Why is there a snobbery against dated names?

I don’t understand why people use the word “dated” for a reason to dislike a name, just because a name hasn’t been used for a while for example “Brittany” or “Jennifer” which is my name. When my name got chosen it was the top name but people today probably wouldn’t use it because it’s a 70s name. Why do people not like perfectly good names just because they were mega popular at certain times?

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I think you may be reading too much into it honestly. Everyone on Nameberry (and irl) have names that appeal and don’t appeal for various reasons:

It’s sounds like a princess….
It’s masculine….
It’s feminine
It’s gender neutral
It’s trendy
It’s overused / popular
It’s 90’s , 80’s
Etc, etc, etc

I wouldn’t rule these descriptions as “snobbery” just something that helps describe why one may or may not be drawn to a name.

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I think it’s just people’s tastes! It doesn’t mean a name is bad at all, just means that maybe to someone, it’s not a favorite.

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I tend to dislike names that were popular in my own generation (only applies to “dated” Finnish names though since that’s where I grew up) and names that were common among people around my parents’ age. Popular 80s names just remind me of too many people I went to school with (often not positive associations or just people I wouldn’t name a child after), and names of my parents generation just sound fundamentally uncool to me because, well, I associate them with the parents’ of my childhood friends.

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While I agree with others that it is often simply a matter of taste, I also think there is a tendency on Nameberry for people to use the term “dated” to completely shut down a name, often saying things like “It’s not ready for a comeback, you should use [more on-trend name] instead.” That does come off as a little strange to me, too.

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i think with certain names, people have trouble picturing it on a child because it’s so tied to a certain generation. i personally don’t really have that issue & a young [name_f]Heather[/name_f], for example, would be so cute to me and so fresh ? but i understand why others might not want to use a name that was very popular in a different time.

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Short story from my POV: I have a name that was considered dated when I was born and I hate it!

The longer version: my name and my sister’s name were both much more popular when our mother was growing up - so think of an [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] or [name_f]Jessica[/name_f] being born now (at least where I live in Canada). This probably isn’t everyone’s experience but we both felt alienated from our classmates growing up as a result of having “mom names”. The only other people we ever met with the same names as us were our parents’ ages. It felt like people expected us to be more grown up or mature than our peers, and as adults we’ve both had the experience of people seeing or hearing our names before meeting us and expecting us to be a generation older than we are. I also find that a lot of people have trouble remembering my name after I first meet them, because it doesn’t match my age.

As much as I would try not to use a super popular name, I would name a daughter [name_f]Olivia[/name_f] in a heartbeat if the alternative was naming her [name_f]Jessica[/name_f] (which to be clear is a perfectly fine name for people out in the world, I’m not bashing [name_f]Jessica[/name_f], it’s just very specific to the generation that is now becoming parents rather than those being born).

I hope this comes across OK and if anyone has questions about this I’m happy to answer them!

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Nobody wants to share a name with their friend’s mom or grandmother :joy:

[name_f]Kinda[/name_f] kidding but its a consideration!

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Yes! Absolutely this! (And I’ve been guilty of it too in the past, at least saying “I’m not sure it’s ready for a comeback.” I’ve decided not to do that anymore).

I’d also add that it appears to me that theres, like, a very firm unspoken rule that there’s a list of “acceptable” names on here, that it’s also “unacceptable” not to like. The phenomenon you mentioned is often a way to enforce those “rules.”

I love this community, but I get tired of this pattern. I speak on it sometimes and my opinion about it is no secret to other forum regulars, but I feel it never really gets super well received (fine by me, we all have our own opinions!), and I often continue to swallow my opinions about names that I see raved about on every other post.

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Oh, absolutely. At times it seems people are almost threatened by someone having an “unacceptable” style on here. I think Nameberry has SUCH a specific culture that it’s easy for people to forget that not everyone has the same priorities when it comes to names.

As I’ve said in other threads before, the idea of a name being “dated” is such a total non-issue to me that I pretty much just ignore any comments that use that word. And yet, like we’ve been saying, it’s used to shut down a name and make sure people stick to the “rules” of Nameberry – and yes, it’s a Nameberry thing. Because most people outside this community just… pick names they like. The end. Heck, my partner (not a name nerd) finds it hard to take names that weren’t popular in our age group seriously as he considers them “weird.”

Anyway, as much as I love Nameberry, I could probably write a book about all the silly flaws it has. [name_f]Every[/name_f] community’s got 'em.

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For me it’s because they’re overused and I tend to prefer less common names. It’s not because I have a dislike or anything

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I don’t think it’s snobbery. Honestly, I think it’s boredom. So, I’m a [name_f]Jessica[/name_f] of the 90’s, surrounded by Hayleys, Natalies and Chloes and Joshuas, Ryans and [name_m]Matthews[/name_m], with all their parents being Karens and Sharons and Steves and Daves and, simply, it’s boring. So now my generation is naming the next and it doesn’t want to use the names of our generation because they all have friends with those names, and the last generations name pool feels dated by association, because we think of [name_m]Steve[/name_m] and he’s the grey haired old (read dated) dad of your best friend. This all stops these names being trendy for awhile and who isn’t always looking for the next best shiny new thing.

Give it another 50 or so years. The Jennifers and Brittanys will have their time to shine again but that isn’t to say they shouldn’t still get a little love now and again.

