Today, more and more parents are trying to give their kids unusual names, says Laura Wattenberg, baby naming expert and founder of BabyNameWizard.com. But despite our quest to give our children unique monikers, there’s no denying that every year, some very clear trends pop up. Wattenberg told us what to expect in 2019.
With the video game industry now surpassing the movie industry in terms of profit, its impact on baby names is increasingly obvious. “Every year the new crop of games gives us a new crop of names,” says Wattenberg, who adds that the more immersive, role–playing games tend to offer the most inspiration. In 2019, look out for babies named Noctis (from Final Fantasy), Corvo (from Dishonoured) and Xayah (from League of Legends).
Black Panther was easily one of the biggest movies of 2018, so it’s not surprising that it’s also influencing baby names. With characters such as T’Chella, Okoye and Shuri, “it introduced a whole new realm of names,” says Wattenberg.
Spelling nerds, you’re going to want to shut your eyes for this one. “Parents are using a lot of unconventional vowel combinations as a way for a name to stand out,” says Wattenberg. Right now, that means spelling girl names that end in an “ee” sound with a pair of i’s (think Harmonii). Other unusual vowel combinations include ae and iy (think Maesyn and Aaniya).
After a recent rise of androgynous and unisex names, which Wattenberg explains is really just society’s acceptance of more masculine names for girls, rather than boy names following suit, they’re getting super masculine. These are names that Wattenberg says, “have an edge of almost violent danger.” Take, for example, Striker, Titan, Chaos and, yes, even Danger. “There’s no longer a limit on how hyper-macho we’ll go with boys names.”
In 2019, “a hot last letter to look for is w,” says Wattenberg. Willow, Arrow, Harlow and Winslow are popular examples of this trend. She expects parents to dig deep and bring back classics such as Bartholomew or go with more unconventional options, such as Crew.
As much as parents are embracing W, Wattenberg notes that the hottest character is still X, a letter that she describes as the “official turbo charger of names and words.” Since she says parent have discovered pretty much every traditional name with an X, such as Xavier or Max, they’re starting to get really creative. “Now we have word names that are unexpected, like Onyx,” explains Wattenberg, who adds that parents are also creating new names like Daxtin and Maxtin, “Pretty much any direction you can take a name, parents will find a way to put an X in it.” But for some, one X isn’t enough. Wattenberg points to the rise of Jaxxon as a perfect example of this super-charging of names.
There’s no question that Meghan Markle has impacted fashion and wedding trends, but Wattenberg is cautious about whether or not the name of Meghan and Harry’s first child will become another trend. “It’s not about the fame, it’s about the name,” she says, explaining that parents won’t embrace a name just because they like the celebrity couple behind it. Wattenberg suspects that the couple won’t use a traditional royal name and may go with something trendier than what’s been bestowed on past royal babies. Perhaps we’ll get a Prince Danger Jaxxow?