Best new baby names 2018Drumroll, please! These are my picks for the best new baby names 2018: my favorites from the names debuting or returning to the US Top 1000 in May 2018.

You can read the full lists here:

All told, 37 boy names and 43 girl names debuted or returned in 2018. These are my favorites for each.

Why eight? Eight names will compete in the annual Appellation Mountain New Names Showdown this July. Past contests turned out like this:

Now, my picks for this year:

Best New Baby Names 2018: Girls

Amora – Amora succeeds on sound and meaning. It brings to mind the Latin amor – love, as well as the Portuguese word for blackberry. Amora debuted at #698.

Emerald – A gemstone name that’s peeked into the US Top 1000 before, Emerald also benefits from our love of Em names. Emerald returned at #979.

Luella – Take Luna, Lucy, and Louisa; add all of those lovely -ella ending names, and retro Luella was due for a comeback. Luella returned for the first time since 1955 at #905.

Marlowe – Sleek Marlowe picks up on Harper and Monroe, a surname with a hint of glam. Marlowe debuted at #981.

Octavia – Ancient Octavia was boosted by our love of a sci-fi series set circa 2162, as well as the continuing popularity of Olivia and so many rising O-names. Octavia returned at #593.

Saanvi – An intriguing goddess name that’s teetered on the edge of the Top 1000 for years, and is back again. Saanvi returned at #991.

Yara – A butterfly name with ties to Brazilian legend, Game of Thrones, and young actor Yara Shahidi of Black-ish and Grown-ish fame, Yara feels unstoppable. Yara debuted at #987.

These seven names will advance to the New Names Showdown in July. But wait, seven?

Best New Baby Names 2018: You Pick the Eighth Girl Name!

New this year: you pick the eighth of the best new baby names 2018! I couldn’t decide between these five:

Dream – A Kardashian word name that fits right in with bold, modern word name choices. Dream debuted at #828.

Florence – A tailored, vintage charmer with ties to Italy, and a heroic, pioneering figure. Florence returned at #980 for the first time since 1981.

India – A gorgeous place name with a long history of use, India has danced in and out of the rankings, but returned at #890.

Opal – Another gemstone choice like Emerald, buoyed by the letter O. It makes a great alternative to Pearl. It returned to the Top 1000 for the first time since 1960, and stands at #859.

Samira – A glittering, sophisticated name with Arabic roots and an appealing sound. It’s peeked into the rankings before, and returned at #992.

Which name belongs in the New Names Showdown 2018? Your vote decides!

Best New Baby Names 2018: Boys

Caspian – Part-place name, part-literary powerhouse, Caspian fits in nicely with Julian and Adrian, but feels slightly more daring. The name debuted at #868.

Gianluca – A traditional Italian smoosh of Gianni and Luca – John-Luke – Gianluca joined Giovanni and Matteo in the Top 1000, debuting at #986.

Koa – A Hawaiian nature name I’ve been watching for years, this Noah-Kai successor finally debuted at #939.

Ledger – A Hollywood surname name with rugged appeal, Ledger debuted at #973.

Reign – Regal Reign joins the boys’ Top 1000 a year after it debuted for the girls. This Kardashian baby name now stands at #961 for boys.

Simeon – A long-overlooked Biblical boy name, Simeon is back in the Top 1000 at #974.

Wells – A preppy surname name with a built-in nature tie, Wells joins Brooks in the rankings. It debuted at #915.

These seven names will all advance to the New Names Showdown 2018 in July. But wait … we need one more!

Best New Baby Names 2018: You Pick the Eighth Boy Name!

As with the girls, I’m asking you to pick the eighth of the best new baby names 2018! I couldn’t decide between these five:

Alaric – A medieval name nicely at home in the twenty-first century, Alaric debuted at #994.

Colson – Smoother than rugged Colton, with an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tie-in (though that character is Phil Coulson), Colson debuted at #736.

Decker – A name that feels tough, but just on the right side of wearable, Decker debuted at #995.

Khari – Like Kojo and Kofi, Khari seems to have West African roots and means kingly. A stylish sound and powerful meaning put this name on the charts at #969.

Randall – A 1950s favorite, This is Us put Randall back on parents’ radar. It returned to the rankings at #960 after just a few years’ absence.

Your vote decides which name advances to the New Names Showdown 2018!


I’ll leave the polls open until Tuesday, May 29th.

What were your favorite returning or debuting names?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I’m really struck by Yara. Have a niece, Zara, so not sure could use but find it very appealing….

  2. The name Amora is really pretty, I think. It reminds me of Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy. And, of course, Caspian is such an awesome name for a boy! So those are my two favorites. 🙂