Baby Names Trend: I-Ending Girl Names To Keep An Eye On

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Angela Mastrodonato, creator of the trend-watching blog Upswing Baby Names, will be a regular contributor to our Bonus Blog.  Today she looks at girls’ names with a new twist at the end.

There’s one vowel that’s found at the end of seemingly every girl name. That vowel, of course, is the A. Today the focus is on girl names ending in a different vowel– the incredible I.

The most popular ends-in-i name for the moment is Naomi, an Old Testament name long popular in the Jewish community, which is at an all-time popularity peak. Naomi broke the top 100 for the first time in 2010, and has gradually reached #93 for 2011 (the most recent year Social Security name data is available).

Another ends-in-i name that has seen recent success is Maci, which has dramatically ascended the charts. After spending a decade in the bottom top 1000, Maci achieved Top 200 status within a short two-year span, probably thanks to being the name of a teen mom featured on MTV reality shows.

While not quite as popular as Naomi or Maci, other i-ending names have quietly climbed the charts over the past ten to fifteen years.

–The lovely Hawaiian Leilani has gradually risen to a top Top 250 spot.

Cali, an on-trend nickname that can be a stand-alone name, has gradually risen to a top 300 spot.

Sarai, the former name of Sarah in the Old Testament, is not terribly overused but has slowly and steadily risen in popularity until recently. The name seems to be holding steady in the bottom top 500.

I-ending names represent a wide range of styles. Cali and Maci represent the modern casual style. Naomi represents the traditional style, and Leilani represents the accessible-exotic style.

Accessible-exotic names are the focus for this list. Most of these originate from diverse cultures such as African, Hawaiian, Indian, and Japanese.

Amari – A Hebrew boy name that has become more popular on girls, perhaps due to a subtle similarity to names like Marie or Mary.

Anahi – A soft yet distinctive name which entered the Top 1000 over fifteen years ago, but has yet to make the Top 300.

Ashanti – Got a huge boost in 2002, due to the release of the self-titled debut album of the R&B singer. The name returned to obscurity a couple of years later.

Avani – Offers another path to Ava, but doesn’t need a nickname. A perfect combination of surprising and familiar.

Demi – Seen by most as a single-celebrity name, Demi has a sassy, sporty, yet comfortable style. The Dutch have already embraced this name, and eventually Americans may too. Demi may also appeal as a nickname for the commanding Demetria.

Imani – Here’s an Arabic name that begins with an I, ends with I, and makes an impression.

Kalani – An ethereal Hawaiian name that means “heaven” or “heavenly”.

Kairi – This Japanese name has perhaps become familiar as a role in the action/role playing video game, Kingdom Hearts. Kairi may pop up on future grandchildren.

LoreleiOne of the few German mythological names that has caught some mainstream attention.

Milani – A warm melodic name that is possibly a form of the Italian Milana.

Nalani – This is another lovely choice from the Hawaiian islands, and another exotic choice with crossover potential.

Suri – A celebrity baby name that is a great candidate for non-celebs. Suri’s cross-cultural roots and short, simple style make it diverse and adaptable, making it imaginable on a wide-range of people. Because of these qualities, the name can eventually overcome its strong celebrity association.

Yaretzi – Possibly from the Aztecs, this name has dramatically zoomed up the charts, going from unranked (outside the Top 1000) in 2005 to the Top 400 in 2011.

Ends-in-i names have been around a long time. Thirty years ago, there were actually more ends-in-i girl names in the top 100, but they represented a different style. In 1981, there were three i-enders in the girl’s top T00: Brandi, Heidi, and Lori.

And then for a few years ends-in-i names disappeared from the top 100. Fast forward to 2011 and there was one i-ending name in the Top 100, Naomi. Ends-in-i names are slowly returning to the top spots, this time with a more worldly image.

A big fan of trend-spotting, Angela created Upswing Baby Names to help expectant parents find different-but-not-too-different names that are ahead of the trends.

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About the author


Angela Mastrodonato created Upswing Baby Names to celebrate names on the upswing. She is a big-time name watcher, and has a growing list of names she watches by tracking their popularity each year. Sign up here to get your copy of this Watch List.
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17 Responses to “Baby Names Trend: I-Ending Girl Names To Keep An Eye On”

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alphabetdem Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 12:59 am

Like Naomi and Lorelei is growing on me, but you left my favorite ending-with-i name off! I’ve always thought Araceli was a nice, rarer alternative to Arabella and Arianna.

milo2011 Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 4:16 am

I don’t particularly like girls names ending in i not sure why- maybe its too cutsey for me 🙂

Abby Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 5:02 am

I’m a big fan of Eleni – as in Eleni’s Cookies, yes, but also the modern Greek form of Helen. I know two little Elenis – neither Greek – and it wears really well.

upswingbabynames Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 5:05 am

@alphabetdem: Araceli would make a good addition to this list. I almost included Araceli, but it was very similar to Aracilla, a name included in another post I did for Nameberry:

Abby Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 5:24 am

Oh, and Magali, too … though I think that would be tougher to wear in the US.

anniebee Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 11:33 am

There’s also the Welsh Eleri (uh-LEER-ee), which I think is sweet.

The name Naomi is nice, but I’ve always heard people say it’s I moan backwards and kids get teased about that.

skizzo Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I still think Naomi is the prettiest.

Eww at Amari, leave that name alone, its still usable for boys.

skizzo Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I just checked the SSA list, your info is incorrect. Amari ranks higher for boys than girls, so maybe you should change that…

MerMaiden6 Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Eleni has become a favorite of mine recently, too! It’s pronounced Eh-LEHN-ee, and bridges the youthful-to-grownup progression well, I think.

EmilyVA Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I like Noemi as a variant of Naomi. I think it’s really pretty with softer sound. I also like Eleni. Heidi was ruined by reality tv, but I consider it a classic name. I also like Magali. Growing up I knew a girl named Nikki which I think was relatively popular awhile ago, but I am not sure.

EmilyVA Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I like Noemi as a variant of Naomi. I think it’s really pretty with softer sound. I also like Eleni. Heidi was ruined by reality tv, but I consider it a classic name. I also like Magali. Growing up I knew a girl named Nikki which I think was relatively popular awhile ago, but I am not sure.

sweetpeace13 Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I think its a joke of the universe that every name I like becomes a trend. When i was a kid I wanted to name my girls Evelyn and Ella. 15 years later? They are everywhere. Now? #1 name is Lorelei and Sarai is on my list. WTH!

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

May 6th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I think Lorelei is very glamorous, and I like Kalani a lot (surprised it’s not on the Nameberry database!).

I’m another Magali fan, and I think Anjali is very pretty.

rachelemma Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 10:32 pm

While I prefer the ie endings myself – I have recently met a Tiani which is quite a sweet name.

nanajanet Says:

June 27th, 2013 at 2:07 am

rather than Lorelei, I like my sisters spelling better – Laura-Lee

mallowd Says:

November 24th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Laura-Lee is pronounced differently (in my experience) and is two names made into one versus a single name. I wouldnt really compare them as the same tho they are similar

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

December 10th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

My brother was a big Kingdom Hearts fan when it first came out. He had laid claim to that name back then (when he was, like, 11). Now, he seems to be over it. But it’s stuck with me. I think it’s very pretty, but doubt I’d actually use it as I have so many other names I’d use first.

Lorelei, I’m pretty sure, got a boost from Gilmore Girls (spelled Lorelai) and usually I try to steer away from names that got popular from tv (I watched and still watch Gilmore Girls on tv) but I really do like this name.

I like Heidi and am actually not sure what reality tv show had a Heidi (I’m not a big reality tv show watcher). I don’t see myself using it, just because, like Kairi, there are other names I’d use before it.

I like Eleri… I’ve never heard of this name and like anniebee’s pronunciation of it more so than nameberry’s (uh-LEER-ri vs el-AYR-ee/EL-eh-ree).

I’m not sure I like Eleni. For the longest time, I wanted to use Elena (after my maternal grandfather’s mother) as a potential baby name so seeing Eleni just doesn’t look right.

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