New Names Showdown 2016 WinnersYou’ve voted. You’ve lamented the losses of favorites. And you’ve cheered on your top picks.

Now it’s time for the big reveal of the New Names Showdown 2016 winners!

We started out with 47 new girl names and 39 new boy names, all returning to or debuting in the US Top 1000 in the new data set released in May 2016. I narrowed each list to just eight likely names. My rules? No alternate spellings of already ranked names, and no slight variations, either.

I also omitted pop culture sensations. That’s a tough call, because many of these names – Khaleesi, I’m looking at you – do rise rapidly. But it’s tough to separate the merits of the name from the success of the associated athlete/movie/reality television star/what-have-you, so I omitted those, too. (Plus Nancy does a brilliant job with her annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.)

Back to the contest.

If our crystal balls are working correctly, the two winning names will go on to climb dramatically in the rankings, as many more parents embrace them.

And the New Names Showdown 2016 winners are:

  • Wilder sailed past Huxley, with 72% of the vote! While I think both names are great, modern choices for a son with history galore, I would agree that Wilder is the name to watch most closely. After a few years of slow and steady gains, Wilder’s rise into the Top 1000 happened quickly. 132 boys were given the name in 2014; then 214 in 2015. Thanks to that stylish -r ending, and the name’s preppy hellraiser vibe, I agree – Wilder gets my vote, too!
  • Now, on to the girls’ contest. I was surprised by the two finalists! And it was very much the opposite of the boys’ final match-up. Instead of a clear winner, Arden and Lyra were neck-and-neck over the course of the week. At last, Arden pulled ahead, with 53% of the vote. Arden has enjoyed a slow and steady rise, given to 245 girls in 2014, and 300 girls last year – enough to finally put the name in the US Top 1000. And it’s a good guess, with it’s similar sounds to current favorites like Harper and Charlotte, as well as that popular letter A.

Will Wilder and Arden prove themselves fast-rising names over the coming year? Tune in around May 2017, and we’ll check our predictions!

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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1 Comment

  1. Wilder was my great-grandmother’s maiden name, and she used it as the middle name of three of her 5 sons, who turned out to be a very Wild bunch indeed. I don’t care for the connotations of the word/surname/name and would not recommend it.

    Arden reminds me of ardent: passionate, fervent, zealous, fervid, wholehearted, vehement, intense, fierce, fiery. But the connection with Shakespeare’s Arden Forest is somewhat appealing. I like Arden slightly more than Wilder.