Category: baby name trends
By Abby Sandel
Have your favorite baby names changed this year?
Thinking about the names that captured my attention, week after week, I sense a theme. The names feel modern, but have history and roots. They’re not invented, exactly, but in most cases, they wouldn’t have seemed like given names twenty years ago. Maybe even ten!
In some ways, that’s because the line for outlandish baby names has been pushed way back. Blame it on the Kardashians. After North, Saint, Reign, and Dream, names like Wren, Kai, Blaze, and Saylor seem as ordinary as the Jasons and Megans of an earlier generation.
The good news is that parents can exercise 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 possibilities.
The downside, of course, is that pressure to choose the right name can be intense. Many parents-to-be find themselves debating if a name is too different. Or maybe too ordinary, a worry expressed by a generation of women who grew up answering to Jennifer C. or Ashley J.
Here are my nine picks for nine names that came up in discussion week after week in 2016.
There’s no record of a single newborn named Dick in the United States last year.
In fact, there hasn’t been a baby Dick recorded in the U.S. during the past decade. (It last popped up in the Social Security Administration databanks in 2005.)
This is no shock. The name Dick was a casualty of modern slang and its association with a disgraced president. But Dick‘s disappearance is part of a broader trend: Americans have shifted away from many once-common nicknames.
Since May, name enthusiasts around the world have been poring over the Social Security Administration’s list of the most popular names for 2015. Though the high-ranking boy’s names from last year are mostly classic, timeless choices; still a few new trends have emerged. In recent years we’ve seen cool names ending in –s, like Silas and Elias, rise for the guys. We’ve also seen an upswing in lively –o ending names like Milo and Leo. I’ve also taken notice of another trend: names that end in –i increasingly being used for boys. From Eli to Kenji, there’s a lot of variety in –i ending names to explore!
The Most Popular:
Levi is the most popular boys name right now ending in the letter –i. Currently ranked at Number 42, Levi is up over 100 spots in the last ten years. Levi is a Biblical name with a cool cowboy edge, in part due to the Levi Strauss jeans association. Sheryl Crow and Matthew McConaughey both used this cool name for their sons.
Eli comes in next, ranking at Number 53 in popularity. Eli is a Hebrew name meaning ascended. While popular on its own, Eli is also commonly used as a nickname for Elijah and Elias, both of which are also in the Top 100. A few other cool names leading to the nickname Eli include Elia, Elio, Elian, Eleazer, and Elisha.
Giovanni is theclassic Italian form of John, meaning God is gracious. Giovanni comes in at Number 130, making it a usable and familiar, but not overly heard name in the US. Giovanni easily pairs with the Italian names for girls like Isabella, which is still topping the charts. Fashion designer Gianni Versace’s full given name was Giovanni.
Kai is definitely a name to watch, having climbed 60 spots in the last five years. Currently ranked at 145 for boys, Kai is also Number 895 for girls. In addition to its cool sound, one of the things that I love about Kai is that it’s used in several different cultures and therefore has many meanings. The Hawaiian meaning is sea.
Malachi is a Hebrew name meaning my messenger. Malachi re-entered the Top 1,000 in 1987 at Number 992 and currently ranks at Number 162. There are numerous Malachi’s in film and literature, including the evil Malachi Boardman in Children of the Corn. (And not to be confused with the Irish Malachy.)
The Quickly Rising:
Omari is currently Number 510 – up 198 spots from 2014 to 2015
Jabari is currently Number 945 – up 194 spots from 2014 to 2015
Bodhi first entered the charts in 2010 and quickly rose in popularity. Bodhi is currently the most popular it has ever been at Number 499. Bodhi is a tree name and a Sanskrit name meaning awakening and enlightenment and has become a celebrity fave, used by Oliver Hudson, Amy Brenneman, and Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green (whose Bodhi is illustrated), among others..
A few more great names i-ending names:
Dimitri is a Russian form of the Greek name Demetrius, meaning follower of Demeter. Dimitri has never been too popular in the US, peaking in 1992 when it reached Number 502. Today Dimitri ranks at 905 for boys, having made an appearance in the Twilight saga. It is also spelled Dmitri and Dhimitri.
Kenji is a Japanese name meaning second son. Kenji is a name I think more people would use if they knew about it. Kenji Kishimoto is one of the lead characters in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me book series.
Nikolai peaked last year at Number 478, the most popular it has ever ranked. Nikolai is one of the many attractive forms of the name Nicholas, meaning people of victory. It has been borne by important Russian cultural figures such as writer Gogol and composer Rimsky-Korsakov.
What are your favorite names for boys that end in the letter –i?
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Last week we looked at some fresh and fantastic girls’ names beginning with O, and now we see that they have nothing on the boys. And it’s not only the high-ranking Oliver (Number 19), Owen (36), Oscar (181), and Omar (217)–here are ten more wonderful, less frequently used names starting with this most open and optimistic of vowels: