Two Syllable Names Reign Supreme
Two syllable names are a huge, rich group of baby names. Two syllables is the most common name length in the USA, and encompass every style you can imagine, from vintage classics to unique modern names, cute nicknames to cool cowboys and girls.
You might be specifically looking for a two syllable name to fit a sibling pattern, or because you like the way it sounds with your last name. Or maybe you’re just interested to see what’s out there… or how I can possibly cover the whole topic of bisyllabic baby names in one post.
Spoiler: I can’t! But here are the edited highlights, including the most popular two syllable baby names, and cool examples from styles that parents are loving right now.
Facts and figures
Two is the most popular number of syllables on birth certificates, accounting for almost half the girl names and over half the boy names in the US Top 100:
1 syllable: 3 names
2 syllables: 49 names
3 syllables: 36 names
4 syllables: 12 names
1 syllable: 6 names
2 syllables: 64 names
3 syllables: 24 names
4 syllables: 6 names
I should add that this is a bit subjective. It depends on your accent and pronunciation, because vowels are slippery things. If you think that Wyatt has one syllable, or Violet has three, I’m not going to fight over it!
The prize for the shortest two-syllable name goes to Io and Ia, followed by three letter names like Ari and Zoe. The longest belong to languages that go heavy on the letters, like Georgette and Aoibheann. Can you think of any longer?
Popular two syllable names
Here are the most popular two-syllable names in the US in 2018. Although it’s not quite up-to-date (the 2019 data has been postponed), the names near the top of the list tend not to move dramatically from year to year. So it’s still a good tool for guessing what’s popular with American parents currently. Ranks are in brackets.
These are the top two-syllable names on the Nameberry chart for 2020: the ones people like you are looking at right now. Ranks are in brackets.
We don’t know for sure which names are rocketing up until the next round of statistics is published. But these are some of the two syllable names that look hot for 2020.
Let’s kick off with the absolute classics: these two syllable names aren’t cutting-edge popular, but are among the most enduring and timeless.
As far from classic as you can get, notable two syllable starbaby names of recent years include:
Alma (Zoe Kazan & Paul Dano)
Asahd and Aalam (DJ Khaled)
Birdie and Cricket (Busy Philipps)
Capri (Kobe Bryant)
Ennis (Kirsten Dunst)
Kulture (Cardi B)
Leafer (Kat Von D)
Marvel (Pete Wentz)
Memphis and Navy (Jason Aldean)
Onyx (Iggy Azalea; Alanis Morissette*)
Raddix (Cameron Diaz)
Rumi (Beyoncé and Jay Z)
Stormi (Kylie Jenner)
Vida (Michael Bublé)
In many varieties of English, words have a “beat” of stronger stressed syllables. Most two syllable names put the stress on the first syllable (AD-am, BELL-a). But there’s a special group of names — often recently borrowed from other languages — where it’s on the second syllable. Some parents like this rhythm for a middle name, especially for girls. But there’s no reason why they can’t shine in first position too.
Many of the genuinely unisex names that are hot right now have two syllables, such as:
These names were popular around one hundred years ago, and are either back in style or have potential.
A major trend in recent years is names drawn from ancient myths and legends. These are some of the best with two syllables.
British/Irish surnames are an ever-evolving trend, and a vast number of them have two syllables — including most Baby-Names”>occupational names. Inspiration is all around, from your family tree to people n TV, but here’s a small taster.
The Bible is full of two syllable names, from Adam onwards. Here’s a micro-selection of the coolest.
Word names include names from nature, virtues, colors, and pretty much every part of culture you can think of. And guess what? Yep, lots of them have two syllables.
Looking for a name that your kid won’t share with anyone else? Here’s some two-syllable inspiration from the very bottom of the charts, given to only five children in 2018.
What are your favorite two syllable names? Let us know in the comments!
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