Category: Spellings, Sounds and Initials

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

They’ve narrowed their list to three great names for their new daughter: Cleo, Harlow, or Willow. But how do they decide which is best?

PennyMay writes:

I’d really appreciate your help with our name choice. We are in Australia, so name trends are different than in the US.

My husband and I are stuck between three very similar sounding names for our third child, and first daughter. Our sons are Angus and Oscar. For our daughter, we are discussing:

Harlow (my first pick, husband’s third pick)
Modern name but may be too much of a contrast to the classic tone of our boys’ names. I like this name because it feels fresh (recently cracking the top 100 names in Australia) but still has an Old World feel. However, I worry it will date.

Willow (husband’s first pick, my second)
Quite popular at the moment. I know a number of people with children (and pets) named this so it’s sort of lost its sparkle. But it’s very pretty and I do love nature names. I think this name will stick around for a while and not date quickly.

Cleo (my third pick, husbands second)
Cleo is an older name so fits beautifully with our boys’ names. Plus, it sounds fun and lively. Cleo however doesn’t have any nicknames (we like names with cute nicknames) and I’m not sure where it’s heading popularity wise. Is it on the rise and I’m ahead of the future name predictions? Or is it on the way out?

My biggest fear is name regret! What’s your opinion on what direction we should go? Which name sounds most beautiful, works as a sibset, and will stand the test of time?

The Name Sage replies:

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Great Girl Names: I spy with my little I

By Linda Rosenkrantz

I never cease to be intrigued by the fact that no only do names go in and out of style, but letters do too.  And especially vowels.  And especially vowels at the start of names.

We’ve had a long period of names, particularly girls’ names, beginning with the letter A, which was followed by E-names for both girls and boys, and lately parents have been showing their love for names started with O.

But the letter I has had a pretty paltry presence on the SSA list. There are only 16 I-initialed girls name out of the 1000 total, and of those, four are Isabel-related, and just Iris, Ivy and Isla in the Top 150, and Ingrid and Iliana just hanging in in the Top 900s.

But there are still a number of I candidates for success—or there for the taking for those avoiding popular examples.  Here are some recommended off-list possibilities:

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Baby Names: The gender reshuffle

By Eve Newman

What actually makes a name female or male? Most names seem to have been assigned a strict gender based on previous usage, but recently more and more we are seeing boy’s names used for girls and girl’s names used for boys.  You could say this is the age of the gender reshuffle.

We make assumptions about the gender of unusual and unfamiliar names based on similarities between them and other names that are maybe more familiar to us, so many of us may take one glance at names such as the Nigerian Ajani, and add them to our girls list (due to the long ‘a’ sound in the middle and the -ee sound ending that also appear in typically ‘girly’ names such as Lana and Emily), when, if we researched a little more, we’d find out that they are typically used for boys in their native cultures. This is how ‘namenapping’ between genders starts – with names that most people are unfamiliar with. If I met a little girl named Ajani, I probably wouldn’t even give it a second thought since I’d have no strong gender assignment in my mind, but this gender swapping opens a gateway to more familiar names being used on different genders.

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Baby Name News from Around the Globe

By Katinka

This week’s news includes the latest name data from Denmark, surprising stats from France, and a defense of the delightfully… well, ordinary.

 What’s Hot with the Danes?

 Juhu! Denmark’s office for national statistics has released its annual baby name data for 2017! Here you can see the top 50 names given to boys and girls born last year, together with the total number of babies receiving each name, and the 2016 rankings for comparison.

And while the top 5 or so names for each gender come as little surprise (think Emma, Ella, Sofia; William, Noah and Lucas), there are some little-known gems further down the list — like nature names Lærke, Mynte and Storm, or rejuvenated antiques like Malthe, Villads and Asger.

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X, Y, Z Take Middle Place

X, y, and z are the trendiest middle letters in baby names today.

X appears in the middle most often in boys’ names: all the Alex, Max, and Jaxon variations.

Y stands in for just about any other vowel, as in Londyn and Myles, and also can help clarify pronunciation as in Layla.

And z can either act as a zesty s or give a classic name like Eliza or Ezra some subtle zip.

Here are some of the most popular names with x, y, or z in the middle today.

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