28 Surprising Baby Names on the Rise
The Biblical king’s name Asa is being rediscovered after a midcentury slumber thanks young actor Asa Butterfield, soon to be much more famous with his starring role in Ender’s Game, in movie theaters November 1. A Puritan favorite, Asa relates to fellow hot choices Asher and Ace. Another soft-and-simple Biblical name attracting attention on Nameberry: Seth, the name of Adam and Eve’s third son.
- Asa is being rediscovered after a midcentury slumber thanks young actor Asa Butterfield, soon to be much more famous with his starring role in Ender’s Game, in movie theaters November 1. A Puritan favorite, Asa relates to fellow hot choices Asher and Ace. Another soft-and-simple Biblical name attracting attention on Nameberry: Seth, the name of Adam and Eve’s third son." >
- Azalea is among the loveliest of flowers, it has not been among the most popular flower names for girls, only squeaking onto the U.S. Top 1000 for the first time last year. But the popular book Entwined by Heather Dixon, based on the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, focuses on Azalea the Princess Royale, leader of sisters Bramble, Clover, Delphinium, Evening Primrose, Flora, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Ivy, Jessamine, Kale, and Lily. This book sculpture by British artist Su Blackwell depicts the original story. Another flower name we see on the rise: Magnolia." >
- Blaise has got to be the coolest saint’s name ever. I remember as a Catholic schoolgirl, on St. Blaise’s Day (February 3) when we all filed into church to have our throats blessed with candles, wondering why more people didn’t name their little boys Blaise. Now, if our page views are any indication, they will be: We see interest in sanctified bad boy name Blaise surging. Another name with a similar sound also attracting attention on the site: Bay." >
- Blythe is a name that proclaims its happy meaning. At once straightforward and complex, Blythe is the name of Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother and Japan’s cutely creepy Blythe Dolls. Another name with a merry sound and upbeat meaning that we see gaining ground: Calliope." >
- Celia means “heavenly” and embodies an appealing international flavor. She’s got an impressive British literary pedigree, with characters named Celia appearing in works by Shakespeare, George Eliot, and T.S. Eliot, but would be equally at home in Paris or New York. Another feminine classic we see making more noise: Helena." >
- Elise is the latest short form of mother name Elizabeth to become a fashion darling, taking up the mantle from Eliza, which took over from Alyssa, which was the love child of Lisa and Melissa. Perennially on the U.S. Top 1000, the French Elise is at its highest point ever, at Number 151, and is also popular throughout Europe. Princess Elise is the sweetie of Sonic the Hedgehog. Another elegant European girls’ name on the upswing: Isolde." >
- Freya has long been a hit in the U.K. and a sleeper in the U.S., though we can see that changing. A new TV series Witches of the East End features a lead character named Freya, played by Jenna Dewan-Tatum, aka Mrs. Sexiest Man Alive. And an interest in all names mythological can’t help but shine a spotlight on Freya. Another lovely old F-beginning a-ending girls’ name with mythological roots that we see attracting increased interest: Flora." >
- Knox is a family name for the Jolie-Pitts, who brought it to the fore when they used if for their twin son. Now other parents are following their lead, with three other little starbaby Knoxes born in the last few years and more than 800 boys named Knox in the U.S. in the most recent year counted, up from fewer than 100 in 2007, the year before Knox Jolie-Pitt was born. Also trending: the Irish Niamh, pronounced Neve, name of the heroine in Christina Baker Kline’s bestselling novel Orphan Train." >
- French say Louie and the Brits distinguish between Louis – no s -- and Lewis, which gets the s. Confused yet? This ancient royal name is making a popular comeback, which will only be helped by its use as the third name of the new prince George Alexander Louis. Another classic male name becoming more stylish: Vincent." >
- Persephone the new Penelope? The popularity of the latter definitely makes Persephone feel more possible. While Persephone’s mythological story may be often dark, it’s got an uplifting side: She returns to earth each year to bring the spring. Check out Abby Sandel’s recent exploration of all things Persephone for more details: http://appellationmountain.net/persephone-baby-name-of-the-day/ Another mythological girls’ name we see on the rise: Daphne" >
- Reed can be so many things: a nature name and a college name, a surname-name and a literary word name. It’s got a sleek Waspy image….and yet one of the scions of the Duck Dynasty is also named Reed. Maybe that accounts for the name’s popularity, ironically even more widely used under the spelling Reid. Another boys’ name we see attracting more attention: Magnus." >
- Ronan Farrow is the son of Mia Farrow and….well, until recently it was thought to be Woody Allen, but then Farrow hinted it might be Frank Sinatra, whom the blue-eyed Ronan indeed resembles. Ronan has had an interesting name history too, starting life named Satchel, then morphing into Seamus, and finally ending up as Ronan, a legendary Irish saints’ name that means “little seal.” Also gaining in views: Landon." >
- Sasha Obama has the kind of double-barreled name often favored by Berry Parents: Christened Natasha, she’s always been called the somewhat-related yet somewhat-distinct Sasha, giving her two names in one. While Sasha remains predominantly – 96 percent – a girls’ name, anecdotally we hear from a lot of parents interested in Sasha for boys. And despite its soft sounds, Sasha did originate as the Russian short form for Alexander. A similar name ranking higher in searches: Saskia." >
- Valentina is a flowery romantic name for this era, fresher than Victoria and Melissa, more unusual than Isabella or Olivia. Meaning healthy or strong, Valentina has ranked among the Top 1000 only for the past 20 years and is now solidly in the Top 200. Another powerful yet feminine girls’ name attracting more interest: Annabelle." >
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on October 17th, 2013 at 9:48 pm
A bit sad that Azalea’s getting more popular… who knows where it’ll be by the time I have kids (a good decade away at least). I wonder where it is in the Canadian stats. Then again, it’s got a long way to go before it gets to the top 10 or even 100… Celia, Valentina, Persephone and Asa are lovely; not surprised people are starting to notice them!
