June 17, 2014 at 11:00 PM ET
As the hit film "Frozen" smashes box office records, it looks like Disney has another baby name hit on its hands. The names of heroine Elsa the Snow Queen, and to a lesser degree her sister Anna, are getting a tremendous amount of baby-name buzz, which is sure to bounce them up on next year’s popularity figures.
Elsa, a German and Swedish nickname for Elisabeth, has in the past lagged behind other Elizabeth diminutives — Liz, Beth, Eliza, Betty and Betsy, Beth and Bess, Lisa and Liza — but that’s surely about to change. Elsa arrives at a moment when El-starting names are red hot, from Ella to Eloise to Elodie, and it makes a perfect replacement for the mega-popular Ella — bolstered by the fact that the character is such a strong and positive role model.
Babycentre.co.uk, the British version of the popular parenting website, reported that Elsa has broken into their top 100 name list for the first time ever this year.
Outside the US, Elsa is currently the third most popular name in her native Sweden.
Sister name Anna has long been a multi-cultural classic: in recent times she’s been in the Top 50 since 1990, now ranking at Number 35 in the US, and in the top dozen in Austria, Hungary, Iceland, Denmark, Italy, Norway, and the Netherlands
Unlike the dashing Celtic hero name of Tangled, Flynn Rider, the boys’ names of Frozen might have a slightly tougher time, in particular Hans and Olaf. Kristoff has better prospects, as a more exotic form of Christopher, but I think the more likely possibilities are Kai—already on the upswing—and Sven, even though it’s the name of a reindeer.
Elsa, of course, is not the first Disney Princess name to catch on—her influential predecessors include Ariel, Aurora, (Cinder) Ella, Tiana and Belle.
Linda Rosenkrantz is co-founder of the baby name web site Nameberry.com and co-author of "The Baby Name Bible."