The Guardian, UK
Emily, Emma and Madison had better watch out: there's a new kid on the block. US social security data for 2005 shows that the girl's name growing fastest in popularity is not a traditional name but a newfangled tongue-twister.
Nevaeh is now the 70th most popular girl's name in the US, sandwiched between Evelyn and Madeline. The name has grown from obscurity to celebrity in just six years. In 1999 there were only eight Nevaehs born in the US, records show. But within two years, the number of Nevaehs had grown to 1,191, winning the name a ranking on the list of most popular girls names at number 266.
Last year, 4,457 baby girls were named Nevaeh in the US, propelling the name to the giddy heights of the top 100 girl's names.
The appeal of the name is easy to decipher. Although some suggest that it is of Slavic origin and means butterfly, it is in fact the word heaven spelled backwards.
One of the people credited with popularising the name made that clear when announcing the birth of his baby daughter to an expectant public. In May 2000 Christian rock star Sonny Sandoval of the group POD told MTV that his daughter had been named Nevaeh. "Heaven spelled backwards," he said.
Cleveland Evans, the president of the American Name Society and a professor of psychology at Bellevue University in Nebraska, told the New York Times that the advent of the name was unprecedented. "Of the last couple of generations, Nevaeh is certainly the most remarkable phenomenon in baby names," he said.
By some strange coincidence, or perhaps design, the 73rd ranking on both boys' and girls' lists makes inspirational reading: Jesus for boys, Mary for girls.