Invent-a-Baby-Name Challenge Champs!
By Abby Sandel and Linda Rosenkrantz
If we’ve ever had the slightest doubts about the creativity of the Nameberry community, they are hereby gone forever.
When we announced our latest Invent-a-Baby-Name challenge two weeks ago, we expected something like the healthy response we got last time—which was 222 entries.
This time we were overwhelmed by 590 separate responses. And since we generously invited you to not limit yourself to a single suggestion, some of the comments packed with dozens of names, as you opened the floodgates to your inventive ideas, bringing the total number of names well into the several thousands. Our intrepid intern, Laura, counted 5,665 separate entries!
After painstakingly (and exhaustedly) considering every single name, we soon realized that it would be almost impossible to narrow down the winner to just one name.
And so we have broken it down into seven of the most highly represented categories—after realizing that inventing a name doesn’t have to mean completely creating one out of whole cloth, but could also include transforming words and surnames and place names that haven’t been used for real-life kids before into viable baby names. In fact, one of our prime criteria was wearability–could we see this name actually being used?
The overall winner for 2016 is at the very bottom of the post, but first, let’s look at some of the best invented names entered this year, with the favorite name in each category in boldface type!
Real and imaginary, which place names could be the next London, Savannah, or Brooklyn?
Corinth–@Lu and @KiratheViolist
Finland @Gabe1216 – “a cool way to get to the nickname Finn”
Lisbon @Genevieve Apple
Rivendell @EmmaMay “an amazing LOTR middle”
Saratoga @denmama9 “a substitute for Western place name Cheyenne”
Yukon @lesliemarion; @BrennanotBrenda
This was by far the most popular category.
Add an –ella or a –dora, and many names are completely transformed.
Amaluna – @CordeliaAnne
Annadora – @Theodora_Phoenix – gift of grace
Arabeth @dolphinmama, @cmwillard, @gummybear0724
Claris – @TiffanyS – Claire + Paris
Dashton @Theodora_Phoenix, @graciebeth
Evermae @KatieNana “happy spring day”
Where’s the line between a smoosh and a completely new name? It’s a tough call! Here are some names that strike us as most original.
Aero @Reem151, @namenerd27
Ardo – @babynameaddict
Elizette @alchemicallypurplefairy, @fluffykitten101
Ellatrix – @tree_loves_eth “Bellatrix without the B”
Esmerine – @OrchidLover
Evellia – @ElenaCroatia
Everson @Louisa91, @cmwillard, @tree_loves_eth
Floralie @JRideout, @emmakj111
Jaspian @emsky, @alliebelle
Livi @ KenzieJo
Rylo @SeaZuno86 “everybody loves a good ends in -o boys name”
Vinco @caroblaise “means I win in Latin”
With last names like Mason and Harper in the current US Top Ten, parents are eager to promote new possibilities to the first name spot.
Hawkins @bandgeek10182, @SeaZuno86
Locksley @Tolkeinlove – Robin Hood
Loxley @Aquadole – Robin Hood
Magellan @McCharlie, @ChiefTidalWaveEngineer
Sure, these words have history. But they’ve seldom been heard as given names – at least until now.
Bolt @lovelynames, @keelyjoelle
Betony – @lesliemarion
Caliber @jimtown “high powered”
Castle – @Alimax
Chord – @mariank – musical term
Evergreen @dolphinmama; @BrennanotBrenda
Helix @lovelyname, @McCharlie, @Bookworm857158367, @katoolah
Kestrel @Tay2thestars @ToyaB
Lively @Ashleylynnxoxo, @grace147
Meridian @RoddyThlayli, @Apodosis, @Elle C.
Pier @grace147, @blaise11
Psalm @Essa @GreenEyes375
Shore @shalispider, @grace147
Teller @larkub101, @Abby_Shield
Trekker @ lyndskyns, @Sagebrush
Veranda @caroblaise, @lesliemarion, @graciebeth
Plenty of names take inspiration from languages other than English.
Adalet @Louisa91 “means justice in Turkish”
Corbeau @Essa “greenish black”Minoo @Louisa91 “paradise or heaven in Persian” (also French word for raven)
Mielle @kymbrrlee “from miel, the French word for honey”Miramar @Amy1512 “means look at the sea in Spanish”
Plume @Gondolin “French word name” though this fits with Word Names, too.
