It’s almost the end of the year, which means way too much holiday eating, last minute shopping and (most likely) a look back on what the year has held. You can clearly see trends and know for a fact whether that purchase in January is still a good deal or not.
Naming trends began to show themselves in July on websites like Nameberry, but have solidified themselves at this point, so if you’re hoping to give your little bub a name that’s just unique enough to be special, but not rare enough to get unwanted remarks from the relatives, then now is the time to look at the popularity lists and choose a name that suits your tastes and your little one’s eventual personality.
While names like Sarah and John are dropping down in popularity, there are some surprising ones coming to the forefront. If you’re a fan of movies or tv shows, you’ll probably notice a few favorites suddenly making the list (did anyone else see Khaleesi making the top ten??).
Whether you want something that is well known or you’re looking for a name this isn’t at all common (hello, Noely and Geo), this list may help you pick out the perfect name for your baby to be!
Olivia has worked it’s way up from number 2 in 2016 to number 1 in the world this year. It remains at number 2 on US lists, and is a top charter in places like the UK, Australia and Canada.
Shakespearean in nature, it comes from Latin roots and means “Olive Tree”. It first came to light in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and has been a token of peace and fertility since Ancient Greek times.
Looking for some star power behind this name? There’s the ever popular Olivia Newton-John from Grease, or if you want something from this decade, there’s the character name Olivia Pope from Scandal.
If you like the name but are put off by it’s popularity, you can always go with a variant like Olive or Liv which holds the same meaning but creates a bit of uniqueness.
This chart topper has risen in popularity for 6 years running, but with a couple bad events with the same name (a hurricane and the scandalous Weinstein), Harvey may soon be dropping to the bottom, which may have some parents jumping on it now.
Harvey comes from the French, meaning “Battle Worthy”, and while it’s number 1 for boys on Nameberry, as of last year it sat much further down the list for the US (412th), England (54th) and Australia (53rd).
If you’re hoping to have a tiny musician in the family, this name could work for you in reference to Harvey William Mason, an American jazz drummer. Or for comic book fans, the name Harvey can pay homage to villain Harvey Dent (Two-Face) of the Batman series.
Although Charlotte ended last year in 7th place, it’s worked its way up to number 2 in the world, most likely because of a cute little English princess by the same name.
Charlotte is the feminine variation of Charles and comes from the French, meaning “Free Man”. It has flexibility with nicknames like Charlie and Lottie, making it a great choice for parents who want options.
And there’s no shortage of inspiration from the famous, starting with Queen Charlotte Sophia who popularized the name (and had 15 children!!), ruling alongside King George III in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. And if you’re a lover of literature, there’s Charlotte Bronte, writer of Jane Eyre.
If you need something just a bit more unique, try the Swedish variation “Charlotta” which is number 4,680 on Nameberry and means you can use the nickname Lotta.
This Latin name has risen dramatically in popularity since the character Atticus Finch was created in To Kill A Mockingbird in the 1960s. Although its meaning is a bit dull (“From Attica”), the name was attributed to an Ancient Greek philosopher, making it a great choice for history buffs and literary lovers alike.
For those who are more interested in naming trends of the celeb world, a slew of actors have named their little ones Atticus, from Jennifer Love Hewitt to Casey Affleck.
Not completely sold on the name? You can always go for the nicknames Kit and Atty, or if you want to go another direction altogether, you can choose the similar sounding name, Atlas.
Although this name is the second most popular name for boys, it still has a rare sound to it, making it a good choice for parents who want something different but not too different.
Anyone who’s watched Game of Thrones was expecting this name to hit the top of the popularity lists. This name is a modern, made up name from George R.R. Martin’s uber popular book series turned tv series. It’s from the Dothraki word for “Queen”. Never heard of Dothraki? That’s because it’s made up, too.
Look, I’m not going to judge you if you name your baby girl this, but just be warned, this is one of those names that is going to trend in and right back out as the series ends and people move on. Use this name with caution, unlike the people who have made this the 3rd most popular girl’s name on Nameberry. My suggestion is to go with a name like Callie, which is Greek for “Beautiful”.
This has been a number 1 name in many English speaking countries for years, only recently being uprooted by Oliver. But it’s back in its top spot, coming in at number 3 for boy’s names. It’s a form of John, means “God is Gracious” and can be found in many nursery tales like Jack and The Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, and Little Jack Horner.
