Invent-a-Baby-Name Challenge Champs!

September 1, 2016 Abby Sandel

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

Elsinore @superllama

Finland @Gabe1216 – “a cool way to get to the nickname Finn”

Genovia @MelanieCora

Lisbon @Genevieve Apple

Rivendell @EmmaMay “an amazing LOTR middle”

Saratoga @denmama9 “a substitute for Western place name Cheyenne”

Tenerife @Wittyusername103

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

Analou @grace_newgrace

Annadora – @Theodora_Phoenix – gift of grace

Arabeth @dolphinmama, @cmwillard, @gummybear0724

Arastella @mom2one2

Claris – @TiffanyS – Claire + Paris

Dashton @Theodora_Phoenix, @graciebeth

Evermae @KatieNana “happy spring day”

Leodore @Angelicaecb

Lunabella @Theodora_Phoenix

Minabel @Abeltrotter

Williot @Louisa91


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

Azella @dindlee

Barjo @clairels

Briary @alternativekeys

Brixby @trysaratops

Dainu @Myn

Elizette @alchemicallypurplefairy, @fluffykitten101

Ellatrix – @tree_loves_eth “Bellatrix without the B”

Esmerine – @OrchidLover

Evellia – @ElenaCroatia

Everson @Louisa91, @cmwillard, @tree_loves_eth

Finnix @homebytheriver

Floralie @JRideout, @emmakj111

Jaspian @emsky, @alliebelle

Killiam @missmarvelous

Livi @ KenzieJo

Lorian @bexlafon

Mardon @mellimoon

Mavery @Emilyjh

Megany @birdies

Rylo @SeaZuno86 “everybody loves a good ends in -o boys name”

Vinco @caroblaise “means I win in Latin”

Xanith @xhart

Xolo @frobskottle

Zaro @JLS123

Zosie @lyndskyns


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.

Berlioz @McCharlie

Carrigan @homebytheriver

Curie @pinholecamera

Dahl @weaverblue

Daltrey @Rhii

Farrow @lemlem

Hawkins @bandgeek10182, @SeaZuno86

Knightley @Louisa91

Locksley @Tolkeinlove – Robin Hood

Loxley @Aquadole – Robin Hood

Magellan @McCharlie, @ChiefTidalWaveEngineer

Minton @lesliemarion


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

Credence @jlstrk

Diver @Chrissy425

Evergreen @dolphinmama; @BrennanotBrenda

Fen @FizzySparkle

Fennec @larkrub101

Gladiola @lesliemarion

Helix @lovelyname, @McCharlie, @Bookworm857158367, @katoolah

Kestrel @Tay2thestars @ToyaB

Lanai @Renchickadee

Levity @frobskottle

Lively @Ashleylynnxoxo, @grace147

Linen @Readingclaygirl

Loden @lovelynames

Meridian @RoddyThlayli, @Apodosis, @Elle C.

Oasis @aquadoll

Pier @grace147, @blaise11

Psalm @Essa @GreenEyes375

Schooner @Daisy5683

Shore @shalispider, @grace147

Sunset @Laugh-Dream-Love

Taiga @ArdenT.Lee

Teller @larkub101, @Abby_Shield

Tourmaline @EasterBunny

Tracker @Louisa91

Trekker @ lyndskyns, @Sagebrush

Veranda @caroblaise, @lesliemarion, @graciebeth

Verily @wfuller

Wildrose @Alialioxenfree3


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”


Yes, but they were not in our database!

Coppelia @Lu

Esmeray @JRideout

Regulus @Angelicaecb “One of the brightest stars … from Latin for Rex, king”


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!

About the author


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

View all of Abby's articles


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