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Blog posts tagged with 'baby names'

One in Five British Mothers Regrets Her Child’s Name

by Bruce Lansky

When I read the title and reading line for the article Amelia Hill wrote in The Guardian: I guessed that the leading cause of “baby-name regret” was caused by picking a popular (e.g., top-20) name and then realizing how many other parents had made precisely the same choices.

Here are two fragments from the article that explain when and why parents begin regretting the names they have chosen:

-“The main reason for regretting the name was that it was too commonly used (25%).”
-“23% began to regret their choice when their children first started nursery or school.”

Why do so many parents fall into the trap of picking highly popular names for their children, (even though naming experts strongly recommend against that)?

Once you are pregnant, you start reading articles and books about baby names (which contain lists of the most popular names); and you also may start reading the birth announcement section of your local newspaper. Your ears are likely to perk up when friends and relatives start talking about their new babies. And when you notice new parents pushing baby strollers or carrying babies in slings, you go over to have a closer look. If you’re lucky, you might even be invited to hold the baby. Naturally, you ask the baby’s name, and say something nice about the baby and its name.

Pretty soon you realize that your interest in anything related to babies is giving you a “good feel” for names and which ones you like. Every time you meet a cute baby and “like” the name you are adding “data” to your very own baby-name “research project”—which includes your feelings about the names of cute babies you’ve cooed over or bounced; the names of babies your friends, relatives and neighbors have just announced; and the cute celebrity babies photographed in “People” and “Us.”

At some point it may dawn on you that the short list of names you are actively considering for your baby includes half of the top-10 list published every year by the Social Security Administration (or the agency in your country that publishes official name statistics).

How can newly pregnant parents avoid picking names they may wind up regretting, when they find out how popular they are? It helps to start your name search by making a list of names you like. They could be names of famous people you admire (e.g., Lincoln and Eleanor) names of characters in books or movies you love (e.g., Scout and Starbuck); names of your favorite actors or Olympic heroes (e.g., Simone and Bolt); names common in the language you studied in high school (e.g., Natasha and Ivan); names of your favorite foods or wines (e.g., Brie and Kale); names of your favorite places to vacation (e.g., Kauai and Siena); or names of relatives you want to honor.

By picking names that have meaning for you, you won’t be sidetracked by falling-in-like with names currently used by your friends, relatives and acquaintances and by the popular names in announcement lists and the media.

Baby Names in the News

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

100,000+ Baby Names is available in stores and online.

Most Popular Names of 2015

by Bruce Lansky

Every year the Social Security Administration releases the latest baby name popularity information. Here’s what I think are the most interesting and salient trends from the past year.

  1. The Top 10 Names

Girls: Emma, Olivia, and Sophia maintained their rank order of #1, #2, and #3, as did Mia at #6. Ava, Abigail, Charlotte, and Harper each moved up a notch to #4, #7, #9, and #10. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s “crowning” choice to name their daughter Charlotte last year undoubtedly helped that name’s rise in popularity. Isabella and Emily each fell a notch to #5 and #8. Just like last year, Emily is the only name in the top 10 that ends in an “ee” sound. I expect Emily to quietly slip off the top 10 list in the next year or two.

Boys: The top 6 boys’ names maintained their rank order from last year, as did Alexander at #8. However, the rank order of the remaining three names changed, with James rising two notches to #7, Michael falling two notches to #9, Daniel falling out of the top 10 to #12, and Benjamin entering the list at #10. Notice that five of the top 10 names have biblical roots and five use soft consonants (e.g., Noah and Liam).

  1. The Next Ten Names

Girls: Every name on the next 10 list changed rank. Names that rose two or three positions included Amelia (#15) and Grace (#19). Names that lost two or three positions included Madison (#11), Sofia (#14), and Avery (#16). Notice that of the two names on the next 10 list that end with an “ee” sound (Avery and Chloe), only the one that didn’t feature the letter y rose in rank.

Boys: Two names on this list that had strong gains were Lucas (+3) and Oliver (+13). Notable declines included Daniel (-2) and Jayden (-5). Considering Olivia’s #2 position on the girls’ top 10 list, I wouldn’t be surprised if Oliver moved onto the boys’ top 10 list in the next few years.

  1. The Top 100 Names

Girls: The names that made the biggest gains were Hazel (+42), Aurora (+37), Alexa (+31), Quinn (+29), Mila (+19), Eleanor (+18), Violet (+17), Stella (+15), and Riley (+12). Notice that four of these names end with an “ah” sound and only one ends with an “ee” sound (Riley). The names that took the biggest hits in popularity were Annabelle (-35), Alexis (-21), Arianna (-16), Peyton (-16), Aubree (-16), Hailey (-13), Gabriella (-11), and Anna (-10).

Boys: The names that made the biggest gains were Theodore (+27), Ezra (+26), Lincoln (+21), Mateo (+21), Grayson (+16), Sawyer (+16), Hudson (+15), and Oliver (+13). The names that took the biggest hits in popularity were Ayden (-13), Brandon (-11), Jason (-11), Evan (-9), Tyler (-9), Andrew (-8), Joshua (-8), Jayden (-5), and Kayden (-5). Notice that rhyming names Ayden, Jayden, and Kayden all declined, which suggests they and all their variations are falling out of favor.

  1. The Top 1,000 Names

Girls: The fastest-rising names were Alaia (+2,012), Meilani (+1,836), Aitana (+1,721), Aislinn (+1,385), Taya (+1,107), Adaline (+1,029), Briar (+#597), Zelda (+512), Thea (+312), and Addilyn (+208). The fastest-falling names were Annabell (-500), Anabel (-500), Cindy (-343), Anabella (-333), Aranza (-324), Anabelle (-272), Elsa (-201), Annabel (-174), and Annabella (-139).Note that many variations of Annabelle—a name currently in the top 100 but whose rank change was -35—lost favor. Also of note is a name that fell off the top 1,000 list: Isis. In Egyptian mythology, Isis is the goddess of love and fertility. In 2014 the name ranked #705. Now the name brings to mind ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which likely explains why the name’s popularity has plummeted.

Boys: The fastest-rising names were Riaan (+1,360), Huxley (+392), Wilder (+360), Canaan (+271), Kaison (+251), Omari (+198), Matteo (+182), Kyrie (+172), Killian (+163), Adriel (+148), Legend (+144), and Beckham (+129). The fastest-falling names were Arnav (-666), Jayse (-257), Neymar (-240), Rylee (-228), Brenden (-187), Gannon (-120), Jase (-77), Jayceon (-63), Peyton (-50), and Jonathon (-41). Knowing that Jason was losing popularity on the top 100 list, I wasn’t surprised to see that less popular variations of that name also lost favor.

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

100,000+ Baby Names is available now.

Are nicknames going extinct?

100,000+ Baby Names

Bruce spoke to the Chicago Tribune about his thoughts on the decline of nicknames.

"Why do nicknames like 'Shorty' seem to be going extinct?"

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

100,000+ Baby Names is available now.

Baby Names in the News

Here's Bruce's interview at the Austin American-Statesman on naming advice and trends!

"Follow trends, but not too much, when picking out baby names"

He also spoke to Chicago Parent about the latest hip and trendy names in Chicago.

"The most popular Chicago baby names this year"

100,000+ Baby Names

The newly updated 100,000+ Baby Names is available now.

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

What's Trendy in Baby Names?

Nicole Villalpando interviewed Bruce on naming tips and trends. Read the interview at Austin 360!

"What's trendy in baby names? Bruce Lansky knows the answers."

100,000+ Baby Names

The newly updated 100,000+ Baby Names is available now.

