Choosing a name for your child can be a daunting task. While some perspective parents set names aside well before their baby’s arrival, others choose to wait to meet their newborn before assigning a name. Likewise, some parents like traditional names, while others prefer more unusual monikers. What you name your child is, for the most part, up to you, but that doesn’t mean you should make a hasty decision.
Nameberry cofounder and baby name expert Pam Satran said you should consider your reasons for wanting a particular name. “It’s worth figuring out that maybe you like unusual names because you were one of five Jennifers in every class, or that your partner is insisting on naming your baby after his parents because he’s got an outsized need to please them,” she explained to Global News. “Exploring these issues rather than arguing over the names themselves can help you find your way back to a name that represents what’s really important to you.” That’s not to say you should avoid unusual names, but, let’s be real: some are good, some are bad, and some are just — dare we say it — best avoided. Here are the unusual baby names 2019 has to offer.
All about the double vowels
By taking some of the most popular names of 2018 and tweaking the spelling a bit, parents have found an innovative way to make their children’s names more unusual and unique. “Parents are using a lot of unconventional vowel combinations as a way for a name to stand out,” baby name expert and founder of babynamewizard.com Laura Wattenberg told Today’s Parent. That could mean replacing names that end in “y” with “ii.” Lily becomes Lilii or Molly becomes Mollii. According to the expert, parents are also opting for “ae” combos, e.g. Laeyla instead of the ever-popular Layla. The “iy” combination is also increasing in popularity, which means names like Mia have started transforming into Miya.
Although swapping letters for similar-sounding ones will make for a unique, distinctive name, it’s worth noting that these names will only stand out on paper. “Saerah” still sounds like Sarah, regardless of how it is spelled on the child’s birth certificate.
From Pete and Ariana to Justin and Hailey
Pop culture is having a big influence on baby names in 2019. According to BabyCenter, the name Miles started to rise in popularity after Chrissy Teigen and John Legend welcomed their second child, Miles. The couple’s first child, Luna, also provided some baby name inspo for prospective parents. As it happens, even the couple’s first names went on to become more popular.
Ahead of 2019, the baby name experts at BabyCenter predicted a greater uptick in “power couple” names in the following year. Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande broke up before the new year, but their names made the headlines well into 2019 and thus continued to spawn baby Petes and little Arianas. Thanks to Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin’s whirlwind romance, BabyCenter predicted both of their names to rise on the charts throughout the 2019 year as well.
Sure, it’s unusual to name your children after celebrity couples — and maybe even a little awkward if those celebs break up — but you’ve got to get your names from somewhere, right?
In 2018, Black Panther shattered records and had one of the biggest opening weekends — to the tune of $202 million. At the 91st Academy Awards, Black Panther won three Oscars. Three well-deserved Oscars, at that. The film received a 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and was well-received by audiences. You really couldn’t help but become obsessed with the fictional world of Wakanda and all of the characters in the film. The superhero movie didn’t just stay relegated to Hollywood, though.
Baby name expert Laura Wattenberg told Today’s Parent that “it introduced a whole new realm of names,” including T’Challa, Okoye, Ramonda, Zuri, and plenty others. But should you name your baby after the 1970s comic book and 2018 blockbuster hit?
Comedian Kevin Fredericks offered his opinion. “You can name your baby whatever you want. It’s their life to ruin. It’s their cross to bear…” he joked in a YouTube video. While he admitted there are some beautiful names in the movie, parents would probably be better off naming their kid “Angela Basset” as opposed to Wakanda or the derivative of the fictional land, Wakandria. He’s not wrong.
Tennessee and other southern locales
Some parents may have just been hoping for warmer weather when naming their newborns in 2019. According to BabyCenter, more and more parents are naming their babies not just after any location, but after southern areas of the U.S. Ahead of 2019, the experts predicted Texas would serve as unusual inspiration for parents. Texas towns Dallas and Austin were expected to become increasingly popular baby names. Charlotte, a town in North Carolina, and Savannah, a popular destination in Georgia, were also predicted to climb the charts.
This trend is unusual, but it actually follows a similar warm-weather pattern from the year prior. The name Tennessee became 31 percent more popular for boys and 21 percent for girls in 2018. Areas within Tennessee also became a trendy choice. Memphis and Nash, a possible derivative of Nashville, picked up steam throughout the year, while parents also started to favor Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina, and Macon, a city in Georgia.
