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These Rare Names Are Still in the Charts…Just

April 24, 2020 Clare Green
rare baby names

Rare baby names at the bottom of the popularity charts are an endless source of interest and inspiration. As the US baby name data for 2019 is due to be released next month, let’s take a final look deep down in the 2018 lists, as it could be the last time we see some of the names there.

When we say “unique” names, we mean those that were only given to five girls or five boys in one year. (Any fewer than that, and they don’t appear in the public data.) They’re not literally one-of-a-kind names. But unless they’re specific to a local area, it’s very unlikely these children will ever meet a namesake.

Interestingly, some of the names given to five children were once in the Top 200, like Teri and Latasha. Their heyday has long since passed, and now they’re on the verge of disappearing. Others have always been rare, but dip in and out of the charts.

What sort of names do we find here? You’ve probably guessed: all sorts! Of the hundreds of names given to five children, some are respellings of more popular names — like Jette and Pheona, Antjuan and Ryder. Others are probably hyphenated but show up on the list de-punctuated, like Lunamaria and Luismiguel. But many more are original names in their own right.

We’ve rounded up some of the best rare names in style categories. It may be too late to save them for 2019, but they won’t be forgotten.

Ladies and gentlemen

Let’s kick it off with some of the grandest names on the list: some are whimsical, some are vintage, and all are teetering on the edge of use.

Albertina
Adeliza
Bertrand
Blanche
Ernestine
Esmeray
Hilaria
Humphrey
Lancelot
Maud
Niniola
Olivet
Ozella
Pearlina
Timon
Tudor
Zephora

Heroes and heroines

Some of the hottest names right now pay tribute to iconic figures, both historic and fictional: think Lennon and Hendrix, Atticus and Luna. If you’re looking for something less popular, here are some lesser-used options.

Albus
Aretha
Brahms
Cher
Crusoe
Django
Hamlet
Lorde
Maru
Matisse
Mowgli
Polo
Spurgeon
Tarzan
Thoreau
Titania
Versace
Yeltsin
Zola

Cutting-edge cool names

A lot of on-trend names mix and match from a pool of syllables, so you have Kayden and Kayson and Bryson and Brylee and Kaylee… and so on. The names below combine elements that are rare, but fit perfectly into this style.

Arrowyn
Axelson
Baxley
Brecker
Brodix
Dashton
Everick
Heartlynn
Luxle
Rocklan
Zehlani

Names off the map

Step aside, Brooklyn and Memphis. Some parents have journeyed beyond the most common place names and used ones that are widely recognised, but rarely found on class registers.

Athens
Bedford
Bergen
Chicago
Cyrene
Eton
Kentucky
Madrid
Malvina
Missouri
Normandy
Peru
Romney
Seville
Tokyo
Torres

Surname names

Looking for surnames beyond Mason and Harper? These names prove that there are still plenty of stylish last names that almost no one is using as a first name yet.

Barclay
Barnes
Brewster
Callaghan
Carmichael
Dalton
Fielder
Gilson
Haviland
Hendry
Hutton
Kinkade
Lyons
Maclaren
Myers
Nicholson
Philips
Rosen
Saunders
Stokely
Sutherland
Thaxton
Tolliver
Wentz
Westbrook
Willoughby
Woodley

Nickname names

Recently we looked at the coolest nicknames for babies, and now we bring you some of the rarest. These are full of casual style and — at least for five babies — stand alone without a longer form.

Attie
Audy
Chas
Chrissie
Deke
Jossie
Kes
Liddie
Lu
Mel
Montie
Nik
Revy
Scotty
Susu
Taz
Toria
Wills

English word names

We can all think of popular names that are also words: Grace, Lily, Carter, Maverick. But a few parents delve much deeper into the dictionary. Here’s a selection of word names that we’d be sorry to see slip off the charts.

Nature: Cloud, Cobra, Cub, Dune, Eagle, Garland, Marine, Quince, Rook, Swan
Elements: Bronze, Iron, Carbon

Titles: Abbot, Canon, Chancellor, Parson, Pharaoh

Music: Rhapsody, Samba

Light: Beacon, Bright, Kindle, Sun, Solar

Geographic: Axis, Edge, Horizon, East, North

Cosmic: Chaos, Life, Universe

Strength and energy: Bronco, Power, Prevail, Rowdy, Solo, Tamer
Ethereal: Destine, Dreamer, Fairy, Ether, Spiritual

Visionary: Purpose, Quest, Trail, Vision

Superlatives: Alpha, Maximum, Million, Prime, Stellar

Here are even more words you won’t believe have been turned into baby names.

Multicultural word names

If you speak another language, there’s a whole world of vocabulary that could become a name. Here are some of the most stylish words from other languages that were given to five children in 2018.

Aquila
Cielo
Cinque
Dolce
Ecclesia
Fiore
Kawaii
Lei
Marron
Miamore
Miel
Noir
Precieux
Princesa

Super smooshes

Take two names, blur them together, and you have the smoosh or portmanteau name. You may know familiar ones like Annelise and Johnpaul, but we think these rarities are pretty clever.

Carmani
Domitri
Elissandro
Ellivia
Emiliani
Garrhett
Izalea
Laylannie
Lismary
Marieliz
Novalise
Wilmary
Yazmarie
Zakobe
Zoanna

Change one letter

Have you ever made a typo in a name and created a new name that sounds pretty great? (Caution: this doesn’t always work. No matter how many emails I sign as “Calre” it doesn’t get any more usable.) Or have you played the long-running game Change One Letter in the Nameberry forums?

The names here operate on the same principle. Take a well-known name, change or add or remove one letter, and you might end up with something new and ready to use.

Cariana
Fenn
Kennet
Lulie
Mariona
Nevelyn
Semma
Tiona
Zathan
Zyron

International names

A lot of the rarest names on the charts come from languages and cultures all over the word. Many are well-known in their home country, but undiscovered in the States. It’s hard to whittle the list down to just a few… but we’ve tried!

Anoush
Ashok
Benedikt
Clemence
Colman
Demelza
Eirini
Ernst
Fabiano
Fiammetta
Genji
Ghislaine
Ilayda
Imre
Kazumi
Koffi
Latifah
Leonzo
Manon
Mayim
Niloufar
Nouri
Octaviano
Orlaith
Parvati
Placido
Stavro
Sunniva
Temitope
Temujin
Ulla
Ulysse
Vasco
Vivaansh
Wojciech
Yekaterina
Yitzhak
Zeferino

Which of these rare baby names do you hope to see on next year’s charts? 

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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