Most popular baby names of 2010: 'Lost,' 'Twilight,' and more pop culture inspirations

swift-twilight-lostBaby Center has released their list of most popular baby names for 2010, compiled from the thousands of names eager parents shared over the last 12 months. For boys, Aiden tops the list for the sixth year in a row (which, according to Editor-in-chief Linda Murray, is due to the fact that you can “spell that name in 46 different ways.” Sure, just ask Phaedra). Jacob, as in the mysterious man we spent six years of our lives trying to figure out (not that I’m bitter or anything), or a certain hunky werewolf, and Jackson (comma Michael) round out the top three, while Sophia, Isabella, and Olivia (Wilde, Munn, Palermo?) topped the list for girls. Despite early reports, trendy names like Sookie and Castiel (also known as Anna Paquin’s character on True Blood and Misha Collins on Supernatural) lost some steam by year’s end, falling out of the Top 100. But the pop culture connections continue. Other notable names include Taylor (our Entertainer of the Year), Bella (long live the Twihards), Grayson (pass Big Joe; red wine all around!), and Levi (stop the madness).

Of course, these names could all be the result of the personal preferences of the children’s parents… but we don’t like to think of it that way here at PopWatch. There is always a higher power at hand, be it The Wire, Christopher Nolan, Kanye West, or Andy Cohen. Given my pop culture obsessions, sometimes I wish my name was referential, connected to a larger shared experience or feeling. My friend is named after Hall & Oates’ “Sara Smile” which makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, and Bill and Hill notably named daughter Chelsea after Judy Collins’ take on “Chelsea Morning.”

Would you name your child after a pop culture reference, or do you save those for your pets? And if you are the victim of your parents’ obsessive fandom, speak up!

Read more:
Parents naming their kids after fictional characters

Comments (365 total) Add your comment
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  • Jean

    OMG Bristol. (Just kidding. Made you look.) But Levi made the list for boys.

    • harpier

      I’ve got to think that for most of these names (particularly one like Levi) their high pop culture profiles help keep them on parents’ radar and in their minds when it comes time to actually name the baby, but that in most cases very few kids are explicitly named after the characters. Also remember that in most cases, these characters are being named not too much earlier than the babies who may be named after them and are also potentially influenced by baby name trends (cf. Jacob/Jakob, a popular name for the last decade or so).

      • justme

        Um…I do believe both Jacob and Levi are biblical names. They are pretty popular before they appeared in pop culture.

      • Luddite

        Yeah, but I don’t think you can credit the bible with making them popular this year. Or did I miss seeing Gad and Naphtali on that list?

      • Muhdluqman

        Interval swim this morning. 1min- 54m,3min- 142m, 4min- 192m, 5min- 237m. Felt relaly good with pace and wasn’t overally exhausted at the end of the intervals like I am with others. Strength recovery after. Feel like I’ve been neglecting strength work lately due to busy schedule at school. Hope to be able to pick that back up again in the upcoming weeks.

      • Johannes

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    • Ashley G.

      my friend had triplets and named them Piper, Prue, and Phoebe (after the sisters from Charmed), they are the cutest set of girls ever

      • Kim


      • Just Me

        really? interesting…

      • Esme

        UGH. Especially Prue–ick.

      • L

        Think I would have went with Paige vs. Prue.

  • H

    Pretty sure Jacob is a nod to twilight, not Lost. Just a guess, though.

    • H

      And same thing for Isabella (referencing Twilight Bella not Isabella Munn). And I think as many folks are naming their kids after Taylor Lautner as Taylor Swift. If you like the name, who cares about the source, anyway, though?

      • JAM

        Um, you mean Olivia, and it’s likely not in reference to Olivia Munn as it is more likely in reference to Oliva Dunham on Fringe.

