Whilst we’ve previously reported on the top 100 baby names for 2017, as the year draws to a close, predictions for the most popular baby names for next year are coming in.
In 2017, the Top 10 names for both boys and girls stayed almost the same as the year before, with only three new entries across the board (Noah, Mia and Ella). Amelia and Oliver both kept their spots at number one and are rapidly becoming the maternity yoga pants of baby names: comfy and really easy to live with. In fact, Amelia has been ranked number one for a whopping six years now, and Oliver’s been there since 2013. Right behind them are names that have stayed in the Top 10 pretty consistently: Jack, Harry, Olivia and Emily.
Notice a theme there in the list for girls? Think they all sound a little similar? Look: there are eight names that sound strikingly alike: Amelia, Olivia, Isla, Ava, Ella, Jessica, Isabella and Mia. Even the two remaining names sound the same as each other: Emily and Poppy. Clearly we enjoy familiarity. (And names that end in - a.)
Looking ahead to 2018, the trend for choosing comfortably familiar names, with or without a twist, is definitely going to continue. However, there’s more out there than that! Take a look at some of the other latest and greatest ways to name a baby:
Top gender neutral baby names for 2018:
These are definitely hot stuff right now and are predicted to be big winners in the coming years as parents move toward more fluid notions of gender and identity.
- Max: A latin baby name meaning greatest. It's been popular for boys for years, but is now being used as a girl's name too.
- Alex: A cute, gender neutral baby name meaning 'defending men'.
- Charlie: Meaning 'free man', for years this has been a diminutive of Charles or Charlotte.
- Andy: Traditionally a shorterned version of the name 'Andrew', this is now becoming a more popular choice for both sexes.
The top boys names for 2018:
- Oliver: Latin, meaning ‘olive tree’. The UK’s most popular boys’ name in several recent years.
- Reggie: Sometimes, names that look or sound similar hang around for a while. In 2018, names that start with R- or Th- will be big winners for boys. We love Reggie, a cute name meaning 'counsel power'.
- Reuben: A Hebrew name meaning 'behold a son', another name set to be popular in 2018.
- Theo: A cool-sounding baby name meaning 'divine gift'. Names beginning with Th- are set to be popular for boys this year and this is a cute choice.
- Thiago: Pronounced 'chee-AH-go', this unique baby name means 'supplanter' and is set to rise this year.
- George: Greek, meaning ‘farmer’. Chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their son, born in July 2013, and third in line to the throne. If you're looking for something a little different, how about Giorgio?
- Jack: From the Hebrew John, meaning ‘God is gracious’. The UK’s most popular boys’ name for 14 years until fairly recently.
- Harry: Old German, form of Henry, meaning ‘home ruler’. Famous Harrys include Prince Harry, Harry Potter and One Direction singer Harry Styles.
- Noah: Hebrew, meaning ‘peaceful’. In the Bible, Noah is said to have built an ark to save two of every animal from a flood that covered the earth
- Jacob: Hebrew, meaning ‘he who supplants’. Ancestor of the tribes of Israel in the Bible. Cute nicknames include Jacob, Jaco and Jago.
- William: Old German, meaning ‘strong- willed warrior’. Famous Williams include Prince William, playwright William Shakespeare and rapper Will.i.am.
- Charlie: Old German, meaning ‘free man’. Popularised by Charles the Great (a.k.a. Charlemagne). Prince Charles is heir to the throne of England. Charles Dickens was one of the finest and most enduringly popular English authors.
- Henry: Old German, meaning ‘home ruler’. There have been eight Kings of England named Henry, and in the unlikely event that Prince Harry found himself on the throne he would become Henry IX.
- Muhammed: Arabic, meaning ‘praiseworthy’. Acknowledged as the prophet and founder of Islam. The name is extremely popular in large parts of the world. British runner Mo Farah is the Olympic and world record holder for the 5,000 and 10,000 metres.
- Tom: As we approach 2020 (can you believe it?), keep an eye out for names from the Roaring Twenties. Tom looks set to have a revival, a cute traditional name meaning 'twin'.
- Llyod: First world war names look set to be popular again this year, so how about this cute baby name meaning 'grey'.
- Finn: A lovely Irish baby name meaning 'fair or white' predicted to rise this year.
- Atticus: Meaning 'from Attica' this is a trendy name, popular with To Kill a Mockingbird fans.
- Arthur: Whilst there looks to be a spike in popularity for names that aren't technically human, such as Bear, if you're still looking for something more traditional, this cute baby name, meaning 'bear' has been around for years.
- Logan: Meaning 'small hollow' this traditional Scottish name is growing in popularity.
The top girls names for 2018:
- Amelia: a Greek name, meaning ‘industrious’. Famous Amelias include flying legend Amelia Earhart, and two Princess Amelias of Great Britain during the eighteenth century.
