The 100 Best Baby Names Right Now

The 100 Best Baby Names Right Now

The 100 best movies, restaurants, novels, jobs, apps – the world is full of lists cataloging the premiere picks of all kinds of things. So why not, we thought, baby names?

The question we asked ourselves: If an expectant parent today were limited to only 100 choices from which to name their child, what should those names be? Which names offer the best balance of appeal and distinctiveness, of authenticity and creativity, at this moment in time? Which names sound both adorable for a 2016 baby and seem most likely to serve her or him well into the 22nd century?

Are there other wonderful baby names out there? Of course, thousands of them. But if we can only have 100, these are our picks for the very best, and why they made the cut:

Abel – Biblical boy name with a capable sound

Adelina – The next Isabella

Agnes – Vintage A name set for a major comeback

Alice Storybook heroine back in the Top 100

Amias – Undiscovered masculine name whose meaning we love

Apollo – A Greek god at home in the modern world

Arden Shakespeare’s forest makes this a literary nature name

Arlo Upbeat Arlo is a folk singer – and an animated dinosaur

Athena As smart as Sophia and a lot more surprising

Atlas Mythological name that holds its own

August The Oscar of 2016

Aurora Ancient name seeing a new dawn

Beckett Literary name and Hollywood favorite

Benedict Ben name glamourized by leading man Cumberbatch

BlaiseSaint’s name with a fiery image

Bodhi – Surprising spiritual name entering the mainstream

BrooksBrooke is fading for girls, but Brooks is white-hot for boys

Cait and CateNew ways to spin classic Kate, inspired by Jenner and Blanchett

CassianRoman rarity poised for 21st century discovery

Charlie – Modern parents increasingly prefer Charlie to Charles

Charlotte – A Nameberry favorite turned royal baby name

Clementine – Edible appellation back in the US Top 1000

Cora – The Downton Abbey name most likely to succeed

Cordelia – Lear’s loyal daughter, and a recent returnee to the US Top 1000

Crosby – Irish surname name that’s part-crooner, part-NHL

Cy and SiClaire Danes picked Cyrus, the Timberlakes Silas, and Zoe Saldana simply Cy

DeclanRyan and Liam’s little brother, coming into his own

Delilah – Biblical bad girl rehabilitated

Delta – Southern belle baby name chosen by Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell

Dinah – Undiscovered Biblical girls’ name

Dorothea – Distinctive classic rich with great nicknames

Edith – 2016’s Abigail, and Cate Blanchett’s youngest

Eloise – Childhood literary heroine ready for the real world

Elsie – Rising nickname-name chosen by Zooey Deschanel

Emmeline – Alternative to popular Emma and Emily, and Meryl Streep’s Suffragette character

Emmett – An Em name for a boy, boosted by Twilight and The LEGO Movie

Everest – Nature name with a hint of danger, featured on the big screen last year

Ezra – As Biblical as Noah, plus with the zippy ‘z’

Fable – Modern spin on Mabel just right for a writer’s child

Fay or Faye – A more inventive – and vintage – middle than May or Ray

Flannery – As literary as Harper, but far more distinctive

Flora – Halfway between Nora and Daisy, yet all the way more unusual

Flynn – Dashing Flynn, part-Tangled, part-Finn.

Ford – The chicest of the car names

Fox – An animal name as snappy as Max, as modern as Bear

Frances – A classic that’s thrown off its dowdy image to feel fresh and wearable

Freya – A Norse goddess name long popular in the UK, and newly discovered in the US

Grey – Color name possibility for boys, rising thanks to – or despite – Fifty Shades

Hank – Casual Jack-like name chosen by Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker

Harold – Former grandpa name now following Henry into wider use

Harvey – A name that’s been out for so long in the U.S. that it’s suddenly very in

Hawk – Fierce nature name worn by Jeremy Renner in The Avengers

Hazel – Once an out-there starbaby choice, now a vintage favorite

Holiday – Cooler than Holly or Noel, more approachable than Christmas or Easter

Huck – This year’s Finn or Sawyer

Imogen – UK – and Nameberry — favorite slowly catching on in the US

Inigo – Rare saint’s name that deserves wider use

James – The most enduring of boys’ names, now also a possibility for a daughter

Jane – Quirky television series Jane the Virgin makes classic Jane a cultural-crossing possibility

John – Top name for CEOs appropriate for an upwardly-mobile child

JuniperJennifer’s daughter, and an energetic nature name on the rise

Justus – Ancient Roman name meets modern word name

Leilani – A Hawaiian name feeling more at home on the mainland

LeonoraLeonine girls’ name that’s familiar yet rare

Linus – Finally out from under the blanket

LouisaLovely, literary, and back in the Top 1000

Luca – Handsome, Italian spin on Lucas and Luke

Lucia – A favorite with parents looking to bridge cultures

Luna – Spacey Harry Potter name that has stuck

Maeve – Authentically Irish, without the spelling and pronunciation challenges of some imports

Magnolia The hottest new-old floral name

Maisie Sweetly vintage nickname name

Malala Nobel Peace Prize-winner that deserves wider use

Margot or Margo Sophisticated o-ending spin on classic Margaret

Marigold – A golden-hued Downton Abbey-inspired option

MarloweHarper, Harlow, and now Marlowe are last names succeeding in first place for girls

Matilda Roald Dahl’s girl power heroine for a new generation

Nathaniel Biblical favorite that never feels overused

Nova New – literally! – and celestial

Ocean Water-inspired nature names are hot, from River to Ocean

Olive Starbaby favorite with ties to the natural world and a peaceful image

Ophelia Once-tragic Shakespearean name, now an alternative to Olivia

Orson An ends-with-son name that isn’t overused

Paris The City of Lights shines on, classic for boys or modern for girls

Poe Poetic surname name boosted by new Star Wars hero

Poppy Flower power pick big in the UK, finally catching on in the US

Rafferty Cool and confident surname name for boys

Robin Back on the boys’ side

Romy Former one-person name ready for wider use

Royal A name that rules, with ties to the World Series champs

Rufus Neglected boy name that feels fresh and fashionable

Saint A celebrity baby name sure to find wider use

Saoirse Irish import boosted by rising actress Saoirse Ronan

Sophia and Sofia – The name heard ‘round the world

Stellan One of the best n-ending names for boys

Susannah Classic spin on Susan currently given to fewer than 100 girls

Titan Powerful mythological name now in the US Top 1000

Xanthe – Mythological but modern, with the X factor

Zephyr – Breezy nature name with stylish –r ending

If you’ve been counting, you know that’s only 99.  We thought we’d open up the choice of the 100th best baby name right now up to you.  Suggestions?

Abby Sandel, Pamela Satran, and Linda Rosenkrantz