What’s in a (Baby) Name? 2011’s Most Popular Monikers

Royals and Kardashians alike were inspirations for baby names this year.

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BabyCenter, a popular parenting and pregnancy website, released its annual list of the 100 most popular baby names (not to be confused with the Social Security Administration’s annual report of the most-given names).

Sophia and Aiden, last year’s respective leading girl and boy baby names, retained their status as the most popular baby names in 2011.

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Other fashionable female names — namely, Ava, Abigail, and Isabella — kept their place in the top 10. Meanwhile, male names continued the trend of “n” endings; joining Aiden in the top 10 are Jackson, Mason, Jayden, Ethan and Logan.

This year’s biggest newsmakers influenced naming trends, as usual. CNN’s resident silver fox Anderson Cooper’s moniker jumped up 101 spots, while royal (ish) names William, Kate/Catherine and Pippa gained momentum. The name Mason’s newly-minted status as the third-most popular is likely (though hopefully not) linked to Kourtney Kardashian’s son Mason.

While you ponder the improbable rise of the name Nevaeh (heaven spelled backward), NewsFeed offers you some truly trivial tidbits about the names of our country’s future leaders.

  • Olivia (4th) was first coined by William Shakespeare for a character in the Twelfth Night.
  • Aiden (1st) has an appeal that spurred the popularity of countless sound-alikes, including Jayden (6), Caden (12) Brayden (18),  and Hayden (86).
  • Madison (8th) began its meteoric rise in popularity as a girl’s name after the 1984 movie Splash, where Daryl Hannah’s mermaid character adopts the name “Madison” after seeing a street sign for Madison Avenue.

Click here to see the full list.

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