Popularity

Alternatives to the Top 10

Top10Alternatives

We’re taking a break from our Offbeat Alphabet Series this week, and today we’re talking about alternative names. It’s always been that there are those who don’t care about using popular names, and those who look for alternative to the popular names they love. I know this because my blog traffic is mostly people looking for alternatives to Olivia. Consider it a dream come true to all you google searchers today, because I’m going to address just that. In fact, I decided to push the boat out and come up with a list of alternatives for every name in the 2013 England&Wales Top 10.

Now, I had plenty of ideas for every name, but then I took a step back and decided that I needed to rein myself in. In my mind, it’s not a simple case of swapping out a comfortable favourite with something no one has ever heard of, otherwise this list would look a lot different. Instead, I’ve decided to go for familiar names of a similar style, so my criteria was thus:

  • The name has not been in the Top 100 since 2010
  • The name was within the Top 500 in 2013
  • The name has risen consistently in the rankings since 2010 without stagnant or fall

So, in the end, I’m swapping out current favourites for what could be the incoming favourites of the next decade or so, which I think is more fitting than telling parents considering Jessica to instead use Cressida, a name only used 6 times in 2013. Despite this, the list of options was a fun one to compile, and it became more of a discussion piece than a list as I felt an explanation for each choice was warranted.

OLIVER -> BENEDICT

With Oliver, we’re looking for something charming, and a solid nickname option that’s also pretty popular as a standalone, like Olly. Originally I thought of Raphael, but his popularity is faltering. Then there’s Rupert, but he didn’t quite fit. In the end, I went with Benedict, where Ben once ranked as high as #34, but still is in the mix at #140.

The name Benedict could attribute some of his popularity to Benedict Cumberbatch. Indeed, up until 2010 the name was falling, down from a peak of#165 in 1999 to #449. However, the name has begun to regain ground, as in 2013 he was back up to #350 in 2013. The name comes from Latin and means blessed.

AMELIA -> ROSALIE

We’re looking for a 3-syllable flourishing name that features a ‘lee’ sound. For me, the minute I saw Rosalie, I couldn’t help but see her as ‘the one’. Like Mia for Amelia, the nickname Rosie is seeing increased use and ranks at #38.

The name Rosalie is, for all intents and purposes, an elaboration of Rose, but she’s a darn fine one at that. She’s rocketed up from #1171 in 2009 to #394 in 2013.

JACK -> TED

We’re looking for a one syllable nickname that stands well aside from his parent name. I had a hard time here deciding between Ralph, Ted and Frank. Ralph was ruled out because he has two valid pronunciations used widely in the UK and that made him a step away from the simple style we were looking for. Frank was ruled out for being not quite on trend, whereas Ted felt more current.

Ted is usually taken as a nickname for Theodore, but it is known for him to be used as a short form of longtime Top 100 name Edward. His brother Teddy broke into the Top 100 in 2013, whilst Ted rose from #278 to #179 between 2010 and 2013.

OLIVIA -> AURELIA

Olivia is similar to Amelia in a few ways, so the suggested names could cross over. We’re looking for a many syllables name, but not too many letters as with Anastasia. The finalists were Aurelia, Ariana and Elodie, with Aurelia winning out in the end for her similar sound and feel to Olivia.

The name Aurelia comes from Latin and means golden. Since 2010, the name Aurelia has risen from #567 to #327.

HARRY -> REGGIE

We’re looking for a nickname that could standalone. Lenny was a serious consideration, but his popularity didn’t quite qualify him. In the end, Reggie wins the acolade.

Reggie is a nickname for Reginald, a name that means advice and rule. He’s been on the rise for much of the last decade, rising 79 places since 2010 to #121.

EMILY -> MILA

This is another name like Amelia, that the minute I saw Mila, she felt right. She’s almost come out of nowhere in recent years, after ranking at #616 in 2010, she’s rocketed up to her current ranking of #124.

The name Mila is from the Slavic region originally, but she’s finding more and more fans in the English speaking world. The name contains the Slavic element mil, and means gracious/dear.

JACOB -> EZRA

We’re looking for a biblical choice here preferably, although Gethin was briefly considered. Jeremiah has the popularity, but seemed too long. On the flip side Malachi, Raphael, Levi and Isaiah all felt valid as alternatives, but didn’t have the popularity. I settled for Ezra in the end.

It is somewhat of a compromise choice, as Ezra dropped between 2010 and 2011, but has rocketed from #441 in 2011 to #295 in 2013. The name means help in Hebrew.

AVA -> ALBA

With Ava, the obvious choice was Ada, but I was more intrigued by the option of Alba.

Alba has a Latin origin and a Germanic one. In Latin, she derives from Albus, and thus means white/bright. In Germanic, she comes from the element alb, meaning elf.

CHARLIE -> ALBIE

Again I had two to decide between: Albie and Arlo. As Albie, like Charlie, is a nickname in origin, he gets the honour. It’s also worth noting that Charles was once popular before being overtaken by Charlie, and right now Albert is a Top 100 pick that could be overtaken by Albie in the coming years. We briefly mentioned the name Albie earlier on this week.

ISLA-> SKYLA

There were two good choices here: Iris and Skyla. The former seemed a good option, due to her similar length and starting letter. In the end, however, Skyla felt the better fit style-wise as Isla is Scottish in origins (from Islay, a Scottlish island in the Inner Hebrides) and Skyla relates somewhat to the Isle of Skye that lie off the coast of west Scotland, also in the Inner Hebrides.

As for popularity, a friend of mine became a Dad to a little Skyla last year. The name could be taken as a feminising of Skyler, itself a variant of Schuyler, a Dutch name meaning scholar. Since 2008, the name has been rocketing up from #639 to her 2013 ranking of #176.

