Classic Baby Names Reborn
But what about those names that have been off the list for a decade or longer — sometimes more than half a century! — and are now making a comeback?
There were only 13 such reborn names on the Top 1000 for 2014. It may be questionable to call some of them classics as they only entered widespread use in the 1970s or 80s. But many of these names were hugely popular 100 or more years ago and are true classic names once again spreading their wings.
The Scottish word name Bonnie, which means pretty, was a midcentury favorite, reigning in the Top 50 in the 1940s and 50s thanks to its use for the ill-fated little girl in Gone With The Wind. From there it went on a long decline, falling off the Top 1000 in 2003 only to return this year at Number 833. Why the comeback? It might be because its GWTT parent names Scarlett and Rhett are ascending decades after the book and movie, or because Bonnie was showcased in popular contemporary vehicles The Vampire Diaries and Hunger Games.
- Bonnie, which means pretty, was a midcentury favorite, reigning in the Top 50 in the 1940s and 50s thanks to its use for the ill-fated little girl in Gone With The Wind. From there it went on a long decline, falling off the Top 1000 in 2003 only to return this year at Number 833. Why the comeback? It might be because its GWTT parent names Scarlett and Rhett are ascending decades after the book and movie, or because Bonnie was showcased in popular contemporary vehicles The Vampire Diaries and Hunger Games." >
- Clementine has been fashionable in England for many years now, but for many American parents it’s been too closely tied to the folk song Oh My Darlin’. That’s finally changing, with Clementine back on the Top 1000 after a more-than-60 year absence. Ethan Hawke and Rachel Griffiths are both parents of Clementines, and the name is also popular in France, its country of origin. In Europe it’s sometimes pronounced clemenTEEN, but in the US it always rhymes with fine." >
- King Lear) Cordelia hit its peak in the US way back in 1880, then went on a long slide to 1950 when it fell off the Top 1000. Now it’s back at Number 993 but we predict it will climb much higher thanks partly to its similarity to other new vintage darlings such as Cora and Adelaide. There was a character named Cordelia in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel." >
- Emmet is a bit of a cheat given that it’s a variation on the more popular spelling Emmett, which has been climbing for three decades and is now all the way up in the Top 200. But this sleeker spelling, off the Top 1000 since all the way back in 1932, deserves its revival too. Emmet and variations owe their new life to mother name Emma, Number 1 for girls." >
- Faye may not be more lovely than Fay, but more than ten times as many parents choose to use that e at the end, vaulting the Faye spelling into the Top 1000 for the first time since the late 1970s. Whichever spelling you use, this simple, enchanting name means “fairy.”" >
- Ford suddenly broken its 60-year connection to the car company to rise back into the Top 1000 as a baby name? It may be Owen Wilson’s choice of the simple, strong name for his son. Ford has been famous as both a first name and a last, sometimes for the same person – as with writer Ford Madox Ford. And it’s also Presidential." >
- Judson is a handsome patronymic which may owe its revival to the popularity of Hudson, and maybe Justin too. Meaning “son of Jordan” (or theoretically Judd or Jude), Judson peaked way back in 1880 but remained on the list for more than a century before falling off. We predict a climb back up through the ranks." >
- Khalid climbed back onto the Top 1000 in 2014 after more than a decade’s absence. The name means immortal and was most famous as a 7th century military leader." >
- Leif is back in the US after a nearly-30 year absence. The name was introduced to North America by explorer Leif Erikson and then popularized in the 1970s by teen idol Leif Garrett. Its appeal today may be partly nature-oriented." >
- Lovely Louisa has finally made it back onto the Top 1000 after nearly half a century, and it’s exactly the kind of ladylike vintage name that has the qualities to climb to the top of the list as sisters Olivia and Sophia have. Little Women author Louisa May Alcott may be an inspiration for modern parents looking for a literary namesake." >
- Rosalyn is a midcentury spin on the classic literary name Rosalind, but it’s the variation that has risen back into the Top 1000 and not the lovely original. Is it the True Blood character Rosalyn that championed this version of the name? Or perhaps the fashion for names that end with lyn?" >
- Stevie Nicks propelled her boyish short form of Stephanie onto the charts in the early 80s, where it lingered for 15 years before going underground, only to reemerge last year with Ms. Nicks’ career. Stevie may be back in the limelight again also thanks to such stylish short forms for girls as Charlie. Sam, and Frankie." >
- Thea is a gorgeous goddess name that came from nowhere to vault onto the list all the way up to Number 773 this year. The last time it was on the Top 1000 was 1965, and it’s been underground for much of US baby name history, also swimming beneath the surface for the first half of the 20th century. Yet Thea not only stands on her own but can be short for so many other lovely names, from Theodora to Dorothea to Anthea." >
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on July 30th, 2015 at 11:16 pm
“There were Cordelias in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel.”
There were not Cordelias in both Buffy and Angel. There was one character named Cordelia who appeared in both shows.
on July 30th, 2015 at 11:42 pm
Thea is gorgeous!
on July 31st, 2015 at 12:08 am
I love many of these names, particularly the female ones, but the baby pictures creep me out. It’s not the babies themselves, it’s using them in a prop-like manner.
on July 31st, 2015 at 1:34 am
Alethea could also be a longer form name for Thea.
on July 31st, 2015 at 7:19 am
on July 31st, 2015 at 10:45 am
How popular does is have to be to be classed as fashionable in England? I’ve never met or heard of a single Clementine and I have lived in England my entire life. Anyway, that aside, I do think there is still too much association with the type of orange for this name to be widely used..
on July 31st, 2015 at 11:48 am
Fixed, @Pansy. And @Essa, I don’t think popular and fashionable are the same thing — in fact, they’re often mutually exclusive.
on July 31st, 2015 at 3:42 pm
I wish there were more boys names! I love almost all of these girl names and the style, but don’t see a stand out boy name from the group for me. I think they were mostly girl names on the list though.
on July 31st, 2015 at 8:30 pm
I agree with lesliemarion, above. The names are lovely but the Babies-In-Bags theme of the photos is just weird.
I know a baby Bonnie who just perfectly fits that name. Clementine and Faye both seem very popular to me. I adore Cordelia and Thea.
on July 31st, 2015 at 9:14 pm
I really like Rosalyn. I think it’s pretty.
on July 31st, 2015 at 10:31 pm
I agree with @nicicle333, I wish there were more boy names.
on July 31st, 2015 at 11:51 pm
I’ve never been a fan of the babies-as-part-of-flowers-or-what-have-you. Is it Anne Geddes who popularized that?
on July 31st, 2015 at 11:52 pm
I absolutely adore Louisa and its vintage nicknames Lulie and Lulu.
on August 1st, 2015 at 3:02 pm
I love all of these! Especially Louisa, Theodora, and Faye.
on August 2nd, 2015 at 6:02 am
The boys’ names didn’t do much for me, but I love Bonnie, Faye, Louisa, and Thea.
on August 2nd, 2015 at 3:10 pm
Bonnie, Louisa and Thea are all great names and Bonnie is especially dear to my heart.
on August 3rd, 2015 at 11:05 am
Soo… can anyone suggest boy names that would fit this category? Or can a blogger please make a name list like this but for boys!!
13 baby names that are making a comeback Said
on August 5th, 2015 at 10:30 am
[…] potential parents, picked out which of the top 1,000 names from the Social Security Administration were names that hadn’t been in the list of the top 1,000 names for at least 10 years (and, in some cases, more than 50 […]
on August 5th, 2015 at 10:50 am
@nicicle333 and everyone who wished for more boys’ names on this list: These 13 names are the ONLY ones that quantitatively fall into the category of being off the Top 1000 for more than 10 years and then climbing back on in 2014. A pretty small group! Of course there are other names that may have been off for only 5 or more years, for instance, or that may have hopped back on last year, or that have NEVER been on the Top 1000 until now. You’d have to calculate each of those groups separately which could be a full-time job!
I agree, in this class, the girls’ names are far stronger than the boys’.
on August 6th, 2015 at 9:14 am
So glad that Bonnie is making a comeback! I love that name! Also Louisa because it was my Great Grandmothers name! I plan on using Louise or Louisa as a middle one day
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