Baby Name Trends 2018
We head into 2018 following a year of surprises: The rise of powerful women after the fall of the first female presidential candidate, unexpected heroes (and villains) on the world as well as the theatrical stage, a new emphasis on truth as well as strength.
For Nameberry’s 2018 baby name trends, that means it’s time to get serious. In the year ahead, we predict a stronger taste for heroic names for both daughters and sons, increased flexibility in using names to equalize the genders, and a more adventurous search for names that have deep roots but feel fresh in the modern world.
Biggest Big-Picture Trend: Strong female names
This may not have been the year the US got its first woman President, but 2017 started with the Women’s Marches, summered with Wonder Woman, and ended with the mostly-female whistle-blowers bringing down titans of entertainment, business, and politics. That propels us into 2018 with an emphasis on powerful women and strong female names, a theme that can’t help but influence parents naming daughters in the future. A handful of studies have identified the names most likely to get into top colleges, which include serious girls’ names finding new appeal with baby namers, including Eleanor, Margaret, and Ruth. Other winners are names that mean intelligence or wisdom, such as Sophia and Pallas, names that mean strength such as Matilda and Bridget, and especially names of heroines and goddesses, such as Freya, Luna, Arya, and yes, let’s even go all the way to Sojourner.
- strong female names, a theme that can’t help but influence parents naming daughters in the future. A handful of studies have identified the names most likely to get into top colleges, which include serious girls’ names finding new appeal with baby namers, including Eleanor, Margaret, and Ruth. Other winners are names that mean intelligence or wisdom, such as Sophia and Pallas, names that mean strength such as Matilda and Bridget, and especially names of heroines and goddesses, such as Freya, Luna, Arya, and yes, let’s even go all the way to Sojourner." >
- America’s chief executive, we believe Presidential names will only get hotter for both girls and boys. Kennedy, Madison, Reagan, and Taylor are already popular for girls, while Carter, Jackson, and Tyler rank for boys. But other Presidential surname-names set to rise include: Clinton, Ford, Grant, Harrison, Hayes, Jefferson, Lincoln, McKinley, Monroe, Pierce, Truman, and Wilson. We also can see these distinctive Presidential first or middle names becoming more popular: Quincy, Abraham, Franklin, Ulysses, Chester, Grover, Theodore, Woodrow, Calvin, Ike, and maybe even Barack, though definitely not Donald." >
- Most Popular Names of 2017, we discovered something really new and interesting: The top boys’ names were impacted much more by fashion shifts than girls’ names. That’s a turnaround from basically forever, when boys’ names tended to be more conservative and move more slowly up and down the popularity ladder because so many boys were given family names to cement lineage and inheritance. Now, we foresee boys’ names being chosen for the same style considerations as girls’ names, with such fashionable choices as Atticus, Jasper, and Wyatt among the Nameberry top 10 and parents favoring names like Jackson over John, Milo over Michael." >
- Snow, Story, Sunday, Sage, Sasha, Sayer, Soren, Stellan, and Saskia, along with s-enders that go far beyond Lucas and Alexis. Many of the sweetest s-ending names for boys derive from ancient Roman clan names: Amias, Augustus, Aurelius, Cassius, Justus, Lazarus, Linus, Ozias, and Rufus. But we also love the Hebrew Amos, the English Brooks, and the Aramaic Thaddeus. The girls’ side is slighter, but look for such s-ending girls’ names as Anais, Frances, Iris, Venus, and even the biblical Lois." >
- Harper and Skyler to newcomers Aster, Ember, Juniper, and Sailer. For boys, Eli and Levi are opening the door for Ari, Omari, and Rafi." >
- Wales, whose symbol is the dragon. Although part of the United Kingdom, the Welsh language shares status with English as the nation’s official language, and many Welsh names thrive in that country and are prime for export. Perhaps the best-known are the –wen ending names: Anwen, Bronwen, Rhonwen, Gwen, and Owen. But other hot Welsh choices are Bryn, Carys, Eilonwy, Eira, Eluned, Rhiannon, Seren, and Wynn for girls; Emrys, Gareth, Gower, Idris, Lloyd, Rhys, and Vaughn for boys." >
