Here at nameberry, we’ve been known to scrutinize trends down to a single letter (are V names in?) or syllable (la-beginnings) or sound (oo), as in Talllulah. The other day, thinking about the names that are emerging as as among the hottest for girls right now, I suddenly realized that several of them have something in common–and that is that they are all three-syllable names ending in the suffix ine:
This is a pattern that hasn’t been seen in the US for a long time–if you don’t count classics like Caroline and Madeline. The ones that are feminizations of boys’ names, such as Geraldine and Ernestine, fell out of favor at a time when a) women didn’t want to be thought of as appendages of men even in their names, and b) the particular male names they derived from were sounding particularly fusty.
But this doesn’t seem like such a burning feminist issue these days, when many parents are eager to honor their dads and forefathers as namesakes for their kids of either gender. And besides–who knows?–names like Gerald and Ernest could make a return at any time.