New Names that Sound Old: Eden, Paisley, Romilly
Determining what makes a name contemporary vs. what makes a name established can be tough.
For example, if a name was first used by one notable person (real or fictional) in the 17th century, but hadn’t become widespread or familiar until within the past decade, does that qualify the name as established or modern?
There may be some debate, but to me, any name that hadn’t been widely familiar or used until within the past 20-30 years is a modern name. That isn’t to say that sometimes modern names can’t have historic origins. Modern names with historic origins are new names that sound… well… old.
Here are some examples:
Auden – is the surname of a poet born around the turn of the 20th century, but hasn’t been used much as a first name. That may soon change. Its sound is definitely on-trend.
Calloway – This surname with jazzy ties has a wonderful three-syllable rhythm and would make a wonderful unisex choice.
Dashiell – This Anglicized surname was introduced by author Dashiell Hammett, born in the late 19th century, but the name has yet to become widespread and familiar. This name could soon catch on since it has the vibe of a modern breakout hit.
These names have one foot in the past and one foot in the present and therein lies their appeal. If you don’t want your child’s name associated too much with one era, these names make great choices.
Angela created Upswing Baby Names to help parents find that different but not too different name. She muses about names on their way in and on their way out in her book, The Top 22 in 2022, which she updates every year in May once the newest U.S. name rankings become available.