Congratulations to all expectant mums out there!
As you embark on this exciting new chapter, one of the many questions people will start asking is: ‘Have you thought of names?’ We know how stressful hearing this can be. If you haven’t been dreaming of the perfect name, finding the right one for your bundle of joy can be daunting. Being on the same boat myself, it’s always useful to do research and see what names are trending out there. Which is why we are back with our annual Baby Name Trends. Last year was all about strong names, whether it be inspired by superheroes, presidents or brave literature characters. But with the rise of modern spirituality, nature, and the fight for inclusivity, whether in politics or social issues, will these affect the trends for the year ahead? We’ve teamed up with baby name expert Pamela Redmond Satran of baby name blog Nameberry to hear about her predictions.
THE TREND: Gender Neutral Names
THE NAMES: Robin, Campbell, Nico, Finley, Briar
Pamela says: Parents who want to raise their children free of gender stereotypes are looking for names that are truly gender neutral. That means no names that end in son like Madison, no names that were originally boy or girl names that have migrated to the other side, such as Charlie. And if the names also evidence a gender-free ideal such as Justice, all the better.
THE TREND: Most Fashionable Consonant: F
THE NAMES: Frankie, Felix, Faye, Flora, Fleur, Frances, Fern, Florian
Pamela says: For a letter that had been sitting quietly in the shadows for decades, F has suddenly rocketed forward, particularly for boys, and particularly for boys’ names of Irish descent. And then there’s the whole Family Fran, which started to take off after the election to the papacy of Pope Francis and led to the revival of several surprising half-forgotten Fran names. Fashion-forward names starting with F include the following.
THE TREND: Animalia Middle Names
THE NAMES: Bear, Fox, Lynx, Hawk, Wolf
Pamela says: Parents who want to add a touch of fierceness or individuality to more conventional first name choices are turning to the animal kingdom for the wild vibe. As in many other trends, celebs have led the way, starting with Mariel Hemingway’s daughter Langley Fox back in 1989 to the number of more recent celebrity babies bearing Bear as their middle name.
THE TREND: Coolest Vowel: U
THE NAMES: Hugo, Jude, Louise, Tallulah, Luca, Juniper
Pamela says: U finally gets its turn in the spotlight this year. As a first initial, U is the least-used letter of the alphabet, and it hasn’t featured in any major baby name trends in….forever. But now u – and its oo sound – features in many newly stylish names. Is it the influence of little Prince Louis? His unexpected name may have simply upshifted the trend to major.
THE TREND: Going Global
THE NAMES: Walken, Kiran, Acacius, Sena, Jedda, Niabi
Pamela says: As the world gets smaller, the pool of names becomes larger, with new names from ever-more-diverse origins entering the global lexicon. Whether it’s Maori and Xhosa names, ancient Greek names and South American Indian names, Korean names and Israeli names. With the appetite for meaningful and unique names expanding all the time, parents are looking for original choices with deep roots.
THE TREND: Muted Hues
THE NAMES: Ash, Olive, Lilac, Sage, Mauve, Ivory
Pamela says: All colour names for babies are, well, colourful, but we’re beginning to see a shift in tone as vibrant shades like Scarlett and Ruby and Poppy are giving way to softer pastels. Grey/Gray is starting to replace Blue as a first and middle colour name du jour, while popular Violet has been joined by other vintage pale purplish hues. Another prediction: More Crayola names for boys.
THE TREND: Looking East
THE NAMES: Bodhi, Zen, Rama, Manu, Lakshmi, Kali
Pamela says: Names related to Eastern religions and non-European mythology have taken over from Biblical and saints’ names as spiritual favourites. The mainstreaming of yoga, meditation, and non-traditional spiritualism underpins the trend, along with a search for meaning that transcends the name’s surface qualities such as style and sound.
With thanks to Pamela Redmond Satran X