Classy, Cool British Names
Classy, cool British names are one of my favorite groups. I love the day once a quarter or so that I allow myself to wallow in the London Telegraph birth announcements. Britberries regularly admonish me not to take the British names in the Telegraph to mean anything about typical British baby-naming behavior: Those are names chosen by mostly upper class families, they say, and are examples of a rarefied taste.
Point taken, but I still can’t help but be struck by how different many of the names are from what you’d hear in similar stratospheres of American society: on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, say, or in Beverly Hills.
There are dozens of names that are mentioned over and over in the British birth announcements that are nowhere near as fashionable here. But they’re attractive names, traditional yet quirky, excellent choices for any American parent — or British, Australian, or Canadian one, for that matter — who wants to emulate the English upper classes.
Prime examples from the recent crop of classy, cool British names:
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on November 8th, 2011 at 3:31 am
The most popular names in Beverly Hills are Persian names.
on November 8th, 2011 at 5:13 am
I love all these names, they’re definitely my style. Some you don’t hear used by ‘ordinary’ British parents at all like Flora, Jemima, Ottilie, Angus, Benedict, Digby, Fergus, Hector, Horatio, Hugo. Some are really popular amoung the general population such as Florence, Millie, Poppy, Alfie, Archie, Felix, Freddie, George, Luca, Toby. Callum is the most surprising, I associate that name with the opposite end of British society! My favourites are Elodie, Eloise, Florence, Millie, Zara, Archie, Jasper, Rory and Wilfred. I wish I had the guts to use Wilfred!
on November 8th, 2011 at 10:07 am
I’m a Yank by any measure, and some of these names have been on my lists for years!
I adore: Annabel, Edith, Florence & Flora, Jemima, India, Ottilie & Xanthe for girls; and Angus, Arthur, Felix, George, Hector, Hugo, Leonard & Otto.
I’ll probably never use Leonard, having a Leo and Xanthe, seeing as how I have redheads & brunettes but no blondes but I love them anyway!
Lovely, lovely names! 😀
on November 8th, 2011 at 10:09 am
These names are so my style! If only I was brave enough to use them…
on November 8th, 2011 at 10:17 am
I adore British naming styles. My great aunts, who live in Surrey, always tell me the latest baby names they have encountered.
I love that I come from a family of name nerds!
on November 8th, 2011 at 11:13 am
Love Poppy, she came on my radar from the Harry Potter books, she was the school “nurse”.
Duncan has been on my radar since Appellation Mountain featured him in May. I love that he is recognizable, classic, Shakespearean and very underused. He has made it to #2 on our boys list only because my husband still likes our #1 slightly better, in my eyes we have a tie for #1 names. The British are so posh!
Sarah A Said
on November 8th, 2011 at 11:14 am
I’m not keen on the nicknames as full names that the Brits seem to be fond of, but other than that I’m definitely loving these names! Georgiana, Angus, and Lachlan stick out for me in particular. And I just bestowed Felix on a friend’s fish 🙂
on November 8th, 2011 at 11:31 am
YAY Robin for a boy! 🙂 And welcome back, Wilfred!
on November 8th, 2011 at 11:42 am
A lot of the names on the boys list to me sound like old man names. Not a fan of most of them, except perhaps Robin, Rory, Digby and Luca.
on November 8th, 2011 at 11:43 am
I love spending time pouring over the birth announcements from the telegraph. I may need to go to a support group! My favorite names from the lists are…
India – GWTW makes me love this name
Leonie – this is interesting
Millie – LOVE Millie! I can’t find anyone to agree :o(
Callum – been on my list for a while
Lachlan – family name…on my list
Toby – this is just okay…but I love Tobias!
on November 8th, 2011 at 11:45 am
Love these girls names, especially Elodie, Annabel and Edith.
Freddie or Frederick
Fergus, Felix, Hugo, Jasper, and Rory are on my own list.
on November 8th, 2011 at 12:18 pm
I love most of these names! Horatio is in the top two for this child if it is a boy.
on November 8th, 2011 at 1:52 pm
Linzy- I also love Millie. I think it’s a totally charming nickname or on it’s own. It’s super cute.
Also, I discovered on my family tree, the name Honoria, my great great grandmother from England. Close to Honor, but I like it better with the A ending. My great aunt was named Honor for her, but she didn’t go by it. She liked her mn Nesta instead. No idea why. Honoria is exotic, unusual and very meaningful to me. I hope it doesn’t catch on so I can be greedy with it!
on November 8th, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Good timing. I just published a list of babies born in London. Here it is if you want to check them out. My favorite on the list is Rosalie Cinnamon. 🙂
on November 8th, 2011 at 2:58 pm
I love practically all the girls names!
Georgiana has been on my radar for many years, thanks to Jane Austen and the film The Duchess.
on November 8th, 2011 at 3:51 pm
I’ve loved Georgiana since The Dutchess, too! It’s the first time I heard it pronounced that way and I like it so much better!
Love almost every name on the girls list. I like British girl style a lot more than boys, but I like most of the boy names, too. I really wish I could get my husband on board with Frederick! I have a soft spot for Angus, but I’ve been told it wouldn’t wear well here.
on November 8th, 2011 at 7:35 pm
I LOVE the name Florence.
But I honestly hate the names Alfie and Albert with a burning passion. I could never imagine having a child named Alfie or Albert. And Albert is a family name. I love my grandfather, whose name is Albert, but I hate his name. I would never even use it as a middle name; I might shorten it to Al for a middle, but never Albert. My uncle’s middle name is Albert, for his father, and he hates it. He refuses to tell anyone what his middle name is, and if a form asks for his middle name he puts down A.
on November 8th, 2011 at 9:59 pm
So many great names but I dont imagine Fleur, Heloise, Elodie, Ottilie , Angus or Wilfred sound that pretty rolling off the tongues of Americans (myself included) whether they’re posh or not.
on November 9th, 2011 at 1:07 pm
I love looking at the Londom Telegraph Birth Announcements. The newest one this week is a baby girl: Elspeth Isla – should definitely be added to this list!
I love most of the girls names in the list above, especially Millie, Poppy and Eloise (Unfortunately Eloise is the name of our family’s Westie so it’s forever out of the running).
I expected to equally approve of the boys list but I only like Hugo. It’s much harder for me to find uncommon boys names I like for some reason.
nikkiolle – Harry Potter is a great source for unusual names! Hugo is a name that I first took notice of after JKR used it in the last HP book.
on February 6th, 2012 at 1:04 pm
Many of these are considered a bit too “try hard” by well-to-do Brits; the true upper classes won’t use trendy names like Archie or Alfie or Ottilie (or anything ending in an ie) but instead select classic family names handed down the generations of their aristocratic family such as James, Edward, Anne, Catherine. These can all cross the classes too but if you choose Hugo you had better plan to send him to a very exclusive (and expensive) boarding school!
on March 6th, 2012 at 12:54 pm
I agree that lots of these aren’t just reserved for the ‘upper class’, but I also definitely agree that the Telegraph birth announcements CERTAINLY don’t provide a realistic representation of British names. The ones I’ve heard on [regular] children here in GB are…
Edith (nn Edie!)
And just FYI: lots of people here actually associate Rory, Dominic and Callum (and possibly Alfie) with the complete opposite of upper class.
on May 22nd, 2012 at 7:03 am
I love English styled names; my favourites from this list are:
Edith, Flora, Leonie, Millie, Zara; Archer, Jasper, Leonard and hubby loves Hector!
on May 23rd, 2014 at 7:17 am
I like to see your reactions to perfectly ordinary names…
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