Modern Baby Names
Modern baby names are names that have been coined in recent years. Modern names might be names invented from place names, nature names, or last names. Or they might be invented names or names with original spelling variations.
Modern girl names rising in popularity include invented names that end in the lee sound, such as Everly. Last names or boys' names imported to the girls' lexicon also qualify as modern baby names, along with nature names like Wren and Jupiter.
Modern boy names we're hearing more of include last names used as firsts, especially when ending with S, like Wells and Bridges. Nature names like Oak and Onyx are trending, along with word names such as Knowledge and Legend.
Many of the most modern baby names are gender neutral names. Some modern unisex names that are trending include Phoenix, Nova, and Zion.
The roster of modern baby names is expanding all the time, as new names are invented, imported, or created from words and surnames. Here are the modern names that are most visible right now.
Origin:English word name
Description:Even less subtle than Duke or Earl, this name shot up the popularity charts in 2013, the same year young Prince George was born and the craze for all things royal (and Royal) began. Today, it's a leading boys' name on Nameberry's own popularity charts. While Royal ranks on the US Top 1000 list for both girls and boys, It's rising more precipitously for boys. The gender count of baby Royals is currently running 2 to 1 in favor of boys. Pop culture references: the hit Lorde song "Royals.", the Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums (in which the paterfamilias was named Royal), and most recently, the Amazon Prime series Outer Range, a supernatural neo-Western starring Josh Brolin as Royal Abbott. The name's resemblance to the more classic Roy doesn't hurt either.
Meaning:"bearer of the heavens"
Description:Previously thought too powerful for a baby boy – who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders – Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names now in the realm of possibility, along with Mars, Zeus and Apollo. It was one of the fast-rising names on the list in recent years in the USA, jumping from oblivion in 2012 into the Top 500 in 2015, and climbing several hundred places higher since then. Anne Heche was one of the first to make this audacious choice, but several celebrity parents have followed suit.
Origin:Latin tree name
Description:Juniper is a fresh-feeling nature name -- it's a small evergreen shrub -- with lots of energy. A new favorite of fashionable parents, Juniper joins such other tree and shrub names as Hazel, Acacia, and Willow.
Description:Lyra is a constellation name taken from the lyre of Orpheus. It contains the star Vega and thus could make a melodic choice for a parent interested in music, astronomy, or mythology. It has more depth and history than Lyric, is more unusual than Lila (which it rhymes with). It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.
Description:Wren, a lilting songbird name, could be the next Robin. It makes a particularly pleasing middle name choice, as does her newly discovered cousin Lark. Wren entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2012 and is among the new wave of popular English names for girls.
Description:Nova is a name that has the feel of both newness, from his meaning, and great energy from being an astronomical term for a star that suddenly increases in brightness, then fades.
Origin:Arizona place-name and Greek
Description:Phoenix rolls a lot of cool trends into one: it's a place-name and a bird name, it ends in the oh-so-hip letter x, and as the mythic bird that rose from the ashes, it's a symbol of immortality. It's also got celebrity chops, via the acting family that includes Joaquin and the late River, and as the child of an ex-Spice Girl.
Description:Knox is an old Scottish surname that Brad Pitt (whose great-great-grandfather was named Hal Knox Hillhouse) and Angelina Jolie took out of the back cupboard, dusted off, and elevated to coolness--to the point where it entered the popular baby names list in 2009. Knox now ranks among the most influential celebrity baby names.
Description:At the rate it's growing, Maverick soon won't seem like such a maverick anymore. Heard first in a 1950s James Garner western TV series, and then as the Tom Cruise character in Top Gun, Maverick symbolizes an unfettered, free spirit.
Meaning:"rock hill or army hill"
Description:Jean Harlow (born Harlean Carpenter), the original platinum blonde bombshell, was a symbol of 1930s glamour, a factor that first Patricia Arquette and then Nicole Richie and Joel Madden probably had in mind when they gave their daughters the distinctive surname name Harlow.
Origin:Surname or word name
Description:New to the US Top 1000 in 2015, Wilder is on many parents' possibility lists, one of the new generation of bad boy names growing in popularity. Wilder got a big boost in interest through Goldie Hawn's grandson, born in 2007, via son Oliver.
Description:A word in the Yankton-Yanktonai and Santee dialects of the Lakota Sioux language, meaning "friend" or "ally", used for one of the main characters in the movie Brother Bear. Also a common Japanese surname or a respelling of the musical name Coda.
Meaning:"wild boar in woodland clearing"
Description:Everly originated as a toponymic surname derived from the Old English roots eofor, meaning "boar," and leah, "clearing." It is related to the Germanic name Eberhard, meaning "brave as a wild boar," from which popular name Everett also derived. Wild boars represented strength and courage to ancient Germanic peoples, who often took on names with animal meanings.
Origin:English surname and nature name
Description:One of those simple, straightforward English surnames -- and with a presidential pedigree -- that's easy to translate into a first. It was recently chosen by both Kevin Costner and Jessica Alba for their sons, which can likely be credited for its spike in popularity in the past few years. Surname names and nature names like Hayes, which qualifies on both counts, along with occupational names all make up the new generation of stylish English names for boys that go far beyond Harry and Edward.
Origin:Herb name and also Latin
Meaning:"wise and knowing"
Description:Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.
Description:No longer tied to the hapless Ace Ventura, this jaunty, high-flying nickname name is starting to take flight among celebrity and other parents, with its countless positive references to doing well in tests and poker games, on the tennis court and golf course, and in the air.
Description:Indigo is one of the most appealing and evocative of the new generation of color names. Color names have joined flower and jewel names -- in a big way -- and Indigo, a deep blue-purple dye from plants native to India, is particularly striking for both girls and boys. Indigo is the name of a character in the Ntozake Shange novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and was used for his daughter by Lou Diamond Phillips.
Origin:Biblical place-name, Hebrew
Description:Cool meets Born Again meets Brad and Angelina, who made Shiloh an instant star when they chose it for their daughter. While Shiloh has risen from obscurity thanks to its celebrity baby use, it hasn't become a star the way brother names Maddox and Pax have. It entered the Top 1000 in 2007, one year after the birth of Ms. Jolie-Pitt.
Description:Bear has suddenly lumbered onto the baby name landscape. Perhaps inspired by British adventurer Bear Grylls (born Edward Michael), first celebrity chef Jamie Oliver used it as the middle name for his boy Buddy, and more recently Alicia Silverstone called her son Bear Blu., followed by Kate Winslet's Bear Blaize. It's part of a current trend normalizing once aggressive animal names like Wolf and Fox. Bear is now Number 218 on Nameberry and in the Top 900 in England.
Description:Scout, a character nickname from To Kill a Mockingbird (her real name was Jean Louise), became a real-life possibility when Bruce Willis and Demi Moore used it for their now grown middle daughter, followed by Tom Berenger a few years later. A unisex choice that is growing in popularity for both genders -- but given to girls about four times more often than to boys -- it was picked by skater Tai Babilonia for her son and Kerri Walsh for her daughter Scout Margery.