Brits are giving their dogs and babies the same names

Get ready for a lot of “Oh, no, I meant my dog; not your baby” moments. According to a new survey from, Brits are giving their dogs, cats, and babies the same names. Think that’s weird? Apparently, people think of their pets as children, suggests Ellen Scott of

Top male dog names:

  1. Charlie   6. Fred
  2. Jack         7. Simon
  3. Jasper     8. Simba
  4. Dexter    9. George
  5. Milo        10. Boomer

Top female cat names:

  1. Lily        6. Maddie
  2. Chloe    7. Emma
  3. Lucy       8. Coco
  4. Bella      9. Molly
  5. Luna      10. Callie

Other notable survey results:

-18 of the top 20 dog names are also on the most popular names for babies in 2014.

-Charlie and Jack are high up on the list for both dogs and babies.

-Lily, Chloe, Emma, Lucy, and Molly top both cat and baby names.

-Dogs are more likely to have alcohol names, like Whiskey and Kahlua.

-Cats tend to have dessert names.

-Star Wars leads in the category of nerdy pet names, like: Chewy, Leia, Yoda, and Vader.

-More current pop-culture-inspired pet names are: Elsa, Daenerys, and Piper.



22 TV Characters to Name Your Baby After

Here’s a list of 22 TV characters whose names thinks are worth considering for your child. Check out the list and  see my objections to some of the names under the list. Then visit to see the photos they’ve collected to help you visualize all of the characters.

  1. Veronica (Veronica Mars)
  2. Olivia (Law & Order SVU)
  3. Titus (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
  4. Xena (Xena: Warrior Princess)
  5. Jane (Jane the Virgin)
  6. Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  7. Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)
  8. Joan (Mad Men)
  9. Carlton (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
  10. Archer (Archer)
  11. Peggy (Mad Men)
  12. Aria (Pretty Little Liar)
  13. Selina (Veep)
  14. Daria (Daria )
  15. Dexter (Dexter )
  16. Hannibal (Hannibal)
  17. Fez (That 70’s Show)
  18. Rory (Gilmore Girls)
  19. Lorelai (Gilmore Girls)
  20. Nancy (Weeds)
  21. Maeby (Arrested Development)
  22. Cookie (Empire)

I agree with that their list of colorful TV characters provides a useful option if you’re thinking of using the name of a character from  Game of Thrones–many of which are hard to spell and pronounce and come across as confusing to people not familiar with that show. But I question the appropriateness of using some of the names in Mashable’s list for your baby:

Hannibal (the name immediately calls a cannibalistic serial killer, Hannibal Lector, to mind )

Fez (the name immediately calls a Turkish felt hat with tassel on top to mind)

Maeby (this character in Arrested Development has an affinity for her first cousin and often stumbles into potentially incestuous situations; if that doesn’t dissuade you from using the name, consider that it’s likely to be misspelled more often than not)

Jane (the name immediately calls “plain Jane” to mind)

Cookie (the name sounds more like something sweet to eat than a little girl–or a grown woman)




Most Rock Star Names Are Trending Down, But Some Are Turning Around

When you think of the biggest names in rock ‘n roll, you’re thinkin’: Mick and Keith; John, Paul, George and Ringo; Patti, Stevie, Janis and Joan; Billy, Bobby, Buddy and Bruce. Most of these names were fairly popular in the 50s, which is when many of the original rock stars were born. So it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that most of the names have been out of fashion for years. Some, though, seem to be in the process of making a comeback.

What caught my eye while reading “The Influence of Rock ‘n Roll on Baby Names” by Tessa Boyce in  Arizona Daily Star’s were the popularity charts that accompanied all 30 of the rocker’s names. (You may want to check out the charts after reading this post.)

Most of the rock-star names were very popular in the ’50s. Some, like Jim, Janis and Gene started losing popularity in the late ’60s. Others, like Bonnie and Tina started losing popularity in the ’80s.

The only names on Tessa Boyce’s list whose charts don’t look like a major stock market crash are Stevie and Axl. Stevie is trending level; Axl is trending up.

Twelve of the names are still trending down in popularity: Paul, Keith, Bobby, Billy, Elvis, Tom, Tina, Gene, Patti, Cherie, Bob and Pat.

Eight of the names have had a recent bump in popularity after being out of favor for years: Suzi, Ringo, Bruce, Janis, Chuck, Joan,  Bonnie, and George. (William and Kate’s baby, prince George, seems to have given that name a nice bump.)

And seven of the names seem to be in the process of bottoming out after being out of favor for years: John, Robert, Kurt, Dave, Buddy, Mick  and Chrissie.

So, be careful when considering names on this list for naming your children. Most of the names have long ago lost their “rock-star magic.” And many of the names are associated with rockers whose personal lives may not provide the kind role models you want for your children.

That said, here is Boyce’s top-30 list of rockers’ names, with a description of the current trend, as reflected in the popularity chart for each name:

  1. John Lennon (bottoming?)
  2. Robert Plant (bottoming?)
  3. George Harrison (recent bump)
  4. Paul McCartney (trending down)
  5. Bruce Springsteen (recent bump)
  6. Keith Richards (trending down)
  7. Bobby Darin (trending down)
  8. Billy Joel (trending down)
  9. Axl Rose (trending up)
  10. Bonnie Tyler (recent bump)
  11. Stevie Nix (trending level)
  12. Elvis Presley (trending down)
  13. Joan Jett (recent bump)
  14. Kurt Cobain (bottoming?)
  15. Tina Turner (trending down)
  16. Dave Crohl (bottoming?)
  17. Tom Petty (trending down)
  18. Jim Morrison (bottoming?)
  19. Gene Simmons (trending down)
  20. Buddy Holly (bottoming?)
  21. Mick Jagger (bottoming?)
  22. Janis Joplin (recent bump)
  23. Patti LaBelle (trending down)
  24. Chuck Berry (recent bump)
  25. Cherie Curie (trending down)
  26. Ringo Starr (recent bump)
  27. Bob Dylan (trending down)
  28. Pat Benatar (trending down)
  29. Suzi Quatro (recent bump)
  30. Chrissie Hynde (bottoming?)




What’s Up With the Popularity of Surnames Like Jackson, Kennedy, Lincoln and Reagan as Names for Babies?

I’ve never understood why parents would name their baby boys Jackson (and variations like Jaxon and Jaxson) instead of Jack. (Jackson is a popular surname; Jack is a classic boys’ name. I suppose Jaxon and Jaxson are attempts by parents to bridge the difference.)

Yesterday I read an article by Eleanor Jones (of Good to Know) called  “Could Maiden Names Be the Latest Baby Name Trend?” in which Jones argues that using family surnames (maiden names) as given names for baby boys and girls is a hot new trend.

To check out this trend I took a quick look at the latest Social Security Administration boys’ and girls’ top-100 lists in 2014. I noticed nine surnames on the boys’ top-100 list in 2014: Mason (#3), Jackson (#17), Hunter (#36),  Landon (#43), Tyler (#63), Parker (#73), Cooper (86), Carson (#90) and Lincoln (#95).  The only surnames I could find on the top-100 girls’ list were Kennedy (#54), and Taylor (#77).

But it’s hard to get excited about this “maiden-name trend” when you consider that of the eleven surnames I’ve just mentioned, only four increased in popularity last year: Kennedy (+10),  Lincoln (+8), Mason (+1) and Parker (+1) (the numbers in parentheses refer to the gains these names as they increased in popularity last year).

You may have noticed that six of the popular surnames I’ve mentioned (Mason, Hunter, Tyler, Parker, Taylor and Cooper) are trade names or occupational names (e.g., a mason is someone who does masonry; a hunter is someone who hunts). Of those trade names, only Mason and Parker increased in popularity last year, while the popularity of Hunter, Tyler, Taylor and Cooper declined.

But the surnames on the top-100 lists that exhibited the most dynamic increase in popularity last year belong to popular presidents: Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. Seems to me the dynamic trend here is that more parents are giving their children surnames of famous namesakes they admire—a category that includes popular presidents and popular celebrities, like John Lennon and Jean Harlow and Jennifer Aniston. (Lennon, Harlow and Anniston are recent additions to the top-1000 list which I have written about in several recent posts. FYI, Anniston is the spelling parents prefer when they use Jennifer’s last name as a first name for their baby girls.)

You may want to browse the list of surnames Jones selected to illustrate the maiden-name trend. Notice that Jones left surnames that declined in popularity in 2014 (Jackson, Hunter, Landon, Tyler, Cooper and Carson) off her list. Consider that Reagan is the surname of a very popular president, Ronald Reagan; and that Marley is the surname of popular singer, Bob Marley. I should also mention that Taylor (-18) was one of the biggest losers on the top-100 girls’ list in 2014. That said, here’s her list:


P.S. I know that Andrew Jackson was the 7th president of the United States. But I doubt he is currently as revered a figure as John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Abe Lincoln–but I could be wrong. Perhaps the huge increase in the popularity of Jackson, Jaxon and Jaxson over the last five years or so was due to President Andrew Jackson’s popularity in the South.


12 baby names that made you go “what were they thinking?”