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[name_m]Eh[/name_m], I think people are just tired of hearing them and want something fresh for their own kids? I have friends who just named their daughter Jess!ca (who goes by a double barrel, Jess!ca J0y, which is admittedly pretty sweet and it suits her much better than my favorite of their options, Jul!a!), and I still was disappointed when they picked it… but now it just feels like her. I admittedly do like some dated names–Rachel is a huge favorite and I am also fond of [name_f]Sarah[/name_f], [name_f]Amanda[/name_f], [name_f]Lacey[/name_f], and [name_f]Cara[/name_f]! And I think [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] makes a brilliant middle (something like [name_f]Ava[/name_f] [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] or [name_u]Hazel[/name_u] [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] is so sweet imo!).

tbh I think it just depends on the full name, and also, dated names I think a lot of people are just tired of hearing. That doesn’t make them full of less merit, and there would be a lot less kids these days with those names. I don’t know that it’s snobbery… a lot of us just heard those names a lot growing up. Odds are, your parents weren’t feeling older names than [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] (like [name_f]Barbara[/name_f] or Sharon) when you were born, either? Names just go in cycles, but that doesn’t mean that they HAVE to. If you love [name_f]Amy[/name_f] or [name_f]Rachel[/name_f] or [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] or whatever, you have every right to name your kid that. :slight_smile:

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Honestly, I think it’s sometimes easier to go with names that don’t have the weighted histories of names you heard growing up! [name_m]Even[/name_m] names that I like a lot, which have positive associations for me, may not for my partner and their experiences with peers.

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I can’t speak for others, but for me, if I don’t like a so-called “dated” name it’s either that I taught so many of them that their name lost its zest for me or I never liked it in the first place, even when it was incredibly popular. I like [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] and [name_f]Emma[/name_f], even though I am tired of them, but I never liked [name_f]Tiffany[/name_f] or [name_f]Trinity[/name_f] as names.

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For me, names that were popular when I was a kid (90’s kid here) remind me of people I didn’t like in school. lol. It’s not that [name_f]Jessica[/name_f], [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f], [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] etc. are bad names, I just have not-so-great associations with people with those names.

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I don’t think it’s snobbery - just a preference. Nobody is implying anyone with those names is any lesser or that any of those names are inherently bad. They just might not fit current tastes.

Naming trends fluctuate, much like trends do in all areas. By saying a name is dated, most people aren’t attacking the name itself, but suggesting it’s associated with older people (who are often parents themselves now) and might not be expected on a child. That doesn’t mean these names aren’t usable and the vast majority of them will certainly see a revival (Vivian, [name_u]Leo[/name_u], [name_f]Sophie[/name_f], and [name_u]Theo[/name_u] were all once in the exact same camp.) It just means they don’t fit the modern naming landscape as well as another choice might.

Nothing wrong with the names, and absolutely nothing wrong with calling a name “dated.” I use that word to reference names that sound like they don’t quite fit on a modern child and will continue to do so. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. These names are often beautiful and unique and as many previous posters have said, once you know a child with the name, it often seems to fit wonderfully.

It’s just a consideration for the parents - and a good thing to consider for sure!

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I personally don’t have a problem with a name being “dated” or “old.” In fact, I’d rather use a name that was popular a long time ago instead of a name that is super popular now because then I wouldn’t have to worry about my child having the same name as a lot of other children in their class. Some people say [name_f]Denise[/name_f] sounds old or dated, but I actually think it’s a nice, soothing name and [name_f]Jennifer[/name_f] and [name_f]Brittany[/name_f] are nice names too. [name_m]Just[/name_m] because these names were popular a long time ago or haven’t been used much for a while, it doesn’t make them bad. I tend to only dislike names if they are not my style or if they remind me of someone I’m not found of or something like that.

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I think there are few factors that work against "dated’ names on Nameberry:

  1. Many parents prefer unusual names. A name being “unique” is considered a selling point. Fewer parents are willing to consider really common names.
  2. Dated names may come with “baggage” e.g. you might like [name_f]Rachel[/name_f] but your partner has an ex with that name so it might be awkward to use it, your partner might like [name_f]Stephanie[/name_f] but that was the name of a girl who bullied you in school, etc. Names that weren’t popular 20+ years ago are less likely to come with this type of association; they’re more of a “blank slate”.
  3. The “uncool name” factor - I think pretty much no young person wants a name that’s associated with middle-aged people. That could lead to teasing from their peers. Personally, I wouldn’t want people to hear my name and assume I’m 20 or 30 years older than I actually am. That would be awkward.

I think a combination of these factors explain why many people wouldn’t choose a “dated” name. There’s nothing wrong with these names, objectively speaking - it’s just that there are so many appealing names out there that aren’t time-stamped to a certain generation, I’m not sure why I would opt for a dated name.

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Name taste is highly subjective same as taste in anything else. I use dated for names that are from generations within my living memory - as for the short amount of time I’m going to occupy the planet - the names of my own generation, my parent’s and some of my grandparent’s (though plenty have made a comeback) are dated. Obviously there are classics which transcend being dated - it’s about consistency of use rather than trends of popularity which tie names to a particular time period. Many names fashionable today will be the dated of tomorrow.
The one dated name that I just can’t shake from my own list is [name_f]Sarah[/name_f]. I like it despite that, but I’m not gonna kid myself it isn’t dated, because it is. I don’t care - I like it, but I totally understand why others don’t for this reason.

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