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The New International Names

international baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

There was a time when the top baby name lists of different countries reflected their own distinctive native cultures. When John and Mary headed those of most English-speaking countries, just as Giovanni and Maria and Juan and Maria and Jean and Marie et al were in first place elsewhere.

But that has changed. With the homogenization of culture in general, with an increase in international travel, the spread of the internet and global audiences watching the same TV shows, we are no longer surprised to find the Irish appellation Liam ranking high on the list in Switzerland or the Old Testament Ethan suddenly Number 3 in Monaco. This is a moment when certain names, often in a variety of indigenous forms, are spreading epidemically across the world.

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Your Favorite Names from the Top 100

popbaby

Many of us at Nameberry automatically dislike names that are “too popular.”

But look more closely at the most popular names and you’ll find lots of wonderful names that deserve their widespread use.  Names that have stood the test of time, that have intrinsically pleasing sounds, that are associated with heroic characters.

So let’s this once set aside our name snobbery and own up to names we love from the Top 100 most popular names.

I love the name Sophia, for instance, and would proudly give it to a daughter or wear it myself.

Other girls’ favorites in the Top 100 include Charlotte, Claire, Alexa, Scarlett, Julia, Piper, and Annabelle.

For boys, there are even more popular names that I love.  In fact, my own two sons’ names, Joseph and Owen, are both in the Top 100.   And I also adore Elijah, Caleb, Henry, Nathaniel, Isaiah, Isaac, Thomas….almost too many to mention.

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Popular Boys’ Names: Top 100 Makeover

boys' names

by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz

 It was the Case of the Great Missing Baby Names Blog.

One of our most-read blogs of all time, a makeover of the top 100 most popular boys’ names, disappeared from our archive.  We didn’t even notice it was gone until a Berry wrote wondering where it was.  The girls’ makeover, also written by Elisabeth Wilborn of You Can’t Call It It, is still there.  But the boys’: stolen, zapped, vanished into thin air.

So we set out to fashion a new version, using the current popular boys’ names list of 2012.

These are our suggestions of similar-but-different names you might substitute if you like the original boys’ name, but it’s just too popular.

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Boys’ Names 2013: Soft new choices

By Georgia Brizuela

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Sssssssssh, have you heard the secret?

There may be a lot of Wild and Wilder names around these days, but boys’ names in 2013 are also going in a softer direction.

The sh sound is stylish — or should that be shtylish? — for baby boys’ names, introduced by Joshua and Sean and led these days by such trendy choices as Asher and Dashiell.

Among the attractive sh names for boys are the following:

Asher — The Old Testament Asher, which means “fortunate, blessed, happy one,” was one of Jacob’s twelve sons who gave their names to the clans of Israel.  Contemporary diminutive: Ash.

Ashton –This English name meaning “ash trees place” became a mega-hit in 2004, mostly thanks to TV star/model Ashton Kutcher’s popular prank show Punk’d.

Bishop — Actress Reese Witherspoon got the ball rolling on ecclesiastical occupational names when she named her son Deacon in 2003.

Cash — A diminutive of Cassius or an economy-inspired word name, cool name Cash may also pay homage to American music legend Johnny Cash.

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Popular Baby Names: What’s your favorite?

popular baby names

Popular baby names get a bad rap, especially — okay, we admit it — here on Nameberry.

But popular baby names are popular for a reason: A lot of people like them for a lot of good reasons. Popular names often have a sound and feel that’s right in step with the times, they’re fresh but also have meaningful roots, they appeal to a wide range of different kinds of parents.

Right now, in fact, the popular baby names hold more intrinsic appeal than ever. Time-honored, noble names for girls; strong, classic names for boys — there’s more to like than to not like.

How are we defining popular? If you can pick from the Top 10, great, but any baby name in the Top 100 is fair game.

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