Choosing a baby name is a very exciting topic for expectant parents. Name discussions are such a great way to celebrate the momentous adventure that soon-to-be parents are embarking on. As well, they can be a great distraction from some of the less glamorous aspects of pregnancy.
Aside from the fun of it, landing on a name is also a very big decision. Here at BabyGaga, we produce a fair number of baby name articles as a means to inspire parents as they search for that perfect name. Through researching and producing so many baby name articles, we’ve noticed some strong trends emerging – particularly when it comes to baby girl naming.
Some of these trends are very reasonable, while others make way for some odd baby girl names. There is no doubt that parents are struggling to be unique and, as such, have at times resorted to some very interesting and non-traditional naming conventions.
We expect that some parents will certainly find inspiration in these trends, while others will want to steer clear of them. And of course, some parents will be so inspired by reviewing these trends that they will start new ones we haven’t even discovered yet! We certainly realize that parents can be very creative.
In any event, here we discuss 15 trends absolutely taking over baby girl naming. While these may serve as a great source of inspiration for some parents, others will use them to pick a different direction. Whatever way anybody looks at it, it’s all very fascinating.
15 Ends In An “A”
Many of the most popular girl names today end in “a” or the “ah”. Either one provides that sing-songy “aaaaa” ending. For the first time ever, we are seeing full classrooms of youngsters with the same end to their given names. All one has to do is consult top baby name lists and this trend becomes obvious. For example, here are the top five baby girl names in the U.S. from the past year:
See any similarities? When we extend this out to the top 50 names, we see additions including the likes of Mia, Amelia, Ella, Hannah, Victoria, Layla, Alexa, Savannah… The list goes on. So what’s the appeal of this trend? Many parents are striving to find the perfect, “girly” baby girl name and choosing one with an “a” ending seems to tick the box of pretty very well.
14 Make It Up
As more and more parents strive to be original, we are seeing an influx of “made-up” names. The benefit to making a name up is that it can perfectly meet all of the parents' name requirements. A drawback is that some parents get carried away and enter bizarro-land.
When we consider which baby girl names are rising fastest in popularity on the U.S. baby girl name charts, we definitely find some made-up names. “Dalary” and “Zaylee” are two such examples. They both came out of complete obscurity last year, and surged over 230 spots on the ranking charts. It will be interesting to see if these names continue to rise.
Of course, celebrities are infamous for bestowing odd names on their children. Various celebrities have been know to make up names entirely or choose words that have never been used as names before. Here are a few examples of celebrities who needed to be so different that they made up names for their kids:
- Bob Geldof and Paula Yates: Fifi Trixibelle
- Amy Adams: Aviana Olea
- Brooke Burke: Neriah Shae
- Brooke Shields: Grier Hammond
- Bruce Willis and Demi Moore: Rumer, Scout and Tallulah
- Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon: Sosie Ruth
- Erykah Badu: Puma
If parents opt to make a name up, we encourage that they ensure children won’t be tormented based on their choice.
13 Name Gender-Benders
Gender-bending names are also all the rage right now. For many baby girls born today, you wouldn’t necessarily know their gender simply by hearing their name. What started this trend? As parents strive to be different and unique, there are only so many directions to go in. This has become one that is not likely to disappear anytime soon.
The celebrity world has definitely helping to influence this trend as well. For example, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have a baby girl named “James”, and Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell have a daughter called “Lincoln”.
North America, in particular, is also at an interesting time in terms of trying to do away with gender-stereotyping. Only in recent years have we begun to see parents giving birth and not revealing their baby’s gender. Further, we are seeing gender-neutral bathrooms crop up to accommodate a community of people who don’t necessarily identify one way or another.
Then again, this trend might just be appealing and fun for some parents. Either way, we like it.
12 Multisyllabic Names
Some parents are opting for baby girl names that include multiple syllables. Preschoolers might not appreciate learning to spell their names, but one benefit to these names is that they likely provide a variety of options for nicknames. Some baby girl names that fall into this trend are:
Many parents opt for these longer names to help their baby girl stand out when shorter names come across as too plain. Further, many of these names are steeped in history and are easily recognizable as baby girl names. The longer names automatically give them a more classic feel.
These names are most fitting for families with shorter surnames, otherwise it becomes too much of a mouthful. Any of them would pair nicely with a monosyllabic middle name like Anne, Leigh or Eve.
