What names do you think are going to be most dated/time-stamped to now?

I've been giving some thought to what names are going to be emblematic to this generation, what Shirley and Joan were to the '30's, what Jennifer and Jessica were to the '70's, and what Brittany and Courtney were to the '90's, what names I think are going to be most time-stamped to now, the names that are big now but will probably fall by the wayside once the generation with them starts to have kids of their own.



Both genders:

Aiden names - Dipping a little back through the '00's and late '90's as well. This is a family I'm expecting to take a hit soon as the oldest Aidens, boys and girls, are starting to reach childbearing age.

Three letter, two syllable names in general - I'll get into some specifics later.

Anything from Twilight - especially Jasper, Edward, and Emmett, to a lesser extent Isabella - Pop culture always influences names but Twilight packed a particularly hard punch, especially for something only popular for about 5 years or so (roughly '07-'12) and is now so reviled people are one step away from holding public book burnings of it and putting its few fans in the stocks for public humiliation. But it had some just-under-the-surface names that just needed a little push to get big, and gave fairly popular beforehand Isabella some second wind to reign over the charts.

Finley - The only name I think will get dated equally for boys and girls.


Newfangled stuff like Kinsley and Paisley and stuff like that - Especially for girls, neologism names don't last that long on the charts.

"Addie" names - Adeline, Adelaide, Addison, Ada - This decade's nickname of choice. Maddie and all of its longer forms (Madison, Madeline, Madelyn) are already getting dated to the '90's-'00's, the Addie names are going to be dated to now.

"Ellie" type names - To an extent Eleanor but especially Ellie by itself and Eliana - Eli Ee-lie is big for boys and Eli/Ellie Ell-ee is huge for girls. Eleanor is fairly classic but the neologism Eliana will almost certainly be thought of as an old lady's name by 2070.

All things Lily - These are already starting to sink a little, so these are probably going to be time-stamped to the mid-'00's to about now.

Ethereal word names - Stuff like Genesis, Haven, Heaven, and Serenity - word names in general are pretty big right now and this strain especially are for the most part pretty new names to the field, which tend to get the most attatched to a deade.

Ava - This generation's Jennifer!  This was just a name everyone agreed was great at the same time. 20 years ago it was nearly unheard of and now it's everywhere.

Harper - Ditto. This one wasn't even close to the charts as recently as 2000 but now it's everywhere.

Everly - Another name that came up out of nowhere.

Avery - I know Avery's close to 20 (although the older you get the closer it seems to be to 50-50 boys and girls), but it rode the Ava train for a good second wind.

Eliza - There seems to be one Elizabeth diminutive that dominates at any given time (In the late 19th century it was Bess/Bessie, in the '30's and '40's, it was Betty, in the '50's it was Betsy, in the '60's and '70's it was Beth and Liz/Lizzie) - and now that's Eliza. Maybe we'll cycle back to Bess in the 2030's? We'll never know.

Scarlett - Like Shirley took off after Shirley Temple made it big, Scarlett is having a ball right now since the main cultural association has shifted from the glamourized but mostly negative image of Scarlett O'Hara to the whole-lot-nicer but still glamourous image of Scarlett Johannsen. If her career starts to falter in the next couple years (given her attatchment to the MCU I wouldn't count on it though), the number of little Scarletts will probably falter.


-Axon or -Axton names (really anything with an X in it, besides the pretty timeless Alexander) -  Jaxon/Jackson, Maxton, Paxton - What -ary (Larry, Barry, Terri, Carrie) was to the '60's -axon and -axton are to now.

Anything ending in a vowel or vowel sound - especially stuff like Milo, Bruno, Eli, Elijah, and Ezra, to a lesser extent stuff like Noah - If a trendy name right now doesn't end in N, it ends in a vowel.

Hardcore Biblical names - Stuff like Elijah, Ezra, or Isaiah - Oddly these are really popular among people who aren't very religious, I've found.

Sebastian - I'm probably the only one who thinks this is completely unusable because of the Little Mermaid (I hate to break it to you but being stongly tied to a "girly" movie is prime teasing fodder), and that kinda surprises me. This name is gigantic but I think it'll probably not become a mainstay.