Seith @weaverblue “Welsh name meaning seven”
Yanci @Joiya “means liberty in Hausa”
ISN’T THAT ALREADY A NAME?
Yes, but they were not in our database!
Regulus @Angelicaecb “One of the brightest stars … from Latin for Rex, king”
AND THE WINNER IS …
How can we narrow down over 5,600 names to just one favorite? We ruled out any that were already in our database, and also deleted names that made last year’s list of finalists.
That still left more than a dozen favorites, including Hawkins – a two-fer to cool nickname Hawk, lacy virtue name Verily, adventurous Magellan, the invented Rylo, and smoosh names Lunabella and Evermae.
But the winning name for 2016’s Invent-a-Name contest is TREKKER.
Bragging rights and credit in the database go to lyndskyns. (Sagebrush mentioned it, too, but lyndskyns was first.)
Trekker takes the prize because it fits right in with current trends. It’s outdoorsy and rugged, edgy and cool. It brings to mind hiking, even blazing a trail. Now that Wilder is in the US Top 1000, Trekker remains a viable under-the-radar pick.
It’s also one of the true rarities on this list. While some have been used in small numbers, Trekker has never been given to even five children in a single year – making it a truly novel name.
***Huge thanks to all you Berries for the incredible effort you put into this, and congrats to all who made the cut–especially those whose user names appears more than once!
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on September 2nd, 2016 at 12:12 am
Congratulations! My personal favorite was Locksley (@Tolkienlove) and it is my new top boy name. I also went through all of the entries and I was able to predict that the following names would be mentioned:
I’d also like to shout out some other names that I thought were brilliant!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 12:21 am
What great fun! My favorite nameberry time of the year!
I especially loved these:
Schooner, Kestral, Lorian, Jaspian, Briary, and Magellan.
Here’s to many more exciting names…
Toya B Said
on September 2nd, 2016 at 3:02 am
kestrel is spelt with an e 😉 – thanks by the way!
I was surprised to see Verily (truth) in the ‘word names’ section – I have always known it as a name, though have heard it as a word (in psalms). I had been told it was a rarer form along the lines of Verity (truly). I know its incredibly rare, but I would have thought it would be in the ‘isn’t that already a name’ section!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 3:12 am
I also went through all the entries last night and picked my top 50, and 10 lined up with the Nameberry champs. Here are a few more that I think got overlooked:
Harken (@ArdenT.Lee)—great for a first child who is bringing the family into a new place or a child born around Christmas
Chant (@Gondolin)—could be a shortening of “enchanted” and popular among the Disney fans
Rook (@Myn, @The_Cookie_Mobster, & @grace_newgrace)—for a dark-haired tyke, born near Halloween, with a similar sound to Brooks
Anthem (@pinholecamera & @whitefeather01)—for a little lady who will have a big influence
Kennewick (@xhart)—sounds like a name out of the Hunger Games or Divergent with lot of nickname possibilities
Creations or smooshes:
Rusten (@st8cfab)—sounds like a kid who will love to play in the mud
Ebanora (@GreenEyes375)—a softer variation of Eleanor that has the cute nn Ebbie
And my personal favorite: Weathers (@Abeltrotter) for a resilient tyke.
Baby Name Addict Said
on September 2nd, 2016 at 4:15 am
So glad one of my names got chosen – Ardo in the Pure Invention Category. I’ve never been too good with inventing names, so I’m so proud with that one little victory! All the other names are awesome too; last year I thought some of the names chosen weren’t deserved winners, but this time I could imagine all of those names being given to a baby.
on September 2nd, 2016 at 4:19 am
I really loved Lunabella thought it was so cute!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 6:41 am
As much as I wish I had come up with ot, Loden was the creation of lovelynames, not me!
Abby Sandel Said
on September 2nd, 2016 at 7:23 am
@missmarvelous – Apologies! It is fixed above. And I love, love, love Loden – it’s like the best parts of Logan and Ivy and Forrest, all in one name!
