The Newest Names on Nameberry

new baby names

We’re always adding new names to the Nameberry database, whether new discoveries or expansions of older listings.

Our latest collection includes word names and nicknames, international imports and mythological revivals.  We bring you these new entries not as our latest recommendations but as fresh additions to the lexicon.

Here, our 16 newest names:

Alcina, Alcie, and Alsie

Alcina is best-known as the name of the beautiful sorceress of the eponymous Handel opera drawn from the Orlando poems. Alcina and her sister Morgana live on an island where Alcina seduces every passing sailor but once their novelty wears off, changes them into plants, rocks, or animals. Alcina comes with modern-sounding short forms Alcie or Alsie, which feel more baby-ready now that names such as Elsie, Elsa, and Isla are becoming popular again.

Bruin

Bruin is the Old English term for bear, taken from the Dutch word meaning brown. Bruin might be a sports fan’s choice or an animal name in hiding. As a kind of hybrid of Roone and Bruno, it’s definitely got some cool.

Celestina

We are hearing more of such heavenly names as Celeste and Celia, which opens the door to the range of lovely variations rarely heard before, including the Italian and Spanish Celestina.

Eris

Eris was the goddess of strife and discord, turned fairy tale and then popular culture figure Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Ironic, as her name sounds so much like that of Eros, the god of love. Eris made a brief appearance on the Top 1000 a century ago and was given to 59 baby girls last year.

Kalani

Kalani, a Hawaiian name that means “the heavens,” is a rhythmic name that can be used for either gender though feels more feminine in the contemporary U.S.

Kazuo

The Japanese male name that means first son or harmonious man is well-used in Japan though not well-known in the U.S. Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

Mandala

A mandala is the magic circle of Buddhism and Hinduism, a powerful spiritual symbol used in art to represent the universe. As a first name, Mandala feels both natural and original, always a positive combination, but parents considering it should make themselves away of its deeper meaning to both religious and Jungian theories.

Michael for girls

Michael ranked among the Top 1000 GIRLS’ names for more than half a century, from 1938 until 1994. In the late 1970s and early 80s, during the heyday of The Waltons which starred actress Michael Learned, it reached as high as the 300s. But Michael’s longtime status as the top name for boys’ coupled with the rise of Michelle and Michaela conspired to knock Michael-for-girls off the list.

Milou

Milou and her near-identical twin Malou are adorable names popular throughout Europe; they’re contractions of Marie or Mary and Lou or Louise. The Malou spelling will probably be easier for English speakers to pronounce; Milou may be conflated with Milo.

Neriah

Neriah is a biblical figure mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah as the father of Baruch and Seraiah ben Neriah. According to the Talmud, Neriah and his sons are all prophets. The name is traditionally associated with Hanukkah, the festival of lights.

Sabbath

Sabbath is a faith-inspired word name, like Sunday or Faith, that is attracting some notice since heavy metal musician Zakk Wylde chose it for his son. But then there’s the band Black Sabbath, which gives the name a more devilish twist. While there’s nothing intrinsically male or female about Sabbath as a first name, it squeaked onto the Social Security roster for five boys in 2012, but was not recorded for girls. Sabbath comes from the word for “day of rest” in many ancient cultures.

Tippi

Tippi is best known as the nickname of actress Tippi Hedren, star of Hitchcock‘s “The Birds” and “Marnie.” Hedren’s real name was Nathalie Kay; her father dubbed her Tippi. Although the name will inevitably be reminiscent of Hedren, it could make a cute short form for a name such as Tiffany or Philippa.

Wren for boys

Wren may not be as time-honored a bird name choice as Robin or even Lark, but it’s more fashionable. Given to just a handful of children a decade ago, in 2012 there were 250 girls in the U.S. named Wren and 29 boys. That number puts Wren on the verge of breaking through to the Top 1000 for girls, which may well tip it even further into the girls’ column.

Zvezda

Zvezda, which means star in several Slavic languages, is a traditional established name in Eastern Europe and Russia. While names with celestial meanings have an intrinsic appeal, that initial Zv may be difficult for English speakers to wrap their tongues around.

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19 Responses to “The Newest Names on Nameberry”

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evergreen Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 6:38 am

I have come across a couple of girls called Kalani in New Zealand over the years.
I have always liked the idea of Mandala because I think they are so beautiful.
Eris is new to me, I like it very much.

LuMary Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 9:09 am

I would rather choose Michaelina or Michaeline for girls over Michael. With many surname names being unsafe for boys, why disturb the classics?

