New Baby Names
Where do new baby names come from? Some are invented by parents and catch on, while others, such as Saint and Shiloh are the handiwork of celebrities. Some new names for babies are respellings of established names or new imported names from other cultures.
Along with Saint and Shiloh, other new baby names on the rise in the US Top 1000 include Aries, Ember, Finley, Meilani, Onyx, Scout, Thiago, and Wells. New place names becoming more popular include Harlem, Princeton, Zion, and Cali.
In recent years, many words have been promoted to become new baby names. And new names are always being created from established surnames or nature names.
There are thousands of new baby names with more being minted every day, but the new baby names gaining in popularity include the following.
Meaning:"air; song or melody"
Description:Aria has origins in both Italian and Hebrew. In the former, Aria's literal meaning, air, is meant as a musical term denoting a kind of song or melody. Hebrew Aria is a variation of Ari, meaning “lion.” In Persian, Aria is a male name, and in Indian it is considered unisex. Arya is an alternate spelling.
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: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: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:Zion has taken off in recent years, especially after singer Lauryn Hill used it for her son in 1997 and incorporated the name into a hit song. It combines a user-friendly Ryan-Brian sound with the gravitas of religious significance. The Hebrew pronunciation is 'tzeeyon'.
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.
Description:Sloane is a sleek, sophisticated surname name that has gradually morphed over to the girls' side. Sloane is definitely a name that's going to continue to rise. Spelled without the final "e," Sloan joined Sloane in the Top 1000 for the first time in 2011.
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 nameslist in 2009. Knox now ranks among the most influential celebrity baby names.
Meaning:"son of the red-haired one"
Description:Flynn, a charming Irish surname, is still used only quietly, despite its easygoing, casual cowboy charm, unlike Finn which is a star of this genre. Flynn was the choice of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr for their baby boy, and is also the middle name -- used as his first -- of a son of Miranda's fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson, of Gary Oldman's son Gulliver and Marley Shelton's daughter West.
Description:Saoirse originated as a baby name in 1920s Ireland as an applied use of saoirse, the Gaelic word for “freedom.” The name was first adopted during the Irish War of Independence, when the Irish Republican Army fought the British Army for the liberation of Ireland from British rule. In modern times, Saoirse, as well as a host of other Gaelic names, are being revived in Ireland, the UK, and the US.
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.
Description:Aryan derives from the Sanskrit word ārya, meaning “honorable” or “high-born.” As a term, Aryan was used to describe Indo-Europeans—particularly Iranians—who shared common religious, cultural, and linguistic history. It was later misapplied by the Nazis to refer solely to Germanic and Nordic Caucasians, ultimately corrupting the term.
Origin:Old Norse mythology name
Description:Odin is the name of the supreme Norse god of art, culture, wisdom and law -- who was handsome, charming and eloquent into the bargain. The name projects a good measure of strength and power and has excellent assimilation potential.
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.
Origin:French, variation of Remy (a boys name)
Description:Adorable name that's fashionable but is gaining momentum: it entered the US Top 1000 in 2013 and has been rising since. Many parents prefer this spelling for a girl to the Remy spelling
Origin:Irish and Scottish
Description:Finley is a Scottish royal name (it belonged to Macbeth's father) riding the wave of Finn names. Chris O'Donnell used it for one of his sons, and Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn did a gender switch when they named their daughter Finley.
Description:The e-addition takes the name from slightly hippie-ish nature name to the place name of a picturesque island off the coast of Scotland, and for baby namers it's by far the more popular spelling.
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.
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.
Meaning:"a thorny patch"
Description:Fairy-tale memories of Sleeping Beauty inspire some parents—such as Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen—to call their daughters Briar Rose. But Briar plus a different middle name might work even better. It's one of the newly popular nature-word names, charting in the US for the first time in 2015 for both genders.
Description:As a stylish name, Ryker has three big things going for it: its Ry beginning (as in Riley, Ryder, and Rylan), its two-syllable rhythm, and its er ending. A nice surprise for many is it's "rich" meaning. While this may not be a factor beyond New York City, there is an infamous prison there called Riker's Island. Ryker is one of the trendiest German names for boys in the US.
Description:Unlike Pearl and Ruby, this is one gem name suited for boys, the final x making it sound strong and virile. Musician Iggy Azalea chose the name Onyx for her son.
Description:Combine the charming heroine of the movie Legally Blonde with supermodel Elle Macpherson and the trend toward all names beginning with "el"—Ellie, Ella, Eleanor—and you have one hit name.
Origin:Nature and place-name
Description:Aspen is part of two groups of stylish and unique baby names: nature names and place-names. The name of a graceful tree in the poplar family with heart-shaped leaves so delicate they quiver in the gentlest breeze, Aspen is also the name of a trendy Colorado ski resort. Aspen started as a unisex name possibility but now is much more frequently worn by girls.
Origin:Word name; also diminutive of Cassius
Description:Whether it's due to its economic connotations, or its link to American legend Johnny Cash, this name is widely used, and has been used by several celebrities including Annabeth Gish and Joshua Morrow.
Origin:Nickname for "son"
Description:Sonny is one of the generic boy nickname names making a surprise reappearance, and it was recently used by actor Jason Lee. Another surprise: It's been on the US Top 1000 list every year since 1927, reaching a peak in 1975, when it hit Number 428.
