Showing posts from December, 2020

10 Boys' Names that Defined 2020

Yesterday I posted about 10 girls' names that defined this decade. Today I focus on the boys' names. As with the girls' names, these names defined this past year in several ways. Bode (#964)-Jeremy and Audrey Roloff from TV's "Little People, Big World" named their son Bode earlier this year. It is a possible diminutive of Bodhi, a trendy name meaning "enlightenment". What family does not want to be enlightened during a pandemic? Ever (unranked)-Everly recently caught on dramatically for girls. Next might come Ever, which briefly ranked before 1905. The recent birth of Ever Leo might bring this trend of "ever" names to the boys, though. With Evan declining, Ever sounds like the perfect update. George (#119)-Though he goes by his middle name, George Paterson VI was born to Amanda Patterson and George Wilson earlier this year. The real reason why this name makes the list, however, is the murder of George Floyd. It sparked discussions about rac

10 Girls' Names that Defined 2020

Now that 2020 is coming to a close, it's time to look back at 10 names that made headlines this year. Whether they were names of celebrity children or names with values related to this current time, they defined 2020. Betty (unranked)-Betty had an unexpected major drop this past year. Yet, that could change soon. One of Taylor Swift's many new songs this year is entitled "Betty", after Blake Lively's daughter. Betty peaked in the late 1920s and early 1930s, too. It's due for revival. Clara  (#95)-Names meaning "light" are perfect for this time. During this pandemic, families are searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. One such name that I think would definitely get a boost, though, is Clara. It's been stuck in the same range, but hopefully it continues its revival this decade. Dove (unranked)-Two celebrity babies made this transparent name more well-known this year. First, actress Teddi Mellencamp named her daughter Dove early this year


Many evergreen classics for girls come from the ages-old Bible. Think Mary, Elizabeth, and Sarah. However, even Biblical names don't have to always be popular to count as classics. One such name is Esther.  Esther is commonly thought to come from the Persian word for "star". However, its meaning is actually debatable. It is also thought to come from the Hebrew words for "hidden" and "myrtle".  Either way, the name is rooted in the Bible. Originally named Hadassah, she changed her name to Esther to hide her Jewish identify upon marrying the King of Persia. However, Esther reveals her religion to the king after his advisor Haman announces his plan to kill all the Jews. Esther also pleaded the king to execute Haman. Thus, Esther saved the Jews' lives, making her a positive role model for girls. As with many Biblical names, Esther became common among English-speakers in the sixteenth century. It was popular in England through the 1910s and in the Unite


Holly ranked among the top girls' names in the second half of the twentieth century. The retro name now feels like a modern classic. It still works, but there are fresher spins on the name. One example is Hollis.  Hollis is a surname-name derived from the root words holegn "holly" and kel "prick". Its use as a surname dates from Medieval England. Hollis was given to families who lived near holly trees. It took several centuries for Hollis to promote to first-name status.  Hollis was first recorded for at least 5 girls in 1895. It even broke the charts fifty years later. Hollis debuted in the top 1000 in 1948 and 1949. The name ranked again from 1951 to 1955, peaking at #772 in 1953. For boys, the name ranked every year until the early 1970s. Its quiet use for all genders over time makes Hollis unisex in style.  Hollis may have the same unisex surname-name status as modern hits like Everly and Piper. Unlike these names, though, Hollis is clearly not new. Decades

Future Top 100 Boys' Names (Based on Trends)

My last post focused on current trends according to the girls' top 100. Today we focus on trends regarding male names. BIBLICAL NAMES (Noah, Elijah, James, Benjamin, Alexander, Jacob, Michael, Daniel, Samuel, Joseph, Levi, David, John, Luke, Isaac, Gabriel, Asher, Josiah, Andrew, Thomas, Joshua, Ezra, Caleb, Isaiah, Elias, Aaron, Eli, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jordan, Adam): Silas (#107)-Silas has the long "I" sound of Levi, Isaac, and Eli along with the last three letters of Elias. It's bound to hit the top 100 this decade. Jasper (#136)-In the Bible, Jasper was one of the three wise men who visited baby Jesus. It was somewhat common in the last 19th century and it is back in a big way. Perhaps it might break the top 100 for the first time. Zion (#154)-Rhyming with Ryan and having the cool "z" sound, Zion is definitely a candidate for the future top 100. Adriel (#185)-Adriel combines the sounds of Adrian and Gabriel. The Biblical touch it has comes, of course, fro

Future Top 100 Girls' Names (Based on Trends)

I haven't done a weekly name post this week because I feel like my posts aren't of the highest quality. I am currently doing more research to improve them. Expect to see my next name page within a week.  For now, I'm thinking about name trends. First, I'm focusing on the girls. All the names listed below rank within the current top 400. Here are the kinds of names that will likely hit the top over the next decade according to the current girls' top 100: DOUBLE-"A"S (Ava, Amelia, Aria, Aurora, Anna, Ariana, Arya): Athena (#105)-Athena has the same mythological roots as Aurora and the ending of Elena. This is bound to hit the top 100 in 2020. Amara (#140)-Amara, like Athena, sounds like an alternative to Aurora. It also combines the sounds of antique classics Amelia and Clara. It could hit the top 100 within the next two years. Anastasia (#150)-Anastasia dropped slightly in 2019, but it's still headed towards the top 100. Its elaborate structure and leg


In Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel, The Scarlet Letter , protagonist Hester Pyrne had an illegitimate child. At the time, readers would expect her name to be Ada or Harriet. Instead, Pyrne, describing her child as "her mother's only treasure", named her after the pearl gemstone.  People have described the gemstone, which formed in mollusk shells, as precious since the Middle Ages. Hence, it is not surprising that Hester Pyrne referred to Pearl as her "only treasure". Perhaps it was about time Pearl became a given name. The Victorian Era was the time for other natural words like Hazel, Ivy, and Opal to associate with specific women.  From 1880 through the first half of the 1920s, Pearl was a top 100 hit. It was also popular in Canada and Australia at the time. Nonetheless, Pearl only ranked in the top 50 in the United States, where Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter . However, that does not make Pearl literary. A literary name would have to be memorable by t


Today I write about the girls' name Dora. ORIGIN AND MEANING: Dora is a short form of Dorothy, an English form of Dorothea. The name means "gift". PRONOUNCIATION: The name is pronounced "dawr-ah". USAGE: Dora was a top 100 name through the 1900s. It left the top 500 in 1977 and the top 1000 in the early 1990s. Dora is showing little sign of a comeback. Its usage increased from 73 to 101.  FAMOUS PEOPLE: Dora Russell (1894-1986), British feminist author who was the second wife of philosopher Bertrand Russell. Dora Madison Burge (1990-), American actress.  POP CULTURE: Dora Spenlow, character in Charles Dickens's David Copperfield  (1850). Dora Winifred (D.W.) Read, Arthur's sister in PBS Kids series Arthur (1996-). Dora Marquez, main character of Nick Jr's  Dora The Explorer  (2000-2015). USIBILITY: If it weren't for  Dora The Explorer , this vintage name would've came back already. Yet, this name has been tied to the cartoon character for way


Today I write about the boys' name Cyrus. ORIGIN AND MEANING: Cyrus comes from the Greek form of the Persian "Kurush", meaning "far sighted", "careful", or "young". PRONOUNCIATION The name is pronounced "SIY-ris." USAGE: Cyrus was first used in ancient Persia, where it was worn by several kings. One of them, Cyrus the Great, was even mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. It crossed into the English-speaking world through adoption by the Puritans centuries later. Cyrus ranked within the top 500 every year until 1906. It appeared just a few more times before hitting a low point. It always ranked, however, and is rising again. Cyrus is back in the top 500 at #412. FAMOUS PEOPLE: Cyrus I of Persia (d. 580 BC), ancient Persian King of Anshan. Cyrus II of Persia (aka Cyrus the Great, d. 530 BC), Persian ruler who found the first Persian empire. Cyrus the Younger (d. 401 BC), Persian prince.  St. Cyrus (d. 304 or 311), Egyptian saint who was vene


Once upon a time, the Greek name Ioannes became Johannes in Latin. The German language shortened that name to Hans, which clearly comes from its last syllable.  Since the late Middle Ages, Hans has been popular in German-speaking nations. However, the name is no longer as popular in Germany and Norway as it once was. The Nordic name also declined throughout time in the United States. Never ranking in the top 200, Hans was out of the charts by 2000. Hans is still being used in small numbers and, thus, feels timeless.  Hans has also been worn by several namesakes throughout history, including a lot of kings and Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen wrote well-known fairy tales like The Princess and the Pea , making Hans a fairy tale-inspired name. Prince Hans of the Southern Isles from Disney's Frozen , which was adapted from Andersen's The Snow Queen , adds to its magical vibe.  Hans will appeal to parents looking for a short Nordic name with magical ties. It feels too

Top 100 Retro Girls' Names

Retro girls' names are from the more recent past, peaking 26-75 years ago. They are, at the same time, at least fifty years old. They might not come back anytime soon, but they still feel wearable.  In order to qualify as retro, a name must: have peaked in the top 100 or 500 26-75 years ago. feel slightly "throwback". have been around for at least 50 years. remain wearable. Here are names from recent generations that may have declined in use but remain wearable: Sarah (#81) Maria (#106) Melanie (#110) Melody (#118) Katherine (#122) Mary (#126) Andrea (#142) Valerie (#149) Molly (#161) Sara (#163) Amy (#203) Nicole (#228) Hope (#230) Joanna (#254) Angela (#256) Rebecca (#264) Mariah (#276) Alexandria (#299) Laura (#337) Joy (#345) Veronica (#359) Gwendolyn (#370) Heidi (#373) Jacqueline (#382) Lana (#384) Sabrina (#391) Amanda (#405) Alison (#413) Regina (#419) Carmen (#427) Daphne (#431) Miranda (#444) Jolene (#449) Bianca (#452) Katie (#459) Holly (#479) Erin (#484) Kath