Lauren Conrad is now a mom! On July 5th, Conrad and husband William Tell welcomed their first child together, Liam James. In the same fashion of George and Amal Clooney (The Clooneys welcomed twins earlier this summer, Ella and Alexander.), Conrad chose a rather common name for her son instead of a unique moniker that we often associate celebrity babies with.
Laura Wattenberg, author and founder of babywizard.com says the idea that celebrities are more likely to choose unique names is often an illusion. “All parents, famous and not, are naming more creatively these days. When I've looked at the actual rate of ultra-rare names among the ultra-famous, it turns out to be about the same as the general population. The more usual names just don't make headlines.”
Liam, which was No. 2 on the 2016 list of most popular names for boys in the United States, means ‘resolute protection.’ According to Nameberry.com, Liam began simply as a nickname for William, but has gained traction as a standalone name. The site notes that it is the fastest-rising Irish name in the U.S. and first appeared on the top 10 list in 2012. It has remained at No. 2 for four years.
Wattenberg notes that Liam was uncommon in the United States until Liam Neeson’s breakout role in the 1993 film Schindler’s List. “Today a whole crop of prominent foreign-born Liams, like actor Liam Hemsworth and singer Liam Payne, make it familiar,” she said. “It's probably even more popular than its high ranking suggests, because a lot of little Williams are called Liam as well.”
Liam is part of a trend called ‘raindrop names,’ according to Wattenberg. These types of names (Noah, Mia, Owen, and Ella are other common examples of raindrop-style monikers) appeal to parents because they are "petite—four letters or less—and heavy on vowel sounds," she says. "The only consonants allowed are the smooth kind that don't interrupt the flow of sound (r, l, m and n). Compare America’s current top boys’ names, Noah and Liam, to names of the ’60s like Todd and Scott, or names of the ‘30s, like Donald and Gilbert. You can hear the sounds of the times."