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Popularity of the Baby Name Bennett

Number of Babies Named Bennett

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Bennett

Will JonBenet Be Back?

Jonbenet RamseySeveral TV programs about the unsolved murder of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey are set to air in the coming weeks and months, as December 25 of this year marks the 20th anniversary of JonBenét’s death.

The news of her murder brought attention to her unusual name (an invention inspired by the name of her father, John Bennett Ramsey) and in 1997 we see Jonbenet appear for the first time in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 2000: unlisted
  • 1999: 6 baby girls named Jonbenet
  • 1998: unlisted
  • 1997: 14 baby girls named Jonbenet [debut]
  • 1996: unlisted

The name was on the list again in 1999, but dropped off after that.

Do you think all the 20th anniversary attention will boost the name back onto the charts either this year or next?

Source: JonBenét Ramsey – Wikipedia


Name Needed for Brother of Sadie and Cleo

A reader named Genevieve is due with her third child (first son) in two days, and she and her husband need some baby name ideas. She sent me tons of helpful information, so I’m simply going to paste the bulk of what she wrote below. [For all the skimmers out there, I’ve boldfaced both the current faves and the gist of the request.]

I’m Genevieve, he’s Will. We have two daughters, Isadora Ruby (5) and Clementine Luna (2 1/2), and call them Sadie and Cleo EXCLUSIVELY. Last name is McGuire*.

We chose our daughters’ names for the nicknames they gave us (we felt that Sadie and Cleo were much too insubstantial for full names), not because we loved Isadora and Clementine. In fact, we really don’t love or even like Isadora; we just adored Sadie too much and Isadora was the most realistic way to get to it. Clementine we do like, though. Middle names were just names we liked that sounded nice with the full names, and the middle name for this bub will be the same.

I actually still feel really guilty about giving our oldest daughter a full name neither of us like and isn’t really that appealing at all–Sadie doesn’t much like it either. My name’s Genevieve and growing up I would get so many lovely comments about it, which gave me a much-needed confidence and self-esteem boost in adolescence and beyond. I’m worried (sometimes I fret about it to the point of being sick) that no one will ever tell Sadie she has a gorgeous name, and I feel kind of awful about hoisting upon her Isadora, though I’m still ridiculously in love with her nickname.

So we’d like not to have a lingering sense of naming remorse with this bub.

Anyway. Enough back story.

With Bub, we’ve had an awful time with the naming process. Unlike Sadie and Cleo, we haven’t even found a nickname that we totally adore yet, much less a full name.

The name we’re thinking we love is Rex, but there are numerous problems with it.

–We have no idea how to get to Rex through a more substantial name, and if we can’t find one, Rex is off the list. Any ideas?
–Rex is seen as a dog name. Sadie is seen as a dog name. Cleo is seen as a cat name. There’s a accidental theme going on here, and my husband doesn’t like it. I’m actually pretty okay with it, though.
–When we’ve told a few select people that we’re thinking of naming the baby Rex, we’ve gotten cringing and obvious distaste, even though they tried to hide it. Now, I’m not going to let other people dictate what we name our baby, BUT I don’t want people (like our parents and close friends) really hating his name, because there’s a good chance he won’t like it either.

What do YOU think, Nancy? Is Rex just too odd? As an objective third party who just so happens to be a fabulous namer, your opinion is definitely needed on this one.

Other names on our list that we’re strongly considering:

Ned–Edmund, Edward–Not a huge fan at all of either full name, with those nasally
suffixes

Max–Maxwell, Maximilian–I kind of really love the alliteration, but hubby isn’t sure. Also the pet name theme thing again. Also popularity issues that are really, REALLY throwing me off here; I really didn’t like how popular Sadie was when we named her, though thankfully we’ve never even come across another Sadie yet, and Max is set to skyrocket up the charts.

Ned is Will’s favorite, Max is mine. But neither of them feel like The One.

I guess we’re looking for a spunky, fresh, fun nickname that goes with a respectable full name. Also, if there’s a name out there that’s spunky, fresh, and fun AND suitable for an adult professional, we’d love to hear it; the nickname thing isn’t mandatory at all. We’d rather not repeat first initials or have similar beginning or ending sounds.

If Bub had been a girl, we would have named her Penelope Isis and called her Piper; somewhat ironically, we’ve had this name in our back pockets since before we even started trying for a third baby. Sigh. Though we’re over the moon that Bub is a boy, a girl would have been so much easier to name. We’re tentatively set on having at least one more baby as well, so any name beginning with a P is also out.

