04.03.10

Next Year's Hot Baby Names

Abitha? Virtue? Naming expert Pamela Redmond Satran on the bizarre new names that are climbing in popularity.

It’s uncanny, the way you can go your entire lifetime without knowing even one person with a certain name—or maybe never realizing the name even existed—and then suddenly you seem to hear it everywhere.

Sometimes a confluence of pop-culture events propels a name from obscurity to center stage. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird becoming the national Big Read combined with the HBO series Rome a few years ago to catapult Atticus from the baby-name catacombs to style prominence.

A star or a celebrity baby or even a popular character can single-handedly turn his or her highly unusual name into the choice du jour. Examples from the current Top 100: Brody (Jenner), Brooklyn (child of Posh and Becks as well as every hipster’s favorite borough), and Trinity (from The Matrix).

And then there are those names that seem to mysteriously materialize from thin air. Where they come from and why parents are interested in them might not be so easy to pinpoint. Maybe they’re fresh spins on trendy favorites—Elizabella instead of Isabella, for instance—or maybe they’re new entries in stylish categories, such as Calla or Hyacinth taking over for drooping flower names such as Lily and Rose.

More important than their source, however, is figuring out exactly what these names are, so you can either be first to the party or steer clear all together. To that end, we pulled out 100 obscure names searched for at least 100 times in the Nameberry database in the first quarter of this year.

Some of these names—Abitha? Cavan? Haitian?—may be completely new animals to you, while others might be vaguely familiar. A couple, such as Lincoln and Nolan, are even recent entries to the Top 1000 list, though if you don’t hang out with the under-3 set you probably haven’t heard them too often.

Are the rest of the names here headed to the Most Popular list? We doubt it, and would bet that many will be just as obscure in a decade or two as they are today.

But if you choose one of these 100 names for your baby now only to lament in 10 years that everybody’s got a little Seren or Nico, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

GIRLS

1. ABITHA
2. AMABEL
3. AMARYLLIS
4. ARAMINTA
5. AVITA
6. AYLA
7. AZALEA
8. BRIAR
9. CALLA
10. CALLIOPE
11. CALYPSO
12. CARYS and CERYS
13. CASSIA and KEZIAH
14. CLEA
15. CRESSIDA
16. CYRA and SIRI
17. ELIZABELLA
18. ELODIE
19. FABLE
20. HOLLAND
21. HYACINTH
22. INDIGO
23. JUNIPER
24. LARK
25. LEILANI
26. LEONIE
27. LILOU
28. LUNA
29. LUX
30. LYRA
31. MAELLE
32. MIKA and MICAH
33. NOLA
34. ORIANA
35. PERSEPHONE
36. PRIMROSE
37. REMEMBER
38. RHEYA
39. ROMILLY
40. SABINE
41. SAFFRON
42. SELAH
43. SEREN
44. TAMSIN
45. TIERNEY
46. VEGA
47. VERITY
48. VIDA
49. VIRTUE
50. XANTHE

BOYS

51. ACE
52. ALCOTT
53. ARCHER
54. ARLO
55. ASA
56. BEAU
57. BECKETT
58. BENNETT
59. BLAZE
60. BRECCAN
61. CALLUM
62. CASPAR
63. CASSIUS
64. CATO
65. CAVAN
66. CORMAC
67. DANTE
68. DHANI
69. DJANGO
70. EAMON
71. GERMAN
72. HAITIAN
73. HUXLEY
74. JAX
75. LACHLAN
76. LAZARUS
77. LEIF
78. LENNON
79. LINCOLN
80. LONAN
81. LUCANUS
82. MAGNUS
83. NASH
84. NICO
85. NOLAN
86. PHILOMON
87. PIERS
88. POE
89. RALEIGH
90. REMY
91. ROAN
92. SINCLAIR
93. SOREN
94. TARQUIN
95. TATE
96. TITUS
97. TOBIN
98. WESLEY
99. WEST
100. WYLIE

Pamela Redmond Satran is a developer of the baby-naming site nameberry.com and the coauthor of 10 books on names, including Beyond Ava & Aiden, due out next month.