Baby Names Ripped From The Headlines In 2012

Beautiful smiling cute baby
Beautiful smiling cute baby

By Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz forNameberry

The most notable names of 2012 have taken a colorful direction this year, with international influences that range from presidents to K-pop to celebrities and the characters they play, and from the web to the weather.

Our picks for the 12 names most emblematic of 2012 -– plus the dozen also-rans -– are:

Malala

Runnerup: Dilma  <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/malala-yousufzai-taliban_n_1951141.html">Malala Yousufzai</a>, the Pakistani 14-year-old who was gunned down by the Taliban for championing girls’ education, wrote that her melodious name means “grief stricken.” Malala could well become an inspiration name choice for young girls in the Western World.  Another female name to emerge from world politics this year is Dilma, via Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff, who was named after her mother.
Runnerup: Dilma Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani 14-year-old who was gunned down by the Taliban for championing girls’ education, wrote that her melodious name means “grief stricken.” Malala could well become an inspiration name choice for young girls in the Western World. Another female name to emerge from world politics this year is Dilma, via Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff, who was named after her mother.

Lincoln

Runnerup: Abraham  Daniel Day Lewis’s brilliant film portrayal brought Abraham Lincoln alive in a way he hasn’t been since, well, 1865. As a modern hero name, our first choice is the fresh-sounding <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Lincoln">Lincoln</a>, once heard as a first name in The Mod Squad as the proper name for the cool character called Linc.  Abraham relates more to the brethren of gray-bearded Old Testament names –- <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/noah">Noah</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/moses">Moses</a>, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/isaiah">Isaiah</a> -– than to our arguably greatest president, but that still puts it in step with our times.
Runnerup: Abraham Daniel Day Lewis’s brilliant film portrayal brought Abraham Lincoln alive in a way he hasn’t been since, well, 1865. As a modern hero name, our first choice is the fresh-sounding Lincoln, once heard as a first name in The Mod Squad as the proper name for the cool character called Linc. Abraham relates more to the brethren of gray-bearded Old Testament names –- Noah, Moses, Isaiah -– than to our arguably greatest president, but that still puts it in step with our times.

London

Runnerup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Jubilee">Jubilee</a>  <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/london">London</a> takes the title of the place name of the year, given the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee (more on that in a moment) as well as Prince Harry’s antics and  the ongoing royal bump watch.  The name London leapt into the Top 100 for girls this year and we see the city’s stature elevating it even higher; while London is sagging a bit as a boy’s name, it’s not out of the running.  Runnerup name Jubilee is a celebratory new word name heard increasingly for girls.
Runnerup: Jubilee London takes the title of the place name of the year, given the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee (more on that in a moment) as well as Prince Harry’s antics and the ongoing royal bump watch. The name London leapt into the Top 100 for girls this year and we see the city’s stature elevating it even higher; while London is sagging a bit as a boy’s name, it’s not out of the running. Runnerup name Jubilee is a celebratory new word name heard increasingly for girls.

Penelope

Runnerup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Sophia">Sophia</a>  The ancient Greek name <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/penelope">Penelope</a> became an unlikely reality star this year when Kourtney Kardashian chose it for her high-profile newborn.  Meaning “weaver,” the name of Odysseus’s long-faithful wife was also placed in the limelight by Spanish star Penélope Cruz.  Runnerup Greek sister Sophia makes our list because she became the Number 1 girls’ name in the U.S. this year, only the 16th name to take first place honors since 1880.
Runnerup: Sophia The ancient Greek name Penelope became an unlikely reality star this year when Kourtney Kardashian chose it for her high-profile newborn. Meaning “weaver,” the name of Odysseus’s long-faithful wife was also placed in the limelight by Spanish star Penélope Cruz. Runnerup Greek sister Sophia makes our list because she became the Number 1 girls’ name in the U.S. this year, only the 16th name to take first place honors since 1880.

Grey

Runnerup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Junot">Junot</a>  There aren’t many baby name inspirations less likely than the erotic "50 Shades of Grey" blockbusters, but parents are indeed naming their children <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/grey">Grey</a> -– and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/gray">Gray</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/grayer">Grayer </a>and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/grayson">Grayson</a>, the only one of the series to make the Top 1000.  On the more literary end of literary inspiration, we nominate author Junot Diaz, this year’s Pulitzer novelist whose name is the Spanish variation of the Latin Junius, which means “born in June.”
Runnerup: Junot There aren’t many baby name inspirations less likely than the erotic "50 Shades of Grey" blockbusters, but parents are indeed naming their children Grey -– and Gray and Grayer and Grayson, the only one of the series to make the Top 1000. On the more literary end of literary inspiration, we nominate author Junot Diaz, this year’s Pulitzer novelist whose name is the Spanish variation of the Latin Junius, which means “born in June.”

