NNS22: Boys Opening RoundEvery year, usually in May, the US Social Security Administration reveals the 1000 most popular names for boys and girls born during the prior calendar year.

Most years, the Top Ten doesn’t change much. We behave as if Khaleesi and Harry Potter hit #1 on the charts, but really? The most popular names shift only slightly over time. Noah, William, Oliver; Olivia, Sophia, Evelyn. Nothing shocking.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing interesting. Far from it!

Every year, a few dozen names debut in the US Top 1000, or return after an absence. And these names? Fascinating.

Sometimes they do reflect pop culture trends. (Hello, Neo.) Other times, they represent sounds and styles that we love. (Elio!) Often it’s a little bit of both.

But once they make the list, names tend to get more attention. And that means they often rise in use even more.

The May 2022 list included 41 new and returning names for boys. (That’s textbook! In recent years, the average has been 41.75 new/returning names annually.)

Every summer, I choose a handful of those newcomers. And you vote your way through them, bracket-style, until we’ve chosen the very best of the new boy names 2022.

How do you vote? Best can mean the names you can see catching on in the coming years. Or it might mean the names you like best for a future child of your own.

There are no hard-and-fast rules. Except, of course, please do vote! Because it’s your input that determines the next winner.

This year’s winner will join:

  • Wilder (2016)
  • Shepherd (2017)
  • Wells (2018)
  • Archie (2019)
  • Callahan (2020)
  • Leif (2021)

Which name will join them? You decide!


KYLIAN (#572) v BENEDICT (#991)


AMIRI (#757) v CASSIAN (#969)


EVANDER (#767) v GRANGER (#953)


TURNER (#942) v BOWIE (#950)

Thank you for voting!

Voting remains open through Wednesday, July 6th. Check back on Saturday, July 9th to see which of your favorite names advances – and, of course, to vote in the next round!

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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