*The real name is not McGuire, but it’s close.

Here are some of my thoughts. Apologies ahead of time for any rambling.

On Isadora…

This is off-topic, and also a moot point, but…I love the name Isadora. I can understand the remorse, but I’ve always thought of it as such an elegant, regal-sounding name. Right on par with Genevieve, in fact.

On Rex…

Dog name?
I’m sure many people do associate Rex with dogs. (Personally, I think of dinosaurs — far more awesome than dogs.) But I also think an association like this will matter less and less as time goes on, as more and more people use human names (e.g. Max, Jake, Sam, Bella, Daisy, Lucy, etc.) for their dogs/cats.

Family/friend dislike?
I think it’s nice to take other peoples’ opinions into consideration, but, as you said, he’s your baby, so pick the name you love. Doesn’t matter if you go with Rex, or Max, or Ned, or Enrique-Iglesias. They’ll love your son regardless. (In fact, they might like him more if his name were Enrique-Iglesias.)

Formal name?
My very first thought was Reginald. There’s no etymological connection between Reginald and Rex, but they look like they could be related, don’t they? Reginald comes from the Germanic name Reynold, not from Latin, but one source states that it was indeed “influenced by Latin regina ‘queen’.” And regina, of course, is based on rex, Latin for “king.”

My next thought was any Germanic name with the element ric, “ruler,” which is a lot like rex both in terms of sound and meaning. Some possibilities: Alaric, Emmerich, Eric, Frederick, Heinrich (even Henry?), Richard, Roderick.

Both Alexander and Xavier have the letters X and R. These are more of a stretch, though.

There’s also the possibility of making Rex out of the initials R and X — Robert Xavier, for example. Or even just an R-name (Raymond, Russell, etc.)

My take?
I like the name Rex–it’s a very strong, spunky name. Lots of personality. I especially like it as a nickname for something more traditional.

More importantly, though, it seems as though you guys both love it. And if that’s the case, don’t talk yourselves out of it! No need to make things more complicated. :) Just go with it and work on the full/formal name.

On Ned…

It sounds like Edmund or Edward would be like Isadora for you — something you’d end up regretting. Doesn’t seem worth it.

On Max…

You’re right about Max being popular — it made the top 100 for the first time ever in 2010, and could continue to climb. But, as you alluded to with Sadie, a lot depends upon your locality. There could be a ton of boys named Max in one town, none at all in another.

Also, keep in mind that today’s “popular” names aren’t as popular as they used to be, so the rankings are becoming less and less important/informative over time. For example, Max, ranked 98th right now, was given to 3,819 babies. Vincent, 98th in 1960 (50 years ago), was given to 4,384 babies. (And roughly the same number of baby boys were born in 1960 as in 2010.)

The effect is gets more pronounced the higher up the list you go. Today’s 20th most popular boy name, Joseph, was given to 13,657 babies. Fifty years ago, the the 20th most popular name, Brian, went to 21,994 (!) babies. Huge difference there.

Ok, now it’s time for some name suggestions. Here are the guidelines again:

  • “Spunky, fresh, fun nickname that goes with a respectable full name,” or
  • “A name out there that’s spunky, fresh, and fun AND suitable for an adult professional.”

No repeated first initials (S, C) or similar beginning or ending sounds, and no P-names (saving that for Penelope/Piper).

Here are some ideas to start us off:

Abe (Abraham)
Ash (Asher)
Ben (Bennett, Benjamin)
Dex (Dexter)
Duncan
Fritz (Frederick/Friedrich)
Gabe (Gabriel)
Gus (Augustine)
Gray (Grayson)
Hugh
Jack (John)
Jim (James)
Lex (Alexander)
Lou (Louis)
Raph, Rafe (Raphael)
Reed
Reece/Rhys
Tad (Thaddeus)
Tate
Trent
Van (Donovan, Evander)
Vaughn
Vin (Vince, Vincent)
Xan (Alexander)
Zack (Zachary)
Zeke (Ezekiel)

Now it’s your turn. What thoughts/advice do you have for Genevieve? Which of the above names do you like best with Sadie and Cleo? What other names would you suggest?

