It is always so interesting to see where the baby name trends for the next year will take us. We are off the beaten path, in terms of name inclinations, as parents are searching for something unique yet fashionable for their child.
Any parent will tell you that baby boy names are the hardest—it is almost impossible to find one that checks all of the boxes—is it sweet? Spelled easily? Different? Can people pronounce it? Can he use it professionally? Will he be teased? Does it rhyme with anything gross? Can I yell it really loudly?
But fear not; 2018 is right around the corner and with it brings a new onslaught of names. Some of them are inspired by music, some by movies, and a few by history. All of them are distinctive and will provide a baby boy with a solid, exceptional name.
The great thing about the following entries are that they are not the same tired, boring names that we have all grown accustomed to but are instead a fresh glimpse at what the new year may bring. This directory may enthuse the reader’s imagination and provide a comprehensive list for soon-to-be-parents to pull from.
Amos means “carried” in Hebrew and is a prophet in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is a solid, old fashioned name with a twist—there are not a lot of boys named Amos out there (yet).
You may also know this name from the songwriter and musician Amos Lee, whose cooing melodies bridge the gaps between folk, rock, and a little funky soul. Although he’s only 40, his lyrics and style are a call back to generations past, where musicians actually wrote their own music and could play a musical instrument.
If you are a music junkie, this name is a good one for you. If you are a hipster who wants an excuse to tell people about a good performer, this is also a nice choice for you.
Archer may not mean what you think it does. Oh wait, no. It does. Archer means “the archer”—it is quite literal. Apparently this name began to pull momentum after the release of the popular movie and book series, “The Hunger Games.” People love those books, and the fact that the main character, Katniss, was an archer inspired their name picking.
Both moms and dads tend to like this name because it is strong and tough, but also sounds gentle.
Celebs like Amy Poehler and Will Arnett have a son named Archie, which may have also added to the rise of Archer. We normal folk seem to take a lot of direction from celebrities that we admire. You know what I’m talking about.
Ash is a Hebrew name meaning “happy.” Can you really get any better than naming your kid after such a positive word? (Actually I went to high school with a kid who was literally named Happy. He got teased. A lot. Better to go with the subtle implication of happy like Ash, I think.) If you ask any parent what they want most for their child, most will answer, “I want them to be happy.” Well, this name should do it.
Ash is great because it requires no nickname, everyone can spell it, and everyone can say it. And yet, there really are not a ton of little boys named Ash out there, so you can still have a name that sounds unique.
Auden, pronounced Aw-DUN, is an English name with the best meaning—old friend. Maybe that’s why this name can give you that feeling of comfort and calm. It sounds like a different take on the highly popular boys’ name of Aiden, but with a twist.
It is also the name of a famous English-American poet by the name of Wystan Hugh Auden. He wrote about everything from politics to love, and is known in the literary world to be prolific. If you want to base your son’s name off of something bookish or scholarly, this is a good one because it leaves you open to school the masses on the brilliance of the writer your son is named after, a man who according to Joseph Brodsky had “the greatest mind of the twentieth century."
Benno (BEN –oh) stems from the German language and means “bear” or “brave." Many parents feel like the meaning of a name sets their child up for life—that the name that is chosen will help dictate the personality and direction of a child. So if you are looking for something that will inspire valor then this is a good choice for you.
Fun fact: Benno is used commonly as a nickname for Benjamin but is gaining steam all on its own. It is climbing up in popularity and will most likely continue on to be one of the most anticipated names for 2018, according to multiple baby name websites.
Parents, you’d better hop on this baby name train before it leaves the station!
Baxter is a Scottish name that is derived from a time when a man’s surname dictated his occupation (or vice versa). This particular surname means “baker." If you have an affinity for pastries or would like to inspire your child to cook for you, this is a solid choice. Had I known about this name before my sons, I think I would have picked it just banking on the fact that he would grow up to be a good son, who loved his mommy and specialized in making hand-kneaded cinnamon rolls. Yum!
Baxter, although not unheard of, has just now started to make the climb towards popularity and we will most likely see it rise through the name charts in 2018.
(Is anyone else really craving a pastry right now or is it just me?)
The name Bowie is Gaelic and means “yellow-haired." It has recently had a spike in popularity.
Everyone’s favorite English rock star recently passed away in January of 2016, which may be the reason that this name is surging in the circles of kids who grew up in the 1980’s. For those of us who were raised with “The Labyrinth,” Bowie will always hold a special place in our hearts.
What better way to honor an icon than to name your baby after him? Plus, giving your son a name like Bowie is going to make him the coolest kid on the playground, whether or not the other kids pick up on the 80’s reference. He can only be charming and confident. There is no other option.
Clark is a name that many may find surprising to see on this list. But think about all of the recent fan fair surrounding Superman—in 2016 alone there were two different major motion pictures released that were centered around Clark Kent and his alter ego. Even the “Legoworld” franchise has encompassed Superman and his adventures.
