So You Want A Unique Baby Name?

40 intriguing names that nobody but nobody else has

unique baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

A lot of people say they’re looking for unique baby names, but what do they really mean? A lot of the names tagged as unique often are anything but, including popular choices from Avery to Zoey.

So does unique mean different, as in names that depart from the traditional lexicon? Or maybe unique indicates names that have become widely-used only recently. Or names that are spelled differently from how anyone else has ever spelled them. And of course many people simply use unique to mean unusual.

But what if unique really means what it says: names that are literally one-of-a-kind. As in, no other babies were given this name, at least at this moment in this country. In the case of the US, that means names that don’t even make it to the Social Security complete list of names given to at least five babies.

The baby names here make that cut. So yes, theoretically, some of these names may have been used for two or four babies in the United States in 2015. And some of them may have been used for zero.

The point is, if you’re truly looking for unique baby names and want to make sure that nobody else has your name, then you’ll look to this list. Or to the thousands of other names on Nameberry that are authentically unique.

To hunt down unique baby names, check your favorites against the Social Security complete list, which you can download here by clicking on National Data. You can also find thousands of unique names in our book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names.

Once you find a unique baby name you love, then the question becomes: Do you really want to use it? Do you want your child to be the only person anyone has ever met with that name? For your child to spend a lifetime explaining and spelling and pronouncing his or her name? For there never ever to be a license plate on the rack that spells out that maybe-too-special name?

Maybe the answer is yes, and you feel that the advantages of a unique name — always standing out from the pack, feeling special and well, unique — outweigh the disadvantages. If so, you may find inspiration in the 40 truly unique baby names here.

girls

boys

Now it’s your turn: What truly unique baby names do you know and love and want to add to this list? What can you tell us about them?

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required
Post Categories:

comments

23 Responses to “So You Want A Unique Baby Name?”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

-EagleEyes- Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 12:04 am

Funny, I know siblings with both their names on this list.

Orchid_Lover Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 12:41 am

Some of these haven’t ever made the SSA list, some have. Also, you can Google “whitepages name popularity” and then search a name to get a better idea of how unique a name truly is….this works well for Nephele, for example, which has never made the SSA list but is in the whitepages 16 times as a first name. You can also run a people search on facebook to see if a unique name is actually unique worldwide. You can find quite a few people on facebook named Ismeria, but only 5 according to the whitepages and none on the SSA list.

The whole personalization thing is a bit overblown, in my experience. Many things can be personalized in the Internet age. The “love to learn Elmo” we got our son for Christmas can say both Indigo and Indy. If we have a daughter and my husband agrees, I would love to use a name that hasn’t been used in the US according to whitepages or the SSA list…but it does have several common nickname possibilities.

Fishingfornames Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 1:32 am

I worked with a girl named Tenique (tuh-neek). I just always liked her name; unique, but not too out there. I also know a girl named Angelese. It is much softer sounding than Angelique. Beautiful!

BrittanyBrown Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 3:12 am

Oh my gosh! MORVEN…I LOVE this name and I have no idea why. It has some weird power over me.
Great list.
You should add Plumeria to the unique name list!

IslandMoon Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 4:23 am

I should point out that though the names on the list might be unique in the US, they are most certainly not in other English speaking countries. Morven, for example, has listed on the Scottish top 500 for years.

tree_loves_eth Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 4:24 am

My name, Petrea, has only been on the SSA list twice in its history, so it’s pretty rare ?

Suzannah Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 7:19 am

I am a little surprised Avi made the list. It’s not a name I particularly like, but i would have thought it was more popular.

Pam Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 10:11 am

The names here didn’t make the SSA extended list for 2015 but may have in years past. Also, as @IslandMoon says, some of them are more popular in other countries than they are in the US.

Megan_Janaya Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 10:19 am

How lovely is Ianthe? I’ve come across it a couple of times lately whilst on Nameberry. The meaning is nice as well.

I’m also quite partial to Jessamy, although I do prefer Jasmine. Neith is interesting although unfortunately it reminds me of the boys name Keith.

Aurelian makes a nice change from Aurelius. It’s rather handsome. I’ve also seen Erasmus on Nameberry quite a few times and I quite like it. I would never use it though.

Mikey_pp Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Met a Tanith in highschool. I don’t think it struck me as unique or interesting at the time, I just figured I would meet more Taniths as time went by. It sounds plausible, as if it aught to be a name. There’s a lot of extremely unique names that don’t sound outlandish and aren’t difficult to spell or pronounce. I don’t really think having a unique name was ever such a hardship in itself. Sometimes it fails to impress or set the namesake apart, because the sounds and style are still extremely conventional.

