When it comes to baby names, some parents go the traditional route and give their precious bundles of joy tried and true names that have been beloved for generations. Other parents, however, take a more creative route and give their babies names that are a bit further off the beaten path. In some cases, the names are even made up altogether! Parents in 2018 have given their babies some pretty unique names, to say the least.
Parenting website BabyCenter keeps an up-to-date list of popular baby names of the year based on user data collected from parents who report what they named their babies. While these rankings are subject to change, and we can’t know for sure how popular a name is until the Social Security Administration releases the official rankings of 2018 U.S. baby names in 2019, the list does give us some insight into some of the uncommon names that parents are choosing for their little ones. Here are some of the most original names of 2018.
Geography whizzes and globetrotters might recognize Niamey as the capital of the African country of Niger, but they have probably never thought of it as a potential baby name. In addition to being the capital, Niamey is also Niger’s largest city and sits along the Niger River. This unique name follows in the footsteps of other beloved baby names inspired by international locations such as Paris, London, and Cairo.
Niamey’s history as a baby name is fairly recent, but the name is proving to be quite the contender. In 2017, users ranked the name at an abysmally low 19,630 on the BabyCenter charts, but by 2018 it had catapulted into the top 50 names for girls — talk about a big leap! Perfect for world travelers, or for people who want to pay homage to the city, Niamey is a unique baby name that we will be seeing more of in the future.
It was just a few years ago that Lorde was telling us that we’ll never be royals, but parents of 2018 are ignoring her lyrics. They’re determined to raise their kids as princes and princesses and are picking regal names to prove it. Reign has been seeing an upward trend for girls over the last few years and hit an all-time high in 2018. In fact, it has been on the rise since Lorde debuted "Royals" in 2013, so maybe we have her to thank for the growing popularity of the name.
It’s only in the top 500 BabyCenter names so far, but at this rate the original name will likely catch on with more parents in the near future. This isn’t the only royal baby name on the rise, either. Parents of little girls are going with Reign, but parents of boys are loving the royal moniker King, which made BabyCenter’s top 100 list in 2018.
Kayson is a modern-sounding name that is anchored in a traditional one. A more up-to-date take on the popular name Jason, a classic name that can trace its roots back to Greek mythology, Kayson has been sneakily on the rise with parents over the last few years. The spelling of this name is pretty flexible. If you aren’t a fan of the "y" in the middle of Kayson, don’t worry because you still have options if you like the sound of the name. Spelling variations of Kayson include Kason and Kasen.
While Kayson has a distinctive ring to it, the moniker is part of an ongoing name trend of popular baby names (especially for boys) ending in the letter "n." Other increasingly popular names that are also part of this trend include Grayson, Mason, Carson, Hudson, and Kayden, all of which consistently rank in the top 100 baby names for boys.
This English name has been in the top 500 names for a few years now, and is slowly but steadily making its way to the top of the charts. BabyCenter users put Brinley in the top 350 names for girls in 2018. The name means "tawny," and can be spelled in a variety of ways including Brynlee and Brynleigh. It lends itself easily to nicknames and can be broken down to Brin and Lee, giving parents two built-in options for shortening the name for their baby girls.
Brinley’s "ley" ending will appeal to the wave of parents who are choosing names ending in the syllable for their little ones. Other unique "ley" names that are catching on with parents include Kinley, Kinsley, Paisley, Finley, and Hadley. Brinley manages to sound fresh while also incorporating the trendy "ley" ending, making this name both an original and stylish pick for fashion forward parents.
Names ending in "ley" and "ly" are quite popular right now, which has some parents turning to different spellings in order to put a new spin on beloved names. One such name is Everleigh, a spelling variation of the far more popular Everly. This new version preserves the sound of the more traditional spelling, while making it different enough to not be too common. Everly is an upwardly mobile name that hit the top hundred in the U.S. in 2017, while Everleigh lagged far behind, only coming in at 387.
This distinctive spelling of the name is climbing up the ranks too, though, and made it into the top 200 on BabyCenter’s list in 2018. It might take a couple of years for this take on the name to close the gap, so for now, Everleigh remains one of the most original names of 2018.
