you fancy a high risk flutter such as that, you could also bet on odds of 1000/1 that baby Florence will grow up to lead the Labour party (imagine those dinner table debates), and before the release of the iPad you might have considered the 100/1 possibility that it would be called ‘iCan’t believe it’s not a newspaper.’

Auburn‘ is a British teen who enjoys linguistics, and by extension is a devoted name lover. She is also passionate about film, theatre and literature, and finds all three to be worthy sources of name inspiration.


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Film countdown number 1

This week we’re looking for your predictions of what the top boy and girl names will be a decade from now–one for each gender.

Will it be a name that’s already in the Top 10 or a dark horse that you see moving up from behind?

Check back with us in 2020 to see the results!

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Baby Names 2010: Top 100 For Boys

2010 Top Names

Our focus on baby names 2010 continues today with the top 100 boys’ names.

The top seven names remain the same from the first quarter count, with Henry, Finn, and Oliver weighing in at numbers 1, 2, and 3.  This greater stability on the boys’ side echoes the pattern in the overall U.S. popularity list, where boys’ names tend to maintain their places longer than girls’ names.

The fastest riser is Sawyer, with Declan, Simon, Micah, Graham, and Landon also making big leaps.  William also landed much higher on the list — but we suspect that’s our mistake and we missed it last time.  Names that slid the furthest are Kyle, and Caleb.

New to the Top 100 from the first quarter (and marked with an asterisk*) are Satchel, Nico, Nicholas, Xavier (number 101 in the last count), Micah, Graham, and Landon.  No-shows: Hugh, Griffin, and Liev. Also no longer among the top boys’ names are three that may have landed on the list last time around because we mistakenly included searches for the girls’ versions: Harper, Remy, and Rory.

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2010 Top Names

See the hottest names for 2011!

Baby names 2010, nameberry style, are a fascinating collection, with Charlotte still at the top of the list for girls. Seraphina and Olivia follow at numbers 2 and 3, as they did at the end of the first quarter.

Names making the biggest leap up the list for girls are Harper, Jane, Quinn (influenced, no doubt, by Glee), Clara, Clementine, Ivy (a new entrant to the Top 100), and Bryn.  Other names new to the girls’ list are Juliet, Jillian, and Pearl.

Names falling the fastest are Willa, Lydia, Piper, and Lauren. Off the Top 100 this quarter are Bella, Beatrix, Maya, Mila, and Yvaine (though we confess to having to idea how that made it to the most-searched roster last time around).

Our Baby Names 2010 Top 100 list is compiled from the most-viewed names on nameberry for the first half of the year. The up and down arrows represent movement up or down the list compared with the first quarter of this year; an equal sign means the name is in the same position as it was first quarter. Double arrows indicate movement of more than fifteen places up or down.

Don‘t, however, take the meaning of the arrows too much to heart.  Often they represent movement of only a place or two, and a name’s movement over a single quarter can be influenced by a host of small factors unrelated to a true shift in popularity.

Of course, this list is vastly different than the official list of Most Popular Names in the U.S. The Social Security list is based on all actual births and name choices in the country, while the nameberry list measures which names our relatively style-conscious visitors are most curious about. Plus the nameberry list is up-to-the-minute, while the most recent Social Security list is for 2009.

Consider this, then, a look at which names will be more popular in the months and years ahead. We got some flack when we issued the quarterly list for calling these “elite” names, but we stand by that characterization. On the premise that nameberry’s visitors are better informed about names and have more discerning name taste than the general population (you do, don’t you?), we see these as names favored by parents who are looking for names with style, class, and staying power.

Can a small number of people searching repeatedly for a specific name skew the results? No. We can see not only how many times a name was searched but by how many unique individuals, so to those of you who tried to game our system by searching for Pervis and Gomer: We’re on to you.

Here, the Top 100 girls’ names for the first half of 2010. Tomorrow we’ll bring you the boys.





4. VIOLET up

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It’s just a little over a week  till the new Most Popular Names list is announced, for 2009.  How do you think things are going to change?  Will Emma and/or Jacob be toppled from their top spots? What names will rise and which will fall?

Here, as refresher, is the Top Ten for 2008:


1. Emma (unseating Emily for the first time)
2. Isabella
3. Emily
4. Madison
5. Ava
6. Olivia
7. Sophia
8. Abigail
9. Elizabeth
10. Chloe (first appearance in Top 10)


1. Jacob
2. Michael
3. Ethan
4. Joshua
5. Daniel
6. Alexander
7. Anthony
8. William
9. Christopher
10. Matthew

So what do you think? Is it Jacob‘s turn to fall from the top? Any predictions on fastest risers inspired by celebrities or pop culture? What’s YOUR vision of the Top 10?

First person to guess the new Top 10 gets a very public gold star on nameberry!

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