There are few life events that can compare to the sheer bliss felt by parents with a newborn baby. Whether new to the parenting club or veteran members, there's nothing that captures all of the intense, wondrous feelings that flood in the minute a baby is born in quite the same way. Although impending parenthood is without a doubt filled with fears and anxieties—that, let's be honest, only increase the more seasoned we become—it's also a time of incomparable joy.
One of the very first, and most exciting, decisions we make as parents is choosing a name for our child. While some parents may wait to meet their little ray of sunshine before committing to one name or another, their final choice will most likely come from a mental (or physical) list that has been revised time and time again over the last nine months.
Millennials—most often thought of as those born between the early 1980s through the mid-1990s—have one significant advantage in researching baby names at their disposal compared to those of previous generations: the Internet. Gone are the days of flipping through baby-naming books and searching through pages to find something suitable. With the literal click of a button, the search through countless names and their meanings can begin, making it easier than ever to find the perfect fit for the newest addition to the family. Get started on your search below, with 20 baby names dominating the world of millennial parents.
20 Sweet Sawyer
In 1876, Mark Twain's best-selling novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published, introducing the world—and high school English classes—to the daredevil boy and his life along the Mississippi River.
Maybe all of those book reports paid off, as Sawyer is becoming increasingly popular for newborns of both genders. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2015, Sawyer broke into the top 100 names of newborn baby boys in the United States and the top 300 of baby girls, and both have remained there ever since. A name from the Celts meaning “cuts wood,” Sawyer is the perfect choice for a little lumberjack—or jill!
19 Maximilian the Great
Ancient history repeating itself? We've certainly seen a rise in Maximilians—or any “Max” variation—in recent years, however, the origins of Maximilian can be traced all the way back to the third century.
As per Behind the Name, it wasn't until the 15th century, when Holy Emperor Frederick III combined the names of Ancient Rome's Generals Fabius Maximus and Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, that Maximilian quite literally became a household name (it was given to his son). Living up to its meaning of “greatest,” the name has charged full force into today's modern world and shows no sign of leaving.
18 Arya: Stark and Beautiful
From baby boomers to millennials, we'd be hard pressed to find someone who has not heard of HBO's Game of Thrones. The youngest girl in the Stark family, Arya's strength and ferocity in the face of danger have made her a favorite amongst viewers.
While the show certainly thrust the name into its current spotlight, the name Arya actually has roots from India and Persia means “noble and honorable,” according to Baby Name Wizard. As per the site, with its alternate spelling, Aria, the name can also mean lioness, air, and music or song. Whether chosen for one of its beautiful meanings or to honor a fearless television character, Arya is a name to be reckoned with.
17 Free-Spirited Maverick
You don't have to be a sharpshooter or big wave surfing champion to rock this cool-guy name! Maverick started out as the name of a rancher, became a word with its own definition, and now, lucky for us, it's both!
The story, as told by SheKnows, goes back to 1800s America when a man named Maverick refused to go along with other ranchers in the way their calves were branded. Soon, the name and word came to define a man who refused to conform and marched to his own beat, making it a perfect choice for parents bringing their own one-of-a-kind little man into the world.
16 Nothing Is Better Than Ezra
While fans of the 1990s rock band Better than Ezra have undoubtedly been aware of this boys’ name for quite a while, Ezra actually dates back a little further...all the way to biblical times, to be exact.
According to Kveller, Ezra was a scribe—he wrote the book of Ezra found in the Hebrew bible—who returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon to lead the people of Israel. Meaning “help” in Hebrew, the name is a classic choice that has proved to stand the test of time. What could be better for Mommy (or Daddy's) newest little helper?
15 From Boston...
The city of Boston's beginnings can be found in the 17th century when Puritans sailed from England looking to escape religious persecution. In the 1760s, it grew to be the center of upheaval among colonial settlers. Along with the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, as per US History, many early battles of the Revolutionary War were fought within, or just outside, Boston's city limits.
Currently, it holds the 603rd spot in popularity for boys on the BabyCenter charts, the name is unisex and can be used for either a boy or girl. It's an excellent option for those who love the prominent city, its rich history, or just the name itself!
14 To Brooklyn...
The popular New York City borough has only in recent history been pushed into the limelight. With its cultural diversity and hot tech startups, millennials have been moving to the borough at a rapid rate. Areas such as Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights are now equally as expensive as some of the trendiest areas of Manhattan, according to Culture Trip.
In a similar fashion, the name Brooklyn shot to pop culture fame almost twenty years ago when David and Victoria Beckham chose the name for their first born son. Since 2004, the Social Security Administration shows that Brooklyn has stood firm in the top 100 most popular girls’ names in America. Not to be ruled out for baby boys, however, the name has been climbing the popularity charts significantly in the last three years.
13 Devoted Declan
Tracing its history back to 5th century Ireland, Declan has been a favorite choice for little boys on the Emerald Isle for years. According to Baby Names of Ireland, St. Declan of Ardmore was known for his founding of the monastery in Ardmore and was thought to have preached Christianity on the island years before St. Patrick did so.
Legend has it, according to the site, that St. Declan's Stone has been the cause of many miraculous circumstances and events. Meaning “full of goodness,” Declan is a wonderful pick for parents looking for a legendary name for their own little miracle.
12 Asher—Blissful and Blessed
Another selection from biblical history, Asher could perhaps be referred to as the underdog of baby names used by millennials. In the Old Testament, Asher is one of the twelve sons of Jacob who eventually became the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
According to Nameberry, Asher was left off the naming charts for 100 years, not even making it into the top 1000. That changed in the 1990s, and the name has been steadily climbing ever since. Meaning “happy, fortunate, and blessed,” Asher is the ideal baby name for parents looking to share the joy of their baby boy with the world.
11 Always Classic Harper
Possibly the most significant and widely known person with the more-and-more-common moniker, Harper Lee made an impact on pop and literary culture that most authors only dream of.
Her renowned novel To Kill a Mockingbird was listed as the best novel of all time by Time Magazine in 2005, as per Goodreads, and voted the favorite novel by America's readers on PBS's series The Great American Read in October 2018, as per USA Today. The novel is praised for its unflinching portrayal of inequality while simultaneously using humor to tackle its serious subject. For any avid literature fans—or parents looking for a role model behind the name—Harper is an excellent option.
10 Lucky Liam
Also joining the list from across the Atlantic, Liam has climbed the baby name charts for years. Recently taking the number one spot in 2017, it’s clear the love for the name is stronger than ever. According to BabyCenter, the name is a shortened version of the Ireland-native name Uilliam and the ever popular William.
Meaning strong-willed warrior, it’s no wonder we find so many examples of the name amongst celebrities who have found success in the elite world of Hollywood. From Ireland-born actor Liam Neeson to Aussie heartthrob Liam Hemsworth, it’s no mystery why it’s the top choice for baby boys today.
9 Noble Lady Olivia
Olivia surged in popularity at the start of the century and has held on tightly in the top ten ever since. Remaining steady in the number 2 position since 2013, Olivia has proven itself to consistently be a favorite choice for millennial parents. Meaning “olive tree,” the name came into significance courtesy of William Shakespeare, as per BabyCenter.
Originally a stubborn noblewoman in his comedy “Twelfth Night,” more recent characters with the name have been strong-willed, independent forces of nature to be reckoned with—we're talking about you, Det. Olivia Benson. Along with its equally gorgeous nicknames of Liv and Livia, don't be shocked to find Olivia holding tight in the top 10 for years to come.
8 Strong (And Free) Mason
While most of us think of Mason as a unisex first name fit for today’s modern baby girls and boys, the name actually has a surprisingly long and interesting history. Originally an English last name used since the Middle Ages, the name referred to the expert craftsmen of the time behind some of Europe's most famous buildings, according to British Baby Names.
Its use as a first name increased in Britain during the 1800s. However, it wasn't until the end of the 20th century that the name became a popular choice for US parents as well as their counterparts across the pond.
7 Award-Winning Ava
Parents looking to show off the prize of their hearts may have a hard time finding a more suitable name than Ava. Though her beauty was well acknowledged, US actress Ava Gardner refused to play the role of a woman that is targeted for her looks, as per Encyclopedia Britannica, instead showing off her “earthy femininity.” Nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and multiple BAFTA's, she was one of the most popular actresses of the 1940s and '50s.
Often thought to be a modernized version of the name Eve, there are multiple opinions about the origin and meaning of the name. Not up for discussion, however, is the place the Ava has carved out as one of the top picks for baby girls in recent years.
6 Ancient And Poetic Atticus
Possibly most widely associated with the character of Atticus Finch, the widowed father and lawyer protagonist in the previously mentioned novel To Kill A Mockingbird, the name's roots actually go way, way back. Less commonly known is the foundation in ancient history the name carries with it.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the name originated with Titus Pomponius Atticus, a wealthy author in Ancient Rome, famously known for his friendship and letters with Rome's statesman, Cicero. Fast forward to present time and the name, as per The Today Show, was named Nameberry's most popular boys’ name of 2017, proving that history does, in fact, often repeat itself.
5 My Darling Clementine
Not only the name of a delicious orange hybrid fruit, but Clementine has also been a consistent choice for baby girls across the world for at least a few centuries. First found in early Christianity, the name means “mild; gentle” in Latin. Reappearing in Europe in the 19th century, Clementine was the given name of two national princesses in Europe, according to Appellation Mountain.
Another famous European bearing the name was Clementine Churchill, the wife of Winston Churchill, a prominent citizen in her own right. The name made its way over the United States prior to the tiny fruit, and folks in the US have been loving both cuties ever since.
4 Merciful Milo
Parents looking for a unique yet well-documented name for their baby boys should absolutely try Milo out for size. While increasingly fashionable, the name is not yet so popular that another Milo is guaranteed to be found in the same class, or school!
Dating back to the ancient Greek wrestler and Olympic champion Milo of Croton, the name is thought to mean “soldier” or “merciful,” as per Nameberry. The name has been used for characters in a variety of novels and films is only increasing in likability for those who come across it. A less common alternative for the name Miles, Milo combines ancient roots with modern style.
3 Matilda Is Magical
Another name on the list dating back to the Middle Ages, Matilda is an old German name meaning “mighty in battle.” According to The Bump, the name was first brought to Britain by their leader, Matilda—the wife of William the Conqueror—and Matilda can be found in several royal houses of Europe starting around the 12th century.
It wasn't until the 18th century that there was a resurgence in the name that has been growing ever since. The favorite children's novel Matilda and the birth of Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger's daughter, who was given the name, have increased parents’ interest in the name choice for their baby girls significantly over the last 30 years.
2 Chief Executive Chester
Millennial parents-to-be don't need to search to the ends of the earth for a unique baby boy name. In fact, they can find one in their old history textbooks. Chester A. Arthur was a leader of the United States, serving from 1881–1885. A champion of civil service reform, as per The White House, he is remembered as an honorable man in his roles of leadership for the nation.
1 Wild, Wondrous Wren
In a common fable, as mentioned by Appellation Mountain—and referred to as far back as the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle—a wren outsmarts an eagle in a competition to see which bird can fly the highest. Hiding in the eagle's feathers, the wren wins the challenge by flying even higher than the eagle's highest point, earning the title of “king of the birds.”
A smart, distinguished, and feminine name, Wren stands out with its ability to sound as classic and refined as it does unique and trendy. Although being given to more baby girls year after year, Wren is still rare enough for parents who—along with their daughters—want to stand out from the crowd just a little longer.