With 2009 name fads, from Marley to Miley, safely behind us, what do we see as the hottest trends in baby names for the year ahead Here, Nameberry’s top 15 predictions for 2010 baby names:
BIGGEST BIG PICTURE TREND: ECONOMICAL NAMES
In this era of tighter budgets and darker outlooks, 2010 baby names will be getting both shorter and more light-hearted. We see a trend toward nickname names ahead. For boys, these are economical one-syllable names: Bob, Joe, Gus, Hal, Hank, Max. Such short forms in every sense of the phrase are stylish, and getting more so in Europe, with Jack the number one name in England, Tom tops in France, Bas and Sem popular in the Netherlands.
For girls, the nickname trend adds an “ie” onto the end of every name: Gracie, Ellie, Evie, Maisie, Josie. Trendlet: boys’ nicknames Lou, Charlie, Sam, Frankie for girls.
NEWEST RETRO TREND
We predict the revival of serious, no-frills names that haven’t been considered for babies in several generations: Adele, Alice, Dorothy, Edith, Evelyn, Florence, Lenore, Louise and Marion for girls; Arthur, Frank, Harold, Harvey, Martin, Raymond, Victor, Vincent, Walter and Warren for boys. Having trouble imagining such sober names on cute little kids? We said the same thing about Moses and Matilda a handful of years ago.
MOST FASHIONABLE CONSONANT
L, by far, with the booming fashionableness of almost every L name for girls, and most especially those with two L sounds: Lila, Lola, Layla, Leila, Lily, Lillian, Delilah, Tallulah, even Lulu and Lucille.
NEW “IT” VOWEL
E, with Emma taking over from Emily (now number 3) at the top of the girls’ list, and a range of E names for both boys and girls rising through the ranks: Ethan, Eden, Eleanor, Emmett, Eli, Eliza, Elijah, Ella, Evan, Eva, Eloise, Evangeline, Elliot, Esme, et nearly al.
LATEST GENDER-BENDING TREND
Male-female name equivalents: Auden and Audrey, Isaiah and Isabella, Theo and Thea. In fact, an association with a popular name of the opposite sex is enough to propel an unlikely choice to prominence: Edison on the coattails of Addison, for example, or Malachi hitching a ride with Makayla.
BIGGEST POP CULTURE INFLUENCE
Twilight, which has catapulted Edward (another E name) from boring old man name to sexiest boy on the block, may boost Bella to number one, and popularize such unlikely choices as Cullen and Esme.
MOST SURPRISING COMEBACK NAME
Felix, replacing Oscar. The X factor is important in several names getting another turn in the sun — Dexter, Rex, all forms of Max as well as some new choices, such as Maddox, Paxton, and Jaxon.
COOLEST MIDDLE NAME TREND
Double and triple middle names a la the British royals, using mother’s maiden plus another, or honoring both grandmothers or fathers at the same time.
MOST UNLIKELY MAINSTREAM TREND
Jewish surnames, specifically Cohen and Jacoby, have become hot among middle-American, distinctly non-Jewish parents. Miller is also rising. Next up: Shapiro?
FRENCH FASHION THAT WON’T MAKE IT HERE
Prune, most chic among names for little Parisian girls, is unlikely to find a following in the U.S. Though it’s true translation, Plum, is definitely finding favor.
HOTTEST TREND INSPIRED BY A CELEBRITY BABY NAME
Did an incipient trend for bird names inspire Nicole Richie and Joel Madden to name their newborn son Sparrow, or was it the other way around? No matter. Bird names are the latest genre of nature names, now that the gardens of flower names have become overgrown. Up and coming avian names: Lark, Wren, Hawk, Dove, Anything but the dated Robin. Then there’s also the genetic Birdie, daughter of Maura West.
ETHNIC NAME GROUP MOST LIKELY TO RISE
Latin names, both Spanish and Italian — Seraphina, Mateo/Matteo, Valentina/Valentino, Cruz, Romeo, Lucia and Luciana, and Paloma. Even as one study says Hispanic parents in the U.S. are less likely to use Latin names after two or three generations, such choices are gaining in acceptance among non-Latino American parents.
GIRL TREND READY TO JUMP THE SHARK
Rose as a middle name has become as wilted as such old school connective names as Lee and Lynn, Ann and Marie. And Grace is coming up fast behind it.
BOY TREND READY TO JUMP THE SHARK
Two syllable faux surname-names. When people are naming their sons after prisons such as Ryker, it’s time to stop.
TREND WE’D MOST LIKE TO SEE DIE
Reality TV names that feel about as authentic as the people behind them Khloe, Audrina, Jaslene. Come on, people, Even Jackson, as in Michael, is a more unambivalently worthy namesake.
Nameberry (http://nameberry.com) is a baby-naming site produced by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, co-authors of 10 bestselling baby name guides, including the newest, “Beyond Ave and Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby.”