THOMAS -> MAXWELL

Plenty of T- names were considered here – Tobias and Tristan, for example – but none adhered to the popularity rule. Tate does, but he seemed too short. I finally settled on Maxwell, who has a similar feel and an easy nickname of Max, as Thomas has Tom.

Maxwell is a Scottish surname that’s over time become used more frequently as a first name; the name means Mack’s stream. From a ranking of #145 in 2010 to #114 in 2013, there’s a very real possibility that Maxwell could enter the Top 100 in a year or twos time.

JESSICA -> ATHENA

She has a unique sound to her, so instead I looked for a name that was equally statement and of equal length. I considered Verity, but her popularity has been somewhat inconsistent. Then there’s Harmony, who was rising until she dropped off in 2013. Adelaide could maybe be a contender in a few years time, and Tabitha has been more plateau-ing than rising. In the end – and since I couldn’t nominate CressidaAthena felt the most fitting of all the names I went through.

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and warfare. In 2010 the name ranked at #583, and has risen since then to #437.

OSCAR -> RUFUS or RUPERT

I considered Rupert for Oliver, and in fact he could also be an alternative to Oscar. However, poor Rupert was sidelined once more in favour of Rufus, before I relented and let them share the honour.

Whilst the two names appear quite similar, they do not share origins. The name Rufus comes from the Romans, and means red-haired in Latin. The name has been on a steady rise in 1996, and is currently at #237. On the flipside, Rupert is an Old German form of Robert, which means bright fame. In 2010 the name ranked at #360, and has risen more than a few places since then to #213.

POPPY -> ROBYN

There were so many choices here for me to decide between. Penny is similar to Poppy, but I wanted a nature name – this also sidelined Bonnie and Luna. It came down between Robyn and Pearl, and my gut told me to go with Robyn. She was the same rank in 2010 and 2011, but I’m letting it slide because she’s works on all other levels for me.

Whilst Robyn is decidedly feminine, the name Robin is considered more unisex. Most would presume the name to come from the bird, but (s)he actually derives as a medieval nickname for Robert. The name was within the Top 100 in the 90s, but she has started to rise again after spending the majority of the turn of the century falling. Since 2010, she’s risen 54 places to #119, which means she may be poised for a triumphant return to the Top 100.

WILLIAM -> CASSIUS

With William, we’re looking for something a Prince could wear. Now, I had plenty ideas of old classics that could work here: Christopher, Tobias, Jonathan, Maximilian, Richard and even Montgomery. Sadly, they’ve all experienced either inconsistent popularity or continuous fall. In the end, I had to turn to more modern classics for inspiration. The choice was between Barnaby and Cassius, but with Barnaby spending as much time plateauing than rising, the honour falls to Cassius.

It seems a surprising choice, and I’ll openly admit that this name is one that I’ve loved for a very long time. However, it appears he is one the current crop of parents are loving too, as he was at #481 in 2010, and now at #363. The name, however, doesn’t have the most wonderful of meanings: he comes from Latin and potentially means empty/vain.

ISABELLA -> ARABELLA

Both Emmeline and Penelope were contenders with their ‘el’ sounds and 3-syllables, but they didn’t feel quite right. It seemed that, with Isabella, we’re looking for preferably a -bella name, and we have that with Arabella. However, an honourable mention should go to Mabel.

The name Arabella is another one we mentioned earlier on this week. She’s a medieval Scottish variant of Annabel, a name that means lovable. The name has risen form #228 in 2010 to her current ranking of #157.

JAMES -> MYLES

My first consideration with this name was Miles, but in the end Myles is the spelling I went with because he’s had a more consistent rise in popularity and is currently the more popular spelling (albeit only by 3 places).

The name comes from the Germanic name Milo, which was brought over to Britain by the Normans as Miles. The name could come from the Slavic element mil, which means gracious. Alternatively, he could come from the Latin word miles, which means soldier. The name currently ranks at #177, up from #210 in 2010.

SOPHIE -> THEA

Vivienne and Sylvie were options, but Thea shares Sophie’s Greek origins. She also has the girly sound that translates well into adulthood.

In Greek, the element theos means God(ess), which might put parents off. The name can either be pronounced with a silent h (like Tia), or not – I hear both used as frequently as the other. Theia is also the name of the Greek Titaness who is the mother of Selene, the goddess of the moon. Fittingly, her name is given to a proposed planet from the beginning of the solar system that was the size of Mars which collided with Earth to create the moon. Thea had a massive soar in rank between 2012 and 2013, going from #225 to #121.

GEORGE -> BEAU

I’m stepping away from the classics to go with Beau here. It may seem like a bit wildcard, but stay with me here. My thinking for this is both names have spellings that you wouldn’t think if you’d only heard them said, plus both are one-syllable. You also can’t really shorten them. I wasn’t so sure of the popularity, and briefly considered dropping Beau in favour of Lloyd or Noel, but I’m sticking to my guns instead.

The name Beau means handsome. The problem with Beau is from 2010 to 2013 he’s only risen 5 places from #180 to #175, so it’s not like he’s going anywhere fast.

MIA -> LYLA

Something that is short and could be a nickname for many popular names felt like the brief here. The name Annie was a choice, but I was looking for something more nouveau. Emmie could have worked, but she fell between 2012 and 2013. In the end, it came down to two: Zoya and Lyla.

The name Lyla comes from Layla and means night in Arabic. The name was basically nowhere in 2004 at #1715, before a dramatic surge to #303 in 2005. Now, the only thing I could find to explain this is that in 2005 the band Oasis released an album called Don’t Believe the Truth, for which the lead single was called Lyla, which was the UK number one single for a week in May 2005. She now ranks at #114.

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Some Popular A Names, Boys

PopularANames-Blue

Yesterday we covered popular A names for girls, so today it’s the turn of the boys. The premise is the same: this is a list of boy names beginning with the letter A that have risen and are now within the Top 200 in England&Wales in 2013. Whilst there were 16 girls names, there are only 9 male names that qualified.

