Nameberry 9: What’s the Next Big Thing?

December 19, 2011 Linda Rosenkrantz

For her Nameberry 9 blog this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel scopes out some names that might just make it big.

It happens with sports and fashion and baby names, too. We’re all trying to guess The Next Big Thing. Looking backwards it seems inevitable that Isabella would become the most popular girls’ name in the US. And of course the AidenJadenHayden craze was bound to happen, thanks to a recurring character on an HBO series, a Hollywood titan, and a pair of young actors. Right?

Except that not every name that seems poised for popularity takes off. Lourdes remains obscure, despite her high-profile mom. Ditto Suri. We’re all in love with Adele right now, but as a given name, she’s still many paces behind Adelyn and Adalynn.

Prediction is much too much fun to give up, of course. So here are eight names spotted this week that just could be on the rise – plus one with a fascinating backstory.

Sofia – News of a new Disney princess is a big deal, for little girls, toy stores, and name watchers, too. Jasmine and Ariel and Aurora and Belle all made their mark. This time the newest royal wears a name that already occupies one of the top spots in the US, though the spelling Sofia ranks more than two dozen places behind Sophia. Will Disney’s pint-sized princess be enough to push Sofia into the Top Ten, too?

Philip – Speaking of variant spellings, Phillip was the preferred form when this name last peaked in the 1950s. But Philip is the spelling chosen by Jim and Pam for baby #2 on The Office – and it is also the more traditional choice, dating back to the ancient world and worn by nearly a dozen European monarchs, too.

Russell – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-stars Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis have welcomed a son. His name? Russell Wallace. Yup, that’s right – Russell. At first, the name might seem dated. But Russell ranked in the US Top 100 for nearly a century, from 1889 through 1982. Add in the warmth of the color russet and the star power of Oscar-winner Russell Crowe, and all of a sudden, the question becomes why we don’t hear this neglected classic more often.

Edith – Another fading classic that could be ripe for a comeback, Edith has picked up a surprising high-style edge in recent years. Pennsylvania tee shirt manufacturer Robert P. Miller was all-but forgotten until a few years ago, when the American basics caught on in Japan. The line has since been reinvented for the US market as Edith A. Miller – the imaginary kid sister of Robert – and can now be found at Barney’s. With built-in nickname Edie, this one feels impeccably fashion-forward.

Trisanne – Are you an Internet Movie Database addict? IMDb is chock full of diversions for name nerds. Their Fresh Faces section – a monthly run-down of actors with strings of indie film and television credits, all just waiting for their Big Break – is always packed with interesting appellations. December includes Bora, Kincaid, Resmine, and Trisanne. The best explanation I’ve heard for that last one? Pennsylvania confectioner Whiten C. Thurman sold Tris Anne chocolates, a regional favorite and inspiration for at least a handful of parents.

Shalom – Whether or not you are a fan of the up-sized reality family, the Duggars’ loss of baby number twenty was heartbreaking news. The family held a memorial service for Jubilee Shalom. The J name is, of course, a Duggar tradition. But the middle name came as a surprise. Mom blogger Rebecca Woolf made headlines earlier this year when she named her twin daughters Reverie Lux and Boheme Shalom. It is hard to imagine two moms less alike than Michelle and Rebecca, and yet the Hebrew greeting, which literally means peace, feels appropriate for both families.

Kite – Speaking of word names, Marginamia suggested Kite as a middle name after coming across a book from 1966. Name Soiree went searching, and quickly found that Kite has been used as a personal name, along with other unexpected words like Trout, Abacus, and Curstey.

Paula – Well, maybe not Paula exactly – she just made Nameberry’s list of Vanishing Names. But Newsweek deputy managing editor Paula Szuchman is expecting a daughter of her own, and posted a call for suggestions. #NamePaulasBaby has generated oodles of ideas, from the silly (Minnie Mouse) to the safe (Emily, Avery) to the intriguing (Emalise, Tirza, Ilsa, Desdemona). It will be interesting to hear if the final choice really does come from a tweet.

Leatrice – Let’s end with a completely random name mentioned on Facebook – one without a clear origin, but that feels like a smoosh of Leah and Beatrice. Silent film star and New Orleans native Leatrice Joy propelled the name into modest use in the 1920s, but she’s long since faded into obscurity. Could Leatrice make a comeback?

Spotted any interesting names this week?












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