Meet the newest of the new: names that made their all-time debut in America’s baby name statistics last year. That means they were given to five or more newborn boys in a single year for the first time ever.
Over 500 fresh names made the cut this year, ranging from names of cultural celebration to names of wanton destruction. Together, they demonstrate the extraordinary breadth of naming today. Here are 17 of them.
The French word for “black,” noir in English has meant film noir, a darkly cynical genre of crime dramas. It’s also a famous men’s fragrance, Drakkar Noir. And now it’s a name, with help from the superhero Black Noir of the tv series The Boys.
In Game of Thrones, dracarys means “dragonfire.” It is a command to a dragon to brutally destroy enemies, or whole cities, with breaths of flame. Like the hit girl’s name Khaleesi, Dracarys theoretically comes from a language invented by author George R.R. Martin. It’s impossible to miss, though, that draco is also Latin for dragon.
If there is a human-world equivalent to Dracarys, Blitz could be it. German for lightning, it is a short form of blitzkrieg, “lightning war,” meaning an intense attack with aerial bombing intended to overwhelm and annihilate an enemy. The phrase “The Blitz” commonly refers to the Nazi bombing of civilian England during WWII. It is also a football term for a disruptive defensive attack.
Rapper Kodak Black adopted his stage name when he first joined Instagram, as a nod to the photographic nature of the platform. The brand name Kodak, which was synonymous with film and photo processing for generations, was invented by Kodak corporate founder George Eastman. It had no meaning; Eastman and his mother just played with anagram tiles until they found something distinctive and easy to pronounce.
The name of a biblical king, Jehoshaphat has been rare to nonexistent as a baby name across the centuries. It is most familiar as part of the oath “jumping Jehoshaphat,” an old-timey expression of astonishment that delicately sidesteps blasphemy.
Naataanii and Nataanii
Naat’áanii is a Navajo term meaning speaker or orator that is a title for a respected community leader. Nataanii Means is a Navajo and Oglala Sioux activist, as well as a hip hop artist who incorporates Native issues into his music.
Thor and Freja, take a seat. It’s time for a deeper dive into Norse mythology, to a god most often described as “obscure” or “enigmatic.” Ullr’s name apparently derives from an earlier word for glory, and he was an archer. The new interest in his name may be due to appearances in video games.
Most -r word names have a vigorous, action-oriented style. Candor is an exception, a serious-minded virtue name. In the Divergent book and movie series, Candor was one of the five virtue-centered sectors of society.
Dubai is a city and emirate, part of the United Arab Emirates. In form, it seems like an unlikely choice as a geographic baby name, but that may be part of the appeal. It’s a new addition to this era of unconventional, high-impact -i names.
-us is a hot name ending, most often seen in classical names like Titus and Atticus. Cactus gives the sound a wildly different spin, suggesting a cowboy nickname. The name Cactus Jack is associated with rapper Travis Scott.
Back in 1988, Carl Weathers starred in a film called Action Jackson. “Action” was just a nickname in the movie and made no impact on baby names. It’s a fair bet that the same title character would inspire a slew of namesakes today. The name is a natural for this age of bold and dramatic word names.
Heritage and inheritance are quietly rising as a name theme. Legacy is now a top-1000 baby name for both boys and girls, and almost a hundred girls were named Heiress last year. Heir is next in line for that throne.
The name Rockefeller has symbolized American wealth since John D. Rockefeller ruled Standard Oil in the 19th Century. Incredibly, it was never adopted as a baby name until today.
Adjective-based names tend to surprise us. Nouns dominate traditional word names, and when we hear an adjective our instinct is to find a noun for it to describe. But it’s hard to argue that this name has classic style.
This name ups the ante on the classic name Angel. An Archangel is among the holiest of beings, and names associated with archangels—Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel—are enormously popular. Yet Archangel has also been the name of multiple metal bands, and it’s easy to picture the word written in a Megadeth-style font. In fact, Archangel might be the official Most Metal Name of the Year, if it weren’t for our final entry.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is the “doom of the gods,” a cataclysmic conflict leading to the destruction of all things. And now, a name for your baby.