By Abby Sandel
Baby name trends are ever changing. There are overnight sensations like Miley, Nevaeh, and Jayden. Vintage comebacks like Violet and Henry. New names that seem outlandish at first, but soon catch on, like Willow or Chase.
And then there are trends that define how an entire generation of names sounds.
From 1970s and 80s staples like Jason and Kevin to current favorites like Ethan, Mason, and Jackson, to up-and-comers like Langston, Lachlan, and Stetson, ends-with-n names for boys have long been dominant. Even without Aiden, Jayden, and their sound-alike friends, two syllable, ends-with-n names have been everywhere for years.
Could baby names ending in r be the next wave?
But lately baby names ending in r are everywhere – including this week’s baby name news and headlines.
Wilder – Actor Donald Faison and wife CaCee Cobb have welcomed their second child, a sister for Rocco. The couple went with Wilder Frances. While this is the first girl Wilder that I’ve heard, it’s definitely a name that’s catching on. WIth literary associations like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Thornton Wilder, as well as Hollywood legend Billy Wilder, the name feels creative, daring, and, with the r-ending, fresh.
Gallagher – Not every r ending baby name is just two syllables. Names for Real spotted a Gallagher in Nebraska. It fits right in with longer surname names like Sullivan and Finnegan, as well as classics like Oliver and Alexander. If you’re old enough, Gallagher is the name of a comedian famous for smashing watermelons on stage. But if you’re naming a baby in 2015, there’s a good chance that Gallagher is just a cool name for a son.
Winter – Ten year old surfing sensation Winter Vincent (seen in illustration) has been riding high in recent weeks, with mentions in the mainstream press for his social media savvy (his parents run his hugely successful Instagram account) and charitable works. Winter picks up on more than one trend – it’s a nature name and ends with r. Even though it’s more common for girls in the US, on sound alone, I’d put Winter with River, Cedar, and Rowan – nature names that work for boys and girls.
Pepper – Speaking of names that cross gender boundaries, have you seen Little Boy? Set in the Pacific Northwest during World War II, the central character is a short-for-his-age boy waiting for his father to come home from the war. The boy’s name? Pepper. There’s no explanation for the unusual names. The parents are Emma and James, but Pepper’s brother is the equally surprising London. Pepper has seen some use in fiction, from Annie’s fellow orphan Pepper to Iron Man’s Pepper Potts, but it has typically been reserved for girls.
Ledger – While we’re at the movies, let’s talk about Heath Ledger. His career took off around the year 2000, and a handful of boys were named Ledger. But since the actor’s untimely death, Ledger has gone from a sometimes-heard rarity to a fast-rising favorite. There were 163 newborn Ledgers in 2013, up from just nine in 2002. Now it’s one of the names I’m watching to see if it cracks the US Top 1000.
Deckard – One more from the movies, and another name that could catch on. The villain in the most recent installments of the The Fast and the Furious franchise answers to Deckard. No, it’s not quite an r ending name. But it was given to 9 boys in 2013, along with 80 newborn Deckers. Is this another name to watch?
Ever – Mila Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson named their first daughter Ever in 2007. Alanis Morrissette called her son Ever Imre in 2010. Now actor Owain Yeoman and wife Gigi are the parents of new baby girl Ever Belle. It’s less common than Everly, a word name with a meaningful vibe.
Elinor, Eleanor – Think this style is too modern or trendy for you? Maybe not. Consider that classics for boys and girls end with r. Peter, Alexander, and Oliver are all great choices for a son. For a daughter, Eleanor is among the most elegant of names, regardless of spelling. Bree recently covered the names of promising young actresses from the 1930s and 40s. Both Elinor and Eleanor make the list.
Clover – Let’s end with one of my favorites, spotted in a recent birth announcements round-up at Waltzing More Than Matilda. Clover feels slightly Irish and very lucky. It’s gone from rarity to rising possibility in recent years. As nature names go, Clover is bolder than Lily or Ivy, but maybe not quite as surprising as Canyon or Bay. I think it could wear every bit as well as r ending girl favorites like Harper and Piper.
What are your favorite r-ending names?