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.
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on September 19th, 2014 at 7:20 am
Interesting. I never would have thought off these names as anything but new and trendy. I envision hipster parents using them (parents my age).
on September 19th, 2014 at 8:37 am
I will be pretty upset if Dashiell becomes super popular and makes the top 10 when I’m ready to start having kids. It’s been my favourite boys name ever since I heard it years ago.
on September 20th, 2014 at 11:26 am
Love Auden, Dashiell, Haven, Maple and Romilly! Dashiell and Romilly especially- they’re on my list and I’d use them in a heartbeat.
on September 20th, 2014 at 3:30 pm
Eden is au courant in evangelical circles, as are Jubilee and Selah, as I notice a shift away from biblical character names in the 2000’s.
I first heard of Jubilee through the Duggars. Other biblical J’s they could have used (though they haven’t strictly stuck with biblicals): Jemima(h), Jabez (Jabe), Jared (Jed, but they have a Jedidiah), Jairus, Jericho, and the ever-popular Jacob.
on September 20th, 2014 at 3:39 pm
Selah, of course, was a favorite amongst the Puritans, and its recent revival truly meets the criteria of one foot in the past and one in the present.
on September 20th, 2014 at 3:44 pm
My faves are on this list!! (Gatsby is too grandiose for me but Fitzgerald has wonderful alternatives I love like Amory! 😉
Ever since The Incredibles I’ve loved Dashiell. Dash is the coolest nickname in the world and has a handsome legit longer name (you know for the resume and such)
Romilly is super gorgeous and in my Top 10 easily. And the nickname Romy!
Everly is the most adorable name to me. I want to use Ever but I feel since it’s a word that gets used daily in conversation it’d probably get weird. Unlike “hey let’s say grace” and your name is Grace. Everly sounds cute.
I didn’t know how I felt about Auden until yesterday when I decided that I love it. It’s like Aiden with a poetic pedigree and isn’t confusing to the ears like Austen with an e. And Audrey is so popular Auden is a cute somewhat boyish alternative. I’m in love!
Rowan I only like on a girl. I’m not against it on a boy at all but I think it’s cuter for girls. I love how it makes me think of red. I’d use it in place of Rose (which I would like if it wasn’t the go to basic middle name choice).
So many cute names in this post!!! *heart eyes*
on September 20th, 2014 at 4:57 pm
And Haven I have loved for years. Same with Eden. I love names that mean “safe place”. And Eden has the nature connection AND biblical connection: That’s a left right knockout!
» New Names that Sound Old: Eden, Paisley, Romilly Baby Name Suggestion Said
on September 20th, 2014 at 11:41 pm
[…] Some of the freshest sounding names around actually have longer histories than you might imagine, says Angela Mastrodonato of Upswing Baby Names. Are Eden and Auden old or new? Nameberry – Baby Name Blog […]
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