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These Names are Moving in Opposite Directions in the US and England

November 8, 2021 namerology 7 Comments

These Names are Moving in Opposite Directions in the US and England

November 8, 2021 Namerology 7 Comments
US and UK flags flying in opposite directions

Name style is a moving target. You can learn as much from the direction names are heading as from their current popularity rankings. And when it comes to fashion in the US vs. England, some names are moving in very different directions.

I’ve identified ten names that are rising fast in one country and falling fast in the other. They’re an intriguing group, and harder to pin down than simply “most American” and “most British” names. Sometimes one country trails behind the other, picking up on a hot name a decade later when it has already passed its peak across the pond. In other cases, the name has different social connotations in the two countries. And some opposite-trending names I have no clear explanation for. (Yet!)

See for yourself. For each of these names, can you guess where it’s rising and where it’s falling?

Finley (M)
Finley is trending...
↑ in England, ↓ in US
In England, Finley is a popular, fast-rising and exclusively male name, while in the US, female Finleys have taken the lead and the name is falling for boys)
Arabella (F)
Arabella is trending...
↑ in England, ↓ in US
Arabella’s sharp rise comes a decade later in England, and is reaching higher heights
Lewis (M)
Lewis is trending...
↑ in US, ↓ in England
Lewis came and went 20 years ago in England, but just hit the US with an assist from Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi
Dixie (F)
Dixie is trending...
↑ in England, ↓ in US
England loves cute nicknames, and Dixie is a more politically loaded term in the US
Colton (M)
Colton is trending...
↑ in England, ↓ in US
Colton peaked as a Western US hit in 2013, but is suddenly catching interest in England today
Denise (F)
Denise is trending...
↑ in US, ↓ in England
The ‘60s French favorite remains dormant in England but has reemerged as a Latina name in the US
Isla (F)
Isla is trending...
↑ in US, ↓ in England
Isla is still a much bigger hit in England, but US parents have finally caught on
Frankie (F)
Frankie is trending...
↑ in US, ↓ in England
The US doesn’t like cute boyish nicknames for boys, but suddenly loves them for girls
Roman (M)
Roman is trending...
↑ in England, ↓ in US
Roman had followed a similar path in both countries until veering in opposite paths last year
Michelle (F)
Michelle is trending...
↑ in England, ↓ in US
Surprisingly, Michelle is the reverse of Denise. Can anyone offer insight?

For a full look at name popularity and trends in the US and England/Wales, explore our freshly updated table of over 40,000 names!


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  • Becca November 8, 2021 at 5:17 pm

    I’m in the US and I’d associate Roman recently with the ED drug website

  • holey
    holey November 9, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Should Denise be marked as (F)?

  • Elea November 9, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    Denise and Michelle are both of my aunts! They are sisters, but they are the eldest and youngest daughter of 5 — the others are Elaine, Karen and Gail — so one was born in the 50s and another in the 60s.

    Michelle rising baffles me a little. The only person I can think of is actress Michelle Keegan.

  • McClain November 10, 2021 at 4:39 am

    Arabella’s rise in Britain might be helped by the Arctic Monkeys’ song of that name from 2013. They’re probably the best rock band of this millennium, but more appreciated in their home country than they are in the States

  • A Silver Spork November 10, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    The only thing I can think of for Michelle is the former First Lady – former president Obama released a memoir last year, which made quite a splash.

  • nicwo December 1, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Wasn’t Michelle more popular a name than Denise? I know seven Michelle’s for one Denise. So I should think it could be the phenom that it’s getting generational outs, like it’s that no one sees baby and thinks [that name] because they have an aunt or grandma with it or just seems it makes a time related statement. And/or it almost becomes an honorific if someone uses it. I think another generation could bring Michelle back and will sound fresh again. (Denise sounds a little less French-conventional and de- names have a following on their own.)

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