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British Baby Names: The Latest Crop

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Every few months, about as often as I allow myself to relish a hot caramel sundae and with about the same amount of delicious anticipation, I dip into the London Telegraph birth announcements to see what the upper-crusty British baby namers are up to.

And as with that sundae, the results rarely disappoint.  There are always plenty of eccentric three-name combinations, lots of charming sibsets, and a collection of names not often heard in my neighborhood of New Jersey.

One trend asserting itself in this collection: R names, with a raft of children (far beyond those mentioned here) called Rory, Rufus, Rupert, Rex, and Rowley, and on the girls’ side, Ruby, Rose, Rosemary, Rosalind (and Rosalyn) and Romilly.  R is a letter that’s seemed dowdy for quite some time — blame all those Baby Boom Roberts and Richards — and is due for a resurgence.

The best of the recent British baby names are, for girls:

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British Baby Names

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When I lived in London in the 90s, I was gobsmacked (astonished in British) by how different the baby names were there. It wasn’t like they used names Americans had never heard of – exotic ones like Pema or invented ones like Puma – but that they used some of the familiar English names far more often than did parents in the U.S.

Clementine and Hugo, for instance, were the most fashionable names of that day in the U.K., names I’d rarely heard stateside. Clementine was pronounced with an –een ending, which removed it from the “Oh My Darling” association – not that many Brits carried that association.

Some of the names popular in Britain and not in the U.S. are similarly free of connections that may damn them in America: Jemima, say, and Archie. Others are old Celtic or Cornish or Welsh names that never crossed the ocean, such as Tamsin and Callum.

And then there are those names on this list that are classics or short forms heard in America, but not as fashionably – I’m thinking of Forence, for example, and Freddie, Lucy (yes, still) and Louis.

Based on another entertaining tour through the London Telegraph birth announcements from the past few months, here are some names that are stylish in the U.K. right now.

Girls

ALICE
CECILY
CHARIS or CARYS
CRESSIDA
DARCY or DARCEY
DAVINA
EDIE
ELIZA
FLORA
FLORENCE
FREYA
GENEVIEVE
GEORGIANA or GEORGINA
IMOGEN
JEMIMA
LUCY
MAISIE
NATASHA
OCTAVIA

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