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America’s New Top Baby Names

May 7, 2021 Namerology 1 min read No Comments

Just in: the official ranking of the most popular baby names in the USA for the year 2020.  BOYS GIRLS 1 Liam Olivia 2 Noah Emma 3 Oliver Ava 4 Elijah Charlotte 5 William Sophia 6 James Amelia 7 Benjamin Isabella 8 Lucas Mia 9 Henry Evelyn 10 Alexander […]

Namerology Challenges

“Tell Me Your Name Without Telling Me Your Name”

April 27, 2021 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 38 Comments

A social media craze is taking on names. And, my fellow name enthusiasts, I think we can do it better. The game is called a #TellMeChallenge, or “tell me without telling me.” The goal is to convey a piece of information in a sideways manner, with a reference that makes […]

Double Trouble: Transformer Names

April 21, 2021 Namerology 2 min read 4 Comments

Nicknames are a change of pace. Any formal name that comes with an appealing nickname can be a 2-for-1 bargain, letting you adjust your name to suit your setting. But some names take the style versatility further: from elegant to bold, from Bruce Wayne to Batman, from banker to buzzsaw. […]

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The Surprising Story of Boys Ending in -A

April 13, 2021 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 3 Comments

Once upon a time, something happened to boys’ names ending in the letter A. Or rather, two somethings. Starting around 1970 the typically female -a ending was twice transformed, and the sound of American boys hasn’t been the same since. See for yourself. The top black line in this chart […]

Vintage cartoon with the caption "Joyce means 'sportive'"

Is There Any Hope for the Names of the ’40s and ’50s?

March 26, 2021 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 6 Comments

These are strange times for Carol and Glenn. As hot baby names of the 1940s and ’50s, they’ve fallen into a black hole of fashion. They’re not yet antiques, and they’re not aggressively contrarian in style like Mildred or Floyd. They’re just invisible, a stylistic blind spot that parents don’t […]

Look Ma, No Consonants!

March 18, 2021 LauraWattenberg 2 min read 5 Comments

Vowels have been squeezing out consonants in names for years. Now they’re cutting out the middleman. More and more, vowel sounds follow one another in baby names without any consonant buffer—just ask Liam or Noah.

Picture of a secret door in a bookcase

The Secret Lives of Jenny and Jessie

March 12, 2021 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 3 Comments

Psst…you know Jenny and Jessie, right? They’re the standard nicknames for Jennifer and Jessica, the two names that dominated American fashion for decades. No names could be more familiar. Well, once upon a time Jenny and Jessie weren’t the same nicknames-next-door that we know and love. In fact, they weren’t […]

Photo of Bridgerton characters

The Bridgerton Names Show Off an Age-Old Cultural Bias

March 5, 2021 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 8 Comments

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: […]

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