Top Baby Girl Name Debuts of 2012

Katniss and Daenerys have arrived, you guys! Time to start the party.

The debut name party, that is.

Here are the girl names that debuted the highest on the SSA’s 2012 baby name list:

  1. Kimbella, 52 baby girls
  2. Catalaya, 51
  3. Cattaleya, 45
  4. Daleyza, 41
  5. Aaradhya, 38
  6. Catalia, 34
  7. Katalaya, 32
  8. Katalia, 26
  9. Kattleya, 26
  10. Aayat, 23
  11. Karliah, 23
  12. Daenerys, 21
  13. Catalea, 20
  14. Iviona, 19
  15. Itzae, 18
  16. Kataleah, 17
  17. Kattaleya, 17
  18. Katalea, 16
  19. Nirvi, 15
  20. Brely, 14
  21. Merliah, 14
  22. Aamilah, 13
  23. Anabrenda, 13
  24. Carliana, 13
  25. Kinsler, 13
  26. Lynnley, 13
  27. Abishai, 12
  28. Adylee, 12
  29. Ahri, 12
  30. Brenlynn, 12
  31. Drayah, 12
  32. Jeiza, 12
  33. Katalayah, 12
  34. Kathaleya, 12
  35. Katniss, 12
  36. Sebella, 12
  37. Analeyah, 11
  38. Aubreelynn, 11
  39. Cataleyah, 11
  40. Cateleya, 11
  41. Ireoluwa, 11
  42. Jonier, 11
  43. Nahyla, 11
  44. Noomi, 11
  45. Payzlie, 11
  46. Renesmae, 11
  47. Yandy, 11

And a selection from the 10-babies-and-under group: Scarlettrose, Eevee, Venba, Eponine, Swayzi, Anemone, Aoibheann, Hunnie, Kambreigh, Mlak, Paislyn, Paislynn, Paizly, Parizoda, Adn, Alanoud, Annabellelee, Ayoola, Bellaluna, Callalily, Cataliyah, Catilaya, Catileya, Cymphonique, Eilonwy, Ellyot, Fiore, Goodness, Hannabella, Heartlynn, Inchara, Kymbella, Myjoy, Pfeiffer, Renezmae, Sorella, Timberlynn.

Where do the names above come from?

Here are some likely explanations:

  • Aaradhya – from the daughter of Indian actress Aishwarya Rai. The baby was born in late 2011, but not named until early 2012.
  • Catalaya, Cattaleya, Catalia, Katalaya, Katalia, etc. – variants of Cataleya, which debuted last year. (And which now happens to be skyrocketing in popularity.) Cataleya was a character in the movie Columbiana (2011).
  • Daenerys – from “Game of Thrones” character Daenerys Targaryen. (Last year’s fifth-highest debut was her title, Khaleesi.)
  • Eponine – from Les Miserables character Eponine Thenardier.
  • Karliah – from a character in the video game Skyrim. (Another Skyrim name we’ve seen used as a baby name is Dovahkiin.)
  • Katniss – from Hunger Games character Katniss Everdeen.
  • Kimbella, Kymbella – from reality show “Love & Hip Hop” cast member Kimberly “Kimbella” Vanderhee.
  • Merliah – from Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2 (2012) character Merliah Summers.
  • Noomi – from Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who was in the 2011 movies The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
  • Pfeiffer – from Michelle Pfeiffer…?
  • Renesmae, Renezmae – variants of Renesmee, which debuted in 2009. Renesmee is a character in the Twilight series.
  • Sebella – from the daughter of Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez. The baby was born in early 2012.
  • Yandy – from reality show “Love & Hip Hop” cast member Yandy Smith.

Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?

P.S. Here’s last year’s debut list.


11 thoughts on “Top Baby Girl Name Debuts of 2012

  1. Some ideas:

    Iviona – Iviona Hatch is a child rapper, the daughter of “Lil Boosie”
    Brely – Brely Evans, an actress in the 2012 film Sparkle
    Eevee – a Pokémon
    Elionwy – a main character in the Disney film “The Black Character”
    Cymphonique – a Nickolodeon child actress
    Kinsler – Ian Kinsler, a baseball player
    Abishai – a Biblical character (or a monster from the videogame Dungeon & Dragons)
    And – Aidan, or the Spanish acronym for DNA.
    Aoibheann – a popular Irish name

    Also, the obvious “smushes” of double names like Aubrey-Lynn, Scarlett-Rose, Annabelle-Lee, Calla-Lily. From my experience with previous years’ lists, hyphens are often ommitted in SSA statistics.

  2. I know of a little boy named after Ian Kinsler, so I’m not surprised other parents would think to use the name.

    Please tell me Nirvi isn’t pronounced like nervy and Cymphonique makes me think of campho-phenique, but I do love reading the names at the bottom to the list.

  3. Eevee (prn. with two long E sounds) is a Pokemon, one of the original 151, but that has had many new evolutions introduced in more recent generations of the game.

  4. Pfeiffer’s a fairly common last name, so I think it may just be the surname surge, plus the popularity of Piper, making this one become usable.

    Wow, it will be interesting to see if one spelling of Cataleya emerges as the long-term winner. I think this one may be here to stay for a while, as an update of all the other Kat- names.

  5. Drayah seems like a variation of Drea, from Andrea.
    Payzlie of course, is a form of Paisley, like the floral design or Scottish town.
    Carliana might be a contraction of Carly Ana (or Anna).

  6. Hi Laura, thanks! We’re looking for pop culture explanations, though — possible reasons these names became popular suddenly in 2012.

  7. Rita, And is not the acronym for DNA in spanish. The acronym for DNA in spanish is ADN. I loved Anemone but i would’ve spelled different.

  8. Aayat was a character in a 2011 Indian movie, Mausam.

    Anabrenda Contreras is a Mexican actress.

    Carliana is a Crocs line of sandals???? Seems like a weak explanation.

    Kinsler is the last name of a baseball player.

    Abishai is a monster in Dungeons & Dragons, which again seems weak.

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