Our tenth annual competition to predict rising and falling names is in the books, and it's time to honor those who have their finger on the pulse of baby name style. This year, we're honoring our youngest-ever Baby Name Pool champion. Madison is a 17-year-old high school junior from Long Beach, California. This naming prodigy triumphed by predicting...
Each of those names moved in the direction Madison predicted -- no small feat in a contest that yields a lot of negative scores. Her top-scoring choice was Everly, the third-fastest rising girl's name of the year.
Like many of us, Madison describes herself as a name enthusiast who has been fascinated with names since she was a young girl. "Over the years my lists have become more refined (my favorites used to include Trixi, Auburn, and Hendrix), but the interest remained. I went from simply compiling lists to following and understanding trends, much to your blog'a help! I really believe names have the power to shape a persons life, and that a name is the most important gift you can give your child."
Since Madison represents the next generation of namers, you might be intrigued to hear her own current favorite baby names: "Beth, Clara and Robin for girls, and Walter, Adam and Foster for boys."
Please join me in a round of applause for our champion!
I'd also like to recognize a second pool entrant, Caitlin of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Caitlin is a past honoree who submitted a remarkable set of predictions, showing a great ear for new celebrity-driving names and fading nationwide trends:
This entry didn't officially qualify for the contest because two of the rising name predictions didn't crack the top thousand for boys or girls. But if it had, Caitlin's score would have blown away all other ballots (yes, even mine).
Thank you to all who participated in this year's Pool. It's never too early to start planning your ballot for next year!
Luxury brand names are always hopping the fence into baby name territory. Thousand of babies have been named Lexus and Armani since the '90s, and it's a safe bet that the '70s-'80s generation of Tiffanys wasn't inspired by St. Theophania.
But soft drinks? Cosmetics? Toilet paper? The everyday products of our lives don't serve as baby name inspiration...unless the name is just right.
Below are 10 brand names that demonstrate the power of pure sound and style, and parents' readiness to pick up an attractive name wherever they may find it. Each name has registered on the U.S. national baby name statistics, meaning it was given to at least 5 boys or girls in a single year.
Charmin (F) — This baby name was most popular during the '70s heyday of Charmin toilet paper's "don't squeeze the Charmin" ad campaign.
Velveeta (F) — The processed cheese product that melts smooth as velvet. Made the name charts repeatedly in the late 1950s.
Pepsi (F) —The creator of Pepsi Cola named his drink after the enzyme pepsin, to emphasize its healthy tonic properties. As a baby name, Pepsi peaked in the mid 1970s.
Ikea (F&M) — The global pre-fab furniture maker opened its first U.S. store in 1985. The name Ikea hit the U.S. girls' name charts the same year, and rose for several years as the chain expanded. At its peak in 1989, Ikea made the boys' charts, too.
Adidas (M) —The name of the athletic apparel maker comes from its founder, Adolf "Adi" Dassler. Adidas hit the baby name charts for a string of years in the 1980s.
Trivia (F) — This unlikely yet attractive name peaked in 1984, the peak year of the Trivial Pursuit game craze.
Clinique (F) —The Estee Lauder company launched Clinique as "the first dermatologist-created line of beauty products." The name is French for "clinical," but it has appeared occasionally on baby name charts as parents focus more on the beauty connection and the Monique-like sound rather than the literal meaning.
Dasani (F&M) —The name Dasani was created by the Coca-Cola Company for its bottled water product, introduced in 1999. The name debuted in the stats for both boys and girls that very year. More than a thousand babies have been named Dasani since then, making it the most popular name on this list.)
Tonka (M) — The Tonka toy company was founded near Lake Minnetonka (from the Dakota for "big water"). The iconic toy truck name hit the boys' list in 1973.
Subaru (M) —The carmaker took the name Subaru, meaning "govern" or "unite," from the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster which is pictured in its logo. Subaru made its first appearance on the American baby names list in 2013.
Originally appeared on The Stir.
When choosing a baby's name, pondering the initials isn't always an afterthought. Sometimes, they can become a focal point for parents who crave an initial-based nickname like A.J., J.R., or P.T. And these punchy initial names are particularly popular for boys.
"Initials have the fun, informal style of classic nicknames, but with extra energy," explains Laura Wattenberg, baby name expert and founder of BabyNameWizard. "They're not diminutives -- compare the nickname T.J. to Timmy -- so they grow up well."
In case you're looking for such a combo, keep a few rules in mind: "It's all about rhythm," says Wattenberg. "And one-syllable names are the key. They're hugely popular as middle names to go with a longer first name, and it can work in the other direction, too."
To get your gears turning, here are a few two-name combos with cute initial nicknames to consider:
How do you feel about nicknames derived from initials?
Images via exopixel/shutterstock