It’s a favorite character name from Jack Bauer of 24 to Jack Shepard of Lost to Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock, and it’s popular with celebs, singers and pro sportsmen.
If you’re just not feeling the name or its popularity is throwing you off, you can try variations like Jax, Jackson or Jocko. Or if you just need a little more inspiration around the name, you can look to people like JFK (who went by Jack), Jack Nicholson and Jack Johnson.
This is a classic Greek name for girls, and was super popular in the 1880s, making it a top 20 name for that era. Over time it became more rare, sinking to a low in the 1980s, but more recently has become a top 10 name again. Now sitting in the number 4 position for girls, this name is a favorite in most circles.
Cora means “Maiden” and was the name of one of the daughters of Zeus. Persephone (the goddess of fertility and the underworld) was also known as Cora, making this a strong Greek mythology name.
But if you’re not set on using a fertility goddess as your inspiration, you can look to pop culture today. Cora Crawley is a character on the ever popular Downton Abbey, and Cora Munro is a character in Last Of The Mohicans.
If you’ve been wanting to use a gem name like diamond or ruby, but are having a boy, don’t worry! Jasper is one of the few gem names that have a masculine connotation and is the perfect fit for parents who want something unique yet popular.
Many of our favorite baby names come from Greek or Latin origins, but Jasper is a Persian name and means “Bringer of Treasure”.
But be aware that Jasper is the name of a character in the Twilight series, so if you’re not a fan of the vampire books/movies, then maybe steer clear of this one.
Some good variations include Casper, which is the German form of Jasper, or Jaz, which also ends up being a great nickname.
Isla means “Island” and has roots in both Scotland and Spain. It’s a river in Scotland and also the name of an island, although it’s spelled Islay (might be a cute variation!).
It’s the perfect name for parents looking for nature themed names, without going too obvious with options like River or Ocean.
Right now, it’s in the top 5 for names in Scotland and England, but as of last year it was only 126th in America, which makes it a good option for someone looking for a common but not commonplace name.
Some star power behind the name would be Isla Fischer, the beautiful Aussie actress and wife of Sacha Baron Cohen. And Harry Potter fans would love this name because of the character Isla Black Hitchens.
Slipping into the number 5 position for boy’s names, Asher is Hebrew for “Fortunate, Blessed, Happy One”. It’s a solid Biblical name, being one of Jacob’s sons and the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Asher fell out of the top 1000 names for almost 100 years, making it quite the comeback story. It reappeared in the 1990s and has continually risen in popularity since, being in the top 100 names on Nameberry for 3 years straight.
If Bible names aren’t your thing, Asher is also a popular tv character name, making an appearance on shows like Gossip Girl (Asher Hornsby) and Gilmore Girls (Asher Fleming).
With nicknames like Ash or Ashy as an option with this name, it’s a very cute choice for your little boy (or girl, in my opinion!).
I’ll give this warning right from the top.. if you aren’t a fan of the Twilight series, or if it’s going to annoy you every time someone references it, then stay away from this name altogether. However, if you don’t mind that some people will say this name reminds them of Bella Swan, you’ll probably be fine naming your sweet little girl this.
Isabella is the Italian or Spanish version of Elizabeth and means “Pledged to God”. In the 1980s, it wasn’t even in the top 1000 names, which makes for a huge rise in popularity very quickly. It peaked on the charts in 2009 and 2010 when the Twilight series hit the masses, but has continued to be a favorite today.
Nicknames include Bella, Bell and Izzy which are all cute options for your little miss!
This is a great name for parents who appreciate history and hipsters alike. Ancient Greek Olympian, Milo of Croton, was a wrestler and weight lifter. He may have been the very first strength athlete to become famous.
In the hipster world, Milo is the predecessor to the name Miles which is a favorite of the “last name as a first name” group.
Celebs love the name Milo, from Ricki Lake to Liv Tyler. And of course there’s the very handsome Milo Ventimiglia from Heroes, Gilmore Girls and This Is Us.
Just a quick warning- Milo is also the name of a very popular chocolate drink in Australia, and it’s a favorite as a dog’s name. But if that doesn’t deter you, it’s a fantastic choice for your little boy, and sits at number 6 of the most popular names!
