Five-Name Friday: Soft, Flowery Girl Name

five name friday, girl name

You’re standing by the taco truck, waiting for your carne asada, when a woman who happens to be pregnant walks up and places an order. The two of you chat for a few minutes, and she mentions that she and her partner haven’t chosen a name for the baby yet. As your order is handed to you, she tells you the gist of what they’re looking for:

We need a girl’s name that preferably starts with S (but definitely not a R, M, or A); middle name will be Cathleen. Mom wants something soft and flowery (Lilah and Lily are contenders).

“Do you have any suggestions?”

As a name-lover, you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions on the spot. But you’ve got a delicious taco to eat, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions before digging in.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d have to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

As you come up with your names, keep these things in mind:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger?
  • Five names only! I will replace all names/nicknames beyond the first five in your comment with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

We need a girl’s name that preferably starts with S (but definitely not a R, M, or A); middle name will be Cathleen. Mom wants something soft and flowery (Lilah and Lily are contenders).

Which five boy names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]


Most Popular 1-Syllable Baby Names of 2016

top one syllable baby names, girl names, boy namesWhich one-syllable names are the more popular right now?

The last time we looked at single-syllable names was in 2013. Let’s see what’s changed since then.

(Like before, names that straddle the one/two syllable line — names like Liam, Wyatt, Ryan, Ian, and Miles — were omitted.)

Top 1-Syllable Girl Names
1. Grace
2. Claire
3. Quinn
4. Faith
5. Jade
6. Paige
7. Rose
8. Brooke
9. Reese
10. Kate

Top 1-Syllable Boy Names
1. James
2. John
3. Luke
4. Jack
5. Charles
6. Jace
7. Chase
8. Cole
9. Max
10. Juan

Rose, Cole and Max are new to the top 10 lists since 2013. They replace Brynn, Blake and Jase.

Most Popular First Letters for Baby Names, 2016

What were the most popular first letters for baby names in 2016?

Here’s a chart showing the first letter breakdown for girl names:

first letter, girl names, baby names, 2016, chart

For girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by M and E. The least-used first letter was U.

The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…

A: Ava, Abigail, Amelia
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brianna
C: Charlotte, Chloe, Camila
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Emily, Evelyn
F: Faith, Finley, Fiona
G: Grace, Genesis, Gabriella
H: Harper, Hannah, Hazel
I: Isabella, Isabelle, Ivy
J: Julia, Josephine, Jade
K: Kennedy, Kaylee, Kylie
L: Lily, Lillian, Layla
M: Mia, Madison, Mila
N: Natalie, Nora, Naomi
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Reagan
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Trinity, Teagan
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Vivian
W: Willow, Willa, Winter
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yareli, Yamileth
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara

Here’s the breakdown for boy names:

first letter, boy names, baby names, 2016, chart

For boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and C. The least-used letter was U.

The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…

A: Alexander, Aiden, Anthony
B: Benjamin, Brayden, Bryson
C: Carter, Christopher, Caleb
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Eli
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Gabriel, Grayson, Gavin
H: Henry, Hunter, Hudson
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kevin, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Matthew
N: Noah, Nathan, Nicholas
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Preston
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Robert, Roman
S: Samuel, Sebastian, Sawyer
T: Thomas, Theodore, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yahir
Z: Zachary, Zayden, Zane

Finally, here are both genders side-by-side:

first letter, baby names, 2016, chart

Overall, the top first letter was A, followed by J and M. And the least popular letter was, of course, U.

Here’s last year’s post on the most and least popular first letters of 2015.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2016

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2016!

As usual, the disclaimer: Some of the names below were already on the rise. Others may have been influenced by more than just the single pop culture person/event listed. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.

On to the names…

Luna, +849

  • Up from 2,796 baby girls in 2015 to 3,645 in 2016.
  • 6th-highest raw-number increase on the girls’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Luna Simone, daughter of singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen.

Camila, +765

Greyson, +704

  • Up from 3,591 baby boys in 2015 to 4,295 in 2016.
  • 8th-highest raw-number increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Adonis, +443

Kehlani, +272

Wade, +232

  • Up from 553 baby boys in 2015 to 785 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Prince, +187

  • Up from 820 baby boys in 2015 to 1,007 in 2016.
  • The name Princess also saw a jump in usage: 268 baby girls in 2015 to 369 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Prince.

Lyanna, +154

  • Up from 62 baby girls in 2015 to 216 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Game of Thrones.

Alessia, +130

Wilder, +122

  • Up from 215 baby boys in 2015 to 337 in 2016.
  • 9th-highest ranking increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Wilder also saw higher usage among baby girls: 22 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Gene Wilder.

Canaan, +99

  • Up from 283 baby boys in 2015 to 382 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: son of Oprah Winfrey (she announced this name in late 2015).
    • According to a 2010 biography, Winfrey’s son’s legal first name was Vincent.

Cyrus, +91

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2015 to 722 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Creed, +78

Bowie, +77

  • Up from 53 baby boys in 2015 to 130 in 2016.
  • Bowie also saw higher usage among baby girls: 43 in 2015 to 75 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of David Bowie.

Muhammad, +77

  • Up from 881 baby boys in 2015 to 958 in 2016.
  • The name Muhammadali also saw a jump in usage: 12 baby boys in 2015 to 24 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Ivanka, +74

  • Up from 37 baby girls in 2015 to 111 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Cohen, +68

  • Up from 1,017 baby boys in 2015 to 1,085 in 2016.
  • Cohen also saw higher usage among baby girls: 12 in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Leonard Cohen.

Queen, +49

  • Up from 148 baby girls in 2015 to 197 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: the TV show Queen Sugar (2016-) and the movie Queen of Katwe (2016).

Melania, +41

  • Up from 90 baby girls in 2015 to 131 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s wife Melania.

