The new year is here, and you know what that means: a whole new year of beautiful and bizarre baby name trends. So we looked into our baby name crystal ball (OK, and asked a few friends and made a few wild guesses) to predict top trends for 2018. And we dug up quite a few name gems inspired by everything from pop culture to literature to social consciousness.
Names on the rise
First, the up-and-comers. When popular baby name website Nameberry recently released their hottest names of 2017, we saw some game-changers on the rise. The monikers below aren’t the actual most-used names from last year, but they were the most-viewed on the Nameberry site. That interest indicates they’re likely to become more and more popular in 2018. If you’re expecting, this is definitely a list to watch.
Here are the 2017 names that rose the highest up the list.
Names.org predicts that most of the top 10 boy names and top 10 girl names of 2018 will also be among the top 25 baby names of 2016. But there could be some wild cards: The website predicts that certain trending names of 2017 (not necessarily the most popular ones) will continue to soar into 2018. Those names include: Adeline, Bryson, Luna, Mateo, Kinsley, and Greyson.
In addition to the fastest-rising names list, Nameberry has a few future predictions of its own. We spoke to the site’s baby name expert, Pamela Redmond Satran, about name trends coming up for 2018. One notable trend was bucking gender norms “with girls’ names getting stronger and boys’ names getting more stylish,” Redmond Satran explains. She adds that the increased visibility of strength in women “reflects what we saw in society this year, with the Women’s March, Wonder Woman and the #MeToo movement.” Eleanor, Freya and Arya are among Redmond Satran’s predictions in terms of bold names for girls who don’t tolerate bullshit (we’re sure Game of Thrones nudged some of these names on too). For girls, she also thinks “serious” names such as Ruth and Louise will be big too. Do we have Ruth Bader Ginsburg to thank for this one?
But there are more hot names for 2018. “Saoirse is rising for girls, as is the Shakespearean Ophelia, taking the place of the very popular Olivia,” Redmond Satran tells us. (We imagine those names may have also been given a boost by actor Saoirse Ronan and The Lumineers’ song Ophelia.)
In the boys’ camp, more fashion-forward names will gain popularity. “We are seeing boys’ names now as [just as] fashion-driven and subject to popularity fluctuations as girls’ names,” Redmond Satran tells us. For instance, parents are opting for Milo instead of Michael and Jasper instead of John. Trendy names like Atticus (this year’s No. 1!) will continue to gain traction. And in addition to Atticus, Redmond Satran predicts other ancient Roman names for boys — such as Cassius and Ozias — will be on the rise as well.
And speaking of ancient Roman politics, American political/presidential names are likely to remain on trend (Donald, however, is not trending). The dignified Theodore, Lincoln and Franklin are doing well, and we think Alexander and Hamilton will both get a boost thanks to musical theater fans.
As for phonetic trends, the letter S (at the beginning or end) will be big for boy and girl names, predicts Redmond Satran: Story, Stellan and Saskia are rising, as are Iris, Augustus, Frances and Lazarus.
Names from pop culture
Celebrities have always inspired name trends, and Megan/Meghan is a likely 2018 winner thanks to soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle (or, you know, maybe that name is just too tied to the ’80s to be revived just yet). Other British royals may see their monikers rise up the charts too. Classics Alice and Albert are already climbing, notes BabyCentre U.K. And according to Vogue, Brits are betting on Alice or Arthur for William and Kate’s next babe.
MTV’s reality franchise Teen Mom often inspires name trends (yes, we were surprised to learn this too), with star Maci Bookout’s choice, Bentley, rising up the charts. Her Bentley is now 9, but Bookout has a baby boy named Maverick, and fan favorite Chelsea DeBoer named her little guy Winston. Both boy names seem bound for more popularity. Then there’s little Novalee (Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra’s daughter) as well as Nova (Briana DeJesus’ daughter) on the show; the name Nova made waves in 2017 and will likely shoot up the charts this year.
And speaking of reality TV, MTV alums Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag and Whitney Port all welcomed baby boys in 2017, but we think only one of them will spark a name trend: Whitney’s little Sonny. Oh, and then there’s the upcoming Kardashian/Jenner baby boom, sure to inspire names for plenty of 2018 bundles of joy. What will Khloé Kardashian, Kim Kardashian West and Kylie Jenner name their tiny trendsetters? If Khloé Kardashian’s recent news is any indication, bold choices like Reign and Saint may be falling by the wayside in favor of more traditional trends.
Elsewhere in Hollywood, Jessica Alba kicked off the new year by giving birth to son Hayes — sounds like a name winner to us. Meanwhile, Jackass alum Bam Margera welcomed baby boy Phoenix, which is already a hot name in Los Angeles; we can see this one going nationwide. Same goes for Lazlo, which actor Jason Biggs and his wife chose for their second son. And of course the Beyhive may start using Beyoncé’s baby girl’s name, Rumi, after the poet. (Somehow, we don’t see her son’s name, Sir, spreading quite the same.) Another on trend pick? WWE stars Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan’s baby girl’s name, Birdie.
Whether inspired by modern celebs or ancient Rome, it seems the names of 2018 babies will be bold, strong and pretty badass. And after the train wreck that was 2017, that sounds just right. Let’s get some more powerful little Ruths, Phoenixes, Novas, Atticuses and Hamiltons out there, “thinkin’ past tomorrow” and changin’ the world for the better.