16 Wild Baby Names You're About to Hear a Lot More Of
Wild and wacky baby names used to be the preserve of the rich and famous. Naming your child Fifi Trixibelle or Kal-El or Pilot Inspektor made a very public statement that the normal rules of the game did not apply.
But fast forward a couple of decades, and wild baby names have gone mainstream!
So what are the eyebrow-raising choices of today that have the potential to become the Atlas or Maverick, Nova or Nevaeh of tomorrow? Those names were almost unheard of until the nineties or noughties, but are now wildly popular choices.
We analyzed our site statistics from the past six months to identify 16 outlandish baby names currently trending upwards in a big way. All of these names saw at least a 50% increase in pageviews on Nameberry across the first half of 2022.
Boosted by cool sounds and pop culture connections, these are the wild baby names we predict you’re about to hear a lot more of.
Already at #370 in the US, bold word name Royal nevertheless deserves a spot on this list thanks to its meteoric rise up the Nameberry charts this year. Catapulted into the #1 spot in April by Amazon’s new sci-fi Western Outer Range, it remains our most-viewed boy name today.
Royal has undergone several style metamorphoses over the years, from rugged grandpa name to aspirational modern virtue and halfway back again. Josh Brolin’s character could be the boost it needs to beat its historical high of #279 back in 1889.
S-ending surnames are one of the biggest trends of recent years, originally for boys but increasingly for girls too. Harry Styles put the Y spelling of this stylish surname on the extended girl name list for the first time last year.
Now that Gen Z are all grown up and naming babies of their own, we think this name is set to rise higher – but the plausible deniability of the Stiles spelling might give it extra appeal.
Until recently, Nori was too strongly associated with dried seaweed to catch on as a baby name. But in 2014, the year after “Nori” (North) West was born, it quadrupled in usage and now looks set to break the Top 1000 next year.
Its sweet yet sleek I ending is very much back in style, but the Loris and Teris of the 1960s have been replaced with fresh international alternatives, like Saanvi, Nixi, Gigi and Lumi – all also on the rise.
Pop culture can push even the most edgy and unconventional names into the mainstream: think Phoenix, Maverick and Khaleesi. New to the US Top 1000 in 2020, Mazikeen is a surprising up-and-comer boosted by a character in the hit fantasy series Lucifer.
The name has its origins in Jewish mythology: the mazzikin are invisible demons whose name literally means “those who do harm”.
The king of the gods feels like a bold namesake for a baby boy, but we’ve seen by far the biggest uptick in views for Jupiter for a girl: up 517% over the past 6 months.
Its resemblance to the fashionable botanical name Juniper doesn’t hurt, but the real boost came from the announcement in July of Ed Sheeran’s second daughter Jupiter – sister to the equally on-trend Lyra.
Nature names are getting wilder, but Hyacinth retains a buttoned-up charm despite its extravagance and rarity. It has been attracting increased attention on Nameberry ever since its debut as the youngest Bridgerton sister in Netflix’s hit historical romance.
In Greek mythology, Hyacinth is a male name. A beautiful young lover of Apollo, he was killed accidentally by the sun god, who made a hyacinth flower grow from the spot where he fell.
The letter X is a strong theme among our fastest-rising names of the year. As well as this eye-catching ancient option, which packs a double punch, names like Ajax, Nyx, Trixie, Lynx, Onyx, Lux, Jinx and Calix are also trending in a big way.
Xerxes was a 5th century BC Persian king, whose name also appears as a place name in the anime series Fullmetal Alchemist.
Maximalist names are coming back! After several decades of light, liquid names and micro-monikers for both sexes, we predict a rise in big, bold, multisyllabic names with plenty of presence and history.
At five syllables, Cassiopeia takes the crown for the longest name trending strongly with our site visitors. But other 4+ syllable options that have risen rapidly over the past six months include Artemisia, Ambrosia, Andromeda, Cleopatra, Philomena, Aurelius, Amadeus, Octavius, Thelonious, Demetrius and Valerian… phew!
Nameberry favorite Wren is still flying high, up 79% so far this year. But now it’s been joined by a fresher flock of bird names, including the cute and chirpy Sparrow. (Okay, laying off the bird puns now…)
Sparrow benefits from a cool O-ending sound and celebrity baby pedigree. But other avian names rising this year include Lark, Peregrine, Raven, Dove, Hawk, Starling, Finch and Birdie.
This more modern spelling of the Biblical Phineas has been popularized by musician FINNEAS, brother of Billie Eilish. As well as appealing to music fans, Finneas provides a more natural route to the cool nickname Finn: #11 on Nameberry in its own right.
Phineas itself is also up 71%, having been chosen for their second son by Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake in 2020.
Big, bold, even sensual god and goddess names are no longer off the table for babies! Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and fertility, could join the likes of Adonis and Eros on the American baby name map.
Aphrodite’s Roman counterpart, Venus, is also up 125% on the start of the year, along with Electra (+67%), Sappho (+63%) and even Antigone (+94%) and Ismene (+97%), daughters of Oedipus and Jocasta in Greek myth.
The newest nicknames on the rise are less cutesy, more kooky. Ziggy is a prime example: it’s fun but a little outlandish, the kind of edgy-cute name that gets a decade or two of use for pets before starting to pop up in nurseries too.
Others, such as Coco, Trixie, Teddy, Suki, Fifi and Tiggy, are also getting increased attention right now. But Ziggy also benefits from that striking Z initial and multiple cool musical namesakes that we think could tip it for future stardom.
Another fun musical moniker on the rise is Calypso – a name as upbeat and melodic as the Afro-Caribbean musical genre it denotes. It’s also a mythological name, belonging to a nymph who detained the shipwrecked Odysseus on her island for seven years.
O-ending names have proved very popular in recent years, but we’re now seeing longer, jauntier options like Calypso, Jericho and Indigo catching up on the likes of Leo, Theo and Arlo.
The reigning queen of the day names is Wednesday, recently chosen for his daughter by actor Rupert Grint. Less sunny than Sunday and more substantial than Tuesday, this super quirky choice boasts very on-trend gothic overtones thanks to the inimitable Wednesday Addams. Her name was chosen by creator Charles Addams because “Wednesday’s child is full of woe”.
With a new Netflix series dedicated to the character due to be released this fall, we predict that Wednesday’s star will continue to rise over the next few years.
Our visitors are especially intrigued by names with dark and dangerous associations, and Draco is another example that is starting to catch on now that the Harry Potter generation is all grown up and naming babies of their own. There were 160 baby boys given the name in the US last year, up from just 32 a decade before.
Proving that the Potterverse continues to inspire parents and name lovers alike, other hot names from the series include Luna, Minerva, Bellatrix, Severus, Lucius, Sirius and Lysander.
We’re watching this chic and radiant French word name to be one of the next big middle names for girls – following on from the likes of Rose and Violet, Pearl and Wren. Meaning “sun”, it’s part of a trend for bright, sunshiney nature names which has gained real traction during the pandemic years.
Soleil just sneaked into the Top 1000 last year at #999, and has celebrity cachet thanks to actor Soleil Moon Frye and Bodhi Soleil, daughter of Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed.