We’re nearing the end of 2018 (can you believe it?), and baby names just keep getting wilder. No, really, like, wild-animals wild. Zooey Deschanel named her kids Elsie Otter and Charlie Wolf. Busy Philipps’ menagerie? Birdie and Cricket.
And that’s not all. We’ve also got celebs naming their kids Cosimo (Beck), Audio Science Clayton (Shannyn Sossamon), Maple (Jason Bateman, what were you thinking, dude?) and Emily Zolten (Penn Jillette). Not a Jennifer or a Michael in sight these days, which actually, we’re really, really OK with.
So, yeah, time for you to get on the ball — and up your name game. At the very least, it’s time to figure out who you might be if your parents had named you in this century, you ancient millennial slug, you.
Seriously, have you ever wondered what the totally extra 2018 version of your own blah ’80s sitcom name might be? We’ve got a tip-top list of very au courant modern names — some of which you might want to consider for your own bebe. Think of it as a nice nod to yourself (hey, you’re the one shoving that baby out your hoo-ha — that should earn you a place in his or her moniker) but with an oh-so-modern twist.
2018 girl names
Jessica → Jessana. Because you can. You can write anything on that line on the birth certificate. Why shouldn’t the No. 18,464-ranked name for girls in 2012 become the No. 1 name for girls in 2018? Only you can prevent more Jessicas from being on this planet.
Ashley → Aisling. Pronounced “ASH-ling.” If that’s too much like “earthling” or “dumpling” for you, no probs. Drop that G like it’s hot, and you’ve got ASH-lin. Oh, you and your little potato are so Irish, we can’t even stand it.
Amanda → Amantha. Amantha is the witty, sexy, feminist niece of Southern belle Amanda. Amantha opts for bourbon on the rocks over a mint julep any day. Well, when she’s of drinking age, that is. In the meantime, Amantha will school her teddy bears on gender issues and the nomination process for the Supreme Court. She will read Flannery O’Connor to her Barbies. This kid is such a cool cat babysitters will fight to give you Friday night off.
Brittany/Britney → Ardennes. Leave Britney alone already — Spears and the French region. Let’s opt for another, often overlooked French province, shall we? Introducing Ardennes (the S is silent) — all the French prestige and mystery, none of the toxic, musky Kevin Federline residue (no offense, Brit-Brit. We love you, and that yellow snake was hot).
Sarah → Seraphia (also Serapia or Seraphim). Good story here. Seraphia’s parents died in, like, 1 A.D. And all the guys were like, “I’ll marry you, orphan Seraphia.” But she was all, “No thanks. I’m consecrating myself to God and giving everything to the poor and selling myself into voluntary slavery to a Roman noblewoman.” Then, being dudes of 1 A.D., they immediately tried to rape her, but girlfriend Seraphia beat them all to a pulp and became a saint. Seraphia was hardcore. Perfect for parents who know that hell is other people and who plan to enroll their daughter in self-defense classes by age 2.
Jennifer → Guinevere. Gwenovere. Genowefa. Oh, just go for it, already. Free the Jennifers from name slavery. You know you want to. And Queen Guinevere’s tragic love affair with her husband’s BFF, Lancelot, is so Real Housewives of Medieval Wales. In other words, it doesn’t get more retro-modern. And your Guin will hopefully break the Gwyn spell and reassure women their lady parts don’t need steaming or jade eggs.
Stephanie → Sairla. Gaelic. No, we don’t know how to pronounce it either, but it’s got to be better than Stephanie, right? SHAR-la? SHIRE-la? Go to an Irish pub, pound a few Guinnesses before you get pregnant, and ask the bartender how the hell to say Sairla.
Elizabeth → Lisbet. This is rumored to be the queen’s childhood nickname, and we think it’s high time for its revival. Too soft for you? Oh, fine. Add an H and you’ve got your own little Lisbeth Salander.
