The Baby Name Buzz Report, 2012

Apr 26th 2012

If you want to know which baby names are hot today, you can check the popularity stats. But what does the baby name future hold? Which names have the buzz among moms-to-be, pointing to name trends ahead?

Nobody has a perfect crystal ball. Some look to celebrity babies as trendmakers, following past examples like Shiloh and Kingston. That's a fuzzy forecast, though, as less influential celebrity sibling names Pax and Zuma show. Others have tried tallying the most-searched names online, but that turns out to measure something quite different: the names in the news that make us go "Huh? What IS that, anyway?" (This year's top "Huh?" name is Katniss from The Hunger Games; last year's was Sookie from True Blood; even Voldemort has made the grade in the past.)

So what measure really takes the pulse of the baby name scene? My favorite buzz-o-meter is...your guesswork.

Each year, hundreds of name-savvy readers enter my Baby Name Pool, trying to guess the hottest rising names of the past year. While the Pool is theoretically a look backward, the entries as a group are an incredible snapshot of the name zeitgeist. I'll gladly pit the collective wisdom of my readers against any would-be trendspotter.

So let's meet the "buzziest" names of the year. This year, a big three of girls' names totally dominated the Pool:

Adele, Pippa and Harper.

Behind those leaders, honorable mention goes to Mason, Amelia, Asher, Henry, and Mila.

Drink in those names, everybody, because they're the sound of the times.

The big three all took their 2011 punch from celebrities. Adele was the year's breakout singer, Pippa Middleton was the talk of the royal wedding, and David and Victoria Beckham welcomed a new daughter Harper. Intriguingly, all of the above are British celebrities. Get on the ball, Hollywood, you're losing your name mojo!

The honorable mentions include some current hits that still have tremendous upward momentum, particularly Mason and Amelia. And Mila is on my shortlist for "names of the future."

You can divide the buzz names into three rough categories.

- Surnames (Harper, Mason)
- Names popular a century ago that are making a comeback (Adele, Amelia, Henry)
- Names that have never traditionally been common in the U.S., but are simple and fit familiar sound patterns (Pippa, Asher, Mila)

Those three categories have a lot in common. None of them were popular during the great style dead zone of 30-70 years ago. Chances are you don't personally know a living adult with those names. (Well, maybe Henry. Maybe.) Yet none of the names sound aggressively modern or exotic because they're rooted in the familiar, and easy to spell and pronounce. That's your recipe for the names of this moment, and most likely the next.


April 26, 2012 11:43 AM

Laura, I was born in the latter days of WWII, at the beginning of what you characterize as the "great style dead zone," whatever you mean by that, and I know people named Mason, Adele, Asher, and Milla (with a double instead of a single 'l') in my age bracket.  None of those names was considered odd or off the wall in those days.  If I had grown up in the deep south instead of the Mid-Atlantic, I probably would have encountered Harpers, although the Harper would have most likely been a genuine family surname, rather than a random appropriation.  Back in the day, I also knew people with "made up" names like Theanthier Esame and China Ree.

The main difference I see between then (70 years ago) and now was that then many people prioritized the handing down of names through the generations of family, especially for boys (lots of juniors, for example).  Now people seem to be looking frantically for something "fresh," if not unique.   Sometimes I want to say to those seeking naming advice, "Name your kid Jane and be done with it--she'll be the only Jane in her kindergarten for sure."  But I don't.

By Stephanie R (not verified)
April 26, 2012 12:34 PM

I would have to agree with the name lady for the most part.  People want to name their kids something that feels unique, but sounds familiar.  My oldest daughter, who is 4, has friends named Amelia, Asher and Mason.  I went with Aviana and Ilyra.  I grew up loving the name Briana and wanted something like that that wasn't that- found Aviana and the rest was history.  Ilyra was more of an effort to match the feeling of Aviana without sounding the same.  Along those lines, I do think siblings influence name choices as well.  Once you have a child that has a certain feeling of a name a lot of parents want to keep with that feeling, which influences future name stats.  I am just saying :)

April 26, 2012 1:43 PM

Well said Miriam!  A Jane today would probably never have to be Jane LastInitial in school.  Personally, I'm a big fan of the simplicity of the standard "boring" names that you just don't hear anymore.  

By mk
April 26, 2012 2:00 PM

I know a few adult Amelias. It was also almost my middle name. 

