Names With Soft Consonants That Are On the Rise

Five of the top-twelve girl’s names and five of the top-ten boy’s names feature “soft consonants.” I’ll list the most popular soft girls’ and boys’ names. Say them out loud and then you’ll know what soft consonants are.

Top-5   (SSA Rank)
Soft Girls’

Sophia    (#1)
Emma     (#2)
Emily     (#6)
Mia         (#8)
Ella       (#12)

Soft Boys’

Mason    (#2)
Ethan     (#3)
Noah      (#4)
William  (#5)
Liam      (#6)

What soft sounds do you hear? Soft sounds using these letters: ”soft c,” “f,” “h,” “l,” “m”, “n,” “ph,” “r,” “soft s,” “th,” “x,” “w”

What hard sounds don’t you hear? Chucking, kicking, bopping, buzzing, grappling sounds using these letters “b,” “hard c,” ”d,” “g,“ “j,” “k,” “p,” “q,” “hard s,” ”t,” “v,” “z”

Now let’s take a trip through the top-100 SSA list to find soft names worth a look. Be on the lookout for soft names in bold type; those names are moving up in popularity vs. the previous year:

Soft Girls’ Names on the Top-100 SSA list:
Sophia (#1), Emma (#2), Emily (6), Mia (#8), Ella (#12), Lily (#16), Sofia (#18), Hannah (#22), Amelia (#23) Lillian (#25), Layla (#31), Hailey (#32), Leah (#33), Anna (#35), Aaliyah (#36), Allison (#38), Sarah (#43), Alyssa (#43), Riley (#47), Arriana (#49), (Ashley (#50), Sophie (#52), Maya (#63), Lucy (#66), Lauren #72), Ariana (#74), Faith (#75), Melanie (#77), Naomi (81), Ellie (#84), Molly (#90), Aria (91).

Soft Boys’ Names on the Top-100 SSA list:
Mason (#2), Ethan (#3), Noah (#4), William (#5), Liam (#6), Samuel (#25), Ryan (#26), Owen (#38), Henry (#43), Eli (44), Aaron (#51), Jose (#72), Ian (#78), Nolan (#88), Luis (#90), Juan (#92)

What do you notice right off the bat? There are almost twice as many soft girls’ names on the top-100 list as soft boys’ names, but more soft boys’ names are ranked in the top-10.

My suggestion, browse names in bold to spot soft names that are on the rise. And avoid names in the top-15 because they are so popular.

How Two Cognitive Scientists Named Their Babies

I found an extremely intelligent and well-written article in the form of an NPR blog by Tania Lombrozo that discusses the process two cognitive scientists used to name their two children. Since she is one of the scientists and her husband is other, she writes with conviction and confidence about a process she claims worked effectively and efficiently for the purpose intended.

I was impressed by the large number of comments written by readers of this particular blog post. Most of them were upset that Lombrozo referred to her two children as Baby #1 and Baby #2 instead of disclosing the names she and her spouse came up with. But a few commenters realized that the whole point of the article was that the “Lombrozo Baby Naming Method” will produce different results for different people, so it doesn’t matter if you like or dislike the two names they came up with for their children. What matters is that the method she followed worked well for her because it was based on criteria that were important for Lombrozo and her husband.

In this post I’m going to summarize their process so you can consider taking a similar approach. I trust you won’t be angry at me because Lombrozo chose not to disclose the names she and her spouse chose for their children. With me as a buffer, you can focus on her process and her claim that both parents are pleased with the names they selected.

The First Step of Data Collection:
-Peruse lists of baby names on websites.
-Investigate meanings and origins.
-Look up name frequencies.
-Pick favorites and solicit feedback from family members (to check for cultural associations or meanings in other languages).

Second Step of Data Collection:
-Browse academic research to find out how names affect bearers.
-Use a crowdsourcing platform to discover whether a few dozen strangers have strong feelings about any of the names tested and to discover what respondents imagine to be the personality and the nationality, ethnic or religious background of people with each name tested.

The Final Stage of Data Collection:
-Each spouse rates the couples’ favorite names based on how well they think each name would fit or work for:
-a Nobel laureate in science
-a rock star
-the secretary general of the United Nations
-a CEO
…using those ratings to calculate a career potential index for each name.

Most parents aren’t quite so well organized about the baby-naming process. The Lombrozos are to be commended for coming up with a data-collection process likely to yield useful results.

Here are some of the ideas I like best:

1. They verbalized the importance of coming up with names that would “open doors” rather than “close doors” for their children.

2. They took steps to determine the cultural associations family members and strangers had with the names they liked best—using an open-ended approach (e.g., “How would you describe a person who has this name _____?”. And they asked whether any of their respondents had strong feelings about any of the names (as a way of looking for strong positives or negatives). That way, they could avoid names which might not be appropriate for their children and which had strong negatives associated with them.

