May 13, 2015

The Names of 2014: Names America Loved and Left

The moment has come for name enthusiasts and curious people everywhere—the 2014 stats have been released by the Social Security Administration. Here's a quick summary of the names the US has loved and, well, left over the past year.

2014's Most Popular Names
There isn't usually much change in the top 10, but I have to brag just a bit as I predicted Charlotte would continue its upward climb and reach top-10 status. Here's what life at the top looks like for boys and girls.

  1. Noah
  2. Liam
  3. Mason
  4. Jacob
  5. William
  6. Ethan
  7. Michael
  8. Alexander
  9. James
  10. Daniel
  1. Emma
  2. Olivia
  3. Sophia
  4. Isabella
  5. Ava
  6. Mia
  7. Emily
  8. Abigail
  9. Madison
  10. Charlotte
All in all, there's a lot to love in these top 20 names, which are loaded with classics and vintage charmers. The boys' traditional name James (appropriately) usurped Jayden, while Charlotte replaced Elizabeth.

But for some, the more intriguing stories are the names that made strides in the span of one year.

2014's Fastest Rising Names
These are names that gained more popularity over last year. But keep in mind that none of these names are even close to the top 100 and no one is deeming these "popular"...just more popular than they used to be. They are names we may have already been drawn to, but for a lot of them, a celebrity or reality star is what put these names over the edge.

  1. Bode
  2. Axl
  3. Gannon
  4. Bodie
  5. Royal
  6. Coen
  7. Anakin
  8. Killian
  9. Reyansh
  10. Ronin
  1. Aranza
  2. Montserrat
  3. Monserrat
  4. Maisie
  5. Zendaya
  6. Karter
  7. Ariadne
  8. Daleyza
  9. Thea
  10. Remington
For boys, the number one spot is awarded to Bode Miller, who took home a bronze in the super-G event during the Sochi 2014 Olympics. Celebrity baby Axl, son of Josh and Fergie Duhamel, gets credit for the upswing for his rock-n-roll inspired name. We can thank the TV show Once Upon a Time for single-handedly inspiring the momentum behind Killian (an anglicized spelling of the Irish name Cillian), where it's Captain Hook's first name. Anakin is soaring higher as Star Wars excitement brews and many are connecting with the on-trend sound of the name. Actor and dancer Kunwar Amar starred in India's teen dance drama as a character named Reyansh, while the movie 47 Ronin sparked interest in the samurai group with a super cool name.

For girls, the names Aranza and Montserrat/Monserrat were inspired by characters on telenovelas, while Ariadne is the star actress on the telenovela hit La Malquerida. The no-surname-required teen actress and dancer Zendaya piqued interest in her name as she starred in a Disney original movie. English teen actress Maisie Williams has brought her sweet name across the pond, and Thea gained some attention via a character on Arrow.

2014's Fastest Falling Names
The names that aren't doing so hot are often a great reflection of what and who has received negative press over the past year. They have to be a bit distinct, perhaps with a unique spelling, making it extra tough to get on board with these names in the face of a bad celebrity reputation.

  1. Bently
  2. Damion
  3. Amare
  4. Isiah
  5. Xavi
  6. Sidney
  7. Deegan
  8. Jair
  9. Juelz
  10. Corban
  1. Miley
  2. Karly
  3. Britney
  4. Kaya
  5. Nahla
  6. Rihanna
  7. Kaylyn
  8. Makena
  9. Karissa
  10. Sherlyn
For the boys, alternative spellings rule the fast fallers. I'm looking at you, Bently (Bentley), Damion (Damian), and Corban (Corbin). Other fallers include a few fizzled celebrities. Amare (spelled Amar'e) is the name of a famed NY Knicks center whose injuries led to the team's return to the bottom. Juelz Santana is a rapper whose success has faded quickly, and Isiah Thomas is a retired basketball player who lost a sexual harassment case and went on to become the president of the WNBA's New York Liberty.

On the girls' side, the demise of Miley is in the obvious wake of Miley Cyrus' fall from grace sanity over the last year and a half. Rihanna and Britney can be added to the less-than-wholesome group of pop singers who aren't inspiring namesakes. Nahla is the unique name of Halle Berry and model Gabriel Aubry's daughter, who is just a child, but is surrounded by the drama of her parents' court battles.

Two Names The Entire Country Was Watching
Elsa ~ Disney's Frozen came out in late 2013, making it hard to tell whether it would influence parents until 2014's stats were released. And the big news is that Frozen's reach has, as many predicted, easily extended to baby names. In 2013 the name Elsa was near the middle of the top 1,000 names, ranked at 528. But last year it jumped to 286 as parents embrace Elsa's irresistible simplicity and magical charms.