@Baby Name Addict – Ardo makes me think of Arlo and Aldo and ardent, which makes it a completely gorgeous – and VERY wearable name in my book.
@Toya B – They were tough to put into categories! Verily has never been given to five children in the US in a single year, so I thought it qualified as not-quite-a-name … yet. Have you met a Verily? How gorgeous!
@FreckleFairy – Locksley, I love! Though I like Loxley, too. There was a search for the true Robin Hood show on one of those channels … Discovery, maybe? History? I just caught the second half of it over the summer, and I have been swooning over the name ever since. So glad to see it suggested here!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 7:31 am
Yay two of mine were chosen- Loxley and Oasis!! I didn’t think of the connection to Robin Hood when I suggested it, as Loxley is the name of a river in Sheffield- that’s where my inspiration came from, but I love the connection to Robin Hood! I also love the names Claris, Lunabella, Xanith, Sunset and Wildrose.
on September 2nd, 2016 at 7:32 am
Trekker, Hawkins, and Weathers are my favorites!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 9:44 am
Awesome! Congratulations to all, especially the Berry who submitted Trekker!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 10:05 am
I’m so happy one of my names got chosen. So proud right now haha. Also congrats to everyone whose name was included to this list, they were all amazing 🙂
on September 2nd, 2016 at 11:27 am
I associate Trekker with Star Trek. A lot of fans call themselves Trekkers (rather than Trekkies). Not necessarily a bad thing (maybe a good thing for some!)
on September 2nd, 2016 at 12:27 pm
I feel so lucky that Ellatrix and Everson made the cut! I love these two names!
I also really like:
on September 2nd, 2016 at 12:46 pm
My teacher has a daughter named Locksley! He also has a son named Brixton!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 1:23 pm
I really like Yukon, Arabeth, Arastella, Leodore, Williot, Ellatrix, Everson, Floralie, Knightley, Locksley, Loxley, Diver, Evergreen, Gladiola, Psalm, Shore, Sunset, Teller, Wildrose, Plume, and Regulus!
I’m so glad three of mine made the list, too.
Also, Trekker definitely makes me think of Star Trek.
on September 2nd, 2016 at 2:21 pm
Finland (I’m a big fan of Ireland and Holland– this is another great option!)
Tenerife (I love Ed Sheeran’s song Tenerife Sea)
Briary (I’ve always seen Briar as a boy’s name– this “girlifies” it for me)
Mardon (I would have stuck this in the Surnames section)
Bolt (sure to be in use already, for fans of Usain Bolt, yes?)
Shore (I went to school with a boy named Shore, I’ve always thought it was really cool)
Wildrose (I’m a sucker for nature names, and this is too pretty)
Laughed to see Berlioz on the list– this was the name of one of the Aristocats! (along with Toulouse and Marie)
Lunabella reminded me of the children’s book Stellaluna (I’m partial to Stellaluna, although both are a little too sweet for me)
Saratoga is interesting, but the “toga” part turns me off
As others have said, Trekker makes me think of Star Trek (not necessarily a bad thing)
Well done everyone!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 2:30 pm
Yay! One of my names (Linen) made the list! ?
on September 2nd, 2016 at 4:14 pm
I’m honored Elsinore made the list. 🙂 My favorites are Genovia, Rivendell, Evermae, Aero, Esmerine, Everson, Floralie, Mavery, Knightley, Bolt, Oasis, Pier, Shore, Sunset, and Wildrose. I know that’s a lot of favorites, but there are just so many cool new names!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 5:40 pm
This was so much fun! Great names on this list, with my favorites being Claris, Evermae, Megany, Farrow, Magellan, Credence, Teller, and especially Wildrose. It was also cool to see that two of my suggested names on the list. I seriously cannot wait to do this again next year!!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 6:57 pm
I’m the aforementioned Sagebrush who posted the winning name Trekker after @lyndskyns (congrats to you!). I’m really happy this name won, I like it :). Some of my other favorites are Elsinore, Finland, Arastella, Mavery, Fennec, Pier, Taiga, Wildrose and Mielle. I congratulate everyone on their fantabulous entries!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 7:08 pm
Sad my names didn’t make the list, but love all the names the did. Trekker, I mean, that is so cute!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 7:09 pm
My personal favorites are Williot, Leodore, Brixby, Genovia, Evermae, and Azella.
