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Top Telegraph Names of 2019 Released

January 13, 2020 Emma Waterhouse

Welcome to the world, Paloma Violet Sheherazade and Hippolyte Jean Simon!

British broadsheet newspaper The Telegraph is famed for its wonderful, whimsical, oh-so-British baby name announcements. There’s even a long-running Nameberry Forums thread dedicated to the subject.

The paper has recently released its list of the most popular baby names announced in its pages in 2019 — and it’s a real treasure trove for name lovers and prospective parents alike!

Ottilie and Edward Reign Supreme

According to statistics compiled by British Baby Names, the Top 10 most popular Telegraph names for each sex in 2019 were:

Girls

1. Ottilie
2. Florence
3. Daisy
4= Alice, Isabella, Nancy
7= Eliza, Poppy
9= Beatrice, Cecily, Constance, India, Matilda, Ophelia, Theodora

Boys

1. Edward
2. Henry
3. Arthur
4= George, William
6= Alexander, Alfred, Charles, Frederick, Harry, Hector, Maximilian, Thomas, Wilbur

Notable trends include some seriously under-the-radar vintage revivals, like Cornelia and Winefride, Clement and Willoughby. Super-quirky nickname names, like Coco and Buffy, Herbie and Pippin, also feature prominently.

And, of course, multiple middle names are standard fare: Hector Andrew Anthony Halsall Cowan Jackson (yes, those are all middles) takes the prize for 2019’s lengthiest combination.

Unique British Baby Name Inspiration

Just in case even Ottilie and Ophelia aren’t obscure enough for you, we’ve delved further into the data to bring you ten truly unique boy and girl names from the Telegraph list. These choices were recorded only once in 2019, but they all share that delightfully eccentric British baby naming style. Which are your favorites?

Girls

Celestine: Chic Celestine is rising rapidly in its native France, where elegant -ine ending names are trending in a big way. It makes for a sweet and surprising alternative to names like Clementine, Caroline and Celeste.

Fenella: A thoroughly British form of the Irish Fionnuala, Fenella is a fresh addition to the popular -ella group of names. Sweet short form Nell is a nice bonus.

Ismay: This medieval name of uncertain origin shares sounds with popular Isabella and rising star Esme, but is far rarer — absent from the US list since 1928. We think it deserves a second look!

Lavender: Matilda is fast becoming a fashionable favorite, but her best friend Lavender still sits far below the US Top 1000. We think it makes for a lovely alternative to trending botanical picks like Lily, Violet and Juniper.

Maud: Speaking of Matilda, did you know that Maud was a popular medieval variant? It’s all but fallen out of use today, with only 5 births in the US last year (and 9 in England & Wales), but it feels ripe for revival by adventurous vintage name lovers.

Olympia: We expected this lofty Olivia soundalike to get a big boost after Serena Williams chose it for her daughter in 2017, but it remains well outside the Top 2000 girl names in the US, making it a strong and striking option.

Pandora: The Brits have historically been more forgiving towards the much-maligned Pandora, giving her name to a record 34 baby girls last year. And with Delilah and Eve both on the rise, could this appealing name finally start to catch on in the US, too?

Petal: British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has a Petal (as well as a Poppy, Daisy, Buddy and River). We love the quirky combination Ottilie Wanda Pearl from this year’s Telegraph announcements.

Tiggy: Born to parents called Poddy and Dickie, this little Tiggy doesn’t seem to have been given a longer name. But it could make an adorable short form for other eccentric British picks, like Antigone or Tigerlily.

Xanthe: An eye-catching choice with a beautiful meaning (“golden”) — and who wouldn’t love to have the super cool initial X?

Boys

Ambrose: Gentle yet strong, this vintage gem is just starting to get some attention: given to 116 baby boys in the US last year. An underused alternative to stately old-school picks like August and Abraham.

Basil: A fresh botanical option with a long and illustrious history, Basil also comes with the cool built-in nicknames Bas and Bay, depending on your pronunciation.

Digby: Move over, Monty! Digby is the latest quirky-cool British boys’ name that sounds more than a little bit canine — but how fun is the combo Digby Leopold Milo?

Fabian: Sebastian, Julian, Christian and Adrian all make the US Top 100, but Fabian is equally handsome — and far rarer, down at #390 in 2018.

Inigo: Soundalike Indigo is a rising star for both sexes, but Inigo is all boy: famously borne by British architect Inigo Jones, as well as Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride. Iggy would make for a fun nickname.

Lancelot: In Arthurian legend, Sir Lancelot was a knight famed for his bravery. It’s a big name for a modern boy to carry, but could work well as a surprising middle, as in the combo William Henry Lancelot.

Ludo: Boys’ names ending in -o are trending in a big way: think Leo and Theo, Hugo and Nico, Arlo and Milo. Ludo makes for a fresh and fun addition to the o-ending gang.

Montgomery: Chosen by Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen in 2015, Montgomery is trending upwards in the US right now — and it’s ranked in the England & Wales Top 500 since 2006. Cuddly nickname Monty no doubt adds to its charm.

Oriol: This little-known Catalan name, meaning “golden”, is a Top 50 pick in its native region. There’s also a second appealing natural connection: the colorful oriole genus of birds.

Sholto: A traditional Scottish name, especially among the eminent Douglas clan, which derives from a Scots Gaelic word meaning “sower; propagator”.

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles

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