Henry - Not like this is ever off the charts but it'll probably be viewed as the big revival name of the decade.


Got any other names you think are going to be this generation's definative names?


November 2, 2017 12:35 AM

I thought that overall, this was a very well-thought-out post. There is one thing, however, that I'd like to correct and that's the idea that Eliana is a neologism. I agree that it wasn't terribly mainstream until recently, but the name is actually a Hebrew name with history. Its meaning is "my god has answered" and I know three in their mid 30s. 

November 2, 2017 10:30 AM

I think a lot of this is pretty spot on, although some of these names will perhaps only seem date-stamped to name nerds, as there is so much diversification in naming these days that people may likely not be aware of popularity to the same degree, except on a regional level.

I somewhat disagree about Eliza -- I only know one, and most parents on here considering using Elizabeth seem to want to use the whole name. Perhaps Eliza is more of a regional thing?

I also disagree about Twilight names taking much of a hit. Whatever her limitations as a writer, Stephanie Meyers was bang on evolving name taste. I think Edward, Jasper and Rosalie became popular because vintage names were on a big upswing anyway. I remember her saying that Isabella was the name she would have used for a daughter, if she'd had one, and I feel like a lot of the other names in her book sound like plausible Isabella siblings. I do expect Renesme to go the way of the dodo bird though, if it hasn't already...

November 2, 2017 12:58 PM

OK, where is this Twilight potential time-stamped popularity bump for Edward? My son Edward was born in 1979, and I have been watching the name ever since. I have seen no bump. See the popularity stats: https://www.behindthename.com/name/edward/top/united-states

Edward has just been bopping along at about the same level for years. It is not going to be time-stamped.

By EVie
November 2, 2017 3:41 PM

Yes, I definitely don't think that Edward belongs on this list. Twilight gave it a lot of exposure, but that didn't translate into actual babies. In fact, the Ed- boys' names as a group are at their lowest point since the beginning of the stats. 

I also think there are different kinds of date-stamped. Paisley, Bailey et al I think are more likely to be seen as the Tiffanys and Courtneys of this generation. I would expect the Ellie and Lily names to wear a bit more like, say, Amy -- associated with a particular time period, but not in an out-of-nowhere sort of way. 

And I am totally ready for Bess/Bessie to come back. 

Clearly a lot of people disagree that Sebastian is "totally unusable," since it's climbing the charts. I would consider using it. I know The Little Mermaid was a cultural sensation when we were kids, but now it's almost 30 years old. Kids might still watch it, but it will be just a blip on their radar with the vast expanse of other media they're being exposed to. I know my kid and his classmates are far more interested in things like Frozen, Boss Baby and the Lego Movie. And how would the teasing go, anyway? It may be a "girly" movie, but Sebastian the crab is male. Will the other kids sing Under the Sea at him in an affected accent? I would teach my kid the lyrics so he can join in -- it's a fun song!

I'm curious why you say being linked to a girly movie is prime teasing fodder, anyway -- have you direct experience of it? Or is that just speculation? 

November 3, 2017 5:20 AM

I feel like the name Sebastian appeals to parents who are trying to avoid the male=macho label anyway. I had forgotten about the crab, but Sebastian makes me think of Saint Sebastian, always posed nude and full of arrows in classical art, and I feel like I've seen more than a few films with tortured gay protagonists and some kind of Saint Sebastian tie-in. It also makes me think of mournful Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. The parents of Sebastians I know tend to be staunchly feminist types who wouldn't give their son a girls name, but who want to give him a name with sensitive overtones.

Anyway, I haven't noticed the Erics of this world suffering from the Little Mermaid connection.

November 3, 2017 1:52 PM

Erics, maybe not, but Ursula certainly took a huge hit from The Little Mermaid.

By EVie
November 3, 2017 4:25 PM

Ooh, that is an absolutely fascinating contention! It made my name-data-geek spidey senses tingle, so I went for a splash in the data to see if it's true, and I think the answer is actually no. Take a look at the Ursula numbers for twenty years before and after The Little Mermaid (total babies born):

  • 1969 383
  • 1970 335
  • 1971 395
  • 1972 376
  • 1973 297
  • 1974 267
  • 1975 261
  • 1976 229
  • 1977 217
  • 1978 179
  • 1979 181
  • 1980 165
  • 1981 170
  • 1982 160
  • 1983 148 ** Last year in the top 1000
  • 1984 132
  • 1985 131
  • 1986 127
  • 1987 130
  • 1988 127
  • 1989 105 ** The Little Mermaid comes out
  • 1990 96
  • 1991 80
  • 1992 63
  • 1993 47
  • 1994 62
  • 1995 49
  • 1996 37
  • 1997 39
  • 1998 66
  • 1999 52
  • 2000 44
  • 2001 44
  • 2002 31
  • 2003 47
  • 2004 34
  • 2005 26
  • 2006 30
  • 2007 38
  • 2008 24
  • 2009 39

Ursula had a modest peak in the late 1960s/early 1970s before beginning a long drop over the next few decades. As you can see, it was already well down that slope when The Little Mermaid came out, and had in fact dropped way more than it would after The Little Mermaid -- 273 fewer babies born, down 72.5% of its value from 20 years before. In the 20 years after The Little Mermaid, it dropped another 66 babies, or 63% of its value in 1989. So if anything, the decline slowed a bit after The Little Mermaid. My guess is the Disney writers chose it because it was *already* an unfashionable name, much as Ariel was chosen after it had already started to rise.

November 3, 2017 7:05 PM

What I do think that The Little Mermaid is doing is dissuade current parents who like the name from using it. It's more or less in the right window* that makes it ready for revival, but when I see it pop up on lists, everyone cries, "But, The Little Mermaid", and it's basically never used. 

*Urusla Andress was likely the catalyst for the 1960s spike, but in my opinion it still feels like an old name ready for revival more than a baby boomer name.

November 3, 2017 2:02 PM

Here's a trend that's definitely at a turning point, although I'm not sure in which direction: M-L-N names.

Laura's baby name newcomers post on the blog listed the names Melanin and Million as newcomers to the baby field, and Milan exploded in popularity in the past decade. I'm wondering whether the FLOTUS is going to give M-L-N names a temporary boost (which could die off after 2017) or kill them off.

November 6, 2017 11:24 AM

I was genuninely surprised to see Melanie so high on the charts recently. I love it but I thought "isn't Melanie kinda 80's? Like Stephanie? Maybe it's riding Scarlett's coattails, Melanie being Scarlett O'Hara's nicer friend?" Still don't know.

I imagine the group that actually adopts Melania will probably be more so the big celeb/reality star naming crowd (The crowd that embraced Khloe) more so than hardcore conservatives.

Melanin is probably one of those names we'll look back on and laugh. I get names like Ebony or Raven to denote black pride but Melanin is a little much.

November 9, 2017 11:29 PM

Melanie strikes me as people looking for an alternative to Melissa more than anything else.

And for me, Ebony and Raven are two teenage girls in a Hot Topic. As far as "say it loud I'm black and proud" word names go, I'm partial towards Onyx.

November 3, 2017 6:05 PM

Not a particular name, but in my area the hard-C/K + L and/or N names sound very "now" (well, very millennial—kids named post 2000). Names like Caleb, Kael, Cayla/Kayla, Kailey, Cailyn/Kaylynn/Caelan, Clare, Clara, Clarie, Clayton, Karlyn/Carlon, Kaylia, Kelan, Kellan, Kyler, Keean, and Keaton (all kids I actually know by one spelling or another). I suspect these will sound less-than-fresh in another decade or two.

Similarly, all those liquid names might sound much of a millennial muchness: the Ellie and Lily names you identified, along with their less-common cousins like Alaina, Ariana, Arya/Aria, Liana, Elise, Elissa/Alissa/Alyssa, Eli, Elijah, Leila/Layla/Lila/Lilah etc.

Of course, as one of those parents naming kids in this time period, I rather like a lot of names that fit into both trends, so I wouldn't discourage anyone from choosing a name that fits into one or the other.