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 endangered names list in full:
Unusual baby girl names at risk of going extinct in 2017
Meaning: “ancient, archaic”)
Meaning: “bright one”
Meaning: “mythological moon goddess”
Meaning: “god is gracious”
Meaning: “full of grace”
Meaning: “of Mars, the Roman god of fertility”
Meaning: “gentle strength”
Meaning: “gift of god”
Meaning: “fair, good and beautiful”
Meaning: “little ashes”
Meaning: “lady of the home”
Unusual baby boy names at risk of going extinct in 2017
Meaning: “Jehovah has been gracious”
Meaning: “free one”
Meaning: “bright or clear”
Meaning: “powerful, strong ruler”
Meaning: “famous spear”
Meaning: “bright and famous”
Meaning: “lives at the cliffs”
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