Bartholomew is making a comeback
You may not think there’s a whole lot of names that end in the letter W, but 2019 is already proving otherwise. Baby name expert and founder of babynamewizard.com Laura Wattenberg told Today’s Parent that “w” is “a hot last letter to look for.” This means traditional names, like Matthew and Andrew, or more unique names, like Sparrow and Snow, could be popular choices throughout the 2019 year.
Wattenberg even predicted that the name Bartholomew will be making a comeback. Yes, that’s right, Bartholomew. As a biblical name, it has obviously been around for a while, but it hasn’t exactly been popular all this time.
When considering an unusual name like this, it’s also advisable to think about what nicknames your child might be called. One woman revealed on babynamewizard.com that her boyfriend is named Bartholomew, but “everyone calls him Bart.” If you’re concerned about The Simpsons correlation, you might just want to steer clear of this one. For a more modern w-ending, Wattenberg suggested Crew. It’s still unique without being too different. And, perhaps due to the birth of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ fifth child, this name is growing in popularity.
Footwear-inspired baby names
While its generally not advised to name your child something unusual just for kicks and giggles, it is becoming more common to name your child for kicks. That is, footwear. Yes, shoes have started to inspire their own unique genre of baby names. While you probably won’t be introduced to a baby Birkenstock anytime soon — at least we hope not — sneaker names, like Converse-inspired Chuck and Taylor as well as Vans-inspired Van, started to trend in 2018, according to BabyCenter. And this pattern has only continued into 2019.
Names like Falcon, Stan, and Smith, which come from Adidas, were expected to become more popular. Baby name experts even predicted that some brand names, like Puma, would begin to take off. And that’s just what happened. Nevertheless, if you’re not really, really into sneakers, you might want to weigh your options carefully before making the commitment to name your little one after your favorite footwear.
While feminine names were once all the rage, 2019 is already seeing more non-binary monikers. While gender-neutral names like Jamie or Dana have been around for a long time, parents in 2019 are not just sticking to the classics. According to Nameberry, these names are going to range from somewhat familiar unisex names, like Robin, to some highly unusual names, like Briar, Story, Royal, Revel, Journey, and even Justice. Whether parents go with a traditional or unusual unisex name, one thing is for sure: “This generation is truly interested in gender-neutral names.” At least’s that’s what Linda Murray, BabyCenter‘s global editor-in-chief and overall name expert, told the New York Post.
While gender fluidity has certainly had an influence on this baby name trend, Pamela Satran, baby name expert and cofounder of Namberry, told the publication that it’s not the sole reason. “In fact, a lot of people choose unisex names because they think they’re cool or they’re meaningful to themselves,” she revealed, “but they raise their kids in a very gender-specific way.”
These violent delights
You may think you’ve heard of everything when it comes to baby names, but baby name expert Laura Wattenberg predicted that names with “an edge of almost violent danger” would likely be popular throughout 2019. Violent names like Gunner, Trigger, and Shooter actually started increasing in popularity some four to five years earlier, according to Nameberry, but violent names just keep on keepin’ on. “There’s no longer a limit on how hyper-macho we’ll go with boys names,” Wattenberg told Today’s Parent.
While any one of these names would certainly make for an unusual moniker for your newborn, the trend is admittedly disconcerting or, as Nameberry put it, “frightening.” If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around this trend, the baby name expert revealed a possible reason for the uptick in dangerous-sounding names. Gender-neutral names have started to become more common. As such, girl names have become more masculine. Boy names, on the other hand, have become even more masculine, or, as the case may be, violent.
Gray and other shades
If you’re looking for baby name inspiration, you might not have to look any further than a box of crayons. Nameberry (via Today) predicted plenty of colorful names for 2019, with extra emphasis on pastel hues. Gray, or its alternate British spelling Grey, is thought to top Blue as both a middle and first name. Mauve, Lilac, Ivory, Fawn, Sage, and Ash are some other color variations to choose from. Parents even have the option to combine some top trends. If you’re looking for a colorful name that also ends in the letter “w,” Yellow might just be the ticket.
Of course, what’s on trend now may not be so hot in 30, 40, or 50 years. That’s not to say you can’t name your baby Saffron or Slate or Tawny or whatever color you desire, but not every color name is guaranteed to have the same staying power as Ruby or Scarlet.