      • Karate Pants

        Well, I just picture an elementary classroom 7 or 8 years from with Bella S., Bella T., Bella C., and Bella W. And the only thing worse than having a popular name is having a popular name tied to pop culture. I beg of Twilighters, fan-to-fan, please don’t do it.
        The name Ariel spiked a few years ago. ‘Nuf said.

      • K

        The article was refering to Olivia Munn from ‘Attack of the Show!’, not Isabella Munn.

      • Amy

        I’m pretty sure Isabelle/Isabella has been pretty high, and even topping, the girls’ list for several years now, even before the Twilight craziness.

      • Opie

        Olivia Benson on Law & Order SVU

      • Silv

        My daughter picked “Isabella” as her confirmation name long before “Twilight” came out. Once it did and she read it, she just thought it was cool that she’d picked that name to begin with.

      • selena

        Isabella has been probably since 2006. Isabelle on the otherhand is not that popular. And I should know my daughter is Isabelle and I like it so MUCH more

      • Ember

        @SilV…Funny you should mention that. Years ago, I picked the confirmation name “Veronica”. Of course I like the saint, but also because I love the Elvis Costello song (which was released around that time).

      • Lizz

        The Munn is for Olivia. Apparently they are fans of the Daily Show.

        And dear idiots naming babies/EW, Isabella and Bella are the same name. For “all you super fans” it’s even in the books. Crack it open once and a while.

      • Lloyd

        The Isabella/Isabel thing started back when Grey’s Anatomy debuted.

    • SOA = Best show on TV

      Lets hope not since Lost was great and Twilight is a joke.

      • Caiti

        I am kind of bummed, because I always loved the name Isabella and then… Twilight. *sadness*

    • AliciaJo

      Actually Jacob has been in the top ten boys names for the past ten years.

      • Brea

        I was JUST going to post this. Jacob’s been at the top for at LEAST 10 years. Get over yourself, pop culture.

      • Kay

        Yes, this. It started to become popular in the 80s. Jake Ryan, anyone?!

    • jodipo

      um, no

  • foobeka

    Both my children are named after shows I love. Connor Alexander from Angel/Buffy and Jack Harrison Lost/Dexter

  • DK

    My brother is named for the Eric Clapton “Derek and the Dominos” project. Derek has never minded, so I don’t know that he’d say he’s a “victim.” But then again, it’s not exactly the most obvious pop culture reference, considering he was born fifteen years after the album came out.

    • Clete

      And my sister is named for the Derek and The Dominoes song “Layla.”

      • Rosa

        If I had had a girl, I was going to name her Layla. I used to babysit a girl name Layla and she was beautiful, and actually she was named after the song. But I had a son, and I loved the name Liam, not necessarily because of Liam Neeson, but I did like his name a lot. Then I was laying in bed one night and realized that Liam was the last half of William, which is my dad’s name, so that sealed the deal. Problem is, my son doesn’t really look like a Liam. Half puero-rican/half Venezuelan kid with an Irish name of Liam. lol He likes it, so that’s what counts.

      • Reenie

        My sister is Mary after the girl in Thunder Road. It’s such a common name that no one thinks twice on it, but when my sister tells people, they always think it’s really cool.

      • jasper

        you are the only one who thinks it’s cool.

    • Petunia

      My brother is named “Aqualung.”

      • Aqualung

        Me too!

  • MCS

    I agree that the name Jacob is probably referring to the Taylor Lautner character. Also, Jacob wasnt mentioned until near the end of Lost’s third season, so…wasnt really six years was it?

    • JAM

      Jacob is mentioned in Season 2

      • David

        No. Season 3, episode I Do is the first reference to him.

    • Lee Ann

      Also, if you’re a Lost fan, and you were so inclined to name your child after one of the characters – most people would choose Jack, James or Desmond. Now, when I get a new dog, for sure I’m naming him Vincent. And like someone says below, Jacob is a Biblical name.

      • kramer

        I would think Benjamin would take the cake for Losties, followed closely by Sayyid!