on September 2nd, 2016 at 7:52 pm
I’m not a person who likes novelty, but Trekker is pretty cool. So is Weathers. And I think of someone deciding to name their baby Elsinore every time I drive by the lake on the 15. Great minds think alike, @superllama!
on September 2nd, 2016 at 8:40 pm
Ah, I’m so glad you guys liked Trekker!! (and Zosie!) And congrats to @Sagebrush too for thinking of Trekker too!! This contest was so fun, and I especially enjoyed reading through everyone’s amazingly creative submissions. Berries are the best. ^_^
on September 2nd, 2016 at 9:45 pm
Locksley was my very fav along with weathers! I’ve added locksley to my list of all time favorite names! Does anyone else remember lady lovely locks? Totally reminds me of that & Robin Hood:)
Excited to see Arastella made the list!
on September 3rd, 2016 at 8:37 am
Some of the names were absolutely divine! Locksley, Arabeth, Arastella, Seith, Wildrose, Rivendell… there’s so many!
I’m sad university kept me from logging in for so long. I had a name in mind I would have loved to enter. Maybe I’ll save it for next year…
on September 3rd, 2016 at 9:35 am
This is unbelievable! 6 of my names made the list, that is just crazy.
So happy that Williot, Everson, Knightley, Tracker, Adalet and Minoo made that list!
I just want to say congrats to everyone who made the list and especially to @lyndskyns and @sagebrush who posted the winning name Trekker.
I’ve read every entry and there are many amazing names that have made it on to my list. So hats off to everyone!
on September 3rd, 2016 at 10:00 am
While I am slightly disappointed that my entries weren’t in this list, I paticularly loved:
Elsinore- It sounds magical
Finland- I love the name Holland with the nn Holly so this is obviously a fave.
Lunabella- It reminds me of Harry Potter, gorgeous!
Annadora- Lovely name and variant of Pandora
Briary- Very appealing
Everson- Why isn’t this name popular?
Jaspian- I love Caspian and Jasper, a perfect mix of both!
Locksley- Adore it! I could see this being usable
Tourmaline- Great sounding!
As for Trekker, I actually don’t like it that much. It definitely evokes an image of cringe-worthy Star Trek nerds at a convention! The sound also doesn’t appeal to me, but congrats for winning!
on September 3rd, 2016 at 10:43 am
I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU NAMEBERRY THIS IS MY FAVORITE WEBSITE AND I CANNOT BELIEVE NONE OF MY NAMES MADE THE CUT!!!!! I THOUGHT THEY WERE DECENT YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH I HATE YOU RIGHT NOW WHOEVER IS BEHIND THIS IS IT PERSONAL I KNOW IT IS MY NAMES WERE DECENT AND I’M SURE THEY WERENT EVEN NEAR THE CUT, RIGHT??????? IS THAT HOW MUCH YOU HATE ME. I KNOW IT’S PERSONAL. I KNOW THAT.
on September 3rd, 2016 at 10:44 am
you better do it again next year. you know my names were good but you h8 me
on September 3rd, 2016 at 10:49 am
please email me about this
on September 3rd, 2016 at 12:36 pm
I’m really happy you kept some of my inventions (Berlioz, Magellan, Helix, Esmerine). I like Elsinore, Elisabeau, Wildrose, Esmeray, Seraluna, Everson, Evermae, Finnix, Arabeth, Williot.
I’m surprised to not see Astrabel, Eliander, Astorian and Lizlune/Lizluna.
on September 3rd, 2016 at 1:38 pm
Bolt wasn’t my favorite submission, but I’m glad someone liked it 😉
on September 3rd, 2016 at 9:27 pm
Even though I didn’t contribute any names this time around, it was so fun to have read everyone’s ideas. Are we sure that Corinth wasn’t already a name, though?
on September 3rd, 2016 at 10:47 pm
Just had to say we named our Australian Shepherd “Aero” when he was a puppy – 6 years ago! Such a great name. Some very nice selections made the cut. Wonderful work, everyone! I hope next year is even better!
on September 4th, 2016 at 12:58 am
Thank you, Nameberry, for selecting my entry Hawkins for the winner of the Surname-Turned-First-Name category and Schooner as one of the honorable mentions for the Word Names category!!!!! I’m so excited! And congrats to SeaZuno86 for also submitting Hawkins and to Daisy5683 and lesliemarion for also submitting Schooner!!! We rock!!! I can’t wait ’til my boyfriend sees this! I’ve been trying to convince him Hawkins and/or Schooner would be perfect names for our future kids for months now, maybe even years!
Now if I could just get you guys to acknowledge Coriander! That is quite possibly my favorite name in the entire world! And five of us submitted it this year! Definitely a winner, in my book! I actually made my boyfriend sign a contract saying if he personally shakes the hand of a male or female named Coriander, he will agree to name one of our kids Coriander some day! He thinks it will never happen, but I’ve now made it my life’s mission to see that he meets a Coriander! Maybe if you added it to your database, more people would use it and my dream would become a reality! hahahaha
My other favorite winning/honorable mention submissions are Rivendell, Amaluna, Evermae, Lunabella, Aero, Elizette, Esmerine, Everson, Floralie, Carrigan, Curie, Knightley, Evergreen, Tourmaline, and Trekker, so congratulations to all who submitted these gems! Especially to the two who submitted the overall winner Trekker! I’m a Trekkie, myself, so the Star Trek connection makes it a plus for me!!!
And congrats to everyone who submitted names at all! Even if you didn’t win, it’s always good to be unique and creative! Keep doing you!
on September 4th, 2016 at 9:44 am
Coriander is an amazing name. 🙂
Cool Boy Names: They’re ending with R! – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on September 4th, 2016 at 11:39 pm
[…] cool boy names are having a moment. Wilder broke into the US Top 1000 last year, and the winner of this year’s Invent a Name contest is the edgy, outdoorsy Trekker. Other contest entries included Tracker, Raider, and import […]
on September 6th, 2016 at 8:46 am
Yay two of my names made the list (Rylo & Hawkins)! I also love Evermae, thats a beautiful name!
on September 6th, 2016 at 4:36 pm
Corinth, Elizette, Finnix, Ardo, Locksley, Helix and Lorian were my favourites, congrats everyone. I actually made a list of a few and then forgot to submit them, so just for fun and better late than never: Moralie, Merit, Epoch, Moiety (means one of two equal parts – twin name?) Filfla (a Maltese island) and Petrichor.
on September 6th, 2016 at 9:33 pm
Congrats again, bandgeek! We will definitely consider adding Coriander to the database, as well as some of your and our other favorites. Thanks for the effort you (and everyone else) put into it!
on September 6th, 2016 at 9:37 pm
What? Of course it wasn’t personal! We went through over 5,000 names and couldn’t include all those we really liked.
on September 7th, 2016 at 8:19 pm
Aww…I missed this…my name is favourite made up name is Elisabel
on September 8th, 2016 at 10:13 am
I love love loved this competition! Sorry for entering, like, 1000 names and making your lives hard <3
Thanks for picking one of my entries as an honourable mention! Funny that you picked Plume, though – I almost dropped it because to me it isn't really that appealing 😉 Out of all the names I submitted, I would've picked Leowen (f) and Wrence (m) to be most likely to be picked!
Others that I really liked:
I also really like Rivendel but I would spell it with one L, like the original. The double L to me looks like the "beautifull"-mistake.
(halfway through and still so many names <3 )
on September 16th, 2016 at 9:58 am
Thank you, Linda of Nameberry for taking the time to respond about Coriander! I didn’t think anyone would! I just left my comment as an amusing anecdote. But I look forward to Coriander getting more love!
2016 Baby Name Faves – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on December 12th, 2016 at 12:00 am
[…] considerable creativity to choose distinctive names rich with meaning. Or even inventing them – our summer contest for new names resulted in hundreds of fresh, new […]
on December 28th, 2016 at 9:11 pm
Lunabella is the name of a very well known adult entertainer/performer and social media personality in Mexico and the latin community. Wouldn’t recommend it.
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