Isabeau, Bowen, Boheme: Getting to Bo and Beau

April 18, 2014

There’s something stylish about a short name nowadays, and the bright Bo has quite a bit of appeal. Spelled Beau, the name feels like a Southern gentleman – but also has history as a feminine ending in France.  There were 39 girl Beaus and 1059 boy Beaus born in 2012. Bo is less formal – more of a […]

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John, Mary, and 63 More: The Most Popular Baby Names of All Time

April 11, 2014

What are the most popular baby names of all time? It sounds like a straightforward question.  Except that there are different ways to measure usage.  Are Steven and Stephen two names or one?  Are we talking about the percentage of the population receiving a given name, or the name’s numerical ranking?  On percentages, today’s #1 name is […]

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Elsa, Liza, and Betsy: The Many Faces of Elizabeth

April 4, 2014

Last year, I wrote a post about the Many Faces of Adelaide.  After writing yet another post about a name related to Adelaide, it hit me that there were so many forms of the name, from obscure forms long out of use to diminutives that were unfamiliar – but wearable – in English. In a recent […]

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Walker, Walton, and Winchester: W Surname Names

March 28, 2014

Surname names are stylish – just look at Jackson, Mason, Hunter and the rest of the US Top 100. For girls, I’m all about H.  And hello, Harper, Harlow, and Hadley, I think the rest of the world seems to agree. If there is one letter I love for boys’ surname names, it has to […]

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Frank, Harvey, and Dale: 1930s Names for Boys

March 21, 2014

When I wrote about 1930s Names for Girls, it was tough to put them into categories: definitely back, cautiously consider, gone for good.  And yet, that list was nothing compared to the boys’ list! If the 100-year rule holds true, then names popular in, say, 1935, should be on the rise right about now.  I […]

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A to Z: Short Names for Girls

March 14, 2014

This past week, I focused on writing about mini names: Mia, Io, Jeb, and Fae.  I was certain that names were getting shorter, and convinced that I could provide statistically defensible evidence. But … not so much. On pure letter count, there’s not any convincing evidence that suggests we’re seeing a trend. What might have had me fooled? […]

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Nestor, Astoria, and Satoria: Getting to Story

March 7, 2014

Story is a literally literary name, an appealing option for both genders.  It’s fresher than Corey, and a little bit less traditional than Rory, both of which have been worn by boys and girls. But what if you’re not quite ready to put Story on your child’s birth certificate?  Are there names that could serve as formal […]

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Frills Free Names for Girls: 25 More

February 28, 2014

Back in June 2008, I wrote a post called 25 Frills Free Names for Girls. The original 25 were: Ailis Briar Carys Daphne Elspeth Esme Esther Ever Haven Hazel Honor Ingrid Iris Ivy Juno Luna Lyric Maren Margot Olive Romy Sarai Tamar Tamsin Willow A few of these have spiked in popularity.  And Honor Alba […]

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25 Frills-Free Names for Girls

February 24, 2014

This post was originally published June 28, 2008.  It was substantially revised and re-posted on February 24, 2014. Wanna start a fight? Announce that you’re naming your daughter Ryan. Or Dylan. Or heck, Moses. Plenty of parents get downright feisty at the idea of giving a girl a name traditionally reserved for boys. Prepare for […]

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Dulcie, Ruth, and Reese: Names Inspired by Candy

February 14, 2014

Just for fun this Valentine’s Day, I’m thinking about names inspired by candy. The list of possible names to include was long, and it was tough to narrow it down.  Sugar is too sweet, though a few dozen girls have received the name since the 1950s.  Some candy brands work, but Toblerone is too much. Does […]

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