31 Creative Baby Names That Didn't Exist Until Millennial Moms Came Along

Judy Dutton | Jul 23, 2020 Pregnancy
31 Creative Baby Names That Didn't Exist Until Millennial Moms Came Along
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iStock.com/pixelheadphoto

Want a gem-in-the-rough baby name that's got "cool" written all over it, but is still undiscovered enough that it hasn't been done to death? Consider these 31 names for starters. Why? Because these baby names are not only super modern, but many of them barely existed before 2000. But in recent years, these names have climbed the charts, thanks to millennial -- and soon, Gen Z -- parents who are creative and interested in finding unusual names for their little ones.

Most of these names were plucked from a list compiled by the family heritage site MooseRoots, which combed data from the Social Security Administration to find names that were given to fewer than 100 newborns before 2000 but are rising fast. Others are simply names that have caught on with millennial parents who want to diverge from classic, yawn-worthy options that have been used time and again. Basically, millennial parents can agree that their children -- born either into Gen Z (the youngest of whom are 8 right now) and Gen Alpha (which started with babies born in 2013) -- deserve names that are on the cutting edge of cool. 

Check these millennial-loved monikers.

  • CHANNING

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    The name Channing is a boys' name of English, Irish origin. Its meaning: "people of Cana or wolf cub." Its popularity is likely linked to actor Channing Tatum and former Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. 

  • SABLE

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    Anyone who watched TV in the '80s might remember a character named Sable from Dynasty. But millennial parents seem to be loving this baby girls' name, which is also an animal historically hunted for its fur. It's also the word for a warm, rich black color. Talk about a name that feels luxurious.

  • KATNISS

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    Inspired by Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, millennial parents are finding the allure in this dystopian heroine's name. It also has its roots (no pun intended) from the edible aquatic plant of the genus Sagittaria. Hunger Games fans might also consider Primrose, Posy, Rue, and Clove for girls.

  • LARK

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    This gender neutral, bird-inspired name is most often used for girls, but it can be used for boys, too. It was first recorded as a name in the 1830s, but has never appeared in the list of most popular names. One reason it might appeal to millennial parents: It was the name of the actress who played Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhees) on the classic late '80s, early '90s sitcom Saved by the Bell.

  • JAYLAH

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    Sweet, unusual, and on-trend, Jaylah just feels very millennial. That said, it's no surprise that, according to Nameberry, the variation of Jayla had one of the highest increases in popularity between 2012 and 2013. It means "to ascend."

  • VIVIENNE

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    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's daughter, Vivienne, no doubt fueled this trend when she was born in 2008. Rosie O'Donnell daughter, whom she welcomed in 2002, has the same name,. It's the cognate of the French vivien, which means "alive." What a spirited yet feminine name for a girl.

  • ARYA

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    Thanks to Games of Thrones, Arya -- the name of a scrappy, sword-wielding former princess played by Maisie Williams -- has risen meteorically as of late. It's also the name of the leading lady in the book/movie Eragon and Sanskrit for "noble." All in all, it has a lot going for it!

  • KARTER

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    Take a cool name like Carter, and make it cooler by using a K instead: Karter! Plus this moniker isn't as new as it might seem. It originates from the Middle Ages. Karter was an occupational surname for someone who transported goods in, well, a cart!

  • BRYNLEE

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    Brynlee may sound completely new but it's been big in the naming enclave of Utah for years, along with the variation Brinley. Although it means "burnt meadow," there is no denying the beauty of this name -- it's like a softer, sweeter form of Britney.

    More from CafeMom: Most Annoying Things Moms Do When Choosing a Baby Name

  • BECKETT

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    Beckett, derived from the English surname meaning "dweller near the brook," is a popular boy name among celebs, including Conan O'Brien, Melissa Etheridge, Stella McCartney, and Malcolm McDowell. In 2005, the authors of Freakonomics predicted Beckett would become one of the most popular names of 2015. As it turns out, they were right!

  • CASH

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    Kurt, Jimi, Janis -- parents have been bequeathing their kids the first names of musicians for decades. So, why not last names instead? Thus, the rise of Cash (for Johnny) after his death in 2003.

