2016 Naming Trends, Predictions, and Warnings

Naming Themes and Sounds behind the Fastest-Rising Baby Names

When selecting names, parents often consider options that are similar in some way. For example, they may consider root names against their variations (Adeline and Adaline), names that sound similar (Aiden and Jayden), names with similar endings (Emmalynn, Avalynn, and Gracelynn), or names with the same theme (nature names, place names, trade names, or brand names). Below are some themes and sounds that help explain why similar names rise (and fall) together.

Girls:

  • Names that end in “ani”—Meilani (+1,836), Milani (+295), Kalani (+236), Kailani (+108), and Alani (+88)
  • Names that end with the sound of “rye-ah”—Ariah (+181), Ariya (+142), and Sariah (+142)
  • Names that end in “ya” or “ia”—Alaia (+2,002), Taya (+1,107), Kaya (+145), Aya (+100), and Zendaya (+91)
  • Names that end with the sound of “lin”—Aislin (+1,385), Adilynn (#329), Addilynn (+193), Roselyn (+85), Kaelyn (+54), Emmalynn (+70), Raelyn (+70), Avalynn (+66), Kaelinn (+61), and Gracelynn (+59)
  • Names that end with the sound of “lee”—Adley (+495), Heavenly (+318), Zaylee (+314), Kinslee (+175), Oakley (+154), Hadlee (+116), Tinley (+107), Everleigh (+101), Annalee (+87), Karlie (+69), Harley (+68), and Carlee (+59)
  • Names that end in “anna” or “ana”—Alannah (+189), Giavanna (+143), Avianna (+142), Aviana (+141), Lillianna (+64), Giovanna (+62), Elianna (+54), and Ivanna (+52)
  • Names associated with music, musicians, or bands—(Annie) Lennox (+416), (John) Lennon (+183), Journee (+90), and Harmoni (+89)

Boys:

  • Athletes—Jabari (+194), Kyrie (+172), Kyree (+140), Beckham (+129), and Hank (+69)
  • Brand names—Otis (+160), Mack (+145), Ford (+143), Oakley (+90), Stetson (+64), and Coleman (+60)
  • Place names—Cairo (+164), Denver (+155), and Houston (+86)
  • Pompous titles—Royal (+105), Bishop (+61), and Messiah (+54)
  • University names—Baylor (+152), Princeton (+85), and Duke (+64)
  • Biblical references—Canaan (+271), Shiloh (+149), Ariel (+143), Malakai (+127), and Eden (+97)
  • Biblical names—Jedidiah (+562), Adriel (+148), Azariah (+135), Kohen (+131), Immanuel (+105), Tobias (+103), Hezekiah (+96), Joziah (+79), and Chaim (+72)
  • Classical gods and legends—Titan (+190), Achilles (+155), Apollo (+151), Atlas (+149), and Legend (+149)

Predictions for the Coming Year

  • Girls: Last year, I picked Harper to break into the top 10. I was right—Harper was #10 in 2015. Now I’m picking Amelia (#12) to jump onto the top 10 next year and Emily to fall off the top 10 list in the next two years.
  • Boys: Last year, I picked Logan to break into the top 10. I was wrong—Logan fell a notch to #14 in 2015. Now I’m picking Oliver (#19) to move into the top 15 next year and into the top 10 the following year.

Warnings

  • Don’t be the last family on your street to pick a name that rhymes with Jayden—whether you’re expecting a boy or a girl. Most names that rhyme with Jayden (such as Ayden, Hayden, and Brayden) have been dropping in popularity for the last few years. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Jayden fell five notches on the boys’ list from 2014 to 2015 (#15 to #20). But did you know Jayden fell 117 notches on the girls’ list from 2014 to 2015 (#540 to #657)?
  • Naming children after young, attractive pop stars and athletes is fraught with danger. Most parents sensibly lose interest in naming their child after a favorite child celebrity when that star morphs from a cute, clean-cut adolescent to an awkward adult. Most people familiar with the careers of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan understand that the cutest and cuddliest celebs are likely to go off the rails at some point—if only because they have more disposable income than you ever did at the age of 20. For this reason, it’s a lot safer to stick to historical figures—about whom unpleasant surprises rarely pop up.
  • Names that create the impression of perfection or excellence are likely to cause unintended consequences, including disrespectful back talk. Some of the fastest rising names for boys could be accurately described as “pompous titles,” such as Royal. If you’re not the Duke or Duchess of Cambridge, your child isn’t royal. Also, in the “Star Kids” section of this book, you’ll notice that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian named their son Saint. No child behaves like a saint for long on any given day—even a child named Saint.

What’s Up With the Popularity of Surnames Like Jackson, Kennedy, Lincoln and Reagan as Names for Babies?

I’ve never understood why parents would name their baby boys Jackson (and variations like Jaxon and Jaxson) instead of Jack. (Jackson is a popular surname; Jack is a classic boys’ name. I suppose Jaxon and Jaxson are attempts by parents to bridge the difference.)

Yesterday I read an article by Eleanor Jones (of Good to Know) called  “Could Maiden Names Be the Latest Baby Name Trend?” in which Jones argues that using family surnames (maiden names) as given names for baby boys and girls is a hot new trend.

To check out this trend I took a quick look at the latest Social Security Administration boys’ and girls’ top-100 lists in 2014. I noticed nine surnames on the boys’ top-100 list in 2014: Mason (#3), Jackson (#17), Hunter (#36),  Landon (#43), Tyler (#63), Parker (#73), Cooper (86), Carson (#90) and Lincoln (#95).  The only surnames I could find on the top-100 girls’ list were Kennedy (#54), and Taylor (#77).

But it’s hard to get excited about this “maiden-name trend” when you consider that of the eleven surnames I’ve just mentioned, only four increased in popularity last year: Kennedy (+10),  Lincoln (+8), Mason (+1) and Parker (+1) (the numbers in parentheses refer to the gains these names as they increased in popularity last year).

You may have noticed that six of the popular surnames I’ve mentioned (Mason, Hunter, Tyler, Parker, Taylor and Cooper) are trade names or occupational names (e.g., a mason is someone who does masonry; a hunter is someone who hunts). Of those trade names, only Mason and Parker increased in popularity last year, while the popularity of Hunter, Tyler, Taylor and Cooper declined.

But the surnames on the top-100 lists that exhibited the most dynamic increase in popularity last year belong to popular presidents: Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. Seems to me the dynamic trend here is that more parents are giving their children surnames of famous namesakes they admire—a category that includes popular presidents and popular celebrities, like John Lennon and Jean Harlow and Jennifer Aniston. (Lennon, Harlow and Anniston are recent additions to the top-1000 list which I have written about in several recent posts. FYI, Anniston is the spelling parents prefer when they use Jennifer’s last name as a first name for their baby girls.)

You may want to browse the list of surnames Jones selected to illustrate the maiden-name trend. Notice that Jones left surnames that declined in popularity in 2014 (Jackson, Hunter, Landon, Tyler, Cooper and Carson) off her list. Consider that Reagan is the surname of a very popular president, Ronald Reagan; and that Marley is the surname of popular singer, Bob Marley. I should also mention that Taylor (-18) was one of the biggest losers on the top-100 girls’ list in 2014. That said, here’s her list:

Johnson
Carter
Archer
Campbell
Smith
Marley
Harper
Cole
Walker
Franklyn
Kelly
Mason
Reagan
Taylor
Cassidy

P.S. I know that Andrew Jackson was the 7th president of the United States. But I doubt he is currently as revered a figure as John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Abe Lincoln–but I could be wrong. Perhaps the huge increase in the popularity of Jackson, Jaxon and Jaxson over the last five years or so was due to President Andrew Jackson’s popularity in the South.

