One in Five British Mothers Regrets Her Child’s Name

When I read the title and reading line for the article Amelia Hill wrote in The Guardian: I guessed that the leading cause of “baby-name regret” was caused by picking a popular (e.g., top-20) name and then realizing how many other parents had made precisely the same choices.

Here are two fragments from the article that explain when and why parents begin regretting the names they have chosen:

-“The main reason for regretting the name was that it was too commonly used (25%).”
-“23% began to regret their choice when their children first started nursery or school.”

Why do so many parents fall into the trap of picking highly popular names for their children, (even though naming experts strongly recommend against that)?

Once you are pregnant, you start reading articles and books about baby names (which contain lists of the most popular names); and you also may start reading the birth announcement section of your local newspaper. Your ears are likely to perk up when friends and relatives start talking about their new babies. And when you notice new parents pushing baby strollers or carrying babies in slings, you go over to have a closer look. If you’re lucky, you might even be invited to hold the baby. Naturally, you ask the baby’s name, and say something nice about the baby and its name.

Pretty soon you realize that your interest in anything related to babies is giving you a “good feel” for names and which ones you like. Every time you meet a cute baby and “like” the name you are adding “data” to your very own baby-name “research project”—which includes your feelings about the names of cute babies you’ve cooed over or bounced; the names of babies your friends, relatives and neighbors have just announced; and the cute celebrity babies photographed in “People” and “Us.”

At some point it may dawn on you that the short list of names you are actively considering for your baby includes half of the top-10 list published every year by the Social Security Administration (or the agency in your country that publishes official name statistics).

How can newly pregnant parents avoid picking names they may wind up regretting, when they find out how popular they are? It helps to start your name search by making a list of names you like. They could be names of famous people you admire (e.g., Lincoln and Eleanor) names of characters in books or movies you love (e.g., Scout and Starbuck); names of your favorite actors or Olympic heroes (e.g., Simone and Bolt); names common in the language you studied in high school (e.g., Natasha and Ivan); names of your favorite foods or wines (e.g., Brie and Kale); names of your favorite places to vacation (e.g., Kauai and Siena); or names of relatives you want to honor.

By picking names that have meaning for you, you won’t be sidetracked by falling-in-like with names currently used by your friends, relatives and acquaintances and by the popular names in announcement lists and the media.

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 Tuscon.com 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?)

 

 

 

The Most Popular Canadian Names in 2014 by Province and Territory

Since I reported the most popular Canadian names in 2013 (by province and territory), it has been one of my most popular posts. I’m happy to update that report with 2014 popularity data, provided by Today’s Parent.com.

Here are the top-20 baby names for boys and girls in: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, the popularity data available for Northwest Territories,  Prince Edward Island, and Yukon Territories was less complete; and I was unable to obtain any data for Nunavut.

I think it will be helpful if I use one asterisk to indicate names that were only popular in one province or territory in 2014 and two asterisks to indicate names that were popular in two provinces or territories. This will quickly enable you to spot names that are broadly popular throughout Canada and names whose popularity is limited to one or two provinces and territories.

Baby Names Whose Popularity was Limited to One Province or Territory:

Quebec: There were 21 baby names which were only popular in Quebec. Girls’ names more popular in Quebec than in the rest of Canada include French names: Juliette and Camille; prototypical English Names: Victoria and Alice; gender-neutral names: Charlie and Laurence; and names spelled differently than in other provinces: Lea (instead of Leah) and Zoe (instead of Zoey). Boy’s names popular in Quebec that are not as popular in the rest of Canada include: Alexis, Felix, Emile, Charles, Adam and Leo.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Names more popular in Newfoundland and Labrador (than in the rest of Canada) included Parker, Landon, Ryan, Kayden and Chase for boys; Allie,  Sarah, and Anna for girls.

Saskatchewan: Names more popular in Saskatchewan (than in the rest of Canada) included both Jase and Bentley for boys; Brielle, Sabella and Aubrey for girls.

Yukon Territory: Names more popular in the Yukon Territory (than in the rest of Canada) included: Connor, Declan, Everett, Flynn, Nolan and Sawyer for boys; and Alexa, Julia and Kaylee for girls.

Nova Scotia: Names that were more  popular in Nova Scotia (than in the rest of Canada) included Jaxson for boys; and Claire for girls.

British Columbia: Girls’ names that were more popular in British Columbia (than in the rest of Canada) included Natalie and Scarlett.

Manitoba: Grayson is a boys’ name that was more popular in Manitoba (than in the rest of Canada).

New Brunswick: Caleb is a boys’ name that was more popular in New Brunswick (than in the rest of Canada).

Ottawa: All the top-20 names for boys and girls were also popular in three or more other provinces and territories.

Alberta: All the top-20 names for boys and girls were also popular in three or more other provinces and territories.

Alberta

Boys

  1. Liam
  2. Lucas
  3. Ethan
  4. Noah
  5. Logan
  6. Benjamin
  7. William
  8. Jacob
  9. Mason
  10. Carter
  11. Alexander
  12. Jack
  13. Nathan
  14. Samuel
  15. Owen
  16. Oliver
  17. Hunter
  18. Jackson
  19. James
  20. Jaxon

Girls

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Emily
  4. Sophia
  5. Ava
  6. Avery
  7. Abigail
  8. Charlotte
  9. Chloe
  10. Lily
  11. Ella
  12. Isabella
  13. Hannah
  14. Amelia
  15. Brooklyn
  16. Madison
  17. Sadie
  18. Grace
  19. Mia
  20. Elizabeth

British Columbia

Boys

  1. Liam
  2. Mason
  3. Ethan
  4. Lucas
  5. Benjamin
  6. Logan
  7. William
  8. Alexander
  9. Oliver
  10. Noah
  11. James
  12. Jacob
  13. Owen
  14. Jack
  15. Nathan
  16. Carter
  17. Daniel
  18. Hunter
  19. Jackson
  20. Jayden

Girls

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Sophia
  4. Emily
  5. Ava
  6. Chloe
  7. Charlotte
  8. Ella
  9. Avery
  10. Hannah
  11. Isla**
  12. Isabella
  13. Amelia
  14. Lily
  15. Abigail
  16. Mia
  17. Elizabeth
  18. Aria*
  19. Sophie
  20. Brooklyn

Manitoba

Boys

  1. Liam
  2. Noah
  3. Logan
  4. Ethan
  5. Mason
  6. Jacob
  7. James
  8. Lucas
  9. Benjamin
  10. Jackson
  11. Nathan
  12. Hunter
  13. Owen
  14. Alexander
  15. Jack
  16. Oliver
  17. Luke
  18. Carter
  19. William
  20. Grayson*

Girls

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Sophia
  4. Emily
  5. Ava
  6. Chloe
  7. Avery
  8. Abigail
  9. Isabella
  10. Madison
  11. Sophie
  12. Hannah
  13. Sadie
  14. Zoey**
  15. Leah
  16. Natalie*
  17. Mia
  18. Charlotte
  19. Anna
  20. Scarlett*

New Brunswick

Boys

  1. Jacob
  2. Liam
  3. William
  4. Noah
  5. Carter
  6. Logan
  7. Benjamin
  8. Jackson
  9. Owen
  10. Alexander
  11. Hunter
  12. Mason
  13. Jackson
  14. Thomas
  15. Caleb*
  16. Lucas
  17. Ethan
  18. Xavier**
  19. Jace**
  20. James

Girls

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Charlotte
  4. Sophie
  5. Abigail
  6. Sadie
  7. Sophia
  8. Emily
  9. Ava
  10. Ella
  11. Lily
  12. Mia
  13. Addison
  14. Avery
  15. Madison
  16. Grace
  17. Brooklyn
  18. Chloe
  19. Isabelle
  20. Leah

Newfoundland and Labrador

Boys

  1. Jackson
  2. Jack
  3. Liam
  4. Owen
  5. William
  6. Carter
  7. Chase
  8. Ryan
  9. Aidan/Aiden**
  10. Benjamin
  11. Luke
  12. Nathan
  13. Ryder**
  14. Mason
  15. Noah
  16. Parker*
  17. Landon*
  18. Alexander
  19. Ethan
  20. Kayden*

Girls

  1. Emma
  2. Sofia/Sophia
  3. Ava
  4. Emily
  5. Lily
  6. Avery
  7. Chloe
  8. Olivia
  9. Hailey**
  10. Sarah**
  11. Sofie/Sophie
  12. Peyton**
  13. Abigail
  14. Ella
  15. Allie
  16. Brooklyn
  17. Madison
  18. Anna**
  19. Lauren*
  20. Addison/Addyson

Northwest Territories

Boys

  1. William

Girls

  1. Ava

This is the only data that is available.

Nova Scotia

Boys

  1. Liam
  2. William
  3. Benjamin
  4. Owen
  5. Hunter
  6. Lucas
  7. Carter
  8. Ethan
  9. Jacob
  10. Jackson
  11. Oliver
  12. Mason
  13. Jack
  14. Alexander
  15. James
  16. Luke
  17. Noah
  18. Gabriel**
  19. Henry**
  20. Jaxson*

Girls

  1. Emma
  2. Olivia
  3. Ava
  4. Sadie
  5. Sophia
  6. Lily
  7. Abigail
  8. Brooklyn
  9. Ella
  10. Chloe
  11. Charlotte
  12. Emily
  13. Alexis*
  14. Isabella
  15. Claire*
  16. Hannah
  17. Amelia
  18. Peyton**
  19. Sarah**
  20. Avery

Ontario

Boys

  1. Liam
  2. Lucas
  3. Ethan
  4. Noah
  5. Logan
  6. Benjamin
  7. William
  8. Jacob
  9. Mason
  10. Carter
  11. Alexander
  12. Jack
  13. Nathan
  14. Samuel
  15. Owen
  16. Oliver
  17. Hunter
  18. Jackson
  19. James
  20. Jaxon

Girls

  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Emily
  4. Sophia
  5. Ava
  6. Avery
  7. Abigail
  8. Charlotte
  9. Chloe
  10. Lily
  11. Ella
  12. Isabella
  13. Hannah
  14. Amelia
  15. Brooklyn
  16. Madison
  17. Sadie
  18. Grace
  19. Mia
  20. Elizabeth

Prince Edward Island

Boys

  1. Jack
  2. Oliver
  3. Owen
  4. Mason
  5. William
  6. Henry**
  7. Noah

Girls

  1. Anna**
  2. Mya*
  3. Emma
  4. Ellie*
  5. Lily
  6. Charlotte
  7. Ava
  8. Chloe
  9. Olivia
  10. Mia

This is the only data that is available.

Quebec

Boys

  1. William
  2. Nathan
  3. Samuel
  4. Alexis*
  5. Olivier*
  6. Felix*
  7. Thomas**
  8. Liam
  9. Jacob
  10. Gabriel**
  11. Antoine*
  12. Logan
  13. Raphael*
  14. Noah
  15. Xavier**
  16. Benjamin
  17. Emile*
  18. Charles*
  19. Adam*
  20. Leo*

Girls

  1. Lea*
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Florence*
  5. Alice*
  6. Zoe*
  7. Rosalie*
  8. Juliette*
  9. Charlie*
  10. Chloe
  11. Charlotte
  12. Sofia
  13. Jade*
  14. Mia
  15. Eva*
  16. Camille*
  17. Victoria*
  18. Anais*
  19. Beatrice*
  20. Laurence*

Saskatchewan

Boys

  1. Liam
  2. Carter
  3. Noah
  4. Lucas
  5. Ethan
  6. Jacob
  7. Mason
  8. William
  9. Owen
  10. Jace**
  11. Alexander
  12. Jaxon
  13. Bentley*
  14. Benjamin
  15. Jase*
  16. Logan
  17. Hudson
  18. Ryder**
  19. Hunter
  20. Samuel

Girls

  1. Emma
  2. Sophia
  3. Emily
  4. Olivia
  5. Lily
  6. Ava
  7. Brooklyn
  8. Zoey**
  9. Brielle*
  10. Avery
  11. Grace
  12. Hannah
  13. Mia
  14. Hailey**
  15. Sabella*
  16. Aubrey*
  17. Ella
  18. Abigail
  19. Sadie
  20. Chloe

Yukon Territories

Boys

  1. Benjamin
  2. William
  3. Aiden
  4. Alexander
  5. Conner*
  6. Declan*
  7. Duncan*
  8. Everett*
  9. Flynn*
  10. Jack
  11. Luke
  12. Nolan*
  13. Patrick
  14. Samuel
  15. Sawyer*
  16. Thomas**

Girls

  1. Kaylee*
  2. Julia*
  3. Isla**
  4. Hannah
  5. Emma
  6. Avery
  7. Ava
  8. Alexa*
  9. Grace
  10. Olivia

This is the only data that is available.

Nunavut

No data was available for Nunavut.

Geeky Baby Names That Won’t Scar Your Girl for Life

I’m writing to let you know about an entertaining list of geeky names from comic books, pop-culture movies, TV shows, video games and books) that Chandra Smith, writing in PC Magazine, claims “won’t scar your kids or life.” Implication: the names won’t overly annoy or embarrass them.

Knowing how easily annoyed and embarrassed kids can get, once they hit the pre-teen and teen years (aka the years of perpetual annoyance and embarrassment), that’s a tough claim to substantiate.

Having lived with an unusual Sanskrit name (Chandra) that is often mispronounced, Smith tries to help parents pay tribute to geek favorites without picking names only geeks can appreciate–that your child is likely to abandon.

What’s fun about reading her list is that it is replete with pop-culture references that will fill in the gaps of your education (particularly if you read the classics in college rather than comic books and are more likely to watch classic movies than movies inspired by Marvel Comics).

But, even though Smith claims to consider issues like spelling and pronunciation that  could make a name like Leia annoying, and issues that could make a name like Kal-El embarrassing–I think that almost half  of the “geek names” she recommends might come across as either annoying or embarrassing, or both, to your children.

In this post I will provide you with Smith’s rationale for recommending what she calls “Geeky names” for girls with my opinion, in italics, for either agreeing with her choice or opposing it.

Geeky Names Your Girls May Like

Amelia – As in Pond, one of the best and most memorable of the Doctor’s companions.
BL: Also the name of a courageous pilot, Amelia Earhart.

Aurora – It’s not this Alpha Flight member’s real name, but Jeanne-Marie Beaubie takes too long to say for someone as speedy as her.
BL: Also named after Aurora, goddess of dawn (aurora borealis refers to the beautiful light show in the sky aka northern lights).

Clara – The most recent companion of the Doctor, Clara Oswald has made a name for herself throughout history.
BL: Also, famous namesake (nurse) Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross.

Cora – Basically the Siri of Battlestar Gallactica.
BL: Other famous namesakes are: Cora Munro, the fictional heroine of The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper and Cora Crawley is a fictional character on the series Downton Abbey.

Felicity –Living up to MIT grad and member of Team Arrow Felicity Smoak is challenging but not impossible.
BL: It’s hard not to like a name that means “fortunate” or “happy.”

Peggy – Peggy Carter might have started out being best known as Captain America’s love interest but she’s her own person in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even has her own show with Agent Carter.
BL: Nothing wrong with this nickname for Margaret.

Raven – The teen years might be tough but they’d be worth it to name a girl after the Teen Titans Go! character.
BL: A strong name, particularly for a girl with a dark complexion.

Ripley – Who’s more badass than Ellen Ripley?
BL: Makes a strong “believe it or not” impression.

River – Whether it’s after River Song from Doctor Who or River Tam from Firefly is up to you.
BL: A gender-neutral nature name.

Ruby – An object-oriented scripting language, the name was originally taken from the birthstone of the colleague of its creator Yukihiro Matsumoto.
BL: A popular name that is identified with the Rolling Stones’ song, “Ruby Tuesday.”

Sarah – A Sentinel in Fallout 3, Sarah Lyons commands her own squad, Lyons’ Pride.
BL: The classic princess name I’d recommend despite the fact that the name is sometimes spelled without an “h.”

Sonya – Special Forces officer Sonya Blade has kept her fighting spirit throughout the Mortal Kombat series.
BL: How can you go wrong with a name that means “wise”?

Willow –Buffy’s BFF who possesses both magic and intelligence.
BL: An attractive nature name that comes across as feminine.

Zelda – It’s hard not to be legendary when you’re named after Shigeru Miyamoto’s beloved video game.
BL: Also the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, who exemplified “The Roaring Twenties” and “The Jazz Age”; plus the name has literary cachet.
Geeky Names That May Annoy or Embarrass Your Girls

Ada – Lord Byron’s daughter was the first computer programmer, working on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
BL: Odds of mispronunciation are high. Some people pronounce it AY-da. Some pronounce it AH-da. And some pronounce it  ADD-a.

