Wednesday, February 1, 2012

You’re going to Name your Baby WHAT? Thoughts on Today’s Baby Names

Photo by idiahoeditor (

Every year our newspaper publishes a special section called “Bundles of Joy.” People pay to have a picture of their baby in the paper. I peruse the section, not so much for the pictures (even though they ARE cute), but for the names.  I find it fascinating what people choose to name their offspring.

Here are my very unscientific observations based on this year’s “Bundles of Joy.”  NOTE: Ideas on baby names are extremely subjective.  I hesitated to write this article because I don’t want to offend anyone.  If I pick on a name you have chosen, I apologize.  This is only one person’s opinion.

There were a total of 134 babies featured this year (if I did my math right).  I divided them into several categories and counted the total babies with names in that category.  All examples are from this year’s “Bundles of Joy” section.

Classic Names – 9
These  are the perenniel favorites, timeless names that will always serve a child well. They were common in my generation, but not as common today.  I only noticed one girls’ name: Anne.  Boys’ names included James, Mark, Thomas, William, Andrew, and Nathaniel.

Boys Names Used for Girls – 10
This is a pet peeve of mine.  Perhaps parents are trying to give their daughter an advantage by giving her a masculine name.  But probably they just like the sound of it.  I don’t.  And what’s worse – it ruins a perfectly good boy’s name.  You probably know a man named Tracy, Stacey, Dana or even Lois.  Those names used to be men’s names, but now the poor men have to suffer through life with a woman’s name.  Here are some of the names listed this year: Parker, Maisyn (changing the spelling does NOT make it a girl’s name, thank you), Payten (ditto), Peytin (ditto), Avery, Riley, Emery (and that is (or rather WAS) such a great boy's name), Halyee, and Reece.  (Okay, Okay, there is Reese Witherspoon, but it’s still a man’s name.) Please, people.

Old-Fashioned Names - 12
These are the names of our grandparents, names our classmates would have laughed at.  But today they are appreciated as “retro.”  I like most of these names. Examples: August, Levi (ok, I don’t like that one),Titus, Veronica, Oliver, Cecelia, Theodore, Cora, Naomi, Juliet (cool!), Ava, Ella.

Trendy but “Normal” Names - 48
These are names that were practically unheard of when I was growing up, but have become commonplace today.  Most of these are now good, solid names that will serve a child well. Examples: Ethan, Karlie, Lily, Lauren, Alison, Justin, Zachary, Carter, Jackson, Katelyn, Landon.

Newbies but Goodies – 30
People are becoming more and more creative with their names – and that can be good.  Some names are made up; others are uncommon or from a unique source. I really like some of the more unusual names.  Here are some examples from this year:
Girls: Amirah, Kinley, Emilia, Vionna, Gemma, Norah, Arynn, Maya, Kinsley, Somara.
Boys: Easton (very nice), Zavian, Donovan, Kyler, Griffin (my daughter really likes this one – I have mixed feelings), Caiden, Cade, Hudson (I really like this one), Emerson.

Just Plain Odd – 25
OK, people, creative is good, but odd is, well . . . ODD!  Here are some that made me shake my head in wonder.
Girls: Isla, Atleigh, Brylee, Brooks (I like Brooke, but Brooks?), Zariyah, Danica (“sounds like yogurt,” my daughter commented), Berkeley (a city in California?), Brinlee ( what???), Honor (honor is a good thing, but a name???), Alivia (Olivia is nice, but why change the first letter?), Alexiana (now you KNOW she’s probably going to be called Lex anyway, so why bother with a five-syllable name?), Harlow (really?  A GIRL named Harlow?  I’d put it in the boy’s names category, but it doesn’t even fit there.),
Boys’ names: Gunner (I’ve heard of the Swedish name Gunnar, but GunnEr???), Brenson, Enzo (Sounds like a laundry detergent), Cruz (this baby was Caucasian, BTW), Ryder, Marek, Brogan, Maddox, Holden, Ryker, Declan (how do you pronounce that, anyway?), Duran.


  1. Perhaps from being stuck with an 11-letter last name that no one could pronounce or spell all during my pre-married life, names are a pet peeve of mine. Especially when you take a "normal" name and give it a, um, creative spelling. For example, Courtney I've seen spelled Kortny. Really? The poor child is going to go through life having to spell her name to EVERYONE because who would guess that spelling? There was swim team mom who had twin boys, Morgan and Mathew. Mathew with one T. Because she wanted their names to have the same number of letters. And every single year, the trophy was misspelled even though we clearly spelled it with one T. I remember her fussing at me one year (yet again) and I had had enough. I told her it was not the trophy place's fault she had misspelled her son's name. (Oops.)

  2. I agree totally. Taking a normal name and spelling it incorrectly will cause problems for the person's entire life. My last name is like that, and I'm ALWAYS correcting people.

  3. I completely agree with you about boys names used for girls. The boy field is being depleted. A lot of your "Classic" names and "Old Fashioned" names come under our heading of "Biblical" names. (Abigail, Samuel, Noah) Except for Ellie's name (Eliana) which is a Hebrew word used many times in the Psalms. I, too, love reading the names--they fascinate me. BTW, I know a Declan. It's pronounced DECK-lun. And yes, it's a little on the odd side.

  4. I enjoyed every page on your blog, I think you are is creative upcoming hollywood movie premieres hope to become your friends, regards

  5. Great read. I am looking forward to implementing this concept of friend retrieval. Thanks

  6. hi marcia. some of those names are old english names, i had an aunty norah 40 years ago, i know several gemmas, a couple of naomi's. isla is an old scottish name. when i grew up here we had a tv presenter called isla st clare, yup! she was very famous scottish lass. in the UK were getting some really silly names for example, chardonay (what after the wine?) other are going for more american sounding names. so maybe were just swopping names over the big pond? loved the artical. for the record, im a matthew with 2 T's, my twin brother is james, young brother luke and younger sister bryony.

  7. it's really very topicalissue for future parents! Well done!