By Abby Sandel
Most Mondays, I write about nine baby names in the news. Over 51 weeks, that’s a grand total of 459 names. Celebrity birth announcements make up the lion’s share of entries, but blogger babies, fictional characters, and just plain great names make the lists, too.
It’s a privilege to chronicle the year this way, and it’s fun to look back at the names that get positive reactions – and the ones that provoke the opposite response, too.
This year, I went back through all 459 names – plus dozens from other posts I’ve written – to choose nine of my personal favorites. Some are possibilities I’d consider for a child of my own. Most are names that have stayed with me over the years, the kind of favorites that every name lover collects, but some are brand new, too.
Here are my nine top baby names from 2015:
Matteo – Evergreen classics like Matthew and Luke are great, but I have a soft spot for the romance language versions of the names – Matteo and Luca and Giovanni, Santiago and Marco and Lorenzo. Matteo and Mateo have featured in many a high profile birth announcement over the last few years, including Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt’s new addition, Matteo Oliver. That’s the reason Matteo made this list at the beginning of the year.
Finn – It’s funny how a fictional character can change the way we see a name. I’ve always liked literary, legendary Finn well enough. But now that it’s the name of a Star Wars hero, it seems even more appealing. The numbers suggest that something similar happened with Luke after the original movie’s debut in 1977. Unlike Anakin, Finn has enough history that it doesn’t feel impossibly tied to the movies – but could still be boosted by the blockbuster.
Dashiell – Dashiell is the best of both worlds – a literary surname name with sporty, speedy nickname Dash. Best of all? It’s still outside of the US Top 1000, despite being the name of Cate Blanchett’s eldest, and a character in the Disney-Pixar movie The Incredibles. It makes the 2015 list because actress Michelle Clunie gave the name to a son earlier this year.
Harvey – Twenty years ago, Henry was a quirky classic that was catching on. Now Henry is everybody’s favorite, and Harvey is the new name on the upswing. Some of it is thanks to legal drama Suits, but credit also goes to Harvey’s on-trend sound. It’s easy to imagine Harvey on the same playground as Oliver and Wesley. Harvey comes from my post on classic baby names making a comeback. To be honest, I love pretty much every name on the list.
Alaia – With Ava, Amelia, Avery, Aubrey, Addison, Aria, Anna, and Ariana in the US Top 50, are there any A names undiscovered? Absolutely! Telemundo host Adamari Lopez comes from a family with all A names, and she found a great name in the tradition for her daughter: Alaïa. Designer Azzedine Alaia lends it some high fashion glam, and the name also means happy in Basque. It’s a completely unexpected possibility for parents who love Sienna and Elena but want something less expected.
Eleni – The name has been worn by a sixteenth century Ethiopian empress and a 21st century baking mogul. Eleni is the modern Greek form of Helen. While Helen feels traditional, a sister for Katherine or Jane, Eleni is in the same category as Djuna, Lark, or Esme – modern, creative, and spirited. It’s a good choice for parents after an unexpected name with roots. Names that straddle two categories almost always make my favorites list. Eleni appeared on my list of girl names ending in ‘i’ – there are more of them than you might guess!
Edith – This is the second Cate Blanchett baby name to make this year’s list. She and Andrew Upton are probably my favorite celebrity baby naming couple, and I’d love to hear the names they didn’t use when naming sons Dashiell, Roman, and Ignatius, as well as this year’s addition to the family, Edith Vivian Patricia. Edith is a nineteenth century favorite that feels fresh again. Keira Knightley named her daughter Edie this year, too. Combined, the celebrity birth announcements should be enough to make more parents take another look at Edith.
Marigold – Vintage flower names are among the hottest trends we’ve identified for 2016. That means writer Tara Wood was ahead of the curve when she chose this gorgeous name for her youngest earlier this year. Marigold made one of my Monday round-ups, but Tara’s post about choosing her daughter’s name is a must-read.
Cordelia – No doubt, my favorite post of the year was 28 Gorgeous Girls Names that Berries Love. And from that list, Cordelia is the stand-out to me – literary, with that stylish –lia ending, and a cousin to fast-rising Cora. It’s one of those names that I doubt I’d ever seriously consider for a child, and yet I absolutely love every time I hear it on someone else’s daughter.
Do you have any new favorites for 2015? Which names caught your attention this year?
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