Too boring??

I'm pregnant with my first (have posted on here before) and don't know baby's sex yet. My favourite names for a boy so far are Elijah and Tristan. For a girl I love Clara. Another girl name I really like is Sarah, but is it too dated and boring?? What's your opinion on Sarah? Have been thinking about Julia too, but same concerns as with Sarah


August 30, 2015 12:21 PM

I love Sarah! I think it is a classic name. It definitely was over-used in my generation (1980's), but it has died down enough now to where a Sarah would not be one of 10 in her class. I also love Clara, but that is gaining quickly in popularity-- she MAY be one of 10.

August 30, 2015 2:03 PM

My dd's name is Ann.  I think it's just so nice to see a classic name and it makes her unique among the Emma's, Madison's, Kaden's.  I like all your choices so far.  

August 30, 2015 2:31 PM

I'm a bit confused: you're concerned that Julia is dated and boring? Dated to when, exactly? And when (besides 140 years ago) was it used often enough to become boring?

Of the names you've listed, the one that's overwhelmingly the most popular for babies in the U.S. right now is Elijah, with nearly 3500 per million last year. I do recommend checking the NameVoyager graphs for all of your choices: it can illustrate just how different statistics and perceptions can be. (Do pay attention to the scale at the right -- it gives the number of babies per million born.)

I do know a lot of Sarahs and Saras in the teen-to-thirtysomething range, but I haven't become bored with the name, and it's not a common choice for babies any more. Both Sarah and Clara have some pronunciation ambiguity that Julia doesn't share, however, so that's something to consider.

August 30, 2015 3:16 PM

With Julia I was more concerned about it being boring rather than dated... I mean I don't know much about names, but I've met soo many Julias (and also Sarahs) over the years and it was always one of the names that seemed rather boring to me. I went to school in Germany for a few years and there were millions of Julias (although they pronounced it Yulia, which is a pronounciation I still really don't care for) and it always felt like a name to me that parents gave their children when they couldn't come up with any other names. Of course I know that's not the case and today I love the name, but that's just how I felt when I grew up. The older I get the more I love the name Julia and its variations like Juliet

As for Sarah I had a similar feeling as I had with Julia when I was younger (though not as intense), but I fell in love with it now and I could definitely see it on my kid. I'm glad that the reactions towards Sarah were rather positive. Clara is still my top choice, but my ex (who is the father) doesn't like it, so I don't know if I should settle for a different name that I also love (even if not AS much) and that he likes (or at least doesn't hate). The only name that we can both 'agree' on so far is Luna, which I love and he quite likes compared to my other choices, but I'm not sure it's THE ONE. I think I prefer a more classic name like CLARA (!!!), Sarah or Julia/Juliet.

Popularity is what's bothering me a lot about Elijah too, which is why I'm leaning a bit more towards Tristan (or Emmett).

Why is this so difficult??? :/

August 30, 2015 6:42 PM

Julia is a beautiful name and is more popular than Juliet. I love the flowing sound of it and it's one of those names I like to hear spoken. Julia is having a comeback, though has never been overused, so is definitely not boring!

I have met many Sarah's, and a lot of them not that nice or kind, so I am biased here. It would be refreshing on a youngster though.

Luna is a nono for me, as I am a Harry Potter fan and Luna Lovegood is called 'Looney lovegood' by kids behind her back, but she is a brave and generous character. It's the name, and it's association with the moon, and references to lunacy that puts me off this name. I think it could be a cute pet name however.

Clara is lovely, but is on the up. And you seem to want a name that both you and baby daddy like, or at least one he doesn't hate. But saying that, sometimes you can grow to love a name given time, and association with someone you love.

I vote for Julia, with Sarah second and Clara third.

Elijah, Tristan and Emmett are all quite trendy. I like Tristan, but I love Emmett! However I think that Elijah or Julia as your boy or girl choices would be great. You couldn't go wrong with either of these.

August 30, 2015 8:47 PM

Laura W. has written a few blog posts addressing why this is so difficult:

It's funny, though: I'm a Julia, and I can still count the other Julias I've known in my 40-some years without resorting to my toes -- and that's including my mom and grandmother. (I'm only thinking of people I encountered more than once, of course.) Maybe it had a popularity spike in Germany that it didn't have around here?

Luna would certainly be a more unusual choice than Sarah and Elijah, but if you can embrace the "looney" association from the get-go, it's a lovely name.

August 30, 2015 4:03 PM

I love Elijah and Tristan.

But I personally feel that because Sarah is incredibily popular it has become really boring.

August 30, 2015 5:27 PM

My daughter is named Sarah and she has rarely met another, for what it's worth. She's thirteen.

August 30, 2015 8:25 PM

I don't think Sarah or Julia are too boring or dated.  They are both very nice, classic girl's names.  If you want something a bit more current, perhaps you could use Sadie as an occassional nickname for Sarah?

August 30, 2015 9:50 PM

I think Sarah is a lovely name. 

There was a time I think it was overdone. I have a 30 something friend who is a Sara, and it has always been a minor complaint of hers. 

I feel like Julia has had more steady popularity-I do know Julias, but they span a whole mix of age ranges. 

It's long been one of my very favorite names. 

I also like Clara very much. I do know of a couple wee Claras; it has that vintage charm that is so popular right now. I don't think it's overdone, though.

I'd probably choose Julia of the three, but you really can't go wrong. 

I will say that Elijah and Tristan strike me as quite different in style. I like both, but Elijah will always be a very religious name for me.