 

Geeky Baby Names That Won’t Scar Your Girl for Life

I’m writing to let you know about an entertaining list of geeky names from comic books, pop-culture movies, TV shows, video games and books) that Chandra Smith, writing in PC Magazine, claims “won’t scar your kids or life.” Implication: the names won’t overly annoy or embarrass them.

Knowing how easily annoyed and embarrassed kids can get, once they hit the pre-teen and teen years (aka the years of perpetual annoyance and embarrassment), that’s a tough claim to substantiate.

Having lived with an unusual Sanskrit name (Chandra) that is often mispronounced, Smith tries to help parents pay tribute to geek favorites without picking names only geeks can appreciate–that your child is likely to abandon.

What’s fun about reading her list is that it is replete with pop-culture references that will fill in the gaps of your education (particularly if you read the classics in college rather than comic books and are more likely to watch classic movies than movies inspired by Marvel Comics).

But, even though Smith claims to consider issues like spelling and pronunciation that  could make a name like Leia annoying, and issues that could make a name like Kal-El embarrassing–I think that almost half  of the “geek names” she recommends might come across as either annoying or embarrassing, or both, to your children.

In this post I will provide you with Smith’s rationale for recommending what she calls “Geeky names” for girls with my opinion, in italics, for either agreeing with her choice or opposing it.

Geeky Names Your Girls May Like

Amelia – As in Pond, one of the best and most memorable of the Doctor’s companions.
BL: Also the name of a courageous pilot, Amelia Earhart.

Aurora – It’s not this Alpha Flight member’s real name, but Jeanne-Marie Beaubie takes too long to say for someone as speedy as her.
BL: Also named after Aurora, goddess of dawn (aurora borealis refers to the beautiful light show in the sky aka northern lights).

Clara – The most recent companion of the Doctor, Clara Oswald has made a name for herself throughout history.
BL: Also, famous namesake (nurse) Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross.

Cora – Basically the Siri of Battlestar Gallactica.
BL: Other famous namesakes are: Cora Munro, the fictional heroine of The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper and Cora Crawley is a fictional character on the series Downton Abbey.

Felicity –Living up to MIT grad and member of Team Arrow Felicity Smoak is challenging but not impossible.
BL: It’s hard not to like a name that means “fortunate” or “happy.”

Peggy – Peggy Carter might have started out being best known as Captain America’s love interest but she’s her own person in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even has her own show with Agent Carter.
BL: Nothing wrong with this nickname for Margaret.

Raven – The teen years might be tough but they’d be worth it to name a girl after the Teen Titans Go! character.
BL: A strong name, particularly for a girl with a dark complexion.

Ripley – Who’s more badass than Ellen Ripley?
BL: Makes a strong “believe it or not” impression.

River – Whether it’s after River Song from Doctor Who or River Tam from Firefly is up to you.
BL: A gender-neutral nature name.

Ruby – An object-oriented scripting language, the name was originally taken from the birthstone of the colleague of its creator Yukihiro Matsumoto.
BL: A popular name that is identified with the Rolling Stones’ song, “Ruby Tuesday.”

Sarah – A Sentinel in Fallout 3, Sarah Lyons commands her own squad, Lyons’ Pride.
BL: The classic princess name I’d recommend despite the fact that the name is sometimes spelled without an “h.”

Sonya – Special Forces officer Sonya Blade has kept her fighting spirit throughout the Mortal Kombat series.
BL: How can you go wrong with a name that means “wise”?

Willow –Buffy’s BFF who possesses both magic and intelligence.
BL: An attractive nature name that comes across as feminine.

Zelda – It’s hard not to be legendary when you’re named after Shigeru Miyamoto’s beloved video game.
BL: Also the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, who exemplified “The Roaring Twenties” and “The Jazz Age”; plus the name has literary cachet.
Geeky Names That May Annoy or Embarrass Your Girls

Ada – Lord Byron’s daughter was the first computer programmer, working on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
BL: Odds of mispronunciation are high. Some people pronounce it AY-da. Some pronounce it AH-da. And some pronounce it  ADD-a.

Blossom –The “everything nice” Powerpuff girl.
BL: Blossom (and the Powerpuffs) make  a juvenile impression that is less likely to work well for an adult woman.

Echo – First seen in the Daredevil comics, Echo is a woman of many talents: athlete, ballerina, pianist, college professor, and, oh, yeah, Avenger.
BL: Teasers may be inspired to echo her name or anything poor Echo says.

Fleur – We first meet Fleur Delacour when she participates in the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but she proves her mettle far beyond that in the Battle of Hogwarts.
BL: The French word for flower is likely to be mispronounced FLOO-er, which, unfortunately, rhymes with sewer.

Kamala – This teenage shapeshifter is also known as Ms. Marvel.
BL: A difficult name to pronounce: Is it CA-mel-ah? Or COM-ma-lah? Or something else, altogether?

Kara – This name is sure to take off when the Supergirl series premieres this fall.
BL: This name may be pronounced either CARE-ah or CAR-ah. Only  one of those options is right.

Klara – For fans of The Hunger Games, this name hits the target.
BL: This name may be pronounced either CLARE-ah or CLAH-rah. Only one of those options is right.

Katniss – For fans of The Hunger Games, this name hits the target.
BL: This name sounds like “cat nip”; so it is likely to be misspelled by people who haven’t read the young adult book or seen the movie.

Leia – There’s no, “Leia, I am your father” line to live down.
BL: Leah (pronounced LEE-ah) is much more familiar (for spelling and pronunciation) than Leia (pronounced LAY-ah) which was popularized by Star Wars.

Leela – You won’t have to worry about her Futurama if she’s named after the captain of the Planet Express.
BL: Likely to be misspelled as “Leila” or confused with Eric Claption’s “Layla” and pronounced LAY-lah.

Teyla – Adept at technology and martial arts, Teyla Emmagan of Stargate Atlantis is prepared for life on Atlantis Earth.
BL: I doubt most people could spell this name after hearing it. It is likely to be mispronounced as TEE-lah rather than TAY-lah.

What’s in a Name? Answers to 7 Questions.

I recently answered some baby naming questions for Alicia at Bottle Poppin’ Mama.  Check out her questions below and feel free to leave one of your own in the comments.

  • How do you conduct your research in compiling this list of names?
  • What are your most popular Boys & Girls Names predictions for 2016?
  • What do you think of the gender neutral naming phenomenon?
  • How influential are celebrities/pop culture when it comes to naming children?
  • Why do you think we are seeing a resurgence of more classical names?
  • How do parents rate the importance of a unique name/unique spelling?
  • What is a good approach to deciding on a name for a child when family members can’t agree?

To read my answers check out “What’s In A Name?” at Bottle Poppin’ Mama.

 

Baby Center’s Hottest 2014 Naming Trends

Here’s a quick summary of Baby Center’s “Hottest Naming Trends of 2014.” In it I’ve included the hottest themes and the hottest names. (Click on the link if you want all the delightful details.)

The Netflix Effect
Orange is the New Black
a) for girls: Galina, Piper, Gloria, Dayanara, Nicky
b) for boys: Alex, Larry

House of Cards
a) for girls: Claire, Zoe, Remy, Robin;
b) for boys: Larry, Frank, Wright;

Southern Charm
a) for girls: Magnolia, Beulah, Virginia, Charlotte, Macon, Clementine
b) for boys: Rhett, Vernon, Deacon, Jefferson, Atticus, Lee, Tennessee

“Frozen” Names
a) for girls:Elsa, Kristen
b) for boys: Hans, Santino

The Influence of TV Producer Shonda Rhymes
Grey’s Anatomy names
a) for boys: Arizona, Mark, Owen, Jackson, Avery;
b) for girls: Callie, Miranda

