New data reveals some surprising names are growing in popularity. Use this list to choose your very own unique baby name.
When it comes to pregnancy tasks, choosing a baby name is right up there with completing your registry. It sounds fun at first (finally—something that doesn't involve prepping for labor!), until it becomes totally overwhelming (so.many.options). We’re here to help.
We sifted through the latest data from the Social Security Administration (they just released their report of the most popular names of 2013) and polled top baby name experts to bring you the most popular unique names—so you can choose a name that’s both on trend and original. (Yes, it’s possible.) If you're looking to blaze baby name paths, read on.
Since the popularity of garden variety flower names like Rose, Lily, and Daisy have, um, over-bloomed, parents who liked the idea of a floral name began to look further afield for more original ideas, explains Linda Rosenkrantz, co-creator of NameBerry.com.
Names that grew in popularity: Willow, Azalea, Magnolia
Other examples: Clover, Poppy, Zinnia
Related: Cheerful Spring Baby Names
From the fragrant to the peppery, spice and herb names are adding a pinch of zest to the baby name landscape, explains Rosenkrantz.
Names that grew in popularity: Sage, Rosemary, Juniper
Other examples: Saffron, Cassia, Cinnamon, Cayenne
Ancient Greek Names
Gwen Stefani isn’t the only one following the ancient Greek trend. (She named her third son Apollo.) “Ancient Greek names have the exotic uniqueness that parents often look for,” says Lucie Wisco, site editor of BellyBallot.com, a website in which parents invite friends and family to vote on baby names. Wisco attributes the rise of these names, in part, to the ever-growing popularity of fantasy in books and film, which have a strong mythological influence.
Names that grew in popularity: Atlas, Ares, Apollo, Augustus, Maximus, Titus, Athena, Aurelia, Penelope
Other examples: Persephone, Olympia
Did you know that "Beyoncé" is a variant of the singer’s mother’s maiden name? While people have been using last names as first names since ancient Rome, Wisco says the trend is on the rise, especially if it involves the last names of famous musicians and presidents.
Names that grew in popularity: Nixon, McKinley, Lennon, Monroe, Henley, Kennedy
Other examples: Macarthur, Costello
From the names of infamous characters or the notable authors themselves, we’re seeing a rise in names from classic literature. Laura Wattenberg, creator of BabyNameWizard.com, isn’t exactly surprised: Many parents like names with historical significance, she explains.
Names that grew in popularity: Finn, Atticus, Thiago, Emerson, Sawyer, Esme, Olive
Other examples: Kipling, Fitzgerald, Tennessee
Out with the new, in with the old! Mid-century names, once too quaint for our modern tastes, are resurfacing due largely to what Rosenkrantz calls the “Mad Men effect.” Suddenly names like Betty and Peggy are beginning to sound “fresh and perky.” “After all the experimenting and inventing names, traditional names are actually unique now,” adds Wisco.
Names that grew in popularity: Sally, Penny, Mae, Bobby
Other examples: Betty, Peggy, Trudy, Ted, Freddy
Peggy from Mad Men
Names are starting to reflect the joy that new babies bring—with more and more parents turning to words with uplifting meanings. Example: Megan Fox named her baby boy Bodhi, which means enlightenment or awakening.
Names that grew in popularity: Justice, Bodhi, Sincere, Haven, Serenity, Eden
Other examples: Loyal, True, Noble, Legacy, Valor
Video Game-Inspired Names
Gear up your inner game geek: This generation of parents-to-be grew up as gamers, and, according to Wattenberg, we're beginning to see the video game influence on their baby name choices. Example: The names Jax and Jaxon owe their popularity to Jax Briggs, the Mortal Kombat character. Wattenberg forecasts the names Elias and Walker to climb the ranks due to the latest Call of Duty protagonist.
Names that grew in popularity: Jaxton, Jax, Elias, Walker
Other examples: Etro, Cor, Nox, Ignis (Will these Final Fantasy XV names fight their way up the charts next year?)
Reality TV-Inspired Names
Beyond being your guilty pleasure, reality TV is becoming a source of trendy baby names. "These shows deliver a constant stream of new name ideas from every corner of America," says Wattenberg. She points to Duck Dynasty's Jase and Teen Mom stars Maci and Bentley as unexpected name trendsetters.
Names that grew in popularity this year: Lorenzo, Kash, Asa, Kendra, Malaysia
Other examples: Alaska, Stassi
Warmer names like Summer, Spring, and Autumn are starting to be eclipsed by names with a chill factor. “Wintery names sound more refreshing than summery ones,” says Rosenkrantz. She credits celebrities like Nicole Ritchie, Sean Parker and Gretchen Mol, who all named (or middle named) their daughters Winter, for making cold names cool.
Name that grew in popularity: Winter
Other examples: Snow, Frost, January, North
Fierce Animal Names
Sweet, cuddly babies don’t usually come to mind when we think of large, toothy beasts, but that’s changing! Just ask Alicia Silverstone and Kate Winslet, who both named their boys Bear. While the trend is still too new to appear in the Social Security Administration's 2013 data, ferocious animal names are starting to sound more fuzzy than frightening, says Rosenkrantz. Not to mention, they’re fiercely original.
Examples: This trend is so new, the Social Security Administration hasn’t even heard of it yet, but experts expect names like Bear, Fox, Wolf, and Puma to rise in popularity.