Choosing a baby name for a new arrival is a huge responsibility. While some parents opt for traditional family monikers passed down through generations, others are taking inspiration from alternative sources.
To help parents-to-be strike a balance between unusual and on trend, we spoke to the baby naming experts who have pulled together their prediction of the baby naming trends which look set to shape the pre-school registers in 2023 and beyond.
From favourite main characters starring in binge-worthy box sets, to futuristic sounding monikers and the trend du jour, dark academia, it seems mums and dads-to-be will be thinking outside the baby naming box this year.
Baby names are set to go futuristic this year. "According to Pinterest, searches for dystopian outfits, futuristic glasses, and cyber streetwear are up," explains SJ Strum, baby name consultant and host of the Baby Name Envy podcast.
And this is expected to extend to baby monikers, with names to watch out for this year falling into the futuristic category.
Cassiopeia is a constellation in the northern sky and high on the baby names list for 2023. Cassiopeia is the mythological queen who boasted of her beauty. This name is perfect for 2023 embracing maximalism, celestial, myths and gorgeous nickname options such as Cass, Cassie and Pia.
Vesper means evening star and is such an on-trend name. When picking a unique name one that sounds familiar often bridges the gap and makes it more "wearable".
Io (io) has been popping up on name lists as we help parents pick from a shortlist at our baby name consultancy. Pronounced Eeee-Oh this is one of Jupiter’s moons and named for a young mythological girl who caught the eye of Zeus and was turned into a bull. A character played by Gemma Arterton in Clash Of The Titans has bought this more main stream.
Romanticising your life is a lifestyle and mindset shift born out of social media and it's having an influence on the names parents are picking for their own little cuties.
"Adonis went up a huge 200 places for boys last year, and Aphrodite entered the UK baby name register for the first time," Strum explains.
Meanwhile thanks to the continued success of romantic regency show Bridgerton, Daphne climbed 84 chart places up the most popular list.
"Romantic sweetheart names like Bay, Honey and Valentine are also all spiking in the 'rare but rising' category," Strum adds.
"Beau, Peaches, Romeo are becoming more mainstream, and even Love and Hart jumped into the register of UK Names for the first time in 2022."
This popular new aesthetic is now also lighting up the baby name charts.
"Far from being a phase, Goth Glam is here to stay, overlapping with the whimsical literary trend of Dark Academia and appealing to parents who love gothic novels, disruptive ideas, the arts in all forms and the broody academic side of life," Strum explains.
"It’s literally a baby name consultants dream as there are so many gorgeous names."
Strum says Elsinore, named after Hamlet's house, is a perfect name for this trend, while Casimir, meaning Destroyer of Peace, also fits right in.
"Wednesday is also breaking through, thanks to the hit Netflix series," Strum continues. "Not only does it have dark academia fandom all over it, it was also recently chosen by Harry Potter star Rupert Grint for his daughter.
"Devin, meaning dark poetry, is another stunning name that is genderless," Strum adds.
Watch: Unusual celebrity baby names you'll want to steal
If daring new trends are considered too of-the-moment for some parents, a more timeless baby naming trend is Upclycled Vintage.
"It essentially involves going further and further back in time each year to find forgotten names and bringing them back to life with a little 'upcycling'," Strum explains.
Strum says there are many historical names that have been forgotten such as Mostyn, Boaz, Eunice & Gladys which could all work for new arrivals this year.
"We also recommend adding Lennie and Winnie to your list to be ahead of the curve in a classroom full of Albies and Elsies," she adds.
Names with 'Main Character Energy'
Strum is also expecting a rise in soon-to-be parents naming their children after characters from their favourite TV shows and movies.
But there's a bit of a twist. Thanks to the maximalist trend, which leans toward names full of "opulence, decadence and drama", it’s all about standing out from the crowd, or the pre-school register.
"'Main Character Energy' is a lifestyle buzz word that’s transcended into baby names, with modern parents picking bigger, bolder more iconic names for their babies," Strum explains.
"Maverick has shot into the charts and seems ready to keep rising with the resurgence of Top Gun," she continues.
"Thor is also on the up - the God of thunder was an inspiration for parents to be who love the short, strong name for its mythological vibe.
Strum says Villanelle, from dark drama Killing Eve, also entered the UK baby name popularity lists for the first time this year.
Marilyn is also trending, up 600 spots, perhaps after parents enjoyed Netflix’s Blonde, as is Jeffrey, which is up 230 places after the Dahmer documentary.
But Strum has a word of warning for parents wanting to capture main character energy in their baby's moniker.
"While we all personally carry associations with names from people we meet in life, picking a cult character name means bestowing a list of character traits on your newborn that they may find a burden growing up," she explains.
"So, while we embrace 'Main Character Energy', it’s important to pick with intention and don’t be swayed by fast fashion – that way, you’ll be sure to love your baby’s name forever."