Scandal Names
for boys: Fitzgerald, Huck, Cyrus, Bellamy, Scott, Jeff, Darby, Guillermo

How to Get Away with Murder name:
for girls: Viola

Exotic Destination Names
for boys: Everest, Rome, Milan, Cairo, Israel
for girls: Aspen, Geneva, Verona, Persia, Kenya

Great Grandma Names
for girls: Carol, Helen, Shirley, Judith, Frances, Ruth, Margaret, Betty

Newsmaker Names
-N.Y. Yankees’ great Derek (Jeter)
-Comedy great Joan (Rivers)
People’s “Most Beautiful” Lupita (Nyong’o)
-“Parks and Rec” star Aziz (Ansari)
-Aussi rapper Iggy (Azalea; real name: Azalea Amethyst Kelly)
for boys: Iggy
for girls: Amethyst, Kelly

Nameberry’s 12 Hot Baby-Naming Trends for 2015

 

Natalie Boog has listed 12 hot trends for 2015 that are well-worth considering. In this post I will summarize them and consider the timeliness and value of Nameberry’s predictions.

1. Word Names

Natalie Boog defines “word names” as being different from traditional names (like Olivia and William). Word names include: virtue names (like Noble and Honor), nature names (like Sage and River), title names (like Royal and Saint), personality names (like Rowdy and Rogue), sound names (uzz) and tech names (like Lazer) and claims they will abound in 2015.

Comment: Nothing new about this trend, it’s been going on for years. Boog forgot to mention place names (like Hudson and Paris) and food names (like Coco and Brie). Honestly , this is ancient history. They also forgot to mention trade names (like Harper and Miller)—which they refer to as “er” names in trend #2, below. However, personality names, sound names and tech names have not been mentioned much per se. So that’s a helpful insight. (Although Maverick, a personality name, popped up as a name around the time that Sara Palin was running for VP with John McCain.)

2. Girls’ Names that End in “ella”; Boys’ Names that End it “ett”

Boog points to the popularity of girls’ names like Isabella, Arabella, Mirabella and Rosabella. She also mentions the popularity of boys’ names like Emmett, Everett and Bennett. Up-and-coming name endings Boog mentions are “er” names (like Harper and Miller) and “as” names like (Silas and Zacharias).

Comment: Endings or “suffixes” are what I commonly refer to in my annual trend report. I’ve referred to “ella,” “ett” as well as “trade names” in my trend reports over the last five years. Isabella has been extremely popular for at least five years. Nothing new about this “prediction.”

3. Gender-Bending with Boys on Top

Boog reports a growing number of “unisex” names that have been used by both genders. She claims that some unisex names previously used mainly for boys were being abandoned as names for boys. But now, she claims, that trend is reversing, “with statistics showing boys are already reclaiming popular unisex names such as Alexis, Casey, Devon, Elisha, Jamie, Jordan, Kai, Milan, Robin, Rory, Rowan, Sidney, Tatum, and Tracy.”

Comment: This is new information that will be of great interest to parents who pick unisex names for their child before they know its gender and to parents who are worried that some “unisex” names are no longer used by boys. (See trend # 12, below).

4. Names Are Heading South

It makes sense that the use of southern states and cities as place names would become more popular as the population of southern cities and states increase (in comparison with the population of northern cities and states). Boog mentions the growing popularity of state names like Georgia, Tennessee, Carolina and Alabama and coastal names like Ocean, Dune and Beach.

Comment: This trend has been going on for years. In 2013, girls’ place names that increased in popularity included Georgia, Virginia, Charlotte and Dallas–as did Dakota, Londyn, Ireland and Milan. (Consider the fact that North Dakota is booming due to the discovery of huge quantities of fossil fuels there–and that Ireland’s status as a tax haven has brought in lots of new businesses and people. This “trend” may reflect changes in population more than anything else.

