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What’s In a Name?

Sure, the names you like speak volumes about your hopes and dreams for your child, but they also say a lot about you: your tastes and values, your need to belong or sense of adventure. Here, the secret messages you telegraph with your baby's name:

Stylish Names

Girls: Ava, Hallie, Madeline, Olivia, Savannah

Boys: Hayden, Jack, Lucas, Max, Owen

Although you have a horror of choosing a too-trendy name for your child, you don't want to veer too far afield either, preferring names that have some edge but are attractive and in tune with the times. This is a line many of us try to walk, not only with baby names but in our clothes and our homes, what we do for fun, even how we earn our living. The danger comes with finding out that—oops!—everybody else had the same idea you had. And the choice you thought was distinctive is in fact as ubiquitous as last year's Gap fashions. (To avoid this, check the list fastest-rising names.)

Popular Names

Girls: Abigail, Alexis, Brooklyn, Isabella, Madison

Boys: Aidan, Ethan, Jacob, Joshua, Tyler

If you're a fan of today's most popular names, you're probably someone who likes to be current and to fit in with the crowd. Maybe you have a popular name yourself and appreciate how comfortable it helped you feel in childhood among your classmates and friends. Or perhaps you grew up with an unusual or ethnic name and want to make life easier for your child. This is not to say that you don't prize individuality, just that it's a quality you see as being more than skin (or name) deep.