The curse of the common baby name

As a Sarah, I was obviously aggrieved by my ridiculously common name back in the 90s!

Thankfully, it wasn’t the MOST common name that year, but placing in the top 10 throughout the world isn’t much better:

In the US, Sarah hits number 5 on the list!
And in Australia it’s up there at second!

Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to find out where Sarah ranked in 1995 in the UK, (I have stats from 1994 and 1996 but am completely unable to find anything for 1995 – if you can find out let me know because I’m now very curious!) but everyone knows a Sarah, right?

I’ve gone one step further and cursed my poor daughter with an exceedingly even more common name – Olivia. And it annoys me so much!

According to Baby Centre, Olivia was THE most popular baby girl name of 2016 in the UK…

Knowing how much of a pain in the arse it is to be ‘Sarah B’, so that we can differentiate between me and the millions of other Sarahs I come across, I know that Olivia will be the same (and already is)! At nursery, there are two Olivias in her class, so she is ALREADY ‘Olivia B’…

So why did I choose this name if it bothers me so much that it’s the most common name?

For a start, I CALLED IT FIRST, OKAY?!

I was probably around 6-7 when I first decided that my daughter would be called Olivia one day, and no matter how common the name became, nothing was going to change it.

Secondly, Olivia ties in two of my most favourite characters in history – Shakespeare, and the Greek goddess Athene.

Shakespeare created the name Olivia in his play, Twelfth Night. As a big Shakespeare fan, it was a win. But more than that, he chose Olivia because of it’s connotations from Greek mythology – the Olive branch was the symbol of the Greek goddess Athene (if you’ve read the Odyssey, you’ll know she is a total badass), symbolising peace.

As a total classics and Shakespeare nerd, there was no way I could change the name just because a lot of other people liked it too.

So, Olivia, I’m sorry. But I’m also not sorry. You have a gorgeous name (if I do say so myself) and you should be proud of it. It has a wonderful significance in literature and history, and although you may always be ‘Olivia B’, you should always remember that it’s not my fault it’s a much better name than the one I got stuck with!

P.S.: Please NEVER EVER go by ‘Liv, Livvy, Livs, or Olive’ – OLIVIA IS FINE, OKAY?!

Do you have any pet peeves about the names you gave your children? Are you also cursed with a common baby name? Let us know in the comments!

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…


I am well on my way to becoming a barrister, and hope that one day my little munchkin will follow in my footsteps! I'm also a wife to a Grenadier Guard dealing with army life, and I write letters to Olivia as well as writing for the amazing blog we run over at

6 thoughts on “The curse of the common baby name

  1. My real life name is Tracey. Everywhere you go you will find 40-50 yr old women called Tracey. I once had a Tracey living either side of me, and at work I was one of 4, so we had to be called by our surnames. However according to statistics nobody in the UK has named their child Tracey in years, so it is a dying name.



  2. I named my daughter Charlotte, it was in the top 10 for my province the year she was born, which I didn’t quite realize at the time. I also used it 18 months before William and Kate did. So far, there is another Charlotte in the year above her at school so no Charlotte D yet, but I know it is probably coming. I don’t regret using Charlotte as such because it is a beautiful name, but I do occasionally wish we had gone for one of the more uncommon names that were on the list.


  3. Olivia is very beautiful! Some names are just classic. Who cares if they’re popular? I’m a Katherine — also very popular and common, but I like it. It’s better than trendy in my opinion. ☺️


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s