- Kylo, the antihero of the Star Wars movies and the fastest-rising boys’ name according to Social Security statistics. Other superhero names taking flight are, for girls, Aurora (X-Men), Darcy (Black Scorpion), Grey (X-Men), Harley (Suicide Squad), Ivy (Poison Ivy), Jubilee (X-Men), May (Spider Man), Pepper (Iron Man), Remy (X-Men), and Rey (Star Wars). For boys, superhero-influenced names on the rise include Bishop (X-Men), Cain (Batgirl), Captain (Captain America), Everett (Captain America), Falcon (Captain America), Logan (Wolverine), Odin (Thor), Rhodes (Iron Man), Rocket (Guardians of the Galaxy), Thor (Thor), Wade (Deadpool), and Walker (Black Scorpion)." >
- Frank might inspire granddaughter Frankie. Celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Drew Barrymore, and Jessica helped propel this trend forward, with names such as Bertie, Billie, Charlie, Frankie, Gus, Lennie, Lou, Mattie, Max, Teddie, and Vinnie." >
- Saoirse Ronan that she’s propelled her unlikely name to stardom. Don’t get us wrong, we love the exotic Irish Saoirse, and so do many new parents: It was the third furthest-rising girls’ name in this year’s statistics. But the spelling and pronunciation can be baffling to anyone who didn’t study the Irish language. Those three vowels in a row are particularly problematic for English speakers, along with the final se pronounced as if it were sha. Correct pronunciation: SEER-sha." >
- Ophelia, which is Greek and means “help”, has long been bypassed by parents because of the tragic Shakespearean Ophelia in Hamlet. But the enormous popularity of Olivia and the resulting need for a similar-sounding substitute have helped propel Ophelia into the limelight. Plus a lot of names that seemed off-limits because they were too closely attached to characters or historical figures with negative associations – think Romeo, Delilah, Benedict – have been welcomed back into the fold, and Ophelia is following suit, ranking as the fourth furthest-rising girls’ name in official statistics this year." >
- Ava, Arianna, Angelina. People liked their airy, feminine feel so much that they began looking for more unusual examples, so enter Aria and Azalea. And then everything broke loose, with lots of names that began and ended with A and had just about anything in the middle: Alyvia, Alazha, Alleea. Anougha!" >
- Remington, Wesson, Beretta. But we'd really extend that to all brand names for babies, no matter how theoretically classy. So long, Gucci, Armani, Porsche….and Ikea." >
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on December 15th, 2017 at 12:30 am
The ban on Brand names should also extend to car names. Just saying…
on December 15th, 2017 at 5:25 am
Totally agree… no guns or (well-known) brands in general. Really that means no materialistic names… Bentley, Tiffany, Diamond, etc.
on December 15th, 2017 at 6:28 am
@tfzolghadr – Tiffany was a name long before it was a luxury label, and I’m sure that applies to other brands/labels too, I know Mercedes is one such example (the car was named after the founder’s daughter). Surely such names couldn’t be banned, when they were names first?!
on December 17th, 2017 at 12:09 pm
I don’t believe in banning names. As @maggiemary pointed out, names like Remington and Bentley were names long before they were associated with brands. Not every parent using these names is using them because they’re gun/car/jewelry/purse/whatever enthusiasts. Where would you draw the line?
on December 20th, 2017 at 7:42 pm
I agree that naming a child after a brand is in poor taste and should be avoided, however many brand names stem from real names, either given names (like Mercedes or Tiffany’s) or surnames (and surnames as given names is increasingly popular). So it’s completely possible that many families could simply like a name that happens to also be a major brand (of course parents should take the association into consideration when making their decision but if it feels right, then it’s the right name)
I mean why shouldn’t parents be able to name their kids Tesla or Nova, two beautiful names with science connections, just because they’re car brands.
And to add one final point, here in Ireland there’s a really popular brand of biscuits (cookies) called Jacob’s. Should we ban Jacob then?
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