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Brave New Baby Names: Ace, Atlas & Brax

2016 begins with bold baby names fit for a new world

By Abby Sandel

The year has started with a bang! The birth announcements have been full of rare word names and surprising choices. We’ve seen lots of brisk names short on sounds, but long on style, too.

Give it a few weeks – or days – and doubtless we’ll see more traditional names in the mix. Celebrities will call their kiddos Vladimir and Isabetta, and a new fictional character or three will come along with a four-syllable name that seems like the next big thing.

But for the moment, it’s easy to believe that parents are naming for a new world, putting tradition in the past to embrace modern names with relatively limited histories of use.

Let’s take a look at the distinctively 2016 baby names making headlines over the past week.

Ace Wells Kandi Burruss joined The Real Housewives of Atlanta in season two, and has been with the show ever since. The singer-songwriter and husband Todd Tucker welcomed their son, Ace Wells, last week. Ace joins Kandi’s teenaged daughter, Riley. Ace is a defining name, one of those braggadocio choices for boys that is starting to feel mainstream. With the ‘s’ ending, middle name Wells feels equally on trend.

Brax Brandon Max and Jax have been huge in recent years, and actor Dax Shepard boosted his unusual given name, too. Now Names for Real has spotted a Brax Brandon. His name appears in the same round-up as Jack Valentine and Lux Payton. From the classic to the invented, parents love those short names for boys. Nearly 100 boys have been named Brax since 2010.

Cruz Achille –ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo and husband Tommie Porter are now parents to a second child. Cruz joins big sister Nina Isabella. Both names have a certain global appeal, a mix of Spanish, Italian, and French. Achille honors Mara’s grandfather. Cruz has ranked in the US Top 300 for the last three years, a once unusual choice that now feels very current in 2016.

Hodge William Hodge fits the short, modern names for boys trend perfectly, and yet this Names for Real find is truly old school. Hodge first emerged as a nickname for Roger in medieval England. The noble Roger has been fading since the end of the Mad Men era. And while I wouldn’t count out a future Roger revival, nickname form Hodge feels more interesting today.

Atlas Bram Congratulations to Berry Juice contributor Brooke – also known as Blue Juniper – on the birth of Atlas Bram! Atlas made the same list that included Ace. It’s a big, bold name for a boy. As for Bram, the short form of Abraham brings to mind Bram Stoker. It’s among the most popular names for boys in the Netherlands in recent years. It’s also one of my personal favorites! 

Chosen Sebastian – NFL quarterback Cam Newton and girlfriend Kia Proctor recently gave this lots-to-live-up to name to a son. The couple kept the pregnancy and birth quiet, and have yet to comment on their unusual name choice. However, the Carolina Panthers player has been vocal about his faith, so it may be that Chosen has a spiritual meaning, putting this name in the same category as Bodhi and Messiah.

Rey, Finn, and Poe – Yes, I’m talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens names again. This time, it’s because they were voted Fictional Character Names of the Year by the American Name Society. One of the arguments in favor of the trio’s triumph? Their likely impact on what we name our children in the years to come.

Love Lily Preston Brust of country music duo LoCash is a new dad! The singer-songwriter and wife Kristen welcomed daughter Love Lily last week. Love has a long history of occasional use as a given name, but has been climbing lately. In 2014, 127 girls were named Love, along with 12 boys. Terrence Howard welcomed son Qirin Love in 2015. Could it also be a nod to dad’s biggest single? LoCash’s Top Ten hit “I Love This Life” recently became the duo’s most successful release to date.

Clio – Speaking of obscure names that could be set to climb, I’m keeping an eye on Clio. It’s my daughter’s name, but it’s also the name of one of the main characters in Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s new novel, The Ramblers. It’s not exactly another Star Wars, but that almost makes it better – it could be just enough exposure for this ancient o-ending girls’ name to join Willow, Margot, and Harlow in the US Top 1000.

Winter – Speaking of Willow, is this seasonal choice the hottest nature name for girls? In fairytale-inspired YA sensation The Lunar Chronicles, Winter is an updated version of Snow White. It’s also the name of interior designer Brittany Hayes’ younger daughter. The Hayes family home was recently featured on Design Mom’s Living with Kids series. That’s about as stylish as it gets!

Are you hearing short names with big meanings? Would you consider a name like this, or do you like your names more traditional?

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2 Responses to “Brave New Baby Names: Ace, Atlas & Brax”

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Haids1987 Says:

January 11th, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I think Love is amazing! I have always liked it, most definitely a guilty pleasure name for me. But I’m sorry, I really dislike Clio. Not the name itself–I don’t mind Cleo–but I hate the spelling with an I. It reminds me too much of a piece of female anatomy.

jtay07 Says:

January 11th, 2016 at 5:15 pm

There are a lot of great names in this post! I’m not a fan of Chosen though – it just seems pretentious. Same category as Royal, Saint, etc. to me.

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