Category: classic girl names
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A Nameberry reader recently asked: How long do baby names in the US Top 10 tend to remain in the Top 10?
Good question, we thought, and so with the help of our commando researcher Esmeralda Rocha, we did some investigation.
The short answer: It’s complicated. While girls’ names in the current Top 10 have been there fewer years on average – 12 years versus 14 for the boys – those numbers are skewed by the amazing durability of Emily at 24 years and, even more dramatically, Michael at 72. Take Emily and Michael out of the equation and the balance reverses, with girls’ names staying on top an average of 10 years versus only 7.5 for the boys!
But this doesn’t tell the whole story either, given that classic boys’ names such as William and James have been in the Top 10 for most of the 135-year history of the data, though they dipped out and returned only recently. And on the girls’ side, Elizabeth had been in the Top 10 most of those years, only to slip out in 2014.
Here, a closer look at the popularity durability of all the names of both genders in the current US Top 10.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The other day we took a look at all the boys’ names in the Alexandrian clan, now we move on to the girls. Here we find 11 direct descendants on the Social Security list. The big surprise is that Alexandra, the direct feminization of Alexander, does not come first, but is superseded by a unisex offshoot. And it’s not Alex!
What’s your very favorite classic girls’ name? And yes, sure, you can mention more than one.
Think you have to pick between names that are classics, with deep roots and centuries of use, and names that are unusual?
You don’t, as these classic girls’ names, all ranked below the U.S. Top 1000, attest.
Some were popular in recent years and are now sinking from view — Pamela, Jean — while others are rising stars we predict will soon appear on the official Top 1000: Imogen is a prime example, along with Mabel, the Margos, and Clementine.
That still leaves dozens of classic girls’ names that are neither coming into style nor sailing out but simply holding steady below the radar.
A note on how we chose the names: We did not include variant spellings of more popular classic names such as Emilee, and for the most part excluded short forms unless they have been traditionally used on their own. Our definition of classic embraces ancient names such as Phaedra and Keturah along with more recent widely-used girls’ names such as Maureen.
If you’re in search of a classic girls’ name that’s both traditional and unusual, consider these 100+ picks, ordered from those given to the highest number of baby girls in the U.S. in 2012 (Aurelia, at 250) to the least (Petal, used for just 5).
A cartoon in a recent New Yorker features a little girl and her mother surveying Halloween costumes in a shop window. “I want to be whichever Disney princess is the most badass,” the girl says.
Badass princess is an image that not only appeals to contemporary little girls but to their parents when choosing a name.
Like the hipster cowboy names we wrote about recently, badass princess names are appealing not so much because of their sound or their style but because of the complicated image they convey. These are girl names that are both decidedly feminine and rooted in tradition, but are not at all conventional or conservative. They’re creative and edgy, but not invented or unorthodox like Blue or Bellamy.
The badass princess names are classy and sassy, cosmopolitan yet earthy, chic but never trying too hard. It’s an image that many an urbane parent can embrace for her daughter, and that a little girl can have fun living up to, in Halloween costume and beyond.