When it comes to hot new girls' names, there are three sure-fire recipes: romance, magic, and reality tv. All three are represented in this year's fastest-rising names.
#1. Aranza: Romance reigns on telenovelas, the popular, sudsy Spanish-language tv dramas. Last year's hit "Por Siempre Mi Amor" featured a character named Aranza, a form of the Basque name Arantxa (from the Virgin of Arantzazu). Previously, Aranza was associated with a Mexican singer best known for the theme song from another telenovela.
#2. Daleyza: Last year's fastest-rising name isn't done yet! Daleyza is the young daughter of singer Larry Hernández, whose life is chronicled on the reality tv series "Larrymania." Daleyza has a new little sister named Dalary, and that name just missed qualifying as this year's #1 riser because it ranked outside the top 1,000 names.
#3. Everly: No grand romance for Everly in 2014; it's just a name that hits a ton of fashion targets. Everly is a surname that contracts to a sweet nickname; a name of rock & roll legends; a Hollywood baby name via actor Channing Tatum; an "off with their heads" name that trims a consonant from a familiar name (Beverly-->Everly, like Madison-->Addison).
#4. Montserrat: Telenovelas strike again! Montserrat is a traditional religious name; like Arantxa, it honors a famed image of the Virgin Mary. It has never been a common name in the U.S., but the romantic heroine of the telenovela "Lo Que La Vida Me Robó" is changing that. (Not to boast, but you'll find Montserrat and Everly on my Baby Name Pool ballot.)
#5. Elsa: Ah, to be young, blond and beautiful, and to shoot ice rays from your fingertips! Attractive women with magical powers have a special naming power. Frozen's Queen Elsa now joins the ranks of Samantha, Sabrina, Madison and more as super-charged name hitmakers.
Sorry, Angelina Jolie. Step aside, Game of Thrones. America's top trendsetter for our biggest, most lasting and consequential style decision – naming a child – is Teen Mom.
For the second time, the #1 fastest-rising boys' name in America comes from the reality tv show that follows the lives of teenage girls struggling to raise babies even as they grow up themselves. The hottest name of 2010 was Bentley; this year it's Gannon.
Gannon isn't just a "Teen Mom" name. It's a surname that follows the uber-popular boy's rhythm of two syllables ending in –n. The spelling Ganon is also the King of Evil in the video game "Legend of Zelda," and video villains are a surprisingly hot baby name source. But reality tv reigns supreme, as proven by two more Teen Mom baby names in the overall rising top 10: Paislee and Nova for girls.
More top risers:
#2. Karter: The reality tv power continues. Love and Hip Hop features a photogenic young Karter, the son of stars Kirk and Rasheeda Frost.
#3. Bode: This name is typically pronounced the same as Bodie and Bodhi, which also ranked among the top 40 fastest risers. A quick guide to the three sound-alike names:
- Bodhi is a Buddhist term for spiritual awakening. It's a popular name choice of Hollywood parents, including actress Megan Fox. This is a name that people seem to love or hate; our advice columnist The Name Lady fields a lot of questions about it.
- Bode is associated with skiing champion Bode Miller, who comes from a creative-naming family in New Hampshire. It's also heard in Western Africa and -- full disclosure, here -- is Portuguese for "billy goat."
- Bodie is a ghost town in California, a drug-dealing character on the tv series The Wire, and a popular choice to clarify the pronunciation of Bodhi or Bode.
#4. Royal: We've been talking about royal babies, why not baby Royals? This is actually an old name returning to the charts with a new gloss. Between rapper Lil' Kim's new daughter Royal, singer Roc Royal of "Mindless Behavior," Lorde's hit son "Royals" and a movement toward bold meaning names, it has momentum.
#5. Axl: Oh, Sweet Child O' Mine! Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses debuted on the music charts back in 1987. It took 27 more years for him to hit the baby name charts. The spur was singer Fergie, who named her son Axl and led parents across the country to say "Whoa, yeah, we could actually DO that!" Axl takes the "X Games" style of names like Jaxxon and cranks up the volume.
The Social Security Administration has released the official rankings of the most popular baby names in America for 2014. Noah reigns for a second year as the #1 boys' name, while Emma regains the girls' crown for the first time since 2008.
This marks Emma's 12th straight year in the top 3. That's some terrific staying power in an age of fast-changing name trends. It's the bridge name between two styles: the gentle antiques that it first rose to popularity with, like Hannah and Abigail, and today's smooth, miniature "raindrop names" like Mia and Liam. Here's the rest of the new top 10:
Each list features just one new addition. Charlotte makes its top-10 debut on the girl's side, a warm welcome for Britain's new princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. (Though the name Charlotte replaces is none other than Elizabeth!) For boys James replaces Jayden, giving the list a more classic look. James was the #1 name of the 1940s, but this marks its first top-10 ranking in more than two decades.
Check out the full top thousand names, and stay tuned for more name news and analysis including the fastest-rising names of the year.