Baby Names in the News: Solstice, Atom & Mickey

Baby Names in the News: Solstice, Atom & Mickey

By Clare Green

This week’s news includes dramatic word names, on-trend starbaby arrivals, and new popularity lists from the US, Canada and beyond.

Wild new year names

We saw lots of New Year’s Day baby names last week, but here are a couple more standouts among the first arrivals of 2019.

Solstice was the first baby of the year in Martha’s Vineyard. Although he wasn’t quite born on the winter solstice, his parents liked how the name complements his brother Astrolis: one of the sun, one of the stars. (Thanks to Name Sage Abby for sharing this!)

At the more dramatic end of the name spectrum, Atom Bomb was born in a car on New Year’s Day. The violent first-middle combo grew from his nickname in the womb. On its own, though, science name Atom is a pretty cool choice. It’s been gradually rising in popularity in recent years – it was given to 68 boys in 2017 – and actress Rosamund Pike used it for her son.

Stylish starbaby names

Attention trendspotters: several celebs have welcomed babies this week, and all their names are on point in different ways.

Nameberry predicted that old-school nickname names for boys would be a big trend in 2019. Maybe British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor was taking note, because she’s just announced the birth of her fifth son, Mickey. Having said that, laid-back old-timey nicknames are very much her family’s style: her older sons are Sonny, Kit, Ray and Jess.

LeToya Luckett-Walker, an original member of Destiny’s Child, has welcomed a daughter called Gianna Iman. Gianna is the most popular of the Italian names starting with Gi-, which are an ongoing trend: it has sat steadily in the Top 100 since 2006. Other names including Giovanni, Gia and Giuliana have also seen a rise in the last 20 years.

Names ending in -son are still wildly popular, with ten of them in the boys’ Top 100. For parents looking beyond Mason and Jackson, there are plenty of options that are less common but just as recognisable. Actor Tom Welling (of Smallville fame) has nailed it with his son’s name, Thomson Wylde. It’s a way to name him after dad without going for a full-on junior, and Thomson is pretty rare: it was only given to 5 boys in 2017.

Top baby names of 2018: USA, Canada, Oz and NZ

A few more states have released their most popular names of 2018, and it’s interesting to get a preview of what we can expect in the full data in May. It’s always fun to see which names are particularly popular in certain areas. In New Jersey, Leah is in the Top 10, though it only ranks 40 nationwide. Julian and Grace are Top 10 names in Rhode Island, but not nationally, as is Grayson in
Tennessee and
Alabama. Also in Alabama, Mary is a whopping number 11, though it wasn’t even in the US Top 100 in 2017.

In Canada, more provinces have announced their top baby names of 2018. Parents in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are keeping it classic: William is the top boys’ name in both, and for girls it’s Emma in New Brunswick, and Olivia in Nova Scotia. Olivia is also the most popular girls’ name in British Columbia, and Liam for boys.

Maybe it’s easier to name the places where Olivia is not number one? In Victoria, Australia, the dynamic duo Oliver and Olivia were the most popular baby names in 2018, and Olive was a new entry to the Top 100. To give you more of a flavor of Victoria style, the other new names in the Top 100 were Beau, Christian, Carter, River and Rafael for boys; and Alyssa, Pippa, Adeline, Molly, Edith and Millie for girls.

But there are always families who buck the trends. These parents gave their sons sweetly clunky vintage names, Alfred and Redmond. Redmond is also one we love as a middle name.

While we’re down under, the new year wouldn’t be complete without the annual list of names that were rejected in New Zealand. The country notably bans any names that sound like titles, which in 2018 included Royal (and Royelle and Royale), PrincessDixieRose, and Sire. However, that doesn’t mean Kiwis can’t have cool names. Some of the notable New Zealanders of 2018 had great names including Zoi, Pip and Thomasin.

Fabulous French baby names

Speaking of banned baby names, France is often in the news for rejecting parents’ name choices. To redress the balance, I was delighted to see a list of some of the names that were accepted in 2018 (right at the bottom of this article, in French). They include Giscardèle, Macgyver, place names Marseille and Roanne, and word mashups Laprincesse Depapa (“daddy’s princess”…that probably wouldn’t fly in New Zealand) and Lovely Meaculpa.

The start of a new year is a treat for lovers of
French names because a lot – a lot – of towns and cities publish their local baby name rankings. Some of the most common names you’ll find in Top 5 and Top 10 lists are Alice and Emma, angelic Gabriel and Raphaël, classics like Jules and Juliette, gemstone names Jade and Ambre, and L-names like Léo, Lucas, Louis, Louise and Léna.

Several localities noted boys named Kylian, inspired by soccer player Kylian Mbappé of the winning World Cup team. And did you know that Lilian is mainly a boy name in France? It’s become much more popular in the last two decades, thanks to the Guadeloupean-French soccer player Lilian Thuram.

Baby names considered unusual include Memphis and Arizona in northern France; ancient names like Léonce, Hippolyte and Appolin in the Alsace; and multicultural names like Pau, Rüzgar, Murphy and Moana in Brittany.

Now that I’ve thrown so many names at you…which do you like best?

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