Lena

Runnerup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Jemima">Jemima</a>  Impresario Lena Dunham took HBO by storm with her series "Girls," a "Sex & the City" for a new generation of women.  The name <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/lena">Lena</a>, adhering to the Hundred Year Rule, was in the Top 100 from 1880 until 1920.  Originally a short form for Helena or any other name that ended in those four letters, Lena can now stand on its own and is headed back toward the top. Fellow series star Jemima Kirke makes her British-accented first name US-appropriate.
Runnerup: Jemima Impresario Lena Dunham took HBO by storm with her series "Girls," a "Sex & the City" for a new generation of women. The name Lena, adhering to the Hundred Year Rule, was in the Top 100 from 1880 until 1920. Originally a short form for Helena or any other name that ended in those four letters, Lena can now stand on its own and is headed back toward the top. Fellow series star Jemima Kirke makes her British-accented first name US-appropriate.

Brody

Runnerup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Damian">Damian </a>   The lead male character on Showtime’s smash "Homeland" bears the handsome hero name Nicholas, but he’s always called by his surname <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/brody"> Brody</a>, emblematic of our times and our naming tastes.  Brody is an Irish surname that means “ditch” and is in the Top 100.  Charismatic actor Damian Lewis, who portrays the character, may help promote his upper class British name to Americans.
Runnerup: Damian The lead male character on Showtime’s smash "Homeland" bears the handsome hero name Nicholas, but he’s always called by his surname Brody, emblematic of our times and our naming tastes. Brody is an Irish surname that means “ditch” and is in the Top 100. Charismatic actor Damian Lewis, who portrays the character, may help promote his upper class British name to Americans.

Sandy

Runnerup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Athena">Athena </a> The mild-mannered <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/sandy">Sandy</a> was anything but as the superstorm that swamped the northeast in October 2012.  While the name may be still stuck in the Sandra Dee-Sandy Koufax 1960s, Sandy now joins Katrina in the pantheon of bad-by-association names.  Followup storm Athena was the first of the non-hurricanes named for a mythological figure by The Weather Channel.
Runnerup: Athena The mild-mannered Sandy was anything but as the superstorm that swamped the northeast in October 2012. While the name may be still stuck in the Sandra Dee-Sandy Koufax 1960s, Sandy now joins Katrina in the pantheon of bad-by-association names. Followup storm Athena was the first of the non-hurricanes named for a mythological figure by The Weather Channel.

Arya

Runnerup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Aria">Aria</a>  "Game of Thrones" was one of year’s breakout series and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Arya">Arya</a> was its breakout baby name, the appellation of a sword-wielding young heroine.  Musical twin name Aria, which stars in television’s "Pretty Little Liars," has been zooming up the popularity charts by hundreds of points a year.
Runnerup: Aria "Game of Thrones" was one of year’s breakout series and Arya was its breakout baby name, the appellation of a sword-wielding young heroine. Musical twin name Aria, which stars in television’s "Pretty Little Liars," has been zooming up the popularity charts by hundreds of points a year.

Sévérine

Runnerup: Bérénice  The sensationally successful new Bond movie, "Skyfall," introduced a sensationally gorgeous new Bond girl, and with it her sleek, sophisticated French name. The charismatic character was played by Bérénice Marlohe, (yet another possible spelling of Marlow/Marlowe?) who, coincidentally, shares her Gallic first name with last year’s Oscar nominee Bérénice Bejo, the female lead of "The Artist."
Runnerup: Bérénice The sensationally successful new Bond movie, "Skyfall," introduced a sensationally gorgeous new Bond girl, and with it her sleek, sophisticated French name. The charismatic character was played by Bérénice Marlohe, (yet another possible spelling of Marlow/Marlowe?) who, coincidentally, shares her Gallic first name with last year’s Oscar nominee Bérénice Bejo, the female lead of "The Artist."

Adele

Runnersup: <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Florence">Florence</a> and <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/estelle">Estelle</a>  No, these are not the names of the ladies in your Grandma’s canasta group, but all three belong to hot young singers (average age 28).  And each of them has been influential in the renewed interest in her name’s use for babies -- in particular Adele, which rose 282 points on the popularity charts in the last year.
Runnersup: Florence and Estelle No, these are not the names of the ladies in your Grandma’s canasta group, but all three belong to hot young singers (average age 28). And each of them has been influential in the renewed interest in her name’s use for babies -- in particular Adele, which rose 282 points on the popularity charts in the last year.

Psy

Runnerup: Gangnam  Notorious as well as notable, PSY (pronounced sigh) is the South Korean rapper/songwriter/ dancer (born  Bak Jae-sang), whose infectious international hit single “Gangnam Style” now holds the record for being the most accessed YouTube video of all time, generating close to a billion views.
Runnerup: Gangnam Notorious as well as notable, PSY (pronounced sigh) is the South Korean rapper/songwriter/ dancer (born Bak Jae-sang), whose infectious international hit single “Gangnam Style” now holds the record for being the most accessed YouTube video of all time, generating close to a billion views.

Nameberryis the baby name website created by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz, authors of ten bestselling books on names including"Cool Names for Babies"and"The Baby Name Bible."

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.