What’s In the Current Child’s Names?

(And how it’s bye bye Isabel & Harry and hello Aurora & Xander)

It’s interesting isn’t it, how every generation has its own ‘feeling’ and fashion of child’s names. You don’t see any Alisons and few Simons (the Tickled Moon creators) being born at the moment, but our grandparent’s names are right back in vogue. 

And as a personalisation company that is constantly dealing with the latest child’s names, we have been fascinated to see all the names that have been trending on the current 2-7 year olds – and it wasn’t what we expected…

So we thought we’d take a closer look at the latest child’s names – the statistics (and thoughts behind them) and also the meaning behind some of the more unusual names that are populating our books.

Children of the 21st Century

The 2018 report on the most popular baby names in England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has some interesting observations. Firstly, that we’re getting much more picky with our name choosing – seeking more and more originality when naming our children:-  

Figure 2_ The percentage of babies given a name in the top 100 has decreased every year since 1996“Since 1996, the percentage of babies given a name in the top 10, top 25, top 50 and top 100 has decreased and the list of names has become more diverse. In 1996, two-thirds (66.7%) of babies had a name within the top 100, while in 2018 this was true for less than half of babies (45.2%).”

So if we’re all striving to be different when naming our children what is…

…The latest trend for a child’s name? 

We have seen that there is a leaning towards more unusual, often quite ancient or ethereal names. Do you think this means that the newest generation are older souls with freer spirits…??

The Nameberry website has also named several trends to appear in 2020, including:-

  • ‘Vowel names’ – names starting with a vowel, most commonly A and E
  • Two-syllable names
  • The ‘Lu’ names – such as Luna, Lucy, Louis and Luca
  • ‘L and El’ names – with L being the most popular first consonant for boy names and the ‘El’ sound for girl names
  • M names for girls – as M is the most popular first consonant for girls
  • Boys names ending in S

So it’s fascinating to see that although we may be leaning towards originality when naming our child, we all still lean towards similar types of names at the same time.

Cultural influences

The ONS report had some interesting observations on how popular culture has influenced our choice of names

Would you name your daughter Maeve (no.3) after the Sex Education charatacter? Or Luna (no.1) because Chrissy Teigen and John Legend chose it for their daughter?

peaky-blinders-promo-2-1570464249Evidently it does have an effect. Arthur entered the top 10 for boys for the first time since the 1920s, with Ada in the top 100 girls’ names for the first time in a century – both potentially inspired by the TV drama Peaky Blinders. 

(However I don’t think there’ll be many prospective parents in a big rush to name their future children ‘X Æ A-Xii’ – even though his parents are Elon Musk and Grimes…)

Technology also played a part in choosing a name. Girls named Alexa halved in a year, thanks to the increasing use of the Amazon Echo in many households – as the ONS reason “Communicating with young children can be hard enough at the best of times.”!

Finally, the parents’ age can also make a difference to their child’s name. Mothers aged 35 years and over tended to prefer more “traditional” names, compared with mothers aged under 25 years who were more likely to choose more “non-traditional”, shortened or hyphenated child’s names.

And moving on…

Isabel, Harper and Emily are just 3 girl’s names that have dropped out of the Top 100 to be replaced by Edith, Athena and Nova

And for boys, it’s bye bye to Harry, Austin and Simon (sorry Simon!) and hello to Lucius, Micah, and Ezekiel.

However, there are a handful of names, such as George, William, Edward and Elizabeth that have consistently featured in the top 100 since the early 20th century.

And in recent times, there are some child’s names that resolutely refuse to drop out of the top 20 and continue to hold their own. Olivia, Isabella and Charlotte remain firm favourites for girls, while Oliver, Jack and Henry are still traditional choices for many boys.

6a014e87d88579970d0240a4be4ab7200b-550wiBut names which were popular in the 1940s and 1950s tend to feature much lower in the ONS 2018 rankings, if at all. You won’t find any Kenneths, Rogers, Terences or Susans, Janets or Pamelas – all of which were all in the top 20 names for boys and girls in 1944 but none are in the top 1,000 in 2018.

Confirming that the popularity for a child’s name changes rapidly from generation to generation (and how you can fairly accurately determine a person’s age from their name).

And finally…

What do these unusual child’s names mean???

Here are a few of the more unusual names personalised in our Birthday BOO books that have caught our attention, with their origins and definitions:-

Amias – boy

This unusual name is a French baby name and derives from the Latin amatus meaning loved. An ancient name that has been In use since at least the 12th century. It was used in the 19th century by the British writer Charles Kingsley for the hero of his novel ‘Westward Ho!’.

Aderyn – girl

From France…to Wales. This sweet name, that dates back to 1900 means ‘bird’ in Welsh. Not quite sure how you pronounce it, but it can get shortened to the rather cute ‘Addie’.

Aurora – girl

A very popular current girl’s name that derives from the Latin word for  “dawn”. There was also an Aurora Roman goddess of sunrise, whose tears rather beautifully turned into the morning dew. And of course it is associated with the  Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis. (Just hope that it doesn’t get shortened to ‘Rory’ which has a very different feel…)

Dharshan – boy

Dharshan is a Hindi name meaning ‘divine vision’. And according to MoonAstro.com they also ‘love to dress in a proper way’ and ‘are truly dedicated towards their parents’, so if you want your boy to be a respectful,snappy dresser, you couldn’t go too wrong with this choice…

Fionnuala – girl

Children_lir_witch_swansThis multi-syllabled, beautiful Irish name literally means “white shoulder”- from the Irish fionn “white, fair” and guala “shoulder”. And in the legend of the Children of Lir, she was one of four children who was cursed by her stepmother, Aoife, to wander the lakes and rivers of Ireland, transformed into swans for a period of 900 years, until saved by the marriage of Lairgrenand Deoch whose union broke the curse. Wow… (cue Swan Lake with a dash of Enya).

Hendrix – boy

Hendrix is a derivative of the Dutch and German name Hendrik, which is a form of Henry and means ‘Ruler of the household.’ It also has a super cool rock and roll vibe, inspired, of course, by the legendary Jimi Hendrix. 

Xander/Zander – boy

If you want your son to be a ‘defender of men’ then choose this boy’s name (shortened from Alexander) which is of Greek origin. You’ll probably see them popping up on your screens too, as it’s a popular film and computer game character name.

Finally, it is delightful to recognise names that come from nature – River, Wren, Olive and Willow – and from the seasons – Summer, Autumn and Winter

And could your child be an Angel or a Hunter?


So that concludes our brief look at the rich diversity of child’s names in our culture and in all our personalised books today. It’s clear to us, that naming your child continues to evolve in unusual and delightful ways. 

But ultimately whatever name you’re thinking about, you can rest assured that whether it’s in the top 10 or not, your treasured little person will be totally unique in their own special way.


If you’d like to learn more about the top baby names for 2020 you can check them out here.

And if you’d like to learn more about the 7 benefits to personalising a book with your child’s name, then check out our blog here.

Or come at visit us at TickledMoon.com to personalise a children’s book with your own child’s very special name!

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