Wasn't Harper the name of a bunch of celebrity babies before Victoria Beckham? It already seemed very popular by the time Harper Beckham was born.

I agree with Miriam. Sometimes people do seem to overthink it.



April 26, 2012 2:17 PM

I think that by the "great style dead zone" Laura means that names popular 30 - 70 years ago have little hope of revival. Ten years from now, the WWII names will begin to be hot again, but for now, that still falls within the cone of unfashionability.


To Stephanie R's point, I do have a friend who had two children in her early 40s. What did she name them? Brian and Nicole, names that would have fit right in had she had her children in her early 20s. Her taste in names didn't evolve to fit the zeitgeist of today's parents. As someone whose taste has been stuck in fuddy-duddy land forever, I salute her!

By hyz
April 26, 2012 4:12 PM

I'm sure the "style dead zone" comment refers to the names that were the most popular in those decades, and which are also fairly particular to those decades (i.e. not Elizabeth, Margaret, Catherine, etc. which have been steadily near the top over the centuries).  For instance, pulling up the top 10, 20, or 50 girl names from the 1950s on the SSA yields a huge proportion of names which are typically considered to be non-starters today by all but the most loyal family namers,  the intractably outmoded, or the aggressively avant-garde (at least in the US).  Linda, Patricia, Barbara, Debra, Karen, Donna, Nancy, Cynthia, Pamela, Sharon, Carol, Diane, Brenda, Cheryl, Janet, Janice, Denise, Shirley, Beverly, Gloria, Joan, Peggy...--any of these names today would virtually guarantee a child that they'd not have to tack an initial onto their name to distinguish them from others in their class, at least in my area and among my acquaintances.

That's not to say there weren't scores of women named during the current "dead zone" that have names considered fashionable today.  Taking Adele as an example, it hit its peak in 1914, and then steadily fell after that, dropping off the list entirely in 1970 and only reappearing in 2010.  So, even though there were surely more girls named Adele in 1955 than there were in 2009, it still feels both more vintage and more modern than a characteristic 1955 name like Linda. 

Anyway, we seriously considered Adele for our daughter born in 2008 (it was one of the first names DH and I found we could agree on), but now I feel like we dodged a bullet.  Of course it is still FAR less popular than the name we actually chose, but given the singer's huge rise to fame, I think its notoriety far outweighs its popularity, and makes it seem much more a name of the moment than it is (yet).  It is still lovely, though--if it sounded better with our LN, I might be singing a different tune about it. ;) 

April 26, 2012 4:37 PM

I know an adult Amelia but that is the only female name of the ones that Laura mentioned that I can speak of. Of any age. The Mason's that I know are around 10 and under and are boys.

Elizabeth T-Your friend and I should meet sometime as a fellow fuddy-duddy non-evolver I too congratulate her on her well named children!

hyz-I love your list and always wonder when these discussions occur: What ever happened to all the Pamela's of the world?

April 26, 2012 6:19 PM

As a parent currently in the process of choosing a name, I think Laura has it dead on. That is exactly the feel that we are looking for. Add in Stephanie R's comment about sibling naming, and my own fussiness when it comes to the heritage of names, and we are in for a tough challenge!

April 26, 2012 6:26 PM

@hyz - You hit on that most important point, I think:

"So, even though there were surely more girls named Adele in 1955 than there were in 2009, it still feels both more vintage and more modern than a characteristic 1955 name like Linda."

It's so interesting how names are perceived!

By JenniferN (not verified)
April 26, 2012 7:31 PM

I'm interested that Harper garnered a lot of votes, while I see no mention here of Hattie.  Never underestimate Tori Spelling!  Hattie would also fall into the same category as Adele.

By J&H's mom (not verified)
April 26, 2012 8:11 PM

Besides the connection to the singer, Adele offers nicknames like Addie. I have seen Tons of polls on other sites about Adelyn and Adeline.

Honestly, Mason, Asher, and Harper already seem like old news to me. I'm no expert, of course, but it seems like naming trends move fast these days.

I've heard of multiple little boys named Cruise and Cruz in the last couple of days. I also read an article predicting big things for Rue and Ivy. I don't usually put any store in those kinds of pieces, but those two pics seemed right on to me.

Oh, and don't forget the other Tori Spelling kiddos-Liam and Stella. Those two seem very of the moment as well.

We have a 7 year old Henry. We've yet to encounter many here in the 'burbs, though my hipster, city sister tells me she meets them all the time.

Two newest babies I know of are a Brooklyn and an Easton.

By izzy (nli) (not verified)
April 26, 2012 10:58 PM

Wow... I haven't been on here in forever, and it feels so good to be back!!! i need to vent to some people who will understand what i'm feeling.... if anyone remembers, last september, i asked for your help with a project for my English class, where i had to describe my own name in a variety of ways (colours, taste, etc.). Well, same class, very similar assignment!! i don't know what to do!! I have to rename myself (we are reading Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. if anyone is familiar with the story of Chris McCandless, he renamed himself). this is a problem, because i have spent more time on this seemingly 2 minute project than any of the rest of my homework, which is saying a lot, as it usually takes me about 6 hours to finish it all! i don't want to use a name everyone will think is interesting or out-there. but i don't want to use a name that bores me, either. Ugh. i don't know what to do.

April 27, 2012 9:08 AM

I loved hyz's insight that Adele's "notoriety outweighs its popularity" -- very well put! You articulated something that I've often tried to regarding different names.

izzy -- How about Nymbler? Plug in a bunch of names that you like, or are kind of like ones you might consider, or even just your own name (if you like it, feels it fits you) and see what comes up, for both boys and girls. Look through your family tree? Both first names and surnames? Sounds like a fun project!

April 27, 2012 10:40 AM

izzy-How about switching genders? Laura had a post up one time entitled "What name would you have if you were the opposite gender" She was curious about both the name your parents would have picked and the name you would pick for yourself now. It was an interesting thread. Maybe that angle would work for you. Or you could use something meaningful about your self, or you could just pick your favorite name. My answers to the above questions:

#1=Gregory; #2=Iris Lynn because it means rainbow and waterfall; #3=Jessica or Samantha

April 27, 2012 11:50 AM

My cousins hate trendiness.  They named their daughter Adele (not after the singer), and I warned them that although they weren't naming her after the singer, the name would be shooting up in popularity and that it was also on trend.  They looked at me like a was crazy (I guess to the average person that's a strange thing to say).  Regardless, I think Adele is a classic.

Miriam - Jane actually is on my short list :)

Zoerhenne - I'm glad somebody still loves my name because I find it so common and dated sometimes, even if it is pretty :)

J&H's mom - I agree with you on Mason, Asher, and Harper.  My opinion is that if the trend is rooted in a classic (Emma, Henry, Amelia) it's more likely to stick around.  I doubt Adele will be a flash in the pan either.

By Katybug (not verified)
April 27, 2012 1:05 PM

I'm in my mid-30s and grew up with an Amelia and an Adele, but I thought both names were tragically uncool at the time. Surely they would have bee happier being named Heather or Jennifer ;)

By Jane 7 (not verified)
April 27, 2012 2:44 PM

Sorry to break in, but does anyone remember the post from a long time ago, when we all wrote down the names we would choose if we had like 18 kids, like the Duggars... we were flipping coins for the gender I think or going with the gender of the Duggar kids. Anyway, we found out we are having a boy (!) and of course, we're having a hard time coming up with a name as this is our 6th boy:) I remember I posted both my list of future kids and my husband's list, too, which is actually the one I'm most interested in finding. He's suddenly saying he doesn't like William, but I'm not sure if that is longstanding or not:) Thanks everyone!

April 27, 2012 3:31 PM

Jane 7, are you thinking of the game started in comment 31 (by zoerhenne) on Laura's "shoe name" blog post last October? ( I don't see a list of future kids in the comments (your reply is number 95), so possibly you're thinking of something else, but that was the alphabetic Duggar-naming game that I could think of.

By Coll
April 27, 2012 4:15 PM

Jane 7, I remember us playing a game like this years ago-- maybe back in 2007. I think we've probably played those games off and on over the years, though.

JenniferN, good call on Hattie. I was just watching the documentary Babies last night (from 2010) and the San Fransisco baby in that was named Hattie, too. I don't see Harriet coming back but I do see Hattie being about as popular as Eloise or Adele 5 years from now. I hope Henrietta doesn't leap along with it before I get to use it (if I ever get to use it!)

