This Week’s Newsiest Names: From John to Kash to Kroy

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel investigates some of the factors affecting the shifts in names’ popularity.

Last week we wanted to write about babies named Mitt Romney and Sandy, and as it happened, the world gave us both.  Name nerds and regular folk alike respond to the idea that dramatic, world-changing events have an impact on what we name our children.

But while everyone else is confidently predicting an uptick in little girls called Sandra, berries know that the picture is far more complicated.  Besides, wouldn’t Sandrine or Alessandra be the more stylish option?

The truth is that the real shifts in names are rarely caused by a headline-grabbing event.  While it was easy to be distracted by tales of Kenyan twin brothers given the names Barack and Mitt, last week was also rich with stories that show longer-term change in how we think about the names we give our children.

Last week’s nine biggest names in baby name news were:

Alfred – In the UK, Alfie is a solidly established favorite, the British equivalent of JaydenAlfie shows no signs of catching on in the US, but Lisa Milbrand’s post has me wondering if Alfred could make a comeback.  Alternate nickname Freddie might appeal to some parents.  And isn’t Batman’s butler a cool association?  Arthur felt impossibly fusty just a few years ago, and now he’s on the rebound.  Alfred could be next.

Willow – A pair of Australian celebs welcomed a son called Willow.  Yes, a male Willow, just like the character in the 1988 Val Kilmer movie.  Maybe they’re going to call him Will.  Or maybe we’re reaching a moment where we really can use the same name for girls and boys without risking raised eyebrows.  In the US, I’d say that Jordan and Charlie are completely fair game, and the pool of truly gender neutral choices seems to be growing.

Bo – Is Bo a boy name or a girl name?  Does it matter if it is spelled BeauWaltzing More than Matilda spotted a birth announcement for a girl named Bo Felicity – quirky, surprising, and charming.

Kash – The clash over Kash on Real Houswives of Atlanta has me captivated.  It’s the standard baby name-stealing conflict playing out on reality TV.  Kim Zolciak recently gave the name to her newborn son, vexing fellow castmate Kandi Burruss who claims it was her top pick should she ever have a boy.  My take?  Kash might seem unusual, but he and Cash are white hot.  It is no surprise that moms called Kim and Kandi would both shortlist him.

Kroy – Which reminds me, Kim’s husband is Kroy and their firstborn is Kroy, Jr.  Did you catch Nameberry’s blog about surfer boy names like Dean, Clark, andTroyTroy might be solidly in dad name territory, but Kroy feels fresh, somewhere between Cash, Cruz, and Kai.

John NameFreak turned to the Top Ten from 1911.  John, the number one name for ages, has dropped steadily over the last century, as have most of our former favorites.  Does the hundred-year rule skip over the top hits?  Names like Pearl, Ruby, Stella, and Leo,Everett, and Homer support the rule, but they were never nearly as common as John and Mary.

Heather – Let’s face it – when a name catches on matters.  With Harper,Willow, and Violet in vogue, Heather ought to be zooming up the popularity charts.  Except that Heather was a hit back in the 1970s and 80s, so today she’s considered dated.  Angela at Upswing Baby Names makes a convincing case that we’re judging her too harshly.

Samaire – Actress Samaire Armstrong is expecting her first child next year.  Her name is incredibly rare.  Armstrong says that it is Gaelic, which seems plausible but has proven impossible to confirm.  The actress also reports her father found the name in a Conan the Barbarian story, so … maybe not.  Still, it is a stunningly pretty name, pronounced sah MEER uh.

Emily – From the unusual to the familiar, I loved this story about a mom who helped another woman deliver a baby at a bus stop.  The newborn was named in honor of the helper, Emily.  I love it when seemingly ordinary names turn out to have amazing stories behind them.

How do you think names are changing now?  What do you think of choices like Kroy and Samaire, or are you more interested in Alfred and Heather?

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19 Responses to “This Week’s Newsiest Names: From John to Kash to Kroy”

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southern.maple Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 1:28 am

Benjamin with the nickname Bo is close to the top of my list. If I’m not mistaken, Bo was the name of Abigail Breslin’s character in Signs.

