The good folks at Nameberry have released a mid-year best baby names list, based on name searches conducted on their site. No surprise, the list reveals some of this year’s newsmakers – from hottie royals (Pippa), to hottie Hollywood celebs (Mila) to crush-worthy literary classics (Holden, Archer). And yes, while Posh and Becks went with Harper, which was on a 2010 hottest name list, one of their rumored back-up names – Luna – was among those most searched so far.
What are the hottest new baby names so far this year? Based on an analysis of over 23 million page views at Nameberry, we’ve gathered a surprising list of hot names, driven by unexpected celebrities, rediscovered classics, and the year’s most compelling events.
Nameberry’s Hottest Baby Names of 2011:
It wasn’t only Pippa Middleton’s bottom that attracted widespread attention at April’s Royal Wedding; her name – both the familiar Pippa and the more formal Philippa – is the Number 1 hottest baby name of the year on Nameberry. Pippa ranks 35 on our most-searched list so far this year, after not appearing at all among our 200 most popular girls’ names of 2010. While Kate is up too, it’s not nearly as hot as Pippa.
The soft, Biblical Asher takes the Hottest Boys’ Name spot by virtue of having unseated Henry as the all-time Number 1 name for boys on Nameberry. For the first time ever, Asher has pulled ahead to become Number 1.
New celebrity baby name trend: Star parents choose attention-getting name, then refuse to reveal the name they’ve picked, perhaps to heighten interest and publicity? Elula, the unusual Hebrew calendar name chosen by Isla Fisher and Sasha Baron Cohen for their second daughter, was not even in our database last year and now is the Number 38 most-searched name on Nameberry.
In a groundbreaking baby name move that feminists can applaud, boys’ names are for the first time being pushed into the limelight by the popularity of their female counterparts. The popularity of Everett, up 50 places on our most-searched list, was inspired by such stylish girls’ choices as Eva and Evelyn.
The success of the bestselling novel The Paris Wife has catapulted the intriguing name of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, 50 spots up our list this year over last.
Why does a star’s name sometimes languish for years, inspiring few little namesakes, and then suddenly take off? It happened most notably in the past decade with Ava, and now it’s Arlo, as in folksinger Guthrie, that’s enjoying a popularity surge. Other o-ending names for boys heating up in 2011: Nico, Hugo, Otto. (Yes, Otto.)
It’s the name of a gorgeous young star, Mila Kunis, PLUS it resembles a handful of trendy names -- Mia, Maya, Lila -- that are due for a hiatus. The result: A breakout baby name, up nearly 40 places this year.
Finn is already hot, but cousin Flynn, baby name choice of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, is taking off. This one also nods to the Golden Age of Hollywood and Errol Flynn.
Ada, Adele, Adeline, Adelaide
If it’s a vintage girls’ name that starts with Ad-, it can’t miss this year, it seems. All these choices are leapfrogging up the Nameberry list, taking over where too-trendy cousins Ava and Addison left off.
Literary baby names are hot right now, especially when they’re not too literary: Think Holden, Atticus, and yes (more on this in a moment) Harper. Archer, as in Henry James’ Portrait of a Ladyand Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence, is perfect: It’s unusual, classic yet contemporary-feeling, and there’s no danger of anyone actually having read the books.
The Beckhams picked the yawn-inducing Harper for their daughter, but we can’t call that one of the hottest names of 2011 because it was already one of the hottest names of 2010, when nearly 3000 non-celebrity baby girls were called Harper. And Seven is just too….weird. The real hottie launched by the Beckham name quest was otherworldly Luna, the name rumored to be their girls’ pick for most of Posh’s pregnancy.
Take our poll and tell us: What are you inspired by when it comes to choosing baby names?
Nameberry is a baby name website with nearly 700,000 monthly visitors, based on the ten bestselling name books, including The Baby Name Bible and Cool Names for Babies, by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz.