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Not Your Mother’s Baby Names

Not Your Mother’s Baby Names

There’s an entire generation of new baby names that are moving rapidly up the popularity list and that distinguish themselves by being recently minted–and by the fact that grandparents do a double take the first time they hear them. For even if they existed as surnames or place names or occupations, they’ve rarely been used before as first names.  Many of these new baby names are morphed versions of names that were used in another form earlier, while others have been spun from thin air.

Some are clearly celebrity-sourced—as when Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale gave their son a name inspired by their own personal associations with the island of Jamaica—and it wasn’t long before the name Kingston jumped onto the list.  Similarly, the singular name Miley has spread like wildfire with the fame of its onetime exclusive bearer.

Putting aside the legion of offshoots and variations—in rhyming and spelling—of  names related to Riley, Ryan, Bailey, Aiden, Tyler and Tyson, which already seem so 20th century– we’ve come up with a list of some of the most prominent nouveau names.  Although a precise demarcation can’t be drawn, and some of them were coming onto the radar in the 90s, these are the new baby names that definitely have a 21st century feel.

Girls (mostly)

ADDISONAINSLEYARIAASHBYAUDRINACADENCECALIELLEHADLEYHARLOWHAVENKHLOELUNAMARLEYMILEYMYAPAISLEYREESERHIANNA and RIHANNASAGESIENNASKYLATAYLATEAGANZOEY

Some other girls’ names that haven’t made it onto the list yet, but are very much headed that way :

ASHBYAVALONJUNOESMÉSCOUTTALLULAHVITA

Boys (mostly)

ACEATTICUSAXELBECKETTCAMDENCANNONCASECASHCHACECOHENDASHIELLDAXDEACONFISHERJAGGERJAXJETTKIAN and KYANKINGSTONKYLANLENNONMADDOXMAVERICKMAXIMUSNASHORIONPAXRIVERROMEORYDERRYKERSTONETREVONTRACETURNERZANDER and XANDER

Some other boys’ name candidates for the list:

BODHIEVERLYFLINTJETSONPAXROCKETSTEELWILDER

Either

AVERYBLAZEEASTONEMERSONEMERYHARLEYHARPERHAYDEN (newer for girls)JOURNEYJUSTICEKAIPAYTON/PEYTONROWANSAGESAWYERSHILOHSKYLARTAJTRACEZION

And some other unisex names in the air:

AUDENBRIGHTONCHARLESTONDREAMINDIGOREEVEROMYSTORYTRUEWEST

What do you consider the quintessential 21st century name?

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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.