100 Fantastic Underused Names

...that deserve to get more popular

By Esmeralda Rocha

We’ve run a few blogs recently on unusual names – from intrepid inventions to rare nature names. The names covered in this blog are rare, too, but with a difference: they’re names that you’ve definitely heard of and, to be honest, are probably surprised were so low down in the charts (each was given to fewer than 170 children in the US in 2017; most went to fewer than 50).

Parents are often looking for names that are “wearable”, “traditional” or familiar but not overused – if you count yourself among this group, this may be the most useful list of the year!

Girls’ name
Number of
children in 2017
Number of
children in 2017
Lucinda 154 Benedict 167
Georgina 146 Edmund 162
Millicent 132 Evander 161
Theodora 104 Pierre 155
Greer 89 Carlo 147
Diane 85 Cornelius 106
Juanita 85 Leopold 105
Antoinette 67 Glen 100
Therese 62 Angus 95
Pauline 60 Gareth 88
Gigi 56 Laurence 72
Jacinta 53 Percy 72
Delphine 43 Kit 67
Mirabel 43 Benji 66
Polly  43 Archibald 49
Gretel 41 Saxon 47
Seren 40 Valentine 47
Zenobia 39 Claude 40
Helena 33 Alphonse 37
Siobhan 33 Sven 36
Ursula 33 Hadrian 33
Imelda 32 Pascal 32
Marietta 32 Cary 31
Cornelia 31 Urban 30
Lucienne 28 Chadwick 28
Aisling 27 Cyril 28
Ottilie 27 Clancy 27
Portia 26 Rupert 27
Rosamund 26 Wilbur 27
Saskia 26 Freeman 25
Sigrid 24 Hamish 25
Svetlana 24 Casimir 24
Consuelo 23 Jebediah 22
Keiko 23 Godwin 19
Rowena 22 Huckleberry 19
Sheryl 22 Orville 19
Elspeth 21 Philippe 19
Mimi 21 Ferdinand 17
Phyllis 21 Fergus 17
Maude 17 Kiefer 17
Isolde 14 Kieren 17
Suzannah 14 Cosimo 15
Sinead 13 Crispin 15
Antigone 11 Cyprian 15
Fleur 11 Redmond 14
Manon 11 Neville 13
Cressida 10 Peregrine 11
Ornella 10 Barnaby 10
Edwina 9 Emilian 10
Blanche 8 Llewellyn 10
Bonita 8 Sinclair 10
Mariposa 8 Webster 9
Thessaly 8 Bertrand 7
Xanthe 8 Upton 6
Raphaelle 7 Selwyn 5
Kerensa 7 Seymour 5


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17 Responses to “100 Fantastic Underused Names”

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alchemicallypurplefairy Says:

August 2nd, 2018 at 10:49 pm

Kieran’s popularity is listed as #510 in 2017??

kgf.plie Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 2:51 am

@alchemicallypurplefairy I’m thinking they might’ve meant Kiernan, not Kieran?

Josh Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 7:15 am

@alchemicallypurplefairy and @kgf.plie Good eyes! You’re right that Kieran is Number 510 currently, with 566 boys receiving the name. Kiernan is much lower, being given to 54 boys in 2017, though it’s not the name intended here. The name meant to be on this list is Kieren with a final E, which was given to 17 boys in 2017. Hope that helps!

tfzolghadr Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 7:40 am

Wow, so many gorgeous names on this list. A quick question, because I always wonder this when I see the SSA’s numbers… but do they include American citizens born abroad? And if someone has a baby in 2017, but does not file the paperwork until 2018, which year are they counted towards? Because some of these names, like Emilian and Manon, I can see being much more popular among the expat crowd than among Americans in the US.

thesilenceinbetween Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 8:47 am

What a great list! I really like:



lindens Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 10:19 am

I usually view Nameberry on my phone. It’s cutting off all the boy names. Any chance for a formatting change?

Pansy Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Helena was #516 last year so it was given to way more than 33 kids. Thought maybe it was meant to be Helen but that was #418.

Bobcat108 Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Girls’ names I like:


Boys’ names:


esmith0326 Says:

August 3rd, 2018 at 10:31 pm

My favorites are Percy and Lucinda!

