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Baby Name Trends: Sleek, simple, cool names

cool baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

People often ask us how we come up with our baby name trend predictions.

The short answer: It’s a mix of science and inspiration, with a dash of magic.

One of our major predictions for baby names 2015, for instance, was a trend toward short, simple names.  The basis for this prediction was scientific: These names are now stylish and popular throughout Europe, and the names themselves are both fresh and easily translated to the American culture.

But now suddenly we see that trend for sleek, cool names really taking off, and here’s where the magic comes in.  First, early this morning, we noticed extremely positive comments on the Nameberry pages for both Jude and Lux, perfect examples of this kind of short, modern, stylish name.

And then, just as we were beginning to compile a list of similar names we saw as fitting the same attractive mold, we opened the New York Times magazine to read about a hot new clothing company called Kit and Ace, named for two prototypical millennials who personify the cutting-edge brand.

In the baby name trend predicting world, three influences like this from three different sources — international statistics, grass-roots comments, and the fashion world — add up to a bona fide trend.

And then a fourth item drove the idea home: Abby Sandel’s Monday column right here on Nameberry, discussing all the new celebrity baby names that fit the short, simple trend.

Here, our picks for baby names that embody this major trend toward sleek, simple, cool names.  Most of these move beyond traditional choices such as Bill and Anne but stop short of being word names or nature names such as Wren or Snow (though there are selections here that veer toward both the traditional and the nature categories).  But the best of them, to our mind, live somewhere in the middle.

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invented baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

Last week we challenged you to invent a great baby name. You took us up on it….and how! Over 200 entries later, Linda and I along with Nameberry’s senior editor and writer Abby Sandel made our individual lists of favorites.

There were only a handful of names on all three of our lists – and our two winners were chosen from those names that won unanimous approval. But before we get to those, let’s look at the long list of names we liked and the categories that sparked the best inventions.

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Invent a Name Contest!

invented baby names

People invent new names all the time, so why not you?

Surely you can do better than Hatice or Loganne, Zake or Zyree, all genuine invented names found on the 2013 U.S. official baby name list.

To motivate you further, we are offering a complete library of our ebooks to the inventor of the name we deem the best.  And by best we mean the most attractive, most theoretically usable, most inspired, and one we like the most.

Your invented name can be a combination of two (or more) existing names, a word turned into a name, or a confection spun from the ether.

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British baby names

The Top 100 names of England and Wales are resplendent with choices that feel a lot more chic and surprising in the US than they must in the UK.

Freya, for instance, the Norse goddess name that’s become a Top 20 staple on the other side of the pond, just cracked the US Top 1000.  Florence, which has been stylish in the UK for decades now and still stands at Number 29, fell off the US Top 1000 in 1982 and has yet to reappear.  Harriet is Number 61 in the UK while it hasn’t been on the US Top 1000 since the 1970s, while Martha stands at Number 73 in the UK and rising yet is at 803 and sinking in the US.

The boys’ Top 100 in the UK includes names such as Arthur, Freddie and Frederick, Louis, and Stanley that rank much lower in the US.

Below the UK Top 100, it’s impossible to quantify baby name trends as statistics don’t exist.  Instead, we must rely on anecdotal evidence: What fashionable young parents in Shoreditch and Swansea are naming their babies, compared with names considered stylish in Soho (the New York one) and Silver Lake.  While there are some similarities — fashionable parents on both sides of the pond love Iris and Oscar, Ada and Arthur — there are many fascinating differences in taste.

Our prime examples of names that are more stylish on the UK side of the pond than the US:

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Nominate the Best User Lists!

best user list

If you’ve spent any time on Nameberry, you’ve probably discovered our thousands of lists created by our users — nearly 12,000 public lists, and over 60,000 if you count the private ones!

We feature one of these user lists every day on the site, to help people discover the best lists created by Nameberry visitors and to help spotlight all our creative berries.  These user lists cover every topic imaginable, ranging from lots devoted to Favorite Names or Baby Name Ideas to such arcane topics as Names for Steampunk Aristocracy or Sky Gods and Goddesses of Greek Mythology. 

And now we’re looking for more wonderful user-created lists to spotlight. So please nominate your favorites for more attention, whether you created them yourself or discover them in our archives.

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