Just like clothing, names follow trends, going in and out of style depending on the year. Some names that have been popular for years suddenly fall out of use, while obscure, old-fashioned, or new names that you’ve never heard seem to become all the rage practically overnight. Nameberry has predicted a mix of fun, unique, and nostalgic names on the rise for 2022. Some notable ones include Bear, Honey, Lucky, Lulu, Benedict, Daphne, and Theo.
When parents pick out baby names, they can be influenced by anything from pop culture to spirituality to wanting to avoid names they’ve heard too much. It can be difficult to predict what will be in and out of style with all of these factors. But we’ve found some names that will definitely not be trending next year. So, whether you’re in the process of selecting a baby name or you’re just as fascinated by name trends as we are, here are the boy and girl names that will not be all the rage in 2022 — you may even wish to compare it to our 2021 list.
Angela was quite a popular name for baby girls from the 1970s through the 1980s. It even reached No. 5 on Nameberry’s top U.S. baby names ranking for 1975. But, like a lot of names that are heavily used for a few years, it’s been moving down in the charts. The Bump ranked it at No. 548 in popularity for 2021, quite a fall from its spot in earlier years, and it appears to still be trending down.
Along with Angela’s decline, a few similar names are gaining recognition. According to BabyCenter, Angelica rose 47 spots on the popularity chart from 2020 to 2021. Both Angelica and Angela have similar meanings derived from the word angel, but, while Angela is losing steam, we’ll probably see more Angelicas in the coming years. Speaking of angels, if you prefer something more straightforward, parents in 2022 may be dropping the suffix from Angela and just naming their daughters Angel. It has the same meaning but simplifies the name and sounds more modern than Angela.
You might be surprised to see Kobe on this list. After all, this is a name that had a massive spike in use during 2020. After the tragic death of basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter crash in January 2020, many fans recognized the NBA legend by naming their son after him. As a result, the name jumped from its place at No. 556 on the Social Security’s name ranking for 2019 all the way up to No. 239 for 2020.
That’s quite the rapid rise. However, possibly due to the name’s quick surge, it’s now falling in popularity again, according to BabyCenter. By 2022, two years will have passed since the tragedy, so it won’t necessarily be top of mind for parents choosing a name for their baby. On top of that, when names have a sudden upshot, a quick decline often follows. This is probably because many people prefer unique baby names and don’t want to follow trends.
Miley is an adorable name meaning "smiley" that’s typically used for baby girls. As cute as the name is, though, it usually only makes people think of one thing: Miley Cyrus. While pop culture icons can lead to the popularity of a name, they’re equally likely to make people avoid the name. Miley was used a lot from 2005 to 2010, peaking in 2008 at No. 127, according to BabyNames. This was likely from the success of the Disney show "Hannah Montana," which ran from 2006 to 2011. Whether parents were specifically naming their daughter after the show’s star (Cyrus) or they simply became aware of the name because of her, it’s easy to see the correlation between the two.
However, the name has been on a downward trend since. Though it had a slight rise from 2017 to 2018 (via Nameberry), it seems to be on its way out. Though Cyrus is still quite famous, it’s hard to separate the name from the celebrity. Likely, most parents are less interested in naming their daughter after her now, especially considering the musician’s not-so clean-cut image in recent years.
If you were born anytime in the 1990s or early 2000s, you probably had plenty of peers named Dillon. The name was most popular in 1992 at No. 73, noted Verywell Family, likely because of the massively popular character Dylan McKay from "Beverly Hills, 90210" (though spelled differently). The name was still quite common in the following years, though it’s slowly dropped in the years since (via Nameberry). USA Today even named it one of the baby names disappearing most quickly.
Dillon has Gaelic origins and means "faithful" (via BabyCenter). With its simple spelling and lovely sound and meaning, it might seem strange that this boy’s name is losing favor so quickly. Our best guess why is that since Dillon had its most significant moment in the ’90s and early 2000s, most people becoming parents now likely grew up with at least one Dillon in their class. With more and more parents opting for unique baby names, they aren’t likely to pick one that was so common while they were growing up.
