With just hours left in 2008, here are the official ApMtn baby name predictions for 2009.
Boys’ names will be longer and shorter, but two-syllable tyranny is coming to an end. Yes, plenty of parents are still going to call their sons (and daughters) Aiden, Braeden, Caidhen, Haydon and Jayden. And yes, some parents will attempt to mash together two syllables to create “unique” names for their sons – think Jaylon and Cayson.
But a growing number of parents are favoring softer names for their sons, including Biblical choices and ancient names. Sebastian, Julian, Jeremiah and Oliver are already mainstream. Others are keeping it short and strong. Starbabies Knox Jolie-Pitt and Bronx Wentz are part of the trend. Choices like Cole, Gage, Cash, Beau and Cade gaining, as well as nicknames like Jack, Jake and Max remaining popular. A few other choices are brief, but not quite so tough guy – Finn, Quinn and Kai all continue to do well.
French names for girls will be on the rise. Celeb trendsetters Brangelina are responsible for some of the trend. But this one was already brewing before Vivienne Marcheline’s birth. A few that could pop? Noemi/Noemie, Elodie and Esmé.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that the names in favor will be popular in Paris, or even authentically French. In fact, the biggest influence may be the rise of creative, franglais-style names. Expect to see Scarlette along with Violette and Juliette.
Homespun, even humble names will continue to be popular. There’s nothing flashy about Emma or Hannah. In 2009, Olive will sound fresher than Olivia, Frances more appealing than Francesca. Choices like Nora and Clara could have a good year for girls; for boys, Gus seems unstoppable. (Though with August, Angus and plenty of other names leading to Gus as a nickname, it will be tough to see in the statistics.) Biblical boys’ names will continue to gain, following Elijah, Isaac and Isaiah up the charts. And yes, we think we’ll meet more girls called Honor, as well as plenty of little Graces, Hopes and Charitys.
There could also be an uptick in the number of boys receiving names that once seemed perpetually out of fashion. Choices like Walter, Raymond and Calvin have all received positive feedback. It suggests that either they’re turning the corner from clunky to cool … or maybe that in 2009, clunky will be cool.
Creative spellings will continue. Some parents will continue to favor extreme spellings like Caidhon and Peightynn. But variant spellings have taken their place in the mainstream. Which is correct: Isobel, Isabel or Isabelle? In some cases, the most popular version isn’t the most authentic. Kaitlyn ranks #44; Katelyn comes in at #75 and Caitlin’s parents find themselves defending their “unusual” spelling.
Perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but it seems like fewer parents are tossing in random letters to come up with Brieyannah and more are seeking out lesser used appellations, like Bryony. (Which, of course, can also be spelled Briony …)
Emily really won’t be the most popular name for girls. Based on our recalculation of the SSA rankings back in May, we reported that Emily was slipping in favor of Isabella and Sophia. Parents.com recently put Isabella at the top of their 2008 list, with Ava in second place and Emily demoted to third. They base their rankings on website traffic.
That said, Em names for girls will remain very popular. Emily might slip, but Em- names are still hot. There’s Emma, of course. And with starbabies Emme (JLo’s daughter) and Emery (Angie Harmon’s daughter) we imagine more parents will opt for an Emily variant in 2009. Among the contenders: Emerson (likely to be respelled Emersyn), the anique Emilia, the Welsh masculine Emlyn, the medieval Emmeline and Emmaline, Embeth (as in the actress Embeth Davidtz) and, of course, Emme and Emery.
And the final prediction?
Baby names will continue to obsess some of us. Pushing a $900 stroller might be out; kitting your kiddo in consignment store finds might be in. But choosing a thoughtful, meaningful and inventive name for a child is always au courant.
Thanks for being part of the ApMtn family in 2008, and keep reading in 2009!