Popular Baby Names: 50 shooting stars

Popular Baby Names: 50 shooting stars

By Linda Rosenkrantz

What are the most promising of the names rising in popularity?

This year 164 names—more girls’ than boys’ –made up the elite group of popular baby names that rose more than 100 places. (fyi: At the top for each gender were Riaan, with an increase of 1360 spots and Alaia, with 2012). And the new gender fluidity is shown in many of these choices (hello, Ms Elliott and Ms Lennox).

These jumps brought several of these popular baby names into the Top 1000: look for those that are marked with an asterisk.

So here are our picks of the brightest of the shooting stars:


AdeleThank the fabulous singer for her name’s 114-point rise

Arden* Two YouTube stars named Arden helped promote this fresh-feeling A-name

BlakeSingular sparkplug: the lovely Blake Lively

Briar*An extraordinary leap of 597 places for this sweet fairy tale name

ClementineLong loved on Nameberry, darling Clementine is now on the rise nationally

ElliottA boy name on the upswing for girls but still holding its own for the blue team

EsmeFrench-accented name first made famous in a story by J.D. Salinger, up by 128 rankings; it’s 50 in England, 37 on Nameberry

Frankie*Red hot boyish nickname name, favored by several celebs, starting with Drew Barrymore

FreyaNorse goddess name even more popular in Ireland, England and Scotland, where it’s #13

GwenVintage short form up 213 places, with credit to high-profile singer Stefani

Hattie Cute old-fashioned nickname first revived by Tori Spelling

Kensington*A surprising surname boosted by two reality stars

LennonBeatles name growing for girls via YouTube star Lennon Stella

LennoxUp a major 416 places for girls, while just rising 96 spots for boys

Luz*Spanish name meaning light, shining now beyond Hispanic baby namers

MagnoliaFragrant Southern flower name has climbed 197 places to #633

MargotThis is the winning version over the simpler Margo spelling, up 145 spots

Ophelia*Once a Shakespearean no-no, Ophelia has risen into the Top 1000 and #30 on Nameberry

RemySolidly unisex, Remy is now #101 for girls, #161 for boys

RiverUsed increasingly for girls, propelled in part by Kelly Clarkson’s daughter

Rory—Charming Irish boy name rising for girls—one of many gender shares

SuttonSurname popularized via Sutton Foster, star of TV hit _Younger (_based on the novel by my Nameberry co-creator Pamela Redmond Satran!)

TheaLovely Greek myth name that has jumped 312 spots to reach #464

Vienna*Lyrical Continental place name joins cousin Sienna on the name map

Zelda*A super high jumper—512 spots—indicating a glorious return after 50 years


Achilles*Classic Homeric Greek hero name hit the US Top 1000 this year

AtlasShowed his super strength by climbing 149 places in a single bound

**Augustine—**Saintly member of the AugustAugustus family rose 134 spots

AzariahBiblical surprise moved up 100+ places for both boys and girls!

BeckhamUK sports legend’s name has now reached #359 in the US

BodhiSpiritual rising star given to almost a dozen starbabies

Cairo*–This exotic o-ending city name went up 164 places, is now in the Top 1000

DashDisney character + KarDASHians + Dashiell nickname =182-place rise

Denver*Long-established place-name has a sudden surge of +155

FordStrong single-syllable surname used as a middle by Owen Wilson

Gordon-Scottish classic makes a bid to replace Jordan, reentered the list in 2014

HendrixCool x-ending rocker name has just entered the Top 500

Huxley*Distinguished family name is one of the steepest climbers–392 places

LachlanAnother rising Scottish classic: Lachlan entered the US list in 2013

LegendAn evocative word name with ties to musician John: up 144 places to #392

Louie*–Surprise nickname comeback this year; even bigger in the UK at #67

MackAfter a long, deep dip, good guy Mack is back in town

MagnusPowerful Latin name used by both Will Ferrell and Elizabeth Banks

MatteoRepresents the romantic Latin classics so popular with celebs

Otis*O-name slateded for stardom, picked by Olivia Wilde +Jason Sudeikis

Ridge* –This strong, if not macho, word name ascended 204 places in 2015

RoyalThis newly popular aspirational name zoomed up to #465

TheoHandsome stand-alone nickname name entered the Top 500 this year

TobiasOn-trend s-ending Harry Potter choice often worn by TV characters

Wilder*Wilder’s a winner—up a whopping 360 places in one year!

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

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.