In the 1930’s the most poplar baby names were Robert, William, Betty and Shirley; however, in the 60’s, it was Michael, David, James, Lisa, Susan and Karen that topped the list of most commonly registered names. Fast forward to the 80’s, when the Millenials were born and a lot of parents chose Christopher, Joshua, Jessica or Ashley.
A Millennial is anyone born in 1982 or 20 years after that date. All those people with the names Chrisopher, Joshua, Jessica and Ashley are choosing a whole new set of names for their babies - and a lot of them are not easily recognizable. A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology indicates that parents are choosing uncommon names more than ever before.
Some social workers and psychologists speculate “unique names” are preferred by the Millenials because as they were brought up, they were told that it was, “good to be different” and that “you can do and be anything you want.”
Statistics show that between 2011 and 2015 uncommon names increased by 72 percent for boys and 79 percent for girls. Although pop culture has been a source for creative names for a number of years, it seems that even more parents are turning to television and film today to guide them when choosing a name for their baby. While there was once a strong tradition of naming babies after someone in the family, those names now tend to get relegated to middle name status. That’s right, mom, dad or grandfather’s name just doesn’t cut it anymore, at least not as a first name.
Here’s a look at 20 names that Millenials love:
Although more parents in the west are using this name, it is in fact a Persian or Indian given name. In most countries it is a masculine name, but there are some European countries that have used Arya as a female name. The more common way to spell this name is, “Aria”. As far as the Indian culture is concerned the name, Arya means, “noble goddess”; however, according to Aramaic and Hebrew traditions, the name means “Lioness”. Many people in the Indian culture say they use the name, Arya to show respect to others. Arya was the name of the Goddess Parvati. A strong force in Hindu mythology, Parvati is known as the Goddess of love and devotion.
So how did Millenials come to love this name? Perhaps it has something to do with the sword-wielding princess, Arya in the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. It could also have something to do with the fact that it is the name of the leading lady in the book/movie, Eragon.
One of the world’s most popular Beckett’s was Samuel Beckett, the Irish born novelist and playwright who was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature. Beckett who died in 1989 is considered among the most influential writers of the 20th century. While it might sound romantic to be named after a creative genius like Samuel Barclay Beckett, a man who lived most of his life in Paris, and had his work featured in the Royal Court Theatre in London, it is more likely that Millenials developed an interest in the name due to celebrities. Singer Melissa Ethridge, as well as Conan O’Brien, Stella McCartney, and Malcolm McDowell have used the name Beckett for their sons. By the way, the word “Beckett” comes from the English Surname and it means “dweller near the brook.” Maybe you know a Beckett. Last year (2015), Beckett was one of the most popular names for a boy.
Have you ever been to Utah? It has a rich landscape that includes natural beauty and charming towns and cities. Some of the urban Utah communities are situated just a short distance from some of the most breathtaking terrain in the world. Utah’s largest national park, Canyonlands National Park draws tourists from all over the world. It encompasses towering rocks and countless natural rivers. Bordered by Idaho in the north, Wyoming to the northeast and by Colorado to the east, it is called the “Beehive State”. The locals relate the beehive symbol to the first settler’s virtues of thrift and perseverance. Some call this state, a perfect mix of old and new and therefore a great place to raise kids. Today Utah residents take their baby naming seriously and it seems there are a lot of babies with the name Brynlee living there. Word gets around so now Brynlee, which means “burnt meadow”, has become a very popular name across the United States and the world. You could say that it is a softer form of Britney.
Although we can’t say for certain where the name Jack originated, we do know that during the Middle Ages it was very common. Back then it was the slang word for “man”. Until 2011, the name Jack was the number one boys name in England. Jack is a familiar name; one used in fairy tales and nursery rhymes, such as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ and “Little Jack Horner”. In the 90’s the name Jack was transformed and for many new parents became Jackson, but there are some with the name Jackson that were born long before the 90’s upswing with this name. For example, American singer, Jackson Brown was born in the late 40’s and Jackson Davies, a Canadian actor was born in 1950. Today Jack, and Jackson have taken a back seat because Millenials seem to prefer Jax. This shorter version of Jack is the name of a character from the video game Mortal Kombat, Jax Briggs. The Television series Sons of Anarchy is popular among Millenials and it has a character named Jax Teller in it.
When we admire someone it makes sense that we would name our child after that person. For centuries people have named their children after their mothers, fathers, and grandparents. As time has gone on, people have turned to naming their babies after people who have achieved greatness or who are admired for their talent. An example of this is people who named their child, Elvis. Most people are aware that the late Elvis Presley is considered the “king of rock ‘n roll”. Today Millenials don’t relate as much to Elvis, but they do relate to the word king. Naming your son King sounds like an expression of how you feel about him. Yes, it has royal overtones, but it also suggests that the child is among the greats like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Now it is important to keep in mind that the word King literally means “Ruler” so if you are superstitious at all, you might want to think about who, you want ruling who, as you are childrearing.
Arabella is considered a lyrical name and has in fact been around for centuries, but today it is a name that seems to be really enticing to Millenials. Leading German classical composer, Richard Strauss crafted an opera back in 1933 called Arabella. In the opera, a fortuneteller reveals that Arabella will marry a wealthy older man, which can help the family out of it’s debt problems, but before that happens some trouble will occur due to issues with her sibling. Arabella is also the name of the Arctic Monkeys song about a space-aged lover. Ivanka Trump, the former wife of Donald Trump and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the surgeon and American Television Host named their daughters Arabella. The latter half of the name, “bella” was popular as a girl’s first name about 10 years ago, following the Twilight series craze, but Arabella appears to be a relatively new favorite among Millenials.
Is it a diminutive of Adele or a shorter form of Madeline? While the jury is out on this one, we have seen a move among Millenials to end names in lyn. It is believed that the name Adalyn was formed in America. The meaning of the name according to baby naming websites is “noble”. Some people say it reminds them of Adeline or Adelina. Adelina is actually the name of a county in Poland. It is also the name of a saint in France, as well as a noble woman of Holland. There is an American singer named Adelina de Lara, and Adeline Pond Adams was a U.S writer, yet Babygaga hasn’t been able to pinpoint any famous Adalyn’s. People who choose this name tend to appreciate names that are both traditional and trendy sounding. Don’t be surprised if you meet an Adalyn sometime soon in a neighborhood near you.
Just like Millenials like to end names in “lyn”, they like the letters “z and y”. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the name Zayden has taken such a hold. It is a completely made-up name and we have no clue who started it. Many people are likely familiar with the similar sounding, Hayden. It is a English name that derives from the surname Heydn. Composer Joseph Heydn was born in 1732 and died in 1809. There are a number of famous Hayden’s today, including actor Hayden Christensen who is known for his acting in Star Wars. Millenials will likely be familiar with a certain female Hayden who played Juliette Barnes on the hit television show Nashville. I wonder what Hayden Panettiere would think of the name Zayden? By the way, Panettiere had a baby of her own last year and named her Kaya, a name that is well known in the Japanese, Turkish, and Greek cultures.
The name Jaylah is a variation of the name Laylah. It seems as if it is part of a trend among Millenials who like to use new, rarely used consonants to spell different names. Some people have wondered if it is a play on Jaylo, the pet name that media and fans gave to singer and actress, Jennifer Lopez back in the 90’s. We can’t say for certain if Lopez influenced the development of this name, but if Jaylah truly comes from Laylah naming aficionados might say it is following in good footsteps. As it turns out, Laylah means, “dark beauty”. Although it has Arabic origins, Americans have used the name Laylah for centuries, sometimes with various spellings, including Laila, or Layla. Both Laylah and Jaylah are exotic sounding names or at least producers of Star Trek Beyond thought so. They named one of their important characters, a badass alien from Krall’s planet, Jaylah.
Isla has become very popular among Millenials around the world. It comes from the word Islay, which is the name of a Scottish island. Islay has stunning scenery, a wide array of wildlife and 8 working whisky distilleries. It is considered a 5 star holiday destination. The name Isla starting gaining attention in England back in 2012, but since then has become popular in the United States. Actress Isla Fisher, known for her comedic and dramatic flare in films, such as Wedding Crashers, Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Great Gastby, may have helped boost interest in the name. Queen Elizabeth has a great-granddaughter named Isla Phillips. People who choose the name because they haven’t heard it before may be disappointed when they discover that Isla is becoming more and more popular across the globe. It is among the top 100 names in several countries, including the United States.
In recent years the name Ryker has really taken a hold among Millenials. Both Denmark and Holland lay claim to the name. In Danish the meaning of Ryker is “strong power” or “hardy power”, but the Dutch meaning is “to become rich”. Either meaning is powerful. It denotes a sense of confidence. What you need to know about the name Ryker is that most historians say that it is a boy’s name. There are some girls who have the name Ryker but the name is predominately held by males. For the most part, the name is used by parents in English speaking countries, but it is also seen and heard in other countries and languages around the world. While spelling the name with a “y” seems to be the norm, there are those who use an “i” instead. The name Riker is a well-known last name. Robin Riker is an American Actress born in 1952, Andrew L. Riker was an Automobile Designer, and William T. Riker is a fictional character in the Star Trek franchise.
Few people in the world do not recognize the word London. It is of course the most populated city in England, a country that is a powerhouse when it comes to international relations. London has brought us fine china, the pencil, radio transmission, fiber optics, DNA profiling, Fish and Chips, Sheppards Pie, The Beatles, The Spice Girls, Coldplay and Elton John. Did you know that London is also a unisex first name? London Brown is a 35- year-old comedian, while London Elise Moore is an actress and stuntwoman. Over the last few years someone has modified the name so that it reads - Londyn. Millenials who seem to gravitate towards unusual or different spellings like the name. They say it adds more sophistication to the original spelling, but still conjures up images of the British City and all it has contributed to our world. As you might have guessed, Londyn doesn’t really have a special meaning attached to it, other than its connection to the city of London England.
The Devil Don’t Sleep or at least that’s the message on Brantley Gilbert’s soon to be released next album. The country crooner from Jefferson Georgia was born in 1985 so that makes him a Millennial. While we don’t know how his parents came up with his name years ago, we doubt his family had any idea just how popular the name Brantley would eventually become. As far as we can tell, Brantley is a surname meaning “sword or “fiery torch”, but since Gilbert’s rise to fame, Brantley as a first name, has been cropping up all over North America. The only other reference to this name that Babygaga has been able to uncover is a character in a film called, The Secret to My Success. Michael J. Fox played Brantley Foster in the movie, a young man who plans a successful, but hostile company takeover. It is interesting to note that the name Brant (no “ley”) is used a lot in Germany and means “sword” or “burn”.
Millenials are choosing more names today with the suffix “ley”. While Brantley is popular among this generation of parents so is the name Bentley. Yes, Bentley is the name of a luxurious British car, but now there are countless boys out there who share the name. While people may think of the car when the name Bentley is mentioned, the fact is it was a surname long before it became a lux vehicle. Surname databases indicate that Bentley comes from the old English pre 7th century word “beonet”, meaning bent-grass and clearing. Like a clearing that is overgrown with bent-grass. The first recorded spelling of the name Bentley dates back to 1176, during the reign of King Henry 11. Bentley Warren is an American race car driver; however, it is more likely that Millenials have noticed the name due to the luxury car and to country singer Dierks Bentley who became the youngest member of the Grand Olde Opry at age 29.
