Baby Name News: Grayson, Harlow and Zel

Baby Name News: Grayson, Harlow and Zel

This week’s news includes creative honor names, storms and stars, trends from New Zealand, and a baby aardvark.

News from the Midwest: honor names and Arabic names

Looking for a way to honor someone, without using their name? Here are some real-life examples from Minnesota parents who used one name to reference another.

Young Silas Edward Theodore Hopkins has initials that spell his dad’s name, Seth. Another boy, Brendyn, was named in memory of his grandmother Brenda.

One couple chose Lennie for their daughter. They started off looking for nicknames for Eleanor, then realized the nickname was what they really loved. (This reminds me of the parents who considered Hazel and Zelda for their daughter, before paring it down to short, sweet Zel.)

More Minnesota name facts? But of course. The state’s growing Somali population means that Arabic names are high on the radar there – as in this hospital’s top 10 names of 2017, which includes Mohamed and Salma. That explains why Nameberry’s quirky state favorites for Minnesota are Abdirahman and Sumaya.

Hot names for homebuyers

Know anyone who bought a house last year? Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance they were called Dylan, Austin, Caleb or Taylor.

In 12 US states, one of those four names was the most popular name for homebuyers, according to this report. That suggests that a lot of young adults born in the late 1990s, when these names peaked in popularity, are buying their first homes now in those areas.

In some states, it looks like 1980s babies like Stephanie and Ashley lead the market, while in others an older generation are the top homebuyers, like Roger in Massachusetts and and Margaret in New York. Although the map doesn’t give us much data, it’s interesting to see how even just one name can give such a strong impression.

New Zealand 2017: what’s big and what’s banned

Looking for namespiration from down under? New Zealand, always quick off the mark, has just released its top 100 names of 2017. Here are a few trends that jump out.

For boys, Kiwi parents love occupational names (Hunter and Mason are in the Top 10, Cooper and Carter aren’t far behind) and names starting with Bo: Beau, Beauden and Bodhi all make the top 100. On the girls’ list you’ll find lots of little liquid names, like Mia, Mila, Isla and Ayla.

New Zealand parents like royal namesCharlotte tops the girls’ list and George is in the Top 10 – but you can’t actually call your baby Royal there. Or Regal. Or King, Prince, or any other name that sounds like a title, contains a number or punctuation, or gives offense. All these names were rejected by officials in 2017, plus others including Chief, Lady, Justice, and even soundalike Justus.

There may be some disappointed Kimye fans out there who couldn’t call their kid Saint. Apparently no one tried to copy Beyoncé and use Sir, because that would have been out too.

These are just the latest of many names that have been banned around the world. If you live in a country where anything goes and you want a name fit for a monarch, there are lots of ideas in this post.

Stormy names: Grayson and Momirra

Grayson (and its variant spellings) just keeps rising, and I wonder if we’ll see a spike of boys named after winter storm Grayson, which hit the east coast of North America last week.

There was at least one: young Grayson’s parents had taken the name off their shortlist, but after driving through the blizzard to get to the hospital, they knew it was meant to be.

This year’s winter storm names were chosen by the Weather Channel from a list of the top names of 2016 – so it’s not surprising that some of the storms yet to come include favourites and rising stars like Hunter, Jaxon and Kalani.

Another stormy name I’ve spotted is Momirra. An Australian mother chose it to celebrate the language of the indigenous Yorta Yorta tribe – she says it means “whirlwind”. If you’re interested in Aboriginal names, here are some more that are widely known or used in Australia.

Names from newspapers: Harlow Star

When you’re naming a baby, you might perform a few safety tests, like making sure the initials don’t spell a rude word. But how many parents check whether their child shares their name with a newspaper?

In Britain, parents who called their daughter Harlow Star were tickled to find that this is also the name of a local newspaper a couple of hundred miles away. Place and glamour name Harlow is rising fast for girls in Britain, as it is in the States, so it was only a matter of time before this happened.

If you love this style, check out more girls’ names ending with an “O” sound.

Animal name news: Winsol

Finally, some name news from the animal kingdom. Lots of zoos announce the names of their new babies, but one that caught my eye was a baby aardvark (aardvarklet?) called Winsol at the Cincinnati Zoo. Incidentally, the zoo is also home to Fiona, a baby hippo who photobombed a couple’s engagement photos last year.

It looks like an anagram of Winslow (another great “O” ending name), but staff at the zoo say that he got his name because he was born at the winter solstice, so it’s a neat smoosh in a similar style to Marisol. It also happens to be a brand of bodybuilding supplement.

What do you think – is Winsol a unique alternative to more popular Win-names like Winston? Or is it better left to aardvarks and bodybuilders?

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at