When a baby is born, he or she is a blank canvas, full of potential and possibility. One of the true joys of parenthood is watching your child’s personality emerge. Parts of who they are come from nature, deep within their DNA, or their soul, depending on how you see things. Other parts of their character come from nurture: your influence, as well as other factors from the outside world. But one thing that begins to shape how we perceive a baby’s personhood from day one is his or her name. Whether it’s a family name, a name of a favorite author or character from literature, an offbeat or funky name, or a classic name, what we call our baby day in and day out surely affects how we observe them.
That’s why parents put so much thought and effort into picking the perfect name. Some parents have their list of names, whittled down to the favorites, months in advance, and others wait until the baby is born, wondering if finally seeing him or her will influence their choice. While it’s such a personal and specific moment between parents and their child, picking a name is actually an involuntary act of participating in culture. Baby name trends are always shifting and evolving as, unaware of each other, hundreds of thousands of parents are naming their daughter Sophia or their son Aiden. As 2016 comes to a close and 2017 is on the horizon, here are our prediction for upcoming baby name trends:
God & Goddess Names: After such an uncertain and, for many, stressful year in the political and economic realms, names that have signified sacred power since ancient times will be attractive to parents. Familiar, easy-to-spell names will be big; dig through Greek and Roman mythology books to find more obscure names. Examples: Athena, Orion, Zeus, Freya, Jupiter, Pandora.
Soft “L and vowel” names: There is something linguistically pleasing about the gentle sounds of L’s and vowels together. Names with soothing, musical quality in the pronunciation will rise in popularity for both boys and girls. Examples: Bella, Riley, Eliana, Melanie, Adelina, Camilia, Bailey, Elias, Oliver.
Unique Alternatives: For parents who want their child to stand out, popular or average names will get reboots with creative variations. Examples: Instead of Lucas – Luca, Lucias, Lucian. Instead of Zoe – Posey, Zadie, Zia.
Present-Day Favorites: The most popular names from 2016, Sophia, Jackson, Aiden, Emma, Olivia, and Lucas, aren’t going anywhere. If you don’t want your child in nursery school with a dozen other children with the same name, it’s best to avoid these.
Out of Fashion:
Old-Fashioned Names: The last few years saw a growing trend of old-fashioned names, reminiscent of grandparents of silent movie stars. As we approach 2020, these will start to fade in favor of more firmly modern-feeling names. Examples: Pearl, Audrey, Vivian, Cora, Samantha, Micah, Miles, Harold, Henry.
Animal Names: What for awhile was a legitimate trend is almost a joke by now. Parents who want to be taken seriously will start to dismiss animal names as a passing hipster fad. Examples: Bear, Lion, Wolf, Fox.
Fading in 2016: Just as popular 2016 names will continue to rise, those that have fallen further out of vogue in 2016 will continue to do so in 2017. It’s hard to define exactly what makes a name feel “too trendy” instead of timeless, but these half-dozen seem to be stuck in the early 20-teens. Examples: Kylie, Parker, Taylor, Blake, Brody, Madison
Are you planning to have a baby in 2017? Do you have names picked out or are you waiting? Do you have any predictions about big names for the upcoming year? Let us know in the comments!