Bentley isn’t the only hint of sophistication when it comes to names Millenials love. Lux is a popular girl’s name. When people first here this name they equate it with luxury, but apparently Lux has nothing to do with luxurious material items, such as cars. It’s believed that the origin of Lux is Latin and it means “Light”. This makes sense when you consider that heroine Lux, in the League of Legends game has also been called the Lady of Luminosity. The love for Lux may not be all about League of Legends though. A Millenial favorite, actress Kirsten Dunst played a character named Lux in the movie Virgin Suicides, which was originally a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. The name Lux has also been used as a surname in several books and film. British stylist, Louise Teasdale, known for her work with the band One Direction named her daughter Lux.
There was a time when it was simply known as a fancy teardrop pattern on a shirt or blanket, but today Paisley is a favorite among Millenials. The name Paisley is especially popular in the southern United States. Could it be because of country singer Brad Paisley? The Paisley pattern had its roots in the cottage industries of Paisley Abbey in Scotland, but according the nameberry.com it actually derives from the Greek word,
“Basilica” meaning “church.” If you don’t already know this, Paisley is a girl’s name. It use as first name started to gain popularity about a decade ago and have been growing in popularity ever since. Today it is listed in the top 50 of favorite girl names. In Wyoming last year it was in the top 15. Many people consider the name Paisley a soft and feminine sounding.
Many people may think that Swayze as a girl’s first name is strange or unusual, but Millenials have taken to this name. So where are they getting this from? Well, in the 80’s and 90’s there was a heartthrob named Patrick Swayze who lit up the screen and sent girls racing to movie theatres. He starred in the original Dirty Dancing movie, was in the blockbuster Ghost, and at one point was named the “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine. In the 90’s Swayze started to pop up as a girl’s first name, but for some reason in recent years Millenials have turned to Swayze in droves. Some have stuck with the spelling of the actor’s last name with “yze” on the end, while others have changed it to Swayzee or Swayzie. No matter how it is spelled, it is hard to say why there is a sudden interest in the name again.
Monet, which is pronounced Mo-nay, is a very famous last name. French impressionist artist, Claude Monet was the master at capturing light and natural forms. His paintings were labelled as “impression” since they reflected more form and light as opposed to realism. His most famous works include, La Promenade, Woman with a Parasol, Impression Sunrise and Springtime in Giverny. Although Claude Monet died in 1926 he continues to be one of the world’s most celebrated artists. Still, it is hard to imagine that Millenials would adopt his name for their children. It seems that Millenials are also familiar with some other Monet’s and this just might account for the interest in the name. For example, Monet Mazur is an American actress that has appeared in a number of television series and movies, Monet Stunson is a actress and reality tv personality, and Monet Lerner is a LA based singer and actress. Monet is also a character from the movie, Higher Learning.
One of the world’s highest mountains, Everest has been the subject of legends going back centuries. Located in the Mahalangur area of the Himalayas, straddling the border that separates China and Nepal, Everest was formed by the Indian tectonic plate pushing up and against the Asian plate. At least this is what scientists and geologists believe. At a 29,035 feet, many avid climbers have attempted to reach the summit of Everest. Those who have accomplished their goal are revered since the rough terrain and physical demands of the climb have taken the lives of close to 300 people. Everest obviously has a lofty meaning. There is a possibility that the mountain can’t take all the credit for the interest in this name though. Some naming experts believe that it is a twist on the Old English name, Everett. There is also a town in Normandy that derived from the French “Evreax” and it was transferred into a surname after the Normans invaded England.
Indigo is a color between blue and violet. If you think back to any books you may have read as a child that had pictures of rainbows in them, one of the colors on the rainbow was likely indigo. The color indigo got its name from the plant named, “indigo plant”. The shrub with clusters of red and purple flowers is a source of indigo dye. While we don’t know where the Indigo rates of Millenials favourite color scale, we do know that as a first name it rates pretty high. Indigo is a unisex name that is used mostly in English speaking counties, although parents in Europe and especially Greece seem to like it. People who like earthy, floral, gothic, Greek or color names, such as violet tend to gravitate towards the name Indigo. In Canada, Indigo is a household name because a large corporation in the country that employs thousands of people happens to be called Indigo books and music.