Avianna is a name that is both striking and elegant, so it’s pretty clear why parents are loving it for their baby girls. It broke into the top 400 on BabyCenter’s baby name charts for girls in 2018. Similar in sound to the more popular Arianna, the one letter between the two names makes a world of difference — Avianna is a great alternative if you’re looking for something a bit more original.
If you’re worried that the name is a bit too long-winded for a baby girl, you can easily shorten Avianna to Avi, Ava, Anna, or even Vianna. If you prefer a sleeker look, you could also opt to spell the name as Aviana, a variation which is catching up in popularity to Avianna. This name has a lot of potential, and it’s easy to envision the unique moniker overtaking the more traditional Arianna within the next few years.
In a field of unique names, Little still stands out since it’s not something that most people would typically think of as name. While it’s recognizable as a last name, such as with the Little family of the book and film Stuart Little, seeing it used as a first name is quite uncommon. Little made BabyCenter’s top 200 names for boys in 2018, and is also on the rise for girls where it is in the top 300 names.
This name might be a bit too unique for some parents, though, and it’s hard to say whether a baby will appreciate being named Little once they are all grown up. The name’s ascent up the charts, however, means that a few years from now the name might not be considered that unusual, so parents who like the sound of Little could be getting in early on a trendy name by giving it to their babies in 2018
One time-tested way of creating a new and original baby name is to take an existing name and put a bit of a spin on it. That’s what’s happening with the name Alivia, a name that is in BabyCenter’s top 250 names for baby girls. Say it out loud, and it sounds nearly identical to the name Olivia, which is just one letter different. Olivia is one of the most popular names in the United States. It has been ranked in the top 10 baby names for girls since 2001, making it well overdue for an update.
Olivia itself was made up by William Shakespeare for his play Twelfth Night. Considering the fact that the playwright is famously remembered for making up many words that are still used in the English language today, we think that he would appreciate the twist parents are putting on the name he coined.
While this name isn’t exactly a new one and can trace its roots back to Greek mythology, its use as a baby name in America is far from common. Atlas was on the Social Security Administration’s baby name charts in 1883 and 1890, but then disappeared from the ranks for more than a century. It popped back up in 2013, and has seen a slow and steady rise since then. BabyCenter users ranked it in the top 300 names for boys in 2018.
The story of Atlas in Greek mythology varies depending on the source, but a couple of the more well-known legends portray him as being responsible for holding up the heavens. This version of Atlas is the one we commonly remember today, and inspired the title of author and philosopher Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged. If you want a unique name with a long legacy for your baby, Atlas is a solid choice.
Jhazelle is a name that you’ve likely never heard of, but you will in the near future. This original name calls to mind a couple of other more widely used names. It is quite similar in sound to the German name Giselle, which means "a pledge." It is also close to the names Janelle and Jasmine. In Jhazelle, these beloved names have been rolled together in a new and unique package. Its popularity has been rather sudden, seemingly springing up overnight. In 2017, Jhazelle was barely noticeable with a ranking in the 12,000s on the charts, but by 2018 had jumped into the top 150 names for girls.
The name’s newness on the charts makes it a prime pick for trendsetting parents. Its distinctive spelling, combined with its commonalities with classic names, make Jhazelle unique without being too unusual. This makes it ideal for parents who are looking for a name that makes a statement, but who still appreciate the sound of more traditional monikers.
When it comes to the four seasons, Summer and Autumn are the only ones that really get much love as baby names, with Spring and Winter traditionally being rarely used. Winter has begun to break that trend, however, and has started to see use as a given name in the last few years. Winter would be distinctive enough, but some parents are taking things one step further and changing up the season’s spelling by naming their babies Wynter.
Wynter entered the top 600 BabyCenter names in 2018. Winter might be the chilliest of seasons, but it still has a lot to offer. While it doesn’t have the warmth of Summer or the rich colors of Autumn, the name Wynter calls to mind the holiday season, snowflakes, cozy nights by the fire, and cups of hot cocoa. What’s not to love, especially when the name comes with such a striking spelling?