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Category: sophisticated names

frenchname3

To check out the latest trends in French baby names, we turned to a true expert, Stéphanie Rapoport, creator of the popular site meilleursprénoms.com and author of L’Officiel des Prénoms 2010.  For anyone conversant in French, the site is filled with interesting lists, charts and analysis on French baby names.

And for those whose high school French is as shaky as mine, we asked Stéphanie to give us a recap, which she’s been kind enough to do:

Baby names in France have never been shorter: exit Sébastien, Alexandre, Frédéric, Caroline, Nathalie, Angélique—the popular names of the 1980’s.  Emma, Léa, Clara now take the limelight as the most popular feminine names, while Lucas, Enzo and Nathan dominate the masculine ranking tables.

As a result, diminutives such as Lou, Tom, Théo and Alex are doing wonders.  Few analysts would have predicted such a phenomenon in a culture which used to disdain diminutives as merely “half names.

Ending sounds are also shaping to a large extent what becomes trendy and what does not.  Fashionable feminine names tend to end in the vowel ‘a’ (Emma, Sara, Léa, Clara, Lola, Éva, Louna and Lina being in the forefront).  Then there’s the explosion caused by Lilou, a new name which has led to the discovery of Louane and renewed interest in hyphenated names such as Lou-Anne.  For boys, names with ‘eo’ vowel juxtapositions abound, as in Léo, Théo, Mathéo, also o-endings (Hugo, Enzo) and names ending in ‘an’—Nathan, Ethan, Kylian, Evan, Esteban.

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Old Lady Names: Ready for the Next Wave?

Vintage Names

A sizeable number of people come to nameberry every day searching for Old Lady Names – and they’re not looking for a new moniker for Grandma.  Rather, they’re looking for Old Lady Names that sound new again for babies.

As a genre, Old Lady Names are approaching their third wave of stylishness.  The initial wave was identified in our first baby name book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason, published in 1988, as the hot Grandma names and the edgier Baby Women names.

Hot Grandmas included such folksy choices as:

ANNA

ANNIE

EMMA

HANNAH

JESSIE

LILY

MOLLY

NELL

NORA

SADIE

SOPHIE

The more buttoned-up Baby Women names we called “the names of the rich great-aunts who, ten years ago, you might have prayed would not ask you to name your child after them.  These included such now-stylish (but then-outrageous) choices as:

BEATRICE

CLARA

CORA

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Names of the Future

Aluminum-baby-pram-711315One of the most fun things about running nameberry, as opposed to being a visitor, is that you get to peer behind the scenes and see which names people are actually searching for.  Some of the most visited names on nameberry are ones you’d expect: Ava and Aidan, Lucy and Logan.  And then there are the stylish nameberry favorites as detailed in a recent blog: Beatrix, Penelope, Atticus.

But a bit further down on the list, we’re noticing less expected names that our visitors seem to be inordinately curious about.  These are the choices that are not on any popularity list – not even a sophisticated, fashion-forward one like nameberry’s – yet are attracting more than their share of attention.

Our conclusion?  These are names to watch.  It may be only the more adventurous baby namers who are actually using them at the moment, but we predict that in a decade, most will feel more familiar – perhaps way more familiar – than they do now.

These names of the future include:

Girls

ANAIS

ANASTASIA

ANNABEL

ANWEN

ARDEN

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vintage film names

Maybe they didn’t have voices then, but lots of the silent screen stars did have intriguingly exotic looks and equally exotic names–even if many of them were invented by studio publicists.  Theda Bara, for example, the quintessential vamp, was not the Egyptian-born daughter of a French actress and an Italian sculptor whose name was an anagram of Arab Death, as the PR people proclaimed to the public, but was actually Cincinnati-born Theodosia Goodman, daughter of a Jewish tailor. Likewise,  Nita Naldi’s real last name was Dooley, Olga Petrova was born Muriel Hardy and Alla Nazimova’s birth name was Miriam Leventon.

But real or concocted, these names–primarily short, with two-syllables and heavy on the vowels–still retain vestiges of that sultry  1900′s-1920′s glamour, and  could have  some vintage appeal today:
ALLA

ASTA

GRETA

ISA

JETTA

LEDA

LEILA

LINA

LITA

LOLA

LYA

LYDA

NEVA

NITA

OLGA

ORA

ORMI

POLA

RIA

THEDA

TORA

VALLA

VILMA

VOLA

ZENA

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