Sunday, March 23, 2014

Up-and-Coming Baby Name: Hazel

The name Jennifer began its long reign at the top of the U.S. charts in 1970, the year "Love Story" came out. Americans were apparently so moved by a leukemia-stricken character called Jenny that they became obsessed with the name for 15 straight years.

Well, now our nation has another opportunity to fall in love with a cancer victim (and her name). "The Fault in Our Stars," an upcoming movie based on the bestselling young-adult book, features a terminally ill girl named Hazel.

Hazel has already been rising in popularity (helped by Julia Roberts using it for her daughter), and I wonder if this won't be the nudge it needs to really hit the big time.

The name cracked the top 200 in 2012, the most recent year with data available. And it's surging in BabyCenter rankings, which often serve as a leading indicator.

Hazel is a century name, of course, meaning it peaked more than a hundred years ago (in the 1890s). It's also perceived as an old-lady name, but I think it's one that could transcend that status — similar to what other color names, such as Violet, have already done.

In short, I'm rooting for this one. If you're pregnant and expecting a girl, add it to your list.