If you’re a fan of Sleeping Beauty, you’d know this name well as Princess Aurora, the beautiful young girl who is awaked by Prince Charming’s kiss. The name comes from Latin roots, meaning “Dawn”. Most would know it from the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), which is the amazing display of lights in the sky over the North Pole.
Aurora does well with parents who are interested in nature, science and something a little bit magical, as it sounds like a fairytale. It’s popularity has been consistent for years, but it’s at its highest point ever, coming in at number 7 on Nameberry.
If you need a little further nudge to fall for this name, you can use the nickname Rory which is absolutely adorable for your baby girl.
Dr. Seuss enthusiasts might gravitate towards this name since it was his first name, although spelled Theodor. This name comes from the Greek and means “Gift of God”. It has an old school feel but has recently become a favorite because of the adorable nickname Theo.
Theodore Roosevelt skyrocketed the name into the top of the charts when he took office as President of the United States, but it had a slight decline over the years due to negative name associations like the chunky little chipmunk from Alvin and the Chipmunks.
It now sits firmly in 7th place on Nameberry, and who could blame parents for loving it with nicknames like Teddy and Theo in the mix?!
If it’s a little too common or old school for your tastes, you could always use the variation Tad or Tedrick.
Amelia is the super popular cousin to the overused Emma, and sits in the number 8 spot on naming charts. It is in the top 10 in many English speaking countries and has a few spelling variations to add a little flair.
Inspirations include Amelia Earhart, who was a pioneer in women in aviation. There’s also Saint Amelia who was around in the 7th century. Many royals have used this name throughout the years. And it’s a favorite for tv and book characters, from Harry Potter to Grey’s Anatomy to X-Men.
International variations to the name like Mali and Milica make this common name much more rare, while keeping the original name meaning “Work”.
Nicknames include Mia and Minnie, which are both super cute options!
Not quite as popular as sister name Olivia, this name is just trendy enough to make the top 10. As with Olivia, Oliver means “Olive Tree” and comes from Latin roots. It is a symbol of peace and fruitfulness or fertility.
Oliver was a popular name choice in Medieval times, but began to decline after the rule of not-so-loved Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century. After a while though, it began to rise in popularity again, now sitting as the number 1 boy’s name in England, Australia and New Zealand. It sits at number 8 for boys on Nameberry.
Want to use the nickname Ollie but not super set on Oliver? You can go for the Italian variation of Oliviero or the French Olivier. If you like the name but aren’t happy with it’s popularity, you can try names like Noll, which are similar but much more rare.
Amara has a few different meanings depending on the language you’re referencing, but the most popular meaning comes from the Igbo meaning “Grace”. It also means “Peaceful” in Mongolian or “Immortal” in Sanskrit. The less popular Italian version means “Bitter” but I don’t think many parents will be choosing that as their reason behind the name.
Although this name comes in at number 9 on Nameberry, it was 300th in the US only last year, making it a great choice for parents who want to be on the leading edge of the trend.
It’s a newly popular name, meaning that there aren’t a lot of pop culture references for it yet, but you can look to the Ancient Greek for a little inspiration. Amara is the shorted form of Amarantham, which means “Eternally Beautiful”.
Although this name seems like a common household name (you probably know a few Henry’s), it’s recently become a favorite amongst upscale and hip parents. It was super trendy back in the 1880s, and continued to be a strong choice throughout the 1900s, hitting an all time high this year.
Henry means “Estate Ruler” and comes from German roots. You will find lots of royal inspiration to back up this name choice, from princes to kings to just about every kind of lord. Celeb inspiration comes in all varieties from Julia Roberts’ son to Harry Potter’s great grandfather, Henry “Harry” Potter.
If Henry just doesn’t hit the spot for you, you can try some international variations of the name, like the Danish versions, Henerik and Henning.
Penelope hit the top 100 for baby names only a few short years ago in 2013, and has now become the number 27th most popular girl’s name in the US and the number 10th most popular girl’s name on Nameberry.
Penelope is a Greek name and means “Weaver”. It has some amazing nickname choices outside of the usual Penny. Try using Nell or Poppy as an option.
