The Cool Baby Names of 2023, According to TikTok’s Professional Consultants

“I've always had an aggressive interest in cool baby names,” says Jessie Paquette, a professional baby-name consultant whose Dream Baby Names TikTok account dedicated to the subject has more than 5 million likes. “I was not pleased with how my mom named me. Jessica just did not seem like enough. You put in a lot of work to have me and then you named me Jessica?”

You can't blame her for wanting something more unique. From 1985 to 1990, Jessica was the most popular name for baby girls born in the United States—at its peak, in 1987, more than 55,000 children were given the moniker. Today it languishes in the mid-600s behind Anne, Madelyn, and Trixie.

It wasn't unusual for millennials to be one of several Jessicas, Ashleys, or Jennifers in their class. (Remember when it seemed like everyone on The Bachelor was named Lauren?) Which is perhaps one reason, as the generation becomes parents themselves, the norm has become seeking names for their little ones that are as unique as possible over more traditional names. A whole new industry has even arrived to meet this demand: baby-name consultancy.

Unsurprisingly, this new field can be tied directly back to TikTok. All but one of the consultants I spoke with started out by sharing baby-name trends and suggestions on the social media app before turning it into a business. “I know, everyone's like, ‘That’s a thing?'” says Jenn Ficarra, whose TikTok account for her consulting company, Nom De Bloom Naming, has more than 22,000 followers, with a laugh. “And I'm like, ‘Yes, it is!’”

The pricing and packages offered among these professional baby-name consultants differ, but the gist is the same: Parents-to-be can pay for a bespoke list of first and middle names that meet whatever criteria it is they're looking for. Some of the consultants' clients are international or multiracial parents searching for a name that fits across languages and backgrounds, while others want help finding a name that best matches the vibe of the baby's older siblings. “I'll get requests a lot for honor names too—like their dad's name is Steve, but they don't want to use that,” says Morgan Timm, who shares trends, consultation results, and names she scours from vintage yearbooks on her popular TikTok account. “They ask, ‘How can we incorporate that into a different name?’ A few months ago I worked with somebody who wanted to honor her mom, Wanda. We came up with Rowan Dalia—the last three letters of Rowan are W-A-N and then D-A begins Dalia. So it's like Wanda is in the middle. That was really fun.”

Even more seek her out because they “want a name that's outside the top 500 or even the top 1,000.”

“Individuality is the biggest trend,” says Ficarra. “People wanting to spell things differently, people wanting a name that no one else is gonna have…. That is ultimately where we're headed: Parents want their baby to be the only one with this name in their circle.”

Some of the consultants I spoke with hint at another motivation—a perhaps unconscious one but a motivation nonetheless—behind this drive for individuality: branding. This is the first generation of parents to be fluent in social media; it's only natural they'd think about their own child's online presence. “It's like, Well, are you going to be able to grab that Instagram handle or that website URL?” says Sophie Kihm, the editor in chief of popular baby-name website Nameberry, which offers its own consultations to future parents. “No one has brought that up to me in a consultation, but I think some parents at least are thinking about that.”

Of course, in a twist of perfect irony, everyone's drive to have the most unique baby name possible has created somewhat of the opposite effect: Pay close enough attention to the data, and there are unmistakable trends and of-the-moment names that seem to have grabbed the public consciousness by hold, just as they've done in decades past. In fact, naming your child Jessica in the year 2023 might be the most radical thing a parent could do.

“I keep up with a lot of the consultants on TikTok,” says Kihm. “And they have a lot of people searching for something that's on trend but not that popular. It does skew people's ideas of what the trending names are right now. Name popularity is so dependent on social circle too. If you're the type of person who watches these TikTok videos and is getting these names on your For You page, then the people you hang out with and your friends probably are too. And you're probably the types of people who are going to choose names for your kids like Goldie and August, or whatever the popular names are among your social circle. It's such a self-selecting group of the population that it's not representative of the national statistics at all.”

So what are the cool baby names of 2023? And what trends will carry over into the next year? We checked the data and asked several professional baby-name consultants for their answers. You'll notice that some names appear on this list multiple times. That's because they apply to more than one trend at once—the coolest of the cool, if you will.

And don't worry: You can always change your mind. “We have a lot of baby-name-change consulting clients,” Kihm says. “Parents who come to us and say, ‘I named my baby this and I regret it. I need your help changing it.’”

Gender-neutral names

“We're seeing an increase in gender-neutral names, or names that people are using for both sexes,” says Kihm. “That's been a big shift since the 20th century. It used to be that these names moved in one direction—a boy name would be adopted by girls, then it becomes a girl name and everyone abandons it for their sons. We're not seeing that happen with every name anymore.”

According to her, that's because many of the monikers are completely new and therefore haven't been gendered over time—like Ocean, for example. “I think we're going to be seeing a lot more sharing of both traditional and new names that are coming up in the lexicon,” Kihm says. “Charlie is a good example. It's still on the rise for boys, but it's super popular for girls too.”

