There are some very cool and unique baby names that are hitting the charts and climbing fast for 2017. Most often a name will suddenly trend due to a celebrity using it for their offspring. Or it might be a beloved character name, or a unique alternative to another name that has become too popular. Whatever the reason, here are the top 30 names that have started trending for the next year.
The name Maverick implies bravery, impulsiveness, and going your own way. The dictionary word actually came from a surname from a mid-19th century gentleman named Samuel A. Maverick. Maverick was a Texas rancher who intentionally did not brand his cattle…how rogue! It is the nickname of movie character Pete Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise, in the popular 1986 film, Top Gun. Maverick is part of the new boys’ name trend of Danger/Bad Boy names…you’ll see several on this list!
“You’re turning violet, Violet!” is a famous line from the 1971 movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, addressing Violet Beauregard who turns into a blueberry. Although the name Violet did not come back into style until just recently, it has surged onto the top of the charts, currently #50 for U.S. births (2015). Along with other flower and nature names like Ivy and Lily, Violet might just reach the top ten in 2017! The popularity of the name Violet was most likely due to celebrity couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner using the name for their daughter in 2005. Other celebrities who used the name include musician David Grohl (2006), and actress Poppy Montgomery (2013).
The name Remington is most closely associated with the brand of firearms, and therefore fits into the Danger/Bad Boy category of boy names that are so popular. Older folks will remember the television show Remington Steele, about a female detective that creates a fake male detective (named Remington Steele) to get work. Dated, we know! That Remington was played by the suave and handsome Pierce Brosnan, and catapulted his career. Remington also fits the boys’ trend of names that end in -on.
Many of the Norse God names have jumped onto the baby name charts including Freya, a goddess whose name literally just means “Lady.” Freya is the Norse goddess of love and fertility, so it has a very positive, feminine association. Freya is also a character in the movie The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a sequel to Snow White and The Huntsman. But most likely this name has become popular due to the sleeper hit television series Vikings, which has also popularized the mythical Norse name Ragnar.
The name Wilder, like Maverick, implies a person who is uncontrollable or impetuous. It originated as a surname, like in the case of actor Gene Wilder, playwright Thornton Wilder, and author Laura Ingalls Wilder. It also follows a trending pattern for boys’ names that end in -er like Thatcher, Parker, Cooper, and Tyler. Actor Oliver Hudson (son of Goldie Hawn and sister to Kate) named his son Wilder in 2007, as did actor Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory) in 2014.
Fiona is an Irish/Celtic name, made famous in the U.S. by the popular singer Fiona Apple (Apple is actually her middle name). Princess Fiona is the love interest/ogre in the animated Shrek movies, voiced by Cameron Diaz. 90210 actress Jennie Garth named her daughter Fiona in 2002 and actor Chad Lowe bestowed the name on his daughter in 2012.
Hugo is the title character in the children’s film of the same name, released in 2011. It is also the name of famed fashion designer, Hugo Boss. It is of German origin, and means “Bright In Mind And Spirit.” Actor Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent) named his son Hugo in 2009.
Lucia is the Spanish/Italian/Latin version of the name Lucy/Lucille–or actually vice versa–the original name. Parents find this a more romantic version of the name Lucy, with the very trendy -a ending. It can be pronounced LOO-sha, Loo-SEE-ah, or Loo-CHEE-ah. The name Lucia is extremely popular with celebs including Mel Gibson, Mira Sorvino, Eric Benet, Diane Farr, and Ani DiFranco–who all have daughters with the name.
A surprising baby name that’s just emerging on the charts, Arrow is one of those noun-names, like Apple, that we can’t quite diss. It’s easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and it evokes a positive image of strong, brave warriors and outlaws like Robin Hood. The name Arrow may have grown out of the popularity of the boys’ name Archer, along with the hit television series of the same name based on the comic Green Arrow.
The name Ophelia was first made popular by the William Shakespeare play, Hamlet. The love interest of the title character, she sees Hamlet getting more and more obsessed with the death of his father and decides to go join a nunnery. The name, in Greek, is derived from a word meaning “helper.” The name is probably making a resurgence due to the English actress Ophelia Lovibond and the hit television series, “The Royals” which is loosely based on Hamlet. Ophelia is also phonetically very similar to two super-popular names, Olivia and Amelia.
Rowan is a unisex name, originally the name of a type of tree. Rowan Atkinson is a famous English comedian, most recognized for his character, Mr. Bean. Rowan Blanchard is a young female actress with a role on Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World. Originally from an Irish surname, Rowan is also an Arabic girl’s name referring to a river in Paradise. Actress Brooke Shields named her daughter Rowan Frances in 2003.
