5 Ways to Fall in Love with a Name

5 Ways to Fall in Love with a Name

What makes you love a name? It might be that it has family significance, calls to mind to an inspiring person, or just sounds really cool. The names in the news this week show that there are lots of ways that names can have a positive vibe.

Likeable Classics

There’s nothing wrong with popular names, and lifestyle blogger Lauren Conrad chose two for her son, Liam James, who was born last week. Liam is a modern classic (as well as a nod to his father, William) – it’s been in the top US 1000 since 1974 – and James is a true classic, never out of style. Let’s hope that Liam enjoys having a name that’s well-known and well-loved.

Liam also has strong international appeal. In Belgium, it’s the top boys’ name for Flemish speakers so far this year. Louise is number 1 for girls, and the Flemish top 10 includes other familiar names like Finn and Olivia, as well as some unlikely to make the US top 10 any time soon, like Lars and Noor.

Samuel is another name that’s never left the top 100. Jill Dillard (of 19 Kids and Counting’s Duggar family) and her husband Derick welcomed their son Samuel Scott last weekend. Given their faith and their older son’s name, Israel David, we can be fairly sure the Dillards like the name’s biblical connection as well as its classic appeal.

Upbeat Word Names

Birdie: this cute, chirpy name looks set to become one of the go-to vintage nicknames for, well, pretty much anything. Since Busy Philipps chose it for her daughter in 2008, it’s become over 10 times more popular as a given name – and perhaps more as a nickname.

Dash: in 1995, when baseball player Dash Winningham was born, his name didn’t even chart – his mother says she just spotted it and liked it. Fast-forward to 2005, the year after The Incredibles movie came out, and Dash started to rise. It’s overtaken the longer Dashiell and has been in the top 1000 since 2014. Other word names with a similar energy include Chase, Jett and Blaze.

Gloria could count as a word name too – it’s the name of American footballer Robert Griffin III’s new daughter.

Positive role models

Sometimes we fall in love with an otherwise ordinary name because of who has worn it.

There were lots of names honoring relatives in last month’s babyberry announcements. Some are very on-trend, others far from it, but just knowing that someone chose them with love could make you see them in a new light.

Looking further afield, you might find inspiration in these strong female names, names of strong women, or of LGBT rights activists. The latter includes underused gems like Bayard and Martina, as well as more popular picks like Keegan and Harvey.

Sporting heroes can give a name a cool edge – and although basketball player Shaquille O’Neal has long since retired, he’s left a legacy of boys (and a few girls) named Shaquille in the early 1990s. Now they’re coming of age, here’s a fascinating look at how the name has affected their lives.

Religious meaning can make a name extra special, and you can’t go much higher for inspiration than saints and popes. Sixtus Boniface Dominic Christopher, the newborn son of UK Member of Parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg, has a name that honors several of each. If you’re into unusual saints’ names, there are so many it’s hard to know where to begin, but try these and these for starters.

Names that spell success

Of course our names alone don’t make us successful, but it’s interesting to look at name trends for people who’ve done well for themselves.

French school students called Diane, Alix and Adèle were most likely to get the top grade in their final exams this year. Those called Jordan, Cindy, and Ryan were least likely. In between, there’s a wealth of French names worth a look whether you’re interested in their exam results or not: Axelle, Coralie, Bastien and Florent, to name but a few.

Back in the States, people called Stuart and Alison own the highest-value homes on average, according to property website Zillow. That’s not too surprising, as both names were well-used through most of the late 20th century, giving bearers plenty of time to get on the property ladder. There’s also a slightly addictive tool: type in any name, and you’ll see where in the country homeowners with that name are most concentrated, and how valuable their homes are.

Cool factor

Finally, some names appeal to parents because they have a cool sound that appeals to modern tastes.

Reality TV contestants Jeremy and Val Collins chose a double whammy on-trend name, Lenyx Kai,  for their son, born in June. Lennox and Kai are in the top 1000 for both boys and girls, but the Lenyx spelling is rare, and the numbers lean slightly more girl.

Beau Rush is the new son of actress Virginia Williams and her husband Bradford Bricken. Beau is the most popular it’s ever been, at #187 in 2016. There are three more names with that syllable in the top 1000 – Bodhi, Bodie and Bode – and others, like Boden, are on the rise. (I also spotted Beauden on a baby who shares a birthday with his father and great-grandfather.) Rush is another one of those active names like Dash, and would make a good alternative to it – although they’re probably a bit too energetic to use together for siblings!

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 clare@nameberry.com