Timm has also seen popular names become more gender-neutral, or at least challenge traditional norms. “For boys, I've had a lot of my clients shift from wanting tough-sounding names to something softer and gentler,” she says. “And a lot of my clients who are having a girl want something that's not too flowery. I've had a lot of interest in boy names for girls as well.”

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Ocean

  • Chosen

  • Charlie

Leading with nicknames

All of the experts I spoke with said more and more clients have been choosing baby names based on nicknames they know they want to use. “I'll get clients who love a nickname—like, they want to call their daughter Winnie or Birdie—and they want a full name to go behind that,” says Timm.

Other parents are simply skipping the formal name altogether and just using the nickname, full stop. Even those who do want a formal name are favoring ones with multiple nickname options. “Any name that can produce the nickname Ellie for a little girl, we're being inundated with,” says Paquette. “Eleanor has been a strong contender for a minute now, but it's shooting off into names like Eilana.” For boys, Theodore has emerged has a hugely popular option. “Everyone loves names that can be made into like three different nicknames. With Theodore, people are loving that you can use Teddy or Theo.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Winnie

  • Birdie

  • Ellie

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Sonny

  • Theo/Teddy

  • Finn

  • Jack

  • Leo

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Charlie

  • Frankie

  • Scotty/Scottie

Surnames as first names

Last names as first names have also become increasingly popular. The consultants I spoke with have several theories as to why. For one, just like the nickname trend, there are more unisex names to choose from. Another: It's a way to be original without getting too wild.

“To me, the cool names are definitely surnames as first names and gender-neutral names—and those often overlap,” says Colleen Slagen of Naming Bebe. “Most surnames people have heard of before, so it's not an invented name that feels off the wall. It has an established, sophisticated feel to it and yet feels novel and fresh to use as a first name.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Collins

  • Emerson

  • Parker

  • Harper

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Bennett

  • Brooks

  • Rhodes

  • Banks

  • Callahan

  • Anderson

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Campbell

  • Miller

  • Murphy

  • Carter

Names that end with -o (or a long-o sound)

“Some of the most popular names have a long-o sound,” says Kihm. “Willow, Otto, Margot…but also more unique ones like Elowyn and gender-neutral names like Koa, Harlow, and Cove.”

Ficarra has also seen this trend apply to middle names as well. “For girls, Roe/Rowe is up-and-coming,” she says. “Morgan Stewart named her daughter Roe. It's one I've been getting a lot of questions about and is a big middle name option now.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Roe/Rowe

  • Willow

  • Margot

  • Elowyn

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Arlo

  • Milo

  • Otto

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Koa

  • Ocean

  • Harlow

  • Cove

Soft-sounding names

Names with soft vowels—like above—and sensitive vibes are especially popular this year among baby boy names. “For boys, soft-sounding names are very attractive right now to my clients,” says Slagen. “Names like Luca, Arlo, Milo, Silas…they have a sort of poetic, gentlemanly sound to them.” Not only does this fit with the unisex name trend, but she sees it as a direct reaction to the country-western and more traditionally masculine names that have been trending for boys. (But more on that soon.)

“I get so many people asking about August,” says Timm. “I think Taylor Swift influenced it a little bit. And you don't see too many tough-sounding names for girls in the top 20. Something like Isla meets that criteria—it's a little softer and ends in that flowery a sound, but it's kind of a newer, fresher name.”

Of course, this trend doesn't come without some controversy among people who have, let's say, a more conservative view of the world. “People are much less willing to go out of the box with a boy name versus a girl name,” says Paquette. “I love a soft boy name. Wells is a very cool boy name, but people get mad. I'll get comments like, ‘Stop feminizing your sons before they’re born.’ I'm just like, ‘Because his name is Wells? What do you mean?’”

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • August

  • Soren

  • Harlan

  • Luca

  • Arlo

  • Milo

  • Silas

  • Asher

  • Wells

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Isla

  • Ever

  • Cecilia

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Ellis

  • Hollis

  • Rowan

Neo-cowboy names

“Cowboy names was one of our big trends that we identified for 2022,” says Kihm. “Dutton was the fastest-rising boy name of the year.” It took off so much, in fact, that the experts are already seeing fatigue around the trend. “I'm starting to get people in consults who say, ‘Absolutely no country-western names,’” says Slagen. “So I think it's starting to feel too trendy to people. It was a trend before Yellowstone, but that definitely confirmed it.”

While cowboy names are still popular, for now, there's a slight twist to the trend in 2023 among baby boy names: the neo-cowboy. As Kihm explains, “You have softer names like Silas that still have a little bit of a Western edge—you could picture it on a cowboy, but it has soft sounds.”

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Waylon

  • Silas

  • Dutton

Traditionally masculine names

We're going to go ahead and guess that the kind of people who get fired up about boys named Wells are embracing this trend instead. “We're seeing more aggressive boy names,” says Kihm. “Maverick is one that's very popular right now. Go further down the list and there are names inspired by weapons or tools, like Wesson after Smith & Wesson. Decker is rising too.”

But traditionally masculine vibes are also becoming hugely popular among baby girl names too. “I just had a client who named her daughter Wesley,” Timm says. “Her name was Ashley, and she didn't feel like people took her seriously in email. So that was her motivation in giving her daughter a traditionally masculine name, but she still wanted something that sounded soft and pretty. We landed on Wesley.”