GrecianErn Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I think Wren for boys would be easier if spelled “Ren” like the main character in Footloose.

TaylorBlueSkye Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 12:14 pm

LuMary, I agree with leaving the Classics alone, but “surnames being UNSAFE for boys”? What does that even mean? First of all they are surnames, not boy names in the first place and second, what exactly makes them unsafe? I mean there’s no one stopping anyone from naming their boys Avery, Taylor or Addison.

I don’t even like Michael in general but on a girl I really really dislike it.

Eris is kind of interesting. I find Wren a little tacky for both genders, just too cutesy for my taste. Pretty Little Liars helped me to get used to it though,

LuMary Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 12:23 pm

TaylorBlueSkye Says:
November 21st, 2013 at 12:14 pm

‘LuMary, I agree with leaving the Classics alone, but “surnames being UNSAFE for boys”? What does that even mean? First of all they are surnames, not boy names in the first place and second, what exactly makes them unsafe? I mean there’s no one stopping anyone from naming their boys Avery, Taylor or Addison.”

What I mean by ‘unsafe’ is that it’s hard to find a surname that won’t be co-opted by girls at some point. Look at what happened to Lindsay, for example. Now the surname list is endless, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find something that likely will stay mainly male like Grant.

I hear what you’re saying, but I personally think it’s better for boys in American culture to have “all-boy” names.

maggiefromcanada Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I like Alcina and Celestina.

Milou is cute but just makes me think of Tintin’s little dog.

LuMary Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 12:31 pm

“What I mean by ‘unsafe’ is that it’s hard to find a surname that won’t be co-opted by girls at some point. Look at what happened to Lindsay, for example. Now the surname list is endless, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find something that likely will stay mainly male like Grant.”

What I meant to say is that there’s no guarantee a surname that sounds more male will remain in the boys camp. But, given that the surname list is endless, you can probably find a “boyish” one that will be held rather uniquely by a son. Even though surnames are neither male nor female, some, like Rutherford seem more ‘boy.” At this point, anyway.

KickinKay Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 2:55 pm

As a New Englander, I’m amazed I’ve never met a little boy named Bruin. That would be so cool!

indiefendi Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I’ve been waiting for Sabbath to make it onto here! And an explanation for Michael for a girl (not that I’d ever seriously consider it). Finally!

KateMP91 Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I love the name Michael. It’s popularity doesn’t bother me. I just adore it. It does make me sad that it is becoming unisex. I know a five year old girl named Michael. It’s a family name and there were no boys to bear it, and she wears it proudly. But in general, I wish it was just for boys!

tararyaz Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 7:43 pm

I would love Celestine. Celestina is pretty too. Celestine feels more subdued/sophisticated to me. Somehow that little A at the end makes it too princess-of-the-stars for me 🙂

jessiemay Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 8:46 pm

The only one I’ve heard in real life is one of my little sister’s best friends named Milou Pia (with brothers Jasper and Piper). She was born in Austria to Australian parents (her dad is from Austria originally) but they live in Australia now. I love it, I think it’s super sweet! Apparently a family they have a mutual friend with saw Milou’s birth announcement in the paper and decided to name their new daughter that too! 🙂 I also think Bruin, Kalani and Wren are lovely, but I prefer Wren on a girl.

rkrd Says:

November 21st, 2013 at 11:19 pm

That’s interesting about Alcina–I’m descended from a woman named Alce who was the first woman executed for witchcraft in America. The court records are lost, so the basis of the charges are unknown, but I wonder if her name had something to do with it.

whisk_me_away Says:

November 22nd, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Love Celestina! My Italian GG was named Celestine. So beautiful 🙂

_avalanche Says:

November 25th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Actually, Zvezda is not “a traditional established name” in Russia for sure and most likely in other Eastern European countries as well. I’m from Russia and I’ve never met anyone named Zvezda. Russians rarely give children word names, we only have a few traditional ones – Vera (“faith”), Nadezhda (“hope”), Lubov (“love”).

I think Zvezda would be nice as a name though.

tfzolghadr Says:

November 26th, 2013 at 7:07 am

I love a number of these names. I hope Nameberry keeps adding names, as so many ethnic names are missing… there are surprisingly few Turkish and Persian names. Please add more!

Fourthseason Says:

January 22nd, 2014 at 12:51 am

Wouldn’t Alce, Alse, Alcie, Alsie be ALSO variant nicknames for the name Alcyon?

kmdharrington Says:

March 2nd, 2014 at 7:14 pm

I know a little girl named Felix

Theodora_Phoenix Says:

May 19th, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Michael is HORRIBLE on a girl.

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