If you’re been following baby name news at any rate, you’ve probably noticed an upswing in names you’ve rarely or never heard used before.
Like the years before it, 2016 has brought influence to parents everywhere when it comes to choosing a moniker for their sweet newborns and popular names like Sophia and Jackson won’t do.
From films and television to current political events, 2016 was a year to remember in baby naming. And as such, Nameberry has come up with their Names of the Year 2016, which are listed below.
Nameberry says, “Alden Ehrenreich is slated to play the young Han Solo, a.k.a. the new pilot of the Millennium Falcon. We’ve yet to meet many children called Han, but Alden fits right in with current favorites like Landon and Aiden.”
“Aziz Ansari is the creator, writer and star of the innovative Netflix show Master of None, representing the impressive strides made this year in the diversification of the TV landscape,” according to Nameberry. “The lively and colorful name Aziz, which means powerful, respected and beloved, is one of the 99 names of Allah and is common in the Muslim world and has great cultural crossover potential.”
“New dad Michael Phelps joked that his son would ‘definitely be the cool kid‘ thanks to the distinctive name he and wife Nicole Johnson chose for their May 2016 baby: Boomer,” they say. “Boomer’s not just another celebrity kid. The Olympian’s son commands over 750,000 Instagram followers of his own.”
“Though the music world lost three beloved, iconic figures this year — Prince, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen — it was Bowie (actually born David Jones)’s adopted surname that almost immediately became a viable name for babies,” says Nameberry. “Bowie wasn’t totally unheard of as a baby name before, but now has shot up to number 453 on Nameberry, and become an instant celebrity fave. Actor Jackson Rathbone (Jasper Hale in Twilight) even used it for his daughter, Bowie Presley.”
“The unstoppable Bruno Mars released his third studio album in 2016, won two more Grammy Awards and became one of the few performers to appear at a second Super Bowl halftime show. Born Peter Gene Hernandez, Bruno is the singer’s childhood nickname. We may also see more babies named Mars — not only a celebrity name, but one of the ancient celestial and mythological names becoming fashionable,” they explain.
“One of the big stories of the year was the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. after 50 years, followed by the death of leader Fidel Castro in November,” says Nameberry. “Apart from its political reverberations, Cuba is a geographical place name (it was on the popularity lists back in the 1890s) associated with Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., whose roots are not in Cuba but Barbados.”
“In the sea of ordinary names most visible during this tumultuous political cycle, the name of the President-elect’s influential daughter stands out as one of the most distinctive,” according to the site. “Quite common in Slavic countries as a nickname for Ivana (her mother‘s name) and despite its exotic appeal, it’s likely to remain a single-celebrity name in the U.S. — the Oprah of the political world — for the foreseeable future.”
“Genre-blurring Hamilton dominated Broadway this year, becoming a perpetually sold-out, must-see show — a mix of rap and musical theater unlike anything before it. At the center of it all is actor, rapper, composer and MacArthur Genius Award recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda … Miranda’s first name comes from a poem about the Vietnam War, Nana Roja Para Mi Hijo Lin Manuel. What we see as influential about Lin-Manuel: its literary inspiration, its hyphenization, and its mix of gender images,” says Nameberry.
“In October, Michael Crichton took us to Westworld, a new HBO original series. Thandie Newton plays park host Maeve Millay,” they say. “No spoilers here, but know that the sharp, simple Irish name was originally worn by a warrior queen. It’s the latest in a long line of Irish baby names to catch on in the U.S., currently ranked in the Top 500 and rising.”
“This quiet French classic got a double shot of adrenaline when not one but two Simones became shooting-star record breakers in the 2016 Rio Olympics: Simone Biles was the vault and floor gold medalist, setting a U.S. record high of four medals in a single Olympics, while Simone Manuel became the first African-American female swimmer to win a gold medal.”
“Wilder appeals to parents for plenty of reasons,” says Nameberry. “It’s preppy and outdoorsy, an unexpected name with an on-trend sound. Wilder makes the Names of the Year list thanks to the late comic actor, Gene Wilder. The star of Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory passed away in August.”
“When the Chicago Cubs pulled off their astounding World Series win this year, ending a 108-year championship drought, their fans went ballistic, and some of them wanted to honor the team in their offsprings’ names,” according to Nameberry. “But rather than call their cubs Cub or Ben or Bryan or any other player name, they discovered a more subtle and circuitous reference: Wrigley, for the name of the winners’ playing field. 2009 Miss America Katie Stam used it after losing a bet to her husband when the Cubs won the Series.”