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.

 

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Rad 90s Dog Names: Pogs, Polly Pocket and More!

Chances are if you had a dog in the 90s, it’s dead.

But if you’re a 90s kid – someone whose main childhood years took place from 1990 – 1999 – you’re also now old enough to adopt a dog of your very own. Silver lining!

I’ve entertained the idea of getting a second dog – an idea that I’ve shelved for now because my 11-year-old puppy needs some pricey surgery. However, I got far enough to start mulling over dog names. I don’t think you can really name a dog before you meet it, but maybe you have a new dog and you can just tell that it’s a 90s dog. But not an actual dog from the 90s. Which, again, are mostly dead. If your new pup is giving you total pre-Y2K vibes, get a load of some of the 90s dog names I’ve brainstormed.

Lisa Frank

Because a great dog deserves to be named after a great dog artist. I actually had a dream that I had a dog named Lisa Frank which was the catalyst for this post. I may use this if any of my short-list dog name faves don’t fit my next dog.

DJ Tanner

Other Tanner family options that work are Becky Katsopolis, Kimmy Gibbler and Uncle Joey, which will always lead into a fun convo about how Joey wasn’t even really an uncle.

Comet would still be good, too.

Space Jam

For this reference to really *work* and make people think of the preeminent sports/animation/celebrity vehicle right away, you can’t name your dog after a Space Jam CHARACTER. You have to name it Space Jam.

Bela

Bella is one of the most popular dog names out there, but in this case your dog is named for famed gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi.

You could probably name your dog after Kerri Strugg as well.

Kerrigan

After Nancy. Also if you have two dogs, and ones a good girl and one’s full of mischief? Nancy and Tonya.

Spinderella

Please? Someone please?

Hallie and Annie

Only if you have two dogs, otherwise the reference is lost.

Pogs

I happen to think that it works better with the “s” on the end, but do what you wanna. Pogs the pug would be especially wonderful.

This is a great name for a dog that you think is really cool-looking but you don’t actually know what to do with.

Cory Matthews

Is your dog the lovable boy next door? With tousled brown curls?

The Rachel

You can technically name your dog just Rachel, but you have to use the article before it for this to be a top-shelf 90s reference. 

Mavis Beacon

Mavis is a great dog name AND Mavis Beacon is a great fictional typist. Obviously if you get a pet pig you’ll name it Mavis Bacon.

McCallister

Have to leave your dog Home Alone? And he always gets into unlikely, messy mischief?

Also you could call a boy dog Mac for short and a girl dog Callie so this is just perfect for any dog ever.

Polly Pocket

If your dog is tiny and compact, maybe you should name her after our favorite 90s choking hazard, Polly Pocket. I’ve already talked about how Molly is an overdone dog name, but for some reason Polly doesn’t get much play and I think it’s a lot more unexpected and cute.

Furby

Your dog already has fur, so right away this fits. It’s especially apt if you end up with a dog who doesn’t shut up.

Macarena

Macarena isn’t just an annoying pop song and an even worse dance craze – it’s also a girl’s name. Heyyy, Macarena!

Dunkaroo

If you were jealous of the kids whose moms bought Dunkaroos, imagine how jealous people will be of your dog named Dunkaroo. This has no basis as a dog name other than that it’s fun to say and also sounds kind of dog-ish?

__ Spice

You can name your dog after a Spice Girl, but I think the spice name has to match your dog’s personality. Like if your dog is intimidating, Scary Spice, and if small and fluffy, Baby Spice.

Carmen Sandiego

How dope was Carmen Sandiego? This would work great on a dog who was a runaway, is sneaky, or who is just very good with geography.

Zubaz

You can definitely call your dog Baz or Zubie for short, but if he’s stripe-y or sporty there’s no name like Zubaz.

Biggie Smalls

Too soon? It works equally well for a very big dog or a very small dog.

Pepper Ann or Doug Funnie

She’s like one in a million.

Or in the case of Doug, dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah dah.

Tamagotchi

I don’t like the sound of this as a dog name. But what I DO like is the idea of someone being like “I have to go home to feed my Tamagotchi.”

Wishbone

 

Last but not least: I can think of no better way to honor your dog than to name him or her after the greatest dog of the 1990s, Wishbone.

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.

