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A Celebrity Just Chose My Favorite Name!

My fiancé and I are expecting a boy in less than a month, and our top name choice is Bodhi. It has a wonderful meaning, and isn't too popular either. But now we just found out that Megan Fox named her second son Bodhi!

The name Bodhi is definitely our favorite, but now we're scared its popularity is going to spike. We don't want any of our children to have a "popular" name, as we both grew up with them and know what it's like to have six other kids in the class with the same name. So, what do we do? Is Bodhi going to get super-popular now that a celebrity used it?

- Another Jessie

Bodhi is definitely one of the "buzziest" Hollywood names of the moment. But unless you and Megan Fox are eyeing the same preschools, Hollywood popularity isn't what you're worried about. Nationwide, does "buzz" necessarily translate to babies?

For readers who may have missed the buzz, Bodhi comes from the Sanskrit for "awakened," and refers to the Bodhi tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment. It's pronounced BOH-dee. That balance of rich spiritual meaning and simple, cheerful sound has made the name a rising choice for English-speaking parents.

So far, though, the rise has been modest. In the most recent year on record, Bodhi was just the 894th most common name for American boys -- tied with Damarion, Valentin, and Juelz. 

Bodhi is certain to rise more in the years ahead. I predict, though, that the same unusual origin and spelling that make the name so appealing to you will keep it from rising to super-popularity.

The names that reach the top of the charts are bullseye hits to the heart of fashion. The top name of this generation, Jacob, was part of multiple waves: Old Testament names, turn-of-the-century antiques, and the strong A sound that drove Jayden, Ava, Aiden and more. It's a wide-ranging crowd-pleaser.

Bodhi isn't riding any big fashion waves. And for better or worse, not everyone appreciates its charms. In fact, I once ran a letter from expectant parents whose choice of the name Bodhi had their families up in arms.

That points to a name that may become fashionable, but never truly common. Bodhi would have to rise 250-fold to become as popular as your name Jessica used to be. It will never come anywhere close to that.

If you want a name that feels utterly unique, you should probably look elsewhere. But if you're really just worried about "six in every class," go ahead and follow your heart to the name you love.


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March 3, 2014 2:39 PM
By vimalakirti (not verified)

"Buddha" means "awakened" (it is the past participle of the Sanskrit verbal root budh, "to awaken"). Bodhi means "awakening" or "wisdom."

March 3, 2014 7:39 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

"BOH-dee" is a pretty ambiguous way to describe the pronunciation; it could be pronounced like "bodyy."It might be better to say Bodhi rhymes with "Cody" or "Jodi."

March 3, 2014 9:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

BOH-dee seems perfectly clear to me, and as the pronunciation of Cody and Jodi would depend on your accent, doesn't seem like a sensible way to identify it.

March 4, 2014 1:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The same happened to us when Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd named their daughter Lincoln...

March 4, 2014 1:59 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Skier Bode Miller has the same name (with a different spelling).

March 4, 2014 7:30 PM
By Rob G (not verified)

He could always go by Bo.

March 6, 2014 1:14 PM
By moll (not verified)

Bodhi has been used by several celebrities in recent years but I'd be hard pressed to tell you who, because it hasn't been used any SUPER-high profile celebs (Brad and Angelina, Jay-Z and Beyonce), nor is it a name that was so off-the-wall that it got a ton of buzz after a celeb used(Apple, Pilot Inspektor).
Megan Fox is famous but not so much so that most people would hear Bodhi and think "hey, it's Megan Fox's baby's name!", you know?
There's enough of a Bodhi upswing that I wouldn't call it unusual, and that I immediately know how to pronounce it. But it's uncommon enough that I'd never think "ugh, another BODHI?" Basically a name in the popularity sweet spot. Go ahead and use it.

March 28, 2014 9:08 PM
By Pulau Tidung (not verified)

If you pick a pretentious trendy name, expect a celebrity to use it. If you want your child to be able to submit a resume for a professional job without embarrassment, don't pick Bodhi.

April 15, 2014 10:54 PM
By Keith G (not verified)

As long as the name doesn't make it into the top 100, I think you'll be fine.

And as far as the comment about "pretentious names" and getting "professional jobs" goes...a lot can change in 25 years,and by then maybe no one will bat an eye at it.

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