Pop culture has, for a very long time, influenced baby name choices. We saw it with Downton Abbey, which helped catapult traditional monikers such as Edith, Violet and Rose back into popularity when the period drama began airing in 2010. The phenomenon that was Disney’s Frozen, too, took hold in 2014, prompting Elsa to rise up the rankings of baby girls’ names.
Then, of course, there was the big Game Of Thrones surge in 2019, which saw the likes of Arya, Sansa, Jon, Khaleesi, Oberyn, Olenna and Yara all begin to captivate parents’ imaginations in a very big way.
Now, at long last, it’s the turn of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Adapted from the dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale – which is due to return to our TV screens this spring with its explosive fourth season – doesn’t necessarily seem like it should be rife with baby name inspiration.
As fans of the series will already know, it takes place in Gilead, a near-future version of North America in which the Constitution has been overthrown. As a result of this, women’s rights and identities have been stripped away, with fertile women being rounded up, red tagged, and forced into a life of sexual servitude and surrogacy.
And, as a result of this, babies (and children) are viewed almost as commodities; a status symbol, for Commanders and their Wives to wheel out at luncheons and events for their peers to coo over enviously.
Setting all that aside, though, the TV series is filled to the brim with inspiring characters – each of whom is determined to do what they can in order to bring about the positive change that Gilead so desperately needs.
Is it any wonder, then, that experts over at Bella Baby have discovered that names inspired by these heroic characters are on the increase?
According to data collected by UK Baby Name, experts have found that the name June – as in, yes, Elisabeth Moss’ impossibly brave Handmaid, June Osborne – has secured a popularity score of 81%, soaring by 20 places in the top baby names since 2019. And it’s still very much on the climb, too.
June isn’t the only moniker from The Handmaid’s Tale that’s seen a surge in popularity, though; Serena – as in Yvonne Strahovski’s Serena Waterford – has a score of 93%, having jumped a whopping 49 places in the last two years.
Elsewhere, Rita – the name adopted by Amanda Brugel’s character, who helped to smuggle a plane full of children over the border to safety – has also had a boost, jumping 126 places since 2019 and scoring a popularity rating of 90%.
Cora, the name given to Victoria Fodor’s rebellious Martha, has similarly secured a popularity score of 97%. June’s lover, Nick (portrayed by Max Minghella in the series) has jumped 94 places in the last two years, earning a popularity score of 69%. And, over on Nameberry, the likes of Lydia, Eden, Emily, and Luke have all made it onto the list of ‘most popular baby names for boys and girls,’ too.
If you’re interested in jumping on the dystopian bandwagon, then, here’s 15 names inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale – and their meanings…
Powerful baby names inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale
Meaning: “nurturing, soul”
Meaning: “full heart; maiden”
Meaning: “place of paradise, delight”
Meaning: “striving; eager”
Meaning: “holy day”
Meaning: “God is gracious”
Meaning: “derived from Juno, the Roman goddess of love and marriage”
Meaning: “the bright one; man from Lucania”
Meaning: “noble one; woman from Lydia”
Meaning: “bitter; beloved; drop of the sea”
Meaning: “people of victory”
Meaning: “belonging to the Lord”
Meaning: “child of light; pearl”