40 Modern Baby Names for Parents Who Want to Stay Ahead of the Trends

Kelly Bryant | Dec 4, 2019 Pregnancy
40 Modern Baby Names for  Parents Who Want to Stay Ahead of the Trends

baby girl names
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Choosing the perfect name for a baby is one of the most exciting moments of pregnancy. As a parent, it's the chance to either embrace a name that has long felt meaningful, or the opportunity to set the child on the path to becoming a lifelong trendsetter with something beautifully distinctive. Whichever way one decides to go, classic or modern, picking the moniker that will carry the child through life is a decision that carries a lot of weight with parents. What if, after giving birth, the name doesn't feel like the right fit? Or there's the regret that instead of choosing something more unconventional, mom and dad feel like they may have settled for something that wouldn't raise eyebrows among judgmental family members.

Each and every year a list of the most popular baby names in the United States is released and, generally speaking, the same five or six hold onto spots in the top 10 for years at a time. After all, it takes more than 365 days for trends to completely change. Many parents want to stay ahead of the curve and choose something more modern (so that the kiddo doesn't share the same first name as three other kids in the class at school). For those moms and dads, behold 40 modern baby names that have yet to take over playgrounds across the country. From the beautiful to the quirky to the downright unusual, there are a bevy of options when choosing what to call a child that will check all of the boxes for what a parent is looking for in a name. And, no, pulling a Gwyneth Paltrow and naming a kid after a favorite fruit isn't necessary in terms of finding something distinctive for him or her. Just take a look.

  • RENZO

    1

    Lorenzo experienced a surge in popularity within the past decade, but we're loving the more modern take of Renzo for a boy. Still strong and romantic, Ren makes for an easy nickname.

  • THIERRY

    2

    With French origins, Thierry evokes feelings of strength and power. It's also a decidedly designer name, for the baby who was born stylish.

  • ZEPHYR

    3

    Zephyr, typically a boys' name, is a take on the Greek word Zephyros, which means west wind. It's cool, it's sleek, and for parents looking for a name that starts with a z, this should definitely be kept in the running.

  • SLATE

    4

    Slate is a strong unisex name option for those looking for something gender-neutral. Teddi Mellencamp of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills named her daughter Slate, but it has yet to infiltrate the masses.

  • EXTON

    5

    A little bit edgy and a little bit preppy, Exton is the perfect boy name for parents who want a mix of both. It's a modern baby name at its finest.

  • ODGER

    6

    Odger is one of those names that sounds old-fashioned but has a modern ring to it. Great for parents with old souls who long for something unusual.

  • EERO

    7

    With a Finnish origin this name means "eternal ruler," Eero just sounds like the name of a dude who is calm, cool, and collected. It's also the name of a famous Finnish-American architect.

  • LENNOX

    8

    Another name that has stylish undertones, Lennox could easily be shortened to Lenny or even Nox. It's smooth and strong.

  • AUDIO

    9

    Whether the parents are true music aficionados or simply looking for a name that pretty much ensures their kid grows up to be a rock star, Audio is where it's at.

  • ZAYDEN

    10

    For those who loved the names Jayden or Aiden before they became hugely popular, Zayden is a great way to put a spin on either one.

  • BELLAMY

    11

    Thought of more as a traditional last name, Bellamy makes for one adorably modern baby girl name. Even better? The name is said to mean "good friend."

  • ORLY

    12

    A beautiful name on its own, after knowing the meaning of Orly, it will be instant love. It means, "You are my light."

  • PIXIE

    13

    Whimsical and girly, Pixie is a cheerful modern option for a baby girl. It has Irish origins meaning fairy.

  • ZANDA

    14

    Considered a form of Alexandra, Zanda means "man's defender." It's strong moniker for a girl who owns her power.

  • CHI

    15

    Meaning "younger energy," Chi feels like a force to be reckoned with. This is one baby girl name that's full of life.

  • WREN

    16

    Depending on who one asks, Wren can either mean "small bird" or "ruler." Either way, it's a sweet name for a girl whose parents want something a little different.

  • ASPEN

    17

    For the family that loves the outdoors and nature, Aspen evokes images of crisp, clean air and beauty for miles. It's the modern take on city names turned baby names.

  • LAKE

    18

    Once again capitalizing on Mother Nature, Lake has an elegant beauty to it perfect for a baby girl. Hopefully she'll be as calm and serene as the body of water she's named after.

