Category: Pamela Redmond Satran
If you’re looking for unusual baby names that are also attractive and intriguing, a good place to start is at the bottom of the extended US popularity list, at those names given to just five babies.
Down there, among the wacky inventions or truly terrible kree8tiv spelling variations, are dozens of intriguing choices that you won’t encounter coming and going.
A few of them — Jessamy and Amyas, Celestia and Inigo — might even be considered fabulous. But all are worth further consideration. And given that each was given to only five babies in the entire US last year, they qualify as truly unusual baby names.
There’s a new class of boys’ names trending today that has a short clipped sound, contains only one syllable, is undeniably masculine yet not traditionally so. Many of these boys’ names barely existed a generation or two ago: They’re definitely not your father’s or grandfather’s baby names.
But in some ways, they are the heirs to names like Glenn and Craig and Sean that took over in the 1960s and 70s from the traditional Bills and Toms. They seek to reinvent masculinity while preserving qualities like strength and energy.
But I’d like to focus today on those boys’ names that are newer and, some may say, fresher than Jack or Jude. In 1970, most of these boys’ names barely squeaked onto the Social Security extended list, given to only a handful of baby boys. Today, most are on the Top 1000, many of them moving up quickly.
The new boys’ names on the block include:
When the 2013 US Popular Baby Names list came out back in May, we ran Kelli Brady aka The Name Freak‘s wonderful Playground Analysis blog, with her count of the REAL Top 50 baby names. Kelli tallies all spelling variations of the top names to arrive at their actual rankings, which puts Aiden et al instead of Noah at Number 1 for boys, for instance, and bumps Jackson (and Jaxen, Jaxon, and Jaxson) up to Number 2.
Our focus is usually on which names are MORE popular than you’d think when you add in all their spelling variations. The idea is that parents want to be forewarned when they’re likely to hear their favorite baby names far more often than they’d guess based on the official rankings. Zoe and Aubrey, counting all spellings, are actually in the Top 10 for girls, for example, while Kayden and his many near-identical twins rank not at Number 93 but at Number 9.
But what about those baby names that are LESS popular than they seem judging by the official statistics? Parents may veer away from some names, both classic and modern, that are actually somewhat more distinctive than they appear. I’m not talking about names that are a couple of rungs further down the ladder, based on Kelli‘s analysis, but those that are significantly softer by our own subjective measure.
The point is: If you’re shying away from these baby names because you believe they’re too popular, maybe you owe them a second look. They are:
I’ve been thinking lately about the name Jennifer.
The biggest down side of being named Jennifer, I think, is not its enormous popularity — it was the Number 1 name from 1970 through 1983, when over a million Jennifers were born. It’s certainly not the name itself, which has always been and remains lovely.
No, the biggest problem to my mind is that the name pretty much pegs you as someone who is now in her thirties or forties. You’re date stamped, as surely as someone named Shirley is getting on 80 or Susan is a Baby Boomer or Mason was born in the Kardashian Era.
This is not a problem so much when you’re young, but as you get older, you (or more precisely, your child) may not appreciate having a name that broadcasts to your employers and everyone on Match.com: Yo, I’m 58!