While browsing through a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine, I came across an article about the current generation of picture books and their bratty protagonists. It was illustrated by an image from a book called Finn Throws a Fit. Aha, I thought, so juvenile authors are on top of current naming trends. This impelled me to go running (figuratively) to my local Borders to seek further evidence.
One difference I noticed immediately was that there were more little human protagonists and fewer of the porcine (excluding Olivia), feline, canine, bovine, etc persuasion than there were in the past, and there were, as the article pointed out, a lot more angry children populating the pages, and a lot more preoccupation with poop and farts.
In terms of names, I was surprised to see that there was a book title containing almost every currently popular choice—almost as many as there are on the personalized pencils in the airport—a big upswing from the past. Here are some titles all released since the turn of the century–and they’re just the tip of the iceberg!:
CONSTANCE and the Great Escape
ELIZA and the Dragonfly
My Name is Not ISABELLA
IVY and Bean
JUNIE B., First Grader
Let’s Find LUCY
RUBY’S FALLING LEAVES
When SOPHIE Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry
TALLULAH in the Kitchen
Goodnight, my sweet VIOLET
DEXTER Gets Dressed
KYLE’s First Crush
LIAM Goes Poo in the Toilet
OLIVER Who Would Not Sleep
PHINEAS & Ferb series
WALTER the Farting Dog series
We’ve been scrutinizing your responses to our recent survey, in particular the question that asked what you’d like to see more of on nameberry, with an eye to accommodating your suggestions. Quite a few responders put in requests for more ethnic names— with pronunciations—and a couple took note of our blog on birth announcements in the London Times, interested in seeing similar subjects, which Pam will be updating soon.
So, since we aim to please, this time we are taking a look at announcements in the Irish Times over the past few months–the ethnic and not-so-ethnic names found there–with pronunciations when needed.
The current batch of newborn names in Ireland shows a typical mix of Anglo-Saxon classics (especially for boys), modern Irish standards , and the old Gaelic names that have been revived and become fashionable in recent years, as well as some internationally trendy choices. Below are some of the more interesting, with pronunciations where useful–bearing in mind that they change from region to region (and reference book to reference book).
Among the currently most popular girls’ names are Emily, Lucy, Isabel (and Isabelle, Isabella and Isobel), and Grace, with several appearances of Hazel and Sophia/Sofia , Rose and Ruby. Leading middle names in this sampling appear to be Elizabeth, Grace, Rose, Louise, May and Maeve.
Here, some of the more unusual choices–including some interesting combos:
A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the favorite girls’ names on a Nameberry Message Board thread–led by the lovely Beatrix, Penelope and Clementine–and now it’s time to look over at the boys’ side.
The most striking result is the strong showing for the good old traditional, timeless classics, with many votes for William, Henry, Charles, James, Edward, Joseph, George, and Thomas, and a resurgence of interest in Theodore (#2!–perhaps because of the popularity of nickname Theo), Frederick, and Peter. Does this mean that parents are still (or once again) looking at safer, more conservative choices for their sons than their daughters? Is it somehow a reflection of the cloudy economic climate?
Some smaller trends noted: a preponderance of names starting with the vowel E—Elliot (in its various spellings), Edward, Emmett, Everett, Ethan, Ezra, Elias; and the characteristic nameberry love of some quirkier choices, several not found in the Top 500 of the Social Security list–Gideon, Amos, Emmett, Dexter, Atticus, Asa, Harvey, Callum and Cullen–and some not even on the list at all–Dashiell, Archer, Malachy, Laszlo, Ambrose. It takes time for the rest of the world to catch up!
So here, as of today, are your top choices:
One of the great mysteries of baby-naming is how a name comes seemingly out of nowhere to become a fashionable, popular choice.
But unlike other, far more complex Irish names, Finn has tremendous crossover potential. It’s also kind of Scandinavian, sort of fishy, easy to spell and say, plus has several attractive relatives: Finnian, Finnegan, Finlay.
And it’s been chosen by such high profile couples as Ed Burns and Christy Turlington for their son, while Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn named their daughter Finley, a version also chosen by Lisa Marie Presley for one of her newborn twin girls.
Once you dissect all that, it’s easy to see that Finn‘s popularity hardly came from nowhere. And it’s a name that’s unlikely to fade away again anytime soon.
For more names from Irish mythology, check out our new book, Cool Irish Names for Babies.