Class Superlatives for the Baby Names of 2017

May 31st 2018

We've met this year's new class of baby names. Now it's time to tip our caps to some of the group's standouts, from the longest names to the most popular initials and, of course, the names "most likely to succeed." Every name below was given to at least five American boys or girls last year.

Longest: If you count doubled-up combo names, this year's longest names are ChristopherJames for boys and SarahElizabeth for girls. If not, five Yoruba names tie for the lead: 14-lettered Oluwafifehanmi, Oluwafunmilayo and Oluwadunmininu for girls, Oluwatimilehin and Oluwatimileyin for boys. The Oluwa name element refers to God in Yoruba.

Highest Debut: The top brand-new names that never before registered in American name stats are Camreigh, given to 91 girls, and Asahd, 58 boys.

Highest Scrabble Value: Jazzmyne adds up to 38 points for girls, Krzysztof to 37 for boys. But...there is only one Z in a Scrabble set, meaning one Z in each name would have to be replaced by a blank, lopping off 10 points. So a Scrabble stickler might give the crown to 32-point Maryelizabeth.

Loftiest: God, Yahweh, and Almighty for boys.

Top Initials: J is the most popular initial for this year's boys, led by James and Jacob (which etymology buffs might recognize as root twins—forms of Yaakov.) A is tops for girls, led by Ava and Amelia, and is the overall champion.

First in the Alphabet: Aaban for boys, Aabriella for girls.

Last in the Alphabet: Zyva for girls, Zyrus for boys.

Most Consonant-Dense: A multiway tie heavy on word and surname-based names, including girls' names like Rhythm, Spring, McCall and Psalms and boys' names like Dwight, Brahms, Branch and Knash.

Loudest: Clash, Thunder, Riot.

Quietest: Whisper, Serene, Shy.

Most Likely to Succeed: Based on usage trajectory and sound/style trends, these names at various levels of popularity are poised to rise.

Currently outside the top 100: Isla (F), Rowan (M)

Outside the top 500: Emberly (F), Wilder (M)

Outside the top 1,000: Flora (F), Merritt (M)


Read More: 33 Brand New Out-of-this-World Baby Names




May 31, 2018 3:54 PM

Were the loudest names given to boys and the quietest names given to girls, by any chance?

May 31, 2018 7:04 PM

I'd hazard a guess that they were, just looking at the style of the names. Which is an interesting--and distinctly unfair--line parents are drawing.

May 31, 2018 8:42 PM

@Karyn, I deliberately left the gender labels off those names because it's a big and complicated issue, and I didn't think I could do it justice in a sentence. It does mostly break down to loud=boys and quiet=girls, but Riot is a unisex exception. Look for a full column on this topic down the road!


May 31, 2018 11:15 PM

I look forward to it!

Sorry for specifically asking about the thing you were trying to avoid :D

June 1, 2018 7:43 AM

I had friends who were planning to name their daughter Whisper. They had a boy instead. Both parents are unusually tall (about 5'11" and 6'5"), so thought it an especially bold choice since there was little chance of this particular girl Whisper of going unnoticed.

By Amy3
June 1, 2018 1:16 PM

What do I love about this? The fact that you actually take the time to be accurate about Scrabble values of different names, deducting 10 points from double-Z names since there is only one Z tile! Your attention to detail is stunning. 

By JayF
June 6, 2018 11:35 AM

I used to read Regency romance novels and they often referred to a woman whose nickname was Silence, largely because she was a big gossip! I thought that was a great name.

Like calling a big guy Tiny. I think Whisper, Shy, etc. would be interesting real baby name choices. Do names that are an actual quality really bring out that quality in a person or are they more likely to rebel? So, if you name your daughter Rebel is she more likely to embrace it or to act against it? And is it the verb form or the noun because that totally changes the pronunciation...

Shy? Could that have been because of Ch- or Sh- names that got shortened? Like how people name their kids Ty? Is Shy a shortened form of Cheyenne or Shylock and they just use part of it? Or was it really chosen because of the meaning? Not that a list of names tells us intent...

(Not that anyone would name their kid Shylock, necessarily.)