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Rare Baby Names Worth Rescuing

Rare Baby Names Worth Rescuing

These rare baby names are in the charts, but only just. They were each given to only five babies, the minimum before the name disappears from the records completely.

If you’re looking for unusual name inspiration way down at the bottom of the US popularity charts, it can be daunting. There are just so many to wade through: in 2020 there were around 2400 girl names and 2000 boy names used just five times (which is as low as the rankings go). And so many are slight variations on a theme — your eyes start to blur between Ahlena, Ahlonni, Ahmoni, Ahriya and Ahviana.

But among them are some real gems. We’ve picked out the most interesting, stylish and (we think) underused names that were only given to five girls or boys in 2020, so you don’t have to. They encompass some of the coolest trends — such as surnames, word names, and elaborate names — and prove that there are always fresh options.

Some of these are rare because they’re on the way out, like former Top 200 names Jess and Vicki. Others only joined the charts recently, like Versailles and Glacier. And some have long been in steady but low-key use, like Sabrine and Barnaby. Whatever your style, we’re sure you’ll find some rarities here that make you go “wow!”

Rare Nickname Names

Looking for nicknames for the birth certificate, beyond Charlie and Ellie? These sweet little diminutives were only given to five girls or boys.

Uncommon Surname Names

The top of the charts are full of surnames — like Mason and Harper — but there are still plenty left that not many people are using. Whether any of these last names as first names are in your family tree, or belongs to a hero of yours, or just makes your heart sing, here’s a selection:

Unusual Place Names

Place names are a great source of inspiration if you’re looking for something stylish with deep roots that’s easy to pronounce, but not traditionally used as a first name.

These rare names off the map range from Sweden to Nigeria, from the grand palace of Versailles to the tiny Scottish island of Ailsa Craig. There are also some gender-crossers, like Arizona which is rising fast for girls, but was also given to 5 boys in 2020.

Rare Word Names

Frankly, we Adore many of these word names. In Reality, we’re Pretty Happy to be Given the Honour of presenting their Brilliance. So don’t be Shy — they’re Genuine and Worth a look!

Yes, all the words in bold above were given as names to 5 babies in 2020. Seriously, though, this list has some fascinating examples of the trends for outdoorsy nature names, new Christian and spiritual names, and positive, superlative names.

Underused Elaborate Names

We know that lots of parents — and name lovers — love extravagant names. Long, fanciful, ancient, literary… here’s some real-world inspiration for your list, whether it’s for real children or fantasy favorites.

Unique Smoosh Names

At the cutting edge of creativity, these names take two stylish choices and blend them into the best of both. Here are some fun smooshes from deep in the charts.

Why So Rare? Names

When scrolling through the list of names given to five children, some names stand out not because they’re wild or wacky, but because they’re not. They’re established, familiar, even well-known, and they’re pretty great. Why are they so rare, and can anyone rescue them from obscurity?

Looking for more one-of-a-kind names? Check out our big lists of unique girl names and unique boy names.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at clare@nameberry.com