3. They selected a few possible careers for their children and tried to imagine how the names might work for each career path. Not knowing whether their child might be a CEO, a diplomat, a scientist or a rock star, they tried to imagine how their favorite names might work for each of those possibilities.

Most of the readers who commented about their article were upset that Lombrozo didn’t share the names they came up with by using this process. Precisely what they named their children is irrelevant because if you use the same process, you will undoubtedly come up with different names because you and your spouse are probably not cognitive scientists and probably don’t have the same ethnic/national/religious background as Lombrozo and her spouse.

For example, you would undoubtedly pick different “favorite names” to investigate during the “first step of data collection.” Hence crowd sourcing during the “second step of data collection” would produce different results. And, the “final step of data collection” would undoubtedly consider a different group of names for a different group of careers.

This summary, as well as the link to Lombrozo’s article, will help you think about the process of selecting a name for your baby in an intelligent manner—whether you follow the same approach I’ve outlined or come up with your own unique approach.

P.S. I wouldn’t have found this article if it hadn’t been for Tina Ray @raytinamu  who just started following me on Twitter. I decided to find out more about her and clicked on an article she sent me about baby naming–which I liked enough to write about Thanks Tina.      

Names That Are Cool Right Now: February 2014

Here’s a list of names that are cool right now, as of 2/26/14. Why is that important? Because names that were cool last year may come across as “stale” or “dated” now. I keep generating new names for testing on our interactive site. Just click on the links to vote for the names you like best. That way, your friends and relatives will get the benefit of your judgment when you suggest they visit to “shop for” names that are cool right now.

I’ve taken the voting results and quantified them to improve on the raw scores reported by Ranker so names that have been added recently have a fair chance to be considered on an equal basis with names that were added last year.

When I started this list, I included names I found on Nameberry and The Art of Naming. I also generated some names myself. I’m keeping track of the source of each name so you can see how I’m doing. For a while I seemed to have a better “vibe” for finding cool for girls than cool for boys. That’s changing as new votes are cast my latest picks for boys start panning out.

Because I keep adding and testing new names, you’re a lot more likely to find names that are cool right now on my Ranker Interactive lists than anywhere else.

Cool Names for Boys

Name                 Score  Source

1. Levi                6.0     (BL)
2. Nico               5.0     (Nameberry)
3. Remington   4.0     (BL)
4. Theo              3.0     (BL)
5. Jett                 2.0     (The Art of Naming)
5. Wyatt            2.0     (The Art of Naming)
5. Connor          2.0    (BL)
5. Bronson        2.0    (BL)
5. Dante            2.0    (BL)
10. Finn            1.75  (The Art of Naming, Nameberry)
11. Hunter        1.6    (The Art of Naming)
12. Taj               1.6    (The Art of Naming)

Other cool names to consider: Turner, Matteo, Raj, Chase, Rhett, Tripp, Hudson, Rio,  Cruz, Dash, Ryder, Forrest, Tripp, Joss and Marcus

Cool Names for Girls

Name           Score  Source

1. Annika      6.0      (BL)
2. Amelia      3.33    (BL)
3. Serena      2.5      (BL)
3. Ryann       2.5      (BL)
5. Catalina   2.25    (BL)
6. Camila      2.1      (BL)
6. Mia            2.1      (BL)
6. Mila           2.1     (BL)
9.  Skye         2.0      (BL)
9.  Danica     2.0      (BL)
11. Cleo        1.8      (BL)
12. Elena      1.75    (BL)

Other cool names to consider: Sloane, Carmen, Luna, Lux, Harper, Luna, Brianna, Carina, Devin, Mikaela and Carolina

I hope you’ll click on the links so you can vote for some of the names I’ve added recently to my Cool Names for Boys and Girls interactive voting pages. Your friends and relatives will thank you. (So will I.)

What Name Will Sound Best in Your Local Park?

I enjoyed reading Robert Epstein’s article in the Independent, because it referred to topics covered in two of my most recent articles:
To Prevent Bullying, Mexican State Bans “Outlandish Names”
Interesting and Unusual Names of the Sochi Olympics Medal Winners

I also liked it because it written with wit and charm. I usually think about names from the standpoint of how your child’s friends will respond to it in day care or kindergarten (or high school). But Epstein knows what it’s like to wheel your child to the park for some fresh air and a chance to chat with people over the age of four. What will the other moms think when you call your child’s name?

It’s fun; give it a read. And when you get to the end of the article you may find yourself wondering what I’m wondering: did they read both of my recent article (as research) before writing theirs? (A key clue is the last word in their article.)

Of course you’ll have to read both of my articles to solve the mystery. If that seems too much like work, enjoy Epstein’s article.

Why Viktor is the Biggest “Name Story” of the Sochi Olympics.

Viktor Ahn has just won four medals at the Sochi Olympics skating for Russia—three golds and a bronze. This amazing performance matches the four medals he won in Turin, when he skated for South Korea under his former name: Ahn Hyun-soo. He is tied with Apolo Anton Ono with eight short-track medals and Ahn is by far the most dominant short-track skater now on ice. Anton calls him “Perhaps the best ever to put short track speed skates on. Yeah, I would say so.”