1. Arlo

Our highest riser started at #567 in 2008 and is now at #189 – that’s an impressive 378 places. Like Arthegal before him, this name likely came via The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, which features the location of Arlo Hill. However, there are alternative suggestions that he originates from Charles, or even Carlo.

2. Albie

The new Alfie ? It’s an intriguing possibility as in the past 5 years the name has risen 202 places from #341 to #139. Since the name is originally a nickname for Albert (see below), he could follow him into the Top 100 in the near future.

3. Austin

The first of many names on this list that  is already in the Top 100. For Austin, he briefly entered the Top 100 in 2009 at #100, before dropping back out and not re-entering until 2013 at his current ranking of #94. Given his shaky popularity in recent years, this name could go either way. That said, in the five year difference we’re looking at, he rose 66 places from #160. Whilst the name looks modern, he’s actually a medieval contracted form of Augustine, which comes from the Roman name Augustus, a name that means great.

4. Arthur

This name is one that I’ve always liked in the back of my mind, and what’s not to love ? The Legend of Arthur is my second favourite folklore to come from this fair isle behind my local hero of Robin Hood, of course. The name is also our second name on the list to already rank inside the Top 100 at #43, and I was personally surprised to discover that Arthur’s current reign in the Top 100 only began in 2009, as his 2008 ranking was #101.

5. Ayaan

This name has risen 52 places, from #167 to #115. Ayaan is probably the first unfamiliar name on the list. He appears to be Arabic in origin, and appears as a word in the Koran, meaning good luck and destiny; the name is particularly used in the Somali community.

6. Alan

Probably the biggest surprise on this list is this name. After falling down to a low of #296 in 2003, he’s started to rise back up again and in the last few years has risen a total of 41 places from #226 to #185. The name likely originated from the Brittany region of the world and means little rock or handsome in Breton – this means he’s one of the many names that came to Britain in the Norman Conquest.

7. Albert

One of the new entries for the boys in the Top 100 in 2013, he has risen 18 places in the last five years from #117 to #99. The name became a mainstay amongst the British Royal Family thanks to Prince Albert – the current members of the senior royal family to bear the name are Prince Harry and Prince Andrew, both obviously as middle names. The name is Germanic in origin, coming from Adalbert, and means bright and noble.

8. Archie

The highest ranking name on the list is Archie at #16. In the past five years he’s risen only 15 places, from #31, but it’s worth noting that names tend to rise more slowly at the very top of the list due to the leap in number of births needed to go up a ranking. the name is a short form of Archibald, a name meaning genuine and bold.

9. Aiden (#104 to #92, 12 places)

It’s also worth noting that whilst this spelling has flourished – rising 12 places from #104 to #92 – alternative spelling Aidan has instead fallen 52 places to #143. An indication of Aiden’s future ? Perhaps. The name in the anglicised form of Aodhán, which comes from the Old Irish name Áed and means fire.

Categories: Popular Names, Popularity | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Some Popular A Names, Girls

PopularANames-Pink

A fortnight ago I spent the week looking at some less than popular A names. Therefore, as almost a follow up of sorts, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a look at the other end of the spectrum at some popular names beginning with the letter A, specifically those in the Top 200 in England&Wales in 2013. With that in mind I’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 A names who’ve risen the most in the rankings since 2008, and now lie within the Top 100.

In total there were 16 names that have risen in the past five years.

1. Amaya

From her 2008 ranking of #464 to her 2013 one of #198 (a rise of 266 places), Amaya is the highest climbing female A name within the Top 200. This name is a variant of Amaia, which means the end in Basque. Amaia is also the name of a mountain and village in the Basque region of Spain.

2. Anaya

It’s interesting to note that the second highest climbing name is only one letter different from the first. Anaya climbed 249 places from #404 to #155. As for her meaning, that’s less clear than Amaya. She is possibly a variant of the Biblical name Anaiah, which means God answers in Hebrew. I’ve also seen some give the name as being from Sanskrit and meaning complete freedom.

3. Ariana

This name rose 174 places from #360 to #186. She’s the Italian form of Ariadne, which comes from Greek means most holy.

4. Arabella

Between 2008 and 2013, this name rose 168 places from #325 to #157. Arabella is a medieval Scottish form of Annabel, a name that is a variant of Amabel, who means lovable.

5. Ayla

This name rose 157 places from #329 to #172 between 2008 and 2013. She has two different origins: she’s Turkish and means moonlight; she’s also a variant of the Hebrew name Elah, and means oak tree.

6. Amira

From #306 in 2008 to #198 in 2013, this means this name has risen 108 places in the last 5 years. Like Ayla, this name has two different origins. The first is that she’s the feminine form of Hebrew name Amir, which means treetop; the second is that she’s the feminine form of the Arabic name Amir, and means commander/prince(ss).

7. Aoife

From a ranking of #298 in 2008 to #192 in 2013, that’s a rise of 106 places. Aoife (pronounced EE-fa) is an Irish name meaning beauty. In Irish legend, Aoife was a warrior princess.

8. Autumn

The first name on the list to have climbed less than 100 places is Autumn, who rose 61 places from #258 to #197. This makes her the second most popular season name in England&Wales, after Summer who ranked at #48 in 2013, down from her peak at #23 in 2008. Whilst Spring does not rank, Winter does at #1018 for the girls and #4685 for the boys.

9. Aleena

This name climbed 55 places from #217 to #162. She could be one of two things: a variant of Alina, or a variant of Alena. The latter is simply of short form of names like Helena and Magdalena. As for Alina, she could also be a short form of names like Adelina and Carolina.

10. Annabelle

The only name on the list inside the Top 100, as she’s risen 51 places from #114 to #63. This is also the second entry on the list for the Amabel family of names, with the first being Arabella at #4.