      • Call Me Alice

        My mom recently adopted a puppy and named him Benjamin Linus. It disappoints me that most people don’t get the reference.

      • Melissa

        As a Lost fan, I would definitely name my kids Dominic and Evangeline

      • Lee Ann

        I like that, Melissa. And Evangeline is such a pretty name.

      • Luddite

        What about Sawyer?

  • Jay

    Dont know if its really “pop culture”, but my son Logan is named after Wolverine!! :)

    • jcarla

      Shouldn’t he be named James since since that is his real name? (No, I am not going over the Origins storyline)

    • Manda

      LOL that is pop culture for sure

    • Kara

      Yeah, my son Logan’s also named after Wolverine. His middle name is James, which wasn’t an intentional additional tribute to Wolverine (at least it wasn’t for me; can’t speak for my husband) but did crack us up quite a bit when we watched the movie.

  • James

    Um, both Jacob and Isabella have been popular names for YEARS, since before Twilight was ever popular. I’d say they’re just continuing their popularity, not that Twilight is giving it to them.
    I remember Isabella and Emma both shooting up in popularity when Ross and Rachel had their baby on Friends. Isabella was what they were going to name her, and Emma is what they did.
    Both Jacob and Isabella precede the Twilight thing, trust me.

    • James

      Just checked the SSA site to make sure. Jacob has been #1 since 2000, people. And Isabella has been going up in popularity steadily since the early 2000s, long before the Twilight fad blew up.

      • Karate Pants

        You’re right – but I just read elsewhere that “Cullen” is the fastest rising boy name in popularity. I do feel bad for the Cullens of the future. Too obvious.

      • James

        I feel bad for all the people with obvious Twilight names who will be stuck with them after the fad passes.
        There is backlash, too — a friend of mine is a big Salinger fan and wanted to name her daughter Esme. She knew if she did, though, people would think it was because of Twilight, which she hates, so she gave up on the name.

      • Karate Pants

        I’d always planned to use Dane from The Thorn Birds…then came that SOB Dane Cook, ruining everything.

      • Churble

        I know a girl who named her daughter Rosalie… a direct Twilight reference. While Jacob and Isabella may not always be Twilight references, there are plenty out there.

    • joe

      I agree with you completely. Such a dumb article. At least with the names they decided to highlight. I think Barack or something else unique would be obvious if that shot up but since Jacob is biblical, it’s been popular for centuries

      • Lee Ann

        No kidding, Joe. I was about to post about the Biblical reference to Jacob. Emily is so off the mark on this one.

  • Joe

    in PA every other parent is naming there son after Chase Utley

    • Krystal

      I think thats rad haha as a sw philly girl myself

    • Liz

      Maybe in Eastern PA. I don’t know any Western PArs that have named their kid Chase.

      • jasper

        Yeah. I’m in Pittsburgh. No one here cares about any thing to do with Philadelphia. Narrow down your comment. Pennsylvania is more than just the Eastern side.

      • jasper

        And maybe they just love Chase Crawford from Gossip Girl.

      • vanessnake

        @jasper—–you’re actually admitting you’re from Pee-burhg???? More like we Philadelphians don’t care about anything going on in Pittsburgh. PS. Your sports teams reek!!!!

      • Liz

        @vanessnake- Right, they reek because the Pirates have more World Series titles than the Phillies, the Penguins have more Stanley Cups than the Flyers, and the Steelers have more Super Bowls wins than the Eagles? Yeah that’s what I thought…

  • Sarah El

    I save the pop culture for my pets, who can’t resent me for it.

    • Lisa Simpson

      Great strategy.

    • RK

      Nice :)

    • Mr. Holloway

      EXCELLENT job!

    • Cindi

      Me too!!! First two cats were Charlie and Bailey (Pof5) and second two cats are Harrison (George) and Marley (Bob)

      • Ember

        I have a cat named Harrison, too! Initially for H. Ford, but he goes by Harry (as in Potter) for short.