The name’s origin is English but is pulled from the Latin word clericus, meaning “scribe” or “secretary." (See how easy it is to get from “Clerk” to “Clark?")
The upcoming year is prone to have lots of boys’ names that are short, concise, and strong. Clark is just one of many that we may see popping up in nurseries across the country. They don’t call it a comeback for nothing, kid.
Cyrus is from Persian ancestry and means “throne." For anyone who has watched the popular Shonda Rhimes TV show “Scandal”, this makes a whole lot of sense. Cyrus Beene is a smart, calculating political pendant who has quickly climbed the ranks and has his eyes set on becoming President - the ultimate thrown. Boom. Mind blown.
Cyrus is another example of the short syllabled boys’ name that is becoming so popular with parents these days. Although it has been common in the Iranian community for years, it is just now crossing over to mainstream name charts.
If you want to mix it up a little, the Italian versions of this name is Ciro—which is a little bit more unique and quite catchy to the lips.
Felix comes from Latin roots and it means “fortunate.” It has been the name of four popes, quite a few saints, and my favorite-- a great character on a TV show. To anyone who has watched the striking television show “Orphan Black,” your heart will always have a soft spot for this amazing name.
It is probably most popular, however, because of Felix The Cat, whose iconic black and white face graced the screen during the silent film era. He was even ranked on the “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time” list that was created by TV Guide.
However you may or may not know the name, it is very likely to make a splash with parents in 2018.
Names that relate to nature are making a huge comeback with parents today, and Forrest is no exception. Meaning “dweller near the woods,” Forrest began to rise slightly in popularity in 2016 but it is likely to gain even more momentum in 2018. Fun fact: it was most popular in 1913.
Forrest also might be trendy due in part to the actor Forrest Whitaker, but most of us will remember the name from the classic film “Forrest Gump.” (Is there a person alive who DIDN’T love this movie? Is that possible?) The resurgence of it is somewhat a mystery because there is nothing very current that relates to it, but parents have nonetheless made it one of the up-and-coming names.
As we are all familiar, celebs can start setting trends with their babies' names (except for Apple; sorry Gwyneth, that one never caught on). The lovely Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka named their son Gideon, in 2012. Trends can take a couple of years to catch on, so they might be responsible for uptick in popularity with this name.
Gideon is Hebrew and is a great choice for parents looking for a Biblical name that has not been over-used. Gideon means “having a stump for a hand." So… perhaps we just let the implication of this name slide by us and concentrate instead on the fact it is beautiful and reminds me of someone who has many, many fingers.
Greer has Scottish roots and is a form of the name Gregor. It means “alert” or “watchful” and can be used for either boys or girls. Parents have been loving names that can work for both genders, which may explain part of Greer’s popularity in recent years.
Personally, I like it because it sounds sophisticated and unique. The fact that it is easy to pronounce and also to spell is a huge win in my book. There are not a whole lot of little boys with this name (yet), but 2018 will most likely bring a fresh wave.
Both Brooke Shields and Kelsey Grammer have named their children Greer, showing that even A-List celebs are catching on to this trend.
Gus is diminutive of Augustine or Augustus and it means “majestic." As we have seen with other entries on this list, the shortened versions of a long name, or the nicknames, are becoming very popular.
Gus is one of those names that can sound old and somewhat frumpy but once you see a two-year-old waddling around named Gus, you can see how sweet and fashionable it can be. We have seen several “old man names” that have been climbing the charts, and Gus is no exception. Names like Max, Jake, Alex, Duke, and Sam are prime examples.
Celebrities like Emily Robinson from the popular country band “The Dixie Chicks” chose this name for her son, along with “Modern Family” actress Julie Bowen.
Lionel is heard most often in English and French languages but it is derived from Latin. It means “young lion." 2018 will most likely see Lionel make a breakout on the name charts, as parents once again pull names from yester year and bring them back to life.
Everyone’s favorite lion (though he is not so young anymore), Lionel Richie, has been on tour as of late, but may not be responsible for the surge of popularity for this name. But he will always remain a favorite of soft rock fans across the world-- women who were stopped in their tracks in the 1980’s when he crooned, “Stuck on You."
Other famous Lionels include Lionel Messi, Lionel Barrymore, and Lionel Hampton.
Lucian is Latin and it means “light." It is a newer, hipper version of Lucius. It sounds exotic and fresh while also remaining down to earth. We are seeing a trend in many names that begin with the sound “lu," such as the female counterparts Louisa, Louise, and Lucy. This name is likely to explode in 2018 with parents who are looking for a name that isn’t strange but is still different.
I had a PE teacher in grade school that was named Lucian; he was from South Africa and looked like he could bench 875 pounds. This name will always give me the image of a chiseled, whistle blowing man who loved to shout obnoxiously positive encouragement to his students.
Lux is another derivative of a name that means “light” in Latin and has a harder, rougher sound than its equivalent Lucian.