on October 17th, 2013 at 9:51 pm
I am not a fan of many of these, at all. I do, however, like Azalea and Reed. Ronan is nice, but too similar to Rowan. While I don’t like Valentina, I do like Valentine.
on October 17th, 2013 at 9:52 pm
I am absolutely in love with Celia! I think it is such a wonderful name. I also like Azalea, Helena and Persephone (:
author in writing Said
on October 17th, 2013 at 9:55 pm
No, not Celia and Persephone! I love them both 🙁
on October 17th, 2013 at 9:59 pm
I like many of these- Asa, Blythe, Freya, Isolde, Louis, Persephone- and have probably contributed to their rinsing search stats. Freya is currently my number one girls name, but I’m not sure if I like the Freya or Freja spelling more.
on October 17th, 2013 at 10:24 pm
I really like Ronan, Asa, Valentina, Freya and Celia. Beautiful names!
on October 17th, 2013 at 11:00 pm
Nooo! Reed can’t get popular!! I have loved that name for a long time (except I like the Reid spelling) and my husband loves it too. One thing I loved was that it wasn’t popular but also wasn’t weird and it has a very nature-y feel to it (reeds by the river…). Prefect for us, I just hope it doesn’t catch on.
on October 17th, 2013 at 11:56 pm
Celia and Reed are getting popular. *sheds a tear*
on October 17th, 2013 at 11:58 pm
Valentine is about to get another boost, too. Ender’s older sister, played by Abigail Breslin, bears this name!
on October 18th, 2013 at 1:44 am
My Daughter is Cora Jean Valentina. She almost didn’t get her second middle name, if it wasn’t for her being born on Valentine’s Day. I like the name Persephone, It is too Unusual for my husband. We are due with Baby girl # 2 in a few weeks here and Her name is Daphne Helaina (hel-AY-na). We tried to find the most phonetic spelling for the pronunciation, realizing that “Helena” can be pronounced “Helen-ah” or “Hel-AY-na”.
on October 18th, 2013 at 5:38 am
Azalea is just one of those names I don’t get. It’s not awful, but I would never want to give it to a real child. I love Valentina and Ronan though. Even though they are from such different cultures I could see them as a really cute sibset.
on October 18th, 2013 at 7:09 am
Of these I like Ronan, Sasha, Persephone, Asa, & Knox. I’m not too fond of Valentina but I do love Valentine, especially on a boy.
on October 18th, 2013 at 7:40 am
I wouldn’t say that Sasha “originated” as a nickname for Alexander. It still IS a nickname for Alexander in Russia and several other countries. It’s only in North America that it’s primarily a girls’ name.
I love Azalea, Elise, and Ronan. Oh, and Helena (HELL-en-uh pronunciation) is high on my list as well.
on October 18th, 2013 at 8:36 am
Real babies/toddlers I know: Blythe, Knox, Louis (it’s pronounced without the “s” in Louisiana), Delphine (in line with Persephone/Daphne), Reed, Magnus and Annabelle.
Real adults I know (late 20s – mid 30s) – Seth, Blaise (lots of saints’ names in Louisiana), Celia, Elise (several spellings) and Reed.
on October 18th, 2013 at 11:33 am
I adore Saskia and Celia, I’m surprised they are on the rise. Helena is no surprise to me though, I have a Helena born in 2012 and since her birth I have seen the name pop up everywhere!
on October 18th, 2013 at 11:47 am
Oh Vincent! I do love that name. Would love to see some Vinnies running around.
on October 18th, 2013 at 12:06 pm
Love Freya, Isolde, Elise, Azalea, Ronan, Magnus… Especially Freya! I prefer Freya spelling, but I’m open to Freja spelling.
on October 18th, 2013 at 12:41 pm
I can’t click past Valentina for some reason? Can someone post the rest of the list, please!
on October 18th, 2013 at 2:09 pm
@Marci0393 there are 28 names, but 14 pictures. Each slide has two names in the description.
on October 18th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Surprise! Many of the names being discussed over at the forums are getting lots of search hits. Commence freak-outs over popularity followed by a new crop of names to talk about! 😉
on October 18th, 2013 at 2:23 pm
You’re right, Saracita, some of the popularity of these names is self-created and -perpetuated, but I don’t think that’s the main story. We are talking about an average of 10,000 page views of each of these names, the overwhelming majority not from the forums. Some of these names have been mentioned in blogs, others relate to celebrities or pop culture events and so attract google searches. And most, for a combination of reasons, simply feel fresh and appealing to more people now than they have in a long time.
