America's Fastest-Rising Boys' Names: Feel the Force

May 12th 2017


The hottest boys' names of 2016 weren't shy. The fastest risers were all about dramatic shows of force – or The Force. Meet the names soaring up the popularity charts.

#1: Kylo
Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiered at the end of 2015, and its baby name impact reverberated through the following year. Lots of force-ful names like Rey, Finn and even Jedi saw popularity spikes. But America's biggest zero-to-60 breakout name was Kylo, as in dark side bigwig Kylo Ren.


Image:StarWars.com

This name stands as a supreme demonstration that celebrity-inspired naming today is all about style, not about homages. The name's sound couldn't be hotter, a Kai/Milo hybrid that puts a fresh coat of cool on old favorite Kyle. But, you know…

WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT. If you haven't seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, just complete the sentence above with "Kylo wasn't the most likeable character in the movie" and skip the next paragraph.

…Kylo Ren killed his own dad. And not just any dad, but Han Solo, arguably the coolest dad you could possibly have. Kylo is hardly the first villainous character to spark a baby name trend. Anakin, AKA Darth Vader, is also a rising hit. But when fathers-to-be are willing to look past patricide for the sake of fashion, you're witnessing the true power of sound.

#2: Adonis
The movie Creed was a boxing film in the Rocky lineage that focused on Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky's onetime foe Apollo Creed. Like his dad, Adonis brought the muscle and the Greek-god name flair. Back in 1976 when the original Rocky came out, that flair was too flashy for most parents. Not anymore. Adonis is a pitch-perfect choice for our new era of exalted names.

#3: Conor
Connor, with one n, is Ireland's standard spelling of this classic name. In the United States, it has lagged in third place, well behind Connor and Conner. Enter Irish mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor. With his distinctive bearded, tattooed looks, flashy style, and unquestioned fighting prowess, McGregor has shifted the spelling balance.

#4: Zayn
Singer Zayn Malik first boosted his name as a member of the boy band One Direction. When he went solo and dropped his surname, the sky was the limit. Zayn (an Arabic name) is pronounced like the fashionable cowboy name Zane, but has a much glossier and more contemporary image.

…and the rest of the top 10 fastest-rising boys' names:

#5. Bryson

#6. Arlo

#7. Mateo

#8. Bodhi

#9. Killian

#10. Maverick

 

 Read More: Caitlyn at the Crossroads: The Fastest-Falling Names of 2016

Comments

1
May 12, 2017 12:24 PM

Laura, could you review your formula for fastest-rising/falling? I just went down a rabbit-hole trying to dig it out, but all I found were references to the formula, not the formula itself.

2
May 12, 2017 2:46 PM

Sure, it's square root of the absolute change in frequency, times the percentage change

i.e.

(sqrt |2016-2015|) * (2016-2015)/2015N

For posts on the top risers and fallers, I only include name with top-1000 impact.

3
May 12, 2017 9:53 PM

I despise Bodhi. I immediately picture ridiculous, self congratulatory parents.

4
May 17, 2017 2:19 PM

50+ years ago I swore I'd name a son Aaron Maverick.  Everyone that heard the name looked at me with crossed eyes.  Now I see Maverick on the top 10 list, which blows my mind.  I knew I should have used it. Too bad my husband nixed the name all together.  I still love it.  I also love Aaron as a first name too.