When it comes to baby name style, it’s not just about where you start — it’s where you finish. Name endings shape style and are a big part of the sound of their times. The 1960s were the age of Teri, Sheri, Keri and Geri. The 2000s gave us Aiden, Brayden and Kaden, along with Landen, Holden and Camden.
Where do names end up today? I looked at 40,000 names to calculate which three-letter name endings have risen the fastest in popularity over the past three years. Putting aside endings dominated by one fast-rising name (like -zra, which is all about Ezra) I zeroed in on five fresh sounds of the generation to come.
Hot names: Cooper (M), Harper (F), Juniper (F), Jasper (M), Piper (F)
The 1990s were the heyday of -ler “tradesman” names like Tyler, Chandler and Taylor. The crisper -per names have now overtaken them. Many are still trade-based surnames, but the botanical name Juniper points to way to broader possibilities. (Read more about the new generation of -er names.)
Hot names: Tobias (M), Elias (M), Matias (M), Matthias (M)
In the case of -ias, what’s new is old—very old. The antique Grecian ending offers a sophisticated take on familiar name roots. This is a trend that spans multiple pronunciations, as heard in the English Matthias (mə-THYE-əs) and the Spanish Matías (mah-TEE-ahs)
Hot names: Aurora (F), Nora (F), Cora (F), Amora (F), Eliora (F), Eleanora (F)
This ending has a dual personality. In the form of Cora and Nora it’s old-fashioned and sweet, but no-nonsense. In Aurora and Amora, it’s romantic and even magical. Eleanora splits the difference.
Hot names: Rhett (M), Everett (M), Scarlett (F), Beckett (M), Emmett (M), Elliott (M, F)
The double-t trend has been rising for a decade now, and it’s far from over. It’s not just the look of the doubled letter that appeals, but the sound of a T after a vowel, closing the name with a snap. Similar-sounding names like Charlotte and Violet have risen too. (Read more about double-t names.)
Hot names: Maia (F), Kaia (F), Amaia (F), Gaia (F)
Names ending in -aya are on the rise as part of the “liquid” and “raindrop” names trends, but the -aia spelling is rising even faster. In some cases it reflects a name’s roots, as in the case of the Greek Earth goddess Gaia. Most often, though, parents choose it for its trim and eye-catching style.