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The Hottest Baby Name Trends of 2012

Jon Whittle

Place Names 

Last year, celeb mamas Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys chose geographic names for their sons; Carey named hers Morocco, while Keys chose Egypt. This year, Reese Witherspoon continued the trend by naming her third child, a son, Tennessee James. The name pays homage to Witherspoon’s home state, and has a nice literary connotation with playwright Tennessee Williams.

Camden has also taken off as a celeb fave. The name of the hip London neighborhood mixes proper British-ness with edge, and two new celeb moms—Kristin Cavallari and Vanessa Lachey—chose it for their firstborn sons. This also taps into another trend among readers: searching for last names as first names, our most popular baby name list.

Color Names

Naming babies after hues? It works—see Beyonce and Jay-Z’s daughter Blue Ivy Carter. Alicia Silverstone also riffed on blue for son Bear’s middle name, Blu. Though it’s an unconventional choice, “blue” radiates calm.

New mom Drew Barrymore also jumped on the color bandwagon with the name Olive for her daughter. Olive is a pithy alternative to the elegant and wildly popular Olivia, and with a quirky-cool mom like Drew, the choice seems very fitting.

Color names also tie into a trend we predicted last year, with a rise in interest in jewel-tone baby girl names. Serene Jade, feisty Ruby and old-soul Opal all made the top 50 most-searched names list on

Plant Names

Luckily no celebs have named their child Venus Fly Trap (yet); rather, they’ve found inspiration in more elegant-sounding plant names. Beyonce and Jay-Z picked Ivy as the first name for their daughter, and the association of ivy with storybooks and New England schools gives the name whimsy and intelligence.

Grey’s Anatomy star Jessica Capshaw looked to flowers for her nature-inspired name, and settled on Poppy for her third child. Poppy screams brightness and fun, and sets the stage for a personality as vivid as its namesake flower.

Regal Names 

We’ve all come down with Royal fever—interest in the names William and Kate both jumped last year on—and celebs are not immune, either. Giuliana and Bill Rancic, who publicly struggled with infertility treatments (and later for Giuliana, breast cancer), finally became parents via surrogate to son Edward Duke. The princely evokes elegance and authority.


Could Max be the new “it” baby name? Girly-girl Jessica Simpson eschewed feminine names and went for gender-bending Maxwell Drew for her firstborn daughter, while Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez were early adopters of the name for their sons. Once considered a “grandpa” name, this name has been given new life that will boost its popularity. 

Reigning Champions

Despite the new baby name trends inching their way up the list, two champs still reign supreme for readers: Isabella and Jacob, each the most-searched name in their gender for 2012 so far.