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Baby Name Trends - The Hottest Name Trends of 2022

Baby Name Trends - The Hottest Name Trends of 2022

Baby name trends for 2022 blend fun and fantasy with more serious themes of hope, strength, and spirituality.

The pandemic has highlighted our need for escapism and adventure, but also for stability and connection. The new parents of this year are seeking names with style and substance that mark a positive turning point in the turmoil of the past two years, which invests all our major baby name trends with positivity.

A striking number of our top trends for this year are for unisex names, reflecting a shift in the way the new generation of parents approaches traditional gender norms.

Read on for Nameberry’s top baby name trends right now.

Playful Names

Had your fill of bad news stories? You’re not alone! After two years of turbulence, the new parents of 2022 are drawn to light, bright, playful baby names with a strong element of fun, which makes Playful Names the leader among our baby name trends for this year.

Fashion-forward celebrity parents have already started to skip the formal name entirely, opting to put sweet, whimsical terms of endearment like Buddy, Honey, Lucky, and even Baby straight onto the birth certificate.

Also in this category you’ll find fun word names like Pixie, Moxie, and Cricket, as well as super cute, high-energy nicknames like Coco, Lulu, Teddy, and Ziggy.

Here are some of the hottest playful baby names we’ll be watching in 2022.

Escapist Nature Names

Nature names for babies are branching out! The coolest nature-inspired options for 2022 will be all about escapism. 

After a long period of closure and confinement, we’re all dreaming about the perfect getaway — whatever that looks like for you. We expect to see beachy baby names get a boost, especially in the wake of the hit HBO series The White Lotus, set in an idyllic Hawaiian island resort.

As our horizons finally begin to broaden once again, other trending nature names for 2022 will evoke wild, rugged, expansive landscapes — think Prairie, Dune, Ridge, and Sequoia.

Here are some of the coolest escapist nature names for babies now.

3. Bridgerton-Inspired Names

The biggest Netflix original series of all time, Bridgerton, turned our ideas about Regency England, and its vintage names, upside down. The Bridgerton-inspired baby name trend for surprising antique names has heated up even more after the premiere of season two!

We’ve seen Bridgerton names from Daphne to Hyacinth rising rapidly up the Nameberry charts — reflecting a big increase in attention from our visitors. Regency-era baby names like Euphemia have also seen a jump in views, prompted by a renewed interest in all things lacy and lavish, including baby names.

Uncommon character names we expect to climb include Albion, Benedict, Cressida, and Marina, while on-trend actor names including Phoebe, Regé, and Rupert (from season two) are also likely to benefit from the Bridgerton boom.

Below are some of the most iconic Bridgerton baby names, past and future.

4. Nonbinary Names for Boys

With society’s increasing openness to gender fluidity as a concept and an identity, it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see it manifesting in baby name trends too with new nonbinary names.

For years, gender-bending baby names have been on an almost exclusively one-way track. Previously male names like Avery, Dylan, and even James have crossed gender lines to become increasingly popular for baby girls. But very few female names have gone the other way.

Now, more and more parents are willing to consider more feminine names for boys. Included in this group are goddess names like Artemis, Echo, and Nyx, nature names like Indigo, Sunny, and Wren, and unisex names that previously leaned female, like Blair, Laurie, and Sasha.

Here are some of the best nonbinary names we are hearing more often on baby boys.

5. Spirit and Soul Names

Baby names in 2022 continue to reflect parents’ hopes, dreams, and aspirations for their children, born into a time of uncertainty and change. Spirit and soul names are powerful and evocative, drawing on ancient myth and diverse religious traditions — but with a thoroughly modern twist.

Many of the dynamic Christian word names on the rise started out as verbs: think Praise, Dream, Revere, Promise, and Shine. Others are virtue names that feel strong and decisive. Brave, Righteous, Savior, and True replace more timid traditional virtues, such as Patience or Chastity.

But Christianity isn’t the only source for these new spiritual names. Sanskrit names such as Veda and Rishi are also trending in a big way, as are names from ancient myth and even fantasy. Lucifer’s Amenadiel is ascending alongside a host of other angelic (or demonic) A names, from Aziel to Azrael to Azazel.

Here, some of the spirit and soul baby names that are appealing to parents in 2022.

6. Names Ending in S

S-ending baby names are booming across the board! In 2022, S will feel so much cooler and fresher than N, R, A, and even O in the final spot — and not just for boys. We predict that the smart S ending will feature increasingly prominently on the girls’ side too in coming years.

Particularly trendy categories for S-ending names right now include snappy surnames like Banks and Wells, cool vintage names from Lois to Ignatius, and ancient and mythological names like Atlas, Emrys, and Osiris. But we’ll be watching out for this trend across the style and gender spectrum!

Below, a selection of hot S-ending baby names for 2022.

7. Retro Nostalgia Names

As well as turning to nature, travel, and entertainment for some much-needed post-pandemic escapism, 2022’s parents are donning their rose-tinted spectacles and looking to the past for inspiration.

Bright, playful, primary colors are dominating the home design scene for 2022. And the retro baby names on the rise are following suit, conjuring up images of simpler, sunnier, more stable times — the idealized childhood of gingham tablecloths, home-baked cookies, and lemonade stands.

Here are some of the sweetest and sunniest vintage nostalgia baby names.

8. Next Wave Musical Names

Bold baby namer Nick Cannon outdid even himself when he gave the middle name Mixolydian to one of his twin sons in 2021 (in case you’re wondering, it’s a musical mode).

We can’t see that one catching on anytime soon, but it is an illustration of how much more creative musical baby names are set to become. Fashionable music-inspired choices like Aria, Lyric, and Cadence will be joined by ever more adventurous options, from Calypso to Rhythm to Symphony — all rising on our charts.

We’re also predicting the debut of the lovely melodic Madrigal in 2022, following the release of Disney’s newest musical comedy Encanto in late November of last year.

Below, a selection of the freshest musical baby names now, including both unique girl names and unique boy names.

9. Punchy R Names

Short baby names really pack a punch, and that strength and simplicity naturally appeals to parents in 2022. 

We’re seeing a whole bunch of energetic unisex names starting with R taking off, from recent celebrity baby names Rhodes, Row, Rio, and Rue to edgy word names like Revel, Riot, and Rogue.

This is a trend that lends itself particularly well to middle names, where short, simple names like Ann, Rose, James and John have long been favored by parents due to their great flow and grounded feel. 2022’s parents have the same criteria in mind when they opt for bolder alternatives to time-honored classics, like Reign rather than Ray or Rome instead of Rose.

Here are some of the punchy unisex R names we are seeing more of this year.

10. Euro Chic Names

Classic baby names don’t have to be common or conventional! Parents searching for unique yet established names are looking to our European friends for inspiration, seeking out stylish choices that feel fresh and surprising in an American context.

The coolest Euro chic baby names of 2022 mark a shift away from culturally distinct names like the Irish Saoirse or the Italian Gianni and toward the vaguer pan-European names whose origins are harder to pin down. These names feel as at home in Copenhagen as they do in London or Amsterdam or Vienna, appealing to sophisticated world travelers.

We expect sleek Scandinavian, Slavic, Gaelic, and Germanic names to appeal especially to the next crop of style-savvy parents, replacing the softness of the Romance languages with a spikier, steelier aesthetic.

Here, a selection of the best quirky classic European names that fit right into the last of our major baby name trends.

This updates a baby name trends piece originally published on September 25, 2021.

About the Author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from the baby names to watch in 2022 to how not to choose the next big baby name. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks several languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and four young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.