This week’s news includes the top names in the UK and France, names from past generations that need more love, and some of the reasons people don’t like their name.
The big excitement of the week, for anyone who loves British baby names, was the release of the top names for England and Wales in 2017. Here’s the the full Top 100 list and the main highlights you should know. To name but a few: Oliver and Olivia remain on top, Leo and Poppy entered the Top 10, and entrants to the Top 100 included Hunter, Ralph, Aurora and Hallie.
Beyond the usual headlines about parents naming their babies after characters from Game of Thrones, Star Wars and other pop-culture hits (including the unexpected Binky, a reality TV star’s nickname), there’s serious analysis to be done. For example, just like in the US, the pool of names is getting more diverse across all social classes. As the blog British Baby Names points out, 10% of girls got a name in the Top 10, while 7% of girls got a name that was only used once – so there are almost as many girls with unique names as there are with the most popular ones.
The top names vary a lot locally. For instance, in different areas of London the number one boy and girl names are not just Oliver and Olivia but also David, Arthur, Muhammad, Maryam, Leah, Maya and more. See more local favorites for yourself using this tool.
Where does America fit into this? The blog Roses and Cellar Doors, which is always great at data-delving, has already compared the US and UK 2017 charts. The most American names used in Britain are full of surnames and Spanish names, such as Paxton and Josue for boys, and Kinsley and Alondra for girls. On the flipside, the most British names on the American charts include Alfie and Albie, Darcie and Poppie – the cutesy nicknames are going strong.
Case in point: just before the stats came out, British radio DJ Chris Evans welcomed boy-girl twins reported to be named Walt and Boo. Whether those are their full names or not, they’re almost as cute as their in utero nicknames, Ping and Pong.
It’s not just the UK; the most popular baby names in France have been in the news too. Emma and Gabriel take the top spots, while other names in the Top 10 include the pleasingly his-and-hers Louis and Louise, Léo and Léa.
If you’re looking for French namespiration from beyond the charts, check out these beautiful flower names – for both girls and boys. Or how about these sisters whose names combine the best of French, and Greek mythology: Daphnée and Gaïa.
While we’re on mythological names, Titan is one that doesn’t get as much attention as the more popular Odin, Atlas or Orion. But it’s definitely in the same bracket of epic mythological names. Actress Francesca Eastwood (Clint’s daughter) has just used it for her son.
Not-yet-vintage baby names
Let’s talk about the names parents are out of love with, the ones you rarely hear on a kid nowadays.
Looking at the UK again, they include Leigh, Tracey, Clive and Graham. In this article, people with those names share how they feel that their names have gone out of style. (That’s not so for Graham in the US, where it’s in the Top 200).
Patricia is another name you don’t see much on young children – so it’s refreshing that soccer manager Frank Lampard named his daughter Patricia after his late mother. Is this the vanguard of the Pat revival?
Meanwhile, Gary is often cited as an example of a name on the way out. But there’s still much to celebrate about it, as one Gary shows in the story of his name. Named after a cricket player, he likes that Gary is easily recognisable and links him to his parents’ home country, Barbados. Plus, his children have fantastic names, also after heroes: Osceola and Zora.
If you’re looking for a name that’s well-known but unlikely to be shared with anyone in your child’s class, check out these names in style limbo.
In Ireland, names go in and out of fashion just as much – and they’re not always the same as the most popular Irish names in the US. For example, your average woman called Sinéad or Aisling will be in her 30s. Marys are older, and Aoife and Saoirse are probably still at school. Here’s an interesting look at the Irish girls’ names that define each generation.
When names go wrong
Finally, don’t read these stories if you’re worried your child won’t like their name! It’s too rare, it’s too common, they don’t like the nicknames, or it’s just not cool enough (that’s from the man who changed his name to Elwood Jake Blues). There are so many reasons people *might* not like their names, but if you stick to a few basic principles you’ll have a fighting chance of picking one that you, and they, love.