Baby Name Trends: The Hottest Name Trends of 2023
Baby name trends for 2023 reflect a palpable shift in mood, style and identity born of the seismic events of the past few years.
This is more than just a “vibe shift” of the kind that comes around every decade or so – although the inevitable onward march of fashion certainly plays a part.
Instead, we’re feeling the reverberations of a deeper change in outlook as parents react to, and rebel against, what has felt like a particularly intense and unsettling period in history.
Nameberry founder Pam Redmond explains: “There’s a pop, upbeat, bright, 1920s/1960s vibe around. It's the feeling of a new world, where we're dancing as fast as we can and there's a complete reinvention of mood and style.”
"As in the 1920s and 60s, there’s a wish to leave everything from the ‘before’ times behind," says Redmond. "In the 20s, it came after the flu epidemic, World War I, the Russian and Irish revolutions. In the 60s, it followed World War II and the conservative 1950s. At both junctures feminism was a force. Social mores loosened a lot.”
How will this manifest in baby name trends?
At a fundamental level, we’re seeing an unprecedented fragmentation of fashionable names and styles right now.
Today’s parents, along with society as a whole, are more individualistic than ever before. But political and cultural events of recent years have also given rise to an increased sense of tribalism.
We expect to see many more micro-trends – highly localized, social group-specific, viral fashions – and an end to era-defining styles that cut across the whole population.
The cycle of fashion will speed up as our online world causes trends to hit faster and harder. Social media and pop culture (over)exposure are already making names and styles feel played out at the point where, in previous generations, they would only just have been catching on.
Image, identity and values are uppermost in new parents’ minds. Today’s baby namers are more conscious than ever about the statement their choice makes: about them, about their family identity, about their place in the cultural context.
Pam observes: “There’s a sea change upon us. Exactly how that will play out over the next ten years in terms of which names are up, which down, is more difficult to predict than the overall feeling that things are going to change a lot. The mood of names is going to change along with the mood of people.”
Read on for 10 key baby name trends we’re watching for 2023.
1. Maximalist Names
The old adage that “less is more” has lost its luster, and more is back to being more!
Opulence, decadence and drama are highly attractive to the new parents of 2023, after years of restraint both stylistic – think Marie Kondo, all-white interiors, eco everything – and literal, with the impact of the pandemic restrictions.
Recent pop culture phenomena from Bridgerton to The Witcher to The Sandman have popularized maximalist aesthetics such as dark academia, high fantasy and regencycore.
And the impact of this on our tastes in everything from clothing to graphic design to, yes, baby names is starting to play out.
Extravagant options like Amadeus and Astrophel, Myfanwy and Mazikeen are among the fastest-rising names on Nameberry so far this year.
Maximalist names hail from myth and legend, from history and fantasy, from literature and anime. But they are united by their strong sounds, gravitas, and confident main character energy.
Best Maximalist Names
2. Names So Out They’re In
Call it the Stranger Things effect. 2022 has given us the return of the mullet, Kate Bush back at #1, and nostalgic 80s clothing and makeup styles trending.
We predict that 2023 will see the start of a revival of 80s inspired names by ahead-of-the-curve admirers of this retro style.
Even calling this trend category "Names So Out They're In" is from the 80s. We used it in Beyond Jennifer & Jason, our OG book on names, published in 1988.
We’re not expecting a surge in babies named Jessica or Michael, the top girl and boy names of the 1980s – at least not yet. Instead, we’re watching the more era-evoking choices that came of age around the same time as lumberjack shirts, leg warmers and bomber jackets.
Names in this category include character names from 80s pop culture classics, like Ferris, Marty and Sloane, as well as Stranger Things names and others with the same cozy, even kitschy, retro feel.
By rights, these names should be at the height of unfashionableness… and yet. Their nostalgic charm and countercultural appeal really speak to the current zeitgeist.
Names So Out They're In
3. Gilded Names
The future’s golden! Shimmering, shining, gilded names are shaping up to be one of the top trends of 2023. Parents are actively seeking names that feel bright, luxurious and optimistic.
