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Two Syllable Names Reign Supreme

July 24, 2020 Clare Green
two syllable names

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:

Girl Names

1 syllable: 3 names
2 syllables: 49 names
3 syllables: 36 names
4 syllables: 12 names

Boy 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

Top Names in the USA

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.

Girls

Emma (1)
Ava (3)
Charlotte (6)
Mia (7)
Harper (9)
Mila (14)
Ella (15)
Scarlett (20)
Luna (23)
Chloe (25)

Boys

Liam (1)
Noah (2)
Lucas (8)
Mason (9)
Logan (10)
Ethan (12)
Jacob (13)
Michael (14)
Henry (16)
Jackson (17)

Top names on Nameberry

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.

Girls

Luna (1)
Isla (5)
Ava (7)
Cora (13)
Maya (16)
Hazel (17)
Ivy (18)
Alice (19)
Iris (20)
Violet (26)

Boys

Milo (1)
Asher (2)
Silas (4)
Levi (5)
Jasper (7)
Arlo (9)
Leo (10)
Henry (11)
Liam (15)
Ezra (16)

Fastest risers

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.

Aspen
Declan
Ezra
Iris
Kylan
Margot
Meadow
Lincoln
Luna
Silas

Classic two syllable names

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.

Alice
Edward
Helen
Lucy
Mary
Michael
Joseph
Robert
Sarah
Thomas

Celebrity names

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)

*Alanis wins gold for two syllable naming: her children are Ever Imre, Onyx Solace and Winter Mercy, surname Treadway.

Stress-second names

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.

Anouk
Brielle
Colette
Elise
Emil
Gael
Jamal
Jesus
Lamar
Lebron
Lucille
Makai
Marcel
Mathilde
Odette
Revere
Romain
Siobhan
Solenne
Tyree

Gender-neutral names

Many of the genuinely unisex names that are hot right now have two syllables, such as:

Charlie
Eden
Finley
Harley
Justice
Milan
Parker
Remy
River
Skyler

Vintage two syllable names

These names were popular around one hundred years ago, and are either back in style or have potential.

Agnes
Alfred
Betsy
Chester
Ernest
Henry
Irene
Mabel
Vera
Walter

Mythological two syllable names

A major trend in recent years is names drawn from ancient myths and legends. These are some of the best with two syllables.

Arjun
Atlas
Clio
Embla
Freya
Hero
Odin
Oisin
Raiden
Venus

Two syllable surname names

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.

Baker
Carson
Davis
Drummond
Huxley
Lennox
Marlowe
Reilly
Sawyer
Weston

Biblical two syllable names

The Bible is full of two syllable names, from Adam onwards. Here’s a micro-selection of the coolest.

Abel
Asher
Boaz
Dinah
Jonah
Martha
Persis
Selah
Vashti
Zadok

Two syllable word names

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.

Arrow
Fable
Garland
Jasper
Journey
Raven
Royal
Sunny
Violet
Willow

Unusual two syllable names

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.

Albus
Alpha (for girls)
Brewster
Dashton
Lulie
Manon
Orlaith
Stokeley
Thaxton
Zola (for boys)

What are your favorite two syllable names? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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