Baby names 2014 will see parents reviving family names and long-dormant choices, finding inspiration in literary characters and world leaders, looking to names to make their children seem stronger or spicier. Our picks for the Top 12 Baby Name Trends of 2014 are:
Most stunning revival: Eccentric ancestor names
Today’s two predominant baby name trends – family names and vintage revivals – combine to bring back antique names long judged so far out they’d always be out. So welcome back, Edna and Ethel; come on down, Gertrude and Percy; walk right in, Wilhelmina and Wolfgang. And if Edna feels too clunky for nursery school, you can always call her Edie.
Hottest middle names: Boys' names for girls
Coming up — more and more girls given traditional boy names in the middle spot, whether as family namesakes or just because they have a cool edge. Cases in point: girl star-babies named Autumn James, Gracie James, Mary James, Poppy James, Agnes Charles and Lucy Thomas.
Tastiest trend: Spice girl names
Have you noticed the spicy scents emanating from a lot of baby name lists and announcements? Herb and spice names are becoming a full-blown trend, featuring Saffron (recently picked by Tony Kanal) and Sage (a multi-celebrity fave) and Rosemary, and from further back on the spice shelf Poppy (seeds), Bay (leaves), Juniper (berries), Cassia, Cinnamon, Cayenne and Lavender.
Most surprising baby name influencer: Pope Francis
Hello, Pope Francis? Let’s talk baby names. Francesco has been the top boys' name in Italy for several years, but thanks to you the name is going viral, with parents around the world rediscovering Frances, Francisco, Francesca, Frank and Frankie, Francine and of course Francis too. As a baby name influencer, we think you’ve got it all over TV villains Dexter, Arlo Givens, and Walter White.
Most admirable trend: Virtue names for boys
A worthy antidote to the Rowdy, Wilder Bad Boy Names we’ve been hearing so much of lately: New Virtue Names for boys. Joining upright sisters Hope, Faith and Mercy are rediscovered righteous brothers Noble, Valor (recently chosen by Emile Hirsch), Justice, Loyal and True.
Coolest consonant: C
Vowel names may still dominate the popularity charts, but we’re hearing an increasing number of cool names that start with the letter C. Combine the ancient feel of Cassius, Cassia, Cassian and Caspian with vintage revivals such as Cyrus, Cora, Clarissa, Clementine, Cordelia and Clara, classics Charlotte and Claire, plus nouveau Clover, Cedar and Cadence, and you’ve got C as the clear-cut consonant of 2014.
Ethnicity ready to rise: Greek
Some of the best known ancient Greek mythological names are already front and center—Penelope, Persephone, Chloe and Calliope—but we see a bright future ahead for Greek names in general—Theodora, Evangeline, Olympia, Cyrus, Elias.
Name trend jumping the shark: Boys' names ending in N
It’s over, Aidan – and also Ayden and Zayden as well as Camden, Kellan, Landon, Bryson and Cohen. It’s the nouveau, surname-sounding, two-syllable n-ending names we see sailing out to sea: Classics like Owen and Ethan are here to stay.
Celebrity trend most likely to catch on: Dowdy royal names
The frenzy surrounding the name possibilities for Britain’s royal babe brought to light and made plausible a whole new category of reconsiderable appellations. Suddenly, Mary, Louis, Helena, Albert, Margaret, Arthur, Maud and, of course, George can look forward to new life in 2014.
Celebrity trend least likely to catch on: Joke names
Don’t get us wrong: We like the name North. We even predicted it as one of our hottest trends of 2013 a whole year ago, ancient history in Kardashian-and-Kanye time. But North West? Uh, no. We’re also looking at the parents who gave their daughter five first names and those that named their son after their room décor. No wonder all these children took on nicknames —pronto!
Newest old people names:Baby boomer names
As baby boomers near Social Security age, their names are falling off the Social Security baby name popularity list. With great-grandparent names like Violet and Henry, Max and Mabel sounding cool again, the names of the new real-life grandma and grandpas, most of them baby boomers, seem musty and dusty. So long, Gail and Gary, Kathy and Kenneth, Janet and Jeffrey, Patricia and Paul. See you in a generation or two.
Slowest-breaking trend: Historic hero names
What took them so long? The newest hero names relate to real people and fictional characters that have been hidden in plain sight for decades—if not centuries. Suddenly taking off: Huckleberry, Dashiell, Scarlett, Atticus, Chaplin, Zane, McKinley and Lincoln.