The name Milo is the Latin/Spanish/Italian form of the name Miles. Milo is a character in the television series Sons of Anarchy and also used by actor Mel Gibson for his son, who is now in his twenties. Many celebrities have opted to use the name for their sons, including Camryn Manheim (2001), Craig Ferguson (2001), Liv Tyler (2004), and Alyssa Milano (2011).
With the resurgence of the 100-year names (names that were popular at the turn of the 20th century), Evelyn has been a favorite among parents. But when a name becomes too popular, parents search for alternative spellings and variations on the name. Evelina combines the quaintness of Evelyn with the popular -a ending for girls’ names. It is the Latin/Spanish form of the name. Actress Debi Mazar (Entourage) named her daughter Evelina in 2003.
For soap fans, Asa Buchanan is a beloved character on the U.S. soap opera One Life to Live, up and until 2008. The character was a rich patriarch Texas oil magnate–kind of a J.R. Ewing before Dallas. The name was used by actor Justin Bartha as a crossover name for his daughter in 2014. As a female name, it is an alternate to the most popular, Ava, which is now falling from the top of the charts, becoming too popular. Asa is a biblical character, the son of Abijam, and the third king of the Kingdom of Judah. The Hebrew meaning is “physician” but it’s also a Japanese name meaning “born at dawn.”
Augustus was originally a title, given to the son of Julius Caesar, Octavian, the first emperor of Rome. Augustus Gloop, was another character in the film, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, adapted from the Roald Dahl novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But that association is not likely to change the mind of millenials, who are embracing the name for both genders. The name came into the news when actor Casey Affleck used it as a middle name for his son, Indiana August Affleck, in 2004. Other celebs who have used the baby name August include singer Garth Brooks who used it for his daughter (2004), Mariska Hargitay for her son (2006), and actor Oscar Nunez for his daughter (2012). The popularity of the name Augustus most likely grew as a variation of August, as August crossed gender lines.
Elowen is a fairly recent created Cornish name meaning Elm Tree. It is also an alternate name to the more popular Eleanor, with an easy nickname, Ellie. It evokes the naming convention of J.R.R. Tolkein, similar to his character names, Arwen and Eowyn, and also is derivative of Welsh names like Aelwen and Arianwen. It could also have become a desirable name due to the popularity of the boys’ name, Owen, currently #4 on the BabyNames.com charts!
Country singer Lee Brice named his son Ryker in 2013 and the name seemed to take off with younger parents. Most famous as the name of a prison, Riker’s Island, this is another name which evokes danger and outlaw. It also could be a combination–if only psychological–of the names/words “rider/ryder” and “biker.” Ryker is #136 on the U.S. birth charts for 2015 and rising fast. William Thomas “Will” Riker is a character on the TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, played by Jonathan Frakes.
It’s probably no coincidence that Séraphine is an international maternity fashion line, probably influential just as expecting moms are trying to think of baby names! And, like Violet, jumped in popularity after celebrity couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner used it for their daughter in 2012. Seraphina/Seraphine are derivatives of the word seraphim, which is an angel of the highest order, associated with light, ardor, and purity.
The baby name Roman has jumped into popularity, mainly because of certain celebrities using it for their sons: Peter Krause (2001), Harvey Keitel (2003), Debra Messing (2004), Rodney and Holly Robinson Peete (2005), Cate Blanchett (2008), and Molly Ringwald (2009). It originally was an English word denoting a person from Rome, Italy. For the older generation, it’s most closely associated with the infamous filmmaker, Roman Polanski. The popularity of the name could also be linked to the rise of the girls’ name Juliet, being an alternate to her counterpart, Romeo.
The name Poppy has surprisingly gained traction on the girls’ side of the charts. Actress Poppy Montgomery is partially responsible, but it’s also the name of several celeb babies including celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who has repeatedly made the news with his children’s names: Poppy Honey (2002), Daisy Boo (2003), Petal Blossom Rainbow (2009) and Buddy Bear Maurice (2010). Anthony Edwards and Anna Paquin both have daughters named Poppy, as well. The poppy is a seasonal red flower with a black center. It is the source of poppy seeds and opium. The name Poppy is currently #10 on the U.K. charts.
