We’re always adding new names to the Nameberry database, whether new discoveries or expansions of older listings.
Our latest collection includes word names and nicknames, international imports and mythological revivals. We bring you these new entries not as our latest recommendations but as fresh additions to the lexicon.
Here, our 16 newest names:
Alcina is best-known as the name of the beautiful sorceress of the eponymous Handel opera drawn from the Orlando poems. Alcina and her sister Morgana live on an island where Alcina seduces every passing sailor but once their novelty wears off, changes them into plants, rocks, or animals. Alcina comes with modern-sounding short forms Alcie or Alsie, which feel more baby-ready now that names such as Elsie, Elsa, and Isla are becoming popular again.
Bruin is the Old English term for bear, taken from the Dutch word meaning brown. Bruin might be a sports fan’s choice or an animal name in hiding. As a kind of hybrid of Roone and Bruno, it’s definitely got some cool.
Eris was the goddess of strife and discord, turned fairy tale and then popular culture figure Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Ironic, as her name sounds so much like that of Eros, the god of love. Eris made a brief appearance on the Top 1000 a century ago and was given to 59 baby girls last year.
Kalani, a Hawaiian name that means “the heavens,” is a rhythmic name that can be used for either gender though feels more feminine in the contemporary U.S.
A mandala is the magic circle of Buddhism and Hinduism, a powerful spiritual symbol used in art to represent the universe. As a first name, Mandala feels both natural and original, always a positive combination, but parents considering it should make themselves away of its deeper meaning to both religious and Jungian theories.
Michael for girls
Michael ranked among the Top 1000 GIRLS’ names for more than half a century, from 1938 until 1994. In the late 1970s and early 80s, during the heyday of The Waltons which starred actress Michael Learned, it reached as high as the 300s. But Michael’s longtime status as the top name for boys’ coupled with the rise of Michelle and Michaela conspired to knock Michael-for-girls off the list.
Milou and her near-identical twin Malou are adorable names popular throughout Europe; they’re contractions of Marie or Mary and Lou or Louise. The Malou spelling will probably be easier for English speakers to pronounce; Milou may be conflated with Milo.
Neriah is a biblical figure mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah as the father of Baruch and Seraiah ben Neriah. According to the Talmud, Neriah and his sons are all prophets. The name is traditionally associated with Hanukkah, the festival of lights.
Sabbath is a faith-inspired word name, like Sunday or Faith, that is attracting some notice since heavy metal musician Zakk Wylde chose it for his son. But then there’s the band Black Sabbath, which gives the name a more devilish twist. While there’s nothing intrinsically male or female about Sabbath as a first name, it squeaked onto the Social Security roster for five boys in 2012, but was not recorded for girls. Sabbath comes from the word for “day of rest” in many ancient cultures.
Tippi is best known as the nickname of actress Tippi Hedren, star of Hitchcock‘s “The Birds” and “Marnie.” Hedren’s real name was Nathalie Kay; her father dubbed her Tippi. Although the name will inevitably be reminiscent of Hedren, it could make a cute short form for a name such as Tiffany or Philippa.
Wren for boys
Wren may not be as time-honored a bird name choice as Robin or even Lark, but it’s more fashionable. Given to just a handful of children a decade ago, in 2012 there were 250 girls in the U.S. named Wren and 29 boys. That number puts Wren on the verge of breaking through to the Top 1000 for girls, which may well tip it even further into the girls’ column.
Zvezda, which means star in several Slavic languages, is a traditional established name in Eastern Europe and Russia. While names with celestial meanings have an intrinsic appeal, that initial Zv may be difficult for English speakers to wrap their tongues around.