As a teacher to young children, one learns what’s hot in baby name trends by the collective names of students that enroll each year. While teaching for many years and interested in the names that parents give their children, I’ve declared a number of categories that many popular baby names fit into.
It may be interesting to know that parents tend to pick names from the same category they choose, no matter how many children or what gender they have. If you are a parent with young children, do you fall into any of these categories of hot baby name trends?
The Asexual Surname – Currently, one of the hottest naming trends, popular for both baby boys and girls is the asexual surname – the traditional ‘last name’ that is neither feminine or masculine and is just as popular with both sexes. Preschools across the U.S. today are bursting at the seams with children called Madison, Bailey, Avery, Cameron, Sawyer, Sullivan, Finley and Riley (and all their alternate spellings).
The Masculine Last-Name First-Name – In close association with the asexual surname is the more masculine last name used for a baby boy’s first name. For instance, thousands of little boys across the country are known as Carter, Cooper, Spencer, Miller, Hunter, Parker, Nelson, Jackson, Johnson, Preston, Carson and others.
The Back-to-Basics Baby Name – A popular trend today is to skip the long, drawn-out formal name and simply skip to the short moniker. Names like Bob, Eddie, Hank, Fred, Jack, Joe, Jon, George, Bill, Tom, Tim, Beth, Ann, Lee, Liz, Jim and other traditional names are making a big comeback.
The “Spelling Test” Name – Preschool and elementary teachers have had difficulty in recent years with so many students that have incredibly long and challenging names to spell, or names that have numerous additional, ‘decorative,’ or silent letters thrown in. Children with names such as Emmyliyne, Alyszabeth, Allissah, Benjymyn, Allixzander, Shaekirah, and Graceylynne are becoming more common.
The “Renaissance Faire” Baby Name – Some parents choose the route of traditional, Gaelic or Celtic sounding names in this category – or pretty much the name of any character that could exist in the movies “Braveheart” or “Lord of the Rings.” This includes names such as Aidan, Ethan, Connor, Braden, Jaden, Seamus, Patrick, Hayden, Duncan, Gwendolyn, Gwynnen, Gwyneth, Arwen, Guinevere, Avaloch, Avalon, Bronwyn, or anything else from a fantasy novel that includes swords, wizards, and dragons.
The Celebrity-Inspired Name – Celebrity babies have become an industry of their own, with blogs, websites and magazines devoted just to these trends. When a celebrity has a baby, the first thing everyone wants to know is “What did they name it?” Because the media impacts culture – and inspires soon-to-be parents – name popularity shoots up when a child is born to famous parents.
According to BabyNamesWorld, the baby girl’s name “Violet” shot up 200 places in its yearly list of popular names in 2005, the same year that daughter Violet Affleck was born to parents Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. The same celebrity-inspired naming trends have also taken place with names such as Jayden (used by Britney Spears, and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith) and most noticeably with the girl’s name Emma, which saw a rise in popularity after the characters Ross and Rachel named their daughter Emma on the TV show “Friends.”
The Family Heirloom Baby Name – We all know that in some families, it is an honored tradition to continue passing on a certain namesake. For instance, R&B musician Usher (IV) and his now ex-wife gave birth to their son, Usher Raymond (V)… and the legacy continues. Boxer George Foreman is known, not only for his electric grill, but for each of his six sons also being named George.
The Object or Concept Name – Naming your children after an object or concept is just as hot. ‘Object names’ such as Pearl, Sky, Diamond, Mercedez, Stallion, Sapphire, Ruby, Cash, Falcon, Sparrow, Hawk, Blaze, Rose or Ash are becoming more common, while concepts such as Love, Faith, Hope, Charity, Trinity, Heaven and Chastity have been popular for ages.
The Biblical Name – Always in style are the epic, historical names of yesteryear, rooted in the Good Book. Names such as Jedidiah, Noah, Seth, Adam, Luke, Eve, Rachel, Rebekah, Leah, Matthew, Esther, Naomi, Mark, Mary, Hannah, Paul, Solomon, David, Jonathan, Thomas, and others are synonymous with classical baby trends that never go out of style.
The Ultra-Feminine Girly Name – Lastly, one of the most trendy waves in baby names is the super-extreme-girly name, characterized by the presence of a “lee”, “ee” or “la” sound at the end. Nearly any other name, sound or random word can come start off the name – and it often begins with an H, M, K, B or C and many times includes a “Y.” There are thousands of little girls in the U.S. named Carley, Bailey, Hayley, Kelly, Brylee, Kaylee, Kyley, Ryley, Keelee, Harley, Halle, Hadley, Miley, Kayla, Marley, Mayley, Kyla, Daisy, Lily, Ryla, Cara, Mara, Myra, Kyra, and others.
If you’re a parent, did you follow a trend and fall into one of these categories? Did all of your children’s names originate from the same category, or did you branch out to others?