The 100 Club: Baby Names on the Verge for Girls

May 30th 2013

How do you determine when a baby name has "arrived"? Few names ever crack a top-10 popularity list, but a great many more are chosen often enough to become part of the fabric of their times. Each year, new names join that broader pool for the first time.

Meet the "100 Club": names that reached the threshold of 100 new American babies for the first time last year. Some of these names may be destined for the top 10; others will surely disappear. But together, they show us something about what's new, what we're thinking about, and where we're heading.

Today's list focuses on girls' names (read about the boys here). I've excluded alternate spellings of more common names unless the spelling gives the name a distinctly new identity, like Marlowe vs. Marlo.

The Girls' 100 Club:

Aadhya (From Sanskrit; a name of goddess Durga. This spelling has become particularly popular since actor Pawan Kalyan chose it for his daughter.)
Adalia
Adley (Country singer Adley Stump, a contestant on The Voice)
Annabeth (The female lead in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" tween/teen books. Note that the first middle schoolers who started with the series' debut in 2005 are just entering their twenties today, so this name could climb further.)
Batsheva
Brayleigh (A natural remix, using the popular root of the boys' name Brayden in the mold of Bayleigh, Bryleigh, Brynleigh and more.) 
Cambrie
Cataleya (See previous discussion of the #1 fastest-rising name of the year)
Eisley
Gentry (A country/cowgirl name; forget the common word and think of country music act Montgomery Gentry. Compare to Paisley.)
Guinevere (Proof that "newly popular" doesn't have to mean "new" or "unfamiliar." Rising in the wake of the recent popularity of Genevieve.)
Haddie (A character on the tv series Parentood)
Hafsa
Hartley (A new "Andro-Girly" choice that requires no creative spelling, Hartley balances its androgynous surname style with the hint of romance. Expect to see more of this name.)
Inaya
Irie (Jamaican word referring to a state of good feeling)
Kavya (Malayalam film star Kavya Madahavan)
Khaleesi (See previous discussion on this remarkable name)
Layan
Love
Marlowe (Literary surname rising in the wake of Harlow; a daughter of actress Sienna Miller)
Palmer
Pippa (Pippa Middleton, England's royal sister-in-law)
Skyy (The most common spelling, Skye, is a Scottish island. This spelling is a brand of vodka.)
Story
Sutton (Actress Sutton Foster of Bunheads)
Tala (This simple little name has separate origins around the globe, from Tagalog mythology to medieval Scandinavian ballads to D.C. Comics. Yet it never reached the 100 level until this year.)
Zaya
Zendaya (Actress/singer Zendaya of Shake it Up)

On to the Boys' 100 Club

Comments

1
May 30, 2013 12:11 PM

Funny.  With each pregnancy, "Guinnevere" has come up as a potential name.  It started as a joke, but by the 4th kid, it was a REAL contender in a serious way.  At first i though it sounded "too big", but the more we said it, the more we liked it.  A beautiful name, and "Guin" or "Gwen" as a NN works.  Also, it is a variation on "Jennifer", which would be her mums name.  Plus the beautiful CSN song.  And by the 4th kid, a big name will help with the building-a-strong-identity-and-not-getting-lost thing.  Plus it is kinda tough. Settled on something else, but came damn close...

2
May 30, 2013 12:55 PM

I can see Guinevere becoming popular.  Someone suggested it to me recently as if it was a natural choice.  Im not sure about Marlowe.  This spelling reminds me of an old male detective; I much prefer the traditional Marlo spelling for a girl.  

I can see Haddie, Eisley, Adley, Hartley, and Tala becoming very popular.

I really don't care for Brayleigh and these types of hybrid names.  Also, I really don't like Gentry or Palmer as girls' names.

3
May 30, 2013 3:21 PM

I'm sorry, but 'Brayleigh' sounds like you're ordering a kid named Lee to make donkey sounds.

I've heard of 'Gentry' as a last name, so I might, grudgingly, be persuaded to accept it as a boy's name. It really, really doesn't work as a girl's name.

Marlowe was a playwright, a contemporary of Shakespeare. Again, by no stretch of the imagination is it a girl's name.

And 'Eisley'? Is that as in Mos Eisley? "Wretched hive of scum and villainy" Mos Eisley? Yeah. I'm sure that's a lovely thing to saddle a little girl with.

4
May 30, 2013 3:37 PM

Thanks for the chukles, "otherhungarian"! I'm guessing you're also a teacher-friendly, standard-name fan?

5
May 30, 2013 4:12 PM

I didn't make the Eisley connection!  I'm not sure what to make of that one.

I hope there is a reason for changing the spelling of perfectly good Skye to Skyy other than Vodka!

6
May 30, 2013 4:36 PM

I'm such a traditionalist the only one that appeals to me at all is Annabeth though I'd prefer Anna Elizabeth nn Anna Beth.

7
May 30, 2013 8:24 PM

A friend of mine named her baby Guinevere last year with nn Vera to honor their favorite author, Vladimir Nabokov's wife. 

8
May 30, 2013 8:55 PM

The Mos Eisley connection is wonderful!  I wonder how parents are saying the name.  Like Eyes-leigh or eye-leigh.  Eye-leigh reminds me of Isla, though if that's what people are going for, I'd suggest another spelling.

Palmer strikes me as a bad name for any child.  All I can think of is the "Rosie Palms" joke from middle/high school.  Just seems too teaseworthy to be usable.

While they aren't my style, I can see Brayleigh, Adley, Cambrie & Marlowe really taking off.  

Adalia is kind of pretty.

I would consider using Guinivere & Annabeth.  Pippa is fine, but I would prefer it as a nickname and not the birth certificate name.

9
May 30, 2013 9:42 PM

Oh, yeah, Curmudgeons-R-Us lifetime membership here. :)

I really do try to be open minded. But then I encounter a non-name like Eisley or a pointless coinage like Brayleigh, and my mind just rebels.

Guinevere I'm fine with, and even Annabeth is OK. But some of the others... those poor kids.

10
May 30, 2013 11:40 PM

All I can think about when I hear Brayleigh is donkeys.

 

Is Adalia pronounced ADD-uh-LEE-uh, AY-duh-LEE-uh, or uh-DAYL-ya? If it's the latter, I like it a lot.

11
May 31, 2013 7:52 AM

I bet Adalia is pronounced all those ways. I rather like this one. And having grown up with a Pippa, I'm fond of that as well.

12
By moll
May 31, 2013 9:25 AM

I wonder if the upswing of Eisley has to do with the popularity of the band Eisley (themselves named for Mos Eisley). It sounds name-ish, I guess.

Annabeth surprises me, only because it sounds like it would have been bigger in the 70s or 80s - it's the "beth" part, I guess. There's nothing wrong with it, and along with Percy Jackson, the relative popularity of Annabelle might have something to do with it.

As for Adalia: I know two adults with this name, both of whom pronounce it uh-DAH-lee-ah.

13
May 31, 2013 11:52 AM

I agree with many of you that Eisley is terrible. I know a girl who is naming her daughter Eizley to "go with" her brother Ezra. Ick.

Another Laura, I agree with the Anna Elizabeth, nn Anna Beth suggestion. I have a friend whose parents named her Mary Elizabeth so they could get to Mary Beth, and I thought that was a nice method.

14
By Jude
May 31, 2013 12:31 PM

I actually grew up with a girl (now in her twenties) named Gentry, so it doesn't strike me as weird. And I always associated it with the phrase 'landed gentry,' which made it seem romantic and old-fashioned. I can see the appeal, especialy for folks who like the modern cowboy androgynous style.

Never heard of Tala before - is it pronounced TAY-la or TA-la? 

15
May 31, 2013 3:53 PM

I'm guessing TA-la.  I know someone named Talia

16
June 1, 2013 2:56 PM

Eisley to me is a sound alike to Ainsley.  We know an Annsley.  Sort of a Brayleigh/Annabeth mash-up.  To me, it is a young mom name.

17
June 3, 2013 12:44 PM

I'm surprised Irie is only just now hitting 100 babies, as reggae music has been popular for so long now. It was on my top 5 list when I was about 18-20. It's pronounced IE-ree and is Jamaican patois that basically means "at peace" or "alright." As in "How you feelin?" "I'm feeling irie."

18
By PJ
June 4, 2013 4:32 PM

My great-uncle was named Palmer because he was born on Palm Sunday which I always thought was a great story. I would consider it for a boy, but not for a girl. 

20
June 11, 2013 6:14 PM

I know a little girl named Ainsley, and, sadly, I think of anus every time I hear the name. I know a Cambrie also. All those "eee" ending names have been prevalent in my area for awhile now, and come off as a bit "young rural moms on the trendy bandwagon" for me. There were two Rileys in my daughter's preschool class this year, and neither of them spelled that way! Yikes, I feel like a hater having negative feelings about these kinds of names. I guess we all have phases of like and dislike for certain trends, and baby names are no exception!

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January 21, 2014 3:35 AM

The Mos Eisley connection is wonderful!  I wonder how parents are saying the name.  Like Eyes-leigh or eye-leigh.  Eye-leigh reminds me of Isla, though if that's what people are going for, I'd suggest another spelling.

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January 21, 2014 11:03 AM

 With each pregnancy, "Guinnevere" has come up as a potential name.  It started as a joke, but by the 4th kid, it was a REAL contender in a serious way. 

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