The other six names are as follows: Alexis (#166 to #120, 46 places); Annie (#162 to #125, 37 places); Alexa (#184 to #162, 22 places); Alice (#46 to #27, 19 places); Ava (#21 to #4, 17 places); Aisha (#105 to #94, 11 places).

What I think is nice about this list is it gives an indication of names that could be on their way into the Top 100 (except for Annabelle, who already is). Whilst it’s unlikely that they’ll all make it into the Top 100,  it remains endlessly fascinating to me that the top 5 names are all from wildly different languages.

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The England&Wales 2012 Data

So the 2012 data was released this morning, and thus here is firstly a comparison about my predictions published last week, followed by the Top 100 in full:

The Top Names:

What I predicted:

Harry & Amelia

Who actually came out on top:

Harry & Amelia

Spot on with this one

Top 10 Changes:

What I predicted:

Lily will overtake Olivia

– Both are super popular, but the way Lily has been racing up the charts in the past few years she seems popular enough to take the #2 spot. It’s worth noting that she was individually the #1 name in Wales in 2011.

Riley will enter the boys Top 10

– From 2010 to 2011 the number of boys given the name Riley rose from 2690 to 4226, so suffice to say he’s hugely popular right now.

What actually happened:

Rather surprisingly, the name Lily dropped two spaces to #5, whilst Olivia remained at #2. The names Mia and Isla replacing Ruby and Grace.

I was however spot on in predicting the rise of Riley into the male Top 10, replacing Joshua.

Top 100 Drop outs:

What I predicted:

Caitlin, Tia, Lauren, Keira

Reece, Ben, Kyle, Bailey

Who actually dropped out:

Lexie, Lauren, Rebecca, Tia, Nicole, Kayla

The name Caitlin is clinging in the Top 100 at #97, and Keira fell to #92.

Reece, Joel, Hayden, John, Ashton, Jackson, Ben

The name Jackson was new to the Top 100 last year, and it’s interesting to note the fall of modern-day darlings Hayden, Reece and Ashton. The name Bailey remained in the Top 100 at #98.

Top 100 New Entrants:

What I predicted:

Darcey, Alexis, Lois, Sara, Violet

Seth, Sonny, Rory

Who actually entered:

Mollie, Ivy, Darcey, Tilly, Sara, Violet

Hugo, Sonny, Seth, Rory, Elliott, Theodore, Rory, Ellis

Truth be told, I went out on a limb with Sara since she has a mumma-vibe to her, so I’m delighted to have called her entry into the top 100.

With regards to Alexis and Lois, the former just missed out at #101 whilst Lois tumbled spectacularly to #128.

With the boys, I was certainly underestimating how much movement there was at the 100 mark.

The Top 100: (*indicates new entry)

 Top 100 Boys’ Names 2012

.

  Top 100 Girls’ Names 2012

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100
HARRY
OLIVER
JACK
CHARLIE
JACOB
THOMAS
ALFIE
RILEY
WILLIAM
JAMES
JOSHUA
GEORGE
ETHAN
NOAH
SAMUEL
DANIEL
OSCAR
MAX
MUHAMMAD
LEO
TYLER
JOSEPH
ARCHIE
HENRY
LUCAS
MOHAMMED
ALEXANDER
DYLAN
LOGAN
ISAAC
MASON
BENJAMIN
JAKE
FINLEY
HARRISON
EDWARD
JAYDEN
FREDDIE
ADAM
ZACHARY
SEBASTIAN
RYAN
LEWIS
THEO
LUKE
HARLEY
MATTHEW
HARVEY
TOBY
LIAM
CALLUM
ARTHUR
MICHAEL
JENSON
TOMMY
NATHAN
BOBBY
CONNOR
DAVID
MOHAMMAD
LUCA
CHARLES
KAI
JAMIE
ALEX
BLAKE
FRANKIE
REUBEN
AARON
DEXTER
JUDE
LEON
OLLIE
STANLEY
ELLIOT
GABRIEL
CAMERON
OWEN
LOUIE
AIDEN
LOUIS
ELIJAH
FINLAY
RHYS
CALEB
EVAN
FREDERICK
HUGO
KIAN
SONNY
SETH
KAYDEN
TAYLOR
KYLE
ELLIOTT
ROBERT
THEODORE
BAILEY
RORY
ELLIS
+1
+2
-3
+5
+1
-2
-2
-2
+2
-2
+2
+3
+7
+10
-4
+1
+4
+1
-7
-4
-7
+1
+3
+4
-7
-4
+2
+4
-5
+4
-1
+5
+6
-6
-4
+6
-4
+9
-4
+4
+2
-6
-5
+16
+13
+10
-2
+19
-10
-2
+3
+3
-2
-7
-15
-6
+13
+18
+4
-11
+8
+12
-10
+6
+10
-1
-7
-5
-19
-13
+9
-17
-14
+4
-4
+9
+51*
-8
+18*
+10*
+2
-1
+1
+12*
-3
+27*
-8
+11*
+3*
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100
AMELIA
OLIVIA
JESSICA
EMILY
LILY
AVA
MIA
ISLA
SOPHIE
ISABELLA
EVIE
RUBY
POPPY
GRACE
SOPHIA
CHLOE
ISABELLE
ELLA
FREYA
CHARLOTTE
SCARLETT
DAISY
LOLA
EVA
HOLLY
MILLIE
LUCY
PHOEBE
LAYLA
MAISIE
SIENNA
ALICE
LILLY
FLORENCE
ELLIE
ERIN
IMOGEN
ELIZABETH
MOLLY
SUMMER
MEGAN
HANNAH
SOFIA
ABIGAIL
JASMINE
LEXI
MATILDA
ROSIE
LACEY
EMMA
AMELIE
GRACIE
MAYA
HOLLIE
GEORGIA
EMILIA
EVELYN
BELLA
BROOKE
AMBER
ELIZA
AMY
ELEANOR
LEAH
ESME
KATIE
HARRIET
ANNA
WILLOW
ELSIE
ZARA
ANNABELLE
BETHANY
FAITH
MADISON
ISABEL
MARTHA
ROSE
JULIA
PAIGE
MARYAM
MADDISON
HEIDI
MOLLIE
NIAMH
SKYE
AISHA
IVY
DARCEY
FRANCESCA
ZOE
KEIRA
TILLY
MARIA
SARAH
LYDIA
CAITLIN
ISOBEL
SARA
VIOLET
+1
+1
-2
+3
+6
+7
-3
-5
+1
-6
+3
-4
-2
+1
+4
-2
+8
+9
+1
+9
-4
-4
+1
-8
+5
+5
-6
+9
-7
+3
-5
+6
+7
-6
-12
-1
+4
-6
-3
-1
+1
+7
-9
-1
+3
+1
+5
+14
+5
+5
+8
+11
-9
-8
+1
-11
-4
-8
+7
-9
+4
-1
+6
+17
+2
+7
-9
-10
+2
-10
+6
-2
-1
-10
+13
+8
+29*
-3
-2
+8
+80*
+42*
+9
+1
-4
+11*
-1
-5
+4
-11
-18
+10*
+14*

Also, I mentioned on Twitter that two personal favourites of mine hit the Top 100 this year, mega brownie points for whomever guesses which two correctly.

Categories: Popular Names, Popularity | Leave a comment

Predictions For the 2012 Data

The 2012 data for England&Wales will be out on Monday, so it feels time to put together some of my predictions for how the new list will shake out when it hits the headlines next week. Rather frustratingly, I’ll be at work when the list is released at about 9:30am so my write up will likely have to wait until Monday night – boo!

The Top Names:

Harry & Amelia

– Both are popular enough to last another year at the top

Top 10 Changes:

Lily will overtake Olivia

– Both are super popular, but the way Lily has been racing up the charts in the past few years she seems popular enough to take the #2 spot. It’s worth noting that she was individually the #1 name in Wales in 2011.

Riley will enter the boys Top 10

– From 2010 to 2011 the number of boys given the name Riley rose from 2690 to 4226, so suffice to say he’s hugely popular right now.

Top 100 Drop Outs: 

Caitlin, Tia, Lauren, Keira

Reece, Ben, Kyle, Bailey

Top 100 New Entrants:

Darcey, Alexis, Lois, Sara, Violet

Seth, Sonny, Rory

Categories: Popular Names, Popularity | 1 Comment

England&Wales 2011 Data: The Big Facts

Oliver and Olivia have officially been overtaken! The new #1s for England&Wales are Harry & Amelia!

Here are the key facts for you all:

  • Harry is up 1 place to  #1, whilst Oliver is now #2
  • Amelia is up 4 places to #1, whilst Olivia is now #2
  • George is out of the Top 10 and replaced by Jacob
  • Evie and Chloe are out of the Top 100 and replaced by Ava and Isabella
  • Lily replaced Ruby as the most popular name in Wales, whilst Oliver remains #1
  • The biggest riser was Jenson, up 27 places to #65
  • Other big climbers were Arthur, Dexter and Riley (boy).
  • Biggest fallers were Ben, Kyle, Cameron, Reece, Lewis & Owen
  • The biggest riser for girls was Eliza, up 31 places to #62
  • Other big climbers were Evelyn, Harriet and Sofia
  • Big fallers for girls were Caitlin, Katie, Keira, Tia and Lauren.

NEW TOP 100 NAMES

Elsie at #87; Bella at #69; Blake at #79; Elijah at #91; Francesca at #99;Frankie at #84 (boys); Jackson at #99; Kayla at #98; Lydia at #100; Tommy at #65; Willow at #75.

OUT OF THE TOP 100

Aidan, now at #101; Aimee, now at #104; Alexandra, now at #107; Bradley, now at #105; Brandon, now at #118; Kieran, now at #129; Laila, now at #124; Libby, now at #106; Maisy, now at #102; Sam, now at #112;Tilly, now at #103.

Not wanting to brag or anything, but I predicted the fall of Aimee, Alexandra and Libby here, and predicted Elsie gatecrashing the Top 100 here. 🙂

SEASONAL VARIATIONS

  • Harry was the most popular name for boys for 9 months in 2011
  • Oliver was the most popular name for boys in January, April & June
  • Olivia was the most popular name for girls in January, April, July & August
  • Lily was the most popular name for girls in February, March and May
  • 13 boys names were in the top 10 for at least one month during 2011, compared with 15 for girls
  • Holly was the second most popular name for girls during December, and fell to #54 in July
  • Summer peaked at #14 in August, and was as low as #71 in December

REGIONAL VARIATIONS

  • There are seven common names in the Top 10 for boys when you split the England&Wales data to English data and Welsh data, compared with 6 common names for girls.
  • Oliver is #1 in Wales, not Harry.
  • Riley, Ethan and Dylan are all in the Welsh Top 10
  • Seren, Ella, Mia and Megan are all in the English Top 10
  • Daniel and Isabella were #1 in London, where Harry was #6
  • Poppy was in the Top 10 in the South West at #9
  • Lucy was in the Top 10 in the North East at #10
  • Isla was in the Top 10 in the South East at #10
  • Both Mohammed and Muhammad were in the Top 10 in Yorkshire&the Humber, West Midlands & London
  • Riley was in the Top 10 at #10 in both Yorkshire&the Humber & East Midlands

Finally, a comment by ONS on the data:

There are a number of possible reasons why the popularity of baby names can change over time.
The popularity of names can be influenced by names of famous figures or current celebrities and
what they name their own babies. However, it is an individual choice which can be influenced by a
number of other factors such as the religious, cultural and/or ethnic identities of the parents or the
names of family, friends or fictional characters. As such, there is a great diversity of baby names. In
2011, there were 723,913 live births in England and Wales (ONS, 2012), with over 28,000 different
boys’ names and just over 35,000 different girls’ names registered. The top ten names only account
for 14 per cent of all names in 2011.

