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boysecret

Last week we brought you our underground list of most popular girls’ names 2011; now it’s the boys’ turn.

You may be familiar with Nameberry’s most popular boys’ names 2011, with Asher, Henry, and Finn at the top all the way down to Axel, Nathan, and Landon.

You may even know our hottest boys’ names 2011, with Asher (again), Archer, and Everett.

But we’ve got a quieter, less obvious, but potentially more interesting list for you: those boys’ names that don’t make the Top 100 but that are attracting a dramatic rise in interest in 2011 compared with 2010.

While not all of these names are destined for future popularity, the baby namer in search of a name that will feel as fresh in ten years as it does today should take heed. Unlikely as it may seem, the ultracool Booker may be tomorrow’s Cooper or Parker; Alden might be as hot as Aiden by 2015.

Our list of secretly popular boys’ names 2011:

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Do You Want A Truly Unique Name?

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A lot of people use the term unique baby names when what they really mean is unusual baby names.  Names such as Romeo, Romilly, and Roxana may be distinctive, attractive, and uncommon, but they’re hardly unique.

But what about those names that truly are unique, as in one-of-a-kind?

Along with checking out which names were most popular on nameberry so far this year, we took a look at the names that were searched just once last quarter – nameberry’s own truly unique baby names.

Of course, there were many more unique baby names on nameberry, but these are our picks for the cream of the seldom-searched.

Might one be right for your truly unique baby?

girls

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Boys’ Names: Unusual, Stylish Picks

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Looking for boys’ names that feel contemporary and stylish but that you won’t hear coming and going?  Here are our picks of unusual boys’ names – used for fewer than 100 boys, but at least 50 (those borders were picked to keep the collection manageable) – that are in step with today’s fashions.

It’s not so surprising, for the most part, that these names are used for so few boys.  And we don’t expect most of them to make huge leaps in popularity.  The few exceptions we think we’ll hear considerably more of in years to come: Wiley and Wylie, Ford, Fox, Lazarus, Chester, and West.

But we think any one of these unusual boys’ names would sound perfectly appropriate for a modern baby boy.  If you really want a name that’s different, look no further.

For more choices, see our complete list of boys’ names used for five or more babies in 2009.

The first group are traditional (more or less) first names. The number represents how many boys received the name last year.

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Unusual Names for Boys: Below the Top 1000

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Go straight to lists of unusual names and unique names.

When I looked at the boys’ names just below the Top 1000, I was surprised that I was less surprised than I was when I surveyed the girls’ selections. There are a handful of attractive, stylish names here that I would have sworn were among the Top 1000 — most notably Theo, Gus, Finnian, and Dashiell — but many more that simply feel in tune with their more popular brothers.

As with the girls’ names, I’ve starred those I think are headed for greater popularity. But the more important point is that, if you’re searching for a name that is fashionable yet not epidemic, any of these would be perfect choices.

All of these names were given to at least 100 boys but fewer than 200 boys last year.  For the complete boys’ master list, with actual numbers for all names, go here.

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lindasports1

If there’s one arena that may have been kind of neglected in the nameberry search for cool namesakes, it would probably be the wide, wide world of sports.

There are a couple of explanations for this.  Number One is the fact that so many star athletes were known by nicknames—Mickey and Ricky, Babe, Dizzy, Yogi, Catfish, Satchel, Tiger, ad infinitum.

Beyond that, most of the others have had standard-issue jock names and known by their diminutives— Bill, Willie, Charlie, and  Jack and Jim and Tim and Tom and Ted.

But we’ve dug through the archives and managed to come up with the following group of more out-of-the-ordinary monikers:

AMOS ALONZO Stagg — early football coach, an innovator in college football

AUREALIUS Thomas – in the College Football Hall of Fame

BANKS McFadden –excelled in football, basketball and track, voted the Associated     Press’s ‘Athlete of the Year’ in 1939

BIBB FALK – played for the Chicago White Sox

BOWIE Kuhn –Major League Baseball Commissioner

BROOKS Robinson – a third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles for 23 years

BURLEIGH Grimes (nn ‘Ol’ Stubblebeard’) — Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher

CARNEY Lansford – Major League third baseman and then coach

DORNE Dibble – wide receiver for the Detroit Lions

EARLY Wynn (nn Gus) –pitcher inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

FERGUSON Jenkins – Another Baseball Hall of Famer, also played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters

FISHER DeBerry – legendary US Air Force Academy football coach

FRANCO HARRIS –played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks

HOLLAND Donan – college football defensive tackle

NILE Kinnick – won the 1939 Heisman Trophy

PAAVO Nurmi – Finish track star, outstanding long-distance runner of his time

PARRY (born Patrick) O’Brien – American shot-put champion

RAFER Johnson – Olympic decathlete

RYNE Sandberg – Chicago Cubs second baseman, named after pitcher Ryne Duren

SLADE Cutter –in the College Football Hall of Fame

SLATER Martin (nn ‘Dugie’) – one of the NBA’s best defensive players in the 1950s

THANE (born Walter Thane) Baker –Olympic gold medalist runner

VALMY Thomas – major league catcher

YALE (born Robert Yale) Lary – played football for the Detroit Lions

ZEBULON (Zeb) Terry – early (1916-22) Major League baseball player

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