Description:Cohen is a common last name among Jews and a royal name in the Jewish religion, standing for someone who is the priest in a temple. Cohen is now gaining an unlikely following as a first name among people unaware of its religious heritage, possibly because of the character Seth on TV's The O.C. who was commonly called by his last name Cohen. While many may be attracted to the name's fresh, modern, strong sound, you should be aware that its use as a first name may be offensive to some on religious grounds. Forms Coen, Koen, Cowan, and other spellings may stem from different sources.
Description:Kinsley, a name that straddles the line between cute and classy, continues to rise in popularity and is now one of the top girls' names starting with K. Kinsey is the name of the heroine of Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries and Tinsley gives the name a high society spin.
Description:Huxley is definitely rising as a surname name, with its X that makes almost any name cooler. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015. The modern nicknames Hux and Huck certainly don't hurt.
Origin:Modern invented name
Description:Jax is the Dex-Jex-Pax type of x-ending cool -- possibly too cool -- variation of Jack or nickname for Jaxon or Jackson.
Origin:Spelling variation of Zoe
Description:Zoey is a modern spelling variation of Zoe, the Greek Jewish translation of Eve. Despite its Jewish origins, Zoe was historically more popular among Christians. Two early saints were named Zoe—Saint Zoe of Rome and Saint Zoe of Pamphylia.
Origin:French variation of Amber
Description:Unlike Amber, which is in decline, this name still has a bit of a glow left -- though confusions between the two will inevitably arise.
Description:Aviation enthusiast John Travolta put this fast-paced name in the lexicon when he used it for his late son, and George Lucas followed suit.
Origin:Irish or Welsh
Meaning:"little poet or fair"
Description:As Meghan/Megan and Reagan/Regan show signs of wilting, along comes Teagan to take up the slack: definitely one to consider. The vast majority of American babies named Teagan are now girls. A variant spelling is Teaghan.
Origin:English word name
Description:Legend joins cousins Story, Saga and Fable in the baby name pantheon of narrative words. Unlike Story and Fable, however, Legend comes with additional weight, being used for fame ("living legend") and to denote a person who is fantastic "what a legend"). Who can live up to that?
Origin:Surname from place name
Description:Wells is a newly-famous baby name thanks to pregnancy guru Rosie Pope, who uses it as the short form of the buttoned-up Wellington, name of her youngest child.
Origin:Spelling variation of Tiago, diminutive of Santiago
Description:Some high-profile soccer stars, such as Thiago Silva, have contributed to its success. The correct Portuguese pronunciation is chee-AH-go.
Meaning:"one's own meadow"
Description:While theoretically unisex, this surname name has been edging up the girls’ names list, perhaps originally as an Ashley substitute.
Description:Though it sounds so modern, Brielle is, among other things, a traditional Cajun contraction of Gabrielle, but it has now spread far beyond that community. Brielle is also the name of a historic seaport in the western Netherlands.
Origin:Irish, variation of Cian
Description:A friendly Irish name chosen for one of her twin boys by Geena Davis.
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:"son of Madoc"
Description:Maddox, a previously obscure Welsh family name with a powerfully masculine image, suddenly came into the spotlight when Angelina Jolie chose it for her son in 2003. By the following year it was in the middle of the Top 1000, and it has risen since.
Description:The exotic Yara is also the name of a beautiful green-skinned Brazilian goddess and might make a more unusual spin on Mara or Sara.
Origin:Spelling variation of Ariel
Meaning:"lion of God"
Description:This variation of Ariel, with the extra-feminine suffix, has been on the rise in recent years. It entered the Top 1000 in 2008.
Description:A common Welsh name virtually unknown before the emergence of the charismatic Idris Elba, first on The Wire and then depicting Nelson Mandela in the acclaimed film.
Idris Hawr "the Giant" was a legendary seventh century Welsh giant and magician who gave his name to a well known mountain, "Idris's Fort"
Idris also exists in Arabic, meaning "to learn, study" and is the name of a prophet mentioned twice in the Koran. Idris Shah was a prominent Sufi writer.
Origin:Dutch and German, from first name Hendrik
Description:Hendrix is one of those hip rock and roll names, like Lennon, Jagger and Presley, that have been used by fellow celebs and others, to honor the seminal guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi. And this one has the trendy 'x' ending, as well, helping to propel it up the charts and into the spotlight.
Meaning:"thunder and lightning"
Description:The name of the Japanese god of thunder makes an assertive choice, very much at home in the Western world. Because of the name's similarity to popular baby names Aiden and Jayden, most people will pronounce it RAY-den, but it's more properly RYE-den.
Meaning:"place on a riverbank"
Description:Remington Steele was the perfect name for an upper-crust action hero on 1980s television. Now, Remington is catching fire along with a new generation of predatory baby boy names such as Hunter, Gunner, and Colt. Or you might consider it a unisex namewith a buttoned-up British feel and the friendly short form Rem or Remy.
Origin:English and Irish
Description:Parents seeking alternatives to the overexposed Ryan have flocked to this soundalike name, which peaked at #146 in 2011.
Origin:Scandinavian variation of Gunther
Description:The kind of nouveau macho name favored by NRA-leaning parents. Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers gave it to his son in 2009. Gunnar is another spelling that makes the name a bit less militaristic.