Ahn’s story is dramatic and inspiring because a career-threatening knee injury in 2008 and multiple surgeries prevented him from qualifying for Vancouver Game in 2010. His former South Korean short-track skating club had disbanded, and other South Korean clubs didn’t make room for him. So he made moved to Russia, where he was welcomed with open arms. (Russia didn’t have a successful short-track program and they hoped Ahn could help them improve.)

But to compete for Russia Ahn needed to become a Russian citizen. And to do that he had to renounce his South Korean citizenship. In the process of becoming a Russian citizen Ahn chose a Russian name, Viktor. He chose it because the name means “victor,” “conqueror,” “winner”—which is precisely what he wanted to be both for himself and his new country.

Every time Ahn won another medal, the mostly Russian audience Sochi chanted “Viktor, Viktor, Viktor” as he took a victory lap with the Russian flag draped over his shoulders. His former teammates on the South Korean short-track team weren’t quite so happy. They’d been shut out in Sochi–without winning single short-track medal.

Ahn’s single-minded pursuit of victory for himself and his new country included the unusual step of becoming a Russian citizen and adopting a new Russian name that meant “victor.” And that’s why Viktor is the biggest “name story” of the Sochi Olympics. For some exciting photos of Ahn, click on this link to

Interesting and Unusual Names of the Sochi Olympics Medal Winners


While watching the Winter Olympics I get caught up in the action and the emotion, just like you. But I also keep my eyes and ears open to discover names from around the world that might cause you to say, “That’s different, but interesting; it sounds good and, I kind of like it.” Perhaps a few of the names of Olympic medal winners will start sounding cool to you when say them out loud, read the origin and meaning and think about the athlete whose performance you might have watched on TV (or YouTube).

I suppose it might help if you’re of French, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Czech, Slovenian, Korean, Chinese or Japanese extraction and you come across a name on this list that your family’s going to love. That would make me happy. But some of these names are so catchy and charming—you might want to consider them no matter what your ethnic roots are.

FYI, I purposely left out the names of medal winners you’re already familiar with, like Anna, Maria and Julia. I’m hoping to tempt you with names that aren’t already on your short list, like Carina, Devin and Joss. So get ready to expand your baby-naming horizons: girls’ names first; boy’s names next.

Female Olympic Medal Winners’ Names

Adelina a variation Adeline, Adelaide (German) noble, serene.
Adelina Sotnikova (Russia) Figure Skating Singles (Gold)

Aja (Hindi) goat.
Aja Evans (United States) Bobsleigh Two-Woman (Bronze)

Alena a variation of Aleena (Dutch) alone.
Alena Zavarzina (Russia) Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom (Bronze)

Arianna a variation of Ariana (Greek) holy.
Arianna Fontana (Italy) Speed Skating 500 meters (Silver)

Brianne (Irish) strong; virtuous, honorable.
Brianne McLaughlin (United States) Ice Hockey (Silver)

Carina (Italian) dear little one. Also a form of Karen (Greek) pure, maiden.
Vogt (Germany) Ski Jumping Normal Hill Individual (Gold)

Carolina an Italian form of Caroline (French) little and strong.
Carolina Kostner (Italy) Figure Skating Singles (Bronze)

Coline a variation of Coleen (Irish) girl.
Coline Mattel (France) Ski Jumping Normal Hill Individual (Bronze)

Dara (Hebrew) compassionate.
Dara Howell (Canada) Freestyle Skiing Slopestyle (Gold)

Darya a variation of Daria (Greek) wealthy.
Darya Domracheva (Belarus) Biathlon Individual (Gold)

Devin (Irish) poet.
Devin Logan (United States) Freestyle Skiing Slopestyle (Silver)

Dominique (French) a French form of Dominica (Latin) belonging to the Lord.
Dominique Gisin (Switzerland) Alpine Skiing Downhill (Gold)

Elana (Greek) a short form of Eleanor (Greek) light.
Elana Meyers (United States) Bobsleigh Two-Woman (Silver)

Elena (Greek) a short form of Eleanor (Greek) light.
Elena Ilinykh (Russia) Figure Skating Pairs (Gold)

Eva a short form of Evangelina (Greek) bearer of good news. A variation of Eve (Hebrew) life.
Eva Samkova (Czech Republic) Snowboard Cross (Gold)

Gabriela an Italian form of Gabrielle (French) devoted to God.
Gabriela Soukalová (Czech Republic) Mixed Biathlon Relay (Silver)

Giselle a variation of Giselle (German) pledge; hostage.
Gisele (America) Ice Hockey (Silver)

Heidi a short form of Adelaide (German) noble; serene.
Heidi Weng (Norway) Cross Country Skiing 15 km. Skiathlon (Bronze)