Oh, here is the new Top 100, including the change in rank since 2010:

1 HARRY 7,523 +2 AMELIA 5,054 +4
2 OLIVER 7,007 -1 OLIVIA 4,938 -1
3 JACK 6,844 -1 LILY 4,761 +1
4 ALFIE 5,524 JESSICA 3,984 +2
5 CHARLIE 5,516 EMILY 3,974 -2
6 THOMAS 5,353 SOPHIE 3,923 -4
7 JACOB 5,047 +5 RUBY 3,702
8 JAMES 4,945 +2 GRACE 3,691 +1
9 JOSHUA 4,786 -1 AVA 3,621 +2
10 WILLIAM 4,632 -3 ISABELLA 3,464 +2
11 ETHAN 4,581 +2 EVIE 3,385 -1
12 GEORGE 4,347 -3 CHLOE 3,347 -4
13 RILEY 4,226 +12 MIA 3,346
14 DANIEL 3,928 -3 POPPY 2,932 +2
15 SAMUEL 3,803 -1 ISLA 2,849 +7
16 NOAH 3,287 +2 ELLA 2,783 +2
17 OSCAR 3,251 +2 ISABELLE 2,719
18 JOSEPH 3,089 -3 SOPHIA 2,661 +9
19 MOHAMMED 3,054 -2 FREYA 2,619
20 MAX 3,043 +3 DAISY 2,458 -5
21 DYLAN 2,962 -5 CHARLOTTE 2,390 -1
22 MUHAMMAD 2,854 +9 MAISIE 2,230 -8
23 ALEXANDER 2,819 -2 LUCY 2,228 -2
24 ARCHIE 2,805 PHOEBE 2,008 +4
25 BENJAMIN 2,789 -3 SCARLETT 1,987 -1
26 LUCAS 2,716 -7 HOLLY 1,971 -1
27 LEO 2,664 +9 LILLY 1,950 +12
28 HENRY 2,625 +6 ELLIE 1,893 +1
29 JAKE 2,619 MEGAN 1,799 -6
30 LOGAN 2,549 -2 LAYLA 1,780 +14
31 TYLER 2,520 +1 LOLA 1,777 +2
32 JAYDEN 2,353 -6 IMOGEN 1,773 -6
33 ISAAC 2,352 +4 EVA 1,714 +4
34 FINLEY 2,245 +1 SUMMER 1,711 -4
35 MASON 2,171 +11 MILLIE 1,641 -3
36 RYAN 2,151 -6 SIENNA 1,585 +11
37 HARRISON 2,122 +5 ALICE 1,554 +6
38 ADAM 2,062 +1 ABIGAIL 1,493 -4
39 LEWIS 2,035 -12 ERIN 1,491 -4
40 EDWARD 1,935 +3 LACEY 1,475 -4
41 LUKE 1,830 -3 HANNAH 1,462 -10
42 FREDDIE 1,819 +3 JASMINE 1,429 -1
43 MATTHEW 1,743 -2 FLORENCE 1,406 +11
44 LIAM 1,690 -11 ELIZABETH 1,396 +5
45 ZACHARY 1,664 +6 LEXI 1,324 +1
46 CALLUM 1,580 -6 MOLLY 1,322 -4
47 SEBASTIAN 1,493 +11 SOFIA 1,249 +15
48 CONNOR 1,471 -4 MATILDA 1,225 +5
49 JAMIE 1,445 EMMA 1,221 -1
50 THEO 1,407 BROOKE 1,216 -5
51 TOBY 1,389 +3 AMY 1,213 -13
52 HARVEY 1,388 -5 AMBER 1,201
53 MICHAEL 1,364 GRACIE 1,162 -2
54 NATHAN 1,319 -6 AMELIE 1,128 +1
55 HARLEY 1,308 +2 ROSIE 1,124 +4
56 KAI 1,211 LEAH 1,120 -6
57 DAVID 1,163 +7 KATIE 1,105 -17
58 AARON 1,147 -3 MAYA 1,072 -1
59 ALEX 1,129 -7 ELEANOR 1,049 +2
60 CHARLES 1,090 +2 GEORGIA 1,022 -4
61 AIDEN 1,077 +5 EMILIA 1,007 +10
62 LEON 1,069 -2 ELIZA 955 +31
63 MOHAMMAD 1,037 +4 FAITH 914 +2
64 LUCA 982 +6 BETHANY 913 -5
65 TOMMY 980 +91* EVELYN 871 +22
66 FINLAY 967 +2 ISABEL 857 -8
67 JENSON 966 +29 ANNA 827 -4
68 ARTHUR 961 +14 HOLLIE 825 +1
68 LOUIS 961 +1 BELLA 823 +35*
70 RHYS 946 -5 PAIGE 811 -7
71 OWEN 943 -12 HARRIET 809 +15
72 REUBEN 941 -1 ESME 797 +2
73 OLLIE 933 -10 ZARA 790 +3
74 LOUIE 887 LEXIE 788 -6
75 GABRIEL 874 +3 WILLOW 772 +37*
76 BOBBY 869 +7 ROSE 764 +14
77 CAMERON 848 -16 MADISON 760 -10
78 DEXTER 833 +20 JULIA 759 -1
79 BLAKE 831 +26* ANNABELLE 758 +10
80 STANLEY 824 +8 ISOBEL 754 -5
81 KIAN 800 -9 NIAMH 733 -3
82 EVAN 770 -6 MADDISON 731 -1
83 JUDE 764 +3 MARTHA 723 +2
84 FRANKIE 756 +24* SKYE 717 -11
85 ELLIOT 755 LAUREN 710 -15
86 HAYDEN 747 -6 CAITLIN 708 -20
87 ASHTON 727 -10 ELSIE 699 +21*
88 JOEL 712 -7 KEIRA 693 -16
89 CALEB 709 -2 REBECCA 693 -6
90 BAILEY 704 -11 SARAH 663 -7
91 ELIJAH 701 +29* HEIDI 652 +2
92 TAYLOR 696 +5 ZOE 649 -8
93 ROBERT 694 -3 MARIA 628 -2
94 KAYDEN 686 +5 MARYAM 616 +5
95 KYLE 683 -21 AISHA 613 +1
96 FREDERICK 669 -1 TIA 613 -16
97 BEN 667 -24 NICOLE 605 -5
98 REECE 656 -14 KAYLA 604 +21*
99 JACKSON 647 +40* FRANCESCA 602 +3*
100 JOHN 645 -6 LYDIA 589 +7*
Categories: Popularity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cricket Days

