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Classic baby names

Classic names, which were formerly considered outdated, are now coming back into fashion. For example, I know a seven-year-old called Esme, I have a niece called Theodora and a nephew called Jasper. Classic names are those that have been used throughout the ages and will continue to be popular for centuries to come. Some people favour classic names over seemingly ‘trendy’ alternatives because they know the names will stand the test of time. Although classic names are not necessarily considered cool or trendy, and will probably not even be considered by celebrities when they are choosing baby names, that doesn’t make them ‘boring’ or ‘unoriginal’.

Classic girls’ names include names such as: Arabella, Beatrice, Celia, Deborah, Eleanor, Felicity and Tamara. Classic names for boys could be Alfred (often abbreviated to Alfie), Bobby, Cornelius, Dean, Forrest, Matthew and Samuel.

There are several factors to take into account if you’re considering giving your baby a classic name:

  • Some names in this category only suit people from much older generations. The trick is to choose something classic yet relevant; can you visualise a baby or young child answering to ‘Hilda’ or ‘Ethel’ for example? If you have a family member that you’re keen to name your child after and they have a name that could conceivably be considered outdated or unfashionable, it might be worth using it as a middle name for your child. Alternatively why not use your family tree as a starting block. Looking into the past at the names given to great and great-great grandparents can prove useful inspiration when you are compiling a name list.
  • To see if the potential name is right, repeat it to yourself several times and see if you still like it. Don’t choose the name on a whim.
  • Does the name match with your surname? Avoid names that rhyme eg ‘Tim Sim’, or names that, when said together sound funny or rude. This could lead to teasing in the playground. Also consider the initials your child would have – remember your child’s name will help form their identity and you don’t want them feeling silly or different.
  • Bear in mind that if you give your child a lengthy classic name it is likely that it will be shortened to a nickname as your child grows up, so make sure you like the alternative versions eg Victoria may become Vicky and Arabella may be abbreviated to Bella.
  • Stick with the choice you've made. Lots of people opt out of choosing classic names for their children because they worry the name is too old-fashioned, but most names come back into fashion and actually sound much 'cooler' than the 'fad' or supposed 'cool' names which will either become outdated, or saturated when everyone calls their children the same few names.
  • If you have opted for a classic first name why not be adventurous with the middle name, Martha Rocket or William Elvis, for example.

Place name baby names

We all have happy memories of growing up either in the big city or small-town somewhere, and the places we live help shape the adults (and parents!) we become. So what about naming your baby after your own home town?

The Social Security Administration reports that the trend for naming babies after cities is growing – for example, the name London wasn’t even in the top 1000 baby names a few years ago, but in 2007 it was number 284 for girls. David Beckham named his son Brooklyn; and while Paris has always floated around the top 1000, celeb Paris Hilton has given that French city a new lease on life when it comes to the name game.

You might even think about naming your baby after an American state you have visited – Arizona, Dakota, Georgia, Virginia, Carolina and Montana are popular names for girls, while Nevada has been used as a boy’s name. Just think: every time you call your child it could remind you of rolling hills, misty valleys, snow capped mountains or the big, endless sky!

Never been to the US? Here are some ideas for cool American town names you could put on your baby name list. Here are gurgle’s top 10 for girls and boys for you to browse through, with their official ranking so you can guess how many other mums and dads might be likely to choose the same name for their baby…

For girls:

  • Alexandria (Virginia)
  • Aurora (Illinois)
  • Campbell (California)
  • Charlotte (North Carolina)
  • Cheyenne (Wyoming)
  • Helena (Montana)
  • Logan (Utah)
  • Madison (Wisconsin)
  • Phoenix (Arizona)
  • Savannah (Georgia)

For boys:

  • Austin (Texas)
  • Boston (Massachussetts)
  • Chandler (Arizona)
  • Cody (Wyoming)
  • Dallas (Texas)
  • Dayton (Ohio)
  • Jackson (Mississippi)
  • Memphis (Tennessee)
  • Mitchell (South Dakota)
  • Trenton (New Jersey)

And how about UK and Ireland place names? Here's our top ten:

  1. London
  2. Isla
  3. Skye
  4. Preston
  5. Devon
  6. Shannon
  7. Chester
  8. Kerry
  9. Harlow
  10. Charlton

Still stuck? See our baby namer for a database of thousands of names.

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