11 Pick A Surname
If we look at the history of different given names, we discover that many of them actually arose from surnames. Many of these surnames developed into the names that boys came to be known by. Think of names like Marshall, Randall or Franklin. These are all boys’ names that arose from surnames.
More recently, we are seeing parents hop on this trend for their baby girls. The reality is that some of the names being used as given names for girls may very well also be a neighbor’s or co-worker’s surname.
Harper is a perfect example of this. It ranks in as the 10th most popular baby girl’s name of the past year. The name Harper was originally an English surname bestowed upon someone who played the harp.
Other examples of surnames turned given name for girls are: Brooklyn, Mackenzie, Blaine, Campbell, Kennedy and Lennox, just to name a few. We think this trend represents a great trend that we suspect will stick around.
10 Spell It Differently
One way to breathe new life into a common name is to spell it differently than most. This is another trend we are seeing more and more lately. Sometimes this works well, but other times it can just cause confusion and frustration.
One example that worked for a while is the name “Sofia”. Typically this name was spelled with a “ph”. As the name got more and more popular, parents who wanted to choose it tried to put a different spin on it by using an “f” instead to be more unique. As it stands now both “Sophia” and “Sofia” are in the top 15 names for baby girls in the U.S. so the newer Sofia isn't so unique anymore.
Examples of alternate spellings that really don’t do anyone any favors are:
- KVIIIlyn for Kaitlyn
- Cydnee for Sydney
- Emmalee for Emily
- Izobel for Isabella
- Maddisyn for Maddison
We say just avoid these weird ones. There really isn’t any point. Your child will be forever spelling their name out loud for the rest of their lives. Plus the reality is, isn’t it the sound of the name that matters more?
9 Pick A Noun
This is one trend that we really like because many nouns make for unique baby names, that aren’t totally off-the-wall. When we started investigating this trend, we didn’t realize how many cool and unique names could be inspired by “everyday” words.
Parents can choose names for their baby girl that have meaning to them other than by selecting a name that has been passed down through generations. Consider some of the following, for example: Skye, Olive, Taylor, Piper, Daisy, Aurora, Dawn, Faith, Paige, River, and Willow.
Celebrities also love this trend, but of course some of them go too far. Here are a few good examples and some bad ones too:
- Gwyneth Paltrow: Apple
- Gillian Anderson: Piper
- Alicia Silverstone: Bear
- Barbara Hershey: Free
- Brooke Burke: Heaven
- Casey Kasem: Liberty
- Will and Jada Pinkett Smith: Willow
- Rachel Griffiths: Banjo
Either way, we like the baby name noun trend. If parents opt for it, we encourage them to avoid going too wild.
8 No More Old-School
It’s rare today to hear of parents choosing traditional names for their daughters. When we consider popular baby girl name lists of late, we are definitely witnessing traditional names being pushed out in favor of the likes of Emma, Sophia, Mia, and Charlotte. Many of these names were unique five or ten years ago, but as more and more people choose them, we can’t say they are unique anymore.
When we take a retrospective look at popular girls’ names from days long gone, completely different names rise to the top. Many of the traditional names of our mothers and grandmothers and even our own aren’t on the radar anymore. What this means is that if parents did decide to choose a more traditional name for their daughter, she’d actually be unique because of it. This is contrary to current thinking.
When we say traditional, we are talking about the likes of: Betty, Carol, Donna, Helen, Lisa, Dorothy, Nancy, and Karen, etc. Some of these could actually make a great comeback.
7 Pack In The Vowels
One trend we are seeing more and more often are baby girl names packed with vowels. For some parents, this is the essence of femininity. We certainly can’t fault parents for trying!
This trend really hit home when we analyzed the hottest girl names on the rise in the country. In other words, these are the names surging in popularity through the baby girl name charts. These types of names likely tick a few boxes for parents. First the vowels make them feminine, second they are on the long side, third they are unique, and fourth they pair nicely with shorter surnames.
Consider these names and you’ll see what we mean: Alaia, Meilania, Aitana, Aislinn, Adilynn, Analia, Lorelai, Giavanna, Aviana, and Ophelia. These names are truly packed with vowel protein.
6 Make It Pretty
Regardless of some of the more “masculine” trends for baby girl names, there will always remain a group of parents firmly grounded in the “pretty” name camp. Some parents only want to choose names that are feminine, pretty, elegant, sophisticated or cute for their baby girls.
This might mean jumping on some of the trends we’ve already mentioned like picking a multisyllabic name, packing in the vowels, or having their baby girl’s name end in an “a”. Some parents don’t want their baby girl ever being mistaken for a boy, even if by name alone. Of course, she might grow up to be a tomboy anyhow but will always have a pretty name to pave her way with.
So if parents are on the search for an uber-pretty and feminine little girl name, this lasting trend might bring them to consider the likes of: Lily, Zara, Isla, Paris, Ashley, Jasmine, Savannah or Alysha.
5 Consult Baby Name Lists
Parents can’t get enough of baby name lists. For example we, at BabyGaga, publish a lot of name lists and our readers really enjoy them. Selecting a baby name is one of the most enjoyable tasks associated with anticipating that bundle of joy. That is of course if mom and dad are on the same page!
Names are such a great thing to discuss as you anticipate the arrival of your babe. But of course, it’s also a very big decision. After all, that choice will last a lifetime. Beyond just loving a name, there are lots of important things to think about when making the choice. Baby name lists often help to make this job easier. For starters, they provide lots of ideas that parents may not think of on their own.
Consulting name lists is one strong trend that definitely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As long as parents continue to search for that perfect name, baby name lists will always have a use.
4 Keep It Short
Even though we’ve indicated multisyllabic names are a trend, as are names packed with vowels, there will always be a camp of parents that want to keep their baby girl name short, simple and sweet. Fortunately today, there are lots of ways to go about doing this without defaulting back to the traditional names of previous generations.
There is some real beauty in keeping names short and simple. First, they are easy to spell. Second, they are easy to pronounce. Third, they can be very pretty and feminine even while being short and sweet.
Short names can also honor parents and grandparents if they are actually the short forms of more traditional names. Think about “Thea” for example. This is a beautiful and on-trend little girl’s name that could honor a grandmother called Dorothy. In other words, just because a name is short doesn’t make it common or lacking in tradition per se.
Some great examples of short girl names we love are: Tess, Cass, Eve, Ava, Shea, Ella, Zoe, Eva, Nora, Mila and Quin.
3 Go Top 10
We certainly aren’t suggesting parents default to the top 10 names, but there is a reason the top 10 names are what they are. It’s because people are choosing them in droves. Sometimes we wonder why folks can’t be more unique.
For example, “Emma” has been the reigning top baby girl name in the U.S. for the past two years. The year before that it was #2. In fact, it’s been in the top 5 since 2002. This means that any baby girls named Emma recently are also in the company of 20,354 other baby girls named Emma born in the same year. That’s a lot of little girls of the same name! Any Emmas will probably always be known by Emma plus the first initial of her surname in her classroom.
Then again, if parents love the name, should popularity be a reason not to choose it? It’s a tough call and one that will be specific to the couple.
2 Go Off-The-Wall
On the opposite end of the spectrum to choosing a baby girl name among the top 10 is to go totally off-the-wall. Some parents are completely bucking popularity to give their baby girls names that are completely out there.
This is a risky endeavor. Weird might feel cool now, but will parents feel the same way in 20 years? When they’ve been questioned about their baby’s name too many times to count, and their child may have been ridiculed at school?
Off-the-wall names can cross over into a number of camps. For example, sometimes these weird names are made up names like “Analia”. Believe it or not, this is a baby girl name surging in popularity. The main problem with this name is that a logical way to shorten is “Anal”. What a horrible nickname for a baby girl.
Another realm we tread into here is choosing nouns to bestow upon children that end up being wacky names. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the most famous “Apple” Martin (daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow), and “Pilot Inspektor (son to Jason Lee). Yes, we know the latter is a boy but it proves the point we are trying to make here. It is possible for weird to be TOO weird.
1 Don’t Tell Anyone
Many parents opt to not reveal their baby’s name until she is introduced to the world. This is a trend that makes perfect sense for a number of reasons. Many parents simply don’t want to be subject to criticism or undue influence over their baby name of choice.
Outsiders often think it fair game to weigh in on a baby name if the baby isn’t born yet but wouldn’t dream of doing the same after the birth.
Further, if families have parents and grandparents with strong ideas about names, then this is another good reason to keep hush about it. A family’s name of choice for their baby really isn’t anybody else’s business so long as it’s not harming anyone. If grandparents don’t approve of the name of choice, they’ll get over it pretty quickly as they fall in love with their grandchild.
A bottom line for parents is to make sure they really love the name and can picture their little one growing with it. In the end, this is one of the most important considerations of all.