21 Initials That Make Great Girl Names

Jun 1st 2015

Stirring Up Baby Names

Originally appeared on The Stir.


Baby girl names don't have to be elaborate, flowery things, and one trend that proves this are the parents who choose names they don't plan to use very often. Ever met a girl who goes by her initials? Sometimes it's a nickname she picked up along the way ... but just as often parents actually plan for their baby girl to go by just two letters.

"For girls, initials can offer a gender-neutral alter ego to a feminine name," says explains Laura Wattenberg, baby name expert and founder of BabyNameWizard. If the possibility of a short, punchy initial-based nickname appeals to you, here are some names to get you started: 


Alexa Jane -- A short (and hip!) version of Alexandra pairs well with the plainer and perennially popular Jane. 

Alyssa Joelle -- This variant of Alicia (which stands for nobility) creates great rhythm with Joelle -- which plays into the hot trend among girls of French middle names with a stressed second syllable.


Claudia Celeste -- This first name hails from old Rome, while the middle French name adds an ethereal quality.


Crystal Jade -- A New Age name all the way with a surprisingly down-to-earth nickname. 

Calliope Jo -- This elaborate first name after a Greek muse -- made popular by Grey's Anatomy character Calliope "Callie" Torres -- begs for a short, snappy second name like Jo.


Diana Juliette -- This classy Latin first name (meaning "divine") gets a sweet flourish with the French diminutive of Julie at the end.

Donna Jo -- This famous character from Full House was probably the first time D.J. hit our radar for girls. So, it makes sense we pay homage to her here with this Italian-inspired name (Donna is Italian for "lady").


Evie -- That's it. Get it? This plays off the growing trend of initials sounding just like the full first name.


Joanne Kathleen -- Sound familiar, Harry Potter fans? This is J.K. Rowling's pen name; she was encouraged to use initials to hide her gender and avoid alienating male readers.


Juliet Rae -- This ultra-romantic first name gets a dash of cool with this feminine form of Ray, short for Raymond. 


Casey -- Playing off the above-mentioned initials-pronounced-as-nickname trend.

Karli Crane -- This feminine version of Carl or Charles picks up a nice echo with the "c" in the middle name.


Katie -- Yet another nod to the trend of making a name and its initials sound the same. So cute!

Katherine Taylor -- This regal Greek first name pairs well with its more worldly "occupational" second name -- which has long been used as a last name but is gaining popularity as a first or middle name in its own right (hello, Taylor Swift). 


Maria Joanna -- A fancier, lilting twist to your usual Mary Jo.


Mary Kate -- Of Olsen twin fame, of course! The simplicity of this feminine name combined with its fun initial-based nickname are a nice combo.


Penelope James -- "James" is a hot name for girls, but combining it with the ultra long, feminine Penelope is a particularly refreshing mix!

Peyton Jolie -- This Old English "place name" has a contemporary vibe for girls, plus Angelina Jolie fans will love this middle-name nod to their favorite celeb.

Pace Justice -- Such a stately name for a girl; she's bound to do great things!


Tara Jacqueline -- This strong, simple Irish first name pairs well with the flourish of its French middle name. 

Tabitha Jett -- This ancient Greek first name is well complemented by the modern-sounding middle name. 

How do you feel about nicknames derived from initials?

Images via Veronica Lara/shutterstock


Meet the Baby Name Pool Champion

Jun 1st 2015

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...

Rising names: Lincoln (M), Mabel (F), Everly (F)

Falling names: Adele (F), Rihanna (F), Bentley (M)

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:

Rising names: Lupita (F), Dalary (F), Elsa (F)

Falling names: Tyler (M), Jayden (M), Brianna (F)

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!


The 10 Most Surprising Brand Names That Became Baby Names

May 28th 2015

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.