Justyna a Polish form of Justina (Latin) just; righteous.
Justyna Kowalczyk (Poland) Cross-Country Classical 10 Kilometer (Gold)

Kaillie (North American) a variation of Kaila (Hebrew) laurel; crown.
Kaillie Humphries (Canada) Bobsleigh Two-Woman (Gold)

Kim (Korean) gold.
Kim Yuna (Japan) Figure Skating Singles (Silver)

Lara (Greek) cheerful. (Latin) shining; famous.
Lara Gut (Switzerland) Women’s Alpine Skiing Downhill (Bronze)

Lee (Chinese) plum. (Irish) poetic. (English) meadow.
Lee Sang-hwa (South Korea) Speed Skating 500 meters (Gold)

Li (Chinese) pretty; powerful.
Li Jianrou (China) Speed Skating 500 meters (Gold)

Livia a short form of Olivia (Hebrew) crown.
Livia Altmann (Switzerland) Ice Hockey (Bronze)

Lotte a short form of Charlotte (French, German) strong, vigorous.
Lotte van Beek (Netherlands) Speed Skating 1,500 meters (Bronze)

Lydia (Greek) from Lydia, an ancient land in Asia Minor.
Lydia Lassila (Australia) Freestyle Skiing Aerials (Bronze)

Marlies (English) a variation of Marlissa a compound name: Maria + Lisa.
Marlies Schild (Austria) Alpine Skiing Slalom (Silver)

Meryl (German) famous. (Irish) shining sea.
Meryl Davis (United States) Figure Skating Ice Dancing (Gold)

Monique a French form of Monica (Greek) solitary (Latin) advisor.
Monique Lamoureux-Kolls (United States) Ice Hockey (Silver)

Park (Chinese) cypress tree.
Park Seung-Hi (South Korea) Short Track Speed Skating 3,000 meters Relay (Gold)

Romy a familiar form of Romaine (French) from Rome (English) a familiar form of Rosemary.
Romy Eggiman (Switzerland) Ice Hockey (Bronze)

Selina a variation of Selene (Greek) moon. Mythology: Selene was the goddess of the moon.
Selina Gasparin (Switzerland) Biathlon Individual (Silver)

Stina (German) a short form of Christina (Greek) anointed.
Stina Nilsson (Sweden) Cross-Country Team Sprint (Bronze)

Tatiana (Slavic) fairy queen.
Tatiana Volosozhar (Russia) Figure Skating Pairs (Gold)

Teja (Sanskrit) radiant.
Teja Gregorin (Slovenia) Biathlon Pursuit (Bronze)

Tessa a short form of Theresa (Greek) reaper.
Tessa Virtue (Canada) Figure Skating Ice Dancing (Silver)

Tomoka a variation of Tomoko (Japanese) wise; young friend.
Tomoka Takeuchi (Japan) Snowboarding Parallel Giant Slalom (Silver)

Tora (Japanese) tiger.
Tora Berger (Norway) Biathlon Pursuit (Silver)

Torah (Hebrew) the five books of the Jewish bible; Old Testament. Also a variation of Tora (Japanese) tiger.
Torah Bright (Australia) Snowboarding Halfpipe (Silver)

Viktoria a German, Hungarian and Russian form of Victoria. (Latin) Victorious
Viktoria Rebensburg (Germany) Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom (Bronze)

Male Olympic Medal Winners’ Names

Akito (Japanese) bright.
Akito Watabe (Japan) Nordic Combined Individual Normal Hill 10 km.

Alexey a familiar form of Alexander (Greek) defender of mankind.
Alexey Voyevoda (Russia) Bobsleigh Two-man (Gold)

Bjorn a Scandinavian form of Bernard (German) brave as a bear.
Bjorn Kircheisen (Germany) Nordic Combined Team Large Hill 4 x 5 km. (Silver)

Bode a familiar form of Boden (Scandinavian) sheltered. (French) messenger.
Bode Miller (United States) Alpine Skiing Super G (Bronze)

Christof a Russian form of Christopher (Greek) Christ-bearer.
Christof Innerhofer (Italy) Alpine Skiing Downhill (Silver)

Christoph a French form of Christopher (Greek) Christ-bearer.
Christoph Bieler (Germany) Nordic Combined Team Large Hill 4 x 5 km. (Bronze)

Denny a familiar form of Dennis (Greek) a follower of Dionysius, the Greek god of wine.
Denny Morrison (Canada) Speed Skating 1,500 meters (Bronze)

Denis a French form of Dennis (Greek) a follower of Dionysius, the Greek god of wine.
Denis Ten (Kazakhstan) Figure Skating Singles (Bronze)

Jan a Dutch, Slavic form of John (Hebrew) God is gracious.
Jan Smeekens (Netherlands) Speed Skating 500 meters (Silver)

Jia (Chinese) home, family.
Jia Zongyang (China) Freestyle Skiing Aerials (Bronze)

