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The Bridgerton Names Show Off an Age-Old Cultural Bias

March 5, 2021 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 1 Comment
Photo of Bridgerton characters

The TV series Bridgerton offers up Regency romance with a modern sensibility. The aristocracy is multiracial, the orchestras play Taylor Swift, and a dashing nobleman can show up for a ball without proper neckwear. But even in this winking mashup of a historical setting, one cultural line cannot be crossed: […]

A Baby Name Gender Gap Is Closing

February 18, 2021 Namerology 4 min read No Comments

Parents choose different names for boys and girls—and they choose names differently for boys and girls as well. For centuries, female names have been more creative and more subject to the shifting winds of fashion, much as female clothing has been. Male names, like male clothing, remained more conservative. Until […]

A Baby Name Gender Gap Is Closing, Part 2

February 18, 2021 Namerology 4 min read 2 Comments
road with "pavement ends" sign

In Part 1 of this series, I described how a longstanding gender difference in American baby naming is rapidly disappearing. Boys used to be named more conservatively, while girls’ names were more trendy and creative. Today, boys’ names too are objects of fashion, subject to shifting tastes. What does this […]

Can You Guess the Top Name Ending in Every Letter?

February 9, 2021 LauraWattenberg 2 min read No Comments
Namerology Challenges

Endings are the overlooked keys to baby name style. The final “t” is the power behind fashionable names like Scarlett and Violet. The final “r” lends names like Cooper and Sawyer extra energy. Yet we alphabetize names in the standard order, starting at the beginning. Here’s a chance to give […]

The Names that Do—and Don’t—Hold Power in Washington

February 4, 2021 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 5 Comments
"I'm sorry, Dave" (image from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey)

The Brady Bunch? In. Dave and Jen? Out. Oh, and women? Yeah, they’re still out too. Those are a few of the conclusions from a review of the names that rule in American government. I tallied the given names of over 900 current high-ranking US public servants, including congresspeople, cabinet […]

Name This Name Style

January 22, 2021 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 32 Comments
Illustration of an upward graph with a question mark

A name trend requires a common thread: a style link that makes a whole group of names rise and fall together. It might be a shared suffix, or meaning, or linguistic origin. Occasionally it’s something more elusive—a theme you recognize but can’t easily define. That’s the case with a new […]

Shockingly Rare Names for Boys

January 14, 2021 LauraWattenberg 1 min read 2 Comments
Photo of surprised baby

Let’s talk about a rare boy’s name. Really rare. A name that isn’t ranked in the current top 1000, or even the top 2000. A name rarer than Theophilus, or Dinero, or Supreme. A name like Brad. Among grown men, of course, Brad is hardly a curiosity. It was a […]

Nicknaming In Reverse

January 6, 2021 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 7 Comments
Ace playing card edited to say Aceton

It’s 1946. The girls’ nicknames Judy and Trudy are the height of charm. But while Judy springs from the youthful hit Judith, Trudy is short for the tired old standby Gertrude. What’s a trendy, Trudy-loving parent to do? The answer for some was Trudith, a 1940s-only concoction born of a […]

5 Names that Mattered in 2020

December 22, 2020 LauraWattenberg 6 min read 1 Comment
Elon Musk holding baby

The pace of news was set to double-time in 2020, and name news was no exception. Names made headlines as they were chosen, abandoned, celebrated, mocked, debated and redefined. These five names made their mark on a year like no other. COVIDThe many names given to the virus that paralyzed […]

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