Special Report

20 Most Popular Literary-Inspired Baby Names in America

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Forrest
> Number of babies, 2000-2019: 5,143 boys
> Character name: Forrest Gump from “Forrest Gump”

“Forrest Gump” is a 1986 novel by Winston Groom that was made into a blockbuster film starring Tom Hanks. It’s the story of a slow-witted but kind-hearted man from Alabama who gets mixed up in all kinds of historic events.

Source: F. A. Fraser / Wikimedia Commons

Estella
> Number of babies, 2000-2019: 4,596 girls
> Character name: Estella Havisham from “Great Expectations”

“Great Expectations” is one of Charles Dickens’ most popular novels. It’s a coming-of-age story about an orphan called Pip who falls for a girl called Estella, who is beautiful but cold.

Source: John Everett Millais / Wikimedia Commons

Ophelia
> Number of babies, 2000-2019: 4,435 girls
> Character name: Ophelia from “Hamlet”

Ophelia is a tragic character in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” She falls for Hamlet but he kills her father Polonius and abandons her. She is driven out of her mind and dies by drowning. She has been referenced in many other literary works, and been the subject of numerous paintings and songs.

Source: Courtesy of Alliance

Coraline
> Number of babies, 2000-2019: 4,293 girls
> Character name: Coraline from “Coraline”

Coraline is the title character of a 2002 novella of the same name by Neil Gaiman, made into an animated film in 2009. It’s about a young girl who enters a strange parallel universe through a door in her new home.

Source: Courtesy of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Lyra
> Number of babies, 2000-2019: 3,791 girls
> Character name: Lyra Belacqua from the “His Dark Materials” series

Lyra Belacqua is the heroine of Philip Pullman’s trilogy “His Dark Materials,” about a young girl who inhabits a parallel universe. The television adaptation premiered on BBC in the United Kingdom and HBO in the United States in November 2019, so the name caught on very quickly.

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