5. “O” is the Now Vowel

Boog mentions that Milo, Theo and other “o-ending” boys’ names have been popular for a while. Now Nameberry predicts that Juno, Marlow, Harlow, Margo(t), Willow, Indigo and Shiloh will all prove popular.

Comment: Willow made a big upward move in popularity 2013. It’s a reasonable bet that “o-ending” girls’ names will follow Milo and Theo.

6. “X” is the Now Consonant

Boog claims that “x” gives names an element of cool whether it comes at the end of a name, like Felix, Hendrix, Beatrix and Lennox or in the middle of a name like Axel, Baxter, Dexter, Maxine, Pixie and Roxana.

Comment: “X-names” have been hot for the last five or more years—a trend that may have been launched by Brangelina’s name choices. When Boog writes that “this may result in seeing a few Jaxsen or Jaxsons along the way too” she is admitting that the “X-name” trend is extremely well established—already.

7. Short & Simple

Boog has spotted a trend in Europe. Short and snappy names are becoming increasingly popular; she thinks that trend is coming to the U.S. “Popular in Europe, the top contenders for girls include Isa, Eva, Ida, Lou, Lia, and Tess, while for boys Nameberry’s picking Ben, Finn, Jack, Leon, Max, and Tom.”

Comment: The above-mentioned boys’ names are already growing at a fast pace in the U.S. Nothing new about that trend. I’d welcome short, informal names that are easy to spell and pronounce for girls, too.

8. Colorful Names

Boog points out that Violet, Blue and Scarlett are already in common use. Her prediction: “get ready for a color explosion in 2015 with more extreme shades coming into play. Think Indigo, Azure, Cerulean, Magenta, Fuschia, Crimson, Lavender, Lilac and even Mauve.”

Comment: I would welcome this trend, if it actually occurs, because some of the colors are quite lovely (I’m partial to Indigo), but I’d be surprised (and disappointed) if hard-to-spell and/or pronounce names like Cerulean, Fuschia, and Mauve make much of a move in 2015.

9. Save the Middle Name for a Hero

Boog notes that middle names are often used for family favorites, but Nameberry has discovered that “more people are looking to heroes for naming inspiration”–referring to favorite authors, musicians, athletes or political heroes. She ends with this noble sentiment: “And why not use the middle name to give your child someone to look up to?”

Comment: Why not indeed! I’ve been urging parents to pick names that will inspire their children for years and have complained about pundits who recommend (or promote) impractical and unwise names likely to inconvenience their children and in some cases result in derision and ridicule (like Cerulean, Fushia, Mauve, Lettice, Fenella, Rowdy and Rogue) to name seven examples that come readily to mind. I’m glad that someone at Nameberry is starting realize that promoting names that give children “someone to look up to” is a good thing to do. Now they need to realize that promoting impractical, silly and demeaning names is a bad thing to do.

10. Veggie Names

Boog is jumping on the good-for-you name bandwagon by identifying a veggie-name trend. Kale and Cale are both on the rise and so are Lettice and Romaine.

Comment: Kale (or Cale) sounds like they might work for boys; Romaine might work even better for girls. I don’t think much of Lettice (or Lettuce) as names. Nameberry must realize that publishing articles about naming trends is likely to create attention for the names they publish and cause people to consider using them. Why not point out which names are worth choosing and which should be avoided? Why suggest Lettice if the name will subject any child who bears that name to ridicule?

11. Celtic Names

Liam is currently on North American top-ten lists; now parents are looking for “other Celtic choices.” Boog predicts parents will turn to Scottish names like Fiona, Flora, Fenella, Greer, Isla and Elspeth as top picks for girls, while Finlay, Angus, Duncan, Ewan and Lachlan for the boys.

Comment: I was surprised when Boog left Isla off the short & simple list. Here it is now as a “Scottish” pick along with several other Scottish names likely to take hold, including Greer and Duncan. Some of the other predictions: Fiona, Fenella Elspeth Angus and Lachlan are less likely to catch on in “the states” by 2015. Ian is an example of a British name that took a while to get a toehold on this side of the Atlantic—which is why I think Ewan is likely to catch on too—eventually.

