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Naming a newborn: Trends to expect in 2017

Power names like Thor and Luna are predicted to have the greatest impact in 2017. Thinkstock / Special to The Forum

FARGO — Each year when the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, several families welcome the year's first newborns into the world. With the bundle of joy comes the responsibility to raise, nurture and — first and foremost — name the infant.

For most, the task requires research, pondering and discussing names. Some families find out the sex and choose a name during the second trimester of pregnancy. In other instances, the child is born and unnamed for hours or days until parents agree on a fitting name for their newborn.

On Dec. 19, Sanford Health released the most popular names of 2016. Harper, Nora and Emma topped the charts for baby girls, while William, Owen and Isaac were the most popular boy names.

LINK: Most popular names of 2016

What inspires the trendiest names each year?

For some, it's an ode to star characters on their favorite TV shows or movies. For others, it's all about tradition where names of biblical characters, people of historical significance or deceased family members are used as tribute.

In 2017, more specific trends exist. Check out these predictions for top baby name trends:

Fierce animal names

In the past, pet owners have named their animals after names traditionally used for people like Steve, Karen, or Kevin. Now the trend is reversing.

In 2017, predicts that naming newborns after animal species will become more common. In fact, celebrities Alicia Silverstone and Kate Winslet each named their son "Bear" in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The general public followed suit and 134 babies were given the same name last year.

This year people can expect Fox, Wolf, Lynx, Tiger, Falcon, Hawk, Lionel, Puma, Jaguar and Python to make the charts.

Inspirational names

After what seemed like a controversial 2016, it's no surprise that predicts that inspirational names will take hold in 2017. Dream, True, Grace, Justice, Mercy, Patience and Zen are a few to look for.

Double letters

When it comes to names, appearance shouldn't be forgotten. In 2017, predicts that double-t names with will be a hit for because of their elegant appearance when written on paper.

Though Charlotte is already popular, Emmett, Scarlett, Wyatt, Elliott and Everett will make headway. Other double letter names like Emmeline, Harris, Finnegan, Ellis, Bennett and Forrest are also on the rise.

Heroine names

Names inspired by both first names and surnames of famous feminist heroines are said to make a debut in 2017. Think: Eleanor (Roosevelt), Rosa (Parks), Bell (Hooks), Ada (Lovelace) Georgia and O'Keefe, Frida and Kahlo, Sojourner and Truth — to name a few.

Unique spelling

Rather than inventing completely new names, parents are beginning to scramble letters, according to For example, Jackson becomes Jaxxon and Alexander becomes Alexzander. Parents may also choose to swap "y" out for "i" or add double letters. Acronyms with meaning — like "ILY" or "I love you" — are also on the table.

Power names

According to, the "biggest big picture trend" to watch out for in 2017 is power names like those that refer to multicultural mythology, such as Thor, Freya, Jupiter, Luna, Clio, Morrigan, Pandora and Zeus.

In 2015, parents took power names even a step further, naming their babies after God. Five boys were named God or Yahweh, 20 called Lord and 27 named Savior. Forty baby girls were named Goddess. Last year, more than 1,500 newborns were named Messiah. The trend is predicted to continue.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, names that represent evil are also making an appearance. Think Lucifer (the biblical devil), Lilith (a Jewish folklore demon) and Kali (the Hindu destroyer).

When it comes to naming a newborn, anything goes. While celebrities can arguably get away with more unique names, the general public eventually starts to follow suit. The perfect name is different for everyone. What's yours?