16 unique baby names you can expect to see more of
More parents are going old school when choosing baby names, it appears.
Nameberry, a site for expectant parents looking for name ideas and meanings, has released the monikers that have attracted the most attention (so far) in 2016. While a couple have a new-age vibe, the majority take inspiration from folklore, ancient kings and warriors.
Classic picks have been on the rise in recent years. BabyCentre Canada predicted last year the names you’d normally associate with a grandparent — like Arthur and Hazel — will continue to make a comeback.
Royal-related names have also made their mark in Canada, with names such as Princeton, Noble, Legion and Princess growing in popularity. George and Charlotte have both ascended the ranks, no doubt propelled by the youngest Royals.
Whether you go traditional or with what you think is original (like an Instagram filter), parents are advised to do some research before settling on a name.
READ MORE: 5 tips to avoid baby name remorse
Laura Wattenberg, a veteran author on international baby name trends, says many parents these days try to choose a name they think will set their child apart in our increasingly competitive world.
This can sometimes lead to baby name remorse.
WATCH: Baby name regret is real and more common than you think
These are the 16 unique choices becoming more popular, based on Nameberry searches:
1. Koa, up 357%
Hippie parents might appreciate this name, which is rooted in nature. Koa is the native Hawaiian wood used to make surfboards and canoes.
Given the wave of interest, Nameberry predicts Koa will make the list of Top 1000 names of 2016.
2. Wells, up 202%
Traditionally short for Wellington, this English surname means a spring or stream.
3. Saskia, up 174%
This name, which was held by painter Rembrandt’s wife, has both Dutch and Slavic origins.
It’s still extremely rare, but the “combination of ancient roots and fresh feel places it first among hottest girls’ names right now,” the site says.
4. Theodosia, up 135%
This is a name you might’ve seen on the girls’ Top 1000 a century ago. But names that start with “The” are having a moment, according to Nameberry.
Thea recently made the list of Top 1000 names for girls, and Theo has vaulted up the boys’ chart.
Theodosia is a new entry – there were zero baby girls given the name in the U.S. last year.
5. Neo, up 127%
Latin for “new,” Neo got its start as the name of Keanu Reeves’ character in The Matrix series, which also spawned the hit name Trinity.
Nameberry sees Neo following Theo and Leo up the ladder.
6. Ragnar, up 91%
Norse warrior Ragnar Benson from The History Channel’s Vikings might be responsible for this rising name trend.
Just 30 baby boys were named Ragnar in the U.S. last year, but that’s 30 more than were given the name outside Scandinavia at any time before the show aired.
7. Calypso, up 87%
This one could be a fit for fans of mythology.
Calypso was a Greek nymph in The Odyssey who used her captive singing to delay Odysseus’ return home.
8 and 9. Zephyr and Zephyrine, each up 78%
These names also have roots in ancient Greek mythology: Zephyr was the God of the West Wind.
Used throughout Europe but virtually unknown across the Atlantic until recently, Zephyr was chosen by tech mogul Sean Parker for his infant son and was used for 126 American boys last year along with 25 girls.
10. Kaiser, up 75%
Kaiser is a Germanic emperor (or bread roll), though Teen Mom Jenelle Evans is credited with bringing it into the mainstream by shortening it to Kai.
Kaiser is thought to be primed for widespread popularity on the heels of other titular names, such as Saint (the Kardashian-West spawn), King, Prince, Duke and Messiah.
11. Mika, up 72%
As a girls’ name, Mika is Japanese and means “beautiful fragrance.” The male Mika is a short form of Mikael, the Scandinavian and Finnish version of Michael.
Mika was given to nearly 200 baby girls in the U.S. last year. Its popularity (closing in on the Top 1000) is believed to be spurred by its similarity to fashionable names Mia, Mila, and Mikayla.
On the boys’ side, Mika is projected to be a successor to the names Michael and Luca.
12. Astoria, up 59%
First came Brooklyn (Posh and Beck’s firstborn), now a Top 50 name for girls. Then, thanks to Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz, came Bronx.
Now the newest New York City place to become a trendy baby name is Astoria, the neighborhood in Queens.
J.K. Rowling used Astoria as the name of grown-up Draco Malfoy’s wife.
13. Seren, up 57%
Seren is a popular girls’ name in Wales, drawn from the name of an ancient goddess. It means “star.”
Fewer than 50 girls were given the name across the pond last year. Nameberry thinks that’s going to change “dramatically, given that Seren is a name that’s both exotic and approachable.”
14. Leonidas, up 55%
The name of this ancient Spartan warrior-king was catapulted into the modern world by 300: The Movie.
Now it’s nearing the Top 500 and will likely keep climbing.
The pronunciation in Europe is lee-OH-nee-das, but most Americans say lee-oh-NYE-das.
15. Alba, up 50%
This ancient Roman name meaning “white” was fashionable more than a century ago. Actress-turned-baby product entrepreneur Jessica Alba is likely responsible for making it trendy again.
Nameberry expects the name to climb into the Top 1000 before 2020 as a successor to Ella and Ava, which the site said was the fourth most popular name of 2016 this past summer.
16. Lula, up 50%
Lula has lagged behind other fashionable L names (like Luna and Lila). That might be why parents are turning to it now that Talullah and Lola have become overexposed.
Here’s a look at some more baby name trends:
— With files from Tania Kohut and Laurel Gregory, Global News
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.