Too trendy? Or just right….

One of our most popular blogs of the year was the one in which Elisabeth Wilborn of You Can’t Call It It transformed the Top 100 girls’ names — and the following week, the most popular boys’ names — into choices with the same feel but more distinction and style.

This is the kind of exercise that Linda and I have long offered in our books, with our If You Like X, You’ll Love…. feature, in which we substitute fresh ideas for overused favorites.  You can see dozens of such lists here.

But what if the name you want to move beyond isn’t popular, really; isn’t exactly overused but just, to your thinking, too trendy?  What if you want to take an already-stylish and distinctive name and just scooch it toward being….more distinctive?

That’s what we tried to do here.  We bet you clever berries will have lots more ideas of trendy names and possible substitutes: We’d love to hear them!  Here are some of ours:


Instead of Ariana….Aurora

Instead of Delilah….Salome

Instead of EsmeMaisie

Instead of Eden….Celeste

Instead of Harlow…. Hepburn

Instead of Isla…..Ida

Instead of Lila….Lilac

Instead of Matilda ….Magdalena

Instead of RubyRudy

Instead of ScarlettIndigo

Instead of SeraphinaSerena

Instead of StellaEstelle

Instead of Thea….Dora

Instead of VioletMagnolia


Instead of Asher….Asa

Instead of Atticus….Cassius

Instead of Cullen….Curran

Instead of Emmett….Ephraim or Bennett

Instead of Harrison….Jefferson

Instead of Henry…..Frederick

Instead of HudsonEast

Instead of Hugo….Hugh

Instead of Justice….Justus

Instead of MasonBooker

Instead of MiloMalachy

Instead of Oscar….Osias

Instead of Rhys….Rex

Okay, your turn.

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18 Responses to “Too trendy? Or just right….”

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laurbails Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 3:38 am

Love a lot of these, but I don’t quite get how you get Celeste from Eden… and Malachy/Malachi is definitely more popular than Milo.

romanticism Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 7:16 am

I looove Frederick! My favourite boys name is probably Henry, and Frederick (especially the adorable Freddie!) would make a lovely substitute.. or even a lovely brother.

pam Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 7:49 am

Laurballs, with Celeste and Eden I was thinking heavenly — Eden (as in paradise) turning into Celeste (celestial). And interestingly, while Malachy (the Irish name that ends in the ee sound) is not in the Top 1000 to Milo’s 422, Malachi (last syllable rhymes with eye) IS more popular at 163.

erb2010 Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 7:50 am

My favorites on the list are – Lila to Lilac, Matilda to Magdalena, Stella to Estelle, Violet to Magnolia, Harrison to Jefferson, Henry to Frederick, and Mason to Booker. I thought Eden to Celeste was particularly good due to the meanings.

Other ideas –

Addison to Adelaide
Amelia to Azalea
Ava to Eve
Rowen to Bowen
Atticus to Finch
Caroline to Clementine
Chloe to Cleo
Harper to Scout
Hayden to Hayes
Isabella to Isadora
Isabelle to Imogen
Lillian to Beatrice
Madeline to Coraline
Mia to Mae
Nevaeh to Celeste
Phoebe to Xanthe
Penelope to Persephone
Ruby to Pearl
Sydney to Paisley
Vivian to Verity
William to Wilson

pam Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 8:55 am

Love Atticus to Finch and Harper to Scout — brilliant!

i.heart.nerds Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 9:05 am

I love Emmett AND Ephraim and Henry AND Frederick. Lol I am way too trendy.

Lola Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 10:36 am

Please: Mia to May! (Mae just feels too homey & not polished enough).

I was thinking:
Clementine to Pomeline
Madison to Martha
Chloe to Cecily
Jessica to Jemima
Olivia to Oona
Genevieve to Guinevere
Violet to Marigold
Sophia to Safira
Sylvia to Aurelia

Edward to Edgar or George
Brian to Cormac
William to Cesar or August
Alexander to Alasdair
Hayden to Hector
Oscar to Otto
Ryan to Rufus
Michael to Raphael
Christopher to Crispin

But then, I do this sort of thing all the time, finding similarities in the names I like to more popular names. It’s fun! 😀

pam Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 10:39 am

Love Clementine to Pomeline!

skizzo Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 1:12 pm


Nevaeh – Neve
Lucy – Luna
Hadley – Harriet
Gabriella – Raphaella
Avery – Aviana
Ella – Elle
Gianna – Georgia
Chloe – Noelle
Alexis – Alexia
Genesis – Genevieve
Natalie – Natasha
Piper – Briar
Emma – Emmanuelle
Amelia – Amalia
Penelope – Calliope
Isabella – Isaura
Naomi – Noemie
Madeline – Marilia
Alyssa – Alessa
Hailey – Jael
Savannah – Samara
Sophia – Ophelia
Madison – Marisol
Lillian – Jillian
Maya – Gaia
Brooklyn – Bruna
Allison – Alanis
Julia – Luzia
Lisa – Lita
Victoria – Vivianna
Jasmine – Josephine


