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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Baby name trends of 2012



The unusual naming trends for babies show no sign of ending. The Nameberry blog has this overview of baby name trends for 2012 that once again shows parents want something unique (like naming their kid Unique) or fashionable or fierce. Anything, it seems, but blend in.

Here are some of the trends Nameberry has found:

Heroes as last names. Mariah Carey naming her daughter Monroe wasn't a fluke. Babies are also getting named after Landry (as in football coach Tom), Gatsby (as in fictional hero The Great), and Palin.

Changing the spelling: "The No. 1 girls' name Isabella gives rise to stylistically-related choices Arabella and Annabelle," the blog notes. "Olivia, the top name in Britain, spawns spelling variation Alivia; Emma and Emily promote brother name Emmett."

Western-sounding names Boone and Bo, Wyatt and Wylie, Cole and Colt, Zane and Shane, and even Maverick.

Adjectives as names:  True, Noble, Brave, Strong, Loyal, Loving, Sunny, Golden, Royal, Happy. One UK soccer star and his fashionista wife tried to beat this trend by naming their son Trendy.

Thank Betty White: Betty is back and rising in popularity.

Enough with the "ley" names: The blog calls for a cease fire on tacking an -ley onto the end of a wide range of first syllables and calling it a name -- Brinley, Kinley, Finley -- has "became so pandemic so quickly that we are ready to declare it over, already." (I would add the "aden" trend to that. As in Jaden, Kaden, etc.)

What I find fascinating is how the popular baby names change every decade. Look at this list of the popular baby names from the Social Security Adminstration and you see Jacob and Ethan are the two top boy names, and Isabella and Sophia are the two top girl names of 2010. Type in the year you were born for a decidedly different list (for mine it was Michael and John for boys, Lisa and Mary for girls)

But some of it goes over the top and New Zealand even banned weird baby names.  The book Freakonomics has this theory where baby names come from: Once a name catches on among high-income, highly educated parents, it starts working its way down the socioeconomic ladder. Amber, Heather, and Stephanie started out as high-end names. For every high-end baby given those names, however, another five lower-income girls received those names within 10 years.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 4:16pm]


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