13 Contemporary Baby Names
Looking for the latest in modish monikers? We've collected the best of the most current batch—with the requisite twists on the traditional, plenty of creative spellings, and a host of celeb-inspired and unisex names—for your up-and-coming bundle of joy!
Aspen’s popularity shouldn’t come as a surprise. It evokes the luxe Colorado ski resort town, embodies the beauty of nature (as in the Aspen tree), and lands squarely on the unisex line: in other words, contemporary moniker trifecta. Variations include Aspin and Aspyn.
Traditionally a boy’s name, Aubrey has become very popular for baby girls. This is surely due to its soft, pretty sound, and not to its rather odd, inapplicable meaning: elf ruler!
A modern spin on more common Irish boys’ names like Brian or Brandon, Brennan means either “little raven” or “descendent of the sad one,” and sounds at once unusual and familiar. It’s alternate, contemporary spellings include Brennin, Brennen and—of course —Brennyn, and it’s increasingly chosen as a name for little girls.
Although its syllables each count as feminine names in their own rights—and most babies named Brooklyn these days are indeed girls—this moniker can work for boys as well (as per the oldest Beckham brother). And now that Brooklyn (the place) has become the new Manhattan, you can expect to see growing numbers of kids popping up with this proper noun.
A legendary sea god of English and Irish lore, Dylan has withstood the test of a time as a boy’s name; it’s often given in homage to the poet Dylan Thomas or singer/songwriter Bob Dylan. Now that Ralph Lauren and Sean Penn have both named their daughters Dylan, it’s quickly climbing as a decidedly cool girls’ name, too. Creative spellings include Dillon, Dylyn, and Dilan.
Climbing steadily in popularity since the mid-1980s, Grayson—or Greysen—feels traditional and distinguished, but fresh. It offers an unusual alternative to the more common Jason, and the hugely popular Mason, for boys. For baby girls, it’s charmingly unexpected.
A girl’s name meaning “dweller in the hay meadow,” Hailey is spelled over 10 different ways—Haeley, Hayleigh, Hayley, etc.—but doesn’t leave a faddish aftertaste. However you spell it, this name sounds sweet and lasting.
Jayden (along with sound-alikes Kaden and Brayden) is the super-popular contemporary cousin of Aiden. Alternately spelled Jaden, or Jadyn (for girls), this name, which means “grateful,” is a modern moniker with roots; it appears in the Old Testament of the Bible, where it’s spelled Jadon.
A traditional Celtic boy’s name meaning “ruler of the valley,” Kendall has been steadily rising as a popular name for girls. It has a fun, boyish sound, with a touch of regality, and now makes modern appearances as Kendal, Kendel, Kendyl, and more.
Most always given as a girl’s name today, Madison is wildly popular: know that yours will share her name with many others! Connoting Madison Avenue classy, but with a fun, easy feel—Maddie’s the go-to nickname with this one—this über-trendy name would be pushing “overdone” if it didn’t have such staying power.
In its old-school incarnations, Mason was a straight-forward occupational name meaning “stoneworker.” Today, it’s a hit among celebs and non-celebs alike; clocking in at number two on 2011′s most popular boys’ names list, Mason is a choice contemporary pick for baby boys and girls, and is appearing in an endless array of spellings (Masyn, Macin, Maysen…).
Another mostly girl’s name, Piper’s meaning is self-evident (“pipe or flute player”). Recently popularized by actresses Piper Laurie and Piper Perabo, its usage has been steadily rising since the late 1990s. It’s no secret as to why; contemporary and current, this name also feels classic and cute.
Historically a boy’s name spelled Westin, and meaning “western town,” Weston re-emerged in the early 2000s as a popular name for babies of both genders, and with a variety of spellings: Westyn, Westan and Westinn among them.
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