Amelia Has Fallen

Well, the list of the most popular baby names of last year has been released by the Office for National Statistics, and there has been something of a shock result at number one.

Not in the boys’ names. That’s still Oliver. All of the boys are still called Oliver. Urban legend suggests that some boys are actually not called Oliver, but they succumb to societal pressure to conform when they start nursery and school. They just resign themselves to the fact that no one is going to remember that they aren’t called Oliver, and everyone is going to call them Oliver. After about a week, they come to believe that they probably always were called Oliver anyway. Plus, they didn’t like feeling left out of the stampede that happens when the teacher says ‘Oliver, come and get your book/milk/bag/coat.’

So, no surprises with the boys. But the girls? Oh the girls. There has been a shake-up at the top. Amelia has fallen. This is not a drill. Amelia has fallen. Amelia, which has been the top name for so long we’ve actually all had time to get over the loss of Amelia Pond from Doctor Who during its reign, is no more. That’s a bit of an exaggeration: Amelia is number two. Didn’t fall very far, to be fair.

Oh yes, last year people giving birth to little girls went rogue, they thought outside of the box, they…well, they called the little girls Oliver too, basically. Yes, Amelia was finally toppled from the top by the feminine version of the reigning boys’ name. I imagine the thinking was: ‘This is all well and good – all the boys are called Oliver. It’s easy to remember. But this whole girls’ name thing is a problem. That name we’re using is like a whole separate name. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit. Surely there is something a bit more similar to Oliver we could be calling these girls?’ Then somebody had a brainwave. From way out of left field they came up with…well, the name that all the girls were called before they were all called Amelia, actually. (We’ve travelled back in time to 2010. I think Amelia Pond would like that.) The queen is dead, long live the queen.

Apparently, there was a period of about 200 years when all girls were called Mary once upon a time. And, of course, 9 out of 10 girls born in the 1970s and 1980s were called Jennifer. People like to be consistent. Or maybe everyone just gets these names stuck in their head and isn’t quite sure why: ‘Well, there was this one name I heard somewhere – I’m not sure where – that was quite nice…’ Thus the cycle continues. The self-perpetuating cycle of Oliver.

Of course, the main thing to note here – the really important thing – is that, no matter how many Olivers and Olivias there may be, only one couple were daft enough to call their baby Sir…

(*Disclaimer: This is just a bit of fun. I think Oliver, Amelia and Olivia are all lovely names. I do not think Sir is a lovely name. I think it’s effing stupid. That is all.*)


  1. I have no originality. My first born is Harry. He is named after my Grampy. I always knew I would have a Harry. The husband had no choice. What happened when I had my Harry? It tops the names list and they are everywhere. Finding my second sons name was harder. There weren’t many other boys names we liked. It had to go with Harry. We knew a lot more kids now so a lot of names were taken. We finally found a name we loved and knew no one of the same name. It was unique. Oliver. Once again they are now everywhere! Maybe I’m a trend setter! #FridayFrolics

  2. @MumMalarkey says:

    I love my little girl’s name, Orla. I love the sound of it, that it’s unusual, but not THAT unusual, that it dates back to the name of an ancient Irish warrior princess… what I am less keen on however, is that people’s phones keep autocorrecting it -there are only so many ‘Ahhh, isn’t Oral lovely?’ texts you can receive before you realise that this should have been on your baby name checklist… #FridayFrolics

  3. Emma says:

    My daughter is called Amelia. But in my defence it was before that bloody Dr Who’s assistant came along. I wish I had known now how popular it would be. My Nan has renamed my daughter and I think this is because she doesn’t want her great granddaughter having a “common” name. So she calls her by her middle name as well “Amelia-Rose”. Hmmmm. #FridayFrolics

  4. We tried very hard to pick unique names. I was a Lisa Anne, one of about 11 in elementary school My kids were to be different, dammit. Big, her real name is Luka Willow. And Little, she is Neko Sage. We wanted their first names to be okay whether boy or girl, and we wanted them to be different, but not so different that they got beat up… That’s my story! xoxo #fridayFrolics

  5. I’m quite surprised that Oliver is the top name of the moment – not sure why I’m surprised but probably because I don’t know any Olivers, but then names have obviously already moved on now that my youngest is 6. My two girls have unusual names but my son’s name had to be steady and safe according to Mr S.H.I.T. #Fridayfrolics

  6. jodie filogomo says:

    It’s amazing how names go through trends too!
    There was a time when you names your kids after relatives, and now you want them to be original names.
    Or not.

  7. So my 12 year old is named Oliver. I say that in the passive tense. I named him Oliver. When I did that I checked the US Social Security name trends and it was 745 and dropping. Turns out Social Security knows nothing. He is still a little ahead of the Oliver curve. But the Olivers are coming. Quickly.

  8. Lee Gaitan says:

    So funny! Olivia was actually one of the names I considered for the second baby I never had! But that was back before electricity. Like Laurie said above, here in the states in the 80s, we were overrun with Britneys…and Courtneys and Jessicas. Those have run their course and now a lot of the older names are popular again.

  9. Linda Hobden says:

    In the early 2000’s Jack & Emily were the top names – my Jack was born in 2005 along with millions of others – in fact he was named after his grandad. In 1991, my son Daniel was born and his class were full of boys called Daniel too.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Not all Jennifers were born in the 70’s. My name was quite unusual at the time that I was first given it and it took another ten years for it to become popular. I didn’t even meet another Jennifer until I was a Senior in high school and she came in as a Freshman.

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