Lost Baby Names: Now Back on Track


By Clare Green

Today we dive deep into the charts to look at the comeback baby names of 2018. Not names that have returned to the Top 100, or even the Top 1000; we’re talking about  lost baby names that have just returned to the list.

Some names have been away for a very long time. Welsh beauty Olwen slept for over a hundred years – it was last used in 1917 – while Ancient Greek Argo is back on the list for the first time since 1919. Orabelle, Sigrun, Romanus and President were all missing in action since the 1920s.

All the names below returned to the US charts in 2018 (meaning they were given to at least five boys or girls) after a gap of ten years or more. This means that most of them will be rare not only in schools, but in the whole population, so they’re a great place to start if you’re looking for something a bit different.

5 girls in 2018. Last recorded: 1998

Do you have an affinity for word names? With names like Serenity and Felicity in style, it’s not surprising that some parents look for others with the same rhythm – and Affinity certainly has a pleasant meaning. Celebrity also fits this pattern, and other word names returning to the girls’ list include Euphoria, Cinder, Crescent and Spiritual.

8 girls in 2018. Last recorded: 1996 (girls), 2000 (boys)

A sweet nickname that also stands alone, Bee is a nature name that brings to mind busyness, working together, and caring for the environment. It’s not the only nickname back in the charts: there’s also Dot, Lulie and Goldi for girls, and Hud and Montie for boys.

5 boys in 2018. Last recorded: 2003

For some parents, Fox and Bear – and Bee – are just too tame! Cobra is an animal name to be reckoned with, possibly influenced by the recent popularity of names like Coby. Other epic boys’ names back on the list include Iron, Render and Tarzan. Would you dare use them?

5 girls in 2018. Last recorded: 1979

Could Demelza be the next Elowen? This Cornish place name owes its existence to the heroine of the Poldark novels by Winston Graham. They were made into a TV show in the 1970s – the last time the name was recorded in the US – and again from 2015-2018, which explains why Demelza is suddenly back. Other romantic girl names back for 2018 include Rowenna, Gwyndolin, Veronia and Rosaelia.

5 boys in 2018. Last recorded: 1997

Garrett and Rhett are both in style today, so it was only a matter of time before someone smooshed them together. The result? A spelling that’s unusual, but still easy to understand. This year’s comebacks include a lot of respelled names, as you may already have noticed: some that are different without being too out-there are Isidor, Meryk, Wrenn, Eufemia and Octayvia.

5 boys in 2018 (and 11 girls). Last recorded: 1993 (boys)

Who says Hilary is just for girls? It was more popular as a male name up to the 1940s, and now that its popularity has waned for girls, Hilary has reappeared on the boys’ charts. Think of it as a jaunty name like Diggory and Rafferty, and it feels fresh again. Other gender-defying comebacks for boys include Callie, Melody and Zola.

5 boys in 2018. Last recorded: 1968

Italian baby names are big at the moment, with the likes of Luca and Lorenzo climbing higher than ever in 2018. Livio has just as much energy and history, but has only just reappeared on the radar. Lazzaro and Leonzo also returned to the charts this year.

5 girls in 2018. Last recorded: 1970

Can you get any more vintage than this? The jewel name Pearl feels so old it’s new again, and rare Pearlina has an extra touch of daintiness. Other glamorous vintage girl names back in the charts include Lucetta, Reinette, Idalina and Ozella.

5 boys in 2018. Last recorded: 2001

As surnames continue to rise on the boys’ charts, for some parents the pressure is on to find one that’s stylish, recognizable, and not overused. Saunders, a Scottish name deriving from Alexander, hits the mark. Also on the comeback list are Philips, Nicholson, Gilson and Wellesley.

5 girls in 2018. Last recorded: 1990 (girls), 1994 (boys)

This name sings of the sunny south: the Spanish city of Seville is famous for its flamenco dancing, Islamic history and orange trees. It’s not the only rare place name back in use: Oceania has reappeared for girls, and Atlantis for boys. There’s also Genovia, which you may recognize as the fictional country in The Princess Diaries. It was last used as a name in 1961, before the author Meg Cabot was even born!

Which of these comebacks do you like best? Do you think any of them are here to stay?

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

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