Kihm says vintage boy names in particular have been rising for girls. “Scotty is really popular on TikTok, and I hear all the time people recommend using Prescott as the first name,” she says. “It's this combination of a more masculine-sounding surname for a girl with a cute, but still boyish, nickname. Names like Billie, Frankie, Georgie, and Lenny are big right now.”

Slagen agrees, saying, “From what I hear from clients filling out their forms and what I see in my comments, I think we're going to see a lot more truly boy names used for girls.” Adds Paquette, “The cool girl names really are ones like Stevie and Scotty. People love that masculine feeling. I get a lot of comments saying, ‘Stop taking boy names and ruining them for boys by making them girl names.’ I don’t think people are going to stop naming their kid Scott just because some girls are named Scotty. It's so silly.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Stevie

  • Noah

  • Frankie

  • Wesley

  • Scottie/Scotty

  • Ozzy

  • Lenny

  • Billy

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Axel

  • Maverick

  • Wesson

  • Decker

Vintage names

It's not just vintage boy names for girls that are trendy—overall, parents have embraced what some of the experts described to me as “nursing home” or “old people” names. Not that this is anything new: “Vintage names are always in style,” says Kihm. “It's just the nature or the specific vintage names that change.”

“Something I've been seeing a lot are these ‘old lady’ vintage names coming back in style,” says Ficarra. “Florence is getting a lot of attention. It's one I get questions about all the time, and I think Florence Pugh has a lot to do with that.”

“We are loving old-people names for babies, and I think it's amazing,” says Paquette. “Those are my favorite ones. Babylist sends out a list every week of babies that were born, so I watch them and pick through the names. I always get so excited because we're seeing names like Pearl, Opal, and Betty.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Violet

  • Hazel

  • Ruby

  • Sylvia

  • Lottie

  • Juliet

  • Eloise

  • Florence

  • Josephine

  • Penelope

  • Eleanor

  • Pearl

  • Opal

  • Betty

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Oscar

  • Arthur

  • Theodore

One-syllable names

“The one-syllable names have a very attractive sound to people,” says Slagen. It's a trend that's being used for all sexes. “Maeve fits with the shorter, punchier name trend,” says Timm. “There are a lot of people who are like, 'I want a girl name. I just don't want it to be a frilly name. I don't want it to be flowery. I want it sound mature, sophisticated, and tough.”

Adds Paquette, “For boys, I think we're going to continue to see more names like Cash and Jet—snappy. People are loving that.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Sloan/Sloane

  • Maeve

  • Blair/Blaire

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Cash

  • Jet/Jett

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Quinn

  • Tru

  • Haze

Food-inspired names

The Grocery Girl aesthetic has taken over fashion and beauty. Why not baby names too? “I look at data to see if there are going to be any hints for a few years in advance,” says Paquette. “And I think we're going to go in the food direction for girls. I've said this before and people were like, ‘You’re making this up.’ But then it was supported by this past year's data! We're seeing a lot of Olives and Clementines.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Olive

  • Clementine

  • Sage

Names that end with -iel

“Names that mix and match syllables are very popular right now,” says Kihm. “Boy names that end in -iel are a really big trend specifically among Hispanic and Latin American parents. There are standard biblical names like Daniel and Gabriel, but we're seeing more that are just made by taking a trendy syllable and adding -iel at the end.”

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Azriel

  • Daniel

  • Gabriel

  • Ezekiel

  • Adriel

Nature-inspired names

This isn't a new trend, says Kihm—but the popular names within it have shifted. “We've always had nature names,” she says. “It's just which ones are really big right now. We're seeing a lot of names that have to do with the sky, like Sole and Cielo.”

Names of Greek origin also seem to be in demand. “Gaia is a really cool, strong name,” says Paquette. “We're seeing it on some influencer babies—Amanda Steele had a baby that she named Gaia. And Atlas has taken off in a way that no one could have anticipated. As much as it keeps soaring, I'm anticipating it to rank top 30, which sounds unimaginable because there are people who still say, ‘I’ve never met an Atlas.’ It's a unique name, but I really do see it being high on the list next year.”

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Cielo

  • Atlas

  • Cypress

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Gaia

  • Solé/Sole

  • Wren

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Ocean

  • Cove

  • River

Names that end with -i

According to Kihm, you can expect to see more baby names that end with -i in the year ahead. “Kai is a big one,” she says. “And we've seen rising names like Shai, which is unisex. Lindsay Lohan named her son Luai. I don't think that one's going to rise very much, but it's still a cool name for this category.”

Examples of cool baby names for girls:

  • Lorelei

  • Alani

  • Zuri

Examples of cool baby names for boys:

  • Kai

  • Luai

  • Zakai

  • Makai

Examples of cool unisex baby names:

  • Shai

  • Amari

  • Remi

Anna Moeslein is the deputy editor at Glamour and currently pregnant with twins. She does not know yet what she'll name them.

Originally Appeared on Glamour