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Why these once-popular baby names are dying out in 2018

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Kayleigh Dray
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World news and internet memes are having a huge impact on baby name trends, a new survey has found.

What’s in a name?

Well, back in the 16th and early 17th century, not all that much: as William Shakespeare famously put it, “a rose by any other name would still smell every bit as sweet”, and so on.

However, by the beginning of the 20th century, this philosophy had already begun to change. As the titular character of Anne of Green Gables put it: “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.”

Now, in 2018, it seems names hold more power than ever – so much so that parents are shunning specific monikers due to their connection with world news, internet memes and modern technology.

A study of 1,434 parents by parenting website ChannelMum.com has found that Harvey, Caitlyn and Katie are dropping in popularity partly because of their association with disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, I Am Cait’s Caitlyn Jenner and right-wing columnist Katie Hopkins.

Meanwhile, some 55% of parents said they wouldn’t consider the name Felicia because they now connect it to the Bye, Felicia meme. And two-thirds of parents are rejecting Alexa (ranked as the UK’s 21st most popular girl’s name in 2016) because it’s the same name as Amazon’s digital assistant.

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SJ Strum, from ChannelMum, said: “Although Alexa was a popular choice a few years ago, the rapid proliferation of Amazon Alexas is killing it off. No-one wants a daughter and a device with the same name.

“This problem will only grow. If Facebook ever launches its rumoured AI personal assistant M, it will end the popularity of Emma, which is shortened to Em.”

Other names falling from favour include Christian.

Two-in-five families have shunned the name due to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, and because it is seen as “too religious” in multicultural Britain, while the once popular Ryan is being rejected due to links with the infamous budget airline, with three in five saying its popularity is nosediving.

Strum added that Stan, similarly, has become shorthand for a “stalker fan” thanks to the Eminem and Dido hit, while the name Lauren is often associated with reality TV stars on shows like TOWIE and Geordie Shore.

Samantha, Harmony and Solana, meanwhile, are “definite no-nos as they’re all brands of sex robot”.

Image: Echo Grid

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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