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by Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Congratulations to the Brees family on their latest addition: daughter Rylen Judith.

With just two names, the NFL quarterback and wife Brittany (shown in illustration) managed to capture both extremes in modern baby naming.  The couple chose a first name that’s pure twenty-first century, and paired it with a middle that’s been around since the Old Testament.

Some parents consider names from both sides of the line – innovations like Maddox as well as standards like Robert or Stanley. Most of us probably have a definite preference. Yes to Eleanor, no to Madison. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

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Not Your Mother’s Baby Names

kai

There’s an entire generation of new baby names that are moving rapidly up the popularity list and that distinguish themselves by being recently minted–and by the fact that grandparents do a double take the first time they hear them. For even if they existed as surnames or place names or occupations, they’ve rarely been used before as first names.  Many of these new baby names are morphed versions of names that were used in another form earlier, while others have been spun from thin air.

Some are clearly celebrity-sourced—as when Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale gave their son a name inspired by their own personal associations with the island of Jamaica—and it wasn’t long before the name Kingston jumped onto the list.  Similarly, the singular name Miley has spread like wildfire with the fame of its onetime exclusive bearer.

Putting aside the legion of offshoots and variations—in rhyming and spelling—of  names related to Riley, Ryan, Bailey, Aiden, Tyler and Tyson, which already seem so 20th century– we’ve come up with a list of some of the most prominent nouveau names.  Although a precise demarcation can’t be drawn, and some of them were coming onto the radar in the 90s, these are the new baby names that definitely have a 21st century feel.

Girls (mostly)

ADDISON
AINSLEY
ARIA
ASHBY
AUDRINA
CADENCE
CALI
ELLE
HADLEY
HARLOW
HAVEN

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