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 "100 Club": names that reached the threshold of 100 new American babies for the first time last year. Some of these names may be destined for the top 10; others will surely disappear. But together, they show us something about what's new, what we're thinking about and where we're heading.
Today's list focuses on girls' names (read about the boys here.) I've excluded alternate spellings of more common names unless the spelling gives the name a distinctly new identity, like Marlowe vs. Marlo.
The Girls' 100 Club:
Aadhya (From Sanskrit; a name of goddess Durga. This spelling has become particularly popular since actor Pawan Kalyan chose it for his daughter.)
Adley (Country singer Adley Stump, a contestant on "The Voice")
Annabeth (The female lead in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians tween/teen books. Note that the first middle schoolers who started with the series' debut in 2005 are just entering their twenties today, so this name could climb further.)
Brayleigh (A natural remix, using the popular root of the boys' name Brayden in the mold of Bayleigh, Bryleigh, Brynleigh and more.)
Cataleya (See previous discussion of the #1 fastest-rising name of the year)
Gentry (A country/cowgirl name; forget the common word and think of country music act Montgomery Gentry. Compare to Paisley.)
Guinevere (Proof that "newly popular" doesn't have to mean "new" or "unfamiliar." Rising in the wake of the recent popularity of Genevieve.)
Haddie (A character on the TV series "Parentood")
Hartley (A new "Andro-Girly" choice that requires no creative spelling, Hartley balances its androgynous surname style with the hint of romance. Expect to see more of this name.)
Irie (Jamaican word referring to a state of good feeling)
Kavya (Malayalam film star Kavya Madahavan)
Khaleesi (See previous discussion on this remarkable name)
Marlowe (Literary surname rising in the wake of Harlow; a daughter of actress Sienna Miller)
Pippa (Pippa Middleton, England's royal sister-in-law)
Skyy (The most common spelling, Skye, is a Scottish island. This spelling is a brand of vodka.)
Sutton (Actress Sutton Foster of Bunheads)
Tala (This simple little name has separate origins around the globe, from Tagalog mythology to medieval Scandinavian ballads to D.C. Comics. Yet it never reached the 100 level until this year.)
Zendaya (Actress/singer Zendaya of "Shake it Up")