2017 Comeback Kids: Best names newly returned to the list

2017 Comeback Kids: Best names newly returned to the list

By Clare Green

Let’s look at the comebacks in the US charts this year. These aren’t names that have returned to the Top 100, or even the Top 1000. I’m talking about names that disappeared completely from the official name data – because they were used for less than 5 boys or girls each year – and reappeared in 2017.

Some of them have been away for a long time. Esper, which was given to 6 girls in 2017, was last recorded for girls in 1912 and for boys in 1926. Addiemae (or AddieMae – the data doesn’t record punctuation) hasn’t been seen since 1915, while Rayo and Union last appeared in 1923.

Many of the returners are variant spellings of popular names. They’re not common enough to make it into the charts every year, but odds are that occasionally enough parents will name their kid Ferne, Izabele or Keagyn to put it in the rankings.

Some have a clear celebrity influence, like Ginnifer (last recorded in 1989), as in Goodwin, and Spurgeon (2000), the name of Jessa Duggar Seewald’s son.

There are also some literary and legendary names that parents use occasionally, but never enough to keep them in the charts. 2017 saw the return of Desdemona (last recorded in 1994), Rapunzel (1959) and Godiva (1958).

Below are ten of the best names back in the charts after a gap of 10 years or more. They may be flashes in the pan, gone again next year – but many of them deserve to stick around a bit longer.

Annarosa5 girls in 2017. Last recorded: 2003

This compound name has only made it into the charts a few times over the years. Some parents may hyphenate it as AnnaRosa, but as one word it’s a pretty name along the lines of Annalise and Annabella. Other compound names back in 2017 include Evabelle, Onnalee and Louellen.

Benedetta5 girls in 2017. Last recorded: 1979

This saintly name is in the Top 50 in its native Italy, but has never been widely used in the US. While it’s splendid in full, it’s also a way to get the nickname Etta. Other Italian names back in the charts are Agostina, Ettore and Ferdinando.

Burt6 boys in 2017. Last recorded: 2004

If names like Frank and Harold aren’t fusty enough for you, no-nonsense Burt might do the trick. Although never as popular as Bert, it was used fairly steadily until the 1970s. Hymie and Ellwood are other old-timey names that made a reappearance in 2017.

Cass5 girls in 2017. Last recorded (for girls): 2003

You can get to Cass via girls’ names like Cassidy, Cassandra and Jocasta. But if you don’t love any of those, why not use Cass on its own? It’s used more for boys, but it works just fine for girls too. Laid-back nicknames that have returned to the boys’ list include Deke, Rip and Seph.

Dawes5 boys in 2017. Last recorded: 1927

Wells was one of the fastest-climbing names in 2017, entering the Top 1000 for the first time. Dawes is similar in style, and could be a way to honor a David – that’s where the surname comes from. Hodges was another re-entry to the charts, as were the surname names Broughton, Thomason, and literary Atwood.

Delos5 boys in 2017. Last recorded: 1990

Greek pantheon names like Atlas, Orion and Apollo are soaring, and Delos has a more subtle connection to mythology – it’s the island where Apollo is said to have been born. It may have appeared on parents’ radar as the sinister corporation in Westworld. Meanwhile, other place names back in the charts are Tulsa for girls and Yukon for boys.

Fitzroy5 boys in 2017. Last recorded: 2001

Royal-themed names continued to rise in 2017, and with the meaning ‘son of the king’, Fitzroy fits the bill. It’s also a way to get the nickname Fitz, which as a name in its own right has quadrupled in popularity in the last 5 years. Other titled names back in the charts were Admiral and Marquess for boys, and Bishop for girls. (Bishop also entered the boys’ Top 1000.)

Kito5 boys in 2017. Last recorded: 2006

With roots in Swahili, Sorbian and Japanese, Kito works all over the world. Or you could see it as an edgy variation on Kit. It’s been used occasionally since the 1970s, though it’s had a quiet patch for the last 10 years. Other international names back in the charts include Edvard, Iwan and Gregoire for boys, and Ophelie, Oxana and Rumana for girls.

Wyla5 girls in 2017. Last recorded: 1924

Part Willa and part Isla, this little name might appeal to more parents if they knew about it. Other short, rare comebacks for girls include Fela and Vali.

Yarrow6 girls in 2017. Last recorded: 1993

This herb name charted for both girls and boys in the 1970s, perhaps thanks to flower power or a character in A Wizard of Earthsea. It’s rarely been used since, but it would make an alternative to Sage for either gender. Other word names that returned in 2017: Eureka, Sundance and Quest for girls; Island, Liberty and Wick for boys.

Do you think any of these names are back for good?

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at