Although classics like James, Charlotte and William have dominated the baby name popularity lists in recent years, American parents are finding inspiration from a variety of sources.
Indeed, certain sounds, meanings, aesthetic qualities and even pop culture moments can play a role in the names people choose for their children in a given time period.
“Long ago are the days of choosing a generic name simply because ‘it sounded good,’” baby name consultant Taylor Humphrey told HuffPost. “In my business, I witness such intentionality around the process of choosing a name that deeply resonates with both parents.”
To get a sense of what’s resonating with people these days, HuffPost asked naming experts to share some of the themes they think will influence parents’ baby name choices this year. We’ve rounded up nine interesting trends below.
“I believe we will see more names with the very chic ’O-’ending,” Humphrey said.
She noted that this is especially true with names for boys like Mateo, Enzo, Milo and Thiago. The vowel sound ending offers something a little more playful and unexpected next to so many names that end in consonants.
Other popular O-enders due for increased (or continued) popularity in 2024 include Hugo, Apollo, Arlo, Leo, Cosmo, Theo, Margot, Cleo and Santiago.
“Maverick ranks in the boys’ Top 50,” said Abby Sandel, creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain. “Legend isn’t far behind, and names like Legacy are climbing, too. Parents name for meaning, but it’s less about old-school religious virtues, like Modesty or Prudence. Instead, we’re opting for Wilder and Rowdy ― high-energy names that suggest adventure.”
She also highlighted “thoughtful” names like Knowledge and Wisdom.
“And when we do opt for something spiritual, it’s likely to be a symbolic word name, like Shepherd, Chosen, or Psalm,” Sandel added.
Girl Names For Boys
“One specific trend we expect to gain more ground is girl names for boys,” said baby naming expert and Nameberry editor-in-chief Sophie Kihm. “Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, with their son Wren, and Rhianna, with her son Riot Rose, are leading the charge. A combination of increasingly progressive societal views on gender identity and appreciation for softness and symbolism is behind this trend.”
Sandel echoed this theory, observing that the list of Top 1,000 names for girls has become a solid place to look for naming inspiration for boys.
“For ages, conventional wisdom held that names would fall in use for boys if they caught on for girls,” she noted. “That’s just not true anymore. Names like Eden, Sutton, and Murphy made the girls’ Top 1,000 first, before becoming stylish for boys, too. Now Wren and Scout are set to be the newest crossovers from the girls’ list.”
“Antique names continue to grow, along with very modern names,” said Sherri Suzanne, a baby name consultant and the founder of My Name for Life. “However, the most desired names in my practice remain familiar-but-underused classics ― names that are known but never achieved great popularity or have waned in popularity over time. It may explain why names from the mid-to-late 20th century may be reappearing sooner than expected.”
She listed Scott, Kelly, Linda and Eileen as examples that have been popping up again lately.
“Definitely we will see more ‘old man’ names for boys like Monty, Ralph and Willis,” she said.
Last names are not inherently associated with a particular gender, though they can come to be. There are plenty of neutral-sounding options like Collins, Ellis, Parker, Murphy and Hollis.
“Surnames like Finley and Harper and those types of things will be strong in 2024 I believe,” Moss added. “Just as we’ve seen in the past with Madison and Harrison.”
Mix-And-Match Nature Names
“A generation grew up answering to Hailey, Kaylee, and Kylie; Kayla, Kaitlyn, and Brooklynn,” Sandel said. “The urge to mix and match to create new names remains strong, but here’s the twist for the 2020s: the first element is a nature name. We’ve seen Emberlynn and Lakelyn, Wrenlee and Oaklie.”
She believes Dovelyn, Riverlynn, and Rainlee have potential to join those increasingly popular options in this category as well.
“Names like Sunday and Waverly that just happen to look like elaborations of Sun and Wave might be the biggest winners of this trend,” Sandel added.
“We’ve seen a rise for celestial names or names that have to do with stars and space,” Moss said.
She pointed to examples like Aurora, Nova and Celeste ― which have all become more popular over the past decade.
“I think it’s because the space program is picking up again,” Moss said. “People are thinking beyond Earth and into the broader universe. That’s really cool.”
“Parents are crossing borders in the name world more and more,” Suzanne said. “Non-English names are growing, partly the result of changing demographics but also as a way to expand the palette of available names.”
Don’t be afraid to look into your family’s cultural heritage or popular picks around the world as you consider name options.
Main Character Energy Names
“I’ve noticed a delightful preference for names that carry both sophistication and versatility, ensuring they gracefully evolve with each child,” said name consultant Lilia E. Corrigan of Heartbabynames. “A unique charm is becoming increasingly sought after, as families aim to bestow names that radiate a distinctive and individualistic ‘main character’ quality. This upcoming year seems to embrace names that not only captivate with style but also resonate with deeper, personal meaning ― a trend that brings both comfort and excitement to the baby naming journey.”
Many parents are making efforts to harness the power names often carry.
“Names can evoke a certain feeling, and they can convey a specific aesthetic awareness,” Humphrey said. “As ‘-core’ aesthetics become more ingrained in the fabric of how we describe our personal style, I believe we’ll see more parents opting for baby names that symbolize and communicate their values and vision.”