Name Forecast 2005: Up-and-comers

Dec 28th 2004

A look ahead, part two. 10 names poised for a breakthrough or revival in 2005, with honorable mention candidates.


Ainsley -- An heir apparent to both Kaitlyn and Ashley, Ainsley is a Celtic import with a girlish sound yet a whiff of androgyny. (Runner up: Emlyn)

Annalise: A revival of something that never was -- Annalise sounds old-fashioned, but was never actually common. Thus nobody has images of a frumpy Great-Aunt Annalise to get past. (Runner up: Arabella)

Willow: A meaning name that sounds creative and contemporary, but not forced. (Runners up: Piper, Sienna)

Susannah: A comfortable biblical classic, soft and lyrical, yet extremely rare. Parents are finally noticing. (Runner up: Camilla)

Estella: Starting to catch on again with women, but men aren't yet convinced. They'll come around soon. (Runner up: Josephine, Violet)


Asher: A biblical classic, but it sounds like a modern blend of Ashton and Tyler. (Runner up: Jude)

Declan: With Aidan and Liam now American standards, the more Irish the better. (Runner up: Seamus)

Emmett: Old-fashioned but not heavy, a rarity for boys. (Runners up: Jasper, Everett)

Hudson: The hunt is on for surnames that won't turn androgynous! Hard to picture a little girl called Hud, but time will tell. (Runner up: Maddox)

Otto: The biggest stretch on the list. Otto will never be a top-10 hit, but this year I heard several stylish parents considering the name then shying away. In 2005, they start to pull the trigger. (Runner up: Reuben)


By Anonymous (not verified)
December 29, 2004 3:30 PM

Hudson? Yuck! But for a girl, "Bay" is actually pretty nice. Maybe for 2006...

By rumtum77 (not verified)
January 21, 2005 6:46 PM

I don't think Hudson is "Yuck". In fact, I named my son Hudson and that was 5 years ago! Hudson was my maiden name, and I wasn't ready to completely relinquish it when I got married, so we decided to name our first son Hudson. It actually took a little getting used to, but it fits him perfectly. For now he is the only Hudson in his school, but I know of 2 babies that were just named Hudson. Another cool thing about his name is that you can find a lot of neat things with the name "Hudson" on it, which Hudson finds fascinating.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 1, 2005 6:50 PM

It's late to post this comment, but I wanted to chime in and say that my husband and I have Otto on our short list. (We hope to conceive in 2005.) I guess that makes us "stylish" :)

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 10, 2005 9:30 PM

The name Otto sounds ... fat. Maybe it's the repeated round shapes and the shortness of the name, but when I hear the name Otto, I picture a fat guy. And I've seen Kevin Kline as Otto in "A Fish Called Wanda" many times!

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 11, 2005 7:21 PM

I'd bet my last dollar that a few parents will actually name their daughter Hudson. There is no doubt in my mind. It's OH so trendy to give your girl the most masculine name ever! I'm still waiting to find a girl named Rock or Thor, though. Maybe those are safe.And I must say, AINSLEY has got to be the most ear-shattering, wince-inducing, annoying name I've EVER heard. Sounds like the whine of a hungry mosquito or a cranky toddler. I will never get used to it.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 11, 2005 11:16 PM

No, no, no! Not Susannah! I had planned on having exclusive rights to that name for my daughter due in a few months. Sigh.

By Kimala (not verified)
February 12, 2005 5:47 AM

I named my third daughter Annelise, ten years ago. We have chosen traditional names for our four daughters, but always wanted something a little more modern and maybe even "tomboyish" as nicknames. Thus, we have Jessica (Jessie), Carolyn (Carly), Annelise (Annie) and Marielle (Ellie). I also thought that when they were young, the nicknames were appropriate but that they might want a more mature sounding name when they were working, profesional women.It hasn't worked for me. No matter how hard I've tried to get people to call me Kimberly, it is always shortened to Kim. And my Dad calls me miK.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 12, 2005 6:54 PM

HI I'm Rachel Griifths, Banjo Taylors mother. Just for the record my son is named for Banjo Patterson the great and loved Australian Poet of the 19th century, a household name whose verse every schoolchild can recite by ten. Love this site, we are looking for an old fashion girls name but don't want to get to preschool to find ten of them.

By Laura Wattenberg (not verified)
February 12, 2005 7:25 PM

Banjo is definitely an all-Australian name! I recently discussed Banjo with some parents who were considering the name Django, after Django Reinhart. In each case, the way the name comes across depends entirely on whether you're familiar with the person being honored...which in the case of Banjo unfortunately rules out most of North America. (A second parallel: neither Banjo nor Django was the original's real name. Django was a nickname, Banjo a pen name.)

By BananaLee (not verified)
February 12, 2005 10:32 PM

I'm another "Stylish Parent" considering the name Otto. I already have an Ava and I like Otto, Oliver, Leland, and Ambrose. I usually hate to see names I'm considering on an "up and coming" list but I really doubt that people in my area (Minnesota) will see Otto as a cool name and start using it. People here still think Mikayla is 'cool'!Thanks for the list :)

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 13, 2005 4:55 PM

To the poster who wondered about "Rock" for a girl's name...I know a woman on a message board who named her daughter Veronica, but now she mainly goes by her nickname, Rocky. (The girl is probably 10.)On the same message board, we have a new baby Ainsley! :)And my daughter is named Susannah (4 yo). We haven't yet met a little girl with her name, though we run into Savannas and Sierras and Siennas all the time!~Lindsey

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 14, 2005 5:25 PM

Willow is probably rising in popularity from the TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Xander and Anya are too, though not Giles or Buffy. But Buffy's a nickname for Elizabeth, right?

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 14, 2005 10:33 PM

How about the name Myles or Milo for a boy? Similar to, but better than, Otto - in my opinion.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 15, 2005 10:25 PM

Hudson is already used as a girl's name. Hudson Leick ( for example, tho it's originally her middle name.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 16, 2005 3:16 AM

I have never seen an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I was very surprised by the references to the show when I introduced people to my baby Giles. People seem to love his name, but I still don't see it becoming popular.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 16, 2005 4:06 PM

22 years ago I named my daughter Celia. I wanted a name that was pretty (so you would definitely know it was a girl) and different, but not weird. I think I did pretty good. My son is name Bill. Again, a solid name with no gender confusion, a real man's name.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 16, 2005 5:22 PM

4 1/2 years ago I named my son Douglas, and so far we havent heard of another Douglas anywhere around us, eventhough that is his fathers name too. In 4 months we are having another little boy and we are going for the name Dalton. Again we really havent heard that name alot.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 16, 2005 9:01 PM

For Rachel Griffiths who is looking for an uncommon girl's name. How about Ione. I'm not sure of the origin, but I only know one, and that is my mother in law who was raised in Iowa. I would have named my child due in April Ione, but it's a boy.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 16, 2005 9:46 PM

Dalton has become less uncommon in central Illinois. I've noticed the name a couple of times per month in the birth announcements of our local paper. Still, it's a nice name.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 18, 2005 4:46 PM

I LOVE the name Ainsley, I think it is so pretty. It flows nicley in fact we are expecting a gil in March 2005 and that name is the top of my list!

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 18, 2005 8:15 PM

As for Ione, my daughter's name is Zoe Ione, named for her great grandmother, but we also toyed with Iona, which is a lovely island off the coast of Scotland...

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 18, 2005 8:24 PM

HelloI come from Spain, and Ione is a Basque name for girls, not very usual even in my country, but very beautiful.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 18, 2005 9:52 PM

When our daughter was born 2 years ago, we chose to name her Sasha. The choice was partly due to honoring the fact that parts of our family come from that part of the world, and partly because we’ve loved that name for a girl ever since my brother’s dear Russian friend came into our lives (also a Sasha). I’d never heard of another Sasha EVER. Then, at our first Mom’s And Tot’s gathering, I learned that there were three Sasha’s in our neighborhood! So I guess it’s growing to be a popular choice with those of us that live in the City Center of Chicago. And her play friend...another girl the same age...her name is Hudson. Go figure. ;)

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 19, 2005 8:31 PM

My husband and I just got married 4 months ago. At the age of 35, desperatly trying to have a baby. If it is a Boy His name will be Anikan. I have tried to research this name and I have come up with nothing at all. Does any one know anything about it or did I just make it up!!!

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 20, 2005 2:24 AM

We just had our baby 5 weeks ago -- her name is Ainsley. I think it's a beautiful name (not buzzing mosquito like at all). Most people have never heard of it, but generally like it. My husband and I both LOVE it and think it's one of the best names around. We were thrilled to see that it's becoming more popular, but love that it's unique without being too over the top -- hopefully, it won't become too commonplace!

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 20, 2005 10:57 AM

For the lady who has chosen the name Anikan. The only time I have ever heard that name is in Star Wars movies. Darth Vaders real name was Anikan Skywalker, before turning to the dark side. How I know that I don't really know, as I really don't like those movies.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 20, 2005 1:15 PM

Winifred - one of those names that folks comment on but never think of using today. A great opportunity for a risk taker out there. My brothers and sisters called me "Winnie". As an adult I go by "Wyn" (my father's name is Wynne), my first husband called me "Fred" for short.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 20, 2005 8:14 PM

My husband was born and raised in Ireland. His brothers name is Declan, so when our first son came along in 1999 we chose Declan for his name. When people first hear it they wrinkle their noses and say "what??" Then after a little they usually always say "thats a real neat name--very strong".

By Lillie (not verified)
February 21, 2005 1:40 AM

1) You probably had trouble finding information on "Anikan" because in "Star Wars" it is spelled "Anakin."2) How is "Ainsley" pronounced, ANN-zley or AYN-zley?3) I bet most people using Annalise these days are pronouncing it anna-lease. Interesting, because as I understand it, it's "supposed" to be spelled "Anneliesse" (being German in origin) and pronounced anna-lisa.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 23, 2005 3:49 AM

Regarding Declan, there's at least one strong, real-life example: Declan McCullagh, a reporter for CNET, Wired, and the like, who writes fresh, insightful articles on topics at the convergence of politics and technology. His bio is at

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 23, 2005 8:08 PM

yikes! please stop spreading the news that Willow is hot in 05. we chose that name for our daughter who was born last November, because it wasn't popular - we had no idea about the character on "Buffy". Since my name is Lisa, I know what that's like to be one of many. drat...

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 24, 2005 6:14 PM

Actually, Anneliese is "supposed" to be spelled Anneliese and in German is pronounced AH-nah-lee-zah. I know b/c it's my name and I was named after my German aunt. In German it is a VERY old-fashioned name and DOES conjure up images of someone's crotchety old aunt.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 25, 2005 7:21 PM

I don't care for the name Ainsley, but that may be simply because it was the name of the blond Republican female character on the TV show "West Wing". I didn't find her character very likeable, and that is probably what I've associated with the name.Our daughter was born in Dec of 2003 and we went with Vivian -- a classic, easily spelled and pronounced, with a clear female identity. Thanks for this resource! I am very interested in the trending of names -- we checked out one of the "Beyond Jennifer and Jason" books while looking for names -- it talks a lot about trending and subconscious perceptions/expectations of names, which was great!

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 25, 2005 10:48 PM

I bet Clyde comes back within the next decade.

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 27, 2005 4:53 PM

We named our now 4 year old daughter Katie with her middle name being Aoife (up and coming for 2005!) My husband is Irish and we wanted something traditional, without it being too diffiuclt for North Americans to pronounce! My 2nd daughter (now 3) is named Molly ... you don't hear it very often, but everyone says they love it when they hear her name!

By Anonymous (not verified)
February 28, 2005 9:08 PM

What about my first name, Temujin.From what I read last it means Iron, in the language that the Mogolians speak (Mongolia is a country north of China). Also, I have heard that it means rider of the heavens, or eagle. I don't know for sure, but most women I have met, here in California, seem to find this name attractive because it is familiar and exotic. Familiar because of the first part," Tem" like Tim, and the exoti second part "ujin" that completes my first name. My father found the name Temujin in National Geographic of all places. I do not have any unique physical atributes common to Mongolian people, except that I am a human being.

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 1, 2005 2:59 AM

I love the name "Ainsley" and I agree that it is a beautiful name. I'm very surprised that it is the first name on the 2005 up-and-comers list. When I tell people I'm going to name my daughter "Ainsley" they usually say they've never heard it before and love it.

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 4, 2005 2:45 PM

I saw the name Ainsley in a baby book years ago and changed it a little. I have a six year old daughter named Ensley. I have a nine year old daughter named Brady......

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 4, 2005 2:45 PM

I saw the name Ainsley in a baby book years ago and changed it a little. I have a six year old daughter named Ensley. I have a nine year old daughter named Brady......

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 8, 2005 11:53 PM

Our grand daughter was just named Eliza

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 8, 2005 11:57 PM

40 years ago we named our son Thane He works in a large office complex and everyone knows him by that name i.e. Go ask Thane for the answer to that question. For years latter we named our daughter Kelly which she likes. Our lst daughter recieved the traditional name of Laura.

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 9, 2005 4:16 PM

Laura is a great name! It's a girls name I cant see it on a boy at all! And it suits all types of girls

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 9, 2005 9:46 PM

I like the name Hudson. I too wanted to make use of my maiden name;therefore, my husband and I are considering naming our son Smyth. I don't want his name to be to different, yet not so..common. my name is Amy so I know what its like to have a very common name.

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 10, 2005 3:42 AM

Already plenty of Declan's in Australia and I know one Emmett (Irish parents).

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 10, 2005 10:10 PM

I teach school and had a difficult time coming up with names that didn't conjure up visions of past students, so #1 son is Neil, and #2 son is Clark (right after his birth the "Lois & Clark" TV show aired and I started running into a few younger Clarks). I wasn't very creative with my daughter--she's Karen--but I still love the sound of it as much as when I chose it! She did a great job with her two--Griffin (boy) and Thayer (girl)!

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 11, 2005 8:39 PM

[by Driftwood]*** Often the distinct names of media celebrities are emulated. ‘Vanna’ White, Catherine ‘Zeta’ Jones, and ‘Oprah’ Winfrey, ‘Crispin’ Glover, and even Fred ‘Sanford’ all possess unique monikers. All are more or less popular figures to many, yet the ear-catching portions of their names remains obscure. Perhaps ‘Vanna’ seems too trapped in the still too-near 1980s, ‘Zeta’ more appropriate for galaxy than a human, ‘Oprah’ dominated by a mighty personality (though that doesn’t stop Elvis naming), ‘Crispin’ an oddball Christian or Christopher, and ‘Sanford’ a tad too trashy. Still, there’s no denying the coveted rarity found in each of these names. It’s just odd that none of them seem to make the lists or blogs.*** Supposing that current patterns of reaching back four or five generations for names continues, we might just see another “Zenas Winsor McKay” (celebrated early 1900s comic strip creator).*** Also, in order to halt the claim-jumping of boys names by little girls, may I discretely suggest a young lad named “Furious”. Ah, little Fury. Nice, rugged, and a bit tempermental. Of course, originally the Furies were female, but times do change…

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 13, 2005 8:21 PM

heaven help any poor girl called Willow who has a weight problem ! I know several very clumsy girls called "grace ", and a dumpy "fay" (means "fairy") .

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 14, 2005 10:56 PM

Another famous Declan: Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus, aka Elvis Costello who adopted a stage name presumably because his real name sounded too Irish (and for laughs)

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 15, 2005 1:56 AM

Ainsley is a lovely name.. I chose it in sept 2004 (before this blasted list came out!!) Slightly different (not another Hannah/Emma/Maddy variation!) without being too "out there"(can you say MoonUnit??). Besides it goes well with her older brother Spencer. Y'all can stop with the negative comments now!

By Anonymous (not verified)
March 15, 2005 1:56 AM

Ainsley is a lovely name.. I chose it in sept 2004 (before this blasted list came out!!) Slightly different (not another Hannah/Emma/Maddy variation!) without being too "out there"(can you say MoonUnit??). Besides it goes well with her older brother Spencer. Y'all can stop with the negative comments now!