Many of the stories about the recent US Popular Names list focus on the names at the top and on the rise: the Sophias and Jacobs, Khaleesis and Jayceons of the baby name world.
But, just as some names go up, others must come down. The following 20 girls’ names fell out of the Top 1000 in 2013, some of them perhaps just taking a nap, others on a long slide toward obsolescence.
Both of these short forms for Abigail sank even as the original remains in the Top 10. The venerable Abbie has been more popular over the decades than Abigail herself, spending only 35 years outside the Top 1000 since the list’s inception in 1880, compared with Abigail’s 43. Abbey, the younger of the sisters, entered the rankings in 1978 where it remained until this year.
Alisa and Elissa owed their rise and now fall to two megapopular names that have also peaked, Lisa and Melissa. Alisa peaked in 1969 and Elissa in 1979. Now, they’re making way for soundalike cousins such as Eliza, Elsa, and even the classic Alice.
Azariah, traditionally a male Hebrew name, has been flirting with the girls’ Top 1000 over the past few years, but this year it’s sitting out the dance.
Bree first entered the name charts in 1974, after it was used for Jane Fonda’s Oscar-winning character in Klute, and was kept alive by Bree Van de Kamp in Desperate Housewives. But now that the series is over, Bree’s popularity has ended with it.
Perennial stalwart Geraldine stayed within the Top 100 from 1916 to 1949 and broke the Top 40 in 1931 before it crashed in the 1970s. Politician Geraldine Ferraro, the first female Vice Presidential candidate, and Pulitzer-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks may have kept the name alive… but barely. This is one we don’t expect to hear again for a few generations.
Was Jessa the baby name equivalent of a One-Hit Wonder? She appeared on the charts only in 2012, sneaking in at Number 991. Her emergence onto the scene can be very obviously tracked to the character Jessa Johansson on the popular HBO series Girls. But, as a name, Jessa may be too close to 1980s favorite Jessica, now more a mom than a baby name.
Katrina enjoyed a comfortable existence in the Top 200 from 1969 to 1996 but fell foul of fate and the naming gods at the World Meteorological Organization when, in 2005, a hurricane bearing the moniker devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. Unsurprisingly, Katrina’s popularity has declined steeply and steadily since.
Swedish Kirsten is a relatively new US import, having entered the rankings only in 1957. But it enjoyed a rapid gain in popularity: It reached the Top 400 six years later and didn’t budge until 2006, when its popularity began to decline despite the stardom of Kirsten Dunst.
Influenced by the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago, Larissa peaked in 1994. Her rhyming sister Carissa arrived in 1970 and enjoyed a comfortable twenty years in the Top 400 from 1977 to 1997. Along with big sister Melissa and the entire issa family, Larissa and Carissa may be sweet and feminine names but are now decidedly out of favor.
Litzy gained popularity through the Mexican actress and singer Litzy Vanya Domínguez Balderas who uses it as her stage name. Litzy first appeared on the list in 2000 at an impressive Number 396. Poor Litzy has the dubious distinction of being this year’s hardest faller, taking a spectacular nosedive of 825 places.
Marisa parachuted into the Top 1000 at Number 533 in 1956 and perched in the Top 300 from 1976 to 1999 thanks to actress Marisa Berenson. But now, like other names with the isa and issa endings, she’s no longer in fashion.
Mattie was on the Top 1000 for nearly the first century of its existence, falling off for the first time only in 1973 before bouncing back. But now, with the dipping popularity of Madeline and Madison and their short form Maddy, the world may have decided Mattie is too likely to get lost in the crowd.
Meghan spent 1978 until 2004 in the Top 200, even enjoying a ten-year stint in the Top 100, following the rise of homophone Megan. Unfortunately for Meghan, the popularity of all forms of the name has left her sounding dated to the ears of modern parents who may regard her in the same category as contemporaries Jessica and Ashley; 90s staples to be relegated to the back of the closet.
Rachael has had quite a career in the Top 1000, dipping her toe out of the limelight six separate times (seven including this most recent one) since 1880 only to jump right back on again. However, Rachel has been in a steady decline since 1997 and her alternate spelling Rachael has fallen with her.
Popularized by the drink Tia Maria, Tia arrived in 1957 and peaked at 221 in 1982. She has been on the decline since 1996. Soundalike Riya (yes, it rhymes with Mia and NOT Maya) is a comparative newcomer. She appeared in 2002 but has spent most of that time in the bottom centile of the Top 1000.
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