GreenEyes375 Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 2:31 pm

I personally know three Donita’s, and I know of two more (one spelled Donitta). I hadn’t realized that it was such a rare name. Of the others though, I only know of a Valerian/Valarian who was named after the root/tea. Some of the others, like Kelila, are lovely though.

jmsouthern Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 2:39 pm

I was one of those moms who wanted a unique name when I was expecting my daughter, who just became a teenager (yikes!) I read what became her name in a magazine when I was about 15, and imemdiately knew it was THE name. Her name is Calyssa. People often tell us how lovely and different her name is. I’ve only ever heard of two other girls with the name, and they both spell it Calissa. I also understand that, spelled Calissa, it was the name of the mermaid’s mother in one of the Barbie animated movies. I have yet to find either spelling listed in any baby name book.

indiefendi2 Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 6:16 pm

I have an extremely unique name myself (has never ever been in the Top 1000 or maybe even top 10,000 for that matter–but sometimes I do meet people who have relatives with my name or my name is their middle name kinda thing but probably not my same spelling) and I definitely want my future kids to have unique names (but not “crazy”, just very uncommon and interesting) and I’m much too educated on name popularity to fall for the “my kid has a unique name” that is really the 16th most popular name in America or something silly like that. The kind of “unique” I like is Catrinel or Artemis.

though when I was little I would’ve traded my life to be a Nicole, Jessica, or Victoria.

FelicitySmoak Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 10:48 pm

I am surprised to see Avi on this list since I know 2 babies born in 2016 named Avi. One boy born in February and one girl born in October.

lesliemarion Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 11:06 pm

Some of these are divine like Morven and Valerian, but some are hideous like Agacia. Acacia yes, and I think that would be plenty unique.

With all the great place, tree, flower, gem, etc. names out there it should be easy to find names that aren’t too common. I’ve taught for close to 30 years and sad to say, but most of my students have had the most boring and usual names ever. And those who haven’t have tended to have misspelled or otherwise monstrous names. Destineee, etc.

SparkleNinja18 Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 11:39 pm

I knew a girl named Tanith! I had no idea it didn’t even make the extended list. She’s the only one I’ve ever met or heard of but I wasn’t aware that it was that uncommon.

Care Says:

December 30th, 2016 at 3:53 am

I knew a girl named Starva, but I’m not a fan.
Another named Placid… her mother said she was anything but. Bet the girl got tired of hearing that.
Saw one on TV named Duvet (du-vay). Her mother said she wanted a child who would be a comfort to others.
I knew a little Benina. I think that’s pretty cute.
A boy named Caius, maybe that isn’t unusual though.
I know a Guyon, rhymes with Byon, another little boy.
How about a girl named Cynara (sin-r-ah), pretty. Her father said it was Irish.

Ducaliter Says:

December 30th, 2016 at 7:02 pm

I really like Tanaquil that feels unique or Cael for a boy. But I don’t think I will give so uncommon names to children, I am more the kind of person who would whose a name based on what I like. Not too common but not too usual.

ARead Says:

December 30th, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Ianthe is on my shortlist for another girl–love it! My top unusual choices for a boy would be Anuerin or Taliesin.

esita Says:

January 1st, 2017 at 5:12 am

Love a lot of these!

strawberrytree Says:

January 1st, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Isn’t Tanith Belbin a fairly well known figure skater? There’s someone that people may have heard of with the name, at least!

My favourite girl name of all time, Demelza, isn’t on the SSA top 1000. Have never read or seen Poldark, but I first heard the name on Australia’s Next Top Model several years ago and fell in love. I’m pretty sure I’ve worn my husband down enough over the years to use it as a middle if we ever have a girl. Amusingly, the Demelza from ANTM has a sister named Tanith, per Wikipedia!

paulapuddephatt Says:

January 2nd, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Charlica. Although I invented this by combining two of my long-term favourite girls’ names, Charlotte and Jessica, it is actually in use. I understand that about 11 people currently have this name in USA and don’t think that it has been used in any other countries. It isn’t listed on here, but I think that it should be, and I did write a blog post about it. It would make an interesting alternative to Charlotte, or using Charlie as a given name, and Charlie could still be a nickname.

oftenoverseas Says:

January 10th, 2017 at 7:57 am

I considered Erasmus for our boy and still like it a lot. If my husband suggested Tanith or Arto for the next child, I’d consider them!

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.