Preparing for baby's arrival is always fraught with joyous challenges, and it isn't just about getting the baby's room ready and dreaming about baby showers. On the to-do list, ahead of packing that overnight bag and even deciding who will attend the birth, is choosing a name for baby. It isn't an easy process—heaven forbid you select something future playground bullies will enjoy—which is why we're here to help with a rundown of the most popular baby boy names 2021.
Ahead you'll find info on the hottest monikers of 2019, predictions for the next 12 months and even a breakdown by subject, like popular Biblical and celebrity names. So whether you're picking an appellation for your upcoming bundle of joy, or just want to suggest one to a friend or family member, you're sure to find a name to love.
Blasts from the Past
There's an old song that goes something along the lines of "everything old is new again," and that could certainly hold true for baby boy names in 2021. According to the Social Security Administration, which officially tracks such things, the most popular boy's names in 2019 were, in descending order, Liam, Noah, Oliver, William, Elijah, James, Benjamin, Lucas, Mason and Ethan. All but Ethan placed in the top ten for the past several years.
Holding the top spot since 2017, and the number two position for three years before that, Liam seems certain to be on the shortlist for most popular baby boy name in 2021 as well. A nickname for the Irish form of William, the lyrical, soft-sounding Liam means "resolute protection" in that language.
The Bible Knows Best
Also sure to remain popular from the SSA list are biblical names like Noah, Elijah and Benjamin. The baby-naming website Nameberry, which updates its popular baby name lists monthly, calls Bible baby names "among the most popular classic names over the past several decades."
Other names in this category that could see a rise in most-favored status in 2021 include the up and coming Asher, meaning “fortunate, blessed, happy one" in Hebrew, and James, a traditional name that's steadily increased in popularity in the past 10 years (although it slipped two spots, from four in 2018 to six in 2019, on the SSA list).
Among the entries making Nameberry's catalog of the U.S. Top 50 biblical names for baby boys are Jacob, Samuel, and Caleb. Ezra, Eli, and Jonah are also "back in fashion," the site notes.
Star Light, Star Bright
Here in the United States we love our celebs, enough so that we tend to name our babies after our country's biggest, shiniest stars. And so it should be no surprise that after his tragic death in a January, 2020 helicopter crash, basketball great Kobe Bryant's given name might become one of the most trendy for baby boys in 2021. Ranked just 558 most-popular by the SSA in 2019, Kobe has risen 175% on parenting website BabyCenter's latest popularity list, with Bryant shooting up 29%.
BabyCenter is predicting us average folks will pay homage to other fallen stars in 2021 as well by naming our offspring Chadwick (after Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther actor lost to cancer in August) and Eddie (for guitar giant Eddie Van Halen, who passed after a long battle with cancer in October).
Meanwhile, the baby boy name Reagan, assumably for our 40th president, Ronald W., rose a shocking 26% in popularity recently, according to BabyCenter. The name could legitimately be called a dark horse contender for most-favored in 2021 since President Reagan passed way back in 2004.
But perhaps the most popular 2021 baby boy name in the celebrity category won't be in honor of one departed. The SSA has noted a surprising change in the fortunes of the name Keanu: from 2018 to 2019, it soared in popularity, rising from #807 to #630 and earning a spot high on the fast-climbers directory. Seems while Bill and Ted Face the Music might have sunk without a trace at the box office, Keanu Reeves will remain as beloved as ever
Beyond famed sports, film and music figures, naming baby boys after modern mythmakers should remain on trend. As Nameberry notes, "Modern hero baby names send a powerful message about your values and the qualities you hope your child will one day embody."
Among the names of modern-day legends BabyCenter mentions as current hot choices for parents are King (Martin Luther King Jr.) and Frederick (Frederick Douglass), both lionized leaders in the fight for social justice. Atticus, the first name of the valiant main character in the great American novel To Kill a Mockingbird, also looks to be a big name for baby boys in 2021. It's of Greek origin, meaning "from Attica."
Speaking of the Greeks (and Romans), according to Nameberry, "parents are looking ever wider in the world of gods, goddesses, heroes and other figures from ancient myth and legend" for their baby names. Among the hottest truly old school names for boys are Alpheus, Ares, Orpheus, Perseus, Phaedra and Titus.
So there you have it: our rundown of the the most popular baby boy names 2021. Some have been around forever, some are destined to become new favorites, but only one might become what you call your bouncing baby boy.
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