Trends have shown that parents of today really like the harsher letters of “x” and “z” that were shied away from in the generations before. It seems like most people today are sick of names that are popular and have been searching instead for a unique alternative to the beaten path. They are looking at funky, fresh, and even austere sounding syllables that leave an impression on the ear.
Lux also shares the trend of being a name that does not require shortening—something that many parents put on their list of “must haves” for their baby’s name.
McCoy is like the male version of Mackenzie; it is Scottish and Irish and means “fire." We have seen that names from these Northeastern European countries are gaining a lot of momentum with parents today. McCoy sounds rugged, brave, and slightly outlandish. There is also the added bonus that his nickname would be awesome— everyone loves Mac, right?
Fun fact: one of the most famous McCoys in history is Randle McCoy who you might recognize from the scandalous feud known as Hatfield-McCoy. This disagreement became a part of American folklore, and is a story saturated in family disputes and injustice all around. Spoiler—almost everyone involved died and the families remained embroiled in the feud for decades. No fun.
Alright, all you Ozzy Osbourne fans—this one is for you!
Ozzy is an English name and means “divine power." You may see why John “Ozzy” Osbourne decided to choose this as his stage name—but no one really knows why he decided to bite the head off of a bat. That may be a discussion for another day.
Ozzy Osbourne started as lead vocalist for the band Black Sabbath but was let go from the band in the late ‘70s. He released several solo albums and created a name for himself as a solo artist. In the United States, you probably don’t want to name your child this unless you are willing to put up with heavy metal fans telling you that your son is amazing.
Reuben is Hebrew and means “behold, a son." So for those of you who just love a literal meaning, this one is a great choice! It is another Biblical name that has always remained in the shadows but may now be coming into the light. 2018 could potentially be a big year for Reuben, who has started to climb the charts with young, millennial parents.
I am a huge fan of this name because all I can think about are sandwiches and The Reuben is amazing. Who doesn’t love corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing? Just picture all that beauty stuck between two warm, toasted slices of Rye bread. Be still my beating heart. Sorry. Now is not the time for sandwiches. Let's get back to baby boy names.
Sage is another name that pulls from nature that new parents today are loving. It has not fully caught on yet but from looking at trends, next year might be a big surge in popularity for this earthy title.
Sage is both a French and English name, whose meaning is “wise one." Sometimes little baby boys come out looking like old men; they're wise, wrinkly and full of thought. This name will be fitting for them in their infancy as well as their adulthood where it implies strength and intelligence. Sage sounds soft and angelic, yet it is still uncommon which adds a zest to its syllables. Parents who want a name that has ties to mother nature and yet also is uncommon will find a great deal to love about this entry.
The name Wilder is from English origins and means “uncontrolled." This may sounds problematic and disheartening for any mother who has experienced a child in their terrible twos, but parents are still picking this name as a favorite. Remember, just because a name implies a certain quality, this does not mean that you are setting your baby up for getting it. Besides, maybe “uncontrolled” could be a good thing—like uncontrollable passion, or kindness.
Wilder is something easy to pronounce but it is still really rarely used as a name. Experts who track this sort of thing are predicting that it is going to catch on and that this will be one of the hottest, most anticipated names of 2018.
Winston is English and it means “victory town." Boom. Are you looking for something that will have a unique nickname? Then this one is for you! Just imagine taking your angsty teenager, Winston, out in public. If he starts to ignore you—to pretend you are not there—shout really loudly, “HEY VICTORY TOWN! I AM TALKING TO YOU.” He won’t snub you again.
But seriously, folks love the name Winston because it is a throwback name (most popular in the mid 1940’s) and everyone knows that they are all of the rage right now. This is destined to be one of the outbreak names of 2018 due to its historic sound and easy pronunciation. (And also its potential for teenage torture.)
Sayer has Welsh roots and means “carpenter.” It sounds colorful while also remaining stoic and chic. It is a close sound relative to the popular name Sawyer, but has an unusual twist that many stylish parents admire. People will be able to spell it and also will know how to say it.
For parents who are seeking a name that no one else has, this one is for you. There has been a recent incline in the number of kids who have been named Sayer, but it is still a blip on the radar of “standard” names. With all likelihood, 2018 might be a big year for this unique entry because many trends show that names with a low but ascending popularity score are very attractive to parents of today.
Thor is one of those names that everyone knows but hardly anyone actually names their child. But this is actually starting to shift—parents are embracing this powerful, willful name.
Thor is from old Norse and means “thunder." He was the Norse god of war and storms, and was said to be armed with a hammer named Mjolnir. He is the epitome of muscle and vigor.
I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that part of this name’s recent success is thanks to the media coverage of the Thor franchise that features the hunky Chris Hemsworth. He is one of the most beautiful things that have ever been created and women everywhere will go to bed dreaming of him and his hammer.
Sources: Behind the Name, Baby Center, Wikipedia, Name Berry