Blossom –The “everything nice” Powerpuff girl.
BL: Blossom (and the Powerpuffs) make  a juvenile impression that is less likely to work well for an adult woman.

Echo – First seen in the Daredevil comics, Echo is a woman of many talents: athlete, ballerina, pianist, college professor, and, oh, yeah, Avenger.
BL: Teasers may be inspired to echo her name or anything poor Echo says.

Fleur – We first meet Fleur Delacour when she participates in the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but she proves her mettle far beyond that in the Battle of Hogwarts.
BL: The French word for flower is likely to be mispronounced FLOO-er, which, unfortunately, rhymes with sewer.

Kamala – This teenage shapeshifter is also known as Ms. Marvel.
BL: A difficult name to pronounce: Is it CA-mel-ah? Or COM-ma-lah? Or something else, altogether?

Kara – This name is sure to take off when the Supergirl series premieres this fall.
BL: This name may be pronounced either CARE-ah or CAR-ah. Only  one of those options is right.

Klara – For fans of The Hunger Games, this name hits the target.
BL: This name may be pronounced either CLARE-ah or CLAH-rah. Only one of those options is right.

Katniss – For fans of The Hunger Games, this name hits the target.
BL: This name sounds like “cat nip”; so it is likely to be misspelled by people who haven’t read the young adult book or seen the movie.

Leia – There’s no, “Leia, I am your father” line to live down.
BL: Leah (pronounced LEE-ah) is much more familiar (for spelling and pronunciation) than Leia (pronounced LAY-ah) which was popularized by Star Wars.

Leela – You won’t have to worry about her Futurama if she’s named after the captain of the Planet Express.
BL: Likely to be misspelled as “Leila” or confused with Eric Claption’s “Layla” and pronounced LAY-lah.

Teyla – Adept at technology and martial arts, Teyla Emmagan of Stargate Atlantis is prepared for life on Atlantis Earth.
BL: I doubt most people could spell this name after hearing it. It is likely to be mispronounced as TEE-lah rather than TAY-lah.

Consider the Alternate Meanings of These Eight Common Girls’ Names Before Choosing One

Bunny is a familiar form of Bernice, a Greek name that means bringer of victory. However, Bunny also means little rabbit, and a common impression about bunnies is that they are well known for their prolific “mating” behavior. (Hence the impression that a girl or woman named Bunny is likely to be a hot date.)

Cecilia is a Latin name that means blind. However, “Cecilia” is also the name of a calypso song that was originally popularized by Harry Belafonte. The lyrics go like this: “Cecilia/ you’re breaking my heart/ you’re shaking my confidence daily. Oh Cecilia/ I’m down on my knees/ I’m begging you please/ to come home.” The lyrics describe Cecelia as a difficult spouse or mate to keep or live with.

Dolly is an American name that is short for Dolores, a Spanish name that means sorrowful. However a doll is an inanimate object, often a girl, which can be dressed and undressed but doesn’t have feelings. ‘Nuff said.

Dotty is a nickname for Dorothy, a Greek name that means gift of god. However Dotty is a slang term that means crazy, insane or unbalanced.

Fifi is a familiar form of Josephine, a French, female form of Joseph. However Fifi is most commonly thought of as an appropriate name for a French poodle, which is the first impression people are likely  to think of when they hear the name.

Prissy and Priss are nicknames for Priscilla, a Latin name that means ancient. However, Prissy is an adjective that describes someone as priggish or prudish; and priss is a noun that means prig or prude. These impressions would be particularly difficult for a teenaged girl in high school who is beginning to enter the dating arena.

Sissy is a nickname for Cecilia a Latin name that means blind. However, sissy is a word that means scared, yellow or chicken.

Stormy is a name that refers to tempestuous weather, characterized by windy and wet or snowy weather which may be accompanied by thunder and lightning. However, Stormy also refers to tempestuous, impetuous or angry behavior.

5-Star Baby Name AdvisorReading this brief list of names with secondary meanings or associations is meant prompt you to brainstorm alternative meanings or associations for any name you like and think is worth serious consideration.  After “falling in like” with an name, the next step might be to look up the literal meaning as well as any secondary meaning or common impression that the name makes when you read it, hear it or think about it. Most baby name books don’t discuss this issue, which is why you might want to consult my book, 5 Star Baby Name Advisor, which discusses the literal meaning names as well as the impressions that names make.