Jorrit a Dutch form of Gerard (English) brave spearman.
Jorrit Bergsma (Netherlands) Speed Skating 10,000 meters (Gold)

Joss (Chinese) luck, fate.
Joss Christenson (United States) Freestyle Skiing Slopestyle (Gold)

Lukas a Greek, Czech and Swedish form of Luke (Latin) author of the third gospel of the New Testament.
Lukas Hofer (Italy) Mixed Biathlon Relay (Bronze)

Marcus (Latin) martial, warlike.
Marcus Hellner (Sweden) Cross-Country Skiing 20 km. Skiathlon (Silver)

Maxim a Russian form of Maxime (French) most excellent.
Maxim Trankov (Russia) Figure Skating Pairs (Gold)

Mario a short Italian form of Marin (French) sailor.
Mario Stecher (Germany) Nordic Combined Team Large Hill 4 x 5 km. (Bronze)

Nikita a Russian form of Nicholas (Greek) victorious people.
Nikita Kriukov (Russia) Cross-Country Skiing Team Sprint (Silver)

Robin a short form of Robert (English) famous brilliance.
Robin Szolkowy (Germany) Figure Skating Pairs (Bronze)

Sage (English) wise. Botany: an herb.
Sage Kotsenburg (United States) Snowboarding Slopestyle (Gold)

Sandro (Greek, Italian) a short form of Alexander (Greek) “defender of mankind.”
Sandro Viletta (Switzerland) Alpine Skiing Combined (Gold)

Stefan German, Polish, Swedish forms of Steven (Greek) crowned.
Stefan Groothuis (Netherlands) 1,000 meters (Gold)

Taku a short form of Takuma (Japanese) expand, open, pioneer.
Taku Takeuchi (Japan) Ski Jumping Normal Hill Team (Bronze)

Tobias (Hebrew) God is good.
Tobias Wendl & Tobias Arlt (Germany) Luge Doubles (Gold)

Viktor a German, Hungarian and Russian form of Victor. (Latin) Victorious.
Viktor Ahn (Russia) Short Track Speed Skating 1,000 meters (Gold)


Gun-Related Baby Names Like Colt and Remington Are Growing in Popularity

I recommend you read a provocative Daily Beast article about the rise in gun-related names in the U.S. and what it might mean. Abby Haglage contacted baby name expert, Laura Wattenberg to get the facts and her perspective.  I found the subject of the article to be of great interest, but some of Wattenberg’s comments raised more questions than they answered.

First the facts; between 2002 and 2012, the popularity of gun-related names have risen explosively:

Names:         2002    2012   %Increase

Colt                194       955    +492%

Remington    185      666    +360%

Ruger              23       118     +513%

Wattenberg’s comment:

“This name [Ruger] is more evidence of parents’ increasing interest in naming children after firearms. Colt, Remington, and Gauge have all soared, and Gunner is much more common than the traditional name Gunnar… I think of names as a fossil record of our culture. You can look back over generations and get a sense of what people were talking about.”

Haglage gave Wattenberg a chance to comment about names in the context of a recent news item that Sonora, a state in Northwestern Mexico, recently banned 61 names including Terminator, Virgin, Burger King, Twitter and Hitler. Wattenberg’s comment:

“Whatever the inspiration for a baby’s name, parents shouldn’t be excessively worried about names contributing to bullying. Today’s kids have no sense of what a normal name is.”

Wattenberg is a statistician, not a sociologist. I’d like to see some data to back her claims that:

“Today’s kids have no sense of what a normal name is.”

Compare the 955 boys who were named Remington in 2012 with the 22158 boys who were named Jacob. Which do you think is more normal? Do you know the difference between “normal names” and “weird names”? Do you think children don’t know the difference between “normal names” and weird names”? If that’s true, then why do kids with weird names complain about them like this: “I hate my weird name. I wish I had a normal name.”

“… parents shouldn’t be excessively worried about names contributing to bullying.”

You  probably noticed that in an article full of data, Wattenberg provided no data to support that statement. We know that bullying is a huge problem in schools from coast to coast. A recent ABC study reported these major findings:

-30% of all students identified themselves as either bullies or victims of bullying.

-Every day 160,000 students stay home from school due to a fear of being bullied.

And, a study in Britain found that half the suicides among young people are related bullying.

Recent high-profile cases of bullying, cyber-bullying and sexting explain how verbal abuse accompanies physical abuse to cause teen-age suicides. In an article about bullying, Dr. Michele Borba writes, “Most bullying starts verbally THEN escalates to a more intense level.”

In a school environment where teasing and bullying are everyday events for hundreds of thousands of children, I’d love to see Wattenberg’s evidence to support her claim that kids aren’t teased about their names.