Snapped by me at cricket

Cricket is a massive sport here in the UK, and it’s a crime that it’s not included in the Olympics 😉

So why am I talking about the sport? Well, I have a younger brother who plays cricket with a team and since I passed my driving exam about 2 months ago now I’ve been the one to ferry him around to various training sessions and games.

Of course, I’ve come to learn a lot about names and perception of names amongst the 13ish year olds of the UK since I always seemed to be sat next the the man keeping score, who uses the players first names rather than surnames.

I’d like to therefore share with you some rather interesting exchanges/findings, and the first one may surprise a few.

Remember the belief that using a popular name will mean ease of spelling? Forget it. At this week’s game, it was a 12 year old keeping score under the watchful eye of his Grandad, and the next kid up to bat was called Jacob. Oh yes my friends, he queried as to how to spell the name that has now ranked at #1 for boys in the USA for many years.

However, I have my own mini-theory on this, which namely involved the Polish. You see, with the influx of people immigrating to the UK from Eastern European countries such as Poland, that brings with you an increased exposure to Polish names at school. I remember sharing a physics classroom with a lad named Bartek, but just don’t ask me how to say his name. Getting to the point, the only Jacob I know is a Polish lad named Jakub.

Thinking about it, though, Jakub and Jacob are said differently; Jakub is said more like YAH-kuwp, not JAY-kub.

The other thing I wanted to mention was the name Elliott. I’ve sat and watched my brother play against at least 3-4 other teams and every single one seemed to have at least one player named Elliott.

So I went and took a look at the 1999 data for England, and there Elliott is at #95. Since then he has fallen outside the England Top 100, and currently ranks at #130 for England&Wales.

That’s still not rare, though.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that these aren’t boys only teams, just boy-dominated ones. The only two girls I’ve seen in the teams this year are called Sashi and Kayley.

Sashi is an interesting one because it’s not a nickname for Sasha, rather, a legit female name from dear India. It is a slight variant of Shashi, which is a traditional word for moon in Sanskrit.

The name rather reminded me of the male name Sachin, as in, the famed Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. He’s considered to be one of the greatest batsmen of all time. The name means pure in Sanskrit.

I would end this post by saying this: it’s not only Olympic sports that are a great source of names.

But I’m sure many of you already knew that, indeed, I highly recommend you go take a peek at Ren’s blog, which has spent the last few weeks running a series on names from the MLB, whilst Gabby has recently set up a blog and is covering names from the NFL.

Categories: Name Spellings, Popularity | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Conundrum Answers

Wrong type of celebratory card, but you get the idea

We’re back, with the much-awaited answers to Friday’s fun little conundrum.

Truth be told, I was a little cheeky when it came to choosing the names to feature in the Friday conundrum, so for me it came as no surprise that the same names were consistently being wrongly identified as the other gender. However, now you shall know the truth.

The names which ranked higher for boys:

Ashley, #178 compared to #516 for girls

It’s understandable if you got this wrong, a recent Nameberry blog post did say:

at this point, do leave Ashley to the girls

Well, not us Brits, clearly. I don’t suppose anyone is watching the Euros? We have two Ashleys in our current England squad, Ashley Young and Ashley Cole. The former was born in 1985, the year Ashley ranked at #2 in the States and in 1984 the name ranked at #49 for boys in England&Wales.

Brook, #1109 compared to #1389 for girls

This is despite the fact that Brooke ranks inside the Top 100, at #45, so this one was a surprise for me. But obviously, not for some of you since a couple of you called right on this one.

Harper, #897 compared to #930 for girls

This name was a case of testing to see whether you’ve all been listening, and clearly you haven’t since everyone got this wrong. This name is also the reason I carefully worded my definition of ‘most popular’ to highest ranking, because truth be told more baby girls were named Harper in 2010, but the name ranked higher for boys. Crafty wording on my behalf? Perhaps.

Laurie, #1109 compared to #1815 for girls

Spelled Lori, this name only ranks for girls (at #2392), but this spelling is more popular for boys. I do know lads named just Laurie, my age and indeed younger.

Mackenzie, #239 compared to #1332 for girls

The interesting thing to not here is that the name is climbing for boys, and falling for girls. The alternate spelling of McKenzie ranks even higher for boys at #153.

Morgan, #106 compared to #229 for girls

My goddaughter, whom we’ve previously mentioned, was going to be named Morgan should she have been a boy. I will hand it to anyone who thought this ranked higher for girls, Morgan ranked inside the Top 100 for girls back in the early noughties – peaking at #59 in 2000, however the male ranking still eclipsed the female one at #52 in 2000. Both have clearly dropped since then, but more so on the female popularity list.

Tristyn, #3332 compared to not ranking at all for girls

I wondered whether the spelling-with-a-y would trip some up, and it looks like it did. I know, this was another mean-spirited selection and perhaps you all would’ve opted for the blue side if it had been spelled Tristan.