Also, where in the world is Homer as favored as Stella or Leo? I love the name Homer, but all anyone seems to think about is that ridiculous cartoon.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 3:53 am

I don’t mind Willow for a boy, and after I wrote that you could use Will as the nn, it made me wonder what female Willows are nicknamed?

Bo is a Chinese unisex name meaning “wave”, but yes you can’t help thinking that Beau must be a strong influence. Does anyone know where Bo Drek got her screen name from?

The story about baby Emily was utterly sweet – what a gorgeous name story! No name is ordinary in such circumstances.

Mego0801 Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 7:38 am

I have a niece named Emily, and a nephew on the way whose middle name will be “Bo”. Bo is a family name on my sil’s side, and also a great traditional southern name imo! 🙂 I also have a dog named Alfred nn Alfie!

Matildamag Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 7:46 am

I used Bo Felicty in my blog today. I like the mix of a boyish name with very girly middle.

dresdendoll Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 10:05 am

Anyone who names their child Kash or Cash risks appearing money-obsessed…not a good thing!

Abby Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 11:01 am

@WaltzingMoreThanMatilda – The actress herself claims she isn’t sure where she got the idea for Bo, so I guess we’ll never know …

@southern.maple – Benjamin with the nn Bo is great!

Thuja Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 11:18 am

I’ve been aware of the name Croix for awhile, which I think predated the re-spelling Kroy……

Beautiful_Haiku Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

@Thuja: Cedric the Entertainer has an 8 year old son named Croix (pronounced like the island, not the French way). I like both Croix and Kroy… However, I think someone named Croix would have a lot of pronunciation problems while traveling in France.

Also, as an avid watcher of Real Housewives of Atlanta, I think Kandi should feel lucky that Kim used the name Kash before she had a chance… Cash/Kash just seem… Like names a parent without it would name his/her child.

Beautiful_Haiku Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Also, Alfie is like Jayden the UK?! See, even when something there is “downmarket” it’s still classy lol

Beautiful_Haiku Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

*in the UK. Sorry

One last thing- Why would someone want to name his/her daughter Sandy after the hurricane?? It has caused so much devastation and sadness. I thought Sandy would go the route Katrina ventured- into the baby name abyss

I really feel like they should stop naming storms using human names. It’s unfair to people with those names when the storm is especially bad. Why not give them numbers?? It’s not as exciting, but causes less problems for others.

Dantea Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I know a boy named Willow. He’s a teen and he goes exclusively by Willow, no nicknames. No one bother him about it.

I also went to high school with a girl from Taiwan named Bo.

iwillpraise Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Little Bo Peep anyone…?

Tressa Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

@beautiful-haiku- it’s also hard to be appropriately frightened of a hurricane named Bill.

Beautiful_Haiku Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

@Tressa- you know, I actually hadn’t thought of that. But, you’re absolutely correct. Hurricane Daisy… really scary, right?

strawberrytree Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Sorry…Bo is the furthest thing from charming on a girl imo. And Kroy has a lowbrow reek to me, not fresh and exciting. I am a French teacher and would never think to pronounce Croix as Kroy. It’s pronounced Crwah.

I used to teach in the UK and met a few young Alfies. I will take Alfie over Kroy any day of the week.

strawberrytree Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I do love the Emily story though! Positively heartwarming :).

littlebrownpony Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I adore John. Strong, classic, and definitely fresh-sounding to me (much more so than Jonathan.) I have a friend who has a 4 year old son named Johnny. Love it!

littlemissmariss Says:

November 12th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I love Alfie! I’d totally use it if my SO liked it.

I have Willow on my girls list, but I can totally see it on a boy. A mix of William and Milo in a way? O is a very stylish ending (even though Willow is -ow).

I know a little boy named Bo, but he is chinese, I think. I don’t have an issue with it though its not my style.

And that story behind Emily is truly amazing! I agree, no name with a backstory like that is ordinary <3

cilla Says:

November 13th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I know a girl Bo so I think of it as girl

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