Unfairly Dated Names are a subset of Spotlight Names most people don’t consider old-enough to recycle. Most of these names peaked around 15-60 years ago and are often typecast as parent and grandparent names. But their timeless and sometimes modern attributes make them stylish stand-outs for modern children. At one point these names were ahead of the trends, and likely will be again.
Unfairly Dated Name: Amy
Before Emily became a rediscovered classic, there was Amy. Amy shares the short, sweet, three letter-two syllables pattern of Ava, Mia and Zoe. Amy also boasts a touching meaning, “beloved.”
Amy has a meaning and sound very similar to Amable, the feminine French form of Amabilis, which means “lovable.” Amable is not popular, but has a very current style. Surprisingly, Amy and Amable don’t seem to share etymological origins.
If you are a reader from across the pond, I recognize calling Amy “unfairly dated” may seem ludicrous to you. Still in the U.K.’s top 50 as of 2010, Amy is somewhat current in the U.K., although entering down-market territory. Lou at Mer de Noms includes Amy, and the similar Aimee, as one of the U.K.’s Falling Females.
To give some context to our U.S. readers, classifying Amy as unfairly dated to a British reader is like classifying Lauren as unfairly dated to an American reader.
While U.K. trends are often precursors to U.S. trends, the opposite is also true. Amy is a perfect example of the U.S. influencing U.K. trends a decade or two later.
As American readers can attest, Amy is firmly a “Mom name” here. The 1970’s were Amy’s U.S. heyday where the name became extremely popular, second only to Jennifer.
However, Amy doesn’t feel as overexposed as Jennifer. Unlike today where only a few births separates #1 from #2, back in the 1970’s there was a big gap between #1 and #2. Nearly twice as many babies were named Jennifer as Amy:
- 581,689 Jennifer’s vs. 268,981 Amy’s
Compare that to the gap between Emily and Madison in the 2000’s:
- 223,420 Emily’s vs. 192,914 Madison’s
And while hard to prove because name data before 1880 is not available, back in the 1970’s Amy may have been a vintage name experiencing its 4th generation revival. While anecdotal, I know many Amy’s who say they were named after Great Grandmothers and Grandmothers. The stories seemed comparable to stories of today’s children who were named after their Great Grandma Emma or Sophia.
The data available shows that Amy may have already been trending down when it ranked at #119 in the 1880s. After the 1880’s the name declined, hitting its lowest point at #305 in the 1940s. After that, Amy hit a dramatic rise. After peaking at #2 in the 70’s Amy hit a dramatic fall, but still ranked at #135 in 2010.
Perhaps the natural laws of fashion put Amy in a rest period, and some of you may be wondering why I don’t give the name a much-needed rest. I am not suggesting Amy should revisit the #2 spot anytime soon, but what I am suggesting is that Amy is a solid classic and still very usable.
A good use for Amy may be in the family where the Dad-to-be is living in a time warp and obsessed with 70’s and 80’s names. Amy is one 70’s name that would wear well on a modern baby, more so than Jennifer or Heather.
And to all of you named Amy, your parents may have picked a popular name (if you are an American born around the 1960’s – 1980’s) but they also picked a timeless name. Celebrate your timeless name!
Readers: What do you think of Amy?