Ada: Out before it’s in???
Blame Ava. Stylish but obscure when Reese Witherspoon picked it for her daughter less than a decade ago, it’s rocketed up the popularity list, with sound-alike Eva following close behind. It’s become so popular, in fact, that our brand-new version of our original baby name style guide Beyond Jennifer & Jason, slated to come out next spring, will be titled Beyond Ava & Aiden.
Parents enchanted with Ava but looking for a fresh twist have discovered Ada. If you check out the popularity chart on Ada’s name page, you’ll see that a very sleepy name is now heading straight upward.
But Ada is still only number 646 on the Social Security list, with just 452 baby girls in all of the United States getting the name in 2007 — an average of nine girls per state. Hardly the kind of name where you risk running into another little Ada in every nursery school class.
And yet Ada is heading nowhere but up, and there’s every chance that over the next decade it will join Ava on the Top Ten. Ava itself was, after all, in the 600s ten years ago, and has risen all the way to number 4. Eva is number 117, with Ava and Eva together given to more babies in 2007 than the number 1 Emily.
Names often follow each other up the popularity list, with a more unusual version of a name chasing the more popular one….and sometimes catching up. Such is the case with Emma, now number 3 to Emily‘s number one. Or Addison, at number 11 closing in on number 5 Madison. There are boys’ examples too: Christian and Christopher; Jack and Jackson.
Ada‘s rise will also be, well, aided by its similarity to the popular Jada, and by worthy Ada namesake Ada Lovelace, only daughter of Lord Byron widely acknowledged to be the first “computer programmer,” albeit on a nineteenth century model. And all names that start with A seem to be trending upward.
The lesson: If you choose Ada now, all your friends may admire your originality and daring. But in five years, you’ll be working hard to convince everyone that you thought of it first.
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on October 20th, 2008 at 1:53 pm
I like the name Milo, but I fear the same thing…it is still low, but trending higher. Do you have any feeling on how it will fare in the future? Is it going to go from rare to regular?
on October 20th, 2008 at 3:56 pm
Milo is one of our favorites too, but is definitely destined to keep moving on up. We don’t see it reaching the Top 10, or even the Top 100 because it’s a little too offbeat, but among cool mommies it’s definitely very popular and getting more so.
on October 25th, 2008 at 4:14 pm
i was all set on the name ‘ada’ for two reasons: ada lovelace and nabokov’s great novel, ada or ardor (incest! alternate reality! more incest!).
alas, i’m having a boy.
if ‘ada’s impending popularity is going to deter you from using it, then you probably didn’t have a good reason for using it in the first place. maybe you realized just how superficial and trend-driven (of the hipster crowd) your reasons were and therefore came to your senses.
hipsters or not, people run in packs, they are inspired and affirmed by their peers. who am i to criticize the overwhelming banality of ‘ava grace’? even cool mommies want to be reassured that they’re quirky but not crazy. in some circles, perfectly adorable names like ‘milo’ and ‘harper’ suddenly seem terribly banal, too.
on October 28th, 2008 at 11:28 pm
Would you please reconsider the title? Well, at least the spelling of Aidan? I know that technically Aiden is more common, but I thought you guys were still fighting the good fight against “kreative” spelling. If the very title of a book on names has a misspelling, it’s going to make it that much harder out there for everyone who spells the name correctly.
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