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28 Surprising Baby Names on the Rise

baby name Azalea

Swimming just below our Most Popular lists are other baby names that are attracting new levels of attention. Some of these are unusual names from traditional sources like the Bible and nature. Others are classic choices that have suddenly gone from dowdy to stylish.Many of these names share a darkness, an edginess I didn’t notice until I began researching illustrations to accompany the text. It may be that, in these vampire-threatened times, we’re more drawn to myths and pop culture sources that have a shadowy underside. Or it may just be that we’re looking harder for unusual names, in places parents may have shied away from in the past.Wherever we find them, here are 28 surprising baby names on the way up:

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Popular Boys’ Names: Top 100 Makeover

boys' names

by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz

 It was the Case of the Great Missing Baby Names Blog.

One of our most-read blogs of all time, a makeover of the top 100 most popular boys’ names, disappeared from our archive.  We didn’t even notice it was gone until a Berry wrote wondering where it was.  The girls’ makeover, also written by Elisabeth Wilborn of You Can’t Call It It, is still there.  But the boys’: stolen, zapped, vanished into thin air.

So we set out to fashion a new version, using the current popular boys’ names list of 2012.

These are our suggestions of similar-but-different names you might substitute if you like the original boys’ name, but it’s just too popular.

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Baby Names 2010: Top 100 For Boys

2010 Top Names

Our focus on baby names 2010 continues today with the top 100 boys’ names.

The top seven names remain the same from the first quarter count, with Henry, Finn, and Oliver weighing in at numbers 1, 2, and 3.  This greater stability on the boys’ side echoes the pattern in the overall U.S. popularity list, where boys’ names tend to maintain their places longer than girls’ names.

The fastest riser is Sawyer, with Declan, Simon, Micah, Graham, and Landon also making big leaps.  William also landed much higher on the list — but we suspect that’s our mistake and we missed it last time.  Names that slid the furthest are Kyle, and Caleb.

New to the Top 100 from the first quarter (and marked with an asterisk*) are Satchel, Nico, Nicholas, Xavier (number 101 in the last count), Micah, Graham, and Landon.  No-shows: Hugh, Griffin, and Liev. Also no longer among the top boys’ names are three that may have landed on the list last time around because we mistakenly included searches for the girls’ versions: Harper, Remy, and Rory.

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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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heidi klum 220608

Parents in search of names emblematic of a new masculine image for their sons are also looking toward ethnic choices unknown in the U.S. just a few years ago.

The inspiration?  To some extent, it’s celebrities, from actors like Joaquin Phoenix to star dog trainer Cesar Millan to Heidi Klum’s son Johan, Jennifer Connelly’s Stellan, and Madonna’s Rocco.

And then there’s simply our widening global sensibility, taking in more and more images and cultural cues from around the world.  When it comes to boys’ names, these names may symbolize a more enlightened masculine image, or at least a fresh one.  Whether the name is Irish or Latino, African or French, we may see that exotic guy as being more stylish and more sophisticated and definitely more worldly than our regular old Bills and Jims.

Here, a selection of new ethnic choices for boys on the U.S. popularity list.  And don’t forget to take our poll on the new masculine names at the end of the column!

Amari
Andre
Andres
Axel
Braydon
Cesar
Connor
Cortez
Cruz
Declan
Enzo
Finn
Gianni
Giovanni
Hugo
Ivan
Jamari
Joaquin
Johan
Jonas
Kellen
Kieran
Killian
Liam
Luca
Malachi
Matteo
Mekhi
Milo
Omar
Orlando
Owen
Rafael
Raul
Rocco
Santiago
Santino
Soren
Stellan
Valentino
Xavier

 

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