Dean Winchester is a leading character in the television series Supernatural played by Jensen Ackles. The baby name Dean, until recently, was most identified with the actor/singer Dean Martin. The most popular current celebrity is Dean Winters (Law & Order: SVU, Oz, Brooklyn Nine Nine). Other celebs include actor Dean Cain (Lois & Clark), Dean McDermott (Mr. Tori Spelling), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Good Wife, Walking Dead), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), and author Dean Koontz. It could also be associated with the ultimately cool actor James Dean, which would fit into the danger/bad boy baby name trend.
Thanks to the hit television show New Girl
, the name Winston has now moved back on the charts. Winston is also the name of a character in the 2016 video game Overwatch.
For older folks, it might be associated with English Prime Minister Winston Churchill or a brand of cigarette, but the millenials will think of Winston Bishop, the vivacious roommate-turned-cop played by Lamorne Morris. The name Winston also is derivative of the popular name Winn/Wynn and those trendy names that end in -on like Addison, Braxton, and Mason.
The name Sylvie is one of those that became popular overseas and then quickly made its way to the States. Actor Jason Bateman used Sylvie as a middle name for his daughter, Maple Sylvie Bateman, in 2012. Sylvie is the French version of the name Sylvia, meaning “Forest.”
Caspian as a name was first created in C.S. Lewis’ book series, The Chronicles of Narnia, with his character, Prince Caspian. It was probably taken from the Caspian Sea, which was named after a city, Qazvin, Iran, which was named after a tribe in the region called the Cas. There is a popular U.S. rock band named Caspian. Actress Neve Campbell named her son Caspian in 2012, which probably affected the name’s rise in popularity.
The name Jude is originally from the Hebrew name Judah, meaning person from Judea or “Praised.” The name Jude is also a nickname for the name Judy, a girl’s name most popular in the mid-20th century. The Beatles released the song “Hey Jude” in 1968 but the baby name Jude didn’t hit the charts until just recently, probably due to the handsome British actor, Jude Law. Actor Kelsey Grammar named his son Jude in 2004.
X marks the spot for mid-decade boys’ names. Similar to the Aidan/Braden/Caden trend a couple of years ago, we’re now living through the Jaxon/Braxton/Axton/Pax craze. The trend was most definitely started by celeb couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, whose sons are named Maddox (adopted and named in 2002), Pax (adopted and named in 2007), and Knox (born 2008). It’s no wonder the name Axton is rising on the charts, it combines the super-trendy name, Axel, with the -on/-ton ending.
Who doesn’t want a boy baby name that is immediately DASH-ing? Actress Cate Blanchett named her son Dashiell back in 2001, and subsequently actor Jason Priestly in 2009 and filmmaker Harvey Weinstein in 2013. Also in 2013, actress Autumn Reeser (The O.C.) named her daughter Dashiell, for a surprising name gender crossover! As for celebs, the most famous Dashiell is American author Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), most known for penning noir mystery, The Maltese Falcon. Although Hammett’s name was actually a respelling of his mother’s French maiden name, De Chiel, the name most likely came into young parents-to-be minds from the Pixar film, The Incredibles, which featured the young superhero Dashiell “Dash” Parr.
The name Thatcher is part of the “Occupational Surname” trend for boys that has been on the rise on the baby names charts for the past couple of years. Like Mason (bricklayer), Carter (cart driver), Sawyer (wood cutter), Thatcher means roof maker. Celebrity Chef Catherine “Cat” Cora named her son Thatcher in 2009 and newscaster Megyn Kelly did likewise in 2013. Across the pond, the surname Thatcher is most widely associated with U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The baby name Elodie has French origins and traditionally spelled with an accent over the e: Élodie. It is a more unique alternative to the über-popular baby girl names, Eleanor and Ella. The most mainstream celeb with the name Elodie is actress Elodie Yung (Daredevil/Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The name Elodie is desirable because it’s unique, but has a fairly common nickname: Ellie.
Last but not least is the up-and-coming baby name, Zelda!
The name Zelda was most popular in the year 1911 but then surged back onto the baby name charts just recently. For the younger generations, the name is most closely associated with The Legend of Zelda, one of Nintendo’s most successful fantasy video games, selling over 75 million copies as of 2016. Zelda is the daughter of famed actor Robin Williams, named after the video game. Although Zelda Williams was born in 1989, she was prominently featured in the news after Robin’s death in 2014. There’s also a new Amazon television series, Z, about the life of Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott. The name Zelda was originally a short form (nickname) of the name Griselda, a Germanic name meaning “Woman Warrior.” The glamour of the 1920’s Zelda Fitzgerald combined with the strong female meaning makes the baby name Zelda a sure-win for 2017.
Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.
Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.