The list of the most popular baby names in the US and Canada have been coming out at year’s end, as reported by popular parenting sites BabyCenter and Babynames. They’re not identical lists, but there’s enough overlap in the top 10 that you can see distinct trends.
The most popular girls’ names are ultra-femme, usually ending in soft, feminine-sounding “uh” or “ee” sounds: Isabella, Olivia, Ava, Sophia, Emma, Chloe, Emily, Lily. Interestingly, boys’ names are, well, less macho-sounding in years past, and full of softer-sounding consonants: Liam, Jayden, Aiden, Noah, Ethan, Oliver, Lucas, Logan. Frankly, I think this generation sounds like they could be in the cast of “Sex and the City.” Traditional and Biblical names like Michael, Christopher, Joseph, Sarah, Mary and Deborah have declined in popularity while names rooted in pop culture have gone way up . (Caveat: I suspect the self-reporting going on at these sites—allegedly “hundreds of thousands” of parents—is mostly being done by white parents.)
I have a very traditional name that sounds both old-world English and overtly Jewish (it’s from the Hebrew Bible). It satisfied both my mother’s WASP family traditions (it’s common in her family going back to England in the 1600s) and my father’s Ashkenazi family traditions (combined with his last name, I sound super-Jewish). As a child, I was like Anne of Green Gables, who longed for a more lyrical, fairytale-sounding name—Anne wanted to be called Cordelia, and I wanted to be Anastasia. Or Isabella. Or Mariana. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate my traditional name. It’s dignified. It’s adult-sounding. People always pronounce it correctly. It’s not potentially embarrassing; I suspect MamaSharper was sensitive to the potential embarrassment factor because she narrowly escaped the name her German-American grandmother selected for her: Delweena. (Yes, SRSLY. She really dodged a bullet.)
Let’s talk about names. (They don’t have to be your own, as I know some of us prefer anonymity). Do you have favorites? Trends you love or hate? Embarrassing names? Cool names? Names you wish you’d been given, or gave yourself?