Moana, +38

  • Up from 18 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Jupiter, +36

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 78 in 2016.
  • Jupiter also saw higher usage among baby boys: 25 in 2015 to 41 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Hillary, +34

Simone, +33

  • Up from 340 baby girls in 2015 to 373 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and celebrity baby Luna Simone.

Doris, +32

  • Up from 85 baby girls in 2015 to 117 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016).

Dream, +30

  • Up from 98 baby _s in 2015 to 128 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Kardashian baby Dream Renée.

Rio, +29

  • Up from 103 baby boys in 2015 to 132 in 2016.
  • Rio also saw higher usage among baby girls: 38 in 2015 to 61 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Malachi, +27

  • Up from 2,558 baby boys in 2015 to 2,585 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Ali, +23

  • Up from 1,060 baby boys in 2015 to 1,083 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Barron, +20

  • Up from 74 baby boys in 2015 to 94 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s son Barron.

Miesha, +19

  • Up from 13 baby girls in 2015 to 32 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: MMA fighter Miesha Tate.

Onyx, +18

  • Up from 38 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Onyx saw an even higher jump in usage among baby boys: 118 in 2015 to 172 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Onyx Solace, daughter of Alanis Morissette.

Francis, +17

  • Up from 619 baby boys in 2015 to 636 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Merrick, +17

  • Up from 191 baby boys in 2015 to 208 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Judge Merrick Garland.

Ajax, +16

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 33 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Juno, +13

  • Up from 86 baby girls in 2015 to 99 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Keanu, +13

  • Up from 197 baby boys in 2015 to 210 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Keanu (2016).

Halsey, re-entered with 12

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 12 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Halsey (born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane).

Valor, +12

  • Up from 78 baby boys in 2015 to 90 in 2016.
  • Valor also saw higher usage among baby girls: 6 in 2015 to 14 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Hamilton, +11

  • Up from 86 baby boys in 2015 to 97 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Sanders, +11

  • Up from 12 baby boys in 2015 to 23 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Bernie, +10

  • Up from 11 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Omran, +10

  • Up from 7 baby boys in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh.

Elle, +9

  • Up from 816 baby girls in 2015 to 825 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Elle King.

Teresa, +9

  • Up from 426 baby girls in 2015 to 435 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: canonization of Mother Teresa.

Dak, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NFL player Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott.

Wrigley, +8

  • Up from 22 baby boys in 2015 to 30 in 2016.
  • Wrigley also saw higher usage among baby girls: 15 in 2015 to 18 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Chicago Cubs’ World Series win.

Boomer, +7

  • Up from 5 baby boys in 2015 to 12 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Boomer Robert, son of Michael Phelps.

Dory, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Finding Dory (2016).

Maui, re-entered with 5

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 5 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Wilson, +5

  • Up from 433 baby boys in 2015 to 438 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Sully, +4

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Sully (2016).

Teyana, +3

  • Up from 47 baby girls in 2015 to 50 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Teyana Taylor.

Draymond, +2

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2015 to 8 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NBA player Draymond Green.

Daya, +1

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 43 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Daya (born Grace Martine Tandon).

Names that went down in usage from 2015 to 2016:

Names not in the SSA data in either 2015 or 2016:

  • Angel Dust
  • Aroldis
  • Bison
  • Broncs
  • Cubby
  • Curiosity
  • Dopinder
  • Eleven
  • Emayatzy
  • E’myri
  • Esperanto
  • Hermine
  • Ingwen
  • Jikan
  • Jonbenet
  • Lorca
  • Kunta
  • Laremy
  • Linmanuel
  • Maga
  • MacGyver
  • Mountain
  • Moushumi
  • Ode
  • Phiona
  • Regé-Jean
  • Rykiel
  • Trump
  • Usain
  • Voltron
  • Zobrist

Some initial reactions…

I was surprised that Adonis and Wade jumped in usage as much as they did.

I was also surprised that Wrigley barely jumped at all in usage. Maybe “Wrigley” reminds too many people of gum?

usain bolt, race, 100m, rio, olympics
© 2016 Cameron Spencer/Getty

Where the heck is Usain? Why is Usain not in the data yet? Sure, track and field is relatively unpopular in the United States. Still, I thought Rio might do it — with the help of that viral photo of Usain Bolt cheekily grinning at the competition in the middle of that 100 meter sprint.

Finally, as a former ’80s kid, I did have my fingers crossed for Voltron. Oh well…

How about you? Did any of these rises/falls surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2015 Pop Culture Baby Name Game that have started/continued to do well: Adaline, Arlo, Bjorn, Bryshere, Finn, Furiosa, Gigi, Hakeem, Jedi, Joy, Kylo, Lagertha, Lucious, Margot, Mars, Rey, Saint, and Sullivan. Even more interesting is Atticus, which saw a drop in usage in 2016 after rising steadily for years. (Here’s more about Atticus and the Go Set a Watchman debacle.) The usage of Becky decreased as well — could Beyoncé’s song “Sorry” have anything to do with it?

Most Popular Lengths for Baby Names, 2016

The long and short of it is that U.S. parents don’t choose long and short baby names as often as they choose mid-length baby names. The most popular lengths for baby names in 2016? 6 letters, followed by 5 letters, followed by 7 letters…yet again.

Here’s a chart showing the length breakdown for girl names:

lengths, girl names, baby names, 2016, chart

The most-used girl names per length (from 2 to 10 letters) last year were…

And here’s the breakdown for boy names:

lengths, boy names, baby names, 2016, chart

The most-used boy names per length (from 2 to 10 letters) were…

Finally, here are both genders on the same chart:

lengths, boy names, baby names, girl names, 2016, chart

Here’s last year’s post on the top name lengths of 2015, if you’d like to compare.