Many factors are weighed when parents choose names for their babies – the way it rolls off the tongue, the meaning behind the moniker, the personal significance it carries for the mother and father and how it may be one day perceived by peers. While each parent has a different thought-process, a common question that arises is “how do I make my child stand out without making him/her stand out too much?” While we shutter at some of the crazy names we run across in the tabloids, we also don’t want our kids to share the same name as half of their third-grade class. Multitudes of parents instinctually reach for new fountains of inspiration, establishing fun and surprising trends for baby names.
The hunt for distinct names has carried parents across the Atlantic to some unlikely sources, starting with Scandinavia. Nordic baby names like Viggo and Thor are attracting parents who want something simple, phonetic, and yet unique. There is also an upswing in Roman and Ancient Greek names, examples including Athena, Julius and Octavia. A common theme among these various handles is that they bear strong suggestions of leadership and fortitude, perhaps signaling what attributes these parents hope for their own children to possess.
Possibly being inspired by many of the names in the megahit The Hunger Games, parents are increasingly turning to nature to find their baby names, with monikers like Hawk, River, Clover and Maple gaining momentum. Surprisingly, winter-themed names are also prevalent, especially Frost and Snow. However, environmental names are not the only way parents are being roused by the world around them; location-based names is one of the hottest trends of the last few years, with Reese Witherspoon calling her son Tennessee, Alicia Keys selecting Egypt and Kristen Cavallari naming her son Camden.
As colors are visually appealing and can trigger a wide range of emotions, it is not surprising that many parents are now anointing their children after various hues. Names like Violet, Ruby, Hazel, Jade, Gray and Poppy are now hot, and let’s not forget about Miss Blu Ivy Carter, the daughter of super trendsetters Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Just like many ladies raid vintage stores to achieve a classic look, many parents are now selecting names that have the charms of years long gone by. Retro names like Vivian, Monty, Pearl, Ethel and Lou are seeing resurgence, perhaps spurred on by the popular series Downtown Abbey or Mad Men. The steamy novel Fifty Shades of Grey seems to also be making quite an impact among mothers, as names like Christian, Anastasia, Grey and Ana all experienced significant boosts in 2012 and 2013.
Some moms and dads are looking to put their own, unique spin on common names; one emerging trend is to make frequently heard surnames a child’s first name, like Cooper, Anderson, Tennyson and Carter. Another tactic some are taking up is to alter the spelling of traditional names; for example, Jennifer becomes Gennifer and Cameron becomes Kameron. Parents who are weary of giving a title that’s too unusual are letting their creativity really take over with the help of middle names, as many people choose items that don’t remotely resemble a typical name, like Lion or Wisdom.
Tell us parents, what do you think of these naming trends, and what influenced YOUR decision when naming your children?
About the Author
Jennifer Tompkins likes to think of herself as a modern mom; as a freelance writer and social media consultant, she is constantly trying to broaden her horizons and thinks it is important to expose her children to a wide array of lifestyles and viewpoints. She is passionate about photography, cycling and gluten-free cooking and would one day like to combine all three hobbies into a blog.