Isis ~ While the terror group known as ISIS grabbed horrific headlines in 2014, parents began to drop this girls' name as quickly as possible. In 2013 the name Isis was (ironically) in a similar position to Elsa at a rank of 575, but the SSA now reports it's at 706. I predict that 2015 will reflect the same trend, until this name disappears from the top 1,000 altogether. 

May 4, 2015

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

It's official! The Princess is here and her name is perfection. She's fourth in line to the throne and officially bears three names: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Let's break those three beautiful names down, shall we?

Princess Charlotte's first name is in honor of her grandfather Charles, the Prince of Wales. It's the perfect way to honor him, it's elegant, darling, royal, and English (by way of French).  Go back in time with me to my original feature post on this name:
The name Charlotte, a feminine form of the name Charles, gained fame in England after Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, brought the name to royal status. Queen Charlotte was a patron of the arts and supported both Bach, who was also her music teacher, and Mozart, who dedicated an opus to her. She was known for her art exhibitions and humanitarian efforts, and her name became a very attractive choice among parents in Great Britain and across Europe. In America, a city was named after her, and Charlotte is now the largest city in North Carolina.
Her middle name, Elizabeth, is in honor of the Queen, Elizabeth II, the princess' great-grandmother. Elizabeth is also in honor of Kate's mother, Carole Elizabeth, who passed her middle name on to Kate as well. Using Elizabeth is a sweet family tradition for Kate, and she must have been proud to pass it on to her daughter. Here's a little more info from my original post on this name:
Quite possibly the most classic female name of all time, Elizabeth has an impressive history with thousands of years of renown. It was the name of at least 14 different European queens, including the current Queen of England. It was the name of John the Baptist's mother in the Bible. It has represented princesses, empresses, and saints.
The princess' second middle name, Diana, is in honor of her late grandmother, Diana, Princess of Wales. It's a name from ancient Roman mythology as the goddess of the moon and of hunting. Because she was also known to be the virgin goddess of women and childbirth, poets would use the goddess Diana in reference to the virgin Queen, Elizabeth I.

In England, this name will be very well received. Even though new name stats are due out this week, I can say with confidence that in the US, we are all enamored with the Princess' full name as well.

The name Charlotte is currently ranked at #11 and is rising in popularity.
The name Elizabeth is  currently ranked at #10 and is holding steady in popularity.
The name Diana is currently ranked at #270 and is falling in popularity.

This is quite a bit different than the impression the name George left on us. The Princess' name is likely going to be a top 10 name in the US once new stats are revealed for 2014. It's very popular, and it will strike people as beautiful and classic.

All three of the Princess' names are honor names. They are very sentimental, and while Diana in particular may be the least popular, it's probably the most touching. It doesn't take a name expert to declare that this little Princess' name is a big hit, and exactly the kind of name we were all hoping for.

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Charlotte ~ Elizabeth ~ The Most Classic Girls' Names of All Time ~ 

April 24, 2015

What to Read While We Wait, What to Watch When it's Time

Waiting on The Royal Baby

In case you haven't heard, the world is waiting with baited breath for what will be the biggest baby announcement of the year. The Duke and Duchess will be welcoming a brother or sister to little Prince George of Cambridge (whose middle names include Alexander and Louis) any week, any day, any hour, any minute now. Can you feel the global-level excitement?

  • If you want to join name speculators, the Baby Name Wizard has you covered.
  • If you want to delve into the royal family's appearances step-by-step, People has a Royal Baby Watch timeline.
  • We can expect royal officials to announce when Kate is admitted to St. Mary's hospital, and roughly, when the baby is born on the Clarence House and British Monarchy twitter accounts. We will likely be told then whether it's a boy or girl.
  • The baby's name, however, and other details will be announced by a declaration placed on an easel outside of Buckingham Palace, and a town crier will read it. For Prince George, we had to wait two days to learn what he was named. I watched this live, and you will be able to as well, though I'm not 100% sure where—my bet is on the ABC News website (among others). 
  • For a trip down memory lane, you can check out my post on Prince George's name, featuring a full analysis on its history and delightful British style.

Waiting on the Top Names of 2014

There's even more important name news coming up soon. And I must admit that every year, from January to May, name stats feel stale to me, and this year is no exception. I'm very much looking forward to being able to say "last year" when it comes to sharing how well a name is doing with as much accuracy as possible. I'm really eager to move past the oh-so-dated days of 2013 and bring in fresh numbers for 2014.

It's going to happen soon. The SSA will release new information around Mother's Day, as they do every year, but there is no precise release date or time (at least, not known to the public). I'll keep you posted.

Updates will be on the way, with a name feature on the royal baby's name, and a few notes from the release of 2014 name stats.

