When it comes to popular baby names and their origins, the Bible is out, and "Fifty Shades of Grey" is in -- or so says the Daily Mail in a recent article about the apparent fall of Biblical names.
Only three boys' names from the Bible made BabyCenter's top 10 list for 2012. No girls' names made the list.
"That's a stark contrast from 12 years ago when Biblical names dominated the top 10 list, in 2000 it being: Michael, Jacob, Matthew, Joseph, Joshua, and Andrew. For girls in 2000 it was Hannah, Sarah and Elizabeth," the Daily Mail writes.
The article goes on to point to the popularity of names, such as Branson from the hit television show "Downton Abbey," and "Grey" from the "Fifty Shades" trilogy.
But whether Bible names are on the way out might all depend on how you define a trend in baby names: Is it how many Biblical names are in the top ten list? The top 100? Is it how many places those names dropped or climbed on the list? Do you count variations on names with Biblical roots?
The question of whether the Bible is waning as an influence for baby names seems to have been first raised last week by website WND.com.
Editor Joe Kovacs points out that in 1960, eight out of 10 of the top boys' names were inspired by the Bible. He goes on to note that there were 33 boys names from Scripture in 2012, compared to 36 names in 2000. Though that difference doesn't seem to suggest a plummet, the writer explains that those Biblical names were in significantly higher positions on the list in 2000.
However, just last year, the Associated Press reported that Biblical names were still holding strong in the social security administration's list of popular baby names, albeit from different parts of the Bible.
“The traditional biblical names were New Testament names — John, James and Mary and Elizabeth. . . . Today, the hot names are all names from the Old testament precisely because they were neglected for so many generations,” Laura Wattenberg, creator of website babynamewizard.com, told the AP, the Washington Post notes.
Proof of this assertion seems evident in some of the more popular boys' names to emerge in recent years. Noah didn't even make the top 20 list back in 2000, and yet the name climbed to the number six spot in 2012. Ethan was even further behind in popularity at number 32, and yet it's currently situated at number three.
Popular girls' names are not as strongly tied to the Bible, but that trend has been reflected for some time now. According to WND, only two girls names that made the top 10 list in 2000 were from the Scriptures: Hannah, which was number one, and Elizabeth, which was number 10. In 2012, Chloe was the only name mentioned in the Bible to make the top 10 list.
But as the Washington Post noted in May, Isabella has grown to be wildly popular, and it's the Spanish iteration of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. And Ava, which has also exploded in popularity, is a variation on Eve.
Such twists on old classics seem to back up the idea that parents are mostly influenced by the desire to pick a distinct name for their child. As Wattenberg told Live Science, ever since the Internet and an increased attention on name statistics, a sense of uniqueness has been key above all else.
"There's a kind of reverse competitiveness that nobody wants to be number one," she told the news outlet.
As for where that leaves the potential effects of "Fifty Shades of Grey" on society, the name Anastasia did jump up 43 spots on the list, but it's still not among the top 100. And while Elliot (Christian's brother) went up in popularity, the name Christian dropped in ranking.
Still, there is a strong precedence for pop culture playing a role for what names pop up the delivery room. In 2011, for example, the name Mason jumped eight spots to become the third most popular boys' name, thanks in part to Kourtney Kardashian, Time noted.