Special Report

12 American Names Popular for the First Time

1. Annabelle

Many parents name their children after fictional characters, and perhaps this also true for the name Annabelle. It may be parents preferred it as a variant on Annabel, made timeless by the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem, “Annabel Lee.” Whatever the reason, Annabelle was an uncommon name through much of the early 20th century, and fell out of the top 1,000 girls’ names in 1950. It reappeared in the mid 90’s, however, and rebounded and to 57th by 2014, its most popular year ever.

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2. Aria

While some names on this list were uncommon, but still used in decades past, Aria was not even among the top 1,000 girls’ names before the year 2000. The name has several possible roots and is the name of a patron saint. The most likely derivation of the name comes from its musical meaning. In operas, arias are solos accompanied by instrumentation. In Latin, the word means “the song.” One of the protagonists of the wildly popular HBO show Game of Thrones is named Arya, which may have influenced the trend as well.

3. Piper

Another potentially musical name, Piper cracked the top 1,000 choices for newborn girls in 2000 and has become more popular nearly every year since. The name has many potential meanings. It could be reminiscent of the famous fable of The Pied Piper. Parents may also be thinking of the sandpiper, a small, agile species of bird that can commonly be found on beaches running along the surf looking for food. Piper is also the name of the protagonist from the popular Netflix show “Orange is the New Black.”

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4. Skylar

Skylar is an androgynous name, although it is a much more commonly used name for females. In the mid 1990s, it was uncommon but used for both sexes — roughly evenly distributed between baby boys and baby girls. However, use of the name for males and females soon diverged, and in 2014, it was the 637th most popular name for boys and 48th for girls. On the hit TV show “Breaking Bad,” Skyler was the wife of the main character Walter White.

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