100 Best Baby Names 2018

Names that should be on everyone's list right now

best baby names 2018

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone’s list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising.

That’s because there are so many more unusual names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents in 2018 do not need to be told, as they did in 1988, to move beyond Jennifer and Jason (as we urged in the title of our first book). Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here, our picks the 100 best baby names for 2018.

AdaAva with gravitas.

Adelia — If you love Adeline and Adele, this vintage name is more distinctive.

AlbaA Top 10 name in Spain, this last hit the US popularity list a century ago.

AlessiaA Latinate spin freshens up Alexa and sisters.

AlmaThis soulful choice is the name of the simple-but-strong heroine of Phantom Thread.

AmaliaWhy choose the lovely-but-overused Emma, Emily, or Amelia when you could choose this Dutch royal name?

AmarisThis unusual name meaning love is a 21st century update on Amy.

Angelica This most angelic of  names has transcended Rugrats fame.

AnselPhotographer name finding a new image via young actor Ansel Elgort.

AntoninaDainty feminization of Anthony feels at once vintage and unexpected.

ArdenA name with a unisex feel used mostly for girls that benefits from sounding like ardent.

AriThe i ending modernizes this Hebrew nickname-name.

ArtemisGreek goddess of the hunt whose moon-related name has a strong unisex feel.

ArthurA princely classic with an artsy short form.

AsaA cross-cultural name with roots in the Bible as well as several African and Asian cultures that can work for either sex.

AureliusGolden choice with Roman roots.

AzariahA new Old Testament name used equally for girls and boys.

BearOnce-unlikely animal name both cuddly and strong, gaining real traction.

Bram — Sleek short form of Abraham popular in The Netherlands.

Cassia — Feminine form of the newly-trendy Cassius and Cassian, with a spicy meaning.

Cora — Classic name with literary pedigree headed for the Top 10.

Darcy — Jane Austen fans are making this popular for girls.

Eira — Welsh name that means snow.

Elva — In Ireland it might be spelled Ailbhe, but the Anglicized form has more possibilities in the US.

Emil — This male spin on Emily is finally seeing new light.

FayeSimple and pixieish and newly back in the Top 1000 after a 40-year break.

Fia Mia update popular in Ireland.

Fleur The ultimate flower name, with a French accent.

GraciaA Spanish name with plenty of gratitude.

HenleyThe ley ending adds instant trendiness to any name. including this place-name of a British river town.

HoratioAncient name with new possibilities.

IoneThis name of a sea nymph squeezes three syllables out of its four letters.

Ivo A woodsy name most popular in The Netherlands.

JacintaA Spanish name that hides its  botanical origins: it means hyacinth.

JerichoBiblical place-name that works for either sex.

JessamyIf you’ve always loved Jessica, you might consider this flowery spin, meaning jasmine.

JulietteA romantic Shakespearean favorite that’s new popular; this is the French spelling.

KeirStrong, simple name that relates to the popular female Keira.

Kit Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington has made this short name newly attractive for boys.

KoaThis Hawaiian name meaning warrior benefits from its resemblance to Number 1 Noah.

LeopoldOne of the old-fashioned boys’ names that has shed its long gray beard and feels baby-ready again.

LevThe leonine Lev is a sleeker, fresher spin on Levi.

LiliaMakes Lily more formal and more distinctive.

LinusThe ancient god of music has finally lost his grip on his blankie.

Logan

LorcanAn historic Irish name ready for its turn in the spotlight, following brothers Aiden, Declan, and Finn.

Lucinda Formalizes and freshens up Lucy.

Magnus Name popular in Scandinavia, with a great meaning.

MaiaNewer spelling of Maya.

MalachyThe Irish form of the Biblical name takes a long ee sound at the end.

MarisolTraditional Spanish religious name that also relates to the sun and the sea.

MarlowSurname name that’s become a celebrity favorite.

MassimoMax, in Italian.

MilanaPart Mila, part Melania.

Millicent– Proper old-fashioned name that can get you to the cute Millie.

NiamhNow that Saoirse is getting more popular, other names with Irish spellings may be poised for wider usage, including this name of the heroine of Christina Baker Kline’s huge popular novel Orphan Train.

NolaOne of those names that might be a short form — for Finola or Magnolia — but stands well on its own.

NovemberUnderused month name that can work for girls or boys.

OlympiaAugust name brought to new attention by Serena Williams.

OttolineOttolie might feel too much like oddly, but Ottoline solves that problem.

PetraFeminized version of Peter rising again after a hundred-year nap.

QuincyWorks for either gender but getting especially popular for girls.