An Exciting Baby Rescue Story With a Happy Ending

Here’s an exciting baby rescue story by Teri Figueroa of Melissa Wells-Pestana’s baby was born prematurely in the back of a fire department ambulance. The tiny baby weighed only 4 pounds and 7 ounces.The baby wasn’t breathing and it had no pulse.  I’ll let Figueroa tell you the story:

Zavier’s father, 50-year-old Paul Pestana, called 911 that morning when it became clear his wife was going into labor seven weeks early. The fire crew loaded up Melissa Wells-Pestana, 37, in the ambulance, but her first-born child would not wait. The baby was born in front of his parents’ home.

Fire Capt. Glen Morgan cupped the baby in his hand on the gurney and gave him CPR — two fingers, rapid compressions — as the ambulance raced about 4½ miles to the hospital. Firefighter-paramedic Steven Choi placed a tiny mask over the baby’s face and started pumping air into him. He was blue when he arrived at the hospital. As he was pulled him out of the ambulance, firefighter Tony Valentine said he heard the baby make a little squeak and knew he was fighting for his life.

Dr. Hamid Movahhedian, a neo-natal specialist, and his team were waiting in the emergency room, thanks to a hospital protocol known as “Code Caleb,” which handles resuscitations when newborns are in a dire situation.The baby was “blue and having difficulty breathing,” Movahhedian said. Morgan credits the hospital’s response. “If that team wasn’t in place, this wouldn’t have had a good outcome,” he said.

And here’s the happy ending: Two months later Wells-Pestana brought her baby Zavier Stephan Morgan Prestana to the fire station for a reunion with most of the rescue team. The baby’s two middle names had been chosen to honor Fire Captain Glen Morgan and Firefighter-Paramedic Steven Choi.

Your Sweet Tooth Can Lead You To Some Sweet Baby Names

Appellation Mountain came out with a well-researched Valentine’s Day article about names related to sweetness or candy. It was fun to read, because it covered a wide variety of names, many of which I’d never heard of. But its appeal may diminish after February 14.

Since there’s no law that says you can only give children sweet names on Valentine’s Day, I thought some readers might find a slimmed-down, Cliff Notes approach useful whenever the need for a sweet name arises.

Names That Mean Sweet or Honey:

Candy (English) “a sweet treat”; also a nickname for Candace and Candice (Greek) “glittering white” or “glowing”

Condoleeza (American) “with sweetness”

Dulce, Dulcie (Latin), Dulcinea (Spanish) “sweet”

Honey (English) “sweet”

Melissa (Greek) “honey bee”

Pamela (Greek) “honey”

Candy Brand Names:

Clark bar: Clark (French) “clerk” or “scholar”

Godiva Belgian chocolates: Godiva (Latin) “God’s present”

Heath bar: Heath (English) “Heath”

Oh Henry bar: Henry (German) “ruler of the household”

Kit Kat chocolate-covered wafer: Kit (Greek) a short form of Christopher and Christine; “anointed”;  Kat (Greek) a sort form of Katherine; “pure”

Mary Jane peanut butter taffy: Mary Jane (American); a compound name: Mary + Jane)                       

Reese’s peanut butter cup: Reese (Welsh) a variation of Rhys; “enthusiastic” or “stream”

Baby Ruth: Ruth (Hebrew) “friendship”; Famous namesakes, Biblical: the daughter-in-law of Naomi; Sports: Babe Ruth

If you want the complete story about these names and twice as many sweet & candy related names, click on the link, above.

The Most Popular Canadian Names in 2013 by Province and Territory

Before a recent CBC radio interview in the Maritime provinces, I did some research to find the most popular baby names in as many Canadian provinces and territories as possible. I discovered the most popular names in 2013 for every province and territory but Prince Edward Island and the Nunavut Territory. Although I didn’t get any questions about the popularity of baby names from my radio audience, I hope you will find the information to be of interest.

To enhance your interest, I have tried to call your attention to names that are ranked among the top 20 boys’ or girls’ names in only one province or territory. I will leave you the task of figuring out why certain names were more popular in particular provinces and territories.

-Alberta: The only province or territory to include Joshua among the top-20 boys’ names.

-Manitoba: The only province or territory to include Jayden among the top-20 boys’ names.

-New Brunswick: The only province or territory to include Alex and Dylan among the top-20 boys’ names and Jayden, Audrey and Annabelle among the top-20 girls’ names.

-Newfoundland and Labrador: The only province or territory to include Cameron and Jaden among the top-20 boys’ names.

-Northwest Territories: The only province or territory to include Nicholas and Joseph among the most popular boy’s names and Neveah and Ayla among the most popular girls’ names.

-Nova Scotia: The only province or territory to include Lillian and among the top-20 girls’ names.

-Quebec: The only province or territory to include Olivier, Felix, Raphael, Antoine, Emile, Mathis, Adam and Justin among the top-20 boys’ names; and Florence, Alice, Rosalie, Juliette, Camille, Laurence, Charlie, Jade, Alicia, Anais, Maelie, Beatrice and Eva among the top-20 girls’ names.

