Two for T: The Rise of Double-T Names

Sep 5th 2013


Do you any of these boys' names appeal to you?

Emmett, Wyatt, Beckett, Elliott, Garrett, Bennett, Everett

I'll take a wager that at least one of them strikes your fancy. And even if the name Scarlett isn't quite your style for girls, you can understand its allure, too.

Multisyllable names ending in -tt are one of the hottest trends in America. The names I listed above are all in the top 1000 and rising, along with Barrett, Emmitt and Jarrett. And take a look at the total trend in -tt names, common and uncommon, since the year 2000:

This is a notable development in an era when strong consonant sounds are generally out of fashion. It's particularly intriguing since names ending in a single -t have been in the doldrums for a generation, and don't seem likely to wake up soon. The same is true of most names ending in -tte (Annette, Bernadette, etc). That would seem to pinpoint the double-t craze as a purely visual trend: a spelling phenomenon that separates written vs. spoken names. But if you look deeper, sound and spelling turn out to be more in sync than they appear.

First, conisder that a double-t ending is almost always preceded by a vowel. (Compare to single-t names like Herbert, Ernest, Robert, etc.) Then consider that the French ending -tte is typically stressed. If you look for names ending in an unstressed vowel +t sound, they turn out to be hot in any spelling. Take a look at the past decade's popularity of the classic names Charlotte, Juliet, Elliot and Violet:

If you're drawn to the sound of these names but fear that your favorites are becoming too popular, here are some rarities to consider:

Abbott
Cabot
Corbett
Dermot
Kermit
Meritt
Padget
Prescott
Talbot
Truitt

...or, if you're feeling more adventurous:

Crockett
Pilot
Prophet
Riot
Rocket
Summit

 

Comments

1
September 5, 2013 3:42 PM

My three-year-old grandson is named Elliott.  As a family we considered Elliot, Eliot, and Elliott, and unanimously chose double-LL, double-TT, primarily because it looked more complete and balanced.  For my part, Eliot reminds me of Eliot Spitzer and T.S. Eliot, two people I'd rather not be reminded of.  In any case Elliott LOVES spelling his name and will rattle off the letters at the drop of a hat.  When he writes his name, he puts the O after the TT at the end and makes the O gigantic compared to the other letters.  He really likes that O!  BTW he is obsessed with "ex-amation points."

2
September 5, 2013 4:56 PM

This is the way it goes with baby naming for me.  My oldest son is named Brendan--- apparently when everyone else also decided that was cool around 2007.  My youngest son is one and I determined not to give him a name ending in "n" as all the boys had "n" at the end of their names.  His name is,  of course, the suddenly more popular Everett.  I had never met one in Oklahoma, but now I know at least three baby boys here with that name and supsect it is more popular still elsewhere.  This is probably the only area of life where I somehoe manage to be trendy, even if it is unintended. 

3
September 6, 2013 3:00 AM

My Brother Allan decided to give all his children with double LL name for both of them with his wife Ellen has a double LL. My two nephew are Phillip and Cullen while my beautiful niece is Llewellyn.I so love the idea and I can't wait for their next baby. For my brother allow me to give his new baby with a name "Elliott"! You wanna know why? [spam link removed] Elliott Yamin is my ultimate crush. And my favorite song for him, of course "wait for you". Which is very fit for me right now that I am waiting for baby Elliott. How I wiss its a boy. LoL

4
September 6, 2013 12:01 PM

Nothing like reading a blog post and feeling like a predictable cliche :)

I actually like five out of the seven names listed at the beginning and quite a few of other names-ending-in-the-T-sound scattered throughout.

5
September 6, 2013 3:08 PM

I love Elliott, but that's for Elliott Smith, not for the double-T ending.

6
September 9, 2013 6:43 PM

Where's Margaret in all this?  I've come to love it in a huge way over the last couple of years, but it's down from 2000 and hovering at a historically pretty low position.

7
September 10, 2013 6:17 PM

Love the name Margaret! Maybe it isn't old enough for a "comeback"? I know someone who named a daughter Cricket, another awesome name (though I'll bet she wasn't trying to fit a trend). Prophet and Riot are a bit much, but I love the idea of baby Rocket or Summit. 

8
September 12, 2013 12:46 AM

Gaaaaahhh... Are you serious?  I thought "Elliott" was a name everyone had heard of, but wasn't super common, and unlikely to rise in popularity a lot.  Oh well, for us, it was a family name first and foremost, but I just also happened to really like that is was so removed from the 'ayden' trend.

Also, other commenters mentioned Margaret.  Yeah... That is our girl name!  (Elliott was a surprise until his actual birth day).  Margaret, also a family name, was one I loved as well because it was far removed from a lot of the trendy names.  I hope it remains obscure!

9
September 19, 2013 7:00 PM

What's strange is I went ew, ew, ew, ew, till I got to Elliott.  Then I went ew all the way down the list of alternatives.

 

Elliott seems the only one that fits into the boring, classically British names I tend to like.  I like Margaret too!

10
September 23, 2013 2:13 PM

In trying to choose a non-trendy name, it seems I've done just the opposite. Sigh.