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Category: stylish girls’ names

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The whole idea of classic girls’ names that are hot right now might seem like a contradiction in terms: How can a name be both trendy and timeless?  It can if it’s an ancient name that’s been well and widely used over the centuries but that’s also enjoying the heat of attention right now.

The 12 classic girls’ names here qualify.  All have deep and illustrious roots yet are also listed by the official U.S. roster of names that were the fastest-rising in the past year.  That makes all of them excellent choices, offering both style and substance.

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You may know Nameberry’s most popular girls’ names 2011: from Top 3 Charlotte, Violet, and Amelia down to Molly, Maya, and Mary.

You may even know our hottest girls’ names 2011, which include such celebrity-influenced picks as Pippa and Mila.

But we’ve got a quieter, less obvious, but potentially more interesting list for you: those girls’ names that don’t make the Top 100 but that are attracting a dramatic rise in interest this summer over last.

Some of the names here bear a relationship to those on the most popular list: Aveline instead of Adeline, for instance, or Indigo rather than Scarlett, or Clover as opposed to Ivy or Poppy. While not all of these names are destined for future popularity, the baby namer in search of a name that will feel as fresh in ten years as it does today should take heed.

Our list of secretly popular girls’ names 2011 (look for the boys’ list next week):

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Stylish Names: What’s Their Secret?

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Some stylish names share a first initial: Vowel names are particularly popular right now, for instance. Other times, it’s a rhythm or ending sound: Boys’ names with two syllables that end in N or R are big these days.

Still other fashionable names share an ethnic origin such as Irish or a gender identity like unisex or girly-girl.

But the names here, among the most popular AND the most stylish names of our day, have something much more illusive in common. You might even find yourself adding many of them to your shortlist without putting your finger on their mutual appeal.

The secret: An L in the middle.

That might seem like a little thing, but we posit that the L sound, particularly fashionable now too as a first initial, rings all kinds of positive bells in our subconscious, relating to such uplifting qualities as lovely and lilting and, well, even uplifting.

It’s no accident that the following L-in-the-middle names are stylish these days, particularly for girls. Some examples:

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Elizabeth: The Name That Has Everything?

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As a fledgling name nerd, I remember being fascinated by the name Elizabeth.  It was so elaborate, so odd for a name that had been so widely used over so many centuries.  John, sure, that was a name simple and straightforward enough for the masses to get behind.  Anne and Mary, of course they had what it took to transcend the ups and downs of fashion.  But Elizabeth, with its long E beginning and lisping ending, its bizarre z in the middle and its four freaking syllables?  I don’t think so!

And yet the unlikely Elizabeth has endured.  It’s the only girls’ name to have remained in the Top 25 (okay, 26) throughout entire recorded American baby-naming history, since 1880.  Elizabeth hit its nadir in 1945, when it dipped to number 26, but it should be noted that its short form Betty was Number 11 that year, after having been in the Top 10 since 1921.  Even when Elizabeth and her sisters were relatively unpopular, they were everywhere.

Elizabeth, which means “pledged to God,” springs from the ancient Hebrew custom of referencing God — or El — in a name’s prefix or suffix. The ancient Hebrew form of the name is Elisheva.

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