The Most-Hated Baby Names in America

Apr 21st 2011

[Note (05/03/11): Since I wrote this blog post, it has been picked up by a variety of media outlets -- often without context or explanation of the methodology. Much of the reporting has been guided by the post's unfortunately extreme title. To clarify, this column discusses the results of an informal survey of internet discussions, to gauge which names generated the most negative mentions. The names listed aren't "bad" or necessarily even unpopular. In fact, many of them are highly popular, well-loved names that some people are simply getting tired of. In other cases, the negative reactions reflect different cultural perspectives on a single name. Bentley, for instance, is generally seen negatively by people who hear it as a stuffy surname or a luxury car brand. It's seen positively by people who hear it as an easygoing neo-Southern name, via country singer Dierks Bentley. I believe that the existence of strongly divided opinions like these is a meaningful variable in understanding a name's impact and place in our culture.]

 

Which baby names do people like the most? You can answer that with a glance at the top of the baby names popularity chart. Which names do people loathe most? That's a trickier question. There's no such thing as the "least popular name." (Dogbreath? Margitudinal? Sxsddhwwwb? It's a many-way tie.)

What's more, the most-hated name might well be a popular one. Some names just provoke strong reactions, whether retching or swooning. In fact, popularity itself can be held against a name.

To capture negative name feelings, I scoured the web for conversations about baby names people can't stand. I skipped the "what's the worst name you've ever heard" freak shows (Felanie, Ima Hogg, La-a). My target was everyday baby-name negativity: the "normal" baby names that, for whatever reason, set your teeth on edge.

I ended up tallying the viewpoints of hundreds of U.S. messageboard participants, comprising almost 1,500 name mentions. Many of the discussions were on parenting forums, but a good number were simply chatter on forums of diverse kinds. The results are below. Spellings are combined in the count, listing the name under its most-mentioned form. I've also included comments on what people objected to about each name, which often point to themes that resonate beyond the individual name.

My goal in this is NOT to bash anyone's name. It's simply to track and describe the negative sentiment out there, as one more piece of information for parents weighing name choices.

GIRLS

1. Nevaeh (47 mentions). A landslide winner, no surprise. In the most recent edition of my book, I wrote "Nevaeh may be the most stylistically divisive name in America." Grounds for objection included look, sound and origin, the whole package.

2 (tie). Destiny (16). This name seemed to run afoul of two groups: people annoyed by "virtue names," and people who grouped it with other dreamy choices like Heaven and Candy as "stripperish."

2 (tie). Madison (16). The negative reactions to this name were particularly strong, especially in non-standard spellings. Reasons were seldom given; it just seemed to grate on people.

4. Mackenzie (13). Often presented in a group with other Mc- names, which several posters described as "low class."

5. McKenna (9). See Mackenzie above.

6 (tie). Addison (8). Sometimes grouped with Madison, and sometimes held as an example of the #1 most-cited loathing category: "boys' names used for girls."

6 (tie). Gertrude (8). When the conversation focused on "ugly" names, old-fashioned Germanic names like Gertrude, Bertha and Helga ruled.

6 (tie). Kaitlyn (8). The poster child for the #2 most common objection: "made-up spellings." Some people specifically exempted the classic spelling Caitlin from their wrath.

6 (tie). Makayla (8).  See Mackenzie above.

10 (tie). Bertha (7). See Gertrude above.

10 (tie). Hope (7). To my surprise, the objection to virtue names extended to traditional choices like Hope, Faith and Grace.

BOYS

1. Jayden (23). The overwhelming theme for boys' names was a backlash against the rhyming -ayden family. Many felt there were just too many of these names, and "it's getting really old." Others said the names sounded too childish or feminine. The names were often mentioned as a group, but Jayden was frequently singled out.

2. Brayden (16).

3 (tie). Aiden (15).

4 (tie). Kaden (15). See Jayden above.

5. Hunter (9). Objections included "should only be a last name" and "too violent."

6. Hayden (8). Part of the -ayden family but mentioned much less often than the others. It seems to be considered a little more mature and established-sounding than the rest of the clan.

7 (tie). Bentley (7). A lot of contempt was shown in mentions of this name, as people considered the luxury-car association "trashy."

7 (tie). Tristan (7). Described as "fakey" and "unlikeable."

9. Michael (6). The whipping boy for people who scorned "common" names. Names like Matthew, Sarah and Emily also came up several times. (Notably, they were the most likely names to be defended by others in the conversation.)

10. Jackson (5). No consistency to the reasons. Some grouped it with Peyton as "way too trendy," others with Jack as "old-fashioned and worn out." This was the one name where I didn't collapse spellings, since the several people who mentioned Jaxon objected to it solely on basis of spelling.

Other Notables:

- At least three mentions apiece were tallied for Kayla, Kaylin, Kyle, Kyler and Kylie along with the high scores for Kaitlyn and Makayla, suggesting negativity toward that general sound category.

- Two statistically unlikely names ranked just outside the top 10. Star is a very rare name, so the fact that it occurred to so many people suggests particularly active negativity. Tiffany peaked back in the 1980s. That it's still mentioned so often as a disliked baby name leads to me suspect it may have been the "Nevaeh" of its generation.

P.S. If Your Favorite Name is Listed Above...


Sorry to freak you out! Don't go tearing up your name list yet.

First off, remember that "loved" and "loathed" are often two sides of the same coin. Anything that scales the heights of fashion attracts attention and becomes a target for contrarians. Many of the names listed are simply victims of their own success. In fact, almost every name in the top 10 for boys or girls received at least one "hate it" vote. Realistically, your little Aiden and Addison will be comfortably in the fashion mainstream, and any currents of negativity will flow right by them.

As for rarer names like Bentley that set off disproportionate levels of bad vibes, in the end you have to choose the name YOU think is best. Just consider this list a heads-up that some folks may respond badly to your beloved name. Forewarned is forearmed.

Comments

51
By RB
April 23, 2011 12:37 PM

I think of Tiffany as one of the "mean girls" names of the era when I grew up. My husband sees it this way, too. We're the same age but grew up in a totally different demographic areas. (I am from a conservative, religious community in the South, while he's from an extremely wealthy, liberal, Jewish area on the East Coast.) We both picture a Tiffany as mean, snotty, and a bit, er. shall we say, promiscuous.

I wonder if other people our age have this same mental picture and if this contributes to negative perceptions of the name?

I like EVie's idea of the disdain coming from people grouping it with other "name-brand" names, but the jewelry store is pretty far down on the list of associations I make when I hear "Tiffany." I'm probably in the minority on that, though.

52
April 23, 2011 1:57 PM

RB-Yes. I am from middle class East coast myself so I have similar associations. The jewelry store makes it a bit better actually.

Beth-I had a friend in high school with the name Evelyn H0pe. She actually preferred her mn and went by that.

53
By BryonyL (not verified)
April 23, 2011 2:45 PM

I love Ottilie. Absolutely love it. It's quirky and cute at the same time. Please use it, make it more familiar to people! I'd love it to increase in popularity.

54
April 23, 2011 6:18 PM

@Kern, I also love Ottilie. It's on my list too. I also have a very German surname (although I'm not particularly wanting the name to sound German). I really like Anneliese, and have a friend with a little Anneliese. It is a lot more standard that Ottilie though.
I would also go for Greta or Gretchen over Gretl,even if you use Gretl as a nickname.

55
By Guest Robin (not verified)
April 23, 2011 7:32 PM

My husband groups Tiffany with Candy and other "stripper" names. He was quite insistent about that.

56
April 23, 2011 8:14 PM

What terrible and unfair stereotypes are associated with the name Tiffany. I can't recall ever meeting a Tiffany who is mean or "stripper"-like. Last weekend there were two Tiffanys at my house for a family dinner: my DIL, a biologist and mother of 3, and my son's friend, a pharmacist and mother of 4. Both Tiffanys are in their mid-30s and are very nice women.

57
By Kern (not verified)
April 23, 2011 9:38 PM

Zoerhenne, no worries, no offense taken! I wanted some honest feedback and we're planning to NOT run names by people in real life, so I appreciate the input.

As to the # of syllables, there are various ways to say it but I prefer auda-LEE, which is only 3 syllables.

Good feedback on Gretl being too diminuitive. I don't think DH likes it anyway but today he said Liesl would maybe be OK.

58
By Beth the original (not verified)
April 23, 2011 11:21 PM

Patricia, I have known some perfectly lovely Tiffanys too. But I have thought to myself that their name was unfortunately "lightweight" and overly-feminine (one of these was a very butch lesbian, which we all found amusing). I suspect that down the line, people may feel this way about "frilliana" names like Isabella and Olivia, pretty as they seem now. Somehow, and I don't know how this happens, overused, highly-feminine names get associated with either snobbiness or promiscuity, or occasionally both, when the generation hits junior high and high school. Is it that the sheer numbers mean that some girl is going to define the name negatively for a number of people? That parents who choose overly-popular names raise their kids to be stereotypically "popular"? I honestly don't know.