If you want to know what celebs are using this name, look no further than Kourtney Kardashian, Tina Fey and Taylor Hanson (of the band Hanson). And of course there’s Penelope Cruz who definitely adds her own beauty to this name choice.
If you’re more into literature than actors, there’s Penelope Fitzgerald who is an English novelist or Penelope Lively who is an Egyptian-British novelist.
Meaning “Awakening, Enlightenment”, Bodhi has climbed quickly in popularity. It comes from Sanskrit roots, and has risen over 500 spots in just 4 years to become the 11th most popular boy’s name on Nameberry, and the 363rd most popular boy’s name in the US.
Bodhi is connected to the Buddhist concept of nirvana, and is the idea of being free from hate or ego. On top of that, the Bodhi tree is said to be the tree under which Buddha sat when he received his enlightenment.
Although it is a newly popular name, there are some references to look to for inspiration. Goldie Hawn’s grandson is named Bodhi. Meghan Fox named her little boy Bodhi. And Bodhi was the main character of the movie Point Break.
This is an old fashioned name that has recently come back into fashion because of the fascination with old Hollywood. With namesakes like Audrey Hepburn and St Audrey, your little girl will have a charming and beautiful name with plenty of chic-ness.
Audrey means “Noble Strength” and is of English origin. You can find this name in William Shakespeare's As You Like It and on the super popular tv series, Dawson’s Creek.
Audrey is currently sitting at number 39 on US baby name charts and at number 11 on Nameberry.
If this name feels too familiar to you, you can spice things up with variations like Audra, Audrina and Adrey.
Or if Audrey Hepburn is your inspiration, you can try a variation of her name like Hep or Auburn.
Popular in Ireland where it comes from, Declan is rising in popularity in the US and elsewhere. It means “Man of Prayer” and is the name of St. Declan, an early Irish missionary.
It has a very 90s feel which makes it a popular choice for parents who are interested in retro names. And since it’s Irish, it is also popular amongst parents who like international options.
Declan is the birth name of singer, Elvis Costello. It’s the name of multiple singer-songwriters, and it’s found throughout the sporting world.
The variant spelling, Declyn, changes up the name a bit if you’re finding the original not suited to your tastes. Nicknames include Dec, Ducky and Lyn.
Some parents prefer the less popular Dexter as an option with the same sound to it.
Rose has been a standard for flower loving parents for decades, but recently has come back into light as a favorite as both a first and a middle name. It peaked in the 20s when flower names were all the rage, but has remained popular throughout its usage.
Many people love this name because of the various nicknames that can be used, from Rosa to Rosie.
There are a few variations to the name that can make it more unique. There’s the Italian version Roseta, and the French Roselle. I also love the French Rosette.
For spiritual inspiration, you can look to the three saints named Rose. Or for celeb options, there’s Aussie actress Rose Byrne, American actress Rose Hobart, and Scottish actress Rose Eleanor Leslie.
Traditionally an English surname, Wyatt means “Brave in War” and is the perfect option for parents who are into the last-name-as-a-first-name trend.
The most recognizable Wyatt for most people would be Wyatt Earp, who was an American cowboy until the end of the 1920s.
One of the first celeb couples to use the name Wyatt was Goldie Hawn and hubby Kurt Russell when they had their son in 1986. As of last year, the name was number 33 in the US, pushing it’s way to number 12 this year on Nameberry.
Want to go the rarer route with Wyatt? Although it’s not really considered a unisex name, you can give it to your girl like Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis did, which makes it a popular yet super unique name.
This one may come as a surprise, since it’s number 13 on Nameberry, but currently not even in the top 1000 for the US. It’s much more popular in England, Australia and Scotland where it comes in at 37, 38 and 56, respectively.
Imogen means “Maiden” and is a Celtic name. It began in a Shakespearean play but came about because of a printer’s misspelling of the Celtic name Innogen.
You have tons of options to choose from for inspiration, including singer Imogen Heap; English composer and conductor, Imogen Clare Holst; and American photographer, Imogen Cunningham.
Nicknames include Immy and Gen, and a variation of the name could be Imogenia, which has the same meaning as the original.
Whatever you end up choosing, you’ll be on the leading edge of the trend with this name!
Sources: Nameberry, BabyCenter, Britannica