Kimberly is a gender-neutral name, but in recent years it’s mostly been used for baby girls. The meaning of the name comes from old English and is a bit more complicated than most. Roughly it translates to "the clearing of the royal fortress" (via CharliesNames). Despite its somewhat obscure meaning, Kimberly has been a prevalent name for decades. It’s traditional without sounding too old-fashioned or stuffy, making it quite appealing to many parents. According to BabyNames, it’s been a common name ever since the ’60s, and though it had a slight decline over the years, it’s remained popular all the way through the early 2000s.
However, BabyCenter predicts it’ll be one of several traditional baby names falling out of use for 2022. It dropped further in popularity from 2020 to 2021, and we’ll likely continue to see its decline as parents choose newer or less common classic names. You may also see parents choosing names like Kinsley or Kimber, which are quite similar to Kimberly but are more unusual and, so, are picking up steam.
Plenty of old-fashioned baby names have had a comeback in recent years. Many parents have looked for inspiration from the past, surprisingly bringing names like Arthur, Oliver, and Henry back into vogue. However, other old names are going the other way, being retired for 2022. Jeremiah, in particular, is a traditional name that’s seemingly dwindling rather than seeing a resurgence.
Jeremiah is a Hebrew name meaning "exalted of the Lord." Its prevalence steadily rose from the 1990s to the 2010s. However, it’s been declining slowly since 2015, and BabyCenter predicts it will only continue to dip in popularity. BabyCenter theorized this could be due to more parents opting for shorter names, and a four-syllable name, like Jeremiah, just doesn’t fit the trend. Even though some traditional names have found popularity, simpler ones are more likely to be used in 2022. However, if we give it a few years, it, too, could make a comeback just like Arthur.
It will probably come as no surprise that Alexa is falling out of popularity. Though it was on the rise, the girl’s name started declining in 2015, and it had another massive drop in popularity this past year, falling 338 spots from 2020 to 2021 (via BabyCenter).
Since Amazon first released its virtual assistant named Alexa in 2014, it makes sense that people started turning away from the name. Most families don’t want to worry about their daughter getting confused for an AI. That explains its steady decrease in popularity, but, as discussed, Alexa had a more dramatic drop-off from 2020 to 2021. This is likely due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families were on lockdown, and, instead of going to work, people were stuck at home with their Amazon Alexa. While the virtual assistant may be convenient, after spending days on end in your house with it, many parents aren’t going to want to also call their baby Alexa.
Ashton is another name with roots in old English. Its meaning refers to an ash tree. The boy’s name had a significant spike in popularity around 2004 when BabyCenter ranked it at No. 76 in popularity. This increase in prevalence was likely due in part to actor Ashton Kutcher bringing awareness to the name. Ashton has fluctuated in popularity since but has stayed somewhat common up to now. However, it had another drop in popularity in 2021, and BabyCenter predicts the name will continue to decline in 2022. Many celebrity-inspired names, in fact, are losing their appeal as parents look for more one-of-a-kind names.
If you like how the name Ashton is derived from nature but want something more original, there are lots of earthy names coming into style for 2022. Forest, Coast, and Bear are a few of the top boy’s names Nameberry says will be trending next year.
Nicole has been a go-to name for people who prefer the classics. The French name is a feminized version of Nicholas, and, while it’s traditional, it doesn’t sound old or stuffy (via Nameberry). Plus, nicknames like Nicki have made it appealing to many parents who want a more cutesy option. However, just like many names that have been trending for a long time, Nicole is starting to drop off. It’s been slowly declining for several years but lost serious ground in 2021 when it dropped a whole 136 spots from its ranking in 2020 (via BabyCenter).
Since Nicole was quite well-used from the ’70s through the late ’90s, this is likely another case of oversaturation. People who are now naming their children likely feel they grew up knowing too many Nicoles, and now they want something more unique.
If you want a baby girl name of French origin other than Nicole, there are plenty of names you’ll be seeing more of in the coming years. Esme is still quite unique, but it’s slowly gaining popularity. Or, Nicolette is a variation on Nicole that hasn’t yet been used quite as much in the U.S.
