-- Names that make your mom go “hmmm” are likely the names of one -- or more -- of your child’s playmates, according to Nameberry.com.
The popular baby name site has come up with a list of names that were all but non-existent in 1985, but today all appear in the top 500.
“The list of U.S. Most Popular Names has come to include more ethnically distinct names, words freshly morphed into names, and newly-minted monikers,” said Pamela Redmond Satran, baby naming expert and site founder.
“Aniyah is one of those names that resembles a lot of other names, from Anya to Amaya to Aliyah, but is actually a recent invention. Used for zero babies in 1985, today it stands at Number 226,” Satran said. “Nearly 1,500 baby girls were named Aniyah in the U.S. in 2014, with spelling Aniya given to another 500-plus. The name may be thought of as a contemporary spin on Ann.”
“Isn’t Lyric the words from a song? Sure, Mom, but now it’s also a popular baby name for both genders, ranking Number 271 on the girls’ list and Number 860 on the boys,’” according to Nameberry. In 2014, more than 1,200 girls were named Lyric in the U.S. along with more than 250 boys. In 1985, that count was 10 girls and zero boys.
“If Mom was an astronomer or a history buff, she might have heard this celestial name. Nova, which means new and is the word for a star that increases in brightness, was used from the late 19th century until the 1930s, when it disappeared only to reemerge in 2011,” Satran said. Since then it’s soared all the way to Number 287, used for more than 1,100 baby girls last year. In 1985, that number was 38.
“Many names from South of the Border have become more widely used in the U.S., and this is one of the freshest,” Satran said. Meaning “you will always be loved” in the Aztec language, according to Nameberry, it may also be related to the goddess name Yara, popular in Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking countries. Yaretzi, which didn’t appear at all on the 1985 roster, was given to nearly 900 baby girls in the U.S. last year, placing it at Number 372. It’s Number 58 in Mexico.
“Unless your mom has been watching a lot of Disney Channel lately, she may not recognize this African name, popularized by a character on the show 'Jessie,'” Satran said. Zuri was used for 660 girls in 2014 and ranked Number 475, but did not appear at all on the 1985 extended roster. The name is Kiswahili for good or beautiful, according to Nameberry.
“To your Mom, Ryker may be the island where they keep prisoners in New York City, but it’s also a very popular baby name, given to more than 2,500 boys last year and ranking at Number 151,” Satran said. In Mom’s baby-naming days, only eight baby boys were named Ryker.
“Unless Mom is a big world soccer fan, she may not have heard of the name Iker, hugely popular thanks to Iker Casillas, who plays for both Portuguese and Spanish teams,” Satran said. The name is Basque for visitation and is pronounced EE-keer. It was given to 1,787 baby boys in the U.S. last year, ranking at Number 215, and zero in 1985.
Tyler and Kyle were both already a top 100 names in the 1980s, inspiring lots of variations, including combo-name Kyler, given to 64 baby boys in 1985. Today, though, that number has exploded, with over 1,200 babies named Kyler in the U.S. last year, ranking the name at Number 288, according to Nameberry. Kyler is a Dutch occupational name that means “archer” -- another trendy appellation that may not be on Mom’s scope.
“Jason was a Top 10 name in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but in 1985 Kason had barely been stirred to life, given to only 15 boys that year,” Satran said. Today, that number has soared to nearly 900, with Kason -- a hybrid of Jason and Case and Karson, according to Nameberry -- ranking at Number 365.
“As a Biblical name, Adriel was used quietly in 1985, when it was given to 42 boys and 14 girls. Today that’s increased to nearly 700 boys and 50 girls, with another 50 baby girls named Adrielle,” Satran said. Adriel ranks Number 433 on the boys’ list. “If Mom was familiar with Adriel from the Bible, she may not have considered the name because of its tragic history, though other once-unseemly Biblical names such as Delilah and Cain are more acceptable now.”
Of course Mom knows Jack, and she’s also familiar with Jackson, and she may even know that Jackson is sometimes styled as Jaxon or Jaxson. But Jaxton? Probably not, given that it doesn’t appear at all on the 1985 extended roster. A hybrid of Jackson and Braxton, Jaxton was given to 640 baby boys last year placing it at Number 457.