Category: unusual girls’ names
Ancient Roman names are being rediscovered in the modern world in a major way. Rarely does a whole class of names from a place or historical period undergo this widespread a revival, but several forces are at work that are making us take a fresh look at ancient Roman names.
The first Big Read, which featured “To Kill A Mockingbird” and its hero Atticus Finch brought that name to contemporary consciousness. Then there was the HBO series Rome. But “The Hunger Games” which features ancient Roman names for most of its male characters has popularized the genre like nothing else.
Of course, many ancient Roman nameshave survived and thrived in modern times, including some of our picks. And then there are others that have been slumbering for centuries but are reawakening now. Here, our favorites from this very appealing group.
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):
The other day we offered eight fresh choices for boys, and now it’s the girls’ turn—girls’ names ranging from a rare botanical specimen to a nostalgic nickname to an undercrowded place name.
1–Acacia—This a a pretty and delicate botanical name that has hardly been heard in this country, though it ranked as high as Number 273 among girls’ names in Australia, where the Acacia is a common flowering shrub, in 2008. Acacia has a heritage that dates back to ancient Egyptian mythology, in which it was considered the tree of life due to the belief that the first gods were born under a sacred Acacia tree. There is also an eponymous fantasy novel, Acacia. Caveat: just don’t think about the other name of the Acacia tree—the Golden Wattle.
2–Amabel—Not to be confused with Annabel (though it well might be), the lovely Amabel has been around since medieval times, and has appeared in a number of British novels, including Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death, and heard as well as among the English aristocracy. Amabel gave birth to the shortened form Mabel, which has a much brasher image, and we think a name that means lovable, deserves more love than it’s gotten.
Scanning the popularity charts of some of the current most popular and stylish baby names (yeah, that’s how I spend my spare time), I noticed something fascinating the other day. Many of them – Ava, Ella, Peyton, Aiden, Emmett, even number one Isabella – were at the very bottom of the Top 1000 in 1990.
That means that they were rarely used when the parents of today – most popularly named Jennifer and Melissa, Christopher and Jason – were born, but were starting to rise up the charts by the time Jennifer was drawing hearts around Jason’s name in her Geometry notebook.
By that theory (who says baby name trends prediction isn’t a science?), we should be able to predict which names will be most popular 20 years from now by combing the bottom of today’s Top 1000.
Of course, not every name down in the 800s and 900s is destined for baby name greatness. But we see the following as likely popular choices for your grandchildren.
This week, Nameberry Style columnist Elisabeth Wilborn, of You Can’t Call It It and The Itsy Factor, waves her magic wand over the girls’ top 100 list and transforms overly-popular names with chic new alternatives.
But if you seek a more rare, chic alternative for your little one, play this game with me. Ask yourself, is it the sound that makes you fall in love with a name? Is it the fact that it honors your heritage? Perhaps it’s the meaning? Whatever the names’ deepest appeal, there may be another, less popular option that will satisfy you.
I had fun with this list, maybe even more so than with the boys’ names because there are just so many viable options to choose from.
How would you amp up the style of the girls’ names from the top of the chart, and are there any that you’re too in love with to change?