Jordan – Jory
William – Wilson
David – Navid
Tyler – Myles
Elijah – Elisha
Carter – Porter
Logan – Morgan
Henry – Henley
Chase – Hayes
Joseph – Josiah
Ryan – Kyan
Jeremy – Jethro
Kevin – Devlin
James – Jace
Jayden – Grayson
Jacob – Jacoby
Alexander – Alexei
Nicholas – Nico
Charles – Chesney
Wyatt – Wylie
Elliott – Elias
Adam – Liam
Emmett – Emery
Aaron – Peron
Daniel – Jadiel
Lucas – Luca
Thomas – Theo
Adrian – Adriel
Matthew – Mattia
Jack – Jacques
Eric – Cedric
Oliver – Olavo
Ian – Easton
Landon – Landry
John – Jonah
Shane – Shiloh
Jonathan – Jonatas
Nathan – Hassan
Micah – Shia
Aidan – Aylar
Corbin – Soren
Christopher – Crosby
Finn – Flynn
Luke – Loki
Robert – Rowan

smurph519 Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Argh! How did my girls short list make it into the “trendy” pile??

Harbs Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I love this entry! Can anyone think of a good replacement for Sawyer? (which I think will soon fall into the too trendy pile)

miloowen Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Instead of Ariana….Ariadne or Aurelia

Instead of Delilah…Keziah or Keturah

Instead of Esme – Clelie or Clothilde

Instead of Eden….Celeste

Instead of Harlow…. Currer, Acton, or Ellis

Instead of Isla…..Ida

Instead of Lila….Galina

Instead of Matilda ….Maud or Magdalen

Instead of Ruby…Gemma

Instead of Scarlett…Garnet

Instead of Seraphina…Solace

Instead of Stella – Adar

Instead of Thea….Thecla

Instead of Violet…Posy

miloowen Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

HereInstead of Asher….Asaph or Adriel

Instead of Atticus….Septimo/Septimus

Instead of Cullen….Tarrant

Instead of Emmett….Alfric

Instead of Harrison….Harvey

Instead of Henry…..Frederick

Instead of Hudson…Fraser

Instead of Hugo….Hugh

Instead of Justice….Wrestling

Instead of Mason…Madoc

Instead of Milo…Magnus

Instead of Oscar….Ottar

Instead of Rhys….Ivor

Here are the boys. My only comment is about Harper: instead of Scout, why not Jean Louise? That’s more true to the novel.

Jennie Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Harbs, what about Soren?

Also, I think it’s really easy to mistake “trendy” and “popular.” All of these good, solid names with history (ie names like Delilah, Esme, Atticus, Henry, etc) shouldn’t be considered “trendy.”

When I think of trendy, I think names like Bryxtyn that came from nowhere and mean absolutely nothing, but people still use them in droves.

Popular, but meaningful, names like Emma or Olivia, while there seem to be a million of them, are far from trendy.

linzybindi Says:

December 6th, 2011 at 10:28 pm


Instead of Ariana – Bryony

Instead of Delilah – Drusilla

Instead of Esme – Charis

Instead of Eden – Noa

Instead of Harlow – Hermione

Instead of Isla – Iona

Instead of Lila – Nola

Instead of Matilda – Millicent

Instead of Ruby – Reva

Instead of Scarlett – Garnet

Instead of Seraphina – Phaedra

Instead of Stella – Maris

Instead of Thea – Maida (my-da)

Instead of Violet – Magnolia…it is perfect!


Instead of Asher – Aram

Instead of Atticus – Alistair

Instead of Cullen – Gannon

Instead of Emmett – Merrick

Instead of Harrison – Haywood

Instead of Henry – Harmon

Instead of Hudson – Baldwin

Instead of Hugo – Julio

Instead of Justice – Artemas

Instead of Mason – Mercer

Instead of Milo – Lon

Instead of Oscar – Roscoe

Instead of Rhys – Roan

Poppy528 Says:

December 7th, 2011 at 2:55 am

Some are not that original, but here’s my stab (many from my short list):

Sawyer -> Siler
Landon -> Langston or Landry
Amelia -> Azariah or Artemisia
Seraphina -> Delphina
Scarlett -> Cerise or Carmine
Olivia –> Lavinia or Liviana
Grace -> Gray
Emily -> Emlyn
Finn -> Flynn
Peter -> Perren
Theodore -> Thornton
Asher -> Abner
Brian -> Braver
Ethan -> Everard
Quinn -> Wynn
Isabelle -> Isannah
Isaac -> Iago (hubby’s contribution)

loraena Says:

March 15th, 2012 at 4:12 am

Rather than choosing a random selection, I’m picking the top 10 lists:

Jacob – Job
Ethan – Ezra
Michael – Malachi
Jayden – Judson
William – Robert
Alexander – Alistair
Noah – Micah
Daniel – Ezekiel
Aiden – Adam
Anthony – Ambrose

Isabella – Cecily
Sophia – Sylvia
Emma – Elsa
Olivia – Lavinia
Ava – Vera
Emily – Eulalie
Addison – Imogen
Abigail – Rebecca
Chloe – Cora

caracakes Says:

March 26th, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I could list a few that I’d like… but I really adore the idea of:

Faith to Faye

Faith is pretty, but its so familiar and used. And the french Faye, or Fae, or even Fay, are all so underused! Not even in the top 1000!! I don’t understand why, seeing as its so beautiful! Though I also have the association of a little girl I know who’s called by her middle name, Faye. And I fell so hard for it since!

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