The new Babel: American first names

According to Parade Magazine (via David Weinberger), here are the top ten baby names for boys and girls this year.

Boys Girls
Jacob Emily
Michael Isabella
Ethan Emma
Joshua Ava
Daniel Madison
Christopher Sophia
Anthony Olivia
William Abigail
Matthew Hannah
Andrew Elizabeth

As David points out in his piece, we rarely find common names like these anymore (He calls it the “long tail” of names, LOL). The preference seems to be to so badly misspell the name that the identity of the person becomes “unique,” to which I can only ask, “WTF?”

I noticed a couple of years ago that receptionists began asking me to spell my first name. This shocked me, until I realized that there are now dozens of ways to spell a simple name like mine. Why do parents do this? Don’t we realize that we’re creating a friggin’ monster here?

Oh, I forgot. Everybody’s “special” these days. My bad.


  1. This is the best site on the web for bad baby names:

    I have read bad baby names, usually in obituaries (typically the great-grandchild of an elderly person who has passed away), that made me swear solemn oaths of jury nullification.

    If I am on the jury when Teighler murders his parents, he’s walking. I will sit my ass in the jury room for two years. “No sir, your honor, I am hopelessly deadlocked.…”

  2. I’ve had three girlfriends named Emily. I thought I was special or something.

  3. how many in the left column do you figure will wind up growing up needing their eyebrows waxed?

  4. tdc, I suspect only the Ethans. Eyebrow waxing is generally reserved for the Kyle and Ethan types.

  5. My girlfriend has a student named Kavasier, a bastardized version of Courvoisier (pronounced the same shockingly enough). They were worried their child might get confused with all the other little Courvoisiers out there, so they made the necessary changes.

  6. That’s great, Cade, LMAO. Thank God for parents who understand the trauma such a confusion could’ve caused.

  7. My philosophy on baby naming is to give the kids a very good, solid, culturally appropriate name that also sounds good yelled at full volume from the back door.

    Because if little John Alexander is going to get a nickname? It will find him. You don’t need to put it on him. Nicknames find people with little respect for the original name, but it’s nice to have a dignified name to put on when you want some dignity. And for the record, my parents didn’t name me Gypsy. (grin)

  8. In a year or two I’m going to be hopefully giving a name to my first child. When I think of child names, I’m always reminded on the George Carlin bit on whimpy names… Of course it’s on the net:

    I’ll be looking for the name that says my kid can be up your kid named Courviosoer. (Is that a boy’s or girl’s name anyway.)

  9. I’m a “Steven with a V,” and I’m used to saying that, as though that is, in fact, my full first name. It seems to me that should be the default spelling, but I’m used to the “ph” guys running the name.

    But I go by “Steve.” And my favorite spelling question came from a person on the phone when I told her my name was “Steve.” “Is that with a p‑h or a v,” she asked.



  1. says:

    top ten baby names for boys and girls this year.

    According to Parade Magazine, here are the top ten baby names for boys and girls this year.

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