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Linda Rosenkrantz

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New Popular Baby Names: Where The Heck Did They Come From?

Posted: 05/18/2012 1:40 pm

Unless you follow every reality series on the Oxygen and Style networks, Spanish soccer, country singers and the wives of early twentieth century authors, you might be hard pressed to figure out the sources behind some of the names that are suddenly rising in popularity. Yes, you may know that number two boys' name Mason is Kardashian-related, and that the Beckhams gave girls' name Harper a big boost, but what's with Iker? Brantley and Briella?

Here is Nameberry's guide to the probable sources of these names' success, including exactly how big of a leap each has made this year.

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  • Brantley

    Who inspired the fastest rising boys' name in America? The most logical suspect is country singer Brantley Gilbert, though others have suggested that Baltimore Ravens quarterback John Brantley might have contributed as well. Brantley went from 736 to 320--a leap of 416 places.

  • Briella

    Briella Calafiore, a TV hairdresser on two TV reality shows: the Style network's Jerseylicious (which Google calls a docusoap) and spin-off Glam Fairy, appears to have triggered the biggest jump on the girls' side, advancing from 891 to 497: 394 spots, and affirming the fact that parents are loving all names ella. Cousin Brielle has also risen 66 spots.

  • Iker

    Yes, Iker. This Basque name that was created for a book character by Basque writer Sabino Arana and has spread throughout Spain, is borne by several Spanish athletes, but it was soccer superstar goalkeeper and Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas Fernandez who was responsible for popularizing it in the US. Iker was the second highest-rising boys' name of 2011--up 267 places, bringing it to Number 379.

  • Aria

    Aria Montgomery is a fictional character from the book series Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, which has been running on the ABC Family television channel, played by Lucy Hale. The musical Aria took the third highest leap for girl babies this year: 196 places!

  • Mila

    Mila Kunis has had a great couple of years--and so has her name. The Ukrainian-born actress--who was born Milena--who has progressed from That '70s Show to winning accolades and awards for her role in the dramatic Black Swan, was definitely instrumental in the 190-place jump her shortened name has taken this year.

  • Luna

    Of all the copious creatively named characters in the Harry Potter books, Luna, as in Luna Lovegood, is proving to be one of the most appealing and accessible appellations. This past year, the moonstruck Luna, barely heard of before the series appeared, ascended 65 places.

  • Atticus

    It took half a century to happen, but the name of the inspirational character of Atticus Finch, highly principled-understanding father hero of the 1960 Harper (another winning name) Lee novel and 1962 movie To Kill a Mockingbird, is now red hot for babies. Atticus advanced 96 places this year.

  • Dexter

    He may be a serial killer on the eponymous TV show, but Dexter is apparently still likable enough to persuade hundreds of parents to use his name for their sons. The magical middle letter x and the cute nickname Dex haven't hurt either. Dexter moved up 70 places in 2011.

  • Grayson

    Grayson and Greyson are both on the fast track, three possible inspirations being "Revenge's" Grayson Family, "Cougar Town" hunk Grayson Ellis and young singer Greyson Chance. Greyson rose 49 places last year, Grayson 25.

  • Hadley

    Was it the hit novel The Paris Wife, told from the viewpoint of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley or was it its appearance on the vampire show True Blood or its resemblance to popular names like Hailey and Harley---or all three? In any case, Hadley was up 38 places, now at Number 178.

  • Aubrey

    We have to admit we hadn't tuned into it either, but obviously a lot of other people have been watching the reality series All about Aubrey, starring singer-actress-designer-Celebrity Apprentice aspirant Aubrey O'Day. Aubrey's similarity to the popular Audrey might be a contributing factor too. Aubrey rose 24 places to enter the Top 20, while variations Aubree climbed 124 spots and Aubrie 108.

  • Raylan

    It sorta sounds made up--and it sorta was--by author Elmore Leonard who created the character Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens for a series of stories which went on to form the basis of the TV series Justified. Parents have really warmed to the trendy feel of the name: it's a first timer on the Top 1000 this year, entering at a respectable Number 701.


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