The Baby Namers’ Alphabet

The Baby Namers’ Alphabet


A was the most popular first initial for girls’ names in 2009, the last year for which there are official US statistics, and the most popular first letter overall, with one in eight babies getting a name that starts with A.


Boys’ names were led by J names, starting with the Number 1 Jacob.


C or K?  A lot of parents see these initials as interchangeable, with names from the classic (Cate or Kate) to the trendy (Kaylee or Caleigh) .  And of course, international variations of certain names may make the first initial C in some cases — Christopher, for instance — but K is others, as with the Dutch or German Kristof.


Kids with names that start with D do worse in school than those whose start with A, B, and C, according to one study.


Edward is one classic name that got new life thanks to Twilight.


F is the formerly frumpy first letter of three of the most fashionable new celebrity babies: Flynn (son of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr), Faith (daughter of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban), and Ford (son of Owen Wilson).


Girls’ names are getting, well, girlier, with all Top 5 names ending in the feminine a and six of the Top 10 having three or more syllables.


Need help choosing a name?  Check out the nameberry message boards, where the fabulous berries dispense excellent advice 24/7.


Isabella took over as the number one girls’ name in the U.S. last year.


Beyond Jennifer & Jason, our very first baby name book, morphed over time into Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana and, most recently, Beyond Ava & Aiden — though we considered calling it Beyond Jessica & Jacob.   Find out more on our books page.


K is a very 90s initial, inspiring such trendy favorites as Kyle, Kayla, Kinsey, and Keaton.


L picks up where K left off, with such newly popular names as Lily, Lila, Leila, Logan, and Lane.


Two of the most popular names of all time start with M: Mary, by far the most popular girls’ name until the 1950s, and Michael, which dominated the boys’ list for the last half of the 20th century.


Nia is a name that signals African-American pride, as one of the days of Kwanzaa.


Names that begin and end in O have taken off over the past few decades, a trend we like to think we had something to do with launching.  Stylish examples: Oscar, Olive, Theo, Marlo.


A letter that rated highly in the midcentury, with names like Patricia, Peter, Paul, and Pamela, but less fashionable of late.


Quinn is among the fastest rising girls’ names, thanks to TV’s Glee.


Ruby, name of the red birthstone for the month of July, is the Number 2 name in England and Wales as well as New Zealand and a Top 25 name throughout most of the rest of the English-speaking world, though not yet in the Top 100 in the U.S.


Steven trumps Stephen: More boys over time have gotten the new-fangled spelling in the U.S. than the more classic one.


Top twin names still tend to be matchy-matchy, with such pairs as Ella and Emma, Daniel and David, and even London and Paris ruling the popularity list.


U was the least popular letter for baby names in 2009.


Britain’s Queen Victoria also had a mother and a daughter named Victoria.  But her actual first name was Alexandrina.


William, future king of England, started a new fashion for his classic name when he was born in the early 80s, and transformed the favored short form from Billy to Will.


Xavier, an unlikely hottie, is now in the Top 100.


Yooneek spellings, such as Peighton to Krysteenah, are one of our pet peeves.  But parents can’t seem to stop inventing them.


Z automatically lends a zany, zippy quality to names, with choices from the biblical Zachary to the new-fangled Zadie appealing today.

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.