Yoga and meditation have become more mainstream across the United States. Even children are getting involved in the ancient practice. This might just be the reason Eastern religious names and mythological names have become more popular, Pam Satran speculated in an interview with Global News. The baby name expert and cofounder of Nameberry revealed some unusual-sounding names to the publication.
Although you may not have met anyone named Bodhi (yet), you might know of Bodhi yoga. Satran said names after mythological gods and goddesses like Asherah, Kali, Lakshmi, and Rama will start to become more mainstream as well.
It’s always a good idea to do your homework when considering any of these ancient names. The name Kali, which has increased in popularity since 2018, sounds beautiful and simple, but is actually the name of a dark goddess. Translated from Sanskrit, her name literally means “She Who Is Death.” That might lead to an awkward conversation with your daughter someday.
The late Robin Williams loved the Legend of Zelda video game series so much that he named his daughter after the titular character. Thankfully, the young Williams grew up to be a fan of series and became somewhat of a gamer herself. Although she was named after the Nintendo princess back in the late ’80s, video game-inspired baby names have only gotten more popular. “Every year the new crop of games gives us a new crop of names,” baby name expert and founder of babynamewizard.com Laura Wattenberg told Today’s Parent.
The expert revealed that some of the most popular names could come from Final Fantasy, Dishonored, and League of Legends with names like Noctis, Corvo, and Xayah, respectively. Role-playing games, Wattenberg revealed, are often the most influential when it comes to baby names.
The good news? You don’t even have to be a gamer to appreciate some of the awesome baby names that stem from them. Nameberry provided dozens of video game-inspired names and, while it’s true some of them may be best left to the gaming console — like Mortal Kombat‘s Cyrax — there are plenty of names that work just as well in real life too, like Jax and Jedah.
Battle royale, baby
In addition to role-playing video games, battle-royale-style multiplayer games are also having a huge impact on baby names in 2019. Even ahead of the new year, the juggernaut known as FortNite had already begun providing baby name inspo. According to BabyCenter, character names Ramirez and Leviathan grew by 47 percent and 46 percent, respectively, in the boy name category, whereas Bunny became a 30-percent more popular girl name. Rogue also grew by 21 percent for boys and a whopping 47 percent for girls.
Respawn’s online multiplayer game Apex Legends only came out in February 2019, but in just one month’s time, it seduced an incredible 50 million gamers into playing. Given its instant success and all of the hype that comes along with it, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see this game inspire its own line of baby names. With characters holding unique monikers like Gibraltar, Wraith, and Bangalore, you could see the appeal. And, with even more characters in the works, including Jericho, Rosie, Husaria, Apex Legends-inspired names might even trump FortNite‘s baby names.
There aren’t many words that begin with, or contain, the letter X, which only makes X-names that much more exciting and unusual. Baby name expert Laura Wattenberg dubbed the letter the “official turbo charger of names and words” when speaking to Today’s Parent. That’s a fair assessment. As such, though, names like Xavier have become commonplace and don’t carry the same unconventional appeal they once had.
Still, Wattenberg said parents aren’t giving up on the uncommon letter. “Now we have word names that are unexpected, like Onyx,” the expert explained. And that’s not all. “Pretty much any direction you can take a name, parents will find a way to put an X in it,” she added.
In some cases, this means the inclusion of more than one X in a name, which means you might just meet a Maxxwell or a Jaxxon in the near future. Whether you love or hate this unusual name trend, we can all agree that three X’s would never be a good fit for a baby name, right? Eek.
Minimalism has become an increasingly popular lifestyle and aesthetic over recent years, but who could’ve imagined that the “less is more” philosophy would also be able to influence baby names? Nameberry revealed that popular 4-letter names like Emma are taking a backseat to the “sleek” and “minimalist three-letter names.” While some super short names are fairly traditional, e.g. Ida, others are much more unusual. Rio, Koa, and Jem were a few examples provided by the site.
If you’re thinking of going with a minimalist name, you also have the opportunity to embrace some other unusual trends of ’19. Van made Nameberry‘s list because of its three letters, but this moniker also happens to be a popular one among the sneakerhead crowd. Rex, too, fits the bill for a minimalist name, but it also has what baby name expert Laura Wattenberg called the “official turbo charger of names and words”: the letter X.
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