I have a theory. Popularity can be a good thing in some cases. Names that feel bold, even outlandish, transform as they become more familiar.
There’s a sweet spot in the process. For some names, there comes a moment when it feels fresh and unusual – but is popular enough that a great many people react positively to the name.
I think Maverick is in the sweet spot now. It’s a big, dramatic choice. But it’s also a Top 200 name. Combined, that can be a powerful formula.
Are there other names that hit this sweet spot? Names once borderline unthinkable that today we hear everywhere?
While they’re much less dramatic examples, few would raise an eyebrow today at meeting a child named Summer, Brooklyn, or Bentley. King is taking the same path as Maverick to mainstream familiarity.
I’m sure I’m missing plenty of names on the same path. Can you think of any names that once struck you as outlandish that now feel downright ordinary?
Elsewhere in name news:
- A birth announcement for a baby Thorfinn! My theory is that ‘Th’ names are back. I have a list of Th starting names for girls here, plus a list of the -th enders. But none for boys – yet! Have to add that to my list.
- An excellent answer from the Name Lady to a new mom worried she’s committed baby name theft.
- Lalage fits right in with Lily and Lorelei – if only we could agree on how to pronounce it. Nancy has the story.
- Baby Name Wizard updates The 100 Club. I think Wells, Bowie, and Calder are going places. And check out the Game of Thrones influence on the girls’ list!
- There are some serious gems on this list of names that no one else has.
- An interesting debate at Sancta Nomina: Can you make a second (or third or fourth) son a junior, after skipping the custom with your firstborn?
- Arleth is big in Texas; Alden in Maine. Time analyzes the most stand-out names in every state.
- When your firstborn is called Mowat, what can you possibly name his sister or brother?
- Oh, I think SO many parents can identify with this.
- Lately Panda seems to be popping up on the fringes. Could it work as a given name? It appears on this list, along with plenty of more mainstream animal picks.
That’s all for this week! As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!
When I hear the name King, I think of a German shepherd.
I’ve known two Pandas, but they are both nicknames: one for Miranda (Mandy/Manda–> Panda), the other for a unusual name (not mentioned for privacy). It’s also the name of a character on the tv show Skins, where it’s short for Pandora. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few Amandas out there who go by Panda, too. It might be one of those names that seems new as a first name but has quite a bit of history as a nickname.
That’s a really good point, anon – I have heard Amanda/Panda now that you mention it.
Everly. Check out that impressive popularity curve. I would hereby like to dub Everly “the name of the new millennium” as it has soared from near obscurity to #107 on the SSA list. It just has a perfect on-trend sound and is at that sweet spot where it feels oh-so perfectly fresh and so cool. Who would think it could be uber popular among newborns by the time a newborn today is in high school? Everly is totally flying under the radar right now.
To a lesser extent, Nova. Four years ago it got pretty negative feedback on naming sites. (Like that no-go car?) Now thanks to the Teen Mom, it’s all the rage.
Maybe Arlo for boys. It still feels hipsterish and a little out there, but I can picture Arlo being widely embraced within this decade.
Yes – Everly is the contender for that title. Arlo and Nova are going places, too. Oh no – awful pun alert! But yes, it’s another star launched by Teen Mom. Who would’ve imagined Teen Mom would become the engine for so many new names?