I have never been a big fan of naming children after pop culture references but that’s a personal thing. Something may be popular and current when you’re naming your child but imagine what it will be like when that child is in school? Have you stuck your child with an unusual name none of their peers will understand? It’s a real possibility. Even so, every year the most popular baby names lists are filled with pop culture references and 2012 is no exception. Unlike other years, most of the pop culture references I’m seeing among the most popular baby names of 2012 are actually kind of nice – timeless, even. And let’s be honest, my opinion about pop culture baby names should have absolutely no impact on what anyone names their child. I’m just one person after all. If a name speaks to you and seems perfect for your little one, by all means choose it. It’s your child. Just try to think about that name being called in a classroom. Okay, let’s take a look at the most popular pop culture inspired baby names for 2012.
Meaning: Noble, kind
Pop Culture Reference: An obvious nod to superstar vocalist, Adele, I won’t argue with this name being used for babies. Pop culture reference or not, I think this is an absolutely beautiful name. It sounds like such a strong, lovely, lyrical name. By the time your little one is in school however, you should probably expect a few more Adeles in her classroom. This name is quickly becoming one of the most popular names for little girls.
Pop Culture Reference: This is one of the few names on our list that can really reference two very different things. For some, the name Aria is a clear reference to Game of Thrones. For others, it’s a clear reference to Pretty Little Liars. Both television shows are popular in their own right so it’s really hard to say which one this is most commonly taken from. It doesn’t matter. It’s a beautiful name.
Gender: Unisex although most commonly used for boys.
Meaning: Acute, shrewd or pure
Origin: Latin or Greek
Pop Culture Reference: While for people of a certain generation, Cato probably brings to mind the house guest with the spotty memory from the OJ Simpson murder trial but these days, the name is more closely associated with The Hunger Games. In the book and subsequent movie, Cato is a bloodthirsty villain bent on winning The Hunger Games to bring wealth and fame to his district. Not exactly what I think of when I think of naming children but I won’t deny the name is kind of nice.
Meaning: Sun, Lord, throne
Pop Culture Reference: While this one is often thought of as a reference to Miley Cyrus or the Cyrus family in general, the truth is that it’s also considered a biblical name and although not quite as popular, wasn’t an unheard of name before Miley came along. It has definitely surged in popularity over the last few years though and that can likely be attributed to the former Disney star.
Meaning: Universal, strength
Pop Culture Reference: Emmett has never really been an uncommon name but it has really surged in popularity since the release of The Twilight Saga. Just as the names “Bella”, “Isabella” and “Edward” soared just after the book’s release, Emmett has taken a slower approach. Emmett was only a secondary character throughout the books and movies, but many fans began turning to it as a nod to the series that wasn’t quite as obvious as some of the other names. Similarly, “Alice” and “Jasper” also experienced brief surges in popularity.
Pop Culture Reference: Ivy has always been a fairly popular name and has actually been one of my favorite names since I was a child. It has recently boomed in popularity of course thanks to Beyoncé and Jay-Z and their baby girl, Blue Ivy. There is something about this name that really speaks to me. While it isn’t my favorite name on this list, it’s a great name all the same.
Gender: Technically unisex but far more common among girls
Meaning: Of the katniss plant
Pop Culture Reference: This one is, of course, from The Hunger Games as well and while I’m not really crazy over it for a baby, I can see the appeal. It’s unique and the character from the book really has a lot of qualities a mother may want her daughter to have – strength, courage and loyalty. I would be a little concerned that people would wind up calling her “catnip” like Gale calls Katniss in the book but it’s probably not a huge concern. It could always be shortened to Kat should your decided Katniss isn’t her cup of tea.
Meaning: First rose
Pop Culture Reference: I really like this one. It’s another entry from The Hunger Games but it’s among my favorites on this list. It’s unique but it’s not completely out in left field. It’s a lovely sounding name but it also offers your child a few choices should they decide they want to shorten the name. They could choose to go with the still unique but slightly shorter “Prim” or the more classic, traditional “Rose”.
Meaning: Fame, notorious
Pop Culture Reference: This is the last entry on the list from The Hunger Games and it is also, without question, my favorite name on this entire list. There’s something so modern but somehow still traditional about the name “Rue”. It also doesn’t try to instill any sort of personality traits on the child. Rue could be girly. Rue could be tough. Rue could be anything. It’s a very free, vibrant sounding name. If I had a daughter, this is one of the names I’d definitely be considering.