March 25, 2015

Celebrity Baby Names of 2015: Winter Season

Listed are the baby's birthday, parents' names and the baby's first and middle name (if available). For the winter season I'm including babies born at the end of December 2014 as well. Announcements are still trickling in, and as they do I will update this list. A few words of commentary—in the form of celebrity name awards—are below!

Baby Girls

January, Kevin James and Steffiana de la Cruz: Sistine Sabella

January 5, Nick and Vanessa Lachey: Brooklyn Elisabeth

January 13, Vanessa Carlton and John McCauley: Sidney Aoibheann

January 15, Ali Larter and Hayes MacArthur: Vivienne Margaret

January 29, Eli and Abby Manning: Caroline Olivia

February 4, Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk: Quinn Lily

February 17, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Catriona McGinn: Lachlyn Hope

February 25, Leonor Varela and Lucas Akoskin: Luna Mae

February 26, Robyn Lawley and Everest Schmidt: Ripley Dorothy

March, Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton: Edith Vivian Patricia

March 1,  Sarah Shahi and Steve Howey: TWINS Violet Moon (girl) and Knox Blue (boy)

March 13, Marla Sokoloff and Alec Puro: Olive Mae

March 16, Vin Diesel and Paloma Jiménez: Pauline

Baby Boys

December 27, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys: Genesis Ali

December 28, Rider Strong and Alexandra Baretto: Indigo “Indy”

January 10, Sonequa Martin-Green and Kenric Green: Kenric Justin II

January 15, Jennifer Hoffman Fowler and Ryan Fowler: Logan Ryan

January 15, Renee Oteri Maynard and Bracy Maynard: Jax Bracy

January 19, Paulina Gretzky and Dustin Johnson: Tatum

January 25, Chris O’Dowd and Dawn O’Porter: Art

January 25, Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt: Matteo Oliver

January 28, Beverley Mitchell and Michael Cameron: Hutton Michael

January 29, Shakira and Gerard Piqué: Sasha

February 11, Liv Tyler and David Gardner: Sailor Gene

February 15, Eric and Katherine Church: Tennessee Hawkins "Hawk"

February 27, Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher: Isaiah Michael

February 28, Sara Gilbert and Linda Perry: Rhodes Emilio

March 1,  Sarah Shahi and Steve Howey: TWINS Violet Moon (girl) and Knox Blue (boy)

March 19, Jessica Paré and John Kastner: Blues Anthony

March 20, Noureen DeWulf and Ryan Miller: Bodhi Ryan

Winter 2015

It would be cheating to include the birth of daughter Poppy to the Brent-Berkus family, but that name definitely grabbed my attention! I recently included Poppy in a list of unusual floral names for girls written for Baby Name Wizard. I'll have more on Poppy for my Spring 2015 post.

I was also a little too late to mention Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard's daughter Delta, though you can read the funny story of their name choice here. (Or was I?) Now, on to the awards!

Top Stereotypical Celebrity Name
Names that give celebs a reputation for using wild or odd names. 

It's a very musical name that's sure to raise a few eyebrows. Canadian couple Jessica Paré and John Kastner are in acting and music, respectively, though Kastner performs punk, not blues.
WINNER: Blues Anthony

Top Trendy Names 
Names that are becoming a hit with celebs and not-so-famous parents alike.
WINNERS: Luna, Jax

Most Classic Name
Classic names that no one pays attention to because they aren't wild enough.
WINNER: Caroline Olivia

Best Intriguing Name
A name that is a little surprising, in a nice way. 
I adore the reference to the Sistine Chapel, residence of the Pope bearing Michelangelo's handiwork and most famous fresco, The Creation of Adam. Her middle name, Sabella, is pure gold, a variation of Isabella that has echoes of Steffiana's name and adds irresistible alliteration. (Sylvester Stallone's daughter Sistine takes advantage of the S-factor too.)
WINNER: Sistine Sabella

Newest Trend
An interesting trend showing up in this season's names, whether or not it's a trend on a large scale.
This season happens to highlight contemporary choices for boys. There were only 2 or 3 exceptions to this otherwise full-fledged modern group.
WINNERS: Indigo, Jax, Tatum, Hutton, Sailor, Tennessee ("Hawk"), Knox, Blues, and Bodhi

Most Moving Name
Vin Diesel and Paloma Jiménez chose to honor the memory of actor Paul Walker with the name of their little girl. In an interview with the TODAY Show's Natalie Morales, Diesel said,
"There's no other person that I was thinking about as I was cutting this umbilical cord. I knew he was there and it felt like a way to keep his memory a part of my family and a part of my world."
WINNER: Pauline

Personal Favorite  
My own choice for best names. What's yours?
You saw this coming, didn't you?
WINNER: Sistine Sabella

Share Your Thoughts
No matter what the style, we all love critiquing the name choices of the rich and famous. Please share your opinions in the comments!

You may also like: Celebrity Baby Names of 2013: Winter Season