Lauren → Lele (LAY-lay). Oh, man. It’s got flavor, and it’s got a cool Vine personality attached, you freaking hipster. Want to raise a girl nobody’s gonna mess with? You get yourself a Lele.
Nicole → Nikola. For that Russian spy appeal. Or British Harrods clerk appeal. Either way, your Nikola will be just fine wherever she goes, and trust us, she’ll go far. Jennifer Garner will play her in the movie someday.
Megan → Morgana. Wise woman or a witch? You decide after she’s Krazy-Glued Lego pieces to the toilet seat. It’s another mystical name snapped up from Arthurian legend, of course, because people really knew how to name babies then. We also groove on the variant “Morrigan,” if she wants to cloak her powers.
Heather → Calluna. “To beautify, sweep clean” in Greek. It’s actually the scientific term used for common Scotch heather (Calluna vulgaris), and OMG, we just figured out that the plant heather looks kind of broomlike. Minds blown. Perfect for families who secretly want to live off the grid and become herbalists and yak herders.
Amber → Amefleur. This name appears in The New York Times best-seller (heh) “A Generall Historie of the Netherlands” by Jean Francois Le Petit: “His bowells were carried … and his body was interred with a Couent of Chartreux Monks called Amefleur.” You had us at a Couent of Chartreux Monks, Jean Francois Le Petit.
Melissa → Salome. This woman wanted the head of John the Baptist on a platter (and got it with her slinky moves). Hell, now it’s 2018. She’s not picky. This baby girl will grow up to take any old white dude’s head on a platter, and you’ll never be so proud. RGB would love her.
Danielle → Danne. Rhymes with Jan. Why not a girl named Danne? Everyone will wonder. Dawn? Danny? Nope. Just Danne. Let them keep wondering. She’s that kind of woman.
Emily → Millicenta. She can always rhyme it with “polenta” or “placenta.” That’s fun times right there for her and her kindergarten teacher.
Rachel → Roshan. Sanskrit for “shining light,” previously a boy’s name. We love the sound of it for a dreamy, sleepy little girl baby. And we’re also pretty sure every name is supposed to mean “shining light” or “most beautiful,” but somehow, we really believe it with Roshan.
Christina → Cristofora. Excellent for parents who don’t want to advertise their Christianity or fondness for Christopher Columbus (who was actually Cristofor) on a billboard but kinda dig old weird Latin feels.
Michelle → Mihaila. Mee-HIGH-la. Serbo-Croatian derivative of Michael. Also, a street in Belgrade that you can make up a fabulous meet-cute story about. Or a he-knocked-me-up-there-cute story about.
Kayla → Laika. Sure, Laika (LYE-kuh) was a doomed one-way Russian space dog, but no more doomed than the hundreds of thousands of Kaylas, Makaylas, and Makennas wandering listlessly out there searching for a unique identity.
Rebecca → Raizel. Seeking that vaguely Old Testament vibe? Tired of all the Beccas in Bachelor Nation? Look no further than Raizel (rye-ZELL), which means, “rose” in Hebrew.
Katherine → Ketta. Seriously, how great is this name? It is linked to the Greek goddess Hecate (the one usually holding two torches or a key). Hecate is associated with “crossroads, entrance-ways, fire, light, the moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, necromancy and sorcery.” Badass!
Courtney → Caoimhe, pronounced inexplicably as KEE-va, “gentle, beautiful, precious.” Comes from the same root as Kevin if there’s an Irish Uncle Kev in the fam you want to honor.
Amy → Amala. Arabic, we’ve read, meaning “bird” or “beloved.” Sweet but with plenty enough gravitas to earn her Ph.D. in neuroscience.
2018 boys names
Michael → Marcaeus. Michael. Ho-hum. Don’t get us wrong. We like archangels just as much as the next person, but Michael could use a break for a decade or so. How about the weighty, meet-you-at-the-forum Roman panache of Marcaeus? Another good one for linguists: That AE action screams, “My parents were classics majors.”
Christopher → Gilchrist. GIL-krist. Maybe on Mondays, he’s Gil. Maybe on Thursdays he’s Kristo. We love the stiff upper lip of this one. A pinch of Prince William, a dash of Prince Harry and a whole lot of Sir Patrick Stewart. In the mornings, his crib will smell vaguely of pipe tobacco, Earl Grey and worn leather bookbindings. Make it so, No. 1.
Matthew → Mateo/Matteo. Mateo, FTW. It is a new dawn, and Mateo will grow up to be a total heartthrob who learns Italian just because. He’d probably make homemade linguini for his aging millennial parents too. Keep that in mind.
Joshua → Jericho. The Rebecca/Raizel pairing of the boys list. Just Biblical enough to please the grandparents, just obscure enough that nobody wants to ask where or what Jericho is because they think they should probably know already. Can be a “Jer” to his skateboard buddies, if necessary, but honestly, this name has enough coolness factor that no nicknames are required.
David → Davidge. Rhymes with “savage.” Dude means business. This is a fine selection for the infant who scorns sleep, screams at lullabies and goes straight from the milestone of sitting to bolting down the toy aisle at Target. You and your weary spouse can secretly refer to him as “Damage” on more brutal days. The good news? Davidge will get shit done, and he will be #woke AF. You just have to feed him and keep him safe for 18 years first. It’ll be worth it. Trust us.
Andrew → Albie. No offense, Andrews of the world, but we think of you as the wan, quiet, sniffling boy in the back of the classroom worried because he can’t find his fast-acting asthma inhaler. Time for an overhaul: Enter Albie. Sensitive? Check. Possibly allergic to a lot of things? Check. Sweet and really excited to go visit nursing homes with his second-grade class? Check. Don’t underestimate the compassion of an Albie.
Daniel → Dacey. “One from noble background.” Obvi, because you’re reading this. Dacey has that unisex thang we all love. Dacey can be Dace, or Dac if your family couldn’t care less about the whole long-vowel-silent-e rule. Dacey will win American Ninja Warrior and do brain surgery in his spare time. You know we speak the truth.
Justin → Jinn. Justin Theroux, we’re mad at you for dumping Jennifer Aniston. Justin Long, why didn’t you stay with Drew Barrymore, because, like, #CoupleGoals? Poof. In 2018, you’re a new and improved soul, a Jinn. Like a Djinn. That’s a genie. You knew that, right? Culturally ambiguous with built-in allowance for mischief. The Loki of J names.
James → Rafe. We never said they had to start with the same letter. That’s on you. We love Rafe because it’s short and punchy and right to the point, like James. And “Jafe” sounds too much like “chafe.” May your Rafe never chafe.
Robert → Riven. Really solid choice if Mom or Dad is a Dungeons and Dragons nerd. We know you’re out there. We can see you, you half-elf bard with fringed gauntlets.
John → Johannson. Not Scandinavian by birth? Not even a little? Who cares? It’s almost 2020. You can hygge the hell out of your kid’s name if you feel like it. We give you permission.
Joseph → Seph. Why settle for an ordinary Joe? Seph won’t care if Grandma keeps calling him Seth. Seth Meyers is cool. It’s all good. But Seph, now that’s different. A lovely choice for the millennial mom who really wanted a girl to go to Sephora with. Seph might love Sephora too, just give him some time.
Ryan → Orion. An easy constellation to find because Orion was fond of really gaudy belts. How cool a parent are you to be able to point out your kid’s own constellation? This little guy is easily an astronomer in the making, so stock up on the glow-in-the-dark ceiling galaxies. And be prepared for UFO sightings.
Nicholas → Niels. A future CNN or Washington Post reporter if we ever heard one. Danish flair with a serious countenance and intelligent, probing mind. Niels knows where you hide the Oreos.
William → Kit or Marlowe. William is the first name of Shakespeare, but Shakespeare contemporary Kit Marlowe never gets cred for all his plays. Rumors still persist that Shakespeare swiped Marlowe’s work too. So skip the Will, William and Liam — and name a Kit today.
Brandon → Barnaby. He’s solid, this one. A Barnaby will have deliciously chubby baby thighs for you to munch on. A Barnaby will laugh from the very core of his being. And he can easily transition to Barney, for millennials who fell in love over binge-watching sessions of How I Met Your Mother.
Anthony → Anton. Another playwright go-to: Anton Chekhov, who was also a country doctor. This is a fabulous choice for parents who are torn between encouraging frivolous M.F.A. dreams in their spawn vs. insisting on med school, do not pass go. A bit of advice for you hyperventilating overachiever parents? Chill. Anton will figure it out. Take the night off.
Jonathan → Javelin. Oh, hella yes. Javelin is the guy who will be most likely to change his middle name to “California.” Jav will definitely go to Burning Man. Jav will weep in private to Thom Yorke lyrics and wonder why more millennials didn’t swoon over Radiohead.
Kevin → Keeran. Irish-ish. A nice, simple choice for those who just want to get the baby-naming shit over with but want to be able to say at least once, “It’s Celtic.”
Kyle → Clell. No lie, Clell is our boy version of Ketta. We are in love. (Klell works too, if Papa Kyle is klinging to his K.) Apparently, Clell means, “descendant of the wolf family,” which is just so damn cool we can’t believe Hollywood celeb parents haven’t snapped this sucker right up. Plus, instant inspiration. Wolf nursery! Werewolf birthday parties and bloody, furry cupcakes! Group stress-release howling at the moon as a fam! Good times.
Eric → Enoch. Have you ever met an Enoch? Nope. Case closed.
Brian → Branagh. We have never forgiven Kenneth Branagh for dumping the glorious Emma Thompson, but Branagh is kind of delicious for a baby boy.
Steven → Seven. If Millie Bobby can be Eleven, your son can be Seven. Or Seven-Eleven if you and your honey locked eyes over the Slushie machine at your local 7-Eleven. What better way to celebrate your love? Seven is a lucky number, and he can always join the ranks of Seph and Seth later in life as Sev, so you’re off the hook if he’s all, “Were you smoking crack in 2018, Mom and Dad?”
Thomas → Tavin. Germanic in origin, something about “royal staff.” Nice for dysfunctional families of German descent who are loathe to discuss their feelings at the dinner table. Tavin will break the mold eventually, but this kid can keep a secret. Likely, he will become a brilliant writer of disturbing but highly acclaimed psychodramas.
Timothy → Moth. I mean, what part of the coolness quotient of Moth are you not getting? Moth. You can have a baby named Moth. If Busy Philipps can have a Cricket, you can have a Moth. Incredible times we are living in.
Adam → Alisio. Italian? Portuguese? Does it really matter? Alisio will never lack for admirers, and when he backpacks across Europe, his name will be a source of much discussion on overnight trains. Alisio is a dark-eyed, consent-loving Casanova, a modern-day romantic. Be prepared for this one to break a few hearts, but never by ghosting or catfishing.
Jacob → Esau. The poor misunderstood older son of Isaac. It’s time for us to cut Esau some slack, OK? He and his brother may have fought, but they reconciled. And apparently, Esau was a burly, hairy hunter feeding his family while Jacob just sat in the corner and whined a lot. Eff that. Esau seized the day and made gazelle stew. An Esau walks the walk, a Jacob just talks the talk. And if you can’t get past your Bible school past, fine, there’s always Ezra.
Jason → Jayce/Jodhpur. That’s all we have to say. Just please, no more Jasons.
Zachary → Zed. “Zed’s dead, baby” is one of the best lines in film history. But the name is far from dead. In fact, Zed is primed for takeover. Vroom-vroom.
So, there you have it, millennial breeder types. Sorry about your own name, but hey, you get to embrace the future of naming. It’s a wild ride — and it’s only getting wilder. Hop on.