-Saskatchewan: The only province or territory to include Dominic, Blake, Ryder and Bentley among the top-20 boys’ names and Elizabeth, Aubree, Aubrey, Brielle and Harper among the top-20 girls’ names.

-Yukon Territories: The only province or territory that included Aaron and Eli in the boys’ top-5 names and Molly in the girls top-5 names.

(Note, I’ve italicized the names I’ve just mentioned on each list so you don’t have to keep scrolling up and down to find them.)

Alberta: Top-20 Boy’s and Girls Names

Boys               Girls

1. Liam           1. Emma

2. Ethan         2. Olivia

3. Jacob         3. Emily

4. Logan         4. Sophia

5. Mason        5. Ava

6. Benjamin   6. Ella

7. Lucas         7. Isabella

8. Alexander  8. Lily

9. Carter        9. Abigail

10. Noah        10. Chloe

11. Nathan     11. Avery

12. Jaxon       12. Hannah

13. William    13. Sophie

14. Samuel    14. Brooklyn

15. Owen       15. Grace

16. Daniel      16. Madison

17. Hunter     17. Hailey

18. Joshua     18. Amelia

19. Jackson   19. Charlotte

20. James      20. Sarah

British Columbia Top-20 Boys’ and Girl’s Names:

Boys               Girls

1. Ethan         1. Olivia

2. Liam           2. Emma

3. Lucas         3. Sophia

4. Mason        4. Emily

5. Logan         5. Ava

6. Noah          6. Ella

7. Alexander  7. Chloe

8. Benjamin   8. Isabella

9. Jacob         9. Avery

10. Jack         10. Hannah

11. Owen       11. Sophie

12. Ryan        12. Abigail

13. Daniel      13. Charlotte

14. Oliver       14. Lily

15. James      15. Brooklyn

16. Nathan     16. Madison

17. Jayden     17. Isla

18. Samuel    18. Grace

19. Matthew  19. Maya

20. William    20. Amelia

Manitoba Top-20 Boys’ and Girls’ Names:

Boys               Girls

1. Liam           1. Emily

2. Ethan         2. Emma

3. Lucas         3. Sophia

4. Jacob         4. Olivia

5. Alexander  5. Ava

6. Mason        6. Hannah

7. Logan         7. Chloe

8. Benjamin   8. Zoey

9. William      9. Sadie

10. Noah        10. Sophie

11. Carter      11. Brooklyn

12. Owen       12. Ella

13. Nathan     13. Isabella

14. Jackson   14. Abigail

15. Samuel    15. Madison

16. Jayden     16. Mia

17. Hunter     17. Hailey

18. Michael   18. Leah

19. Parker      19. Avery

20. Jaxon       20. Sarah


New Brunswick Top-20 Boys’ and Girls’ Names

Boys               Girls

1. Liam           1. Olivia

2. Noah          2. Emma

3. Jacob         3. Sophia

4. William      4. Lily

5. Samuel      5. Sophie

6. Benjamin   6. Abigail

7. Lucas         7. Ava

8. Alexis         8. Chloe

9. Logan         9. Jayden

10. Mason     10. Mia

11. Owen       11. Claire

12. Carter      12. Charlotte

13. Dylan       13. Emily

14. Gabriel    14. Hannah

15. Alex          15. Isabella

16. Ethan       16. Madison

17. James      17. Brooklyn

18. Nathan     18. Audrey

19. Xavier      19. Zoey

20. Jaxon       20. Annabelle

Newfoundland and Labrador Top 20 Boys’ and Girls’ Names:

Boys               Girls

1. Jaxon         1. Ava

2. Carter        2. Emma

3. Liam           3. Emily

4. Jacob         4. Lily

5. Benjamin   5. Sophia

6. Ethan         6. Sara/Sarah

7. Aidan/Aiden 7. Abigail

8. Mason        8. Peyton

9. Jack           9. Avery

10. Logan      10. Claire

11. William    11. Madison

12. Noah        12. Sophie

13. Owen       13. Zoey

14. Lucas       14. Isabella

15. James      15. Ella

16. Ryan        16. Brooklyn

17. Cameron 17. Charlotte

18. Jaden       18. Olivia

19. Luke         19. Lea(h)

20. Parker      20. Hailey


Northwest Territories Top-9 Boys’ and Girls’ Names:

Boys   Girls

1. Matthew    1. Emma

2. Jaxon         2. Isla

3. Nicholas    3. Brooklyn

4. Joseph       4. Harper

5. Jackson     5. Nevaeh

6. Zachary     6. Olivia

7. Thomas     7. Ayla

8. Jack           8. Ava

9. Noah          9. Addison

Nova Scotia Top-20 Boys’ and Girls’ Names:

Boys               Girls

1. Liam           1. Olivia

2. Noah          2. Ava

3. Ethan         3. Emma

4. Hunter        4. Emily

5. Benjamin   5. Lily

6. Jack           6. Charlotte

7. Owen         7. Sadie

8. William      8. Ella

9. Carter        9. Chloe

10. Jackson   10. Sophia

11. Jacob       11. Amelia

12. Alexander 12. Isla

13. Luke         13. Addison

14. Oliver       14. Madison

15. Mason     15. Brooklyn

16. Lucas       16. Hannah

17. Jaxon       17. Lillian

18. Samuel    18. Claire

19. Logan      19. Grace

20. Nathan     20. Sophie

Ontario Top 20 Boys’ and Girls’ Names:

Boys               Girls

1. Liam           1. Olivia

2. Ethan         2. Emma

3. Jacob         3. Sophia

4. Lucas         4. Ava

5. Benjamin   5. Emily

6. Noah          6. Isabella

7. William      7. Abigail

8. Nathan       8. Ella

9. Alexander  9. Charlotte

10. Owen       10. Chloe

11. Logan      11. Lily

12. Mason     12. Avery

13. Daniel      13. Mia

14. Jack         14. Sophie

15. Ryan        15. Grace

16. Joshua     16. Sofia

17. Jackson   17. Hannah

18. Michael   18. Victoria

19. Carter      19. Madison

20. Matthew  20. Maya

Quebec Top 20 Boys’ and Girls’ Names

Boys               Girls

1. William      1. Emma

2. Nathan       2. Lea

3. Olivier        3. Olivia

4. Alexis         4. Florence

5. Samuel      5. Alice

6. Gabriel      6. Zoe

7. Thomas     7. Rosalie

8. Jacob         8. Juliette

9. Felix           9. Camille

10. Raphael   10. Mia

11. Antoine    11. Laurence

12. Liam         12. Charlie

13. Noah        13. Jade

14. Benjamin 14. Alicia

15. Xavier      15. Anais

16. Emile       16. Victoria

17. Mathis     17. Maelie

18. Adam       18. Beatrice

19. Justin       19. Eva

20. Zachary   20. Chloe

Saskatchewan Top-20 Boys’ and Girls’ Names:

Boys               Girls

1. Liam           1. Emma

2. Ethan         2. Olivia

3. Carter        3. Ava

4. William      4. Emily

5. Mason        5. Brooklyn

6. Lucas         6. Lily

7. Noah          7. Sophia

8. Hudson      8. Abigail

9. Jacob         9. Ella

10. Owen       10. Sophie

11. Benjamin 11. Avery

12. Alexander12. Madison

13. Hunter     13. Elizabeth

14. Jack         14. Chloe

15. Ryder       15. Hailey

16. Dominic   16. Isabella

17. Aiden       17. Aubree

18. Blake       18. Aubrey

19. Logan      19. Brielle

20. Bentley    20. Harper

Yukon Territories Top 5 Boys’ and Girls’ Names:

Boys               Girls

1. Liam           1. Ava

2. Alexander  2. Charlotte

3. Eli               3. Hannah

4. William      4. Molly

5. Aaron         5. Sophie

Three Things That Surprised Me As I Reviewed the Data:

1)    There were only 3 French boy’s names (Olivier, Antoine and Emile) and 3 French girl’s  names (Camille, Juliette and Anais) among the top-20 names for boys and girls in Quebec. (I expected a lot more French names.)

2)    As an ex-New Yorker, I was surprised to discover that Brooklyn (one of the five boroughs of New York City) was listed as one of the most popular girls’ names in 9 of the 11 lists I provided for this post.

3)    In the U.S. Jayden was the #7 boy’s name in 2012. Jaden, an alternate variation, wasn’t listed among the top 100 boy’s names in the same year. However, Jayden was only among the top-20 boys’ names in Manitoba. And Jaden was among the top-20 boys’ names in Newfoundland and Labrador. Even more surprising was that Jayden was among the top-20 girls’ names in New Brunswick (it’s less popular as a girl’s name in the States). Finally Jade was among the top-20 girls’ names in Quebec–to further confuse the situation.

Twenty years ago, there weren’t many people named Jayden, Braden, Kayden, Zayden and all their rhyming variations. Then in the last 10 years or so, those names have grown like weeds and suddenly they are extremely popular throughout North America. In fact, a survey found that Jayden and it’s rhyming variations are also among the most hated names. Why? They rose in popularity so quickly, many people view them as ersatz names, interlopers, as it were. I think it’s fair to describe the Jayden rhyming group of names as a fad.

Another fad name that rose rapidly in popularity is Neveah (heaven spelled backwards). It is now the #5 most popular girls’ name in the Northwest territories. My feeling about the name is: if you like name Heaven, name your daughter Heaven. Spelling it backwards will create spelling and pronunciation problems for your daughter which makes the name more a source of annoyance than an inspiration to the girls who have to live with it.

In the States, Jayden and Neveah both seem to have peaked. Jayden fell from #4 to #7 (for boys) and Neveah fell from #35 to #39 for girls. People are starting to realize there’s less to those names then they’d thought.

To read my updated post which provides 2014 popularity data click here.