As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Beyonce and Jay-Z named their little baby girl Blue Ivy a choice that has left many people scratching their heads. (“Blue is a name?” I overheard a man in line at Starbucks ask incredulously.) Love it or hate it, “Blue” is right on trend. In fact, we’ll be seeing a lot of “adjective” names in the coming year, according to baby name expert Pamela Redmond Satran of Namberry.com.
“I can definitely see Blue being one of those celebrity baby names that takes off, inspired by Beyonce and Jay-Z’s choice,” Satran tells Mommyish. “But I don’t see it climbing into the Top 100 or being used as a first name so much as a middle name, the way many celebrities before them have done.” (She cites Cher‘s now-grown son Elijah Blue and Alicia Silverstone‘s baby Bear Blu as prime examples.)
Staran says that “word” names in general are on the rise, which includes anything from colors Indigo, Cerulean, Violet, Scarlett and Gray among them to even bolder choices like True, Noble, Brave, Strong, Loyal, Loving and Happy. (I actually knew a “Happy” growing up; ironically, she had a notably large mouth with a killer smile.)
What are some other hot baby name trends for 2012? We can expect to see a rise in what Satran calls “fierce” names. Think animal names like Bear, Fox, Wolf, Falcon and Hawk, or those along the lines of Breaker, Ranger and Hunter. “It’s a scary world out there and that’s being channeled through names, even if parents aren’t conscious of that being the reasons they’re attracted to these fierce names,” Satran explains. On the other end of the spectrum, however, are “softer” names (for example, Noah, Asher, Silas).
Another top trend for 2012 is names beginning with the letter A. On Nameberry.com, fresh A names include Acacia, Anais, Anouk, Aria and Azalea for girls, and Alistair, Ambrose, Archer, Augustus and Axel for boys. “A names are part of a general trend toward vowel names but, consciously or not, also connect with the scientifically-proven fact that kids whose names start with A do better in school,” says Satran. (I find this fascinating!)
M names are also all the rage, everything from Maisie, Minnie, Millie and Marguerite for girls to Magnus, Micah, Miller, Milo and Montgomery for boys. There’s really no hidden meaning to this trend but, as Satran explains, “It’s just M‘s turn after J, K and L over the past several decades.”
When it comes to celebrity-inspired names, I asked Satran if Ethel would be making a comeback any time soon thanks to Lily Allen, who surprised most people by picking such an old-school name for her little girl (let’s face it, it’s not exactly a sexy name).
“Ethel is definitely breaking a boundary with vintage names. While many old choices, from Beatrice to Alice to Jasper, sound fresh again, there are other names and Ethel is among them that have seemed terminally old-ladyish, destined to remain in the attic forever,” says Satran. Betty, on the other hand, is making a big comeback, thanks in part to Mad Men and to Betty White (!).
Gender-bending names like Stevie, Arlo and Jude have been around for a while now, but the trend is growing. With it comes a new round of options, and Satran says these include Rory, Remy/Remi, Payton/Peyton, Rowan, Sasha, Quinn and Harper (the latter two especially for girls thanks Beckhams!).
So there you have it: the hottest baby name trends for 2012. Just don’t be surprised when you one day come across a classroom filled with little Nobles and Hawks. You’ve been warned…