Based on information from the Social Security Administration, USA Today made a list of names that have dropped most rapidly in popularity from 2016 to 2020, with the boy’s name Jeffrey making the list. The simple name meaning "pledge of peace" has appealed to parents in the past, and its nickname Jeff is cute and short, which many new parents liked (via Nameberry).
However, the name has been steadily losing popularity for years. It was at its most popular during the 1960s and 1970s, according to BabyCenter. Because of its prevalence during that time, most people named Jeffrey are from Generation X. Now that millennials and some from Generation Z are having kids, they want names that sound fresher and more modern for their babies. Perhaps, Jeffrey will again become popular in a few decades when it has more of a vintage appeal, but, for now, it’s not looking like 2022 will be its year.
Ashley is another name that’s dropping out of use. Similar in meaning to Ashton, Ashley is derived from the old English term for a meadow where ash trees grow (via Verywell Family). The cute, short baby girl name gained a lot of popularity in the 1980s, skyrocketing to No. 2 in 1987, according to BabyCenter. Though it may seem odd that a name once among the most popular is now going out of style, this is probably just another case of oversaturation.
Because the name was so popular throughout the ’80s and ’90s, most new parents grew up knowing a lot of Ashleys. As a result, most will not name their baby Ashley, which is probably why it dropped 130 spots in 2021 (via BabyCenter). It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the name or the people with the name. Parents are just moving away from it now because trends are shifting.
Good to Know referenced Bounty’s list of names going quickly out of style, which put Leroy at No. 3. in 2018, though things aren’t looking too good for Leroy in 2022 either. The name has primarily decreased in popularity since the 1930s, when it was at its most recent peak. Though there has been a slight uptick in parents using Leroy in 2021, it’s far from widespread (via Nameberry). It will likely be a few more years before it returns as a trendy vintage name.
The name Leroy has French roots and means "the king." However, there are many other royal-inspired names to use in 2022. Ryan, a cute Irish name meaning "little king," is listed at No. 62 on BabyCenter’s rankings for 2021. Or, for a less common royal name, Walter means "powerful warrior." While the name is not overused, some parents looking for unique and classic names have started using it again.
Sophia hasn’t been popular for just the past few years — it was No. 1 on BabyCenter’s popularity ranking for girls for 11 years. NameBerry speculated that this widespread appeal could be due to several reasons. Firstly, its Greek origin and meaning, "wisdom," make it a favorite with intellectual parents. It also sounds classic and feminine. Plus, parents can always use the nickname Sophie if they want to shorten the name slightly.
However, the name finally lost its spot in 2021 when Olivia won out, and Sophia fell to fifth place. If you’re thinking that fifth place is still quite possible, you’re probably right. To say there won’t be any parents sticking with this name in 2022 is definitely an overstatement. However, after a decade of reigning supreme, Sophia is on its way out. It’s always hard to predict these things, but considering how long it spent on top, it’s likely people are growing tired of it and that we’ll be seeing the name on the decline for the next several years.
Chad is a name that’s been circulating a lot in recent years. However, it’s being used less as a baby name these days and more for internet slang. Online forums for those who refer to themselves as "Incels" started referring to certain types of men as "Chads." Usually, when someone uses the term "Chad" in this way, they’re referring to a muscular, attractive, "alpha male." As Men’s Health explained, "An incel sees himself as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one—and therefore ends up demonizing women—a "Chad" gets all the women because of his superior appearance, confidence, and physical prowess." Then there’s also Chad Johnson who had a memorable stint as the villain on JoJo Fletcher’s season of "The Bachelorette" — one example of a Chad who pretty much fits this stereotype to a tee, according to Distractify.
Although the term started on a small corner of the internet, there’s been plenty of discussion surrounding it. So, most expectant parents are at least somewhat aware of the association. Though Chad hasn’t been that popular of a baby name for several years, it’s dropped even more from 2019 to 2021. We suspect as more people associate the name with the internet slang term, it’ll only become less popular. It’ll probably take a few years for this meme to go out of use before Chad makes a resurgence.