Monday, November 3, 2014

The Bellas

Isabella was #1 for 2009 and 2010 and has been in the Top 10 since 2004. Elizabella reached the mainstream with the birth of Alyssa Milano's daughter, and Arabella is also in the news again after another celebrity birth.

Is it the "bella" factor that makes these names on the rise? Is it the fact that "bella" means "beautiful" in Italian? Or is it just the feminine sound?

Whatever it is, it's a hit. Let's take a look at some -bellas...

Annabella - A combination of Anna and Bella or a form of Annabel, Annabella has slowly made its way up in the Top 1000 since breaking in in 2001. Interestingly, it is related to the name Amabel, and Amabella has just started showing up in the United States in the past few years.

Arabella - Arabella also has a connection to Amabel and Annabella, and in that way (Latin) it means "yielding to prayer." In the German, it means "eagle heroine." It is also the name of a comedic opera written by Richard Strauss in 1933. Arabella had brief stints in the Top 1000 in the late 1800s, but firmly broke into the ranks in 2005 and has only been on the rise since.

Bella - The name itself has risen a lot since it re-entered the Top 1000 back in 2000 after almost 70 years of absence. No doubt aided by the Twilight craze, it reached as high as #48 in 2010, but has leveled a bit in the past few years.

Christabella - A varient of Christabel, or possibly even a combination of Christina and Bella, Christabella has religious roots as it means "beautiful Christian." It is a rare name in the United States, given to a handful of girls mostly since 2002.

Elizabella - Before Alyssa Milano chose this name for her daughter, many may not have heard of it. It looks like a combination of Elizabeth and Bella and may very well be that. It could often get confused with the more popular Isabella. The earliest recording of this name being used in the United States is 2004 and there were 35 girls given the name in 2013, the highest number so far.

Isabella - The name is huge, but since you can't go anywhere but down from the top, it is probably over the hump now and on its way back down while other -bella names are on the rise. After about a 40 year absence from the Top 1000, Isabella re-entered the ranks in 1990 and was well on its way to the top when Twilight helped the inevitable. Isabella is a variation of Isabel, which is the Spanish form of Elizabeth. Izabella is also a pretty popular spelling, ranking at #179 in 2013, and Ysabella is another consideration.

Mirabella - Mirabella is a form of Mirabelle, which means "wonderful." Its use in the United States was first recorded in 1991 and surprisingly has not been given to more than 60 girls in a year (2011). One question though... do you pronounce it mee-rah-bel-la or my-rah-bel-la?

Rosabella - The meaning for Rosabella is very clear; it is Italian and means "beautiful rose." Another name that I am surprised is not used more in the States, although it is slowly increasing, reaching its height so far in 2013 at 83 girls (first recorded in 1997).

Sabella - Its first recorded use in the States was in 1986 and it has increased to 82 uses in 2013. What does this beautiful name mean? I'm probably the only one who had to do a double-take when I looked it up... it's a shortened form of Isabella. The lack of "I" really threw me for a loop and makes it sound fresher than the popular long form. Can also be spelled Zabella for a fun choice.

Are you in favor of the increase in -bellas? What is your favorite -bella?


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