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Sweet Spot Baby Names: Fitting in and standing out

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Obviously, everyone has their own definition of what a perfect name is, but for Pam and me, as expressed in our books, it has always been distilled into the phrase fitting in/standing out.

Located in the sweet spot between the hundreds of names that are epidemically popular–common enough for their distinctive images to be diluted–and those that are too unusual, too extreme– is a kind of golden triangle of lightly used names that have meaning, history, depth, and appeal, yet won’t provoke any raised eyebrows, names that will allow your child to both fit in with her peers and stand out among them.

Many such names are to be found in the lower half of the popularity list; the examples below, drawn from the names that rank between 500 and 1000, are our selection of names which we think fit into that special sweet spot. We’d love to hear if you agree or disagree–and what names you would add.

GIRLS

Adele
Adrienne
Annabel
Beatrice
Blake
Bree
Bryn
Catalina
Celia
Clarissa
Claudia
Dahlia
Dixie
Edith
Elsa
Esme
Eve
Felicity
Frances
Francesca
Geraldine
Gloria
Greta
Gwyneth
Harlow
Hattie
Helena
Ingrid
Irene
Juniper
Laurel
Libby
Lilith
Liv
Livia
Maeve
Maia
Mara
Marina
Martha
Matilda
Mercedes
Meredith
Natalya
Nova
Paloma
Patience
Pearl
Renata
Rory
Rosa
Rosemary
Samara
Simone
Sloane
Sylvia
Tabitha
Tess
Vera
Virginia
Willa

BOYS

Amos
Arlo
Asa
Bowen
Bruno
Byron
Callum
Cassius
Clay
Clinton
Conrad
Crosby
Cyrus
Darwin
Duncan
Edison
Finley
Fletcher
Flynn
Frederick
Gibson
Harry
Hayes
Hugh
Jefferson
Jensen
Keenan
Lennon
Lennox
Lewis
Lionel
Lucian
Miller
Moses
Nash
Quincy
Raphael
Ray
Rex
Roland
Rory
Ross
Samson
Soren
Sullivan
Thaddeus
Theo
Tobias
Turner
Van
Wilson
Winston

So what names would you add?

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