Adelaide has the distinction of being a saint's name: the 15th century's St. Adelaide, who became Empress of the Roman Empire. The name also has roots in royalty as 19th century do-gooder Queen Adelaide, also known as 'The Good Queen Adelaide', and it's the name of a place: Adelaide, Australia; named after none other than 'The Good Queen' herself. Adelaide is a name that is backed by history, but not bogged down with it. Added bonus: the adorable nickname, Addie (embrace it, Addie is the new 'Maddy').
This one screamed trendy the moment Jay and Bae presented their first-born, Blue Ivy, to the world. Currently a charming toddler who delights in captivating the masses, the positive vibes associated with wee Blue Ivy only adds fuel to this baby name's fire. Ivy, a name that already had strong ties to virtues like fidelity and faithfulness is derived from the Old English 'ifig' meaning 'climber'. And, just like the resilient vines from which she comes, Ivy is steadily climbing the charts to the highest she's been since the 1880s.
3. Beatrice / Beatrix
Beatrice, meaning 'she who brings happiness' in Latin, was, for a long time, on the endangered names list. In fact, as recently as 2001 she nearly fell off the Top 1000 altogether. Gathering dust for decades, young parents have given Beatrice new life. Whether you associate the name with Beatrix Potter, author of childhood classics like 'Peter Rabbit', or celebrity daughters (Paul McCartney and Bryce Dallas Howard both chose Beatrice), Beatrice, the hippest 'old-new' name, is demanding her due. Chock full of character, with a hint of the quirky, and nickname options galore (our faves are Bea or the even sassier, Trixie), Beatrice is ready to explode.
We weren't the only ones who thought Julia Roberts and her husband, Danny Moder, were crazy when they chose Hazel. Admittedly, what we saw as parental eccentricity bordering on 'way too out there' was, in reality, pioneering naming. Hazel Moder may be one of the few entering middle-school in 2016 but she'd have plenty of competition at the local 'Mommy & Me'. Hazel, meaning 'The Hazelnut tree' enjoyed her last popularity boom during the botany-infused name craze at the turn of the century. If the 100-year-rule (names cycle back to their highest popularity every 100 years) applies anywhere it's here - hooray for heaps of Hazel's.
Side note: The enormous success of 'The Fault In Our Stars' starring Hazel Grace Lancaster (or Shailene Woodley, whichev) has only added to Hazel's star quality.
Cora lovers, send your thanks to Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey and it's lovely Countess, Cora Crawley, for the popularity bump (or don't, if you were hoping Cora would remain under the radar). Downton may have shoved Cora into the spotlight, but she was already on the rise, jumping from #452 in 2005 to #127 in 2013. Could Cora be the new Sophia? We say yes.
Who wouldn't love a Ruby or a Pearl? Both jewel names shine when compared to their fading sister stones: Amber and Crystal. And while both Ruby and Pearl continue to grow in popularity, we choose Pearl for her understated, unprecedented ascendancy. Ruby, gaining in popularity since the early 1990's, is gorgeous and we're sure there will be plenty running around. But Pearl, who left the top 100 in 1927 and has swan dived ever since, still retains that sheen of sparkly newness in today's over-crowded jewelry box.
In terms of full-tilt 'Isabella' status, Penelope is almost there. Stand in the middle of a park and call for Penelope, if at least one little girl doesn't toddle towards you, we fear for both that park and your safety. Penelope, with it's bright nickname Penny, provides that perfect medium, a full name of substance and a nickname that ages well.
Oh Disney, creator of epic amusement parks, fantastical worlds, and little girl names since the dawn of time (or 1923, anyway). Meet the latest, of 'Frozen' fame, enigmatic Elsa. Already a hit in the U.K., Elsa, originally a pet form of Elizabeth, is being propelled upward thanks to her Disney debut. Neglected since 1917, 2016 is Elsa's time to 'let it go' and embrace her moment in the sun.
And speaking of Disney (because when it comes to names, Disney remains a perennial source of inspiration), Aurora, that flowery tongue-twister, has her eyes set on the Top 10. Aurora, meaning 'dawn' in Latin, can be shortened to the sweet but saucy Rory. And with that uplifting A, Aurora still has that airy, princessy feel without the usual bells and whistles. And what a relief, one more Arabella, Mirabella, Isabella, or Annabella (we get it, your daughter is beautiful) and we'd be overrun.
Winona Ryder would be proud (as a former 'Jo' in 90s star-stacked 'Little Women'). Beloved American author, Louisa May Alcott may not have found her name well-suited to Miss Josephine March but many new mommies and daddies do. Riding high with the gender-neutral nickname, Lou, Louisa is, at long last, hitting her stride.