 

 

Best of C+S 2013: Celebrity Baby Names

We’ve had an amazing first year here at Cookies + Sangria, and we owe a lot of that to the best readers on the internet. As a “thank you” for making Year One so great, we’re closing out 2013 with a few of our favorite posts from the past 12 months. We hope you enjoy the look back, and we’ll see you in 2014 with new content in the new year! Happy Holidays!

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From Axl Jack to North West to more common names like Winnie Rose and Prince George, a bunch of unknowing babies were born to celebrities this year, but since a majority of them tend to pick the weird monikers of the name spectrum, would it really be that weird if any of these words would be made into names?

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Ten Words That Sound Like Celebrity Baby Names

{originally posted February 13th}

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.” )

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.” )

You All Need To Stop Naming Your Dogs Molly

I have never liked when strangers comment on things I can’t help. More often than not, these comments are appearance-based: my hair (ginger), skin (über-freckled), and general size (a lady in a fitting room commented on my “thigh gap,” which I shouldn’t have looked up because now I’m just real real sad for the young girls on tumblr). But since I was 8 or so, another source of crappy small talk is my name. I’ve had the following conversation more times than I care to remember:

Me: Hi, I’m Molly!
Person: Oh my GOD. Seriously really actually? My dog is named Molly!
Me: … Oh okay.

I’m going to let all of y’all onto a little secret: everyone’s dog is named Molly. I mostly get annoyed when people “oh-my-God-my-dog-is-Molly” me because it’s not an amazing coincidence: it’s pure probability. If you’re an American, and have a dog, and she’s a bitch, odds are like 50/50 that her name is Molly. I’m not impressed. I’m not much of a numbers person, but I think this all means that one in 20 people has a Molly dog. That’s like being amazed that we both have an Uncle Jim. Everybody has an Uncle Jim. Even my Uncle Jim has an Uncle Jim.

These were hard to find when we were kids, right Mollys? Click the link to buy one online.

In comparison, there aren’t so many human Mollys my age, versus say Jessicas and Kimberlys. I’m a bit of a name statistics geek (another post for another day), and can tell you that my name has ranked just outside of the top 100 for most of my life. People know the name and can spell it (unless they work at Starbucks, where they can take the most simple name and spell it Malleyeigh), but I’m usually the only Molly people know. [Note: if you know more than one, ask yourself: am I from the northeast? Do I know a lot of people who are at least upper-middle-class? Okay, are those people white? And last one: are a lot of them Irish or Jewish?] More girls were born in my year named Krystal and Brandi, and that shit’s not even spelled right.

Gratuitous photo of my dog.

So here’s my advice, dog owners: try something else. It will make things easier at the dog park — when you call your Molly, you probably get mobbed by 10 Golden Retrievers. And please think of the poor people who have to run dog training classes or boarding kennels (which I call “camp” so my dog doesn’t realize I’m neglecting her. You can judge, but for 1-4 weeks every summer American parents do the exact same thing). Do they have to call the dogs Molly B. and Molly C. and so forth, like preschool teachers have to do with kids named Addison and Brayden? [Note: By government edict, at least 50% of American boys born in the 2000s are required to have a name that rhymes with Aidan. I don’t know how they determine who has to do it. Lottery, maybe.).

All I’m saying is, there are other options available. For instance, I named my dog after a favorite author. Of course after I did that Kelly Kapowski, Doogie Houser, and Posh Spice all used it on their babies, but I can’t help it if stars of the 1990s copy me when I have good ideas. If you like cutesy old-fashioned names like Molly, you could read baby name rankings from a century ago, or start asking really old people what their parents were named. Or use a favorite character’s name, or a city you’ve been to, or a foreign word, or a name you’ve always loved but would worry about giving to a baby. There are a lot of names out there, and most of them aren’t Molly.

But if you must name your dog Molly, if you actually must, please don’t tell me about it. That’s hard to respond to, because it’s not exactly a compliment so I can’t say thank you. There are no good follow-up questions; if it were a human I could ask if it were a family name, but in my experience people don’t use those on dogs. It also makes me feel like you think I have a dog name, and come on, it’s not like my parents named me Boots or Patches.

But listen. I’m not giving this advice for my own benefit. It’s just that two of my nephews are named Charley and Max, and I know what dog name-based conversation starters lie ahead for them.