Category: new baby names
By Abby Sandel
Just last week, we were enjoying a mini-revival in classic baby names. There was the nicely-named – and beautifully alliterative! – Christopher Carlton Cumberbatch, a Mary Cecilia called Mamie, and lots of kids named Lucy and Oliver.
Then along came this week, and it’s a very different story. The names are bold, surprising, and in many cases, absolutely new.
But what about those names that have been off the list for a decade or longer — sometimes more than half a century! — and are now making a comeback?
There were only 13 such reborn names on the Top 1000 for 2014. It may be questionable to call some of them classics as they only entered widespread use in the 1970s or 80s. But many of these names were hugely popular 100 or more years ago and are true classic names once again spreading their wings.
by Abby Sandel
Back in 1944, names like Judy, Beverly, and Bruce felt new. In the 1970s, Kelly, Justin, and Shawn were novel. And in 1994, we were busy naming our sons original choices like Austin and Tyler, while our daughters became Alexis and Taylor.
Parents are always dreaming up new baby names, taking our inspiration from pop culture and the past. Not every new name feels freshly minted. Some seem like throwbacks, even vintage gems. Others become mainstream so quickly that it’s hard to imagine the names haven’t always been in use.
But make no mistake: plenty of the most popular baby names in the US are recent arrivals, as new the newborns who wear them.
How to define a truly new baby name? There are eight boy names and ten girl names that have only ranked in the US Top 100 for the past five years. They’ve also (almost) never charted in the US Top 1000 prior to 1984 – thirty years ago.
Atticus makes major baby name news by topping Nameberry’s count of Most Popular Names for the first half of 2015, on the publication day of the new Harper Lee novel casting the inspirational namesake Atticus Finch as a racist.
The ancient Roman boys’ name Atticus, which indicates a person from the region around Athens, first came to notice in the US via Harper Lee‘s 1960 novel To Kill A Mockingbird and its hero attorney Atticus Finch, played the following year in the movie by Gregory Peck.
But it wasn’t until 25 years later that the name Atticus even registered on the Social Security roster of US baby names, given to a mere nine boys in 1986. Atticus did not appear on the US Top 1000 until 2004, skyrocketing in the decade since then to an official Number 370.
And now Atticus is the Number 1 boys’ name on Nameberry, attracting the most searches by our visitors in the first half of 2015. It trumps Asher, our longtime Number 1, as well as Ezra, another Biblical favorite.
Charlotte is the Number 1 girls’ name on our 2015 half-year count, catapulted to the top by the newborn British princess. In second place for girls is Amelia, Number 1 in England, with US favorite Olivia in third place.
The big question is whether Atticus can retain his popularity as a baby name in the light of the racist, ranting Atticus Finch portrayed in Go Set A Watchman, published today as the long-awaited followup to Mockingbird. In the original book, Atticus Finch is a sensitive single father who defends a black man against a trumped-up charge in a bigoted world, but this heroic image is shattered in the current work. How many baby namers enchanted with the name Atticus will choose the name anyway….or even be aware of the new negative portrayal of the once-saintly Atticus Finch?
To Kill A Mockingbird has been an unlikely influencer of baby names half a century after its publication, with not only Atticus but Harper rising up the popularity list. Harper stands at Number 56 on the 2015 Nameberry list but all the way up at Number 11 on the official US popularity list for girls.
The Nameberry popularity list tallies the most-visited of the nearly 40 million views of our baby name pages since the beginning of 2015. Rather than tracking names given to babies last year as the official US count does, it registers which baby names are attracting the most interest from expectant parents right now — which may translate to popular usage over the coming years.
The Top 100 baby names of 2015 on Nameberry are:
But no, these names were given for the very first time to at least five American babies, earning a place on the Social Security’s extended name popularity list.
The craziest of the crazy new names? Here are our picks for the Top 12, plus a handful of other new names that should never have been: