Raindrop Names

Jun 12th 2013

Tracking this year’s fast-rising baby names, I started to feel some déjà vu. It seemed like the same handful of sounds kept popping up again and again.

Liam and Mia both cracked the top 10 for the first time. Mila, Leo, Ayla and Eli all climbed. Throw an R and N into that sound mix and you get fast-rising Arya, Noah, Mira, Lana, Nora, Luna, and even Leon, all without breaking the four-letter barrier.

These names clearly share some DNA with another rising style that I’ve called "liquid names" for girls. (Arianna and Aurora are popular examples.) But while the liquids are all about flow – supple, multisyllabic creations – these names are mirror-smooth, self-contained miniatures: raindrops. And they’re on the rise for both boys and girls.

A "raindrop name" shows its liquid form by packing two or more syllables into four or fewer letters. Its consonant sounds maintain a smooth and tranquil surface. No hisses, no sharp stops, just M, L, N, R and Y. A handful of favorite names of past generation fill the bill, most notably Mary. But as you browse the list below, I suspect you’ll find the sound both appealing and totally of the moment.

Top 500-Ranked Raindrop Girls:

Amy
Ana
Anna
Anya
Aria
Arya
Ayla
Ella
Emma
Erin
Isla
Lana
Leah
Lena
Lia
Lila
Lily
Lola
Luna
Lyla
Mary
Maya
Mia
Mila
Mya
Myla
Nia
Nina
Nora
Nyla

Top 500-Ranked Raindrop Boys:

Alan
Ali
Amir
Ari
Eli
Ian
Leo
Leon
Liam
Milo
Noah
Noel
Omar
Owen
Raul
Rory
Ryan

...and keep an eye out for:

GIRLS
Aya
Ily
Mara
Mina
Mira
Nola
Ria
Rina
Yael

BOYS

Arlo
Elam
Ira
Noam
Oren
Rio

Comments

1
June 12, 2013 3:34 PM

My son is named Oren and was born last summer. He would have been Yael if he'd been a girl. Ari and Arya were also considered. Hehe, guess I know what our style is...

2
By JayF
June 14, 2013 11:33 AM

I think of Rio as a girl's name. Must be my childhood listening to Duran Duran... That and I once knew a girl named Rio...

3
June 14, 2013 1:31 PM

I'm amazed how little it takes to make one of these names "off" in terms of style:

The "O" in O.J. Simpson is Orenthal.  Oren =  hip, trendy and upcoming.  Orenthal = quite dowdy.  (Feelings about OJ aside).

 

Put that "lm" together and you get Elmo, Elma and Alma.  Again, not so trendy.  (Or are these names around the corner?) Irma?  Elmer?

4
By ejh
June 14, 2013 8:23 PM

Anyone remember the name of the kid from "The Indian in the Cupboard"? That seems like it should be on the list, too... (I forgot the name for 20 years until I met someone by the name in real life...)

6
June 15, 2013 11:24 PM

Not foolproof, though: Mary hasn't really made the comeback that other old-fashioned girls' names have, and Amy and Erin are just too 1970s and 80s respectively to feel fresh.  Alan also feels dowdy for boys.

I am surprised not to have met a Lana yet, though.  In addition to being a raindrop name (love this concept), it's all silver-screeny, and a refreshing change from its overpopular sister name Ava.  Since I live in the name-trend capital of the universe, I feel like I can safely say that Lana is not yet on the radar.  The rest of these names, though, can be found within a 1-mile radius of my address.

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