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

25 Names With Positive Meanings for Your Boy or Girl

by Bruce Lansky

Most recommended names have been assembled because they are popular, fashionable or because they are associated with celebrities. I’ve assembled these names because they have meanings which may appeal to parents looking for names with substance. I’ve selected 25 fairly common boys’ and girls’ names that may inspire and guide your child in a positive direction.

Just for fun, I’ve listed them two ways: names before meanings and meanings before names—so you consider the names you like best and the meanings you like best. Hopefully, you’ll find a name you like that has a meaning you like too.

Boys’ Names (Origins) Meanings

Angus (Scottish) exceptional, outstanding
Aubrey (German) noble
Asher (Hebrew) happy, blessed
Brian (Irish) strong, virtuous, honorable
Casey (Irish) brave
Charles (English) strong, manly
Charif (Lebanese) honest
Chen (Chinese) great, tremendous
Gareth (Welsh) gentle
Gilbert (English) trustworthy
Habib (Arabic) beloved
Justin (Latin) just, righteous
Kevin (Irish) handsome
Kareem (Arabic) noble, distinguished
Kohana (Lakota) swift
Leif (Scandinavian) beloved
Lowell (English) beloved
Maximillian (Latin) greatest
Nolan (Irish) famous, noble
Riley (Irish) valiant
Rashad (Arabic) wise counselor
Sharif (Arabic) honest, noble
Tony (Latin) praiseworthy
Vijay (Hindi) victorious
Xavier (Arabic) bright

Meanings: Boys’ Names (Origins)

Beloved: Habib (Arabic)
Beloved: Lowell (English)
Beloved: Leif (Scandinavian)
Brave: Casey (Irish)
Bright: Xavier (Arabic)
Exceptional, Outstanding: Angus (Scottish)
Famous, Noble: Nolan (Irish)
Gentle: Gareth (Welsh)
Great, Tremendous: Chen (Chinese)
Greatest: Maximillian (Latin)
Handsome: Kevin (Irish)
Happy, Blessed: Asher (Hebrew)
Honest, Noble: Sharif (Arabic)
Noble: Aubrey (German)
Just, Righteous: Justin (Latin)
Noble, Distinguished: Kareem (Arabic)
Praiseworthy: Tony (Latin)
Trustworthy: Gilbert (English)
Strong, Virtuous Honorable: Brian (Irish)
Swift: Kohana (Lakota)
Valiant: Riley (Irish)
Victorious: Vijay (Hindi)
Wise Counselor: Rashad (Arabic)


Girls Names (Origins) Meanings

Amanda (Latin) lovable
Amelia (German) hard worker
Amy (Latin) beloved
Bonita (Spanish) pretty
Brisa (Spanish) beloved
Carina (Italian) dear little one
Carissa (Greek) beloved
Cher (French) beloved, dearest
Claire (French) clear, bright
Clarissa (Greek) brilliant
Gail (English) merry, lively
Grace (Latin) graceful, gracious
Hilary (Greek) cheerful, merry
Irene (Greek) peaceful
Joy (Latin) joyful, joyous
Jun (Chinese) truthful
Justine (Latin) just, righteous
Lara and Larissa (Greek) cheerful
Linda (Spanish) pretty
Olympia (Greek) heavenly
Qadira (Arabic) powerful
Taka (Japanese) honored
Yoko (Japanese) good girl

Meanings: Girls Names (Origins)

Beloved: Amy (Latin)
Beloved: Brisa (Spanish)
Beloved: Carissa (Greek)
Beloved, dearest: Cher (French)
Cheerful, merry: Hilary (Greek)
Cheerful: Lara, Larissa (Greek)
Clear, Bright: Claire (French)
Dear Little One: Carina (Italian)
Good Girl: Yoko (Japanese)
Graceful, Gracious: Grace (Latin)
Hard Worker: Amelia (German)
Honored: Taka (Japanese
Joyful, Joyous: Joy (Latin)
Just, Righteous: Justine (Latin)
Lovable: Amanda (Latin)
Peaceful: Irene (Greek)
Powerful: Qadira (Arabic)
Pretty: Bonita (Spanish)
Pretty: Linda (Spanish)
Truthful: Jun (Chinese)

100,000+ Baby Names

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

© Bruce Lansky All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

A Few of My Favorite Recently Popular Names

by Bruce Lansky

Every year we add the latest newly popular names to 100,000+ Baby Names, so people considering them for use can look them up and learn about their meaning and origin. Specifically, we add names which have gained enough popularity to be added to the Social Security Administration’s lists of the 1,000 most popular boys’ and girls’ names.

Many of the newly popular names are new variations of names already on the list, such as Lorelai, a variation of Lorelei. Some are familiar only to people who watch  certain TV shows, like Khaleesi, a name popularized by “Game of Thrones”. (Needless to say, the problem with names like Lorelai and Khaleesi is that they are often difficult to spell and/or pronounce.)

Some newly popular names are place names, like Maylasia and Ireland. Some are the last names of celebrities and athletes, like Anniston, Lennon and Beckham. And some are combinations of two names that just sound good together, like Lillyana.

Just for fun, I thought you might enjoy a quick look at some of the most appealing newly popular names I’ve come across over the last few years. However, instead of giving you the precise origins and meanings I use in my book, I’ll just mention the reason I think some of these names might be of interest.

Newly Popular Boys’ Names Over the Past Few Years:

Baylor (the name of a great Texas university)
Beckham (the last name of an English soccer star)
Dash (a name that implies speed and energy)
Nash (the name an old car brand and a game-theory expert featured in “A Beautiful Mind.”)
Ronin (a feudal Japanese samurai)
Rylee (a fun new spelling for Riley)
Tiago and Thiago (a Brazilian basketball star who plays in the NBA)
Xavi (a nickname for Xavier and the name a Spanish soccer star)

Newly Popular Girls’ Names Over the Past Few Years:

Anniston (the last name of the actress who played Rachael in “Friends”)
Elliot (a boys’ name that’s now being used for  girls)
Everly (the last name of two famous brothers who made music in the ‘50s and ‘60s)
Henley (the location—on the Thames river—of a rowing race between Oxford and Cambridge)
Journee (the French word for day)
Juniper (an evergreen shrub whose aroma can be found in gin)
Lennon (the last name of one of the most famous Beatles)
Lillyana (a combination of two names that sound great together)
Malaysia (a country that has become a name for girls)
Oakley (a sporty and cool brand of sunglasses)
Sutton (an upscale street on Manhattan’s chic east side)

100,000+ Baby Names

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

© Bruce Lansky All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without proper notice of copyright.

Find the Perfect Name

From the Most Trusted Author of Baby Name Books

100,000+ Baby Names

100,000+ Baby Names is the most complete, most fascinating, and most helpful name book you can find. Bruce Lansky, the #1 author of baby name books in North America, has created this new edition of 100,000+ Baby Names just for you. It’s the best book to help you find the perfect name.

You’ll find over 100,000 up-to-date names that reflect the latest naming trends—complete with origins, meanings, and variations. This includes ethnic names from over a hundred countries.

Updated with the latest information:

                  • Naming trends & advice
                  • Top 100 names for boys & girls
                  • Newly popular names
                  • Notorious celebrity baby names
                  • Gender-neutral names
                  • Over 600 helpful lists of names to consider
                  • Unique spellings of popular names
                  • Names invented by parents
                  • A list of 12 factors to consider when choosing names
                  • Worksheets to help you gather appealing names and make a final choice

This book will help you choose a name that you and your baby will love! 

888,000 copies in print
Available September
ISBN: 978-0-684-03999; 576 pages; 6" x 9"; Softcover

Bruce Lansky is the #1 author of baby name books, selling over 11.5 million copies.

BBC Radio 5 Live

Click to listen to Bruce's segment on royal baby names with Rhod Sharp on Up All Night last week. His segment starts at 25:11.

Baby Names in the News

For Bruce's latest musings on names and naming check out his blog, Baby Names in the News.

10 Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014

by Bruce Lansky

While researching awful celebrity baby names for this post, I visited the Celebrity Baby Scoops list of 2014 Hollywood babies to make sure I had considered all the names being considered for Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014. (I found all but one of the names on that list.)

Here are my top-five candidates for worst celebrity baby names of 2014 (for both girls and boys):

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Girls’ Names:

Zhuri Nova James
Parents: NBA all-star Lebron James and his wife Savannah

Comment: Zhuri is a headscratcher and, to add insult to injury, it’s both hard to spell and pronounce. She should be grateful to have a spellable and pronounceable middle name (Nova) to fall back on.

Royal Reign Jones
Mother: rapper Li’l Kim

Comment: Royal Reign is a grandiose name that sounds like royal rain, whatever that is.

Cai MyAnna Dukes
Parents: actor Shanola Hampton and husband, producer Daren Dukes

Comment: Cai presents spelling and pronunciation problems—and MyAnna is another headscratcher.

Daenerys Josephine
Mother: American Idol contestant Gina Glocksen

Comment: Daenerys is name that will only be familiar to “Game of Thrones” fans. No one else is likely to be able to spell or pronounce it.

Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher
Parents: actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher

Comment: When parents give their child a unisex name it makes sense to pick a middle name with clear gender identification. But Wyatt is a “macho” name that was chosen by Chicago Bear’s quarterback Jay Cutler to give his son a name that works well in football huddles and frat parties. Why give a macho name to a baby girl and then pair it with an elegant, feminine name like Isabelle? It’s as though the parents couldn’t agree on a naming strategy. Unfortunately, it sends a confusing message to the child and to people the child meets.

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Boys’ Names

Future Zahir Wilburn
Parents: rapper Future and R&B singer Ciara

Comment: Future doesn’t sound much like a name. Actually, Future is the boy’s father’s stage name. (I’m not sure which is worse, his father’s stage name or his father’s real name: Nayvadius Cash.) To make matters worse, a cheating scandal caused a rift between the senior Future and Ciara. So as far as Ciara is concerned, Future (senior) is now the The Past.

Megaa Omari Grandberry
Parents: B2K singer Omarion and girlfriend Apryl Jones

Comment: Megaa is a grandiose name (meaning extra-large or super)–and the extra “a” makes it hard to spell and pronounce. Omari is Megaa’s father’s given first name. (FYI, Omarion’s whole given name is Omari Ishmael Grandberry).

Lyric Sonny Roads Goldberg
Parents: actress/writer/director Soleil Moon Frye and husband, producer Jason Goldberg

Comments: Another headscratcher. Lyric is an “arty” name that may not work well in the locker room. But Sonny couldn’t be more declasse. I know what sunny roads are, but what are sonny roads?

Saint Lazslo Wentz
Parents: rocker Pete Wentz and girlfriend Meagan Camper

Comment: Another grandiose name (Saint). It’s not clear whether the boy is named after St. Lazslo’s winery or the first king (Ladislaus–also known as St. Lazslo) of Hungary. Either way, wine or spirits might have been involved in the selection of the name. By the way, Pete Wentz also fathered a boy with Ashlee Simpson named Bronx Mowgli Wentz which is on many “worst name” lists.

Bodhi Rain Palmer
Parents: “Warm Bodies” star Teresa Palmer and husband Mark Webber

Bodhi Ransom Green
Parents: “Transformer”star Megan Fox and husband Austin Green

Comment: Bodhi means “enlightened one.” It’s a lovely meaning, but most people aren’t enlightened enough to know how to spell and pronounce the name.

P.S. I found a name on a Vocative.com’s “Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014″ list that I think may be the single best celebrity baby name of 2014. Check it out.

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