Golden names include those that directly reference the precious metal – such as cool retro nickname Goldie, new to the Top 1000 last year.
But also among the gilded names we’re watching are sun deities like Apollo and Helios, names meaning gold or light like Aurelia and Lux, and rich regal names like Atarah and Sovereign.
Names of Gold
4. Neo-Cowboy Names
Amazon’s new sci-fi Western Outer Range propelled its protagonist’s cowboy-cool name, Royal, straight to the top of the Nameberry charts this year – surprising even us!
Amid the turmoil of the past few years, we’ve seen interest in rugged, outdoorsy, back-to-basics style names positively booming. With modern life feeling increasingly uncertain and destabilizing, parents are gravitating towards themes of nature, rural living, and simpler times.
Neo-cowboy names evoke this rugged ideal, but they also feel bang on trend for 2023. Think stylish name sounds like the -ett, -er and -s endings, or choices with recent celebrity endorsement, like Brando, Tex and Wilder.
We’ll also be watching character names from the coolest new Western shows, from Outer Range’s Royal and Rhett to Yellowstone’s Dutton to 1883’s Ennis.
New Cowboy Names
5. Traveling Lite Names
Until recently, parents searching for cross-cultural baby names tended to turn to the classics. Options like Anna or Leo might not be unique, but they’re instantly recognizable and pronounceable in many different languages.
But today’s parents aren’t willing to sacrifice individuality in pursuit of international appeal.
The coolest new cross-cultural names are fresh, funky and light. Chameleon-like, they travel seamlessly between languages and cultures without feeling too strongly tied to any in particular.
A and O endings are still big, but the hottest new choices in this category fit a very specific formula: four letters, two syllables, ends in I. This name shape hasn’t been mainstream cool since the midcentury era of Lori, Teri and Geri, but it’s about to come back with a bang!
Pop culture and celebrities are boosting options like Bibi and Gigi, Rani and Rumi, Nori and Lili.
The latest example to leap up the Nameberry charts is Leni, chosen for his daughter earlier this month by British fitness influencer Joe Wicks.
Names That Travel Lite
6. X-tra Names
The new parents of 2023 are looking for names with the X factor! Beginning, middle or end, X is without doubt the coolest letter of the moment.
Interestingly, the X names trending right now on Nameberry are drawn from a wide variety of styles and sources. Mythological heavyweights like Abraxas and Xerxes, pop culture picks like Bellatrix and Hendrix, quirky traditionals like Felix and Maxine… The one thing that unites them is that edgy letter X.
Even the undisputed king and queen of unconventional baby names, Elon Musk and Grimes, can’t escape this trend! Their two children are X Æ A-Xii (known as X) and Exa Dark Sideræl.
Most parents won’t go quite that far in 2023, but expect to see more of X-tra names like Beaux and Calix, Huxley and Onyx.
Best X-tra Names
7. Adjective Names
A huge celebrity trend right now, adjective names take fashionable word names to the next level.
Early adopter Nick Cannon has sons Moroccan, Golden and Legendary, as well as daughter Powerful.
Other recent high-profile examples include Chris Brown’s daughter Lovely, Jessica Hart’s son Glorious, and Lucky Blue Smith’s baby boy Slim Easy – continuing the family tradition!
As modern virtue names, adjectives carry even more punch and power than nouns. They feel more intentional than aspirational – reflecting the shift in mood away from the powerlessness many have felt in recent times, towards a brighter and more determined future.
Best Adjective Names
8. Grandpa Names for Girls
Bye bye, Elsie. Hello, Ozzie! One of the most fun trends we see emerging into 2023 is a whole club of so-clunky-they’re-cute grandpa names on the rise… for baby girls.
Short and often nicknamey, these new old names feel sweet and in-step with the current fashion for all things retro and vintage, yet still a little edgy and subversive.
The next generation of parents is all about playing with expectations, embracing incongruity, and reinventing tired trends in novel ways.
The hottest new upstart in this category is Max. Featured prominently in not one but two hit series this year, Stranger Things and A League of Their Own, it also boasts that stylish X and a strong yet easygoing charm. Watch this space!