On the girls’ side: Valentina ousted Victoria from the top spot, and Emma replaced Isabella in the top 10. Five of the top-10 names were not in the U.S. top 100: Valentina (U.S. 106th), Amanda (329th), Mikaela, (616th), Amaia (1,276th), and Kamila (341st).
On the boys’ side: the top name is still Sebastian, and Mateo and Lucas replaced Noah and Fabian in the top 10. Two of the top-10 names were not in the U.S. top 100: Luis (U.S. 112th) and Diego (129th).
The name Monica, despite 2016 the success of tennis player Monica Puig — the first Puerto Rican athlete to win an Olympic gold medal — did not re-enter the PR top 100.
The male name Keniel is losing steam, down from 31st to 42nd.
The Basque name Amaia continues to rise. So do Amaia-variants like Amahia (ranked 31st), Amaya (38th), and Amaiah (94th). (Here’s how Amaia, Amahia, Amaya, and Amaiah are doing in the U.S.) The trendiness of Amaia may be attributable to Spanish pop singer Amaia Montero (b. 1976), or to Spanish actress Amaia Salamanca (b. 1986). Similar names also in the PR top 100 are Alaia, Alahia, Anaia, Anaiah, and Nahia.
Note: The SSA doesn’t include baby name data from the five permanently inhabited U.S. territories in its annual rankings (e.g., the top 1,000). But it does release two separate lists: one for Puerto Rico (the most populous territory at 3.5 million people), one for the four other territories combined. Click below to see the complete sets of rankings.
In the Danish fairy tale “Tommelise” (1835) by Hans Christian Andersen, Tommelise is a tiny girl who has adventures with a toad, a butterfly, some stag beetles, a field mouse, a mole, a swallow, and finally a tiny prince.
In the earliest English translations of “Tommelise” the main character is renamed Little Ellie, Little Totty, and Little Maja. It wasn’t until 1864 that translator Henry W. Dulcken came up with the name Thumbelina.
(Both names, Tommelise and Thumbelina, were probably influenced by the name of folklore character Tom Thumb.)
Now for the important question: Have any babies ever been named Thumbelina?
Yes, at least a few dozen.
One example is Fabiola Thumbelina Blonigen, born in Minnesota in 1935. She was mentioned in the book Big Pants, Burpy and Bumface…and Other Totally True Names! by Russell Ash. (Her 5 siblings also had interesting names: Elaine Enid, Fabian Adrian, Quentin Phillip, Verdi Georgio and Twyla Delilah.)
Most of the Thumbelinas I’ve found were born in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. The parents of these babies were likely inspired by the song “Thumbelina” sung by Danny Kaye in the movie musical Hans Christian Andersen (1952).
Believe it or not, “Thumbelina” was one of the nominees for Best Original Song at the 25th Academy Awards.
The most interesting Thumbelina name-combo I’ve spotted so far? “Tiny Thumbelina.” It was given to a North Carolina baby born in 1969.
So what do you think of Thumbelina as a baby name?
And, bonus question: At the end of the original fairy tale, the prince tells Tommelise [pron. tom-meh-lee-seh] that he doesn’t like her name. “It’s an ugly name, and you are so beautiful.” So he gives her a new one: Maja [pron. mie-ah]. Which name do you prefer, Tommelise or Maja?
A reader named Kristy is expecting her first baby, a little boy, in mid-May. Kristy writes:
[W]e are now on the hunt for a baby’s name that is unique – it has to be paired with Johnston,* after all – but not so unique that it is unpronounceable! Also, being a romantic traditionalist, I am not interested in any “fad” or trendy names (i.e. No names in the current top 100 or even rapidly rising through the ranks). I am looking for a good, strong, perhaps “classic” name that will withstand the test of time without being shared with millions of others. (My husband and I both had to share our first names with many classmates growing up! I would like to avoid that plight for our child.)
*The surname isn’t Johnston, but it’s close.
My husband’s current favorite is Felix Milo. While I really like the name Felix – it’s unique and full of character, while being classic enough that there are a few notable Felix-es throughout history – it lacks the “romantic luster” that I somehow have my heart set on…
My current favorite is Zedekiah. It’s from Hebrew meaning “Jehovah/God is just”. I just love the way it sounds and that it’s Hebrew-based. He could go by nicknames of Zed, Z, Kiah, or even Zeke. Zedekiah Michael sounds lovely to me…
We also both like the name Raphael, but are really struggling with a good nickname (Rafi?) and a fitting middle name, for that matter…
They’d also like to include some family names, “but it’s been tough to get the names to mesh quite right.” Here are the family names they’re considering:
Douglas Edward (see below)
Clarence Moore (he went by “Bud”)
Woodward Jay (he went by “Tom”)
Note that Edward is already taken by another grandchild, Tom’s my brother’s name, and the name “Douglas” sounds terribly dismal to me… which leaves us with a rather questionable lot… (but family’s family ;-))
Michael Douglas? :)
I really like the current shortlist. Zedekiah, Felix, Raphael…names with a lot of personality. Very cool.
I think I’d shorten Raphael to Raph, à la the Ninja Turtles. Just seems like the most logical nickname option to me.
As far as name suggestions go, the first to come to mind was Zephaniah, which is a lot like Zedekiah but has an internal ph like Raphael. Here are some other ideas:
It’s not easy to choose a middle without a first already in place, but, of all the family names, I’m partial to Michael. You can pair Michael with nearly any first name and it will sound good. It’s like the boy-name equivalent of Marie.
Which of the above names do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Kristy?
A reader named Marissa, who has a daughter named Beatrix Penelope (nn Bea), is expecting twins–one boy, one girl. She’s got their middle names narrowed down (Anthony or Alexander for the baby boy, Daphne or Jillian for the baby girl) but she’d like some help with their first names.
Here’s what she’s looking for in a boy name:
For the boy I’d like names that are two syllables long and start and end in a consonant. So far I like Robert, Patrick, Daniel and Fabian. The only one he likes is Fabian, but we’re still not sure.
And here’s what she’s looking for in a girl name:
For the girl I’d like names that are three or four syllables long, and start and end in a vowel. So far I like Anastasia, Ophelia, Elena and Ursula, but he likes none of them.
The babies’ last name will sound something like Thisbe.
Here are some of the boy names I came up with:
And here are some ideas for the girl name: