MM basketballsHow did your favorite baby names fare in our annual contest?

March Madness 2013 started out with an extensive list of stylish choices.

Based on the most viewed posts at Appellation Mountain in the prior year, March Madness pits name against name.  In years past, the trend has clearly been towards the more conservative choices.  2011 saw Nathaniel and Louisa come out on top.

2012’s title went to Arthur and Genevieve.  At  the time, I wrote that “This year’s winners sound like [last year’s] younger siblings.”

There’s some truth to that in 2013, too.  But what’s really fascinating is how the final match-ups are replaying past years’ contests between our favorite baby names:

  • In 2011, I wrongly ousted Nathaniel in the semi-finals.  To correct this error, our Final Match was a three-way contest between Nathaniel, Archer, and Finn.  Nathaniel won out that time around.  But 2013’s final was something of a reprise, with Archer and Finn vying for the top spot.
  • Elodie made it to the final in 2011, too, falling to Louisa in the final round.
  • Adelaide was a contender in 2012, and again in 2013 – but failed to make it to the final either time.

All of this makes me strangely eager to see what happens in 2014!

But first, let’s reveal the winners in this years’ finals:

The top spot goes to our favorite baby names …

Isla and Archer

That’s right!

  • Archer beat Finn by a healthy margin – 53% to 47%.  Despite Finn’s universal appeal, he’s probably become overexposed for some name fanatics, pushing the up-and-coming Archer to victory.
  • But the down-to-the-wire, last second decision, can’t-miss-a-second match was definitely the girls’ finals.  When I first tried to close the round, I couldn’t … it was literally tied 50/50.  If you check the poll now, it still appears to be 50/50, but there is one – yes, just one – more vote in Isla’s favor, giving her the slimmest of victories over Elodie.

Does this mean that we’ll hear more of these names in coming years?

I think so, but it certainly isn’t an indication that they’re likely to enter the Top 100 anytime soon.  Isla is among the favorite baby names elsewhere in the English-speaking world, and she’s on a straight trajectory up in the US.  Fast-rising surname Archer is catching on quickly in the US, but is still far from the most popular picks.

Thanks to each and every one of you for the votes, clicks, and shares, and stick around for March Madness 2014 … a mere eleven months away!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I’m going to kid myself it was myyyy vote for Isla that kicked it to victory.

    But I obviously couldn’t manage the same for Finn. But I’m heartened, I thought Finn was the trendier choice than Archer – if it’s not, I’m nerdily glad.

  2. Well, I guess it’s inevitable that the more on-trend names will win, and at least they don’t sound like the earlier winners’ siblings or neighbours.

  3. My top favourites were shot down in round two, but at the end of the day every name in the contest is one I would love to hear on a kid at the playground. Those of us who lurk around on name sites in our downtime have heard Isla and Archer plenty out in the blogosphere, but I for one have yet to come across one in real life and if contests like these can get appealing, on-trend names out there for the less name-obsessed to fall in love with then it’s a win for all.

  4. I like Elodie, Isla, & Finn, but not Archer. I think I was turned off the Arch- sound by Edith Bunker…

  5. Congratulations on the winners!

    I’m preparing to start a name tournament of mine over at Nameberry – putting the top unisex names nominated by members there against each other. In fact the nomination thread is still going as of today – tomorrow I’ll start the tourney.