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When does an unusual name cross the line?

Many people wonder either how popular a name can be for it to be usable, or how unpopular a name can be to be usable. When does it become too popular, or too unusual? I know my preferences are different from the next person, perhaps even extremely different. I would choose a name that is not in the top 1000, and has not been in the top 1000 for the past decade, but is not a word, place, or thing, and is not made up. In other words, a legit name that the child will likely never see on someone else their age, but something easily understandable. Definitely not something like Expo, but maybe something like Verbena. But I've always been drawn to rare, historical, and mythological names, having a naturally rebellious and creative nature. Everyone else I know, even if they want their child's name to be unique, tends to go for names on the top 1000 list, with popularity being an afterthought.

So as general advice, here's what I suggest: don't choose an unusual name that is also akward, hurtful, or will give your child trouble. In other words, don't deviate from traditional spelling to the point where no one will ever spell it right (Anejelah instead of Angela), don't make up a name (Arjaiden), don't name them after an object (Video) or product (Nivea) or descriptive word (Shine). A name like Ursa is rare and will get weird looks at first, but your child will be able to confidently tell people about Ursa Minor and that it means "little bear." A name like Oreo, Swift, or Shimmer, will just get weird looks. Keep your options between rare legitimate names, and those that are not in the top 100 to 300. The reason I suggest it not be in the top 100 is because, for example, Leah currently ranks #24, there were 6474 baby girls born in 2010 named Leah, which means there were about 130 born with this name per state in just one year. This does not take into account all the previous years and fluctuations in popularity. So, better safe than sorry.

Everyone will be different. Maple is a good example. I'm sure last year everyone would have said "That's weird for a name," but this year it has gotten so popular that even a celebrity used it, but there are still those who refuse to accept it. So, some might consider Anielka crossing the line, but it is not offensive, akward, or too troublesome.


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Witchy Baby Girl Names!

Circe Invidiosa by John William Waterhouse
Have a little girl due in October? Looking to name a character? Here's my [seemingly endless] list of witchy-sounding baby names. Most of them also fit in the "clunky but cool" category, or "vintage." Most plants, trees, herbs, spices, flowers, gems, space and nature names fit the bill, because in stories and current practice these things are useful to witches. I've put any actual witch names from legend, myth, literature, movies, etc in bold and up front. I have not considered the names of actual, living people or their Pagan names, and I've left out any characters that only have a surname, or truly ridiculous given names. In the second half you'll see a list of names that, to my knowledge, have not been used for witch characters. Please know that this is not a complete list. Wikipedia has an almost complete list you can view here.
Tabitha, Samantha, Endora, Clara, Serena (Bewitched)
Katrina(Katrina Crane, …

Norway's Top 10 Baby Names

Taken from Statistics Norway. I have no clue how/why there are multiple spellings, but I'm assuming they group spellings for each name and then rank them, unlike the U.S. that goes by individual spelling.

2015 Stats
1. Emma
2. Nora/Norah
3. Sara/Sahra/Sarah
4. Sophie/Sofie
5. Olivia
6. Sophia/Sofia
7. Emilie
8. Ella
9. Lea/Leah
10. Maja/Maia/Maya

1. William
2. Mathias/Matias
3. Oliver
4. Jakob/Jacob
5. Lukas/Lucas
6. Filip/Fillip, Philip/Phillip
7. Liam
8. Axel/Aksel
9. Emil
10. Oskar/Oscar


1. Emma
2. Nora/Norah
3. Sara/Sarah/Sahra
4. Sofie/Sophie
5. Linnea/Linea
6. Thea/Tea
7. Maya/Maia/Maja
8. Emilie
9. Ingrid/Ingri
10. Julie

1. Emil
2. Lucas/Lukas
3. Mathias/Matias
4. William
5. Magnus
6. Filip/Fillip/Philip/Phillip
7. Oliver
8. Markus/Marcus
9. Noa/Noah
10. Tobias


Here's one of my personal favorites, although I'm surprised I still like it after seeing Forrest Gump so often (thanks, Dad). In fact, the name peaked in popularity for the second time the year the movie was released, jumping to number #217 in 1994. Now he's on the move yet again, rising to 132 boys given the name in 2015 from a low dip to 47 in 2006. To be clear, Forest is the word spelling and Forrest the name spelling, and Forrest remains a much more popular choice with 387 boys given the name in 2015, ranking at #659. Forrest also had a dip in 2006 with only 147 births, disappearing from the charts between 2003 and 2013, and it also peaked in 1994 with 1,343 boys born, rising to #217. Historically both spelling options have been very popular.

Forest doesn't have an obvious nickname, but it's one of those names you enjoy saying without having to shorten it. Forest is Old French, meaning "woods." A famous namesake is St. John Forest of the 16th century…