The Next Baby Name Style Wave

by Pamela Redmond Satran

You have only to look at the popularity lists to know which names are used most widely now.  There’s Sophia, Isabella, Emma, and Olivia for girls; Jacob, Mason, and Ethan for boys.  Which reminds us: Have you seen our new, searchable U.S. Top 1000 list?  It’s awesome; have a peek.

Beyond the most popular names are the names we might think of as most stylish today.  These are represented on the Nameberry Top 1000 list, which gauges the names that are viewed most often on our site, updated monthly.  While the U.S. Top 1000 list tallies names used most frequently for babies born in 2012, the Nameberry Top 1000 surveys names capturing the most interest from prospective parents in 2014 — so it’s more theoretical, and up-to-date.

Based on the Nameberry list, we’d place the following baby names atop the current style wave.  What many of them lack in popularity, they make up for in stylishness.

These are all wonderful names, certainly, and well ahead of their style crest.  All of them have a fashionable sound and feel, and a good ways to go before they’re overused.

And yet there’s a new style wave on the horizon, one that parents in search of more avant garde names will want to have their eyes on.  This next wave takes current styles and trends to more extreme levels.  Names we’d place in the next style wave include:

Do  you agree with these choices?  Have any nominations for the next style wave of baby names of your own?


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41 Responses to “The Next Baby Name Style Wave”

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ella17 Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 12:27 am

I adore many of your chosen boys names. Many are already on my list Oberon, Otis, Otto, Percy, and Rocco are all names I would use in a heartbeat. (So I do hope you are wrong)! Jasper would be my favourite current trending name. For the girls I like Hero and Thisbe and I would prefer plain Sybil as the ‘ella’ names are not useable for me! Maeve would be my favourite current trending girls name.

Sorceress Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 1:31 am

No, I don’t agree with the list. Maybe they will be popular in 10-20 years, but not in near future. You’re just putting names that fit your style, not observation.

No offense, but I don’t understand why you two push old-lady names so much.

Sorceress Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 1:36 am

Sorry if I have been rude, I just wake up and I’m not a morning person. (It’s early morning here)

ClaraOswinOswald Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 1:42 am

I really love a lot of these. I’m not really feeling Ursuline as much as I like the other Ursul- names — it’s a college near where I live.

AndreaLynn Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 2:38 am

Not a fan of 90% of these, but baby naming is OUT there now. Like really…a person would name their baby something that looks like “Lettuce”? (Lettice) Cool bro! Lol. I’m totally a ‘Berry for entertainment purposes.

Mom2one2 Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 2:43 am

Hrm…I suppose it’s anyone’s guess what could be popular in the future, but most of these just seem so….well, random. Sorry. I’m sure that people 20 years ago would have thought my current baby name list was random too 😉 These are definitely unique!

rollo Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 3:48 am

What a pleasant surprise to see the very feminine Rowena on this list, I also love Sybella because it is frilly and yet has that quirkiness that makes it so interesting but not way out, after all there are many Bellas out there.

I know of a young Rocco and I think it is a handsome Italian name (his brother has the dashing name of Orlando) well chosen names by their parents!

Cassian is very appealing but it may be a step too far for me at the moment so it will have to remain a GP for me.

loislane1222 Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 7:37 am

I know an expectant mom considering the name Cora for her baby girl. I definitely think it is going straight up.

I think Elsa, Noelle, Cecily, Edith/Edie, Emilia/Millie, Eliana, Lilia and Greta are also going to sneak up very quickly on the list.

Predicting boy trends seems a lot more difficult. It seems like parents fall into two categories when it comes to naming sons: 1. The extremely traditional, or 2. The extremely kreatif or über masculine.

Ezra absolutely is on the way up. It is on my own short list. Anton is a family name of mine, but I don’t think I could ever get my husband to go for it.

However, I think Clark, August, Leo, Saul, Jonah, Abraham/Abram/Abe, Anders and other “old man,” traditional names will slowly start to climb — but not as quickly as the names on the girls’ list.

Still, I see a very sizable camp of parents going for kreatif names, usually with the letter Y: Braxtyn, Kayden, Greyson, Jazmyn, Tatyn, etc. I mean no disrespect to people who like those names. They just aren’t my style.

Sunflowerist Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 7:38 am

Willis! Yayy.. That name has gotten no love (maybe due to Different Strokes/whachu talkin bout Willis?) but I think it is very well suited to become popular.

rainierloner Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 7:46 am

Ah, the lovely Adelaide is headed towards the top! I am surprised that Imogen wasn’t at the top of your list for trendy girls… Maeve is also a favorite of mine, and I selfishly hope that it doesn’t get TOO much popularity!

rainierloner Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 7:49 am

Also, I kinda disagree with the future names list, for boys and girls. They seem a bit too eclectic to be in the near future. Maybe in ten years? Fun post, though! It’s always great to know the newest and trendy names! 🙂

Orchid_Lover Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 8:39 am

Nero? Like the emperor who “fiddled while Rome burned”…I don’t think so.
Enid, Everest, Otto, Percy, and Rocco probably belong in the first list. Aside from Rhainnon, Rowena, Viveca, and Enoch, the second list looks like a GP list. I don’t see parents having the guts to use those names on a large scale.

spotlightstarlit Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:08 am

Glory, Hero, Sybella, Thisbe and Lazarus.

