Choosing what to call one's baby is rarely easy. Unless by some miracle a woman and her partner are both in love with one specific name, chances are they’ll be bouncing ideas back and forth for months before the little bundle of joy actually puts in an appearance.
The trouble is, of course, that some names give the impression of a specific personality, and it can be hard to know whether or not your baby is going to suit their name. On top of that, there is the inevitable family input, advising you how nice it would be to carry on with a particular name.
So what’s a parent to be to do when faced with a decision that will impact their child for life?
Realistically, if you do not have any names you are especially fond of, the best thing to do is to read through lists like this one and see if anything takes your fancy. These names are set to be popular this year, so it is also useful if you want an unusual name and want to know which ones to avoid, definitely.
Remember, take your time. You are choosing a name that you are going to be shouting out for the next eighteen years. Oh and don’t forget the middle name. You need one of those so you can use your child's full name to let them know when they’re really in trouble.
The name Reggie is part of both the trend for gender neutral names and the tendency for using what we would traditionally class as nicknames, or shortenings, as proper names. This one also taps into the revival of older names we have seen in the past few years.
Reggie is a diminutive of both the old English name Reginald, and the girl's name Regina. Reginald evolved from the early Germanic name Reinold. The name is made up of two elements, ragin "advice" and wald "rule" and the meaning is generally agreed to be “Wise Ruler.” Meanwhile, Regina comes from the Latin word for Queen.
The strength of this name is that it is cute enough for that squirming little bundle of joy you are holding in your arms but it is still a suitable name for a proper grown up, so you won’t have your adult child hating you when they grow up.
If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, you may not see Matilda as the kind of name you would give a strong, intelligent, sassy young lady who would grow up to do great things. The lead character in the Roald Dahl book is the perfect role model for any little girl who feels sidelined and ignored.
Meaning “Strength in battle” Matilda was the name of a number of English Queens and the mother of Henry II, who invaded England in order to lay the groundwork for her son to become king.
Shortened versions include Tilly, Tilda, and Mattie, all of which are pretty lovely names in their own right. There are also few, if any, mean corruptions of the name. So if you are looking for something old-fashioned but not dated, cute but strong, Matilda might be the right choice for you.
It is probably easy to work out why Harry is expected to shoot up the popular name charts this year. As a certain no-longer-eligible royal bachelor is set to tie the knot this spring, experts predict there will be an entire army of babies being given the name Harry this year.
Originally a Medieval English form of Henry which means “Home ruler”, Harry also became popular as a shortened version of Harold which means “Army ruler”. So if you are choosing a long name with the intention of shortening it, you have a couple of choices, and you just have to consider what you want your child to be ruling over.
Although this is a fabulous name, if you choose it this year, you are at risk of having just one of a number of Harrys at your school.
Surprisingly to many people, this is not a name that grew in the imagination of George Lucas, but it is a form of Leah. The Hebrew name לֵאָה (Le'ah) was probably derived from the Hebrew word לְאָה (le'ah) meaning "weary."
In the United States, there was a brief surge of popularity for this name in 1978 and 1980, not surprisingly just after Star Wars was released and then after The Empire Strikes Back was released. After that, it seemed to fall off of the radar until the recent death of Carrie Fisher when Leia began to see a rise in popularity, which is why it made this list.
Although pretty, this version of the name will probably always be synonymous with the Star Wars movies so be prepared for a lifetime of “where’s Luke?” and “Is your dad really Darth Vader?” comments.
In much the same way as Reggie can be the abbreviation for what are traditionally seen as boys or girl names, so too can Theo. There is a range of names that begin with Theo, including Theodore and Theoxena in which the “Theo" root comes from the ancient Greek word Theos (Θεός), which means God. Other Theo names such as Theobald and Theodoric come from the old Germanic "theud" meaning "people" or "folk," and it is unlikely that they were ever shortened to Theo.
Theo makes the 2018 list because it fits into the gender-neutral pet name as a “proper” name trend and because we love it as an option for either a girl or a boy. Just be prepared for a lifetime of “Theo, what’s that short for?”
Scarlett has been hovering on the periphery of the top 20 baby names for a few years now, and 2018 looks set to be the year that it finally breaks the barrier.
What many people do not know is that, until relatively recently, Scarlett was always a surname given to a person a person who sold or made clothes made of scarlet. In this case, scarlet was a type of cloth with the word ultimately derived from the Persian word سقرلاط or saghrilat.
It skipped from surname to forename when author Margaret Mitchell used her grandmother's maiden name as the forename of the main character in her novel 'Gone with the Wind.' Scarlett O’Hara. Just be aware that your child will probably have to endure 'Frankly, my dear Scarlett, I don't give a damn.' misquotes for the rest of her life.
Looking for a short and snappy name for your baby that is incredibly difficult to shorten or find a nickname for? Look no further than Wade. This is another surname that has jumped the fence to become a given name and, coincidentally, also pops up in “Gone With The Wind.”
The surname has two roots. The first is from the Old English place name wæd meaning "a ford" and the second is from the Old English given name Wada, a derivative of the word wadan "to go."
The real reason for the inclusion on this list though is the growing trend for using superhero names. Wade may not jump out at you immediately as such, but if you are a Marvel fan, you will know that Wade Wilson is the alter ego of the"Merc with a mouth," Deadpool.
For some time people who chose the name Harley, often did so because of its association with the motorcycle. The Harley from Harley Davidson was William S. Harley, and his surname came from a place name derived from Old English hara "hare" and leah "woodland, clearing."
Used for both girls and boys, and strangely enough a relatively large number of pets, Harley now has a new lease on life thanks to Harley Quinn in “The Suicide Squad.” The Joker's assistant in the Batman franchise, her “real” name is Dr. Harleen Quinzel so if you wee a hardcore fan, Harleen or even Quinzel could be an excellent choice.
This association seems to have made it feel more like a girl's name, and it remains to be seen how the gender element will play out.
Yes, you know where this is going already don’t you? In use as a boys name in the United States since the mid-1800’s Logan had been slowly climbing the charts since the early 1970s when “Logans Run” made it a popular choice.
Now it is seeing a massive surge in popularity due to the success of the Marvel movies with Wolverine who was “born” James Howlett and is commonly known as Logan and sometimes as Weapon X.
It originally comes from a surname, derived from a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow" in Scottish Gaelic, and Logan works for boys and girls, but it is in danger of becoming overused. In addition to overuse, I do know of one child who is nicknamed Logie the Bogie, so there’s that to consider.
Another significant trend this year is “space names”. Fortunately we are not talking about an entire generation of children being named Mercury or Neptune. The space trend is more subtle, and that’s where Stella comes in.
There are two roots for Stella. The first is a nickname for the female version of the Greek στυλος (stylos) meaning "pillar." Saint Stylianos was a 7th-century hermit from Adrianopolis in Asia Minor who is regarded as a patron saint of children. The other root is Latin, in which Stella means star, and it was first used by the 16th-century poet Sir Philip Sidney for the subject of his collection of sonnets 'Astrophel and Stella.'
Also tying in with the 20th-century literature theme, that gave us Scarlett, Stella was the sister of Blanche Dubois in the 1947 Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire.'
Olivia, the feminine version of Oliver, has been riding high on the charts for a number of years, but we have been slow in embracing this masculine form of the name. Number one in England, New Zealand and a host of other English-speaking countries, Oliver had been a popular name in Medieval England because of its associations with the olive tree and peace.
However, after Oliver Cromwell won the civil war and ruled England under military command in the 17th century, the name fell out of favor. Brought to the fore again by Charles Dickens and “Oliver Twist”, Oliver has been slow to climb the charts in the United States. However, superheroes come to the rescue once again and Oliver Queen, the alter ego of the DC Comics superhero, Green Arrow is just one of many famous Olivers who are pushing this name up the US charts.
Until the beginning of the last century, Florence was a popular gender neutral name, commonly used for both girls and boys. Derived from the Latin name Florentius or the feminine form Florentia, Florence comes from the word Florens which means"blooming, prosperous, flourishing."
There are many cute nicknames that come with Florence, including Flo, Florrie, and Flossie so you can have a sweet baby name and your grown child can use Florence when they want to be taken seriously.
Florence is one of the few place names that doesn't sound a bit odd when you bestow it upon a person, and it has a certain class and dignity. The only downside to the name is that your child may have to listen to comments about Florence Nightingale for the rest of their life.
A stranger to the top 1000 name charts until the end of the 1970s, Kai has steadily climbed in popularity over the last fifty years.
The origin of the name is unclear. It could be derived from Old High German "Kamph" meaning "fight", but in Finnish 'kai' means 'perhaps', in New Zealand, it is the Maori word for food, and in Hawaiian, Kai means "Ocean" or "Sea." Meanwhile, in Navajo Indian, Kai means "Willow tree," in Scandinavian and Welsh it means "Keeper of the keys," in Greek it means "Earth," in Norwegian “Blessed, Pure, Holy” and in Afrikaans, Kai means "Beautiful."
It is most frequently used as a boys name, but it is also popular for girls. A fairly common name in Germany and Scandinavia, Kai is unusual enough to likely be unique in your circle but not so out there that everyone will think you have gone quite mad.
One of those surnames turned first names that you either love or hate, the roots of Harper are precisely what you might expect. The old English last name was given to someone who played the harp, and it stayed a last name until the 19th century. At this stage, it popped up occasionally as a boys name, but by the beginning of the 20th century, it had dropped off of the first name radar.
Then, in 2004, Harper hit the first name charts for both boys and girls and has been climbing steadily ever since.
Many people choose the name because they are fans of the American author Harper Lee (1926-2016), who wrote 'To Kill a Mockingbird' without knowing that her first name was actually Nelle.
Another one of the significant trends this year is the use of names which were popular in the 1920s, and this is where Thomas comes in.
Formerly a label instead of a name, Thomas is derived from the Aramaic tē’ōma meaning, a twin. The biblical apostle “Doubting Thomas” was actually called Judas, but because he was “the second Judas” he was referred to as Thomas the Apostle.
The name came into general use in the Christian world where it was introduced to England by the Normans. Here it became a fashionable name due to the popularity of Saint Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury and 12th-century martyr. Thomas became especially popular in the Catholic Church in response to Saint Thomas Aquinas; an important 13th-century theologian, often considered to be a Doctor of the Church.
If you are looking to embrace the 1920s with a name for your daughter, then Alice might be the right pick for you.
It has a bit of a complicated history with its roots in Adelais, the French form of the Germanic name Adalheidis, which was composed of the elements adal "noble" and heid "kind, sort, type." Adelais became shortened to Alice, and this version became a well-loved choice up until the late 1920s when its overuse caused it to fall out of favor.
The downsides are that boys at school will no doubt tease your daughter by corrupting her name to All-Ass or else she will spend her life listening to comments about Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Chains, or Alice Cooper.
Which brings me to the final point - it is also a boys name and if you want to argue the point, go discuss it with Alice Cooper.
The Latin form of the Greek word Loukas, Lucas is thought to mean "from Lucania," which is a region in southern Italy. The close cousin of Lucas, Luke, has been steadily rising in popularity in the United States since Mr. Skywalker crossed the silver screen at the end of the 1970s.
Lucas is another of the “not so obvious superheroes” names that many people don't know, unless they are a fan of DC Comics. Lucas Carr was the first sidekick to the Justice League of America and is otherwise known as Snapper because of his ability to teleport by snapping his fingers. Following his accidental help in defeating Starro the Conqueror in the Justice League's first adventure, Lucas becomes the was put in charge of maintaining their headquarters, the Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor.
From an Old French form of the Germanic name Amelina, Emmeline is a delightful alternative to the much used Emma, Emily, and Emilia. It is the given name of the famous suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst whose tireless work helped women gain the vote in England and this handle means “Work.”
Not only does Emmeline have a sophisticated sound to it, but you are also unlikely to bump into any other little girls with this name if you act quickly. With plenty of nicknames such as Em, Emmie, Lin, and Linnie your daughter will have a wide variety of names to choose from should she wish to shorten it.
The only downside I can see is the debate over whether Emmeline should be pronounced “Emma-Line” to rhyme with Caroline or “Emmie-Lean” to rhyme with clean.
