Baby Name News from All Over

What's new in the name world this week

By Clare Bristow

In the news this week: more on the British name data, colorful predictions for a Kardashian baby, and starbaby names from down under.

England and Wales: Arlo is hot, Nigel is not

It’s a big time of the year for looking at name trends in Britain, as the top baby names in England and Wales in 2016 were released last week. Here are some of the best stories about them.

If you’re looking for a baby name no one else will have, you could try Nigel. Alright, in the US 144 boys got this name last year, but in the UK it fell off the charts completely. There’s at least one Nigel who’s glad about that…but after reading his piece, does anyone else feel like the name’s growing on them a tiny bit? Everyone likes an underdog, right?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be called Hezron, Mabel, Psyche or Sulaiman? Find out in this collection of name stories from the UK. And conversely, here are musings on having a “boring” name like Andrew. The drawbacks include being mistaken for other people, and finding that all the obvious usernames have been taken. On the other hand, one person’s boring name is another person’s timeless classic.

And here’s a look into the future: a member of the staff at the Office of National Statistics predicts the names that will be big in 2026. None of them are very surprising – they’re all ones that have been rising for a while, like Arlo, Arthur, Luna and Margot. Most are on the rise in the US too. If you’re looking for a name that’s both fresh and well-liked, and is unlikely to plummet any time soon – a modern classic, if you like – they’re worth considering.

On-trend British babies

With perfect timing, several babies with typically British names were in the news this week.  The Radford family, who are chiefly known for having a lot of children, welcomed their 11th son and 20th child, Archie. Olympic athlete Jessica EnnisHill has called her daughter Olivia, the top girls’ name in England and Wales – she’s a sister to Reggie. And the model Danielle Lloyd welcomed a son called Ronnie. His big brothers are Harry, Archie and George.

What do all of those boys’ names have in common? They’re considerably more popular in the UK than in the US – you’ll find them and much more in Eleanor Nickerson’s comparison of name data in the two countries.

Country names: the highs and lows

While we’re thinking about different countries, here are a couple of tidbits about place names I’ve come across recently.

Portuguese name blogger Filipa shared that she met a lady called Argentina. This name is used occasionally in the States: it last made the charts in 2013, when it was given to 6 girls. It’s undiscovered territory compared with country names like Kenya, Holland and Malaysia – which are all in the top 1000 for girls – and its similar sound to popular Valentina gives it extra appeal.

Malaya is also in the US Top 1000 for girls – it’s an old name for the area around Malaysia, and has the lovely meaning of ‘free’. Apparently it has a less positive meaning in Swahili, though. It’s probably not a deal-breaker, but something to bear in mind if you’re heading to east Africa.

Lipstick names

Moving from country names to color names: this week brought the news that there are more Kardashian/Jenner babies on the way. Speculation has started about what Kylie Jenner will call her daughter. One novelty theory is that she could share a name with a hue in Kylie’s range of lipsticks – the article suggests color names like Olive and Jett.

If you check out the names of the existing lip colors – purely in the interests of onomastic research, of course – many of them are pretty usable. They include Penelope (her niece’s name), Posie, Koko, Moon, Leo, Ginger and Mary Jo.

New Zealand celebrity babies

Jett also appears in this round-up of unusual starbaby names from New Zealand. I know New Zealand has been in the name news a lot recently, but some of these are too good not to mention. It’s a fascinating mix, even if you don’t know the celebs .

My favorite is twin boys Taane and Barry. Guess which one made their grandmother raise her eyebrows…that’s right, Barry. It’s the kind of name you’d expect to find hanging out with Nigel (and in the US, it’s only slightly more popular than Nigel: 169 boys were called Barry last year).

Also featured: Barry and Taane’s brother Soren, boys called Bastion, Ivory and Sophocles, and girls called Maxwell Milou and Rooney Ives. Do any of these inspire you?

What’s that name again?

Some of the names above names may be unforgettable, but have you ever forgotten the name of someone’s baby? I don’t know enough babies to have had this problem, but I’d be interested to know if this is a thing that happens a lot – and how you get round it.

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3 Responses to “Baby Name News from All Over”

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emilygc3 Says:

September 28th, 2017 at 1:26 am

A Portuguese baby name blog?! Praise be! Thanks for linking, Clare 🙂

srudolph Says:

September 28th, 2017 at 4:00 am

It’s pretty clear to anyone who’s been following UK news/politics for the past couple years why Nigel has fallen from favour. Farage has done damage enough to this country, and I don’t think you’ll find many people willing to give his “underdog” name a chance!

danirose01 Says:

September 28th, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Speaking of forgetting names, on my dad’s side my youngest cousin is named Yuri. My mom always refers to him as Yoni and he’s like 10 now. Luckily I don’t think she’s ever actually seen him or said it to his face.

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