- Emily: a Latin name, meaning ‘rival, eager’. Emily Dickinson is one of the most well- known poets of the nineteenth century. A very popular name choice in recent years.
- Olivia: a Latin name, meaning ‘olive’. Olivia has featured in the Top 10 names for girls in England for several years now, including at number one.
- Ella: a German baby name, meaning ‘completely’. Now becoming a name in its own right, Ella is traditionally a shortened version of Eleanor, Elizabeth and Ellen.
- Ava: Latin, meaning ‘like a bird’. Famous Avas' include Ava Gardner was an iconic American actress during the 1950s–1970s.
- Meghan: With a royal wedding on the cards, this beautiful name is predicted to grow in popularity. Originally a Welsh name meaning 'pearl'.
- Mia: An Italian baby name meaning 'mine', set to rise in popularity this year.
- Jessica: a Hebrew baby name, meaning ‘He sees’. A popular name over several decades, cute alternatives include Jess and Jessie.
- Isla: a Scotish Gaelic baby name meaning 'river', set to be popular in 2018.
- Isabella: 2018 is set to be a royal year, with a wedding and royal baby number three on the way. Isabella, a Spanish name meaning 'pledged to God' definitely has the royal seal of approval.
- Ada: a name with plenty of feminist connotations set to be popular in 2018, meaning 'noble'.
- Matilda: In 2018, names that end in - a or have a - v sound will dominate for girls. One of our favourite, more unique baby names following this pattern is Matilda, meaning 'battle mighty'. Cute nicknames include Tilly.
- Evelyn: Following the trend mentioned above, Evelyn looks set to be popular. A beautiful name meaning 'wished for child'.
- Ivy: A botanical baby name that has risen in popularity since being chosen by Beyonce for her first child, Blue-Ivy.
- Emmeline: Another feminist name set to rise this year, an old French name meaning 'work'.
- Nora: Following the trend in baby names ending with an -a sound, this cute choice is a traditional Irish baby name meaning 'light'.
- Aurora: A more unique Latin baby name, meaning 'dawn'.
- Victoria: Another royal baby name to celebrate a royal year, with an elegant feel to it, this traditional name means 'victory'.
- Emma: Never far from the top of most popular baby name lists, Emma does not seem to be going anywhere yet. A traditional name meaning 'universal'.
- Luna: A Latin baby name meaning 'moon' that has been rising in popularity over the past few years. A cute choice for Harry Potter fans!
Still looking for the perfect baby name? Try our baby name generator!
Read next: The do's and dont's of picking the perfect baby name
Don't: Pick the name of an exNo matter how lovely you think your ex’s name is, it would take a very understanding partner to allow you to pick it for your kid. Just steer clear of any names you know will cause problems to other people, paying particular attention to your partner and loved ones.
Do: Fall in love with the name(s) you’ve chosenPick a name that makes you smile, because if you love it, hopefully your child will too – and won’t grow up resenting and hating you with all their being. (That was a little joke.) Relax and get picking.
Do: Try it outWhile you’re pregnant, talk to your baby using their name to see if they respond. You can also try writing names down, practising a few signatures, or saying one out loud enough times to see if you ever get sick of it. Don’t forget to say it aloud with the surname attached to make sure it feels right.
Don’t: Listen to other peopleSometimes grandparents and friends offer baby- naming advice, which may not always be welcome. If you’ve got your heart set on a name, keep it a secret until after the birth to avoid any unnecessary criticism. Trust your own instincts – they’ll come in handy for parenting in general.
Do: Find a name with meaningChoosing a name that is rooted in history or folklore might just inspire your little one to be as great as their namesake. There’s research to suggest this inspirational rub- off effect has real legs, so even if you pick a name out of the air, consider making something up to tell them later!
Do: Have funPicking out names should be fun. Laughing at the ones you’d never dream of choosing can really help you to narrow it down to the ones you would. There’s time later for thinking through whether bizarre names will actually give your little one a headache when they have to spell it every time they say it. See page 48 for more on this.
Do: Expand your mindDon’t rule out the weird ones just yet! Be brave and bold if that’s what you want, but just in case you get it massively wrong (definitely a possibility, let’s face it) you might want to give them a simpler middle name so they can jump ship to that instead.
Do: Try and agreeThis is probably the trickiest problem to solve. Research a number of names that you and your partner both like, and make a point of discussing them long before the baby is due. Arguing about it in the delivery room isn’t a great first impression to give to junior.
Do: CompromisePick two middle names so that you each have one in there that you love, or you could each have five names that you’re allowed to veto – but no more. Whichever way you go about it, it’s important that you eventually agree on the name you are giving your baby, even if it means losing out on the one you’ve had your heart set on for a while.
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