The ‘XYZ’ baby naming trend is one of the hottest of 2018.

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Let’s not pretend that giving a baby a different spelling of a name is something new. Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian aren’t exactly kids anymore. But according to UK website Babycentre, there’s been a surge in unusual spellings recently – especially ones using the letters X, Y and Z.

Babycentre has just announced the most popular names for the first half of 2018, and there are no real surprises at the top of the list – Olivia, Sophia and Amelia for girls, and Muhammad, Oliver and Noah for boys.

Associate editor Lorna Marsh thinks the surge in “weird and wonderful” spellings may be due to parents “rebelling” against a relatively unchanging top 10.

“By choosing an unusual spelling of a popular choice, parents can shake up the status quo while still playing it relatively safe with their children’s names,” she says.

Marsh points out that many of the unusual spellings involve adding an X, Y or Z to a classic name. The examples she gives include Jaxon, Kaylub, Liyam, Fyn, Jayson, Zayden, Roze, Wynter, Madyson and Maizie.

So are we seeing the same thing in Australia?

Well, names with an X are definitely hot for boys right now. Names like Braxton, Xavier, Phoenix, Jax, Hendrix, Nixon, Knox and Huxley are all in, so it’s no surprise to see extra Xs being sprinkled here and there. Looking at records of names given in Australia last year, you can find boys called Texx, Foxx and Jaxx. As for Jaxon, it’s almost overtaken Jackson in popularity, and there are also boys being called Jaxson and Jaxxen.

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For girls, it’s not such a huge thing, but there’s the odd one, like Xoe.

Adding a Y to a name is definitely more of a trend for girls. Wynter is more popular than Winter. Paightyn, Emmersyn and Nyveah have all been seen recently. Sometimes a Y isn’t the only letter added to a name. There’ll also be an extra A, or an H, to make a short name a whole lot longer. There are baby girls out there called Aariyah and Ayvah.

As for baby boys, say hi to Harrisyn, Fynn and Eliy.

When it comes to Z names, there are plenty of variations on Xavier. Zavier is common, Xzavier and Zaveyar less so. Same goes for Isaac, aka Izzac, Izach and Izak.

As for girls, there are always a few Izabellas in with all the Isabellas. Somewhere out there, there is also an Izabelyha.

Yes. Nowadays, when a kid says their name is Ava or Harrison, we do have to ask, “How do you spell it?”.

Weird and wonderful spellings – whether the XYZ trend, or something else – are here to stay.

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