The Social Security Administration recently released its annual list of top baby names—and while we didn't see too many major changes at the very top of the baby name chart this year (Noah and Emma still reign supreme!), what's always super-interesting is seeing which monikers have moved up the ranks. Check out 2015's top climbers and find out which baby names may be poised to become the next powerhouses.
Perhaps a few of us are having romantic memories of a honeymoon in paradise? Baby names with South Pacific flavor were among the biggest climbers, with JWoww's invention Meilani rising more than 1,000 places, Kalani (which means heavenly) up more than 200 places, Leilani jumping up 30 spots, and Kai up 32 on the boys' side and 93 on the girls'. And Gilmore Girls' lead mama's moniker Lorelai feels like it belongs in this category—though the name is actually of German origin. It rose 168 spots.
Harper (as in Harper Lee) may be getting headlines for finally making it into the top 10, but there are some other cool up-and-coming author-related names—Zelda (as in Zelda Fitzgerald), Wilder (as in Thornton Wilder), Huxley (as in Aldous Huxley), and Langston (as in Langston Hughes). Shakespearean character names also appear toward the top of the rising-star list for girls: Ophelia, Cordelia, and Raegan all made big strides in popularity.
People are venturing beyond the basic London/Brooklyn place-inspired name picks. Locales like Cairo, Denver, Holland, Phoenix, Zaire, Vienna, and Memphis are now on the map as baby names, too.
For the past few years, people have been mining old-school mythology for great names—especially for guys. This year, the top climbers included Atlas, Achilles, Titan, and Apollo. On the girls' side of the aisle, Freya, a Norse goddess, continues her climb toward the top. And because Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and his wife named their baby son Odin, another old Norse mythology name, it may join this list, too.
Rock on! Lennon's still on the rise for both boys and girls, while Hendrix, Jagger, and Axl are all making big strides for the guys. And while she's slightly less rock 'n' roll, singing powerhouse Adele has given her name extra appeal—it rose more than 100 places this year.
Nature-themed names have been an ongoing trend, from top-ranked florals like Rose and Lily to the recently cool Hazel, propelled toward the top by the bestselling novel/movie The Fault in Our Stars. This year's trending nature names include Juniper, Magnolia, Meadow, and Rosemary for girls, while River's on the rise for both sexes.
This year's highest risers—especially for girls—are A names from all around the world. The biggest climber overall, up more than 2,000 spots, was Alaia, a Basque name that means joyful, while Aitana (a Spanish place name), Aislinn (an Irish name that means dream), and Aviana (a Latin name that means bird) all climbed hundreds of spots. And I'm going to guess that there's going to be a girl whose name sounds like Aria in every kindergarten class in a year or two. Variant spellings of Aria (including Arya, Ariyah, Ariah, and Ariya) are all among the biggest risers. For boys, Aarush (a Hindi name that means ray of sunshine) and Avi (a Hebrew name that means father) are also heating up.
This year's biggest climber for boys' names, Riann, became red hot after a couple of Bollywood stars picked it for their son. Though it seems a bit more like a name that could be in the girls' column, this variant spelling of the traditionally Irish name Ryan shares its meaning, "little king." On the girls' side, Briar jumped nearly 600 places, spurred upward by celeb couple Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson naming their daughter Briar Rose—just like Rachel's favorite Disney princess Sleeping Beauty, of course.
Lisa Milbrand is an editor and writer who would bet money on Dash and variations of Finn/Finley becoming trendy for boys based on their impressive chart jumps.