Somehow when Tobey Maguire and wife, Jennifer Meyer, named their son Otis back in '06, we weren't swayed one way or the other; in fact, we basically ignored Otis entirely. But then, woe and behold, came Otis Alexander, son of the stunner Olivia Wilde and her hubby Jason Sudeikis and Otis caught fire. Once relegated to the land of great-uncles and beloved family pets, Otis, is back to being all-boy. The revived Otis, also means 'wealthy', a handy little attribute many capitalist parents will no doubt appreciate.
Theodore, a name that conjures images of the eternally adventurous, dyed-in-the-wool American Theodore Roosevelt (and don't forget that dashing mustache and monocle, surely the inspiration for many a Brooklyn man's wardrobe). In fact, there there have been a slew of fabulous, famous Theo's, Teddy's, and Ted's: from Theodore Geisel a.k.a. Dr. Suess to baseball legend Ted Williams - Theodore doesn't discriminate when it comes to greatness. That being said: there have been a few Theodore's who threatened to overshadow this illustrious history: examples include the original cute child star who grew ugly: 1950's Theodore 'Beaver' Cleaver; to the downright devious, Ted Bundy - serial killer extraordinaire. Thankfully the good deed's of the multitudes have not been eclipsed by the damning deeds of the few. Theodore, with it's soft sounds, and nicknames like Theo and Teddy, is perfect for today's sensitive, helicopter parents.
Everyone has a great-uncle Leo. Or we do, anyway. Kind but stern, a bit of a rascal in his younger years, great-uncle Leo grew up to be a loving, supportive family man; devoted attendee of every shameful sport event and (bless his heart) middle-school musical. Now we can treasure another entirely different kind of Leo, the devilishly handsome star, Leo (Leonardo) DiCaprio. Whether or not you approve of his promiscuous modelizing, the man is a hot, insanely talented actor, and if we could go back we'd knock Kate Winslet straight off that rickety piece of wood and save him instead. Leo, meaning 'lion', has it all: the trendy 'o' ending, astrological meaning for the new agers, and a cool, confident exterior with some serious historical weight.
Levi, we love you. You invented denim, you are the son of Matthew McConaughey (and Sheryl Crow, Sara Gilbert, and U2's The Edge), and you've got history, as in Old Testament. We may not be sold on the nickname Lev (why mess with perfection?) but Levi is brilliant. Biblical roots but light on his feet, Levi, meaning 'joined' or 'attached' in Hebrew, is mischievous, masculine, and full of life.
Another Bible throwback, Ezra is the 'Benjamin Button' of baby names, the older Ezra gets, the fresher he looks. Ezra, with his unusual sounds and funky 'z' is already a soon-to-be baby name superstar. Biding his time since 1924 (when he left the top 500), Ezra was already number 143 in '13 and we bet he's top ten material by 2020.
King Arthur, of the Knights of the Round Table, is ready for revival. Arthur, Celtic for 'bear', has always enjoyed recognition, but he hasn't been in the baby name hot-seat (top 20) since the publication of 'The Great Gatsby' in 1925. Since then, Arthur has had to overcome his image as a nerdy accountant with a lisp-inducing 'thur'. Now, the very reasons that hindered Arthur's rise have come to his aid - parents love the pomp and circumstance of Arthur, the 'thur' no longer sad but stately, and relish that Arthur comes without the brash testosterone nicknames (no Rocky's and Cash's for these folks). An onslaught of Arthur's are coming our way.
Yeah yeah, we know all about Oscar the Grouch. But Oscar is far more than that grumpy one-trick pony. No nicknames here (unless you count Oz - and we don't): Oscar is Oscar. And that's just what the swarms of parents naming their babies Oscar are after.
8. August / Augustus / Augusten
Welcome to the wide world of Gus. Gus is THE name of the moment and parents are using every name at their disposal to give their baby boy a full name that comes with 'Gus', for that is what all these August's, Augusten's, and Augustus's shall be. We're wondering when parents will cut out the middle man and just put plain old Gus on the birth certificate.
Side note: The enormous success of 'The Fault In Our Stars' starring Augustus Waters (or Ansel Elgort, whichev) has only added to Augustus's star quality.
Like Theo, that sweet 'o' has parents gushing - and rushing to name their sons Milo before Milo, Theo, and Arlo become as tired as Max, Jake, and Sam.
Give a howdy to Hank, the newest of the oldies. Hank harkens back to the time of Ralph's, Bob's, and Bill's - in other words the '50s and '60s. With names like Ray and Chet (Chester is on the horizon), Hank will be the first to clamber up the charts.