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Laura Wattenberg
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“Baby Name Wizard” Laura Wattenberg takes a unique research-driven, analytical approach to understanding names and style. Through her book and website, she has helped countless thousands of parents find the perfect names for their growing families.

Laura’s analysis of name trends and culture has been featured in such media outlets as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, "CBS Sunday Morning" and "All Things Considered." A former researcher and software developer, Laura is also known for interactive tools like the “NameVoyager” grapher. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters.

Entries by Laura Wattenberg

20 'Quirky Classic' Names for Boys

(2) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 11:57 AM

Some parents are tradition-minded. Others are individualistic. But what if you're both? "Quirky Classics" to the rescue.

This group of names is impeccably traditional, with a twist. While most classic English boys' names have a square solidity to them, the Quirky Classics have unconventional contours and a mischievous streak. Many...

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18 Ingenious Names from the World of Steampunk

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 7:34 PM

Steampunk is having a moment. If you don't know the storytelling behind the style, you might well wonder what all the fuss is about. Why would anybody wear those ridiculous goggles? And what's with the dirigible fixation? I'm going to try to capture the essence and appeal of steampunk for...

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How to Choose a Baby Name That Stands Out

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 6:20 PM

Do you prefer uncommon names for your children? Or do you like distinctive names? Or maybe unusual names, original names or unique names?

That may sound like a string of synonyms, but there are many different ways for a name to stand apart from the crowd. Each way makes a...

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Bell-y Babies: A Choir of Baby Names

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2014 | 10:35 AM

In 2012, I identified Bella as one of the hot combining names of this generation -- a name that parents love to mix and match with other sounds to build new names. Traditional choices like Isabella and Annabella were just the tip of the iceberg. Creative combos like Elizabella...

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Magic Baby Naming Formula, Revealed!

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 5:52 PM

If baby naming is alchemy, I believe I've just brewed up a wee pot o' gold. I have a Magic Formula for finding appealing, fresh-sounding traditional names.

Yes, I'm totally serious. My bit of conjuring may not track down every single attractive name possibility, and it may be a bit...

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Baby Name Ideas for Your Wild Side

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 6:25 PM

The "Why Not?" section of The Baby Name Wizard book lists seldom-heard names with a fashionable sound and style. The names cover a lot of style ground, from sweet antiques to sleek, modern names. Few, though, stray too far from the fashion mainstream. If I had listed a...

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Brittany vs. Nevaeh: Back to School with Baby Names

(2) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 1:49 PM

Kindergarteners. College freshman. Those two classes of entering students are at very different phases of their lives, yet their educational "generations" are only 13 years apart. In those 13 years, how much change has occurred in name trends? To get a sense of cultural time passing, let's take a look...

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The Golden Age of Hollywood Baby Names

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 3:23 PM

Last time, I compared the biggest celebrity-driven name trends of recent years to the naming impact of Shirley Temple in the 1930s. It was no contest. Shirley's influence absolutely dwarfed anything today's stars can muster.

Does this mean that celebrity culture had a bigger baby-name impact...

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Celebrity Baby Name Faceoff

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2013 | 3:07 PM

We live in a celebrity-drenched world, and the celeb-focused media effect spills over into America's nurseries. Each year, thousands of babies receive names inspired by newly-famous performers, TV and movie characters and reality TV personalities.

As we see baby names like Khloe and Cullen plucked straight...

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The 100 Club: Baby Names on the Verge for Girls

(1) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 5:15 PM

How do you determine when a baby name has "arrived"? Few names ever crack a top-10 popularity list, but a great many more are chosen often enough to become part of the fabric of their times. Each year, new names join that broader pool for the first time.

Meet the...

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The Ultimate 'Game of Thrones' Baby Name

(7) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 1:12 PM

Last year, 146 American girls were named Khaleesi. That's a 450% jump in the name's usage from 2011, and before that year it was completely unknown.

If you're not familiar with the name Khaleesi, you'd be excused for guessing that it's Arabic, like Khalilah, or perhaps from Western...

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The Fastest-Rising Baby Names for Girls

(1) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 2:44 PM

Each year, thousands of names vie for our attention in movies, television, music, headline news and more. How does one name step up to win the hearts of hundreds of expectant parents? This year, the recipe boils down to two words:

Beautiful and deadly.

The action film Colombiana featured Zoe...

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A One-Step Recipe for Baby-Name Contentment

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 3:32 PM

I spend a lot of time trying to help you find a terrific baby name. Today, I'd like to shift focus to helping you enjoy it.

"Namer's remorse" is on the rise. Parents of infants write to me, agonized that they've made the wrong name choice. This epidemic...

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Baby Name Buzz Report: 2013

(13) Comments | Posted April 24, 2013 | 2:29 PM

I'm proud to present the 2013 Baby Name Buzz Report, forecasting the hottest up-and-coming baby names in America. The choices are determined by experts with the top record of successful name trend prediction: my readers.

I won't keep you in suspense. The "buzziest" names in America, the names rising to...

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What's Your Seashell Name?

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 5:43 PM

After sifting through sand and shells at the beach, my family consulted a local seashell identification chart. As pretty and varied as the shells were, what really captured me was their names.

A thick but otherwise unremarkable clamshell takes on gravitas as the Ponderous Ark. A tiny cone of...

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What Is a Popular Baby Name? (Spoiler: There Are Fewer Than You Think)

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 1:29 PM

Today, I'm going to try to answer a fundamental question about baby names -- a question that parents care deeply about but never ask.

What IS a popular name?

When a restaurant or a vacation destination is described as "popular," that's usually considered a compliment. A popular spot is an...

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Obsessed With Baby Names? You're Not Alone

(1) Comments | Posted April 10, 2013 | 6:21 PM

More than a decade ago, I took up the unlikely occupation of "Baby Name Wizard." I've seen plenty of changes in name trends since that time, as an American girl is now more likely to be named Cherish or Skyla than Christine or Susan.

One of the biggest developments, though,...

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