The Age of Aidans

May 12th 2005

Looking at the most popular American baby names of 2004, one name leaps out at me....or rather, one sound. A whopping 33 different names rhyming with Aidan made the boys' top 1000 list. (And that doesn't even count the near misses, like Dayton-Payton-Layton-Clayton-Treyton.) That number is up from 28 Aidan-esque names in 2003, and just one 20 years ago.

Such an overwhelmingly fashionable name sound is unprecedented. Now before you start dwelling on all the little Kristens, Kristas and Christines you knew in the '70s, I should make it clear: the remarkable part of the Aidan phenomenon is that we're talking about boys' names.

Traditionally, male names have been much less subject to the whims of fashion than female names. Parents were always more conservative in naming boys, and less likely to view their name choice as a style statement. Styles would change, but relatively slowly. Mary, Lisa, Jennifer, Jessica, Ashley and Emily all spent time as America's #1 girl's name during Michael's long reign as the top choice for boys. Yet last year, the majority of the new names debuting in the top 1000 lists were male names. And in a clear nod to fashion, two thirds of those new names ended with the letter N. In fact, more than a third of all the names on the boys' 1000 now end in N.

I've said before that androgynous names are a one-way street: parents like boyish names for girls, not girlish names for boys. But even as we choose more and more traditionally masculine names for girls, the way we approach naming our boys is moving toward the traditionally "feminine." Today, parents are extremely fashion-conscious with their sons' names as well as their daughters -- a first glimpse, perhaps, at how this generation will be raised.

For the curious or incredulous, here is the full 2004 Aidan-esque honor roll (boys only):

Aden Aidan Aiden Aydan Ayden Aydin
Braden Bradyn Braeden Braedon Braiden Brayden Braydon
Caden Caiden Cayden Kaden Kadin Kaeden Kaiden Kayden
Haden Haiden Hayden
Jaden Jadon Jadyn Jaeden Jaiden Jaidyn Jayden Jaydin Jaydon


By Antoinette (not verified)
November 22, 2005 4:15 PM

I've never liked any of the Aiden names. Adrien might be a nice alternative to them.

By Anonymous (not verified)
January 9, 2006 11:10 PM

I love the name Cayden and that is what my son's name will be when he comes out in April. I dont think it is a big deal that it is on the top 100 list or whatever. My name is Ashley and that was in the top 10 then year I was born and I only know maybe 2 other Ashley's.

By Anonymous (not verified)
January 22, 2006 2:03 AM

Well, I don't mind aden-names, as long as they are legitimate names and not made-up.Aidan is an old Irish fn, Braden is well known too, Cadan is also Irish, Hayden is a well known surname, Jadon is an old biblical name. Raiden is a Japanese name, meaning "thunder", I wonder if this name will take off too.

By Anonymous (not verified)
January 23, 2006 6:13 AM

I guess my parents were just ahead of their time when they named me "Madyson" 20 years ago, and my brother "Brayden" 15 years ago.I prefer Aidan for a girl and second whoever suggested Adrian (one of my faves) as an alternative

By Tansey (not verified)
January 24, 2006 8:04 PM

As an alternative to Aiden, Euen is a very nice name but beware - with a fairly famous film star of the same name (Euan McGregor), it could become more popular than at present. That goes for a number of other less usual names, Angelina, Jamie, Sean, Orlando, Paris, Charlize etc etc.

By Anonymous (not verified)
January 26, 2006 12:24 AM

"I prefer Aidan for a girl"Why do you prefer to use a traditional boy's name for a girl instead of for a boy? Are there not enough female name to choose from?And if you think that Aidan is too popular for a boy, I don't think a girl Aidan among 3 boy Aidans would be any happier than a boy Aidan among 3 other boy Aidans.

By Christina (not verified)
February 27, 2006 8:23 PM

I know that Aidan is a legitimate Irish saint's name, but I always thought it sounded like a chopped-up Adrian (a name which I prefer).

By Abi (not verified)
June 24, 2006 10:33 PM

The observations about name endings is interesting. I noticed that quite a few of my favourite boy names end in a similar way; Francis, Jonas, Thomas, Nicholas, Lewis. I think to me this ending sounds latinate and classical (even though the names as a whole might not) and therefore I subconsciously associate it with culture and intelligence.
On a side note to the main topic, I went to school with an Aydin, which is a Turkish (as was he) name, with the first syllable pronounced 'eye'. Whenever I see Aiden I want to pronounce it like that.
Also Ewan McGregor does not spell his name Euan.

By anonymous (not verified)
June 30, 2006 10:50 PM

I have two son's, Aiden and Euan. We were very surprised at the popularity of Aiden's name as neither my husband or I have ever watched sex in the city. I have taught in an all boys high school for 8 years and so had very few selections of boys names available to me that were not tarnished by a bad experience. I have never taught a Euan and the only Aden (spelt differently) I taught was a really lovely young man. We chose Aiden becuase we liked it and looked up all the different spellings and their meaning etc and chose the one that meant the nicest things. It suits him but if you are after a quiet nice kid I would avoid it. He is a very lively, cheeky 2 year old.

By kelly (not verified)
July 16, 2006 12:13 AM

I agree that it only matters what you think of a name. My name is Kelly and was shocked when I found out it was also a boys name. I was shocked again when I was one of 7 kellys in my high school choir. Since I was very young I liked Z names and when I was pregnant with my daughter I came up with the name Zayden after i named her i saw it on lots of name lists as a boy name and we have met many haden,jaden, and bradens since then. It doesn't bother me, I really think it is a strong name for a strong little girl. And most people like it. Also I've heard the name aiden a lot but never met one.

By Jen (not verified)
August 16, 2006 8:17 PM

I'd never seen the -den names until my husband and I were/are expecting and we see them on every forum - Braden, Jaden, Caiden... And I had no idea where it began -- we've actually been quite curious. Since it's our first child, and I'm sort of ancient, the only Aiden I knew was Aiden Quinn (which was a great name then!) -- but how did all the others come about? I didn't know about the Sex and the City character, but I suppose it makes sense that that could be a jumping off point for the new trend? Anyone think so? Someone on another forum thought they were offshoots of Jason. Jason-->Jadon, but that doesn't seem right to me. Where did Brayden even begin?

I'm a Jennifer, born in the 1960's right before it hit it big. I despise it. It dates me, and it dates me younger than I am, so I've always had a problem feeling fully professional or serious. I feel like a Tiffany or an Ammber. For this reason, I wouldn't want to even risk using a trend name.

By Karla (not verified)
September 6, 2006 11:10 PM

i also know how it feels to be "karla....with a k". personally i like the fact that it is un-common. i feel more individual.
although i did always want something with my name on like the other kids but couldnt find my name any where in shops!

By unknown (not verified)
September 22, 2006 5:13 PM

I am going to name my daughter Jaidynn. I think that is a very beautiful name and has a lot of characteristics to it. My first daughter is name Serenity. So, I guess I just like to be different than the rest. I just hope that both of my children will appreciate the names that they are given and will feel that it was a good choice and wont grow up hating the name they were given.

By European (not verified)
October 1, 2006 10:25 AM

Lucky us, we live in Germany and here our son's name "Cayden" is still unique. We actually found it in a gaelic naming book and since my husband liked the name Kai but not Aiden, we were happy to find this compromise. And since the birth was a battle, the gaelic meaning for Cayden - "spirit of battle" fits perfectly.
We knew Aiden was popular but never saw that Cayden was in the top lists. But as I said before, over here in Europe that name is still unique.

By Tanya SA (not verified)
November 28, 2006 10:29 AM

My husband's name is Grantham and he has always heard "That is such a unique name" - yet there is another person his age who has that name in a nearby community and there have been a few boys with that name in the past few years (my mom is a Gr 1 teacher so I get to hear all the names)... so I am not sure what we will be naming our children. It does seem that going after a 'unique' name is quite risky as it can move over into the 'stupid name' category very quickly. I am Tanya with a 'y'! So we are a combination of the very common name (from the 70s) and very unique name - but also endangered now.. I always said I would name my boy "Jesse' one day but then that took off as a trend. Then "Ethan" did the same thing (husband's choice)!! Who knows, I will keep on thinking about this until I have my children. Thanks for the insights (and the forewarning)!!

By Jen (not verified)
December 13, 2006 10:54 PM

As a Jennifer from 78, I'd just like to beg all expecting parents to please check out the top baby names from recent years and avoid using them at all costs. My mother didn't do it on purpose -- not many people do. But you need to be aware of what's going on out there. I went to a small school with less than 50 people in my grade level, and still there were 3 Jennifers. I spent years hearing "Jenny" yelled out by mothers in every store I went in. I had 2 other Jen's in my wedding. I really like my name, but a little more individuality would have been nice.

Now I have a niece named Caitlin, 5 years old. Poor thing complained that she wished she had a grown-up name. We tried to convince her she did, but I can see what means. When you know dozens of kids with the same name as you, and no adults, you really wonder what your parents were thinking.

By anonymous (not verified)
January 6, 2007 9:04 AM

I named my son Aidan thinking it was a more unusual name and a stron Irish name....I didn't know of any Aidans I never watched much tv let alone Sex and the City. So now I"m hearing it's one of the most popular boy names! Go figure. I do know a lot of Brayden and Haydens though...I still think Aidan is cool despite the popularity.

By Amy (not verified)
January 19, 2007 12:25 AM

There is nothing wrong with the unique names like cayden, brayden, aiden. My sons name is cayden and i never heard of it until i seen it in a baby book. Once i had him everyone knew someone else with that name. I thought i was the only one. Guess not. They are unique and different, besides the old names are getting to old we need change.

By Amy (not verified)
January 19, 2007 12:34 AM

On a further note... talking about the aden names--people do tend to get weird and name babys like rainy, sunny, cresent moon, star, heaven, journey and stormy. I know someone who has two girls by Stormy and Journey. Talk about crazy, i think cayden, jayden, hayden are normal compared to these names.

By louise (not verified)
January 20, 2007 10:23 PM

My son was born on the 22nd June 2006 and from the start of my pregnancy myself and my partner choose the name Kayden for a boy and we didn't tell anybody because we didn't want anyone copying us because it was an unusual name. Now that Kayden is 7 months old there seems to be a few people we kinda know copying the name and it really annoys us! Kayden was an unusual name and now its becoming to popular.

By Allison (not verified)
March 9, 2007 8:10 AM

Whew. My three year old was going to be a Jayden. My husband and I had heard it before we knew it was insanely popular and thought it would be nice. Then when we were meeting other expecting parents with young kids we found that a lot were expecting or had or knew Brayden, Jayden, Hayden, Grayden, Thayden (boys) and Shayden, Jayden, Kayden, Fayden (girls) (not sure of spellings, just guessing) ........ So since we still really liked the feel of the name Jayden, but didn't want him to rhyme with all of his classmates, he is named Jamison, and we haven't met any other little Jamisons :)

By Brayden (not verified)
March 20, 2007 5:56 PM


By Michelle (not verified)
April 9, 2007 8:01 AM

The "Aiden"'s are very popular around my neck of the woods and have been for a very long time. My best friend just had a baby boy and named him Zayden, she also has a nephew named Cayden. I have a niece named Jaiden, and a cousin named Brayden. I personally think they are all very cute and hope they are here to stay for a long time. Of couse that being said i have 3 daughters of my own and did not name any of them anywhere close to any of the "Aiden" names. But i do still really like them.

By karla (not verified)
April 10, 2007 12:07 AM

[quote]Hey!I love this site!Any chance you could do a post about the popularity of K vs C names? My name is Karla and I've gone through life as "Karla with a K". I'm sick of spelling my name out for people. "Karla., K! Karla with a K! K! K-A-R-L-A".
Posted by Karla on May 16 at 12:17pm[/quote]

this is my life!!!! every single time i swear and that even goes to pple who have known me for years and family members and even people who email me (my email address is my first initial 'K' followed by my last name and yet people insist on writing, 'Hey Carla' arhhhhg'

By grayden (not verified)
August 3, 2007 1:43 PM

My name's Grayden. I was born in 1977. It's cool that I was that far ahead of the pack, but I deeply resent the current crop of aiden-homophones diluting my good name. I don't WANT to be trendy!

By Vince (not verified)
November 22, 2007 9:44 PM

You forgot Vaiden...I named my son that, and it pretty much rocks ;)

By aden (not verified)
May 21, 2008 11:44 AM

@Grayden - I hear you.

I've been Aden for 30 years (1978). Used to be I'd get a lot of compliments on it. I still do sometimes but each time I can't help but imagine that woman soon adding another voice to the ringing cacaphony calling "AID-en!" at plagrounds and supermarkets across this land.

Definitely saddened that my once rare and very unique name becoming emblematic of a time and generation that isn't even mine.

By Samaria (not verified)
August 13, 2008 2:58 AM

How could anyone reasonably and sanely call the Aiden Family unique? That seems so wrong to me. Not even changing the beginning to something weird (I have never even heard of a Fayden until somebody mentioned it above) or the spelling (who mentioned Jaidynn? WTH?) doesn't mean the name is unique.

It's quite sad, and people. Thank goodness my name is Samaria; I'm always the first (and last!) one people meet. :D Thanks Dad!

By Guest (not verified)
September 16, 2008 4:31 PM

My husband and I did the same thing. His name is Cayce and we named our son Cayden. So weird. I guess the world is smaller than u think.

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December 5, 2011 2:14 AM

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