Henry and Amelia are all over brownstone Brooklyn, where I live. I also know a 5-year-old Adele here, named pre-singer, pre-trendiness. I also have a bunch of facebook friends who've named babies Adele in the last year-- it's occupying the place Eloise did for my FB friends the year before. Speaking of, I wonder if Eloise will have continued it's gallop up the charts in 2011.

I'm also really excited to see where Simon ranked last year. Simons are few on the ground here, though I do encounter them ocassionally and always feel a little thrill when I hear another mother calling to a Simon on the playground (okay, that's only happened once). It's been so consistently mid-200s for the last decade I doubt it will have moved out of that zone, which makes me happy on the one hand (it's still special!) and sad on the other (why hasn't the rest of the world caught on to what a great name this is?)

By izzy (nli) (not verified)
April 27, 2012 5:04 PM

Thank you so much everyone that responded. I think I'm going to go with Katherine. It isn't the spelling I most prefer, but it is a name that is easy to spell, with loads of nicknames available (unlike my own). It's also my best friend from elementary school's name.I also chose not to use Isobel/Izzy like i do on here, because this is my secret little internet haven :)


Also, on the post: I adore Pippa, Amelia, Adele, and Henry. I also love Amalia and Adelaide/Adeline. I love Addison for a girl, but it doesn't really fit in with what I usually like. I'm also a Hunger Games fan, and the name Katniss is really growing on me. I would never use it on an actual child, but if you consider it, couldn't many of the same nicknames for Katharine (and alternate spellings) be used? Kate, Katie, etc.


Hattie is a longtime favourite of mine: I prefer Henrietta over Harriet, but what does everyone think about Henriette?? I also love Simon - it seems masculine and cultured, but not often used, which is a definite bonus.



By J&H's mom (not verified)
April 27, 2012 5:27 PM

There was definitely a Duggar name game.


I think it was well before the shoe one, as I don't remember that one.

By Jane 7 (not verified)
April 27, 2012 5:27 PM


Thanks for finding that. Not the one I was thinking of, which was a while ago... It must have been, oh, maybe about the spring of 2010? 

By Jane 7 (not verified)
April 27, 2012 5:44 PM

Ok, dh found it for me. June 18, 2008. Ironically, by coin flipping, we got 7 boys in a row! William IS on dh's list. 

April 27, 2012 11:23 PM

Jane7-Ahh! Thank dh for the trip down memory lane. Those were some great lists I just spent the night rereading. I think I will post the link in the "Name Game" forum for others to read unless anyone has a reason for me not to.

April 27, 2012 11:58 PM

I went to HS with an Asher and have always liked Amelia, though it seems to be picking up steam as an alternative to Emily and Emma in my area. Mason, Henry and Harper feel kind of "old news" to me. I remember the first time I heard Mason (the newborn twin of a Madison) was about 9 years ago (same with Henry), back with I did promotions for Babies R Us, so maybe that's why. Actually, b/c of that job, I got to speak with Laura W briefly right before the first BNW edition came out, which led me here and helped "feed the adiction," so to speak.



By Kelly West (not verified)
April 28, 2012 1:53 AM

Harper has been on the radar for a longtime coming. So much so i was surprised a bit by the Beckam's choice of it for their daughter.  Tracing it from Harper Lee to Harper on Wizards of Waverly Place, it has been rising for quite a while. Was one of my top choices 11 years ago, doesn't seem very cutting edge, but trendy maybe! 


April 28, 2012 12:06 PM

Like others, I know quite a few adults with these names...though they mostly DO read "under the age of 10" to me now.

Mason x2 (late 20s early 30s); Amelia x2 (same), Henry x1 (50s), Mila x1 (early 20s, though it's short for Ludmila)

I actually don't know any tots with these names, but the sound/feel/vibe they create seems very NOW. My son goes to daycare with a boy named Mays1n, which is pronounced like Mason. I could perhaps get behind this respelling, but it definitely reads more "girl" than "boy" (to me, at least).


By Jane 7 (not verified)
April 28, 2012 3:18 PM

RB, I definintely assume that any creative spelling that includes a "y" is a girl. Not sure if that holds up, but it's my strong feeling. 

