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What makes some baby names popular?

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It seems that these days common names such as Tom, Dick and Harry are not as popular as they were before.  A few years ago, however, these three names were the ones who were the most popular and common, much like the name Michael is right now.

But is there a real reason why Michael should be so popular? And what is the reason for certain names being so popular at all? One easy explanation for this phenomenon is that soon to be parents tend to search for Birth announcements in newspapers, and will usually choose one of the more common names, in hopes that their child will be popular. But this explanation is not satisfactory.

In a survey that was conducted among a large sample of the populations, in order to find out people's  thoughts and opinions on over 1500 popular names, an interesting pattern presented itself: Those names which were the most popular and common, seemed to affect peoples attitude towards a person carrying them. Specifically, these names created a feeling that one who carried them is more likely to have a number of positive attributes.

Here are some of the attributes associated by the survey results to common and popular names for boys:

David: good looks, sense of humor, strength, intelligence, reliable.
Steve: A good person, good looks, a sense of humor, friendly, fun to be around, strong
Daniel: handsome, strong, brave, nice, reliable, smart, easy going, all-american.
Michael: intelligent, successful, hard working, strong, good looking

Other names, so it is apparent through the survey results, send out a mixed message:

Harry: Funny and happy OR bad tempered and serious
Dick: opinionated, vulgar and cocky OR friendly and easy going
Tom: likeable, self esteemed, down to earth but average.

This shows us why parents tend to choose those names, with more positive attributed associated with them. It is no wonder that parent would rather give their child a name which projects the most positively upon them.

Nevertheless, there are important issues about choosing a very popular name for you child, which are not to be ignored. Where ever the child may go they will encounter several more children or adults carrying the same name as theirs. There might be 2 or 3 of them in their class, and they may be led to believe their name is not unique, and be troubled by this issue. This specific problem can be overcome by slightly changing a certain popular name in a way that will signify the name from all others – for example:

The name Daniel can be altered to Dane – attributed to this name are these qualities:  tall, athletic Scandinavian self assured.

Davis, instead of David can be – quiet, upper class, mischevious, quiet.
Mickey, as a variation of Michael can be – fun, light headed, cute and somewhat silly.
As you can see a slight change makes a huge difference in what message our  names send across. No doubt, the best vibes will come from a name which is popular, and this should be taken into consideration when deciding on your baby's name.

A good idea might be to check with friends and family members what they think of the name in general, or consult a baby-name book which discusses the subject of subjective impressions of different names.

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Comments (10)Add Comment
Popular names ?
written by Alan, October 04, 2006
Can you provide with a more extensive list of popular names in the US ?
Dont worry
written by Editors, October 04, 2006
We are working on popluar names list and we will add them soon
written by lyra, October 21, 2006
fantastic name
written by lyra, October 21, 2006
fantastic name
meaningful name
written by raji, February 26, 2007
i need some meaningful name so pls send me some good name list otherwise how to find my meaningful name
popular name ? does it matter as long as you like it
written by kerry, December 02, 2007
love the name Lois and its nowhere to be found. it doesnt matter if the name is popular or not it just matters how you see it.
written by Kaytee, March 15, 2008
What do you guys think of the name Kayle for a girl... i love love love it
written by keeley, April 09, 2009
i been trying to think of baby names i got a girl name its talaina but i cant think of a midddle name and i like xavier for a boy but cant get any middle names for that either if u could help or if u know any more unusual names that could help me thanks
written by keeley, April 09, 2009
kayle is a very popular name why not try sumthing different
so many beautiful ones
written by dora, December 07, 2010
I love Kylie and Ellias for as a girls name

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