That could be my sib-set and I’d be thrilled to bits.

Pam Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:08 am

Clarification: The future list is meant to collect names that may be coming into style in 10 or more years, certainly not in the next few years.

The names in the current style wave, like Cora and Ivy, are in the current style wave and will become even more popular over the next handful of years.

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:52 am

I really liked a lot of the names on the first lists. In fact, I liked every single one of the boys’ names and eight out of ten for the girls. The avant-garde names didn’t have the same effect. I liked Rhiannon from the girls and Otis, Otto and Percy from the boys side but that was it. I guess those just aren’t really my style.

miloowen Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 10:08 am

Love the name Enid, certainly would have used it for another daughter if I’d had one. Not only because it was the name of the wonderful Welsh writer Enid Bagnold (who had marvelous names for her characters) but also because it means lark.

I love Eulalia — the name of the patron saint of Catalunya and Barcelona, with the nn Laia — rather than Eulalie. Eulalie just makes me think of the mayor’s wife in Music Man.

My daughter had a friend named Ida, named after her grandmother. She must be in her 30s now. Leontyne, for the opera singer, Lettice, Rhiannon (Welsh goddess name), Sybella, and Rowena (I loved Ivanhoe) are all wonderful names, but I don’t think I would have used them.

Doon, on the girls’ list, reminds me of Rumer Godden’s wonderful novel Thursday’s Child, in which the main character was a boy named Doon, because his mother loved the book Lorna Doone and wanted a girl named Lorna.

Names on the boys’ list that I like are Enoch, Lowell, Santiago, Rocco (a family name), and Percy. There are variations of the others that I prefer — Beech to Beach, Antony to Anton, Florian to Florin, Eleazar to Lazarus (it’s a Jewish thing), Wilfred to Willis.

Very interesting list, Pam. Makes me wonder what my grandchildren will be named. Although with my son Tom now studying to be an Army rabbi, I rather doubt that I’ll see names for my grandchildren other than Michal or Nomi, Lior or Amitai lol.

LuMary Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 10:17 am

I like a lot of these: Enid, Glory (I like Hope Glory, too. “Christ in you the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27), Ida, Ines/Inez, Malou, Oceana, Sybella, Enoch, Everest, Gower (also Gowan, McGowan), Guthrie, Lazarus, Lowell, Lucius, Otis, Otto, Rocco, Smith.

I’m still waiting for some of the classics to reappear (or more noticeably) such as Martin, Peter, Francis, Dominic, Mary, Frances, Patricia, Susan.

Pam Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 10:25 am

It can be really illuminating to look at the popularity charts for the stylish and even the popular names today. Isabella, for instance, was completely off the Top 1000 from 1948 until 1990 and for much of that period seemed as outrageous a name as Ida or Ines may seem today. Does that mean that Ida will rise over the next 25 years to be as popular as Isabella? Maybe or maybe not, but the point is that it certainly has that potential — many of the most stylish names listed here such as Maeve, Hazel, Beatrice, Finn, Atticus have risen over the past few decades from total obscurity to being widely embraced.

katybug Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 10:45 am

Loislane’s list of “old man” names looks like my favorite boy name list–Leo, August, Clark–I love them so! Add Harvey and you’ve got my finalists if we ever have another boy.

I get that many people are not on the old-man or old-lady name bandwagon, but this is an awesome time for naming for those of us who are! I’m skeptical about many names on Pam’s next wave list, but there’s no doubt that baby naming is getting less tradition bound and more wide open, so who knows? It would be fun to see some of these become popular 10-15 years down the road.

anna.bliss Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 11:25 am

I really love Beach/Beech. We are beach and forest lovers. I don’t know if my husband would go for it, but I love names that remind me of those peaceful lovely places. I like Ezra and Glory as well.

Pam Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Katybug, it is indeed fun to see which projected names get more popular over time. I have a vivid memory of Linda and I constructing the list we called Baby Men & Women names from the So Far Out They’re In (i.e. radically style-forward) names in the original Beyond Jennifer & Jason, published in 1988. We started laughing uncontrollably because so many of the names sounded so outrageous, but the list included Adeline, Beatrice, Clara, Cora, Cordelia, Eleanor, Ella, Eve, Hazel, Imogen, Josephine, Madeleine, Natalie, Nora, Olive, and Willa for girls; and for boys, Felix, Frederick, George, Gus, Harry, Joseph, and Oscar.