By Jane 7 (not verified)
April 28, 2012 3:20 PM

On Harper being mainstream or not... an elderly couple at our church were lamenting their great-granddaughter being named Harper. They'd never heard of it before. So it's not so mainstream that it's completely filtered through all levels of society the way once off-beat names like, say, Kristen or Karen have. I think Piper is the more cutting-edge choice today though.

By J&H's mom (not verified)
April 28, 2012 5:03 PM

Good point that there is a distinction between trendy/cutting edge/mainstream.

I guess I'd consider the trendiest names to be the ones rising super fast, especially those seemingly coming out of nowhere.

But considering they may still be well down the charts, perhaps that's not entirely fair.

Can a name at #111 be trendier than the name at #1?


April 28, 2012 8:53 PM

Jane 7, Congratulations on boy #6! I look forward to seeing your name choice in the new Announcements forum and wish you a healthy and easy pregnancy.

April 29, 2012 12:08 AM

Amelia, to me, has always been in the same classic, never super common, still familiar category as Charlotte and Margaret.  But that probably has something to do with the fact that my great grandmother's name was Emilia.  Growing up, I had two friends named Amelia and Emilia (from different circles, they didn't know eachother), and I always thought of those names as classics.

The more I think about it now, Amelia's parents were about 20 years ahead of the trendy curve.  Her older sister is Clara, also very hot right now.


Is there a difference between Amelia and Emilia?  I say them slightly differently, but are they two different names, or is this like Catherine and Katherine?

April 29, 2012 12:16 AM

Now, I don't know if this is selective perception, a self-perpetuating tv trope, or an actual phenomenon, but until Henry became really popular in the general population, it seemed to be used relatively frequently by Asians (real and fictional). It became a running joke between my mother and me that when a new Asian male character was introduced on a show, his name was going to be Henry. (The only one that comes to mind right now is Henry Cho from Gilmore Girls, a Korean student who secretly dated Lane, but I know that there were quite a few others.)

This perception was strengthened when I met my first real-life Henry, (he is now 36,) and he was Chinese.

April 29, 2012 8:19 PM

One of my childhood friends (now mid 30's) is an Adele, so it's always seemed commonplace to me. I have no idea why her parents picked the name, especially since she has an older sister Nicole which is pretty much top 5 for that time period. 

I went to school with a few Amelias, the fitted right in with the bunch of Emmas and Emilys.  Interestingly, 2 of my good friends growing up were Emma and Olivia. Now I am friends with a couple that have 2 young daughters, Emma and Olivia!

I actually didn't know any Henrys growing up but friends named a baby Henry 12 years ago and copped a fair bit of flak for it.  Now I know a ton of them under 5.

I actually loved the name Mason about 10 years ago and was keen on it for a boy. Now, it's totall not my style at all.  How things change :)

Re the 'adding a y' to a name. A baby born to an acquaintance in the last couple of weeks was named Jordyn. The baby is a boy. I was quite shocked, not so much at the name, but more the spelling. Jordan is male to me, Jordin/Jordyn etc are female.

April 30, 2012 11:53 AM

Anyone know whenw the SSA will release the 2011 name list? Shouldn't it be sometime very soon? 

April 30, 2012 1:33 PM

L'autre C-It's usually around Mothers Day which will be in two weeks!

Chimu-I would have to agree that "y" spellings to me are female. 

April 30, 2012 4:28 PM

Why certain ethnic groups pick certain thoughts:

It is plausibly a name in both languages? Clearly, it's easier to pick a language that works in both Spanish and English than more linguistically different languages. But it's not impossible. "Naomi" is an acceptable name in Japanese, just pronounced more like Now-mee than Nay-oh-mee. A Japanese name like Kenta might be truncated into "Ken" and work in both cultures.

Similarly, if the name doesn't map directly to the other language, is it close enough? If the characters for "Jen-Lei-Fa" work well in Cantonese and have a positive meaning, it might make the English name "Jennifer" more appealing. I could easily see how a name like Henry could be slightly modified and work well in a Chinese dialect.

Immigrants may not quite as aware of naming styles in the country of emigration - we may feel like Tiffany or Jennifer sound a little dated for a baby name. If you're from another country, they may simply sound "American".

British-y sounding names may be more popular among those coming from Hong Kong, as it was a British colony for 99 years. If you have met native English-speaking people with the name of Oliver, you are more likely to pick Oliver for your kid. My daughter dated a guy named "Simon Lee" - yes, he could have been from nearly anywhere, but my first guess was Hong Kong Chinese - and I was right.

By hyz
April 30, 2012 4:31 PM

Hmm, I've known more than a few adult Henrys--I can think of 5 off the top of my head, but I'm sure there were more--they currently range in age from 30s to 70s.  None of those are Asian, fwiw.  I grew up with an Amelia and an Amelie (both in their 30s now), and a Mason (same), and a Ludmila nn Mila (same) so all of these seem fairly timeless to me.

April 30, 2012 4:47 PM

I was thinking about the Hong Kong connection, too, Claire P.  When I was still a student (university, mid-90s), if you saw the name "Heidi" in a class roster, you could assume she was Hong Kong Chinese.  There were a couple other names like that -- "Henry" was definitely one of them as well.

May 1, 2012 2:00 PM

I know a 40 something Adele as well as an Adela. My 36 year old daughter would have been Mason had she been a boy. I think back in 1976 there was an adorable  boy named Mason on a Jack in the Box commercial and that's where I got the name Mason.

By Not another S (not verified)
May 1, 2012 6:16 PM

Coll, I LOVE Simon and wanted to use it for the past 20 years. Unfortunately, DH, FIL and I all have first names that start with S so I am no longer considering it. My brother also has an S name so I have shared my initials all my life and wanted to spare my kids the same fate. Am I overthinking things? Was I weird as a kid to want my own initials? Probably!

By Liz + Louka (not verified)
May 1, 2012 9:10 PM

Chimu, I also had a childhood friend named Adele (who would now be in her early 50s) and until now it never occurred to me that her name didn't fit in perfectly with the Nicoles, Michelles and Narelles of the time.

May 1, 2012 9:23 PM

I'm in my 30s and know an Amelia, Adele, and Mason (all girls) at or around my age. I have noticed that Amelia has gotten very popular and Harper has been for a while in my book. I'm pregnant and am seeing a lot of Asher, Easton, and cayden for babies due at the same time as mine. There are harpers and Amelias too! 

By J&H's mom (not verified)
May 1, 2012 10:44 PM

I think there are grown-up Henrys, but they go by Hank.

When we named our Henry, my dad was very insistent that he would only call him Hank, which he thought seemed sporty and modern (I guess), whereas he was sure Henry would lead to teasing (clearly Dad didn't know old was in).

We actually had planned on using Hank at least part of the time, but it never stuck.


May 1, 2012 11:34 PM

@Liz and Louka, maybe it's an Aussie thing that Adele was never as out of fashion here? It certainly didn't seem out of place to me either.

By Joyce_83 (not verified)
May 2, 2012 11:34 AM

Unfortunately, my very popular asian surname prevents me from even considering the name Harper

May 2, 2012 2:21 PM

Regarding Asian names, what perplexes me is why second generation Asians, those that are born in the U.S. and are Americanized, continue to pick lagging generational names for their children.  They pick Ashley, Madison and Kaitlin for their baby girls, even though those names are 15-20 years old.  They have not jumped on the "one of a kind" bandwagon.

May 2, 2012 3:46 PM

Whoa Tirzah, that seems like an unfair characterization.  I am in a large Asian-American community and I don't know any babies named Ashley, Madison or Kaitlin.  Here are all the baby names from Asian or half Asian famillies I know born in the last few months:


Liam is the oldest and he clocks in at a 8 months.  What I have noticed in the trend is that there aren't a lot of R's in the lot.  Possibly for ease of pronunciation for relatives with heavier accents?

By Patricia NLI (not verified)
May 3, 2012 8:54 AM

Miriam @1: "Name your kid Jane and be done with it--she'll be the only Jane in her kindergarten for sure." My granddaughter Emma did exactly that, not because she wanted her daughter to be the only one -- although Emma loved being the only Emma in her class (born a few years ahead of the name's rising popularity) -- but because Jane was her favorite name and, for her, nothing compared to the classic simplicity of the name. And Jane has turned out to be a 'unique' name in a way. When someone asks the name of Emma's 2-year-old daughter and she replies "Jane", the reponse is often, "Jade?".

By Beth the original (not verified)
May 5, 2012 10:03 AM

I love the name Jane, but had to use it as a middle name, where it seems to be quite common these days.

In my daughter's former preschool there was a little girl called Carol.  It was charmingly "off."