The Fastest-Falling Baby Names Of 2016 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2029)

Welcome to our annual Social Security Baby Names post! It’s finally the time of year when we learn the legitimate, officially-compiled United States name statistics for the previous year. Potential parents, name-changers or pet owners, take note. If you want to know whether the name you love is obscure or top-of-the-charts, skyrocketing or plummeting in popularity, unisex or gender-specific, these are the stats you’ll need, and they’re all available online thanks to the Social Security Administration.

For the past several years, we’ve operated off of the same premise: there are no bad names (pretty much!), just perfectly nice names that your child may arbitrarily decide to hate once they’re 13 years old or so. For the 2013 stats, we told you why your kids would hate their most popular names of the year by 2026. In 2014 and 2015, we turned our attention to the fastest rising names which – sorry! – plenty of kids will decide to dislike for no reason at all around middle school. It felt like time to switch things up, so this year we’ll talk about why the fastest-falling names of 2016 will earn your tween’s ire at the end of the roaring 2020s. I probably don’t have to tell you, but these reasons are completely silly and made-up: all of these names are fine and any kid should wear them well.

Girls

5. Neriah

Change in popularity: down 344 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: On the negative side, your little Neriah – melodic, easy-to-pronounce yet still uncommon Neriah – will read the Bible and learn that Neriah was a boy. On the positive side, if you chose Neriah because it’s a Biblical name… at least Neriah’s reading the Bible?

4. Kaitlynn

Change in popularity: down 381 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Wishes you’d spelled it Katelynn.

3. Katelynn

Change in popularity: down 402 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Wishes you’d spelled it Kaitlyn.

2. Caitlyn

Change in popularity: Down 462 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: There are too many ways to spell Caitlyn.

Oh, plus after the Revolution Of 2021, Caitlyn Jenner is somehow the President Of The United States and she’s not doing a great job. Not the WORST job, but that won’t be saying much in 2029.

1. Caitlin

Change in popularity: Down 542 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: A Caitlin by any other spelling (and boy, are there SPELLINGS) is still a Caitlin… unless you’re a traditionalist who prefers the Irish pronunciation instead of the Americanized “kate + lin” pronunciation, which for some reason your Caitlin is.  Substitute teachers are a nightmare.

Boys

5. Yaakov

Change in popularity: Down 213 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: I can’t think of a single reason Yaakov would be declining… traditional Hebrew name, lots of great namesakes, no bad pop culture references. All that makes me think that there must be some really annoying Yaakov out there whom a lot of people know. Once Bad Yaakov comes to your town, your little Yaakov will resent his name forever.

4. Freddy

Change in popularity: Down 222 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: This one pains me, as Fred and Freddy (as nicknames for Frederick, Alfred or Wilfred) have always been favorites of mine. But if you have a 9-year-old boy you see the problem here: the rapid rise of Five Nights Of Freddy, a weird, violent video game that for some reason all of the kids I know, who don’t actually play it, know everything about. Once your Freddy sees the game and has nightmares for months, it’s all over.

3. Triston

Change in popularity: Down 230 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: In the Gilmore Girls fandom, there’s Team Jess and Team Dean, but there’s a smaller, waspier team: Team Tristan. Your Triston is NOT on it.

2. Aaden

Change in popularity: Down 239 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Thanks to the many spellings of Aidan, there are a few others on your Aaden’s baseball team. No big deal! Except his coach insists on setting him apart by pronouncing it AAAAAHHHH-den. You did not have that pronunciation in mind.

1. Jonael

Change in popularity: Down 475

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Jonael was one of the fastest RISING names just a year ago. Your astute Jonael realizes that this will date-stamp him to a particular birth year, and he’s anticipating that when he’s middle aged everyone will realize precisely how old he is. He’s an old soul, your Jonael.

 

ICYMI: That’s Not Even a Word!!

The fact that Alaia is one of the fastest rising baby names of 2015 just affirms we’re living in the 1990s again. And I guess I’m not totally mad about it?

The Fastest Rising Baby Names of 2015 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2028)

They’re finally here: the top 1000 baby names of 2015 in the United States! What, you DON’T wait for this news all year? The standard caveats:

  • This is the official Social Security compilation of births registered in the US. Any of the US-based 2015 lists you saw before now were collected from baby name websites and were based on what the website users were naming their kids OR what names people were looking up, but not necessarily using.
  • When we talk about the “fastest rising names,” these are the ones that have made the biggest leap in the past year. Usually a few news outlets will treat the fastest rising names like they’re the most popular, even though they are given to comparatively few children. We didn’t work out the data ourselves: the lists came from the incredible Baby Names Blog.
  • I don’t dislike any of these names. Except for names like Adolph or Lucifer, or that don’t follow the rules of spelling or pronunciation in any language, I don’t think there are “bad names.”
  • Whether you give your kid a top 10 name or a name given to only 10 kids in the whole country, whether you pick a fastest rising name or a fastest falling name, there’s a good chance they’ll grow to hate it by age 13, because 13 year olds are the worst version of humanity.

We looked at 2013 and 2014, so now, let’s examine why your kid will hate today’s fastest rising baby names of 2015 by the time they’re 13 in 2028:

Girl Names

Adaline

If you think this type of name has been popular for a while now, you’re right. There’s the super-popular Addison and its many spelling variations. There’s Adalyn, spelled myriad ways. There’s also Adeline, which is basically the same thing as Adaline, just with an E. Plus Adalie (again, spellings abound) and my personal favorite of the Ad- names, Adelaide. The result: although only Addison appears near the top of the charts, taken in total it “adds” up to a whole lot of girls with similar-sounding names. So is your Adaline (lovely name, by the way!) going to grow up annoyed that, despite your careful choice of a name that isn’t too popular or too weird, she’s one of several Addies in her Brownie troop?

In a word, no. Your irrational 13-year-old Adaline will be annoyed when, after years of begging for an American Girl doll, she receives Addy because it has her name… when she really, truly had her heart set on Josefina. Nobody ever said tweens made sense. But also, just ask any millennial which American Girl doll she wanted but never got. She’ll remember.

Alaia

Alaia follows the recent trend of liquid, vowel-packed girl names: three syllables and only a single consonant in the pack. You might not know any Alaias, but you’ve probably run into an Amaya, Anaya, Ayana, Aliyah, Amara, Aria, Ariana, Aubriana, etc etc etc. So how could a little girl grow to hate a name that’s right on-trend? By entering the world of middle school, which can turn the sweetest child into a door-slamming teen who says things like “I didn’t ask to be born” when you deny her request for Abercrombie jeans (I’m predicting that in 2028, early 2000s fashion is back and so is distressed Abercrombie low-rise denim). When she and her friends begin watching Clueless at sleepovers, her nickname quickly becomes “A-what-a.” Hey, don’t say you didn’t see it coming when your custom Instagram hashtag for her as a baby was #ThisIsAnAlaia.

Aitana

Aitana, a name I’ve never heard before, is pretty. And like Alaia, it follows the starts in A, ends in A trend. Apparently it was used by a pair of Mexican actors in 2014 and comes from the Spanish mountain range Sierra de Aitana. There’s no GOOD reason to dislike such a perfectly nice name with a beautiful origin… but there’s a bad reason, and a 13 year old will find it. How were you to know your Aitana would have an early growth spurt and furiously demand to know “why you named me after a MOUNTAIN?”


Annddd then there are names that are so ridiculous you’re convinced the parents didn’t even think it through and picked a random word from the dictionary. Like Zooey Deschanel’s daughter Elsie OTTER? Otter. Ok.

Ten Words That Sound Like Celebrity Baby Names

A universe without absurd celebrity baby names would be like a universe without circus peanuts. Some people adore them, some people abhor them, but the world would be a little less sweet — yet fully operational — without them.

I have compiled a list of words that sound like celebrity baby names, because that’s just the kind of lady I am. Note that all of these were chosen based on sound and spelling, not meaning.

Update: As of June 2013, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their baby North West. Obviously, they’ve taken the “words that sound like celebrity baby names” thing to heart.

  • Rayon (Boy. It will go on to widespread use among commoners. After a few years, a celeb will use it on a girl to be “edgy.” The Internet will be divided about that.) [Ed. note: A not-so-secret secret here at C+S is that we write/queue our posts up to a month in advance. A few weeks after I wrote this, this post appeared: a (non-celeb) Rayon already exists in the UK! I don’t want you all to feel scammed, so I’m adding a bonus eleventh name at the end of the list.]
  • Peplum (Girl. The mother is quirky and British or French. They call her Peppy.)
  • Cavalry (Girl. She will be aptly and unfortunately horse-faced.)
  • Madrina (Girl. The mother will explain that she is “named after my godmother.”)
  • Loafer (Boy. The mom will refer to him as Lo in interviews (in which she never shuts up about him.))
  • Gradient (Boy. It will go on to mass appeal with parents who like Grady but want “something more formal.” These are the same people who name their boys Brentson and Troyton but only ever plan to call them Brent and Troy.)
  • Attaché (Girl. An aging rocker’s child with a much younger woman. They will insist on calling her Che, but she will become Attie once she’s old enough to have opinions.)
  • Avarice (Girl. Looks like Ava + Alice + Beatrice, all of which are already “in” these days. I bet someone somewhere has already done this.)
  • Aril (Unisex. Starts as a boy name but becomes a popular misspelling of Ariel. Aril and Lira become a trendy twin name duo.)
  • Carton (Boy. With Carter, Carson, and names ending in -on as popular as they are, I’m surprised and disappointed that nobody has done this yet.)
  • Answer (Unisex. The parents will already have a kid with a word name, like Ever or Story — believe it or not, there are already 2 celebrity babies with each of those names. Names starting with A are popular, and it starts with Ann, which is a name, so I don’t even think this is too off-base. The parents will have some cheesy explanation for the name, like “She is the answer to our prayers!” or “Whenever he is questioning something, he only has to look to himself for the answer.” )

The Fastest Rising Baby Names of 2015 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2028)

They’re finally here: the top 1000 baby names of 2015 in the United States! What, you DON’T wait for this news all year? The standard caveats:

  • This is the official Social Security compilation of births registered in the US. Any of the US-based 2015 lists you saw before now were collected from baby name websites and were based on what the website users were naming their kids OR what names people were looking up, but not necessarily using.
  • When we talk about the “fastest rising names,” these are the ones that have made the biggest leap in the past year. Usually a few news outlets will treat the fastest rising names like they’re the most popular, even though they are given to comparatively few children. We didn’t work out the data ourselves: the lists came from the incredible Baby Names Blog.
  • I don’t dislike any of these names. Except for names like Adolph or Lucifer, or that don’t follow the rules of spelling or pronunciation in any language, I don’t think there are “bad names.”
  • Whether you give your kid a top 10 name or a name given to only 10 kids in the whole country, whether you pick a fastest rising name or a fastest falling name, there’s a good chance they’ll grow to hate it by age 13, because 13 year olds are the worst version of humanity.

We looked at 2013 and 2014, so now, let’s examine why your kid will hate today’s fastest rising baby names of 2015 by the time they’re 13 in 2028:

Girl Names

Adaline

If you think this type of name has been popular for a while now, you’re right. There’s the super-popular Addison and its many spelling variations. There’s Adalyn, spelled myriad ways. There’s also Adeline, which is basically the same thing as Adaline, just with an E. Plus Adalie (again, spellings abound) and my personal favorite of the Ad- names, Adelaide. The result: although only Addison appears near the top of the charts, taken in total it “adds” up to a whole lot of girls with similar-sounding names. So is your Adaline (lovely name, by the way!) going to grow up annoyed that, despite your careful choice of a name that isn’t too popular or too weird, she’s one of several Addies in her Brownie troop?

In a word, no. Your irrational 13-year-old Adaline will be annoyed when, after years of begging for an American Girl doll, she receives Addy because it has her name… when she really, truly had her heart set on Josefina. Nobody ever said tweens made sense. But also, just ask any millennial which American Girl doll she wanted but never got. She’ll remember.

Alaia

Alaia follows the recent trend of liquid, vowel-packed girl names: three syllables and only a single consonant in the pack. You might not know any Alaias, but you’ve probably run into an Amaya, Anaya, Ayana, Aliyah, Amara, Aria, Ariana, Aubriana, etc etc etc. So how could a little girl grow to hate a name that’s right on-trend? By entering the world of middle school, which can turn the sweetest child into a door-slamming teen who says things like “I didn’t ask to be born” when you deny her request for Abercrombie jeans (I’m predicting that in 2028, early 2000s fashion is back and so is distressed Abercrombie low-rise denim). When she and her friends begin watching Clueless at sleepovers, her nickname quickly becomes “A-what-a.” Hey, don’t say you didn’t see it coming when your custom Instagram hashtag for her as a baby was #ThisIsAnAlaia.

Aitana

Aitana, a name I’ve never heard before, is pretty. And like Alaia, it follows the starts in A, ends in A trend. Apparently it was used by a pair of Mexican actors in 2014 and comes from the Spanish mountain range Sierra de Aitana. There’s no GOOD reason to dislike such a perfectly nice name with a beautiful origin… but there’s a bad reason, and a 13 year old will find it. How were you to know your Aitana would have an early growth spurt and furiously demand to know “why you named me after a MOUNTAIN?”

Meilani

So it turns out Meilani is not a Hawaiian name! It’s an invented variation on Melanie, and its popularity is mainly due to its use by JWoww of Jersey Shore fame. We have three options for why your Meilani will hate her name even though it’s so fun to say:

  • You chose the name because you liked it. No problem there. But when little Mei presses you for why you chose the name, you told her it was in honor of your honeymoon in Hawaii. Then she learns that the name isn’t Hawaiian at all… and that you honeymooned at a nearby casino. Whoops.
  • You named her after your sister-in-law Melanie, who is currently Meilani’s least favorite aunt.
  • Throughout her elementary school years, its similarity to the first lady’s name leads classmates to call her Meilani Trump. Also, Melania Trump is First Lady. So really, everyone loses in this scenario.
Aislinn

I’m a big fan of Irish names with their original spelling, and if you named your baby Aislinn, so are you. Pronounced Ash-lin, Aislinn means dream or vision and is unrelated to the name Ashley or its spinoff, Ashlynn. It’s a name so nice that you and little Aislinn won’t mind correcting people on the pronunciation… until the World’s Worst Substitute Teacher asks if “Ass-lin” is present.

Boy Names

Jonael

Talk about a fast rise: Jonael is only number 919 for 2015, but in 2013 it ranked in the nine THOUSANDS. It’s all down to a talented tot who won La Voz Kids on Telemundo. Jonael is one of those names that sounds like it could be a biblical name (it isn’t), combining the Jon of Jonah or Jonathan and the -el ending of Daniel, Nathaniel, Gabriel, and so forth. It could even be a creative way to honor a grandpa John or an uncle Michael. One little problem: history has shown us that it’s a risky proposition to name a kid after a child star. Can I get an amen from the 9-year-old Mileys out there?

Matteo

I love Matteo! More international-sounding than Matthew, but still kind of comfy and familiar. Along with Mateo, Matteo is climbing the charts. By the time your Matteo is 13, we’re down to the same problem your brother Matthew had in the 1980s: so many Matts in a single class!

Riaan

Riaan is a Hindi name, and isn’t just a weird way to spell Ryan. But tell that to the World’s Worst Substitute Teacher (see: Aislinn), who goes on a 5-minute rant about creative spellings. Or to the World’s Worst Doctor’s Office Receptionist, who insists on pronouncing it Ryan but holds the “a” for a really long time.

Note: World’s Worst Substitute Teacher is based on a woman my friend worked with who insisted on calling a student named Juan “Joo-ahn” and would not hear that that was actually a proper spelling/pronunciation of the name. These people are slowly dying off but many will still be alive in 13 years.

Adriel

What could be better than an easy to spell, easy to pronounce name that’s as old as the Bible itself? Not much! But when Adriel discovers that his character’s story is mostly confusing genealogical stuff, he just wishes you’d gone for one of the flashier characters, is all.

Kyrie

In addition to being put on the girl’s gym class list (thanks, Kylie), Kyrie is treated to rounds and rounds of “kyrie eleison” – causing the teacher to pronounce it “keer-ee-ay” instead of “ky-ree,” like basketball player Kyrie Irving. Just HAD to spring for the Catholic school, didn’t you?

 

Saturday Spotlight: Pop Culture Baby Names

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  • Sometimes when you look at regular people’s terrible baby names, it feels a bit cruel. But celebrities are fair game, right? So how about some of the worst celebrity baby names.
  • In my day, we were named after things like saints or dead relatives. Now, Star Wars. But honestly, some of those are totally normal names, it’s fine.
  • Then there are these hilarious real names. I can vouch for one of those: my dad has a cousin or something named Candice Kane.
  • But before you chime in about your mom’s students Oranjello and Lemonjello, or La-a pronounced LaDasha, stop. Those are proven, really racist urban legends and hopefully you’re better than that.

All The Best Beverly Cleary Names

Beverly Cleary – creator of the most complex and believable child characters, all-around Best Grownup – turned 100 years old yesterday. The Ramona books remain so relatable and fresh that it’s very hard to grasp that the author was born four years after the Titanic sank, before the U.S. entered World War I, with Woodrow Wilson as the president. I absolutely love Ms. Cleary, but we’ll deal with Ramona during a C+S Book Club at a later date. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite things about Cleary’s books as an adult: my, can that woman name a character. In fact, if I were having kids, I just might look to Beverly Cleary for inspiration.

Beverly

Yes, Beverly. Here’s why. Names cycle in popularity, and there’s a roughly 100-year span before an old name sounds fresh again. Parents don’t tend to use names of their own generation (not so many babies today named Tiffany and Kristen). They also don’t use their parents’ names – these days, those would be Boomer names (see: Barbara, Debbie). Even grandparent names (Shirley, Norma) don’t sound ready to use, at least for less adventurous namers. You have to go to great-grandparents before a name sounds old enough to be ripe for reconsideration. That’s why there are so many 20-40 somethings named things like Emily, Laura and Rebecca: they were popular in the second half of the 19th century. And that’s why today, names like Evelyn, Hazel, Charlotte and Lucy top the girls’ Social Security name rankings.

Beverly Cleary was on the early end of the Beverly trend, so it may fall in the grandma name category and have to sit on the shelf for a few more decades. But Beverly has some things going for it: it’s almost identical to the trendy girl name Everly, it’s a three-syllable surname-name like the popular Delaney and Kennedy, short-and-simple Bev is a lot like the appealing Niamh/Neve/Liv … AND it’s shared by beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary.

Ramona

If you’re looking for a very usable name that nobody’s really using, look no further than Ramona. It was given to 233 baby girls last year, not even landing in the top 1,000 names. Yet it’s familiar, easy to spell and has an awesome namesake in one Ramona Geraldine Quimby. Ramona even has music cred, and would make a more spry choice for a fan of the Ramones than Sheena or Judi. There’s a Dylan song called To Ramona, as well!

Potential drawback: it was used for the name of Kimmy Gibbler’s daughter in Fuller House. That’s not a bad association, and the show is not so popular that people will be like “oh, as in Ramona Gibbler?”. However, it could be the sign of future popularity – but not being in the top 1000, there’s a lot of room to grow before Ramona is a common choice.

Beatrice

Poor, beautifully named Beatrice, destined to a lifetime as Beezus thanks to her little sister. Beatrice is a major recipient of that 100-year trend I discussed above. It’s currently ranked at 601 in the U.S. (OK, hardly an Isabella or Emma situation), but in the early 2000s it was around number 1000. Actually, Beatrice was FAR less popular when the first Ramona book came out, and would have struck early readers as a funny, old-fashioned choice, like Gertrude or Bertha now. (Am I crazy, or is Gertrude a bit cute?) After taking a nap through most of the 20th century, Beatrice is back and ready to go, more of a neglected antique than a moth-eaten relic.

Good things about Beatrice: The great nicknames Bea, Bee, Trixie, and Betsy. Its use by Dante and Shakespeare. It sounds clearly feminine, but not frilly.

Bad things about Beatrice: nothing, really, except maybe that it was used in Divergent and may get more popular; also the unfortunate two-syllable pronunciation you sometimes hear (BEE-triss instead of BEE-a-triss).

Henry

Henry Huggins was the classic swell kid – a well-rounded but occasionally mischievous boy who loved palling around with his rescue dog, Ribsy (before rescue dogs were au courant). It’s exactly that image that has propelled Henry to number 33 on the charts. Henry can be the boy in jeans chasing his dog down the sidewalk just as easily as he can be a thinker (Thoreau), a king (I-VIII), or a ballplayer (Aaron). Henry has never been as ubiquitously popular as, say, Michael, nor as trendy as Aidan or Logan. And like Beatrice, it comes with nicknames: Hal, Harry (Prince Harry is, of course, a Henry), Henny and Hank.

Personal bias: one of my nephews and Favorite Humans I’ve Ever Known is named Henry.  We call him Hank for short.

Willa Jean

One of my coworkers has a little girl named Willa, and when she told me I think I may have swooned. Willa combines the best of new age-y nature name Willow, hipster granny names (Mabel, Harriet, Maisie), and the short-but-delicate girly names (Mila, Lila, Myla, Aria, Luna). User beware, Willa is on a steady climb from being obscure (given to only 30 babies the year we were born) to, if not trendy, at least fashionable (there were over 500 little Willas born in 2014). I can see Willa on a teen or an adult, but thanks to Willa Jean Kemp it’s easy to picture on a zwieback crumb-covered toddler.

Funny thing about the double-barreled name: it is really popular right now in the UK, where I’ve seen it described as an “American” thing. Uh-uh, guys. This is ALL on you: double names aren’t really a big trend in the USA. Jean is still a perennial middle name favorite, though, but if a family were using the name Willa today, they might consider a middle name more like….

Jane

Like Jane! It’s not quite as pervasive as today’s hot middles (Rose, Grace, I’m looking at you), but it’s still incredibly common because it just sounds so nice with so many names. However, Jane has so much substance and character that I’d prefer to see it shine in the first name spot. (As I mentioned in our Olsen twin character names post, it’s near the top of my Hypothetical Names List.) There are oodles of Janes throughout history, but my favorite will always be Miss Austen.

If you continued reading Beverly Cleary books into your later tween years, you’ll remember Jane from Fifteen, a novel about very 1950s teens doing very 1950s things.

Dorothy

Do you remember Ramona and Beezus’s mom’s name? Dorothy! Dorothy is one of those “why isn’t this popular yet” names, because it is right in the era of names that are coming back. Dorothy may remind you of the 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz, but remember, it was based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book. So, instead of picturing Dorothy on grannies who were born in the ’30s, try to see it on a little girl from the turn of the last century with one of those unnecessarily big hair bows and a pinafore. So cute, right? Dorothy’s another good one if you like nicknames: Dot, Dottie, Dora, Dory, Dolly and Thea. I can’t even deal with how cute.

Daisy

Ramona’s World was a little past my time, published in 1999, but it’s on my reading list as I work my way down the Ramona catalog with one of my nephews. In this book, Ramona is nine, she has a baby sis named Roberta, and her new BFFFL is neighborhood girl Daisy Kidd. It doesn’t get much better than Daisy, a flower name with a long history of use. I guess the most common complaint would be that it can sound a bit young, but I grew up with an old-fashioned nickname-name and it hasn’t hurt me a bit. My favorite way to get to Daisy: it’s a traditional nickname for Margaret, Marguerite and Margarita.

Susan

Susan (and Susannah) is right up there with Jane on my list of names I would totally bestow on a child some day. Susan has dignity and gravitas – and in the Ramona books, she also has boing-boing curls that are just begging to be pulled. (Whenever I wear my hair curly and people mess with it, I remember Ramona and the irresistible pull of the boing-boing curls.) Susan is still in the decline of its popularity trajectory, so you’ll have to give it another 30-50 years before it hits peak revival potential.

Susan Kusher was that girl who had her act TOGETHER. The girl in kindergarten whose dress was never messed up, and whose socks didn’t fall down, and who didn’t accidentally cry because the teacher didn’t call on her. I went to college with a Susan, and she had a lot of tidy headbands and sweater sets. If my name were Susan (but NOT Susie or Suzanne or Susannah, those are different), I wouldn’t get toothpaste on my shirt right before leaving the house or have a car full of dog hair. SUSAN, you guys. In terms that didn’t exist when Ramona The Pest came out, Susan is goals AF.

Austine

This is a fun one, isn’t it? It almost sounds almost like a modern trendy name, but Austine was the fun, scrappy friend in the 1951 novel Ellen Tebbits. The boy’s name Austin actually derives as a contraction of Augustin (as in St. Augustine, or Augusten Burroughs, depending on your frame of reference). So, I think the girls name Austine would be sort of a slimmed down version of Augustine/Augustina/Augusta. The –een names still read a bit midcentury (Kathleen, Colleen, Darlene, and so on)… but this is a neat name find, if nothing else.

Otis

It doesn’t get cooler than Otis. It’s got Otis Redding all over it, and is just the kind of vintage-y name everybody is looking for. It looks like it’s poised to enter the top 1000 next year, so while Otis is growing in popularity it is by no means there yet. Personally, I can think of hundreds of girl names I love but not quite as many boy names, simply because a lot of the classics lack character and I’m not at all into the trendy Jaden/Maddox/Landon  sort of thing. But Otis has both history and quirk, making a great match with the other Beverly Cleary names like Willa and Ramona.

Ralph

I think Ralph suffers a bit from midcentury burnout. And maybe also a bit from being a euphemism for “to vomit.” It’s not very popular right now (as in, not in the top 1000). But if you think about Ralph S. Mouse or Ralphie from A Christmas Story, it’s kind of cute, right? Like, if I actually picture Ralph on a small child it’s adorable. Besides, Alphie is all kinds of popular in the U.K., and it’s just a consonant away from Ralphie. You could always use the Rafe pronunciation, but that doesn’t feel easy, at least not in the U.S.

Honorable Mentions:

Picky Picky

Chevrolet

Kylie, Jane, Riley, Shane: Let’s Discuss Olsen Twin Character Names

Few people will experience admiration, envy, and inferiority like those of us who were born the same year as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. When our parents were applauding us for holding our heads up unsupported, the Olsen twins were starring as Michelle Tanner on Full House. When we were writing our first names in shaky printing, they released an album of children’s songs complete with a tv special. They produced video series before we were allowed to babysit, and had a clothing line before we could drive.

All that and their characters always had dope-as-hell names, too.

The Olsen twins had the best of everything in the 90s and early 2000s – the FLYEST of sunflower hats, the cutest bowl-cutted nonthreatening boyfriends, the most spacious well-decorated tween bedrooms – but their character names took the cake. Often several years ahead of the popular names ACTUALLY given to girls born in 1986, they were cutting edge (at the time), super cute (again, at the time), and exactly what you wished you were named as a 5th grader.

To Grandmother’s House We Go

The year: 1992

The names: Sarah and Julie

Before the Olsen twins were the girls everyone wanted to be – or before the twins got to influence character names themselves – their characters actually had some of the most common names for girls our age. Trust me, there were about 6 Sarahs in our graduating class. A lot of kids’ movies give the characters names that either are popular with way younger kids (a high schooler of today named Harper, e.g.) or that were popular when the writers were kids (a high schooler of today named Stacey). This early O.T. movie hit the nail on the 1986 head.

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

The Year: 1993

The names: Kelly and Lynn

Still a real mixed bag. Kelly wasn’t a NEW popular name in 1993. It was ranked 29 when the Olsens were born (’86), had fallen to 51 by 1993, and was in the top 100 since 1959. But thanks to Kelly Kapowski, it was still right in the cool-girl zeitgeist in the early 90s. Lynn, on the other hand – perfectly nice name, but it was actually ranked in the 400s in 1986 and 779 (!) in 1993. You’ll see some major changes when the O.T.s hit their tween years, so hang on to your hats.

How The West Was Fun

The Year: 1994

The names: Jessica and Suzy

Ah, Jessica. Ranked either number 1 or 2 from 1981 to 1997. If you run into a woman from her early 20s to early 30s, and you can’t remember her name, try Jessica. It’s a good bet. (And a fine name! No shade to Jessica).

Then there’s Suzy. Probably a nickname for Susan, Suzanne, or Susannah, it was way more popular in the boomer era than among millennials. Safe to say we’re still looking at a case of writers using a name that was popular when THEY were children. (Definitely no shade to Suzy either! Susan and Susannah are two of my favorite girl names.) But keep those hands on those hats (usually a denim hat with a big fake flower on it, if I’m remembering my Olsen movies). A storm’s a-brewin’.

It Takes Two

The Year: 1995

The names: Amanda and Alyssa

Now we’re getting somewhere. This was the Olsens’ first big theatrical release, and to my nine-year-old ears these were some of the best names around. You have to remember, the long, flowy, ends-with-an-A names on the modern top 100 list were but a twinkle in future baby namers’ eyes back then. Amanda and Alyssa were like the Isabella, Sophia, or Olivia of the time. Sure, they might feel too common to me as an adult, but if I were a kid I’d think they were beautiful.

Billboard Dad

The Year: 1998

The names: Tess and Emily

Friends. This, I argue, is when everything changed. First of all, this was the first direct-to-video movie of the tween Olsen era, with love interests and Limited Too-looking clothing and freaking butterfly clips. If you can find it, watch it. It’s like waking from a dream to find yourself in 1998, that’s how 1998 it is.

But you know what isn’t terribly 1998? The name Tess. It was ranked 572 that year, and 855 the year the Olsens were born. It hasn’t gotten any more popular since then, but add an -a and you have Tessa, a name that has absolutely flown up the charts. We’re looking at the beginning of cool, tween Olsens who had cool, tween names. Emily was the requisite familiar, standard name in the duo: number 1 in 1998, 24 in 1986.

Passport To Paris

The Year: 1999

The names: Melanie and Allyson

Melanie was most popular in the 1970s but has mostly hovered around number 100 or so. (An aside, if you’re naming a kid: my name, Molly, is also usually right around number 100 and never got much more popular than that. It’s a great popularity level because everyone knows it, but you don’t actually meet that many people who share your name.)

Allyson, though, was part of that really cool (again AT THE TIME) 90s trend of using a Y instead of an I in names. Sure, it’s played-out now, but do you remember when people first discovered you could do that? For a few years there it felt like every girl was named Madyson or Megyn or Lyndsey.  So there are three other Alisons, of various spellings, in her class? She’s the only ALLYSON-WITH-A-Y, and for a brief, shining moment in 1999, that was enough.

Switching Goals

The Year: 1999

The names: Sam and Emma

YES. There was this thing in the 90s where if a girl character was sort of sporty and tomboyish, but still cute and cool, her name was Sam. Sometimes her name might be Dani or Alex, but usually Sam. It’s as though even when she was in the womb her parents were like “welp, got ourselves a chill tomboy on our hands. Best give her a feminine name with a masculine nickname,” and Samantha was born. (Another no-shade disclaimer: I have a cousin Samantha-nicknamed-Sam, and I’ve always liked her name.)

Emma has been so entrenched in the top 10 list for so long that it’s easy to forget when it was the vintage-y interloper. It sneaked up the list through the 80s and 90s, a fresh alternative to the more common Emily, before landing in the top ten and eventually overtaking Emily.

Our Lips Are Sealed

The Year: 2000

The Names: Maddie and Abby

We are now entering peak ‘baby names on teenagers’ -era Olsens. Were there Maddies and Abbys born in 86? Hell yes. I know a Madeline my age and I have a cousin named Abbey. But Abigail rose from the mid-100s in 1986 to the top 10 in 2001. When this movie came out it was sounding super-fresh, moreso than typical 86-er names like, ahem, Sarah and Julie (no offense, To Grandmother’s House We Go). The Mad- names, like Madeline, Madelyn and Madison, collectively skyrocketed throughout the 90s. If you were a 13-year-old girl in 2000, Maddie sounded SO MUCH COOLER than your name, which was probably Kimberly or Nicole.

Winning London

The Year: 2001

The Names: Chloe and Riley

Chloe and Riley would have made excellent names for characters born around 2001 – you know, like Riley from Girl Meets World. But Riley’s rank in 1986, when this character was ostensibly born, was 1342. 1342 is “what was your mother smoking while pregnant”-level weird – and I LIKE uncommon names. Chloe fared a bit better, but at 461, it was still “quirky on purpose” if you were born in the 80s. I submit that this is the point where, if they weren’t before, the Olsen Twins began picking their characters’ names. How do I know? Because if you asked me to name a baby in 2001, when I was 14, I probably would have said something like Chloe or Riley.

So Little Time

The Year: 2001

The Names: Riley and Chloe

What can I say. The names so nice, they used them twice.

Holiday In The Sun

The Year: 2001

The Names: Madison and Alex

We already discussed Maddie, but let’s get into Madison. In 1983, Madison wasn’t even on the charts, meaning it was given to fewer than five girls in the entire country. In 1984, a few dozen babies had it. A few hundred in 1985. By 2001, it was ranked number 2. Just chalk it up to the timeless allure of Daryl Hannah, who played a mermaid named Madison in the 1984 film Splash. Madison was a joke. She said it was her name while looking at the street sign for Madison Avenue. Yet Daryl never really took off for girls – go figure.

The Alex- names (Alexandra, Alexandria, Alexis, Alexa) also soared throughout the 90s and reached their peak in the early 2000s. Like Sam, it was a popular character name for sassy tomboys during this time.

Getting There

The Year: 2002

The Names: Kylie and Taylor

90s and 2000s trend: unisex/male names and surnames for girls. It’s still going strong, but it seemed a lot more novel in 2002. Back then, before we knew what a Kardashian was, Kylie felt like a modern, original alternative to Kayla and Kaylee. And before we knew what a Swift was, Taylor felt streamlined and cute, fitting on a studious girl or a bubbly athlete. What’s even more interesting than the rise of these names in the 90s is that both have fallen quite a bit lately. I bet if this movie were made in 2016, the cool tweens with unisex/surname names would be called Ainsley and Harper, or Hadley and Peyton.

When In Rome

The Year: 2002

The Names: Charli and Leila

I’ve been diplomatic about the names that aren’t my personal style so far, but Charli on a girl sets my teeth on edge, and not just because I have a nephew named Charley (my nieces and nephews all have names that sound like they’re from British children’s books from the 1910s, for which I’m very grateful to my siblings.) Charli is a fine as a nickname for Charlotte, but I can’t get behind it as a full name. But since the twins had already used Sam and Alex, what were they supposed to do? It had to be Charli. There was nowhere else to go.

Leila falls into one of the other big trends of the 2000s – the short, double L girl names. Leila, Layla, Lila, Lily, Lyla, Lola – no single one is huge, but as a group they are taking over. The dominant sound of the 80s, when the characters would have been born, is more of the three-syllable, ends in ee variety: Tiffany, Brittany, Stephanie, Kimberly, Mallory, Bethany, and so forth.

The Challenge

The Year: 2003

The Names: Shane and Lizzie

I’m not familiar with this one, but WHO COULD THE REBELLIOUS TOMBOY BE? (My money is on Shane. Especially because she was played by Mary-Kate. Always the rogue, that M.K.) Other than the boy name on a girl thing, it was actually pretty off-trend in 2003. Not only was Shane never popular for girls, the Sh…n… girl names were bigger in the 70s and 80s. Shana, Shayna, Shawna, Sheena, Shannon. I guess M.K. was really ~expressing herself here.

I assume Lizzie was the clean-cut, straight laced kid who was president of the homework club or whatever. Interesting only because the Olsens’ sister, arguably the most relevant Olsen in 2016, is named Elizabeth/Lizzie.

New York Minute

The Year: 2004

The Names: Roxanne (Roxy) and Jane

Do you remember how big this movie was supposed to be? The Olsens missed prom to host SNL during promotion! The posters were up forever – I should know, because I was a high school senior doing time at a movie theater concession stand. It didn’t take off like it was supposed to, but Mary-Kate and Ashley really came into their own, name-wise, with this one. The sister who wears concert tees and likes black: Roxy. Of course. It felt especially hip at the time because Roxy, the surfwear brand, was huge in middle America. Jane was just the kind of vintage name that was cool because nobody was using it – sort of like Hazel, if Hazel hadn’t gotten so popular. I hope it stays that way, because Jane is totally on my short list if I ever have a kid. What can I say, those Olsen twins really know how to name them.

 

 

ICYMI: Your Baby’s Name Is Already Off-Trend

I don’t know about you guys, but there are more and more babies popping up on my Facebook feed, and some of them have reallll interesting names.

The Fastest-Rising Baby Names Of 2014 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2027)

If you had a baby in 2014, enjoy! In 13 short years you will be the parent of a surly teenager. Surly teenagers hate many things, but their own name usually tops the list. That’s why last year we examined the top baby names of 2013, and why your kid will hate them in 2016. It doesn’t matter how restrained or normal the name was, how well-planned or creative — sometime in the next few decades you may have to answer to your child’s wrath. It’s not your fault.

Last week the Social Security Administration released the 2014 baby name rankings – the official list of every name given to more than 5 children in 2014. Since the top 10 names are mostly the same as they were last year, this year we’re looking at the fastest-rising names. Now, many of these were not highly ranked at all, given to maybe a few hundred kids, but what’s unusual is how quickly they skyrocketed. All the more reason for your children to hate them. We’re anticipating some of the kids’ arguments, but don’t worry if you’re the real parent of an Aranza or Bode: I don’t think any of these names are really terrible.

[Fastest-rising calculations courtesy of the Baby Name Wizard blog.]

Girls

Aranza
  • Aranza is a telenovela name, a form of  Arantxa (your daughter thanks you for not choosing Arantxa). Basically any name that pegs the mother as someone who watches a lot of soaps can be sort of embarrassing. Just ask all those 20-somethings named Kendall and Lucky.
  • It’s sort of simultaneously beautiful, yet also sounds like the name of an evil cartoon spider. Teenaged Aranza will latch onto the latter opinion.
Daleyza

Awww. Who WOULDN’T want a kid like little Daleyza?

  • Again, 13-year-olds are the worst: any name, however pretty, with the syllable “lay” in it will be the victim of dozens of dirty jokes.
  • A child will figure out that it sounds like “the laser” or “the lazy” and make even more jokes. None of them will be good or funny, because again, middle school.
  • People are stupid, so by 2027 little Daleyza will be tired of explaining that it’s not Da-LIE-za or Da-LEEZ-a.
  • If you think soap opera names will make your kids roll their eyes in 13 years (don’t worry, moms and dads, most things will make them roll their eyes in 13 years): try reality TV names. So it is with Daleyza, from mun2 reality show Larrymania. Fortunately, little Daleyza will have plenty of classmates with names like Khloe and Bethenny to keep her company.

Daleyza is quite the popular name for 2014. The year before, there were some crazy names too – including Sophia.

Top Baby Names Of 2013, And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2026

It’s that time of year again – the Social Security Administration has separated the Adelyns from the Addalynns and the Jaidens from the Jaydens, and delivered its list of the top baby names of 2013. And let me tell you, this year the top 10 names are …. really normal. That’s why they’re top 10 names, you know?

The thing is, whether you named your kid Brooklyn or Greenpoint, she’ll probably hate her name in about 13 years. It’s just a phase kids go through, and no name – however normal – is safe. Here are my predictions for how the ten most popular baby names of 2013 will lead to the ten most angsty “I didn’t ask to be born!” arguments of 2026:

Girls

1. Sophia

When young Sophias finally reach the age where they can watch late-night syndicated sitcoms – truly a magical time in a young woman’s life, if my memories of The Facts of Life and Mary Tyler Moore serve – eventually they’re going to run across The Golden Girls. And at that time, your Sophia will discover that she’s really more of a Blanche.

Blanche, by the way, is a top baby name of 2026.

2. Emma

Okay, maybe your kid is a little less into TV and a little more into books. Don’t get too proud of yourself there, mom: reading is just nerd television. I should know. You’ve always told her that you named her after a Jane Austen heroine, the title character of Emma. When she gets old enough to read it, she discovers that Emma Woodhouse’s head is so far up her own ass that her face is damaged by stomach acid.

That’s when you have to tell her that you never actually read Emma. You heard that the movie Clueless was loosely based on it, and you’ve seen that easily 15 times, though. You sort of figured it was the same thing.

You should have gone with your gut and named her after Cher Horowitz.

3. Olivia

Your love for your child is something that will last a lifetime. Something else that will last a lifetime: your cached internet activity. That’s why your little Olivia will love her name … until she discovers your Olivia Pope fan tumblr and extensive postings on Olitz message boards. Then you’ll both feel a little bit weird about things.

4. Isabella

By the early ’20s, the Twilight franchise has become a camp classic. Teens gather in theaters reciting lines from the movie, dressing up as characters, and mocking the earnest Mormon sparkle of the adolescent vampires. They squeal shrilly (because what is more shrill than the mocking laughter of a junior high girl? It cuts like a knife, could a knife be made out of the things you secretly hate about yourself), asking their parents whether people really LIKED this stuff ever. And parents of tween Isabellas are left explaining that no, that wasn’t why they chose the name. But their daughters hate them anyway. Sorry.

5. Ava

When Heathers is remade in the late 20-teens – and it is a flop, I’m so sure – the filmmakers decide to update it to the modern era. All of those Heathers get renamed: the new movie is called Avas. Much like Heather in the ’80s,  everybody seems to know that one bitchy Ava who ruins the whole name. It’s like the female version of Jason, that way.

Anyway. Everyone agrees that Avas really wasn’t Michael Bay’s best work. Nor, honestly, his worst.


Boys

1. Noah

By the late 2020s, Noah is really more of a girl’s name. How did this solid biblical classic, with thousands of years as a man’s name, cross the gender line so quickly? Why, thanks to the meteoric rise of the political career of Senator Noah Cyrus (R-TN), of course. Some say she may even be the second female president someday. You, parents of 2013, just know her as Miley Cyrus’s weirdly named, poorly supervised kid sister.

Sorry. It is 2026, and Noah has now joined the ranks of Ashley, Madison, Beverly and Evelyn. They all seemed so manly once.

2. Liam

It’s not so much Liam that’s the problem. It’s a few years from now, when the creative spellings take over. Before you know it, every year elementary school teachers have to roll call Liam K. Liyam-with-a-y K., Liam C., Leeum V., and Leighham Q.  Poor Liams have to join forces with the Michaelas and Jasmines of the world, arguing that their name is spelled the right way.

3. Jacob

You really couldn’t have predicted this. The Goth movement makes a comeback, and your precious little Jacob wishes his name reflected how unique he is. Good luck cleaning all that Manic Panic out of your bathroom drains, and sorry that you have to listen to Best of Korn on cassette tape emanating from Jacob’s room. [Side note: tape is the new popular throwback music medium in 2026, like vinyl is now.]

You aren’t even that disappointed that Jacob hates his name — more that he’s kind of a late 90s Hot Topic-y goth instead of at least a cool 80s punk one. You can’t choose your children. Your children choose you. And, eventually, they may also choose nu metal.

4. Mason

Let’s just… I mean… nothing associated with the Kardashians is going to age well a decade hence. Just calling a spade a spade. They are our generation’s answer to Zsa Zsa and Eva. I hope we’re happy with what we’ve created.

5. William

When Queen Elizabeth steadfastly – but politely – refuses to die, Prince William evaluates his chances at ever actually ascending the throne. Realizing that it probably won’t happen until his mid-70s, he says “screw it” and joins the cast of series 25 of TOWIE. A few pub fights later, the nickname Bloody Billy (or, alternately, Bloody Willy) has taken hold.

It is not a fun time on the playground for little Williams. Or whatever the 2026 version of the playground is. It probably involves tablets.

Saturday Spotlight: Aca-Relevant

4/5 of these posts are irrelevant to the a capella theme: ac-irelevant. But if Pitch Perfect taught us anything, it’s that you can add aca- to the beginning of a word to make it relate to acapella: Aca-Relevant. See:

  • Aca-awesome: A capella music. That’s why our playlist of the month is all a capella, all the time. We got more New Englanders than a L.L. Bean outlet sale.
  • Aca-scuse me?Who the heck is this new Hamburgler and what, exactly, is he trying to do? We have questions. Just, like, a whole list of questions.
  • Ac-unfortunateDid you give your baby one of the fastest-rising names of 2014? They’re not all bad, but your baby will still hate it by the time he or she is 13.
  • Aca-all starWith only one season of American Idol to go, how about we make a dream team of former all stars, a la the second Hunger Games?
  • Aca-aging: That feeling you get when not only do strangers call you ma’am, they wish you a happy mother’s day and you are – in the words of that ugly dinosaur baby from Dinosaurs – not the mama.

The Fastest-Rising Baby Names Of 2014 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2027)

If you had a baby in 2014, enjoy! In 13 short years you will be the parent of a surly teenager. Surly teenagers hate many things, but their own name usually tops the list. That’s why last year we examined the top baby names of 2013, and why your kid will hate them in 2016. It doesn’t matter how restrained or normal the name was, how well-planned or creative — sometime in the next few decades you may have to answer to your child’s wrath. It’s not your fault.

Last week the Social Security Administration released the 2014 baby name rankings – the official list of every name given to more than 5 children in 2014. Since the top 10 names are mostly the same as they were last year, this year we’re looking at the fastest-rising names. Now, many of these were not highly ranked at all, given to maybe a few hundred kids, but what’s unusual is how quickly they skyrocketed. All the more reason for your children to hate them. We’re anticipating some of the kids’ arguments, but don’t worry if you’re the real parent of an Aranza or Bode: I don’t think any of these names are really terrible.

[Fastest-rising calculations courtesy of the Baby Name Wizard blog.]

Girls

Aranza
  • Aranza is a telenovela name, a form of  Arantxa (your daughter thanks you for not choosing Arantxa). Basically any name that pegs the mother as someone who watches a lot of soaps can be sort of embarrassing. Just ask all those 20-somethings named Kendall and Lucky.
  • It’s sort of simultaneously beautiful, yet also sounds like the name of an evil cartoon spider. Teenaged Aranza will latch onto the latter opinion.
Daleyza

Awww. Who WOULDN’T want a kid like little Daleyza?

  • Again, 13-year-olds are the worst: any name, however pretty, with the syllable “lay” in it will be the victim of dozens of dirty jokes.
  • A child will figure out that it sounds like “the laser” or “the lazy” and make even more jokes. None of them will be good or funny, because again, middle school.
  • People are stupid, so by 2027 little Daleyza will be tired of explaining that it’s not Da-LIE-za or Da-LEEZ-a.
  • If you think soap opera names will make your kids roll their eyes in 13 years (don’t worry, moms and dads, most things will make them roll their eyes in 13 years): try reality TV names. So it is with Daleyza, from mun2 reality show Larrymania. Fortunately, little Daleyza will have plenty of classmates with names like Khloe and Bethenny to keep her company.
Everly

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X7b2E_Jq-k]

  • Everly Brothers: charming, old-school 1950s musicians, or hokey as hell? Tween Everly thinks hokey (don’t worry, she’ll come around).
  • Everly kind of sounds like a weird adverb. That’s not really a bad thing, just an observation. They lived everly after. I’ll mow the lawn wheneverly. She’ll have this name foreverly.
Montserrat

Montserrat has it all: it’s not new or made-up. It’s a place name, and it has religious significance. And all of that will be lost on a 13-year-old.

  • The taunting starts early, with the nickname “monster rat.” Unfortunately, it comes from her preschool teacher’s failed attempt to pronounce the name on the first day (hint: it is pronounced exactly like the letters in the name look. Put the accent on the last syllable. Done).
  • Having a name that means “mountain” will not feel awesome when lil Montse hits that junior high growth spurt and feels like she’s towering over everyone.
  • At age 13, Montserrat is old enough to order those fluffy Starbucks drinks, but too young to find it hilarious when her name is misspelled.
Elsa

You’ve loved the name Elsa since you were a little girl, and just your luck, Disney releases a movie with a heroine named Elsa right when you’re getting ready to have kids. I named a character Elsa in a book I wrote in third grade — I get it. [Other characters: Charlotte, Lillian, Lucy, Eleanor. Man, was I ever tapped into the popular baby names of 2015 back in 1995).

  • “Let it goooo, let it GOOO!” If you think you’re sick of this now, imagine how tired little Elsa will be by, oh, third grade or so.
  • Sharing a name with a Disney princess has a ton of cultural cache in Kindergarten; less so in seventh grade.
  • Also, stupid children’s jokes: “Do you have a sister named Anna?” “It’s cold in here, right” [pointed stare at Elsa.]

Boys

Gannon

If you’re scratching your head about what a “gannon” is, you probably don’t watch Teen Mom. Me either. It sounds name-ish, and it’s a short name that ends in -n, a pattern that is all over the boy name charts. But don’t worry, your teen will still hate it in 2027 because:

  • TEEN MOM. First of all. You can swear to him that that’s not where you got it, but he won’t believe you.
  • ZELDA. Not just Zelda, but the bad guy from Zelda. And if any name from Zelda is trendy, why not Zelda? That’s actually cool.
  • You may be well-versed in up-and-coming names, but the receptionist at your pediatrician’s office or elementary school definitely isn’t. “Gannon Smith.” “CANNON?” “Gannon.” “No, but like, Dannon?” “Gannon.” “Gander.” “Gannon.” “Shannon.” It’s a new name, but it sounds sort of like a bunch of other names and words.
Karter

Well, somebody’s been taking a page from Kris Jenner’s guide to baby naming. And your baby doesn’t care now, but he’ll care in middle school – not because you’re a bad parent, but because the human brain is beset by obnoxious little demons from ages 11-14 or so.

  • Everyone’s just going to spell it Carter, then you’ll have to say “Carter with a K.” Which isn’t that big a hassle, but what’s the point?
  • And when Kris Jenner has that baby boy at the age of 63 after a few seasons of flagging ratings on E! – thank you, science – Karter is really going to hate sharing his name with baby Karter Kardashian.  Yes, Kris is going to legally change her surname to Kardashian in 2020 or so to keep it “on-brand.”
Bode
  • People assuming that either he – or you – smokes a whole lot of weed. It’s like the name version of having one of those heavy, woven Mexican blankets in your trunk. See also: Kai.
  • The name will constantly get mispronounced as “bode,” unless you pronounce it that way, in which case it will constantly get mispronounced as “bodie.” You’ll try to explain to his teachers that the accent is on the “e” — from which point, his name will be pronounced “boe-DAY.”
  • Seems like it stands out, but his karate class will have a Brodie and a Bodhi … oops.
  • Also, I almost wrote “karate klass.” THANKS KARTER.
Royal
  • You wouldn’t think that people would remember the Lorde song “Royals” well enough to sing it at him in 2027. But they do, because by then our nostalgia cycle is moving faster than ever and we’re all really pining for 2013.
  • By 2027, baby Royal has also internalized thirteen years of your mother-in-law tut-tutting “I don’t know why you had to go and name him ROYAL” every time she visits.
  • The nickname Roy. Just, you know, in general.
Axl
  • The worst fear of any parent naming their child “Axl”: he will grow up to be a music snob. There’s only so many times he can hear “Oh, like Axl Rose?” before he snaps.
  • He also won’t love how, thanks to Axl Rose, his camp nickname was “Rosie.”
  • Unlike the Scandinavian classic Axel, people will think that they’re supposed to smoosh the consonants together.

Bottom line: all of the girls’ names are appealing enough that I can see why parents’ will choose them. Your kids aren’t any more likely to hate them than if they were named Sophia or Mary. Which still makes your kids pretty likely to hate them, because kids are the worst. And the best. Congrats on your 2014 baby!

ICYMI: The Baby Boom

This week, we broke down the top baby names as chosen by you, the new parents of America.

Top Baby Names Of 2013, And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2026

It’s that time of year again – the Social Security Administration has separated the Adelyns from the Addalynns and the Jaidens from the Jaydens, and delivered its list of the top baby names of 2013. And let me tell you, this year the top 10 names are …. really normal. That’s why they’re top 10 names, you know?

The thing is, whether you named your kid Brooklyn or Greenpoint, she’ll probably hate her name in about 13 years. It’s just a phase kids go through, and no name – however normal – is safe. Here are my predictions for how the ten most popular baby names of 2013 will lead to the ten most angsty “I didn’t ask to be born!” arguments of 2026:

1. Sophia

When young Sophias finally reach the age where they can watch late-night syndicated sitcoms – truly a magical time in a young woman’s life, if my memories of The Facts of Life and Mary Tyler Moore serve – eventually they’re going to run across The Golden Girls. And at that time, your Sophia will discover that she’s really more of a Blanche.

Blanche, by the way, is a top baby name of 2026.

2. Emma

Okay, maybe your kid is a little less into TV and a little more into books. Don’t get too proud of yourself there, mom: reading is just nerd television. I should know. You’ve always told her that you named her after a Jane Austen heroine, the title character of Emma. When she gets old enough to read it, she discovers that Emma Woodhouse’s head is so far up her own ass that her face is damaged by stomach acid.

That’s when you have to tell her that you never actually read Emma. You heard that the movie Clueless was loosely based on it, and you’ve seen that easily 15 times, though. You sort of figured it was the same thing.

You should have gone with your gut and named her after Cher Horowitz.

3. Olivia

Your love for your child is something that will last a lifetime. Something else that will last a lifetime: your cached internet activity. That’s why your little Olivia will love her name … until she discovers your Olivia Pope fan tumblr and extensive postings on Olitz message boards. Then you’ll both feel a little bit weird about things.


 So you have a baby name, but what if you’re meeting said baby for the first time as a friend or loved one. Like Molly says in the post from last year, we’ve been lucky that our friends have super cute babies (not just saying that, I swear), but if you find yourself in a position where you’re facing a baby that isn’t as adorable, here are some tips on what to say besides “oh GOD” or like, plain silence.

 What To Say When A Baby Is Ugly

We’ve all been there. You’re minding your own business,  hanging out with a baby, and it feels like you have to mention his or her appearance… but the baby is totally busted.

Before we start, I should say that I’ve been really lucky in my personal life. It’s not even my bias talking: my nephews and niece are beautiful children. Most of my friends don’t have kids yet, but I swear there’s one due in the summer who even looks cute via ultrasound. But there are less cute babies ugly babies out there, and sometimes you need to talk to and about them. I can help. Here’s what you can say if a baby is ugly:

  • To start, it’s way less necessary to say that a baby is cute than you think. It can be fairly easy to work around. If you know a lot of babies, you’re in luck. Just start talking about what developmental milestones the baby is near. If you don’t know a bunch of babies, but are REALLY dedicated (or just know a lot of fugly infants and want to prepare yourself), you could maybe check the internet to learn about what babies do when. This is more interesting than talking about what a baby looks like anyway. When you meet a new adult, you don’t feel the need to compliment them on how attractive they are, right? Although maybe everyone would like me more if I did that. Another way to make more people like me is probably to stop calling babies ugly on the internet.
  • You could talk about what side of the family the baby looks like, if you know the baby’s biological parents. Even if all you say is “aww, he looks just like his father!,” the baby’s parent will probably hear a compliment. Steer clear if the relative or side of the family who the baby favors is obviously, objectively unattractive.
  • If the baby has a feature that is pretty nice, you could just mention that. “Aw, such big eyes!” “Look at all that great hair!” Is the baby chubby? That’s cute! Talk about that! Unless the parent is so super weight conscious that they’ll take that as an insult. In that case, perhaps compliment the baby’s slim wrists or something. [Warning: Not to bring the discussion way down, but if the baby’s distinctive feature looks like it’s from a medical condition, maybe don’t go there.]
  • You have a BABY!
  • “Look at that BABY!”
  • “Now THAT’S a baby!”
  • “Well, bless his/her heart!” Note: you can pull this off best if you’re Southern, but please be aware that other Southerners totally know what that means.
  • “What a sweet baby!”
  • “What a good baby!”
  • “What an alert baby!”
  • “What a happy baby!”
  • “What a baby!”
  • “That sure is a baby!”
  • “Your baby is so well-dressed!”
  • “Your baby is so clean!”
  • “Your baby smells so good!” Note: It seems like it would be weird to talk about how a baby you don’t even know smells, but people always talk about how babies smell good. It’s normal, somehow. You need some confidence to pull this off.
  • “S/he looks just like (name of attractive celebrity).” Note: This is a tough one to pull off, and is really advanced-level baby complimenting. Some babies, while not cute, sort of look like people widely regarded as attractive. Big lips? That baby looks like Angelina Jolie! Dimples? That baby looks like Mario Lopez! Freckles? I don’t know… Eddie Redmayne maybe?
  • “Your baby is HILAROUS!” Note: Use sparingly, as the truly hilarious baby is quite rare. My nephew Hank, age two, is one of the funniest people I know, but if I’m being quite honest I know a lot of babies who don’t bring much to the table, humor-wise.