Thinking Outside the Popularity Box
Have you ever been frustrated to find that a name you’ve loved for years is actually more popular than you thought?
When I was ten or so, I remember thinking the names Piper and Cooper were adorable and unique. While my personal tastes have changed quite bit in the last fifteen years, I still tend to steer clear of names I deem “too popular.” Both of my “unique” choices are now in the SSA Top 100, and I can only watch helplessly as many of the baby names I’ve loved for years trend tragically upwards.
Honestly, I don’t think it’s that big a deal to use a popular name, especially now that a smaller proportion of kids actually have names that rank in the Top 100. But I also know that seeing thousands of other parents using a name is off-putting to many of us. Many of the most chic names today share similar sounds such as “den,” “ell,” or “ev.” Here I’ve compiled a list of names that share attractive sounds with some of the trendiest monikers, but haven’t reached the Top 500 (yet).
Two-syllable names ending in –er are extremely popular…there are seven such names in the boys’ Top 100. If Harper, Piper, Carter, and Hunter are too common for you, consider Denver, Calder, Wilder, or Vesper.
It’s clear that this generation of namers loves surname-y sounding names like Mason, Hudson, and Carson, with seven –son names appearing in the boys’ top 100. Less commonly used but equally adorable are: Edison, Pearson, Wilson, Tennyson, and Judson.
Eight –elle/-ella names appear in the top 100 for girls, but there are tons of untapped options to choose from. Some great ones include Antonella, Ardella, Fiorella, Israella, Maelle/Maella, Kyrielle, and Della/Adela.
If you’ve always been mad for Maddie, consider Matea and Madigan as alternatives to Madeline and Madison. If you’re willing to give up Maddie as a nickname, consider Marceline or Maybelline instead of Madeline.
Identifying precisely which sounds in your favorite names make them appealing to you is a great way to search for a new, less common choice! Do you think any of your favorites could be replaced by a similar sounding name?