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Berry Faves of 2017 IRL

January 9, 2018 Esmeralda Rocha

By Esmeralda Rocha

While we wait (months and months!) for the US and other countries to release their official naming statistics, we can start right here within the Nameberry family and take a look at the babies that YOU named last year!

Nameberry readers love a wider variety of names than the general population (no surprises) – so while tried-and-true traditional English names like Sally, James, Anne and Henry were all loved and chosen, we also saw some stunning off-the-grid picks such as Yves, Pomeline, Atlas, Kaveh, Bardou, Eero and Salomea.

We’ve packaged up the trends below…but first some statistics for those of you who like numbers!

*Nameberry users reported a total of 305 babies last year! (185 girls and 120 boys).

*They used a total of 486 names – that means all but 2 babies got at least one name (first or middle) that no-one else in the Nameberry family got.

*Also worth noting is that Nameberries do not seem to reserve their unique names for the girls. Whereas, in the broader population, a greater proportion of boys than girls receive Top 100 names, here at Nameberry, the boys and girls had the same rate of name repetition.

Top girls’ names by total usage (i.e. used both as a first and middle) were as follows:

  1. Rose (11 uses)
  2. Jane (8)
  3. Elizabeth / Elisabeth (6)
  4. Eleanor (5)
  5. Pearl (5)
  6. May / Mae / Mei (5)
  7. Clementine (4)
  8. Iris (4)
  9. Mabel (4)
  10. Margot / Margo (5)
  11. Margaret (4)
  12. Catherine / Kathryn (4)
  13. Beatrice (3)
  14. Lily (3)
  15. Marigold (3)
  16. Daisy (3)
  17. Caroline (3)
  18. Genevieve (3)
  19. Anna (3)
  20. Penelope (3)

Some names were more favored as a first name (Clementine was entirely used as a first name) whereas others such as Iris, Beatrice, Lily, and Marigold and Rose were used mostly or solely as middle names.

Top boys’ names by total usage (used both as a first and middle):

  1. James (7 uses)
  2. Thomas (6)
  3. Theodore (5)
  4. Arthur (3)
  5. Ethan (3)
  6. Nathaniel (3)
  7. Oliver (3)
  8. Wilder (3)
  9. Robert (3)

Like the girls’ names, boys names were sometimes used only in one position. Each use of Arthur and Ethan, and all but one of the Theodores, was for a first name, whereas Robert and Wilder and most of the Jameses were used only in the middle.

 Trends in girls’ names:

Natural World: Names with a connection to the natural world were used 61 times – whether that be gemstones (Pearl/Perola, Opal and Garnet), flowers (Marigold, Linnea and Mimosa stood out here), trees (Maple, Cypress, Hazel and Willow), weather (Snow, Soleil, Sunny, Rain and Autumn all got an outing), birds and animals (Nightingale, Sparrow, Wren and Fawn) or even landmarks (River, Vale, and Harbor were interesting choices in this category).

Vintage class: There were 34 uses of ‘vintage’ names – such as Willa, Mabel, Adelaide, Mavis and Zelda.

French chic: 33 babies received names with a distinctly French flair – highlights included Apolline, Ludivine, Lilou, Pomeline and Margot.

Ancients Wonders: 21 babies received an Ancient Greek name – highlights included Cassiopeia, Olympia, Ekko, Iris and Hero.

Words: 20 word names (that aren’t also nature names) with Rune, Jubilee and Lace joining the more traditional Grace, Gloria and June.

Celtic, Gaelic and Welsh names: 15 babies received a Celtic/Gaelic/Welsh name – including: Aodhla, Etain and Iseult (twins), Gearoidin and Saoirse.

Unisex/masculine: 15 baby girls were bestowed a unisex or traditionally male name – the common Everly, Leigh and Blake were joined by some more unexpected choices like Torin, Weston and Micah.

Trends in boys’ names:

Biblical beaux: 33 uses of Biblical names – Alongside 6 Thomases, highlights included Silas, Asa, Bartholomew, and Zebediah

Surnames for sons: 30 babyberries chose surnames for their sons in 2017 – using them as firsts and middles with the same frequency. Nelson, Logan and Wyatt are among the more familiar of these surname-names – more unusual choices were Gaines, Leland, Fitzgerald and Durham. There was even a special sub-category of fame surnames such as Swayze, Hawthorne, Darwin, Milledge and Hendrix. (We tend to name our boys after famous figures far more than our daughters.)

Wisdom of the ancients: 16 uses of Ancient Greek names and 12 uses of Roman names – alongside the more traditional Jason, Theodore, Julian, August and Felix were Irenaeus, Orion, Archimedes, Horatio and Leandro.

Names from Europe: 20 uses of names with a distinctly European feel. France and Northern Europe got a real look in 2017, with Berries choosing names like Viggo, Sven, Alphonse, Nikolai, Yves and Pavel alongside the more familiar Louis, Leopold, Sasha, Remy and Karl.

Natural World: 13 uses of nature names – mostly these had shady/cool connotations (River, Frost, Snow, Willow, Cove) but a few went with fabulously zippy bird names: Wren and Hummingbird being notable examples.

Girls’ trend prediction: Next generation vintage.

We’re all familiar with the lavender-scented, lace-trimmed names of our great-grandmothers which are coming to life again – think Violet, Ava and Cora. But what about the names of the 1940s, 50s and 60s? Nameberries seem to be using these formerly ‘dowdy’ names with relish – in 2017, we saw babies named MaryAnn, Jean, Jan, Carol, Betty, Diane and Dolores. Is this the beginning of a new wave of vintage names?

Boys’ trend prediction: Not-name names: I think that 2018 will see a continued move towards more off-the-beat names, especially words and surnames – Hummingbird, Acre, and Knight are just some examples of word names from 2017 that even we didn’t have in our database. I can also see unique surname choices like Maclean, Zakkai, and Christie finding broader popularity. Well done for imagination – and keep surprising us in 2018!

About the author

Esmeralda Rocha

Esmeralda Rocha writes regularly for Nameberry. An expert on international names, she lives in Australia.

View all of Esmeralda Rocha's articles

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