By Fly
August 31, 2015 6:33 AM

My experience is a little different.  I don't think there is such a thing as a boring name, except perhaps John/Jane Smith - mostly due to excessive and sustained popularity in all living generations.  There is classic, modern, rare, trendy, creative and a few inbetween.  But not boring.

I think my experience is basically reflected in the popularity data for Australia pretty much tells the story so I'm going to include it here.  All three names are slow risers that have been good solid names for a period of time (not excessively so, as in the case of John and Jane, but popular for a whole generation, rather than just a year or two).

Clara has been on the rise since the 1980s but has yet to hit the top 100 (most recent data has it 179th in 2011).  It is a name that I've only ever seen on the period drama 'The Paradise', I've never met a Clara.  Claire (or Clare) is vastly more common, with Clare getting top 100 in the 1980s before dropping off, and Claire hitting the top 100 also in the 1980s but has yet to drop below 100 again even now.

Julia was top 100 in the 1990s and early 2000s dropping since 2004 and outside the top 200 in the most recent data (2011).  I've met one or two Julias in my life, it feels familiar but rare, and not date stamped.  It's also a family name for me, though not to the same extent as HNG's family.

Sarah has been in the top 100 since the 1960s, reaching rank #1 in the 1980s and remaining in the top 5 until the early 2000s.  It remains in the top 50 still today.  The spelling 'Sara' has also been top 200 over the same period of time, spiking to 63 in the 1980s.  When I was at school there was a Sarah in every class... so I know a lot of them.  Mostly within ten years of my own age (20s), but that probably has something to do with the people I mix with.  The eldest one I've ever met was probably in her late 40s.    So its not exactly a dated name for me, it is still popular and it doesn't feel trendy.  It's never really been my favourite name, partially because I don't like the idea of naming a child 'princess' (sound spoiled brattish to me) and because I've never really know a nice Sarah.

Of the three, I'd recommend them in order of least popularity, Clara first, Julia second, and Sarah third.

September 1, 2015 12:37 PM

Just a thought, if you love Sara and Clara... I know a Shara. A little more unusual, but not at all "out there." I also know a little Seraphina who goes by Sera. 

September 1, 2015 1:23 PM

There's a difference between boring and safe. Sarah and Julia are safe names--they are both quite pretty, your daughter likely won't have any problems with people spelling or pronouncing her name, and eyebrows won't be raised by the chocie. She MAY encounter another girl in her class with the same name, but finding a nickname for either name (Sadie and Julia, maybe?) will fix that easily. Ultimately naming your daughter Sarah or Julia is the equivalent of honeymooning in Paris or Hawaii: well-loved options and well-loved for good reasons.

September 1, 2015 1:46 PM

I agree, they are safe names because they are well loved for a reason - your analogies are spot on (and I honeymooned in Hawaii, ha). The increasing fragmentation of names means that it's unlikely to be a classroom repeat NOW, so it'll be less of an issue for your daughter's generation. Sarah and Julia will be fairly distinct and unique identifiers for your daughter and her generation.

I won't lie, though, I just the other day had a conversation with my spouse in which we were lamenting that we know SO MANY (grownup) Sarahs and that it really complicates its use as a name. In a given week where I was going to a conference this summer, my children had three different childcare providers and friends watching them, and they were ALL named Sara(h)... and then we had a series of totally different Sarahs visiting and writing, and the upshot is that my children are completely confused about who all these people are. We end up having to use surnames and complicated  epithets "Sarah, mother of childname" or "Sarah from nursery school" or "Sarah of grad school" or "childhood best friend Sarah"... because although Sarah HAS nicknames, none of the Sarahs use them, since those nicknames have fallen out of use by our generation. Ultimately, it's so common in our circles that it is beginning to cut into utility as a name as an identifier.

As a result of Sarah having enjoyed a particular moment in the sun in the previous generation, it's possible that Sarah may privately be recieved by some of the grownups in your life with a sense that it is an overused name. It's not for this generation of babies, but for those of us who know many adult Sarahs, it's inevitable that a child will be known as "little Sarah"... or perhaps you COULD keep a nickname like Sadie or Sally in occasional circulation so that it feels also feels like your daughter's name if she ever needs to distinguish herself further.

September 2, 2015 9:50 AM

I think that pretty much nails it. Boring was probably the wrong word, but I completely agree with you - they are safe names. I still think they are beautiful names, but I think I've crossed them off the list for now. My favourite is still Clara and I can't seem to get it out of my head. I think if baby is a girl that's what I'm going with (as of right now). I just wish my ex liked it too..


By mk
September 1, 2015 1:39 PM

I wouldn't call them dated or boring. They are classic names.

I know so many Sarahs of all ages, from newborn to adult, (I work with 3!) that it's one of the few names I personally would avoid for being too popular. I like Sadie as a name on its own, not as nickname for Sarah, though I know it is one. Clara and Julia are very pretty. But nothing wrong with Sarah or Julia at all!

September 2, 2015 4:18 AM

I don't think either Sarah or Julia is "boring" per se, but I agree that as a name enthusiast, they don't exactly make my heart sing. Of course, that isn't necessarily a problem, and it's not always desirable to have too interesting a name -- having to explain or spell it all the time, even receiving compliments on your name possibly gets tired after about 20 years!

But I have to admit that Clara is the one that stirs the most interest and makes me prick up my ears. I also agree with a point that lucubratrix made: that while Sarah quite possibly won't meet any others in her school, the parent generation will likely still feel some burnout with this name. Of course, this will probably only affect the first 20 years or so of her life... but something to keep in mind. I guess it depends on WHO you want to respond positively to your potential daughter's name: your friends, hers, the online naming community...