12. Distinctly Gendered “Unisex” Names

The unisex names referred to in prediction # 3, above, are used fairly evenly between girls and boys, but other names that may seem unisex are, in reality, distinctly gendered. Boog reports that Addison, Bailey, Kendall, Kennedy, McKenzie, and Sloane are mainly used for girls; while Cameron, Grayson, Jayce, and Kellen are mainly used for boys.

Comment: If true, this is very helpful information–though it doesn’t read like a prediction for 2015, does it?

 

 

8 Baby Naming Trends for 2015 from Laura Wattenberg

I was attracted to Laura Wattenberg’s list of naming trends for 2015 I found on TheStir.Cafe Mom. Although many “predictions” are questionable, you’ll recognize many of the examples Wattenberg provides to justify hers. Few, if any of these trends are brand new–but it often helps to get a list like this to help you see the patterns which are emerging.

1. Androgyny

Names like Jaelyn, Addison, Dallas, which used to be exclusively boy names, have now crossed over to the unisex category (along with other names like Taylor, Alex, Jordan). (An interesting observation.)

2. New Endings

Names ending in “-tt” are very much on the rise, no doubt thanks to celebs Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, who named their daughter Wyatt. That’s not all, though. Expect to see more names like Emmett, Elliott, Scarlett, Charlotte around in 2015 (Nothing new here.)

3. 19th Century Americana

Names from the 1800s are back. Take Kailyn Lowry, for example, who named her her youngest son Lincoln. But it’s not just the 16th president who’s inspiring new names. Names like Rhett and Wyatt (again) will be far more popular. (Nothing new here, either.)

4. Mark It With an ‘X’

The Jolie-Pitts have ushered in a new trend, (just think Pax and Maddox, and little brother Knox). Earlier this year, Kristin Cavallari welcomed son Jaxon, further solidifying the trend. (The Jolie-Pitt “x-names” are old news. So are “x-names.”)

5. The ‘P’ Is Back

While “x” is coming back for boys, “p” is back for girls. “Not since the 1950s, and the days of the Peggys and Patricias, has the letter ‘P’ been so popular,” says Watternberg. But now? We’re welcoming it back. Could it be in part due to the Kardashian’s Penelope Disick? There’s no doubt about it. And another surprise name that’s becoming popular? Piper from Orange Is the New Black. (Nothing new about Piper, but the popularity of “p”-names for girls is a nice find.)

6. Get Us to the Greek

More Kardashian inspiration here–Greek names are on the rise. Names like Chloe (or Khloe, a la Ms. Kardashian), Penelope (once again, the ‘Dashians), Daphne, and Phoebe will be populating your daycares and classrooms soon. (Nothing new about the popularity of Chloe and Khloe. I recall reading a prediction that Greek names would be hot in December 2013.)

7. Say Hi to the ‘O’

When Eva Amurri gave birth to daughter Marlowe, she started a trend. The popularity of names that end in an “o” sound without actually ending in “o” (very important distinction here) are tops at the moment. Marlowe, Winslow, and Margot will be even more prominent next year. (This strikes me as a new observation.)

8. New Inventions

Where would we be without some completely new names? Parents are getting all the more inventive, Wattenberg notes. Instead of sticking with standard names like Trent, Levi, and Max, they’re inventing brand new long-form versions. Trenton, Leviathan, and Maxton are here, completely expanding your name list options. (Like many baby name experts, Wattenberg doesn’t see the need to inform readers that Leviathan is a ridiculous name for a baby boy and Maxton is awfully contrived.)

As you can see, there isn’t much that’s new in this list of predictions, but I’ve learned how difficult it can  be to come up with new predictions every year. Reason, to make a prediction you need to extrapolate from recent baby naming data–which often leads to predicting that names that are “hot” this year are likely to be “hot” next year, too.