How Would You Define......?

While I was reading another post earlier tonight, I saw that someone was talking about how the name [name]Samantha[/name] was trendy. I immediately thought that I didn’t think it was trendy, but popular. To me, trendy and popular are two very different things.

Trendy - I’d define trendy as a name popular for a decade(ish) but then declines rapidly and becomes a name one associates a decade with. An example would be [name]Tiffany[/name] for girls and [name]Gary[/name] for boys.

Popular - I think popular is more of a name that a lot of people use. Popular could range from a year or centuries. For example, [name]Halley[/name] was only really popular in 1986, because of [name]Halley[/name]'s [name]Comet[/name]. But a name like [name]Elizabeth[/name] has been popular for centuries.

When I look at these examples, I definitely don’t see [name]Elizabeth[/name] or [name]Samantha[/name] as trendy like I see [name]Tiffany[/name]. And [name]Halley[/name]'s not a popular name, except for 1986.

What do you think? [name]How[/name] would you define trendy and popular?

I agree completely with your definitions, but not with all your examples. To me, [name]Samantha[/name] is dated. I’d be really surprised to see a grandma [name]Samantha[/name], while I would totally expect to see a 17 year old one. Since the name was invented fairly recently (18th century) and really only came into use because of Bewitched, it was trendy for a while, owing to its being considered dated right now. This is why I think specific trends, like surnames/boy’s names on girls or cutesy nickname names, should be pretty much avoided (if you’re looking for a more timeless name). Here are what I would define as current popular names:



And here are trendy names (which are also popular, of course):



I guess the reason I think of [name]Samantha[/name] as a classic is because of [name]Samantha[/name] the American Girl doll, whose story was set in 1904ish. I looked at the SSA website and saw that [name]Samantha[/name] started at 365 in 1880 and declined until 1964, when it reappeared at 472. Since then, it has been climbing up the charts. Maybe it’s just me and because I love the name, but I would never consider [name]Samantha[/name] popular, personally.

I agree with you mostly on your definitions. I think the only difference is that I tend to put any non-classic name in the “trendy” category, but I think there are varying levels of trendy. [name]Samantha[/name], your example, I would say is trendy (and I did in that other post), but only a tiny bit, and only because it faded out of use for so many years. It isn’t nearly as trendy as, say, [name]McKayla[/name] or [name]Kayden[/name], but for me to call something “classic” it would have to be in steady use for a very long period of time. It doesn’t have to be [name]Elizabeth[/name], which has been near the top since records began, and it can have sort of waves of popularity, but it has to be somewhat consistent. But I guess you could classify names like [name]Samantha[/name] and [name]Ryan[/name] as “modern classics”- they have a history behind them, but they really weren’t enormously popular until relatively recently. They aren’t dated to a specific decade, but it would be highly unusual for, say, a 65-year- old to have them. Actually, I change my vote. [name]Samantha[/name] isn’t trendy, it’s “modern classic.”

I also think it’s popular for a trendy name to not be popular, or vice versa. Mckylin, for example, is hideously trendy to my ears, but it doesn’t rank in the top 1000. It’s only because it incorporates so many trendy elements that I would call it trendy. [name]Frances[/name] only ranks 796, but it was in such steady use before the 70’s (ish) that I’d still consider it classic.

^ Agree with this - the stability of the trend line is what’s most important in defining whether a name is trendy or not. For example, [name]Victor[/name] has never been terribly popular but its trend line has been incredibly even for the last 130 years (it’s hovered around #100; from about 60 to about 130).

But there’s alot of names that fall in between “classic” and “trendy,” like [name]Samantha[/name], [name]Meredith[/name], and [name]Sylvia[/name]. They aren’t quite timeless but they don’t date you on paper. A [name]Samantha[/name] could have been born today, or 20 years ago, or 50 years ago. “Modern classic” is a pretty good term for it.

To me a trendy name is one two things:

  1. a popular name with a changed spelling to try and make it unique (ex, [name]Aiden[/name] to [name]Aydon[/name] or [name]Elizabeth[/name] to Elyzibeth)
  2. A name that combines two names together in a ridiculous way ( like taking [name]Albert[/name] and [name]Elizabeth[/name] and making [name]Alizabeth[/name] or Elibert), or a name that just looks made up (Like Dalyn & [name]Nevaeh[/name])

A Popular name can be a classic name, a trendy name, a weird name, a dated name. It just means that a lot of people like that name.