Will that translate to the Top 10 or even the Top 100? In the case of these names, I would say highly unlikely!
on October 18th, 2013 at 2:29 pm
on October 18th, 2013 at 3:38 pm
LOVE the name Persephone. Love it. WOuld never use it for personal reasons, but it is one of my GPs. 😀
on October 18th, 2013 at 4:27 pm
Swooning over literally all of them, minus a few of these names like for example Freya.
I would use most of them in a heart beat.
on October 18th, 2013 at 5:11 pm
So sad that Valentina is getting popular. I have loved that name for so long. Lets hope it doesn’t get to the top 100!!
on October 18th, 2013 at 8:23 pm
I really expected Wren and Arabella to be on this list. Great list, though. It’s nice (for me) to see names that I actually like gaining popularity.
on October 18th, 2013 at 11:37 pm
I love several of these.
Blaise — I think of Blaise Pascal and fire ^_^ It’s in real talk for the next baby’s middle (With Roland or Osiris)
Freya — love and fertility, most beautiful who loves music, flowers and elves…yes ^_^
Persephone — of course. goddess of spring growth, queen of the underworld. Her mythology is all redemption and strength and Hades being lonely.
Ronan — Very cool, sweet, sort of sexy. I know a Ronan. Ro is a cute nn.
Valentina — I love it but not for me. It’s sweet and exotic with easy nicknames.
on October 19th, 2013 at 6:49 am
I met a Saskia once, aged about three. I was so thrilled I practically yelled, “Saskia!? Saskia!? I LOVE that name!” Kind of scared the family, though!
on October 19th, 2013 at 9:52 am
Call me a skeptic but I don’t find any of the names here that surprising. Their popularity is on the rise because they fall into some current trends.
Nature Names – Azalea, Reed
Mythological Names – Persephone, Freya
Irish Boys Names – Ronan
Celebrity/Popular Culture Baby Names – Knox, Sasha, Louis, Valentina, Elise
Unisex Names – Asa, Blaise, Blythe
Literary Names – Celia
on October 19th, 2013 at 5:33 pm
I met a little Valentina about 6 months ago, she was probably 4/5, she was just the cutest thing, and the way she said her name was so singsongy and lovely, I fell in love with Valentina because of her!
on October 21st, 2013 at 3:50 pm
The shame about Blaise is the meaning: “lisper or stammerer.”
on October 21st, 2013 at 3:55 pm
I think Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter Apple’s middle name is Blythe. Sorry, but it sounds like apple blight to me. By the way, Apple is not a biblical choice. The fruit eaten by Adam and Eve is unnamed.
Hopefully, I’ll warm to Vincent. I am liking Victor, though, and wonder when it will be rediscovered.
on November 10th, 2013 at 10:40 am
Asa is cute but I won’t use it because it was my brother’s nn for me when back he couldn’t pronounce my full name and it would be like naming a kid Birdie.
I also like Azalea and Magnolia, Blythe, Elise and Isolde, Freya (which I can’t use, LN issues), Louis (but I prefer the Lewis spelling), Persephone, Magnus, Sashe, Valentina.
on December 6th, 2013 at 4:33 pm
Ok so Louis Sasha (for girl) Blythe were already on my lists and I see the appeal of Elise. I like Vincent but more the French pronunciation .
Same with Xavier -love it in French hate it in English
There was a hot guy named Reed at my highschool 😛
I’ve met a toddler Ronan, his sister is named Medea
Haven’t met any other kids (recently) with these names
on December 13th, 2013 at 1:26 pm
I actually prefer Bay over Blaise – haha, we have a friend named James whom we call Blaize, but that’s only bc that’s what his ballcap said the day we were having trouble keeping all the James’ apart! It stuck! We know exactly who everyone is talking about now!
I’ve been hearing more and more baby Cecilia’s lately. Celia is cute from baby to successful NYC business woman as you stated – I can see her appeal! And strangely enough, I’m hearing Freya more and it is growning on me (not bc of the reasons listed in this article). I like how you can get both Val and Tina nn from Valentina; it’s a more unique, yet rather familiar name.
Elise is one I’ve considered for a middle name – but I’ve decided that Clarice is more distinct and gives off the same softer sound of Elise; has more personal reasons tied to it (for one, my late grandpa’s name was Clarence).
on December 15th, 2013 at 8:24 pm
“Song. To Celia” by Ben Jonson is one of my faves, and I love the name Celia.
on March 31st, 2015 at 5:45 am
Love Blythe, Ronan, Magnus, Valentine (on a boy!) and Asa althought I most likely wouldn’t use it on a child.. more of a fictional character 😛
My baby cousin’s Vincent! Nice to see it getting popular.
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