“What’s in a name?” Juliet famously asks in Shakespeare’s iconic tale of star-crossed lovers.
Rather a lot of thought and deliberation, it seems, especially when considering what to call our children.
From sporting moments and famous faces to family tradition and the sway of fashion, much is at play in this process.
Some parents are influenced by drama when considering their child’s name.
The UK’s most popular baby name from TV is Jax from ‘Sons of Anarchy’, according to a study by Confused.com.
Its silver screen equivalent is Logan from the film, ‘X-Men’, with 1,679 babies bearing the name in 2020.
Others look to the world of music and perhaps their own idols for a namesake.
The research, which analysed Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, unveiled Willow, Florence and Ariana as the most popular music-inspired baby girls’ names for 2020.
Willow was popularised by the singer Willow Smith; Florence, known from the band, Florence + the Machine; and Ariana, made famous by singer Ariana Grande.
Top of the boys’ list was Zayn, inspired by One Direction’s Zayn Malik. The name, meaning ‘beauty, grace,’ was the fastest rising in popularity in 2016 – the year after Zayn left the boy band.
This was followed by Lennon, in honour of the late great Beatle, John, and Hendrix, after legendary guitarist, Jimi.
The most popular boys’ names this year are Noah, Oliver, Leo, Theo and Finley, according to the ONS.
Olivia heads up the girls’ list, followed by Amelia, Isla, Ava and Mia. It remains to be seen what impact the passing of Queen Elizabeth II may have on this roll call in the near future.
Sport is a source rich in namesakes for future generations; between 2000 and 2021, tennis player Andy Murray inspired more baby names than any other sports star, with 492 infants being given his surname as their first name, according to Betsperts.
Its research also revealed the famous sporting moments that have inspired UK baby names – with Gerrard rocketing by more than 300 percent in the year after Steven Gerrard captained Liverpool to Champions League victory in 2005.
‘Thierry’ almost doubled following French forward Thierry Henry’s involvement in Arsenal’s invincible season of 2003/04.
And ‘Salah’ grew in popularity the year after the mighty Mohamed (Mo) Salah enjoyed a record-breaking 2017/18 season, including a Golden Boot win.
If sport isn’t producing that perfect name, there are plenty of ideas to be found elsewhere – perhaps even in your local.
In honour of Oktoberfest German pram brand, ABC Design, dug out the most popular beer-inspired baby names to celebrate the annual Bavarian festival.
The top 15 names take inspiration from beers and breweries around the world and include the gender-neutral Artois, Atlas, Augustine and Porter.
For girls there’s Abbey, Amber, Rona and, of course, Stella.
Boys’ names include Arthur, Bud and ‘probably the best name in the world’…..Carl.
Choosing a name for your baby can be a challenge, such is the pressure not to burden them with one they could later lament.
And even once the decision is made, many parents are plagued by qualms.
According to one recent study, between 11 and 30 percent of parents regret the name they chose for their baby.
“We understand this can be a daunting decision for many soon-to-be parents, however, we advise them to enjoy this decision as much as possible and know that whatever name you end up choosing, will be the right one for your newborn,” says a Bella Baby spokesperson.
“There are many parents who worry about the impact changing a newborn’s name could have on them, even though studies suggest that you have up to six months to alter your baby’s name before it mentally confuses them.
“It is best to take your time when selecting a baby name, and following our advice should make it easier for you to find the perfect fit.”
Among the baby product supplier’s list of considerations are whether the name is a passing trend and if there’s a meaning behind it.
This next one may not even occur to most people but is worth thinking about: will the name appear on fun holiday souvenirs?
‘Dandelion Twinkletoes’ may be uniquely labelled for life but how helpful is this if she spends every school trip sobbing in the gift shop?
Also, consider the initials of each part of the name; do they spell a word that you really wish they didn’t?
Choosing a baby name can feel like a balancing act between following trends and dodging something that will inevitably become a fad.
Names surge in popularity for many reasons, whether they’re shared by favoured characters in new television shows or due to the resurgence of a certain era.
According to Bella Baby, a popular name means your child is less likely to have to worry about misspellings and mispronunciation of their name and they can find comradery in having the same name as others.
Top 10 baby girl names inspired by music
Willow – “Willow Smith” – 2,165 babies in 2020
Florence – “Florence + the Machine” – 2,026 babies in 2020
Ariana – “Ariana Grande” – 395 babies in 2020
Billie – “Billie Eilish” – 261 babies in 2020
Lana – “Lana Del Rey” – 235 babies in 2020
Dua – “Dua Lipa” – 213 babies in 2020
Etta – “Etta James” – 205 babies in 2020
Miley – “Miley Cyrus” – 157 babies in 2020
Demi – “Demi Lovato” – 136 babies in 2020
Selena – “Selena Gomaz” – 93 babies in 2020
Top 10 baby boy names inspired by music
Zayn – “One Direction” – 315 babies in 2020
Lennon – “John Lennon” – 197 babies in 2020
Hendrix – “Jimi Hendrix” – 154 babies in 2020
Niall – “One Direction” – 141 babies in 2020
Travis – “Travis Scott” – 112 babies in 2020
Bruno – “Bruno Mars” – 106 babies in 2020
Jonas – “Jonas Brothers” – 82 babies in 2020
Prince – “Prince” – 77 babies in 2020
Bowie – “David Bowie” – 58 babies in 2020
Elvis – “Elvis Presley” – 34 babies in 2020