  • EVIE

    19

    An updated take on the classic Eve. And Evie means "life," which is kind of perfect for a newborn, isn't it?

  • FREYA

    20

    With historical roots (Freya is derived from the Norse goddess of love and fertility), this name is experiencing a modern resurgence. And it's almost impossible to find a more feminine name than one that means "lady."

  • ATLAS

    21

    Encourage the LO to travel the world with a name that evokes feelings of adventure and faraway places. Atlas has Greek origins which mean "to carry."

  • SOLARIS

    22

    Baby boy may be the sunshine of his parents' life, but the name Solaris is quite literally "of the sun." Full of warmth and strength, it can be broken down into a few different nicknames to shorten.

  • BREES

    23

    The parents don't have to be sports fanatics or fans of famed football player Drew Brees to appreciate this adorable baby name. It's light and fun (just like a true breeze) but still strong of character.

  • KAIUS

    24

    Kai and Kaia have had their moments in the sun in terms of baby names, but this take on those has an almost royal quality to it. And, of course, in a pinch, it could be shortened from Kaius to Kai.

  • SOREN

    25

    The Danish origin of Soren means "stern," but we hardly think that will apply to the cute little bundle. It's also considered a derivative of the family name Severus (which, frankly, just makes us think of Harry Potter.)

  • CASPIAN

    26

    If The Chronicles of Narnia was a big part of the parents' childhood, Caspian has to be a name consideration for the little guy. Even though it might feel like a throwback to the story's Prince Caspian, it's having a modern-day renaissance.

  • DRIES

    27

    According to Our Baby Name, fewer than five boys in the U.S. were named Dries in 2017, certainly putting the name ahead of the curve. Generally used as a boy's name (although occasionally one will come across a girl Dries), it means "strongly, manly, brave."

  • QUILL

    28

    Perhaps mom and dad are authors, or they just have a love of Guardians of the Galaxy's Peter Quill, but this name holds some vintage feels while also sounding totally modern.

  • MILLER

    29

    Sometimes traditional last names make perfectly modern first names. Miller hasn't been overdone but also fits right in with some of the classic names that have experienced newfound popularity of late.

  • REMINGTON

    30

    As a grownup, Remington sounds like the name of someone who is all business. As a kid, a cute nickname like Remy does the trick.

  • MONROE

    31

    One more last name that is becoming popular as a first, Monroe makes us think of that famous screen siren Marilyn, but it makes for a sweet moniker for a little girl. And while a few celebs have already picked up on Monroe for their own kiddos, it hasn't gone full mainstream yet, keeping parents ahead of the trends.

  • HARLEY

    32

    DC Comics aficionados have been acquainted with the name Harley for a girl for some time, but the name is picking up steam outside of that universe. Whether parents choose the traditional spelling or make a little more flowery by spelling the name Harleigh, it's a sassy pick.

  • SHAILEE

    33

    For something different from the more common Riley and Kylie, Shailee makes for a pretty and more modern upgrade. Pronounced Shy-lee, Shai makes for a great little nickname.

  • CLOVER

    34

    When a girl's name is Clover, how can she not be happy? This sweet, whimsical name is perfect for nature lovers or those who just want something a little different.

  • EMBER

    35

    Looking for a girl's name that starts with an E but trying to avoid the super popular Emily and Emma? Give Ember a try (and, yes, she can still be called Emmy or Em for short).

  • ZEN

    36

    If the goal is to keep baby emotionally grounded, it's hard to find a more calming name than Zen. Parents find it edgy and modern, in a totally chill way.

  • CHARLEY

    37

    One easy way to modernize a traditional name is to spin it towards the opposite sex. Moms and dads are going gaga over Charley as a potential name for a baby girl and, admittedly, it's pretty darn cute.

  • FREESIA

    38

    Over the years certain types of flower have dominated baby names -- like Rose and Daisy. Today, modern parents are opting to use names that feel a little edgier, like Freesia and Juniper.

  • RIVER

    39

    When Kelly Clarkson named her daughter River, it was more than just her fans who took notice. The name feels both powerful and majestic.

  • MADIGAN

    40

    Move over Madison and Madeline, Madigan is coming for top honors among baby names. It follows along with the increasing trend of using last names as first names but still delivers cute nickname options like Maddie.

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