From Steve to Ellen, these baby names are going extinct

Names come and go out of fashion. Olive, once seen as dated, is now trending again.

Names trend to follow a ‘100-year rule’, according to Sophie Kihm, name expert at Nameberry, meaning you likely won’t see today’s uncool names come back in your lifetime.

Sophie says: ‘Names tend to go out of fashion after they’ve been stylish for a while. Often, it can be measured in generations.

‘Names tied to parents’ parents’ generation (the grandparents of the baby) are usually considered to be among the least fashionable choices one could use for a baby, like Brenda and Gary today.’

It takes a long time for names like Gary to make a comeback – but comeback they will.

‘Once a name is on the decline, we expect it to follow the 100-year rule – names take about 100 years to come back into fashion,’ she continues.

‘That means names of the great-grandparent generation are starting to sound fresh again.

‘Sorry to be morbid, but a big influence is that there just aren’t that many people with these names around anymore.

‘Names that were common for babies in the 1920s – think Olive, Felix, and Otis – feel youthful once again.’

Name trends seem to reflect the cycle of life in that case, only being fresh for the taking when the generation that previously had them no longer are here. Bleak.

Sophie says there is some exception though, when we look at the ‘extreme’ and ‘most classic’ names.

She says: ‘Particularly for boys, who were historically passed down family names, the classics have remained relatively stable.

‘Names like James, Thomas, Henry, George, William, and Alexander have never left the top 30 in the England and Wales.

‘They still cycle up and down in usage, but these traditional (often royal) names feel evergreen because of tradition. Girl names were historically more ornamental, and thus more susceptible to trends.’

Here are the top names falling in popularity in the UK:


Stephanie – A popular choice among Millennials and Gen X, Stephanie is firmly in ‘mum name’ territory, making it a dated choice for babies today. Interestingly, it’s the female form of Stephen (see below).

Ellen – Like Stephanie, Ellen was commonly used for older generations, but is starting to feel more like a grandma name.

Ashley – A common name among mums and dads today. These parents want fresher, more modern names for their children.


Kieran – Kieran is a Millennial classic and sounds tired on babies born today.

Steven – Steven and Stephen (the more traditional form of the name) have both lost ground over the past two generations, but Steven is falling faster. They both feel like grandpa names today, especially with the outré nickname Steve.

Tony – An out-of-fashion nickname name associated with the current generations of grandfathers.

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