RaffertyRaffish Irish surname-name first used for his son by Jude Law.

RamonaRomantic classic that feels distinctive.

RenJapanese unisex name made more popular for boys by the stylishness of homonym bird name Wren for girls.

Renata Operatic name that literally means rebirth.

ReverieDreamy word name.

RomillyRome-related name first used for boys but now more popular for girls.

RomyLuscious nickname-name that now often stands on its own.

RoscoeQuirky Norse name last popular in the 1880s.

RowanOne of the most popular unisex names is also used most equally for girls and  boys.

RowenaClassic literary name little-used today.

SabineAn ancient girls’ name never in the Top 1000.

SashaRussian short form of Alexander or Alexandra used more for girls but rising for boys.

SaulTV’s Better Call Saul has shone a new spotlight on this biblical name.

SeraThis short form of Seraphina can be used on its own.

Serafina —  The f is the Spanish spelling.

SethGentle name never as well used as his Biblical brothers.

TansyA playful flower name with a serious meaning: immortality.

TeddyShort form newly in the spotlight via the growing popularity of Theodore for boys and its use for her baby girl by Nicky Hilton.

TempestStormy word name that’s never been more appropriate.

TeoExotic form of the stylish Theo.

TheloniousJazzy classic that suddenly seems possible.

ThorinThe soft way to Thor.

TrueVirtue name not just for the middle.

UrbanAncient pope name that’s right for modern city babies.

VerityThe new Hope. Faith, and Charity.

VeronicaAncient saint’s name with contemporary glamour.

VidaA new choice that means life.

VirgilAncient literary name.

VivianaEnlivens Vivian.

WilfredBritish hottie that updates William.

WinslowArtistic name with a winning nickname.

WynnUplifting choice for either gender.

Xen Zenlike name for either gender.

ZahraSarah, with zest.

ZephyrGreek god of the west wind makes an evocative namesake.

ZiggyAdorable short form that lightens up Zigmund or stands on its own.

ZionBiblical place name with optimistic meaning.

ZoraSimple-yet-unusual tribute name to a literary heroine.

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And here are Katinka‘s discoveries in the Forums this week:

— Lovers of unusual names this way! What would you suggest for this family of fantastically adventurous namers?

— And at the other end of the naming spectrum, is middle name popularity an issue?

— From Atticus to Aurelian, Latinate names for boys are red-hot right now — but how easy are they to wear?

— Honoring a strong Christian faith… without using overtly religious names? It’s a challenge all right! What would you add?

Names you love, but no one else does: share your most underappreciated gems here!

— And lastly, tackling a naming taboo: do you love one of your kids’ names more than the other(s)… and would you ever admit it?

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11 Responses to “100 Best Baby Names 2018”

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oftenoverseas Says:

January 31st, 2018 at 12:33 am

Only 25 out of the 100 names were for boys (not unisex)! I think you need to add another 25 to this list at least!

fromtheocean12 Says:

January 31st, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I *love* Lilia, Romilly, and Rowan!
I’m also liking Quincy, Thorin, Niamh, Sasha, Kit and Ramona.

MonikerWanderer Says:

January 31st, 2018 at 8:00 pm

I love Quincy for boys. I really hope it doesn’t become an all-girls name!

oceanangel592 Says:

January 31st, 2018 at 8:31 pm

Maia is the name of the eldest of the seven Pleiades. The name is 2 and a half thousand years old. Maya is the new way to spell Maia.

mill1020 Says:

January 31st, 2018 at 10:46 pm

I like Serafina but with the nickname Seri. Alma and Cassia are also growing on me.

lookingahead Says:

January 31st, 2018 at 10:48 pm

I’m also disappointed in the ratio of boy’s names to girl’s names. Boys are getting more adventurous too, I’d love to see more variety here.

tabitha Says:

February 3rd, 2018 at 7:00 am

Agree! More boys names please!!!

tfzolghadr Says:

February 3rd, 2018 at 11:49 am

I wonder if I’m the only parent who breathes a sigh of relief to not see one’s children’s names on the list. I’d like them to remain off the radar a bit longer. But plenty of lovely names here. I especially love Artemis and Antonina.

Birdie Largo Says:

February 3rd, 2018 at 5:46 pm

I actually know a Thelonious. It has lots of nn possibilities. Thel, Theo, Tilo(Teelo)

Marli81 Says:

May 7th, 2018 at 9:59 am

2 of my sons names or on this list..Ari & Koa❤

Steph794 Says:

June 8th, 2018 at 7:52 am

Lilia and Seth are my two top favorite names ever! Lilia is just absolutely gorgeous. 🙂

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