Names Needed for Tucker’s Twin Brothers

A reader named Heather has a 2-year-old named Tucker David (nn Tuck) and is expecting twin boys. She writes:

We were thinking of Henry Edward and Andrew William (we would call him Drew for short) as names because all 4 are family names, but think they might be a bit too traditional and might flow with Tucker. We are looking for some suggestions. Nothing starting with the letter T, please. We have nephews named Travis and Timothy and our dogs name begins with T as well – haha!

Two or three syllables would be best. 1 syllable can be kind of short considering our last name is only 1 syllable.

Our heritage is English, Irish and Czech. We are not bound to that, but typically are drawn to it as a preference. :)

(Their surname sounds like Hoyt, but starts with an F.)

I think Henry and Andrew sound good with Tucker. I know some parents prefer that their children’s names “match” on a stylistic level, but I think non-matching sibsets sound just fine, so long as they don’t go too far in the other direction (e.g. Abdul-Aziz, Rodolphe & Bud).

I’m also a big fan of family names, so I like Henry and Andrew (and Edward and William) for that reason as well.

Here are a few other ideas:

Bennett (Ben)
Brian
Calvin (Cal)
Colton
Conor
Conrad
Dalton
Deacon
Dexter (Dex)
Dominic (Dom, Nic)
Donovan (Don, Van)
Emmett
Grayson (Gray)
Gregory (Greg)
Jonah
Kevin
Liam
Malachi
Maxwell (Max)
Nathan (Nate)
Nolan
Oliver
Owen
Sebastian
Simon
Warren
Wesley (Wes)
Weston (Wes)
Wyatt
Zachary (Zach)

What do you think about the potential sibset “Tucker, Henry and Andrew”?

What other names would you suggest to Heather?

Baby Name Needed for 6th Baby

A reader named Juliet writes:

My husband Ralph and I have five children, and I am four months pregnant with our sixth.

We’ve always had a difficult time choosing names, but Ralph and I have always found names that we’ve both loved early on in the pregnancy (agreeing on the name was another story).

This time around, however, it seems like there are no names out there that either of us even like. Can you help us?

Our kids are:
Felix Lysander
Olive Matilda
Maeve Tallulah
Susannah Blair (she goes by Sunny)
Edward Atticus (we call him Ned)

We’re looking for names that are quirky, light, vintage-y, and that will age well and go with my other children’s.

Wow, a lot of great names there! (In fact, Juliet’s large, well-named family reminded me of Cora’s large, well-named family from a few years ago.)

For #6, here are some boy names that came to mind:

Alastair
Alfred
Arthur
Baxter
Bennett
Calvin
Clarence
Declan
George
Henry
Hugo
Lawrence
Louis
Lucian
Nigel
Nolan
Thaddeus
Thomas
Tobias
Vincent
Winston

And some girl names:

Alice
Bethany
Camilla
Cecily
Charlotte
Cora
Davina
Della
Dorothy
Harriet
Helen
Katherine
Lillian
Lydia
Penelope
Phoebe
Priscilla
Prudence
Tabitha
Willa
Victoria

I focused on first letters that aren’t already in use, only because everyone else seems to have a unique first initial. Not sure if this is something that matters to Juliet or not, though.

Which of the above do you like best with Felix, Olive, Maeve, Susannah and Edward? What other names would you suggest?

Update: It’s a boy! Scroll down or click here to learn what his name is.

Baby Name Needed – Strong, Unusual Boy Name

Cassandra is expecting a baby boy in early June and she’d like some name suggestions.

She’s looking for “strong, unusual names” with one or two syllables. So far, Cassandra likes the name Fox and her partner prefers Aston. The baby’s surname will begin with an L and have one syllable. (Think Ladd.)

When I hear “strong,” I think of plosives (p, b, t, k, etc.). So I focused on short names with strong sounds that aren’t currently in the top 100. Here’s what I came up with:

Bennett
Brent
Brett
Brock
Cash
Chet
Clark
Colt
Corbin
Craig
Dane
Dax
Deacon
Drake
Duke
Emmett
Flint
Frank
Garrett
Grant
Gray
Holt
Jax
Jett
Kai
Keaton
King
Knox
Paxton
Pierce
Quinn
Rex
Rhett
Stone
Tate
Trent
Tucker
Victor
Zack
Zane

Which of the above do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Cassandra?

Update: The baby has arrived! Click here to see the name.

Baby Name Needed – Boy Name for Hudson’s Brother

A reader named Tamela wrote to me yesterday. She has one son named Hudson and is expecting her second son in a couple of months. She’d like some name suggestions for baby boy #2.

Hudson comes from a surname, so the first place I’d look is other surnames. Here are a few ideas:

Archer
Baxter
Bennett
Blake
Carlisle
Carter
Everett
Fletcher
Marlow
Mitchell
Maxwell
Norris
Parker
Ramsey
Reeve
Ridley
Roscoe
Sawyer
Spencer
Tate
Tanner
Thatcher
Travis
Westley

(At first I was only going to omit names ending with -son. Then I decided to cut all names with n-endings, just to get a good range of sounds in there.)

Do you like any of the above with Hudson? What other names would you suggest to Tamela?

UPDATE (3/14): Tamela has to get some adoption paperwork squared away, so she needs to select a name within the next few days.

Here are a few more facts:

  • The baby’s surname will be a Spanish name that starts with an S. Think Silva, or Santos. (Neither of these is the actual surname.)
  • Because the baby is coming from Russia, Tamela would really like something that’s “at least a little Russian.”
  • Current favorites include Maxwell, Luis (nn Louie) and George (Tamela’s father’s name). She also mentioned Matteo in this comment.

I really like both George and Maxwell with Hudson. I think either one would sound great as a first name.

Matteo doesn’t strike me as being a great match to Hudson, in terms of style. (Fits perfectly with the surname, though.)

I’m undecided on Luis. I don’t think it’s a terrible match, but I don’t think it would fit as well with Hudson as Maxwell or George would.

As for Russian names, let’s see…Maksim or Maksimilian are both similar to Maxwell. Yuri is a version of George. (Also a cosmonaut!)

Or perhaps one of these Russian names would work as a middle:

Aleksandr
Benedikt
Eduard
Filipp
Isaak
Luka
Nikolai
Viktor

(I picked these because they’re so close to their English equivalents. Almost like they’re just English names with a Russian twist.)

As far as combinations go, I’m partial to George Maksim and George Maksimilian. Both are similar to George Maxwell, which Tamela mentioned in her comment, but they look and sound a bit more Russian.

What other thoughts/ideas do you have for Tamela?

UPDATE (12/1): The baby’s name has been chosen! Scroll down to the last comment to see what it is.

How to Find a Boy Name that Won’t Become a Girl Name

Are there any boy names out there that aren’t at risk of becoming girl names?

This may not be the answer you want to hear, but: nope. There’s simply no way to guarantee that a boy name won’t suddenly become trendy for girls. (A movie mermaid was all it took for the name Madison — a name with the word “son” right in there — to become a girl name.)

No boy names are girl-proof, but some are certainly girl-resistant. Which ones? Here are five types I’ve come up with:

1. Boy names with unstylish elements, such as “bert” and “stan.” If a boy name isn’t fashionable enough to be popular for boys, it shouldn’t be too tempting to use for girls either.

Albert
Archibald
Bernard
Bertrand
Donald
Irwin
Gilbert
Leopold
Maynard
Rudolph
Stanford
Woodrow

2. Boy names with few vowels. They tend to sound more masculine than other names.

Bryant
Chad
Charles
Clark
Desmond
Grant
Kenneth
Mark
Ralph
Scott
Seth
Trent

3. Boy names with length. Most of today’s popular unisex names stop at two syllables.

Abraham
Alexander
Augustine
Balthazar
Benedict
Barnaby
Benjamin
Emmanuel
Ferdinand
Mortimer
Reginald
Sylvester

4. Boy names with hard endings, such as D, K and T. Many of the boy names being used by girls end with softer consonants like L, N and R.

Bennett
Caleb
Conrad
Craig
Derek
Emmett
Garrick
Isaac
Jared
Patrick
Stuart
Wyatt

5. Boy names with well-known feminine forms. If there’s a readily available girl-version, doesn’t it seem silly to use the masculine form for a female?

Brian (Brianna)
Carl (Carla)
Erik (Erika)
Gerald (Geraldine)
George (Georgia)
Henry (Henrietta)
Joseph (Josephine)
Martin (Martina)
Paul (Paula)
Robert (Roberta)
Theodore (Theodora)
Victor (Victoria)

As I mentioned, there’s never a guarantee. (A female Scrubs character is named Elliot — will that be the next to go? How about Blake, thanks to Blake Lively?) But I think boy names that fit into the above categories are relatively safe bets.

Are there any other types of names you’d add to the list?