What it does demonstrate is that -yn isn’t necessarily a feminine ending, and indeed in Wales many male names are spelled with a y, i.e. Gwyn is a male name, Gwen is a female name.

As it so happens, another variant Trystan only ranks for lads too, and the highest ranking version of the name is Tristan at #121. Possible Top 100 aspirations? With all the variants to consider, it’s very much a possibility.

The names which ranked higher for girls:

Beaux, #2843 compared to not ranking at all for boys

Clearly, if you have a working knowledge of French grammar, your inclination would be that this name ranked higher for boys, as beaux is the masculine plural form of beau, a French word meaning beautiful. This was a slightly mean pick on my behalf, especially as late last year there was a Brit celeb-baby boy born named Beaux.

Bobbi, #1093 compared to #1801 for boys

I wondered whether those whom know that Bobby ranks at #83 for the boys would be inclined to believe this ranks more highly for a boy, but that sadly isn’t the case. I do wonder, however, whether people were swayed by Ms. Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Whitney Houston, as I presume more know about her than the fact that Bobby is in the England&Wales Top 100.

London, #2392 compared to #2941 for boys

There have been two examples of celeb-babies of both genders being given the name London in recent times: in September 2011, Jay McGraw welcomed a son named London Phillip; at the end of May 2012 Brooke White welcomed daughter London Ray.

Lou, #4012 compared to not ranking at all for boys

Woo! How could I resist not including my name? This is in line with European trends for Lou as a female name.

Reese, #1180 compared to #1241 for boys

The names Rhys (#65) and Reece (#84) both rank not only higher for boys, but both are inside the Top 100. Then we have the Reese Witherspoon spelling which is slightly ahead for girls.

Skyler, #1731 compared to #2400 for boys

This is the flipside to the States, where Skyler ranks higher for boys at #287 compared to #456 for girls.

Storm, #1093 compared to #1801 for boys

No one got this right either, and I can see why, the name Storm could be seen as akin to the name Bear – which is seen almost exclusively as a boy name, amongst the emerging crop of boys names with an almost wild & rugged edge to them. But alas, this is not the case.

Categories: Friday Conundrum, Popularity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Friday Conundrum: Unisex Names

I despair

Unisex names are on the rise, and I’ve been on the receiving end of the issue myself.

Picture the scene:

There I was, innocently helping Santa give out presents to young children, and lo and behold a child with long blonde hair stepped forward, and told Santa that their name was Sam. It was by pure chance that Sam got the right gender present because I was at a loss. Yes, Sam is technically boys name, but it’s also a popular short form of Samantha, a girls name. Then along came another girl with shoulder length brown hair and the name Jimmy. I almost threw my hands up in despair.

Thus, I challenge you to my Friday conundrum, listed below are 14 names: 7 ranked higher for the girls in 2010 in England&Wales; and vice versa for the other 7. Can you guess correctly?

1. Ashley

2. Beaux

3. Bobbi

4. Brook

5. Harper

6. Laurie

7. London

8. Lou

9. Mackenzie

10. Morgan

11. Reese

12. Skyler

13. Storm

14. Tristyn

I’ll be honest, some surprised me when researching this post, and ye who cheat make bunnies cry.

Categories: Popular Names, Popularity, Unisex Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Delightful Duos

From the boardgame Chav, which I spied at Hamleys last year

I had a moment a few days ago and signed up to Formspring. It’s still baffles me as to why I felt the need, but it threw up a delightful suggestion recently, courtesy of HelenaKoonings, which I had to expand on:

A lot of 2011 boy/girl names at the same rank make for pretty good, sometimes matchy, sibsets, like Kevin & Kimberley at #67, funny ones like Jesus & Maria at #92, and classier ones like Grant & Clara at #151. What are some “sets” you like?

Well, how could I resist? It’s like a fun new approach to naming hypothetical twins. I’ve picked out 10 wonderful options which caught my eye for the new US data:

  • #142 – Victor and Alice
  • #162 – Oscar and Elise
  • #187 – Paul and Margaret
  • #204 – Ezra and Cora
  • #256 – Simon and Josie
  • #291 – Fabian and Rose
  • #342 – Julius and Miriam
  • #554 – Asa and Sylvia
  • #925 – Miller and Tess
  • #960 – Howard and Geraldine

Then 5 duos I’m not sure would quite work as well:

  • #75 – Bentley and Morgan
  • #205 – Xander and Alexandria
  • #341 – Ronald and Raegan
  • #561 – London and Regina
  • #924 – Legend and Lara

And a few more from our England&Wales data:

  • #24 – Archie and Scarlett
  • #54 – Toby and Florence
  • #60 – Leon and Rosie
  • #71 – Reuben and Emilia
  • #180 – Beau and Sadie
  • #216 – Jonah and Ellen
  • #224 – Barnaby and Elsa
  • #239 – Frank and Rosa
  • #296 – Victor and Elodie
  • #301 – Solomon and Polly

Also, further down the England&Wales list, names start to share rankings within genders too:

  • #218 – Ffion and Katherine
  • #259 – Bethan and Edith
  • #293 – Edie and Melody
  • #308 – April and Josephine
  • #312 – Emmie and Noor
  • #330 – Miriam and Evangeline
  • #334 – Sky and Verity
  • #337 – Lillian and Olive
  • #275 – Elias and Simon
  • #311 – Angus and Julian
  • #323 – Brodie and Xander
  • #333 – Calvin and Harris 😉
  • #343 – Romeo and Lorenzo
  • #364 – Asher and Hugh
  • #375 – Krish and Luka
  • #406 – Ezra and Rafferty

I’ve only just scratch the surface, so feel free to run along, check out the US, E&W or even your own country’s stats, and then run right back to report on some delightful duos you’ve spied.

Categories: Popularity | 1 Comment

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