Nearly Unique Baby Names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

The mythical secret vault of truly unique baby names is real, but only the US government holds the key. 

To protect privacy, the Social Security Administration doesn’t release names given to only one child, drawing the line at five or more. So the names given to five babies are the most unique we’re able to learn about.  Most of those on that rarefied level are tortured spellings of more familiar names: Mikeila and Scarlotte, Masun and Stanlee. And there are truly terrible names at the depths of the extended list too, as detailed in our recent blog.

But then there are those nearly unique baby names that are eminently usable, ripe for the picking for the parent who truly wants a distinctive choice.  These are not for everybody, but we found over 50 excellent choices that were used for just five children each in 2012.  Among them are names that are among our all-time favorites, such as Petal and Tiernan for girls, O’Brien and Poe for boys.

Our favorite nearly-unique (given to just five children) baby names:













Eilidh and Eilonwy




































Optimusunique baby names


Pacer and Tracker





Which of these do you like?  Would you use any?

Illustration is a 1960 painting by Polish artist Igor Morski.

If you’re looking for unique baby names, check out our brand new e-book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names.

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19 Responses to “Nearly Unique Baby Names”

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augusta_lee Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

I know a Concetta (nn Connie) and a Jett, both girls. I like Isidore, Mercury, and Pascale.

deesa Says:

June 24th, 2013 at 11:50 pm

like Adelisa. also surprised that some of these are so rare, especially Clancy, Sam (g), Season, Frasier and Williamson, because i know more than one of each who are less than 5 years old.

neat list. thanks for posting it.

nowsintechnicolor Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 1:45 am

Sam isn’t unique. But I like Calloway and Morrissey. I know lots of people with last names of the boys’ names, like Fitzpatrick and Costello.

Tinkblue Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 3:13 am

I know women in their 30’s and children under 6 named Adelisa (goes by Addi), Anthea(Thea), Eilidh, Elke, Frederica (is called Freddie, Freda, Freya, Ria, Rica or Ricki) and Pascale.

susannahsymes Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 5:41 am

Pacer and Tracker. Ridiculous

orphanedhanyou Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 6:53 am

disappointing, not very rare names, maybe just for that gender. could you do lists of names first appearing on the list that year? a few lists of previous years like that proved more helpful finding new names instead of blogs basically repeating the same names over and over.

R_J Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 7:13 am

I knew a Cassiopeia (hated it, went by Cassie) and a Concetta, but they are in their 30s.

I think Wyn is nice for a boy and I like Anthea. Only 5 for some of these names seems surprising!

iamktchristie Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 7:23 am

I actually like Pacer, though I wouldn’t say the same for tracker.

GoodHope Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 8:45 am

I like Garland, Pascale, Petal, and Season for the girls and Booth, Draper, Gregor, and Munro for boys. Pascale is the one I’m most likely to use; it shows up in some of my combos as a middle name…gorgeous for a springtime baby.

Optimus is just ridiculous. It’s like naming your baby He-Man or Thundercat.

Saracita00 Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 9:31 am

The girls side receives a general “yech,” though Kismet and Anthea are cool. For the boys, I kind of love it that a few parents actually used Churchill, and that some saw the handsome strength of Gregor. I like Isadore but with Isabella at the top on the girls’ side, I’m afraid those five little guys are going to hate the similarity. Montague is pretty cool, though if their parents aren’t after a Shakespearean nod, it’s unfortunate. Optimus is just ridiculous, and Draper, Pacer and Tracker are kind of awful.

Incidentally, were any of the girl Abbotts and boy Costellos twin sets of parents who think they are funny?

Saracita00 Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 9:34 am

LOL: GoodHope’s comment hadn’t posted when I composed my message. That’s two separate verbatim nominations of, “Optimus is just ridiculous.”

iamamiam Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 10:28 am

I like Kismet, Pascale, Churchill, and Montague! Adelisa, Onora, Valentia, Fitzpatrick (nn Fitz) Mercury, Optimus, and Poe are alright/neat as well. Last year there were 6 girl Wyns and 5 boy Wyns…I wish the boys could take back more names like this that (historically–from Welsh, in this case) belong on them. Seems to me that unique names disproportionately go to the girls 🙁

Of this list, the following first appeared this year: Abbot, Calloway and Morrissey (for a girl, but all are very rare on boys as well), Eilonwy, Optimus, and Taddeo. A few others have only ever appeared once or twice before, though.

To figure out rare names for yourself, search through the recent lists provided on the Social Security website Names are listed girls first, then boys and also from top names to the ones only given to 5 babies, in alphabetical order.

Then, to easily figure out past popularity of names on both boys and girls, you can plug your names into the Our Baby Namer website under the “Popularity” tab.

spotlightstarlit Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 10:43 am

Anthea’s my latest name crush!

MaryKathryn Says:

June 25th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I’ve always loved Abbott “Abbie” for a girl and Calloway “Cal” for a boy

BoyGirlStuff Says:

June 26th, 2013 at 7:29 am

My faves are Daryn and Gregor.

benjamelissa Says:

June 26th, 2013 at 8:00 am

Love lists like this! Adelisa would fit right in with today’s trends, and I kind of like Daryn. None of the boys names really grabs me. Though Optimus sounds Greek. Any chance it was already a name before The Transformers used it?

emilyrenee Says:

July 2nd, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I love Concetta, Petal and Isidore, I might use some of the other boy names if I was writing a book.

Dancingferret519 Says:

September 5th, 2013 at 1:47 am

I really love Osric! It’s strong, powerful and different but not so different that people will get mispronounce it. Gregor is nice too. I think Wyn is feminine though and it is one of my favorites for a girl.

Snptaylor Says:

April 26th, 2014 at 4:21 pm

We call our son Wyn (derived from his middle name Edwin), now that I am expecting again I am searching for a name as unique as his for our second and having quite a struggle. And suggestions????

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