Here are 12 names that made  wonder, “What were they thinking?” I think you’ll have the same reaction. Here’s their list:

  1. Nutella
    In France one couple recently got the axe for trying to name their child after the world’s favorite chocolate spread. But in the US, however, couples name their kids after their favorite brands all the time. Here are some that were recently registered: Cartier, Chanel, Dior, L’Oreal, Armani and Nike.
  1. Messiah
    A Tennessee judge recently  told two parents that they couldn’t name their child Messiah. However, the judge’s request to deny Messiah his birth name was later overturned because of religious bias, and the child joined the ranks of several thousand others with the name. We feel people might have some unreasonable expectations to this guy!
  1. Porsche
    Well, if Mercedes can do it…
  1. Winner and Loser
    We’re not even joking about this one. Parents from Harlem actually used these names for their twin babies.
  1. Hashtag
    A couple in San Francisco named their first-born Hashtag – we can’t wait for his sister, Retweet, to come along!
  1. @
    No, guys, this is NOT a typo. A Chinese couple wanted to dub their son “@.” But at least they had a sweet reason mind: In Chinese, @ is pronounced ai-ta, which is very similar to a phrase that means “love him”. Okaaaay then, we’ll let them away with that one.
  1. Adolf Hitler
    A New Jersey couple actually named their son Adolf Hitler Campbell — and his poor sister JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell. Guess what? The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services ended up intervening. Shocker.
  1. Facebook
    In Mexico, a judge recently banned the name Facebook, but an Egyptian dad dubbed his little girl with the same name, and got away with it.
  1. Lucifer
    We feel like it is a little bit poor form to brand your child with the name of Antichrist, no?
  1. Cheese
    Three UK babies were bestowed this moniker last year. We feel like they all need siblings called either Smelly or Chutney.
  1. Panda
    There are no words for this one. Really
  1. Kiwi
    Well, if Gwyneth got away with Apple….


How to Overcome Baby-Naming Anxiety

I just read a charming article by blogger Melissa Dell who struggled with the task of finding a name for her child–so much so that she became extremely anxious when the copy of 100,000+ Baby Names she ordered did not arrive.

Her article illustrates how she and her husband used my book to discover names they liked and call them to each other’s attention–so they could focus on names they both liked, which they would then discuss.

They took turns spending time with my book and highlighted names on pages they marked for each other’s attention. Then they traded the book back and forth so they could look at the highlighted names and initiate discussions about them.

Melissa’s article helped me understand the value of a book like mine in comparison with searching for names online. I’m happy to report that Melissa and her husband found 4 names they both liked, but they have not made a final choice yet. I’ll update her article when I find out which name she chose (and why).

I should probably mention that her article contains a number of photos to illustrate how they used the book.

Short & Snappy Girls’ Names On the Rise: A Shopping Guide

Here’s a list of short and snappy girls’ names that rose in popularity on the Social Security Administration’s top-100 list in 2014. It’s a user-friendly list of names spelled with 3 to 5 letters that are all easy to spell and pronounce.

Emma* (#1 to #1)
Rising from #2 to #1 while Emily didn’t budge.

Sofia* (+1 to #12)
A 7% gain in popularity by a name that’s easier to spell than Sophia.

Grace (+1 to #21)
An almost 5% gain for this simple-but-elegant name popularized years ago by Grace Kelly.

Zoey (+2 to #22);
A 10% gain in popularity for the name that’s rising as Zoe declines.

Layla (+1 to #29)
Easier to pronounce than Leila, popularized by Eric Clapton’s song.

Aria (+9 to #31)
A 22% in popularity by this fast rising name that’s the most popular of a long list of sound-alike names.

Anna (+1 to #34)
A more dynamic choice than Anne and Ann.

Claire (+5 to #44)
An almost 10% gain in popularity for this elegant name.

Sadie (+4 to #46)
A 7% gain in popularity for this nickname for Susan.

Nora (+34 to 49)
A 31% gain in popularity from #107) for this short form of Eleanor.

Ellie (+19 to #55)
A 20% gain at the expense of Ella.

Lucy (+4 to #62)
A more than 5% gain for a name that puts smiles on people’s faces.

Stella (+4 to #66)
A more than 5% name for this name from “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Mila (+6 to #72)
A 7% gain for the name popularized by Mila Kunis

Piper (+22 to #75)
An 23% gain helped by “Orange is the New Black.”

Faith (+8 to #81)
A 10% gain for this religious name associated with Faith Hill.

Eva (+6 to 82)
A 7% gain for a name for more dynamic alternative to Eve.

Lydia+3 to 90)
A 3% gain for this ancient name that refers to an ancient land now part of Turkey.

Alice (+10 to 107)
An almost 9% gain from this classic name that reminds us of Alice’s visit to “Wonderland.”

*I should probably remind you to avoid choosing either of the first two names due to their popularity. I included them to show you all of the girls’ names spelled with 3 to 5 letters that were on rise.