All these names have come very far into style in the 26 years since that list was published. But there are other names on the same list that have not: Agatha, Eugenia, and Henrietta for girls, for instance, and Ambrose, Chester, and Lloyd for boys, among others. You can’t get every specific name prediction right, but we do have a good record for prognosticating general styles and moods.

Anna.Bliss, one reason Beach/Beech is on this list is for a growing acceptance of nature names like Bay or Lake or Maple that symbolize a place or a natural feeling.

niteowl13 Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Those new wave names seem too out there. I think there will be more nature and word names in 10 years.

mariemama Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 4:41 pm

If I’m having a girl, I plan to use Hero for her middle name! I love it and find it quirky and strong, and it’s the only one I have been able to come up with that can stand up with Atlas, which is my son’s middle name. I love that it has mythological and literary history, and is a word name too.

Bebewell Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 5:50 pm

I wouldn’t write off Agatha or Henrietta just yet as I see them getting more and more discussions on baby name forums. Plus I think that feminized version of male names will be growing in popularity. Georgina for example is very popular in the UK right now (could be something to do with the new Prince George).

nativoyoung Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I kind of disagree with some other commenters–I can totally see some of the far-out there list coming in. Otis is already on my list, I know a 4 year old Apollo, a young boy named Ripley, and a baby named Otto the same age as my baby named Oskar. Others that I think work beautifully: Anton, Falconer, Guthrie (so cute–just added it to my list), Lucius, Marlon, Percy, and Smith. I didn’t think any on the list were unbelievable as future hit names even though many weren’t my style.

On the girls list I see a lot of potential for Delphi, Doon, Enid (fits right in with other Downton Abbey type names), Glory, Hero, Malou, Minerva (love!), Persephone, Rowena (Doc Martin anyone?). and Sybella. Most of those aren’t my style but they don’t sound too far out there.

Now I’m going to go love on a the name Otis a little more. 🙂

wrightas Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:26 pm

We have a baby named Smith so I love at least one name on your list 🙂 Maybe we are ahead of our time…

benotnormal Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Love the current list, except Imogen. Many people here love it but I seriously don’t see the appeal.

The Future list I’m not a fan of much but perhaps by then time their popular I will be.

MrsM1010 Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

I agree with the first list… The second list seems a little out there but still has some great names. I think names like Hazel, Cora, and Beatrice will become more popular. But, I definitely do not think they will become the next Olivia or Sophia.

sofiarosem Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 9:53 pm

I like:
Girls: Adelaide, Hazel, Imogen, Ivy, Maisie, & Persephone.
Boys: Asher, Declan, Felix, Finn, Jasper, & Cassian.

The rest aren’t my style.

The ones I can see becoming more popular in the near future:
Girls: Hazel, Imogen & Maisie
Boys: Declan, Finn & Jasper

Ysee Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 10:58 pm

At first glance your list of future risers looked crazy to me, but your comments have been a good reminder that names that are almost banal nowadays seemed ‘out there’ not so long ago.

So, I took a second look at the list, and here are the names I think are most likely to gain in popularity. I made this list mostly so I can come back and check it in 10+ years to see if I was right. 🙂

on. This next wave takes current styles and trends to more extreme levels. Names we’d place in the next style wave include:

Delphi – I can see Delphine or Delphina with Delphi as a nickname
Eulalie – maybe, but Elodie has a lot more potential
Freesia – possibly, though I’d put my money on Flora
Ines – this name is huge in France now and I can see it gaining popularity as a middle name elsewhere
Leontine – maybe, but I’d go with Leonore
Viveca – this might gain some love as people tire of Vivian and Vivienne

I’ll add Clea, Zelia, Marian, Thais, Lois and Romy.

Smith – I know a little boy named Smith and I love it!

I’ll add Sid, Oren, Aurelius, Marius, Maceo and Harland.

Ysee Says:

February 27th, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Oops, sorry for the faulty cut and paste above!

gregariouspeach Says:

March 3rd, 2014 at 6:14 am

Aw, I guess we were ahead of the times then 😉 Love our little Florin.

appellation_addict Says:

March 5th, 2014 at 3:44 am

I definitely agree that boy’s names are getting more adventurous – I think that there used to be more of a sense of sons carrying on family names (so not just surnames, I’m thinking of boys being juniors or being named for a male relative). It’s great to see so many gorgeous boy’s names on here – I love Atticus, Freeman, August (this one is getting really trendy! Good call, Pam!), and Lucius (which might be turned to as an alternative to the recently popular Lucas?).
I also loved the various mythological female names in the article, I’d love to meet a little Hero or Rhiannon.

Goldenmum Says:

March 9th, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Love the name Anton, it’s so solid and ticks so many boxes. Also like Otto, Lucius and Otis. Loved to have seen Aurelius on the list.

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