100 Top Baby Names 2018

100 Top 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.

Ada Ava with gravitas.

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

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

Alessia A Latinate spin freshens up Alexa and sisters.

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

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

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

Angelica This most angelic of  names has transcended Rugrats fame.

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

Antonina Dainty feminization of Anthony feels at once vintage and unexpected.

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

Ari The i ending modernizes this Hebrew nickname-name.

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

Arthur A princely classic with an artsy short form.

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

Aurelius Golden choice with Roman roots.

Azariah A new Old Testament name used equally for girls and boys.

Bear Once-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.

Faye Simple 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.

Gracia A Spanish name with plenty of gratitude.

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

Horatio Ancient name with new possibilities.

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

Ivo A woodsy name most popular in The Netherlands.

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

Jericho Biblical place-name that works for either sex.

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

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

Keir Strong, simple name that relates to the popular female Keira.

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

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

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

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

Lilia Makes Lily more formal and more distinctive.

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


Lorcan An 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.

Maia Newer spelling of Maya.

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

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

Marlow Surname name that’s become a celebrity favorite.

Massimo Max, in Italian.

Milana Part Mila, part Melania.

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

Niamh Now 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.

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

November Underused month name that can work for girls or boys.

Olympia August name brought to new attention by Serena Williams.

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

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

Quincy Works for either gender but getting especially popular for girls.

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

Ramona Romantic classic that feels distinctive.

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

Renata Operatic name that literally means rebirth.

Reverie Dreamy word name.

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

Romy Luscious nickname-name that now often stands on its own.

Roscoe Quirky Norse name last popular in the 1880s.

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

Rowena Classic literary name little-used today.

Sabine An ancient girls’ name never in the Top 1000.

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

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

Sera This short form of Seraphina can be used on its own.

Serafina The f is the Spanish spelling.

Seth Gentle name never as well used as his Biblical brothers.

Tansy A playful flower name with a serious meaning: immortality.

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

Tempest Stormy word name that’s never been more appropriate.

Teo Exotic form of the stylish Theo.

Thelonious Jazzy classic that suddenly seems possible.

Thorin The soft way to Thor.

True Virtue name not just for the middle.

Urban Ancient pope name that’s right for modern city babies.

Verity The new Hope. Faith, and Charity.

Veronica Ancient saint’s name with contemporary glamour.

Vida A new choice that means life.

Virgil Ancient literary name.

Viviana Enlivens Vivian.

Wilfred British hottie that updates William.

Winslow Artistic name with a winning nickname.

Wynn Uplifting choice for either gender.

Xen Zenlike name for either gender.

Zahra Sarah, with zest.

Zephyr Greek god of the west wind makes an evocative namesake.

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

Zion Biblical place name with optimistic meaning.

Zora Simple-yet-unusual tribute name to a literary heroine.


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?

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.