    • Kay

      I do that, too. My cat Vincent (Vega) doesn’t seem to hate me for it at all. :D

    • Aprilcot26

      Ditto. My dog is named Loki after Matt Damon’s character in Dogma. Not that I would EVER name a child that!

    • karyn

      My old dogs name was Harry Winston

    • Charlotte

      Same here! We have a black lab named Sawyer, and we almost got a yellow one to name Jack. Also, some friends of ours named their baby girl Evangeline because they are such LOST fans.

      • Anna

        I noticed on that Sawyer and Evangeline are on that list and I thought it was probably because of LOST. I think Evangeline is a pretty name, Evie for short.

    • JennA

      My ENTIRE family does that. Between the adult kids we have pets named: Bella, Stella, Biggie Smalls, Boris, Natasha, Rufus, and Evey (or Evie).

    • Erin

      I have a Yorkipoo that I named Mr. Darcy. I was going to name him Duke after John Wayne, but that doesn’t really fit a Yorkipoo. My sister’s new puppy is named Duke however.
      Whenever I do have a child though, if it’s a girl I’m going to name her Emma after Emma Watson. And on the off chance that I have twins (a boy and a girl) they will definitely be Luke and Leia.

      • Heather

        I named my cat Milo because I got him during the first season of Heroes. And I thought it suited him :)

      • LL

        Please don’t do that to your children. Please.

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  • Chad Concelmo

    I like Gus. We need more Guses in the world.

    • Swarley47

      I like Gus too.

      • NYTeach

        I have a cat named Gus.

      • Amy

        I named a cat Gus once. He is named after Augustus Gloop, from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. (He was a rather fat little kitten who grew into a fairly large cat).

  • bruno

    my son’s named Cooper, after agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks.

    • Andie

      so is my GPS!

  • Greg

    My wife actually gave our 1 month old boy the name Cullen.

    • Karate Pants

      I noticed you left yourself out of that. Did you know what was going on, were you involved in the decision? I’m not being mean, I’m just wondering.

  • Melanie

    As a pop culture junkie, I’ve always liked the idea. I just plan to not choose so obvious, overdone, or zany…will keep in mind the kid who has to live with the name. My mother loves Gone with the Wind and named me after her favorite character. I have always liked the reference.

    • Tara

      My mom named me after her favorite character on All My Children, but everyone assumes I was named after the plantation in Gone With the Wind. I routinely get “clever” Gone With the Wind-related presents, but I like the book and the movie, so I’m okay with that.

      • Melanie

        Haha, I get GWTW presents all the time! But what most people ask is why my parents, who gave all my older siblings “S” names, didn’t go with the obvious Scarlett…

  • Tracy Murray

    Question , has anybody over the past six years named their baby boy , Gregory , after a certain fictional TV doctor or named a girl , Buffy , after the TV / movie vampire slayer ? Just curious .

    • Housefan

      We did consider Gregory, but mostly because our last name is also a “Gr” sound at the beginning, so I thought it would sound nice. That it is House’s name would have been a bonus. We didn’t go with it though.

    • Kvivik

      I know of two girls named buffy who were born in the past 3 years. And one of them has a 5 year old brother named Zander. there are hundreds of Buffy fans that are still in child-bearing ages people!!!!

      • kerri

        except, i hope it is Xander or else it doesnt make sense

    • anne

      Just wanted to say–Gregory is such a good name–strong and masculine but also, dare I say say it, kind of lyrical and NOT overused. I tend to think of Gregory Peck, though. :-)

  • lettergirl

    even tho it looks like i won’t be having kids, i have all my baby names picked out and my girl names just happen to be the last names of actresses i like and i am using ‘alexander’ as one of my boy middle names after xander on BUFFY. guess i can get some cats and give them my baby names….

    • jasper

      okay debbie downer. jeeeez

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