Creative Baby Names: Then and Now


By Abby Sandel

Last week, Nameberry’s story on Crazy Baby Names was everywhere. Because outrageous baby names never get old, and it’s kind of mind-boggling to imagine introducing your kids, Royaltee and Ruckus.

Except that this is a very old trend. There have always been creative namers.

We recognize choices like Nevaeh and Messiah, Brynlee and Blaze as novelties of our time, but it’s difficult to know how to think about the rarities of an earlier age. Back in 1913, Exie, Vada, and Coy were in the US Top 1000. Are they vintage gems, or the Jayden and Kaylee of another age – or both?

This week’s baby name news was filled with creative baby names from today, as well as days gone by. Some of them are nouveau coinages that might not be your style. But they may be the next big thing.

Allyn and Avonne – For proof that creative baby names have long been with us, look no further than Nancy’s Baby Names post about influential showgirls from the early twentieth century. Broadway’s Ziegfeld Follies boosted the name of two cast members – Allyn and Avonne (Allyn King–shown). Both feel like names that could succeed just as easily in 2015. Avonne hasn’t been heard in years, but Allyn remains in use.

Brexton Locke – NASCAR driver Kyle Busch is a new dad. He and wife Samantha chose the name Brexton Locke for their new arrival. 42 boys were given the name in 2014. It feels like a mash-up of Braxton and Exton. With x-in-the-middle names like Jaxon and Axel attracting so much attention, no wonder we’re hearing even more creative spins.

Everleigh, Rekker, and their little brother or sister – Actors Cam Gigandet and Dominique Geisendorff recently announced that they’re expecting baby #3. Their two children together are Everleigh Ray and Rekker Radley. Everleigh has proved to be a fast-rising choice in recent years. And while Rekker hasn’t caught on, bad boy names with a creative vibe have definitely gone mainstream. If Ryker is on the rise, can Rekker be too far behind? And what do you name a little sister or brother for this pair?

Zaiden, Maizy – Speaking of sibsets, this question at Swistle caught my eye. Their firstborn is Zaiden William, and if their second is a girl, they’ve settled on Maizy Tangerine. The mom acknowledged that the names could lead to some interesting reactions, but they’re not swayed. It’s the power of those great letters, like x and z.

Jayde, Bentley How do creative names go mainstream? At least some credit goes to television, and in recent years, a surprising number of names have been boosted by MTV’s Teen Mom franchise. Original cast member Maci Bookout saw the spelling of her name rise, as well as the name of her young son, Bentley. Yes, Bentley, as in the luxury cars, as well as a surname name spin on Benjamin. Now Maci is back on the fifth season of the series, Teen Mom OG. Bookout has just welcomed a daughter, named Jayde. Jade and Jayden are slipping in the US rankings, and Jayde is currently outside of the Top 1000. But it’s definitely a creative name – and we know that Bookout has been a trendsetter in the past.

Vanellope – It’s not just reality stars and NASCAR drivers going out on a limb with bold, unconventional baby names. Creativity reigns everywhere, and birth announcement blog Names for Real always demonstrates the tremendous variety of creative baby names chosen by parents everywhere. In a recent post, there were announcements for babies named Autzyn, Azadae, Donegan, Jasika, Liloo, Wesalyn, and Vanellope. Yes, Vanellope, the vanilla-Penelope mash-up invented for an animated video game character in Wreck-It Ralph. It isn’t just this one time, either. There were 77 newborn Vanellopes in 2014 alone.

Are there any creative baby names that you like? How about creative names that have gone mainstream? And are you as surprised as I am over the 77 Vanellopes?

About the Author

Abby Sandel

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at