Here are those names from my own generation: Tammi, Kelli/Kellie/Kellye/Kellie, Staci/Stacey/Stacie/Stacee, Wendy/etc., Michelle, Nicole, Kerri/Kari/Kara/Cara. There are probably more, but "ie" endings and the Frenchified names always seemed to land on the mean girls.

Someone needs to do an analysis of this -- but what methodology on earth would be necessary?

59
April 24, 2011 12:43 AM

Beth-LOL! Seeing my name on that list above almost made me fall out of my chair laughing. Never would I have been in a million years labeled popular by any stretch of the word. I was nerdy and UNpopular (had about 5 friends in high school). Not mean and NOT promiscuous. Maybe it's a location thing (NE for me-born mid 60's) though because I was the only one till I got to college then there were six of us. I still wouldn't say any were the snobby-popular kind. There were many Michelle's in the popular group in college though.

P.S. My FN is St@c3y-because I know everyone is now dying to know.

60
By The Other Amber (not verified)
April 24, 2011 2:02 AM

I'm afraid I'm one of those uncultured folks who knew nothing about Tiffany the jewelry store until I picked up the first edition of "The Baby Name Wizard" back in '05. I had always seen it just as an '80s type of name similar to my own. Of course, I didn't know about "Forever Amber," either, and I'm not sure if my mother knew about it, either.

I was really quite surprised by Michael and Hope being on the list. I always thought that those were quite unoffensive. Maybe they're so unoffensive that regular people stood up and took notice?

Ottilie is definitely quirky. People will blink and take notice of it, and may ask "otter-lee?" and such, giving you lots of chances to educate them. If you love the name, go for it. I think it's pretty cool.

61
April 24, 2011 5:00 AM

Kern - Another enthusiastic vote for Ottilie. We've flirted with having it on our list, but we'd want the German Oh-teel-ee-yeh pronunciation and that would be nigh impossible to expect given that we live in an English speaking country where that is very counter-intuitive phonetically.

Ah-till-lee is what you'll most likely get as the natural pronunciation in English, and since it sounds like this is how you are pronouncing it, by all means, GO for it! I'm delighted to see someone else considering this name. I agree with previous posters that it's firmly old-fashioned in German-speaking countries as well as elsewhere, but it's lovely and very due for revival.

I think Tillie is an adorable nickname. I also much prefer it over Mathilda, which seems like a name that I *should* like (and it comes up often in any algorithms that recommend names based on previous preferences), but somehow it just doesn't do it for me.

I don't think any of the prior associations mentioned are particularly strong - I had heard the anthrax story at the time it broke, but wouldn't have remembered the name connection on my own... and as an Ottilie fan, I should probably be biased to recall it!

62
By Pip(nli) (not verified)
April 24, 2011 7:40 AM

Just a quick question: Does anyone know when the SSA data on 2010 name popularity is scheduled to come out this year? I'm really hoping to get a grasp on the rate with which Vivian is going skyward after the Brangelinas picked Vivienne. It definitely was already on an upward trend even before that, but seems to have started ascending upward more quickly. It's still our top choice, but I'm getting wary that it may crack the top 100 this year, something I was hoping to avoid.

63
April 24, 2011 12:09 PM

That data is released on the Friday of Mother's Day Weekend, so it should be available less than 2 weeks from now -- on Friday, May 6.

We had two new babies in our extended family in 2010 -- Jane in Feb. and Henry in April, so those are the names I'll be checking out first.

Popularity of the female name Jane
Year of birth/Rank
2009--386
2008--389
2007--424
2006--476
2005--472

Popularity of the male name Henry
Year of birth/Rank
2009--71
2008--78
2007--91
2006--95
2005--102

I'm guessing Jane will rank about the same as in 2009 and that Henry will have moved up a little.

Too, a nephew and his wife had a little Esme in November, and I wonder if that name made it into the SSA Top 1000 for last year. Esme was #95 in England/Wales in 2009, so it seems the name may soon be heard more in the USA too.

64
By Allison Margaret (not verified)
April 24, 2011 10:31 AM

I'm one of those Tristan-haters, so maybe I can shed some light on why it's on the list. I know that Tristan has history, and I do value that in a name. But to me, it sounds like a modern invention, and I am not too fond of such names. I hear "tryst" in it. It is ripe for misspellings and use on girls (I know a little girl named Tristin). More than anything, though, the Tr- beginning sounds trashy to me - Travis, Trent, Trey, Troy, Trista, Tracy, and Tricia all fall prey to similar feelings.

65
By fancynancy (not verified)
April 24, 2011 1:48 PM

I was super surprised by Michael! It's been in or around the top 5 for just about forever, and I know that familiarity breeds contempt, but I feel like it's one of those unassuming names that everyone knows and loves. My dad's name is Michael, and it always amuses me how common it is among his generation. He gets together with a group of friends are there are always at least two Michaels.

I'm definitely one of the Nevaeh haters. It started out as an adorable idea that is now way too common to be special anymore. And that is one name that is absolutely unacceptable to spell kreativly, since that ruins the whole point of the name. It bugs me even more when people try to do that.

Tiffany sounds girly and maybe a bit snobby, but I don't really associate it with the jewelry store unless someone gives me a present wrapped in a teal box with TIFFANY stamped on top. Maybe it's because I just grew up with so many Tiffanies, but I wouldn't compare that name to today's Lexus, Bentley, etc. Tiffany is now set in stone as a name, whereas those two are still cars.

@Kern - Ottilie is absolutely adorable with either pronunciation! (I like the Ottilia one better) It has the same sounds as the super popular Olivia, so it won't be completely unfamiliar, and it doesn't sound old-fashioned at all.

66
By SRG (not verified)
April 24, 2011 4:27 PM

@Kern I love the name Ottilie and I hope you use it!

Unlike most of the commenters on the name I have met an Ottilie (mid teens, lives in New Zealand) and I love the friendly, open sound of the name. (I also tried, unsuccessfully, to get my pregnant sister to use the name...they wound up with an Otto.)

67
By Hmf not signed in (not verified)
April 24, 2011 5:08 PM

Only recently did I realize that most of my associations with a whole bevy of names derive from their connection to the original Beverly Hills, 90210! The show premiered when I was in elementary school and thus (in my prepubescent imagination) represented all that was scary about being a teenager: sex, drugs, and rock
'n' roll, with a little bit of West Coast tackiness thrown in for good measure ("valley girls" and the like).

Hence, I have an irrational aversion to names like Tiffany, Amber, Andrea, Austin, Brandon, Brenda, Donna, Dylan, Gabrielle (and, by analogy, Michelle and Danielle), Kelly, Shannon, Tori, and Valerie!

Were I in elementary school now, perhaps I'd learn to hate the names of the actors and characters of Gossip Girl.

68
April 24, 2011 7:56 PM

@HMF, I also dislike most of the 90210 names! Maybe there is something in that? Although I do remember not particularly liking them at the time either. If fact I thought some of them were a bit out of kilter for the age/timeframe at the time.

69
By Janie (not verified)
April 24, 2011 8:53 PM

Some of these I can agree are less than pleasent, on the girls side I would stick up for Addison, Madison, Mackenzy, and Hope, though.
Off topicly, what is your favorite spelling out of these names?

Ellie or Elly
Claire or Clare
Skyler or Skylar
Maddison or Madison
Mackenzie, Mackenzy, McKenzy, McKenzie, or Makenzy
Camryn, Kamryn, Cameron, or Cameryn
Isabel, Isabelle, Isabell, or Isobel
Kate or Cate
Isla or Ila
Leah or Lia
Paige or Page
Adaline or Adeline
Evelyn or Evalynn

Thanks!

70
By Lillo (not verified)
April 24, 2011 9:04 PM

Who sounds nicer?

Sophia or Skylar??
Hope or Hannah??
Harper or Piper??
Ellie or Addie??
Natalie or Amelia??
Claire or Isabel??
Morgan or Maddie??
Nellie or Adele??

Thank you for your input!

71
By Barnacle (not verified)
April 24, 2011 9:13 PM

Janie:

Ellie
Claire
Skyler (though I'm not crazy about this one)
Madison (ditto)
Mackenzie or McKenzie, (tritto)
Cameron (quadritto)
Isabel or Isabelle
Kate or Cate - either
Isla
Leah
Paige (other one is too much a common noun)
Adeline
Evelyn

72
By Barnacle (not verified)
April 24, 2011 9:18 PM

Lillo,

Interestingly, you seem to have paired ones that seem very similar on the niceness meter to me, with a few exceptions:

Sophia or Skylar - definitely Sophia
Hope or Hannah - probably Hope, but pretty equal
Harper or Piper - neither strikes me as a name of a particularly friendly person
Ellie or Addie - both sound nice, Addie perhaps more so
Natalie or Amelia - both, probably Amelia more
Claire or Isabel - so-so for both as far as niceness goes
Morgan or Maddie - Maddie
Nellie or Adele - both

73
By izzy
April 24, 2011 9:34 PM

@Janie:
Ellie or Elly: Both
Clare
Skylar
Madison
Mackenzie/McKenzie.
Cameron
Isabel/Isobel
Kate
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn
Generally speaking, I like traditional spellings/names.

@Lillo:
Sophia
Hope or Hannah
Piper
Addie
Amelia
Claire
Maddie
Adele

74
April 24, 2011 9:36 PM

@Janie-
Ellie
Clare
Skyler (I guess, not really a fan of the name in any form)
Madison
I really don't like any Mc/Mac names
Cameron
Isabelle
Kate
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

@Lillo

I pretty strongly favor one name over the other on almost all of your pairs:
Sophia - no question
Hannah - again an easy one for me
Harper - also no contest
Ellie or Addie - I like both of these.
Natalie
Claire - I like it better without the 'i' :)
Morgan or Maddie - not very fond of either of these
Adele - I guess.

:)

75
By izzy
April 24, 2011 9:37 PM

I agree Barnacle:Hope and Hannah sound equally as nice, as do Claire and Isabel, or Adele and Nellie. @Lillo, some of these were kind of difficult, niceness-wise.

76
By JM (not verified)
April 24, 2011 10:49 PM

Laura, your explanation of Tristan's "fakey" qualities makes sense. Thanks for the translation. :) I can much more easily see how someone might feel it's too self-conscious (rather than artificial, per se).

I found this spontaneous data gathering quite interesting. And I agree--much better than volunteering options.

77
April 24, 2011 11:36 PM

HMF-At the risk of sounding like your mother, I wouldn't have let you watch that show (or Gossip Girls) when you were in elementary school. I believe those kinds of shows (with high schoolers in them doing high schooler things) are meant for just that age group-High schoolers. As far a s the names go, most of those names were kids I grew up with knowing from K through High school. Some were friends some were not.

Janie-These are my picks:
Elly
Claire
Skyler=G or Skylar=B (I know both)
Madison
Mackenzie
Camryn=G or Cameron=B
Isabelle
Kate
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

Lillo-these are my picks for you:
Sophia
Hannah (though almost equal)
Piper
Ellie
Natalie
Claire
Maddie
Adele

78
By hyz nli (not verified)
April 24, 2011 11:49 PM

Janie:
Ellie
Claire or Clare, both good
Skyler, Madison, Mackenzie or McKenzie, Cameron (but ditto Barnacle that I'm not a fan of any of these 4 names)
Isabel or Isabelle
Cate (but Kate is fine too)
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

Lillo:
Sophia
Hope
Harper
Ellie
Amelia
Claire
Morgan
Adele

79
April 25, 2011 4:01 AM

@Janie

Ellie
Claire
Skyler
Maddison
Mackenzie
Camryn (g) Cameron (b)
Isobel although Isabelle is OK
Cate
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

@ Lillo

Sophia
Hannah
Piper
Ellie
Natalie
Claire
Morgan
Nellie

80
April 25, 2011 8:35 AM

Spotted while on vacation: a girl (about 3) named Fletcher.

RobynT, Has Orson/Olive arrived yet?

81
By Amy3
April 25, 2011 9:16 AM

@Janie,

Ellie
Clare
Skyler, Madison, Mackenzie, Cameron (not crazy about these)
Isabel or Isobel
Kate
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

@Lillo,

Sophia
Hope or Hannah (either)
Piper
Ellie or Addie (either)
Natalie
Claire
Maddie
Nellie

82
By knp-nli (not verified)
April 25, 2011 10:17 AM

@Janie,
Ellie
Claire
Skylar
Madison
Mackenzie/ McKenzie
Kamryn (depends on boy or girl, Cameron for boy)
Isabelle/Isobel
Kate
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

@Lillo: sounds nicer..
Sophia
Hannah
Harper
Ellie
Amelia
Claire
Maddie
Nellie

83
April 25, 2011 12:14 PM

@Janie, on favorite spellings:

Ellie, hands down!
Claire, also no contest (it's my much-loved middle name)
Skyler
Madison (doesn't emphasize the "mad" so much for me)
McKenzie, followed by Mackenzie
if a boy, Cameron; if a girl... maybe Camryn? or Kamryn? Hard to choose for a girl...
Isabelle, followed by Isabel
Kate
Isla
close, but Leah wins out
Paige
Adeline
I would pronounce the two rather differently (if not corrected). If you want EH veh lin, then Evelyn; if EE va lin, then Evalynn.

@Lillo, on who sounds nicer:
Sophia
tough, but Hannah
Piper
so close! but probably Addie
Natalie
Claire
Maddie
Nellie

That was fun! =)

84
By SammieIAm (not verified)
April 25, 2011 1:11 PM

Lillo,
Sophia
Hope
Piper
Both are equal
Natalie
Claire
Maddie
Nellie

I have noted that people have lots of strong negative reactions to Mc/Mac names. Generally, names such as McKayla, Mckenna, and Mackenzie aren't my style, but I have found one name in this style that I love. What are your opinions on the name Maclen??? It could also be spelled Maclin and is pronounced mACK-lynn. First syllable rhymes with Sack, and second syllable rhymes with Fin and Jen. I think it is seperated from the group by the fact that the first syllable is said Mack instead of Mick or Muck. But, what do you think. Is it a good name for a girl??

85
April 25, 2011 1:18 PM

Janie @ 69:

Ellie
Clare or Claire - either
Skyler, Madison, Mackenzie, Cameron [but not among my favorites]
Isabel or Isabelle - stronger preference for Isabel, but both are fine
Kate or Cate - either
Isla
Leah or Lia - either
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

86
April 25, 2011 1:58 PM

SammieIam-I think Maclin falls into the sometimes hated surname group. I personally would not use it but if you like it go for it. If it WERE a name I was using, I might spell it Macklynne/Maclynne/Maklynne for girl
and Maclin/Maclon/Maclen for boys.

87
By mk (not verified)
April 25, 2011 5:21 PM

Janie:
Ellie
Claire
Skyler (I really prefer Schuyler though)
Madison
Mackenzie
Cameron (for boy or girl)
Isabelle
Kate (I only like Cate when it's a nickname for Catherine/Caitlin)
Isla
Leah
Paige
Adeline
Evelyn

Lillo:
Sophia
Hannah
Harper
Ellie
Amelia (I like both, but if I had to choose 1)
Isabel (I like both, but if I had to choose 1)
Maddie (not crazy about either, really)
Adele

88
April 25, 2011 7:44 PM

@SammieIam, I'm not a fan at all of Maclen. But, I'm also not a fan of any of the Mc/Mac names so it's not surprising I wouldn't like it :)

89
April 25, 2011 7:44 PM

Hope to catch up on reading the blog some day, but for now just wanted to drop in and let you know that we had a girl and named her Olive. And--here's the part that made me post just this minute--two or three people are already referring to her as Olivia. (This is on Facebook, and on the plus side, I suppose it's only 2-3 out of 50+ comments... although not all comments reference any name at all... [maybe some of the people just posting "congrats" also think her name is Olivia...])

Anyway, my/our cross to bear. :P

Also, just came back from first pediatrician's visit. Had to write baby's name so many times, it's starting to feel more real. And also reassuring me that we made a good decision with the name.

90
By Beth the original (not verified)
April 25, 2011 7:50 PM

Beverly Hills 90210 began when I had just graduated from college (zoerhenne, I was born in the mid-60s and raised in the midwest). I remember thinking how truly odd it was that high school girls of the late 1980s-early 1990s were supposed to be named Brenda and Donna. Brandon, Steve, Kelly, David, and Andrea seemed plausible. Dylan seemed cutting-edge, back before people were naming their kids Bowie and Hendrix, and I have always wondered if the name's subsequent popularity had anything to do with the show.

91
By Amy3
April 25, 2011 8:01 PM

@RobynT, congratulations! Love the name Olive and I bet she's as cute as can be. (I understand the Olivia mix-ups; we get Ashley for Astrid a lot.)

@Beth the original, I was born in the late 60s and raised in the Midwest and I thought the same thing about the original 90210 names.

92
By Barnacle (not verified)
April 25, 2011 9:27 PM

RobynT, Olive is lovely, and most people get a very different vibe from it than Olivia, I think. I am often surprised by the names people confuse. My husband, Leo, gets called Lee regularly, which has SUCH a different feel to it. Definitely not a problem with the name you chose, just evidence that lots of people are not particularly tuned in to names one way or the other.

93
By hyz nli (not verified)
April 25, 2011 10:27 PM

RobynT, congratulations on sweet young Olive! I'm sure she's as smart and wonderful as her name! :) Enjoy the babymoon and your newly expanded family!!

94
April 25, 2011 11:03 PM

RobynT-Congrats!

Beth-You have a point with Donna. No Donna's but some Deena's/Dina's and yes some Brenda's. Dylan was a bit cutting edge I will give you that one :) No Brandon's but a few Brendan's.

And They say the memory is the first thing to go upon old age LOL! I was in fact just out of college when the show debuted in 1990. Still wouldn't let my elementary-schooler watch it.

95
April 26, 2011 12:05 AM

Probably too late to comment at this point...

OK, so Gertrude is universally loathed, but what about Trudy or Trudi? Are these too close to words like "intrude" or "rude" for Trudy/Trudi to ever be acceptable?

96
April 26, 2011 4:42 AM

@RobynT, I'm so excited to hear of Olive's arrival :) Gorgeous name! Are you willing to share her middle name?
Bummer about people mistaking it for Olivia, as they are very different to me too.

97
April 26, 2011 7:11 AM

Yay RobynT! Congratulations! Olive is a name that is both cute and serious--a great choice.

ClaireP, I think Trudy is cute.

I was also born in the late 60s and had two Donnas and one Brenda in my graduating class. But the 90210 kids were supposed to be at least five years younger than me, making both names seem out of step, especially for Hollywood kids. (Although maybe the name Brenda was chosen because it was supposed to seem country bumpkinish--weren't the twins from Minnesota--gasp--or something?) And zoerhenne, I totally agree. There is NO WAY I would let my third grader watch any show remotely similar to 90210!

98
April 26, 2011 9:58 AM

Gertrude isn't the only possible formal name for Trudy. There's also Ermintrude, of which behindthename says: Usage: English (Archaic)
English form of ERMENDRUD. It was occasionally used until the 19th century.

But Gertrude has a stronger history: (BTN) Saint Gertrude the Great was a 13th-century nun and mystic writer. It was probably introduced to England by settlers from the Low Countries in the 15th century. The name was used by Shakespeare in his play 'Hamlet' (1600) for the mother of the title character. A famous bearer was the American writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946).

Trudi is cute and reminds me of another sweet German name that was originally a nickname, Heidi from Adelheid.

According to BTN: German diminutive of ADELHEID. This is the name of the title character in the children's novel 'Heidi' (1880) by Johanna Spyri. The name began to be used in the English-speaking world shortly after the 1937 release of the movie adaptation, which starred Shirley Temple.

I've always loved the name Heidi for a little girl, but a grown woman may not want to have a name associated only with a beloved children's story. Trudi doesn't have that association, but on the other hand, through Gertrude was a saint's name and used by Shakespeare.

Gertrude was consistently in the SSA Top 1000 from 1880 (rank 25) through 1965. Trudy was last in the Top 1000 in 1978, having consistently been there since 1933; Trudi made the Top 1000 in only three years (1947; 1965 and '66). In 2009 eight American girls were named Gertrude; 19, Trudy; and 7, Trudi. In 2009 in England/Wales, there were 0-2 girls named Gertrude, 6 named Trudi, and 12 called Trudy.

On the other hand, Heidi ranked in the England/Wales Top 100 at #97 and is well-used in the USA too, where the name placed at 297 in 2009.

Perceiving Trudi as similar to Heidi in origin and image, I think the name has some appeal as a given name.

99
By Amanda R.B. (not verified)
April 26, 2011 10:12 AM

I am still amazed by new parents who think that they are using a "unique" name when they name their child Jayden, Madison, etc. simply because they don't know anyone their own age with a name like that. You would think that in the age of the internet, people might do just a little research on baby names.

100
By Aybee (not verified)
April 26, 2011 11:03 AM

Amanda RB totally agree. A friend of mine was shocked that Emma and Isabella are popular. She was equally shocked by my suggestion that certain names go together.