According to a number of religious texts, Noah was the builder of the Ark that allowed him, his family, and two animals of each species to survive the great Flood. After the Flood, he received the sign of the rainbow as a covenant from God. The name comes from the Hebrew name נֹחַ (Noach) meaning "rest, comfort."
Noah is currently the number one boy's name in the United States and Switzerland, number two in Denmark and the Netherlands and riding high in the top ten charts in England and Wales, Scotland, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, and Sweden.
Consequently, you might want to think twice if you do not want your little one to be one of four or five Noahs, all of whom are known by their surnames initial. An entire school career being known as Noah M or Noah K is not much fun.
This is not the usual spelling in any of the Scandinavian languages (in Sweden and Denmark it is Freja, and in Norway it is Frøja), but it is the standard spelling of the goddess's name in English.
Pronounced Fray-ah this name is from Old Norse Freyja meaning "lady." The goddess of love, beauty, war, and death in Norse Mythology Freya was given half of all the souls slain in battle, and she bought them to her home, Fólkvangr. The other half of the souls go to Odin in Valhalla.
Freya is considered the “party girl” of the Norse Gods and Loki claimed she had slept with all of the Gods and elves, including her own brother. Conversely, she was also possibly the first cat lady, as she has cats to pull her chariot.
Pronounced Roo-ben and not Roo-bin, this is the name of the eldest son of Jacob and Leah and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Reuben. Reuben lost his rights as the eldest son when he slept with Bilhah, the mother of Jacob's son's number five and six. It is also the name of a British rock band, the “Oscars” of the National Cartoonists Society and, of course, a sandwich.
The literal meaning of the word is “Look, a son” but it is thought that Leah, whom Jacob was tricked into marrying, named her son by saying “Look, the Lord saw my unhappiness and gave me a son.”
Until now a less popular biblical name, perhaps the current crop of Jacobs will grow up to have children that they will name Reuben.
A newer chapter in the story of flower names, Lily has begun to gain traction as the floral name of choice in Europe. Often used in conjunction with another flower name, Lily is, as you might expect, associated with purity and peace.
From the Greek word "leiron," (generally assumed to refer to the white Madonna lily), the lily was so revered by the Greeks that they believed it sprouted from the milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. White lilies symbolize chastity and virtue, and were the symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity and her role of Queen of the Angels.
Often associated with funerals, lilies symbolize that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death. Lily is frequently used as a stand-alone name as well as being an abbreviated version of Lilian, Liliana, Lillia,, Lillie, Lillian or Lilith.
Atticus is from a Roman name that literally just means "from Attica" in Latin. Attica is the region that surrounds Athens, the capital of Greece. For this reason, it was used for several ancient Romans and Greeks such as Titus Pomponius Atticus (112/109 – 35/32 BC), ancient Roman littérateur and philosopher and Herodes Atticus (c. 101–177), a Greek rhetorician.
A stranger to the top 1000 boys names in the United States list until 2004, Atticus is climbing in popularity, especially since the renewed interest in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and early 20th-century literature in general.
Pronounced Atti-cuss and not Atti-gus, this strong and noble boy's name can sometimes be shortened to Attty, Addy, or Cus so be prepared for your favorite name to be corrupted.
Another visitor from the realm of the space names, Aurora is pronounced ow-RO-ra in Spanish, Ah-RAWR-ə in English, and, OW-ro-rah in Finnish. Aurora was the Roman goddess of the morning, and it means dawn in Latin. According to the mythology, Aurora renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun.
The rest of her story tells of how she asked Jupiter to grant her lover, the Prince of Troy, immortality so she could stay with him forever. Unfortunately, she forgot also to ask for him to have eternal youth so while she remained the same, her lover grew eternally old. Not wanting to spend her life with an old man she turned him into a cicada.
It is most commonly associated with the polar lights that illuminate the skies with exciting bands of blue, yellow and green light. The Sanskrit name Aarushi meaning first rays of the sun in the dawn, is closely related to Aurora.
References: norse-mythology.org, huffingtonpost.ca, abarim-publications.com, behindthename.com, nameberry.com, babynamewizard.com, theartofnaming.com, dc.wikia.com