  • ARABELLA

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    The lyrical name Arabella spans centuries, from the title of an opera by Richard Strauss to a jammin' song by the Arctic Monkeys. A real life heroine is Arabella Mansfield (born Belle Aurelia), the first American woman to become a lawyer.

    More from CafeMom: 19 Surprising Scientific Facts About Naming Babies

  • JAX

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    First there was Max. Now, there is Jax! This shorter, snappier version of Jack or Jackson is shared by Jax Briggs, a character from the video game Mortal Kombat and Jax Teller from the TV series Sons of Anarchy. All in all, it's an edgy name.

  • NORAH

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    Once a nickname for longer names like Eleanora, this name has soared in popularity in recent years among millennial parents. One reason? Perhaps they've been inspired by sultry singer Norah Jones.

  • ADALYN

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    Adalyn can be seen as a diminutive of Adele or a shorter form of Madeline. Either way, millennials appear to dig ending names in -lyn. Turns out so many names can be converted to include it!

  • ISLA

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    Isla is a derivative of Islay, the name of a Scottish island. And although it rose in popularity in recent years in the UK, it's become popular in the US, too. Some celeb cred goes to Wedding Crashers actress Isla Fisher who is married to comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

    More from CafeMom: 52 Wackiest Celeb Baby Names of All Time

  • LONDYN

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    Londyn is clearly a snazzy spelling of the already popular "place name" London. It conjures up images of the capital of England. Little Londyns might grow up to one day visit the The Smoke and visit Kensington Palace where some of their most famous Gen Alpha peers (Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis) live.

  • LYLA

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    Lyla, a variation of Lila, is Arabic for "night." It is also the title of a song by Oasis. It also plays into the huge millennial parenting trend of substituting i's with y's.

  • KING

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    The grandiose option King has taken off in recent years. It means, understandably, "monarch." But aside from its royal overtones, it also honors huge history-making men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Elvis Presley.

  • ZAYDEN

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    Zayden is a totally modern, made-up name. No wonder it has become so popular! After all, it is spelled with letters popular in the post-millennium: z and y.

    More from CafeMom: 100 Totally Amazing Hipster Baby Names

  • KINGSTON

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    Kingston, a trendy "place name," also includes the word "king." So, it has a lot of majestic mojo. That may explain why Gwen Stefani picked this name for her son.

  • GAEL

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    Short for the biblical name Abigail, Gael has become a name in its own right. It's also Welsh for "wild" and conjures up images of blustery winds on high seas. Fans of Hunger Games might dig it as well (although in the popular series, it's spelled Gale). 

  • MADDOX

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    Once Angelina Jolie gave her son this once-obscure Welsh family name in 2003, Maddox climbed the charts. And for good reason. It's a strong, magnetic name!

  • RYKER

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    The surge in popularity of superhero movies brought Ryker along with it. As an enemy of the Hulk, it's a powerful name that's hard to beat. Trekkie fans may also be reminded of Commander William T. Riker of the starship Enterprise.

    More from CafeMom: 25 Names Guys Would Give Their Babies if Their Wives Weren't Involved

  • BRANTLEY

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    Brantley is an English surname meaning "fire." Talk about a hot first name! It's also the name of a Michael J. Fox character in the film The Secret to My Success and brings to mind country music singer Brantley Gilbert.

  • PAISLEY

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    Apparently, Paisley is no longer just a fancy teardrop pattern on a duvet or shirt. It's also a big name, particularly in the south. Fans of country singer Brad Paisley might gravitate to it.

  • KHLOE

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    Khloe -- an offbeat variation of Chloe -- rose to fame thanks to the same-named Kardashian sister. Given the family's penchant for names that start with "K," it's no wonder Kris Jenner chose to switch things up. And now, millennial parents are forgoing the "C" for the "K" too.

    More from CafeMom: 20 Roaring '20s Names Making a Comeback

  • MILA

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    Mila is a Russian name meaning "gracious" or "dear." It comes with some stunning celeb appeal. Thanks, Mila Kunis and Mila Jovovich! 

  • NEVAEH

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    Nevaeh rose to popularity out of nowhere in 2001. Wanna guess why? It's "heaven" backwards -- like a secret message for a beloved child.

  • BENTLEY

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    Yup, Bentley is a luxe British car ... It is also a popular name for boys these days. And Teen Mom fans will know that Maci Bookout gave this name to her son, too.

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