Pam Says:

August 5th, 2018 at 12:02 pm

@tfzolghadr Good question, but I BELIEVE these are only the names of babies born in the US, given that they are further divided by state. I agree on them theoretically being more popular among expats but the number of American expats having babies has to be relatively small and the number naming them Blanche and Llewellyn much smaller still.

tfzolghadr Says:

August 5th, 2018 at 2:26 pm

@pam Thanks! I’ve always wondered that… True, but it would be interesting to know (impossible perhaps) how many American (or dual citizen) babies total are born with these names vs. in the US. I mean, with very English names on the list like Edmund and Rupert, even if only 5 expats in the UK chose these names, that would be statistically significant. Or Manon among expats in French-speaking countries… Some of the names like Llewelyn and Blanche probably wouldn’t be as popular among the expat crowd.

fromtheocean12 Says:

August 5th, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I love Seren, Siobhan and Saskia for girls and Percy, Kit and Kieran for boys! I really like Mariposa, Valentine and Cosimo but I don’t think I would ever use them.

ladyhope Says:

August 5th, 2018 at 11:06 pm

I just checked Helena on the SSA website and it says it was given to 600 girls last year! It’s rank is 555.

carmenandrea Says:

August 6th, 2018 at 10:02 am

Love so many of these! One of our twin girls born in February of this year is Rosamund. Her sister was very nearly Helena.

greta-elizabeth Says:

August 6th, 2018 at 9:07 pm

For those of you of the ‘must use RAREST POSSIBLE name’ crowd, I’ll note that some of these names have multiple spellings, and thus are not quite as underused as listed here:

Lawrence is already a top 1000 name (#496) and it’s pronounced the same way as Laurence.
Aisling + Aislinn (231) + Aislin (46) = 304, equivalent to the names ranked #885-#886 on the SSA list. If you pronounce it ‘Ashleen’, add Ashleen (18) to that; ‘Ashling’ add Ashling (6), and if you pronounce it ‘Ashlin’… then you can add Ashlyn (659, #471) + Ashlynn (614, #506) Ashlin (21) + Ashlynne (21) + Ashlen (11) + Ashlinn (8) + Ashland (7) (okay, that might be stretching it, but a lot of people will pronounce that as Ashlyn) + Ashlan (5), for a total of 1650 babies, equivalent to being ranked #186–I would argue Aisling, at least pronounced Ashlin, is not underused at all.
Suzannah + Susanna (156) + Susannah (80) + Suzanna (63) = 313, equivalent to the names ranked #865-868 on the SSA list
Glen + Glenn (140 babies) = 240, equivalent to the names ranked #889-892 on the SSA list
Edmund + Edmond (62 babies) = 224, equivalent to the names ranked #927-931 on the SSA list

Gretel + Grettel (88) + Grethel (11) + Grettell (7) = 147
And of course, others–Diane + Dianne, Wilbur and Wilber (and Wilbert and Wilberth in some accents), Sheryl + Cheryl + Sherrell, Maude + Maud, Mirabel + Mirabelle, Juanita + Wanita, Cary + Carey (and Kerry in some accents)…not that this is going to make an appreciable difference in rarity for most of them, but it is worth noting, I think.

Plus, if you include nicknames, there’s even more vanishing special-ness. Take Edmund again. Not too bad, even at the bottom of the charts, right? That’s still pretty unusual. But he’s probably going to wind up being ‘Eddie’ (maybe Ned, if you’re feeling posh), and add that to: Edward (2309) + Eduardo (1221) + Edwin (1027) + Edgar (938) + Edison (493) + Eddie (453) + Eddy (113) + Edson (88) + Edric (48) + Edgardo (46) + Edrick (37) + Edvin (32) + Eduard (28) + Ediel (23) + Eddison (21) + Edris (20) + Edinson (18) + Edel (18) + Edmundo (13) + Eduar (13) + Edy (13) + Edgard (12) + Edwardo (12) + Edwyn (12) + Edrian (9) + Edilberto (8) + Ed (7) + Eddiel (7) + Edis (7) + Edras (7) + Edder (6) + Edrik (6) + Edrin (6) + Edsel (6) + Eduin (6) + Edzel (6) + Edil (5) + Edrees (5) + Edvard (5) + Edwar (5), and, well…even if you wanna argue way fewer little boys are going by nicknames these days, you can’t argue there’s a LOT of potential little Eddies. (And using Teddy won’t help, since Theo- names are also huge, although perhaps with slightly fewer spelling variations).

I suspect Leopold would be the worst of these, since the demographic of people who name their sons Leopold is likely to hugely overlap with people who name their sons Leo (unlike Ed- names, which are way more widely distributed), and there’s a Leo- name in the top 100. I also see this with Lucinda/Lucienne (Lucy), Millicent (Millie–which as a full name is rapidly shooting up, and is already top 100 in Utah), Benedict (Ben), Wilbur (Will), Theodora if you call her Teddy, and Jacinta (Jackie–Jacqueline is more than holding its own if you add in its many, many variant spellings, and Jackson is the most popular name for boys with spelling combined).

rlmurphy Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 9:41 am

I believe Helena is a misspelling. Helene is the most underused variation of the Helen names. It doesn’t even break the top 1000 in the UK.

Kew Says:

September 8th, 2018 at 6:17 am

Thank you for including the lovely Phyllis! I would love to see her make a comeback, along with Blanche.

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