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Popular Names: Nicknames Gone Wild

MultiBABY2

How do you tell when popular names get too popular?

If a name is in the Top 10, it might be easy, but what if they’re further down the list….and how far is far enough? Judging popular names gets even more difficult when they’re short forms, maybe not so popular at all on their own.

Just how ubiquitous is Lily?, an expectant mom asked recently on our forums. Lily as itself is Number 17 on the official popularity list; up there, for sure, but there are only a third as many Lilys as there are girls who get the number one Isabella. So is Lily really one of those names you’re going to hear coming and going?

Sadly, the answer may be yes, and here’s why.

Lily, along with a handful of other nickname names, is not only popular on its own, but it’s used as a short form for several other popular names: Lillian, Liliana, and so on. The result: Many more Lilys than you might guess.

This phenomenon can be applied to names with many spelling variations: Leila or Michaela or Mackenzie in their rainbow of flavors. But today’s focus is on nicknames gone wild. Sure, these are adorable, but they all come with a warning label: rampant popularity ahead.

AddieAddie is sweet and old-fashioned and even fresh-feeling, a followup to the now-overused Abby. But Addie is coming up fast thanks to a host of newly-popular mother names, from the trendy Addison to cool classics Adeline and Adelaide, often chosen specifically because they come with cute short form Addie.

AlexAlex may be the unisex nickname name of the decade, not only a Top 100 name on its own for boys for a short form for boys’ Number 6 Alexander along with a huge contingent of popular girls’ names: Alexis, Alexa, Alexandra et al.

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Novel Nicknames: A Whole New Approach

victoriaplum3

Remember when all Jacobs were nicknamed Jake, and every Theodore was Ted, and Victorias were automatically labeled Vicky?

Well, things have changed.  Today’s baby namers are putting a tremendous amount of thought into nicknames.  Not only are they more willing to put them on the birth certificate (Gracie, Gus), but they are placing almost as much importance on their babies’ everyday/pet names as on their birth certificate appellations, sometime picking the colloquial form first and then finding a formal name that’s fits it.

And in many cases, the connections between the two are way less direct than they used to be, sometimes just sharing a first initial, or playing with a middle or last syllable, such as using Lia for Cecilia or Amelia.

Our own nameberries are especially inventive when it comes to creative nicknaming.  Here are some of the recent examples we’ve noticed:

GIRLS

BEATRIX—BIXIE instead of Bea or Trixie

CAROLINECALLIE instead of Carrie

ELEANORNORA instead of Ellie or Nell

ELODIENELL instead of Ellie

FELICITYFLICK or FLICKA

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