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Friends fans, take note: these 24 baby names are at risk of going extinct in 2017

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What’s in a name?

Well, according to William Shakespeare, not all that much: a rose by any other name would still smell every bit as sweet, and so on. However, in Anne of Green Gables, we were offered a slightly different philosophy on names, when the titular character declared: “I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” 

To be honest, we’re tempted to agree with her: names have power. They can tell us if we’re a descendant of the Vikings, call to mind a feminist icon, and (allegedly) spell career success. It is, perhaps, for these reasons that we find ourselves so strangely captivated by lists of unusual baby names, even if we have no children of our own (nor ever intend on having any).

And it is why, when a new study unveiled the baby names which are at risk of extinction, our ears (however unwittingly) perked up.


Read more: 70 baby names inspired by feminist icons


Experts at BabyCentre have pulled together a list of 24 names that haven’t been registered by parents so far in 2017, meaning they are well and truly on the endangered list.

These names, including popular eighties choices Donna, Karen and Ian, are being cast aside by the thousands of parents who have already welcomed babies this year.

Other names that have not seen a single registration in 2017 include Clive, Janice (‘oh, my, GAWD!’), Roald and Gus.

Sarah Redshaw, managing editor at BabyCentre, said: “We see names rise and fall in popularity over the years but some names do fall out of favour completely. So if you are looking for a unique name for your baby that won’t be shared with lots of other children then maybe Cilla or Clarence should be on your list.”

The UK's endangered baby names have been revealed

The UK's endangered baby names have been revealed

The endangered names list in full:


Unusual baby girl names at risk of going extinct in 2017

Cilla
Meaning: “ancient, archaic”)

Bertha
Meaning: “bright one”

Cynthia
Meaning: “mythological moon goddess”

Janice
Meaning: “god is gracious”

Anita
Meaning: “full of grace”

Marcia
Meaning: “of Mars, the Roman god of fertility”

Mildred
Meaning: “gentle strength”

Dorothy
Meaning: “gift of god”

Edna
Meaning: “pleasure”

Bonnie
Meaning: “fair, good and beautiful”

Cindy
Meaning: “little ashes”

Donna
Meaning: “lady of the home”

Gail
Meaning: “lively”

Karen
Meaning: “pure”


Unusual baby boy names at risk of going extinct in 2017

Ian
Meaning: “Jehovah has been gracious”

Frank
Meaning: “free one”

Clarence
Meaning: “bright or clear”

Ricky
Meaning: “powerful, strong ruler”

Edmund
Meaning: “protector”

Gus
Meaning: “majestic”

Roger
Meaning: “famous spear”

Bertram
Meaning: “bright and famous”

Clive
Meaning: “lives at the cliffs”

Roald
Meaning: “powerful”

Are you a fan of the name Cilla? Or Bertram?

Are you a fan of the name Cilla? Or Bertram?

There are some pretty fun names in the mix – with more than a few famous bearers. We’re sure that fans of Cilla Black, Roald Dahl, and Friends’ Janice (‘oh, my, GAWD!’) would be keen to take inspiration from the list.


Read more: The top 20 French baby names


Of course, if you’d prefer to choose a name based on its badass meaning, we suggest browsing through our list of baby names inspired by feminist icons.

Or, if you’re in the market for a cool pet name, why not check out the most popular dog and cat names of 2016?

Images: iStock/Friends

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