British Names That Never Crossed the Pond

British Names That Never Crossed the Pond

British names and American names are as different as they are alike.

If that sounds confusing, consider that parents in both the US and in England and Wales share six girl names and two for boys in their Top 10 lists. Favored by both nations are Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Mia and Amelia for girls, Noah and Oliver for boys.

There are hundreds more names that rank among the Top 1000 in both Britain and the US, and then there are hundreds more that remain relatively undiscovered by the other country.

We surveyed the Top 1000 British baby names to find 180 unique names — 90 British names for girls and 90 British names for boys — that we consider undiscovered in the US. Sure, American parents may have heard many of these names, but they’re not using them in the same numbers as British parents for their babies.

The main types of English baby names undiscovered in the US are:

English nickname names

British parents are much fonder than American parents of using nicknames as proper names, with Ralphie and Reggie, Honey and Hettie among the Top 1000 names in England and Wales.

Multicultural British names

Names native to Wales, Ireland, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe appear on the British popular names list, yet are virtually unknown in the US. Among these are Arwen and Owain, Isra and Osman, Andreas and Zoya.

Vintage British names

Antique names are in style on both sides of the ocean, but not always the same vintage names. Vintage choices more popular in Britain include Primrose and Percy, Persephone and Montague.

Of course, there are also some unique British baby names that don’t fit neatly into any of these categories. And a few that are discovered in the US, like Hadley, but for the opposite gender.

Here, 180 baby names — 90 for girls and 90 for boys — that rank among the British Top 1000, but are rare in the US:

British Girl Names

English Boy 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