Rare Baby Names Are Worth Rescuing!

Rare Baby Names Are Worth Rescuing!

These rare baby names are in the charts, but only just. Catch them before they disappear!

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 2019 there were over 2400 girl names and 1900 boy names used just five times (the lowest the rankings go). And so many are slight variations on a theme: your eyes start to blur between Ahlaiyah, Ahlanni, Ahlaysia, Ahlina and Ahlivia.

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 2019, so you don’t have to. They encompass some of the coolest trends — such as surnames, word names, and elaborate names — proving that there are always fresh options.

Some of these are rare because they’re on the way out, like former Top 300 names Bess and Bart. Others only joined the charts in the last five years, like Versailles and Hemingway. And some have long been in steady but low-key use, like Antigone and Powell. Whatever your style, we’re sure you’ll find some rarities here that make you go “wow!”

Rare Nickname Names

Looking for a nickname name 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 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 ancient Abyssinia to modern Nashville, from the grand palace of Versailles to the tiny Scottish port of Oban. There are also some gender-crossers, like Arizona which is rising fast for girls, but was also given to 5 boys in 2019.

Rare Word Names

Frankly there’s so much Choice when it comes to word names, we have to be Clever and Sly to narrow down the best. My Goodness, I Wonder if you can Imagine the Mayhem when we Blitz the list to include all the Dreamy names we Desire. Ultimately it’s Ajourney to Success, so stay Mellow and enjoy these Jewels. (As well as the ones in bold here! And seriously, these names are interesting examples of the trends for nature word names, new Christian spiritual names, and positive, superlative names.

Underused Elaborate Names

We know lots of you 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 complete guide to unique names.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from the next high-rising names to how to choose a multilingual name, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and lives in England with her husband and toddler. You can follow everything she reads about names on Twitter or, or reach her at