Unique Baby Names: Is there such a thing??

This blog is adapted from our most recent book, Beyond Ava & Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby

When people look for baby names online, they often put in a search for “unique names.” Some of them are trying to find names that are unusual and distinctive, but some really do want to give their child a name that’s truly one-of-a-kind, something that nobody else has.

A recent newspaper story claimed that one of the reasons for this is because modern parents want their child to be “Googleable,” to have a name that’s different enough that it will pop out online. And some parents say they won’t settle on a name until they find out whether its url is available.

Of course, as soon as you give your child a “unique” name, it all but guarantees it won’t be unique anymore since someone will almost inevitably poach it. We were tickled to find, for instance, that someone posted on our website bulletin board that she’d named her son Knox, a name that wasn’t in our or any other baby-naming book –  months before Angelina and Brad chose it for their newborn son, launching it on the track to widespread use.

When we asked visitors to our website to tell us what they’d named their babies, we never expected their answers to provide such a trove of highly unusual – yes, even unique – names. Some of these turn gender on its ear, some twist spellings in different ways, some reintroduce ancient or ethnic names or transform place names or surnames, and some are conjured from parents’ fertile brains.

Now here is where you would ordinarily expect to find a long list of distinctive, never-heard-before names.  But that would be against the spirit of this style.  So you’ll just have to find–or create–one of your own.

For more of our ideas on unusual names, check out Beyond Ava & Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby

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13 Responses to “Unique Baby Names: Is there such a thing??”

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Mnemosyne Says:

November 28th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Awww…please, can’t you tell us just one? 😉

Anna Says:

November 28th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

LOL! You’re right about a list being against the spirit of unique names. 🙂 But I think that whole url thing is ridiculous. The things people care about…

Anna Says:

November 28th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

LOL! You’re right about a list being against the spirit of unique names. 🙂 But I think that whole url thing is ridiculous. The things people care about…

Kayt Says:

November 28th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I think ‘unique’ names are totally overrated. Sure, it would have been nice to not be one of six Kates in your English class, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be named something totally ridiculous to be unique. That’s why I like older names that aren’t common anymore. I had wanted to name my son Gideon or Simon. Most people recognize the name, and know how to spell it, but can’t come up with more than a couple of people they know with the name. Alas, my husband didn’t agree, and we ended up with James. It’s still not common at all in his age group in our area, and that’s good enough for me! He’s almost one, and we haven’t met any Jameses under twenty yet.

Lucy Says:

November 28th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I named my first children before I was in to the whole baby names thing, so I can now look back and reflect on my ignorance at the time. 🙂 Most normal parents want uncommon names, so the names I chose, Calista and Gabriel, fit that category. After I got in to baby names, I figured I should just stick with the theme so I chose Gracelyn and Camden, which are more common but they sound unused enough.

Veris Says:

November 29th, 2009 at 3:49 am

I think a lot of people just don’t look very hard, or do a lot of research. And most baby names books I have seen (haven’t looked very much at yours though, sorry! I’m broke and don’t shop online– I’d have to buy it at bookstore price) do not really highlight names that are unusual, or the writers do not do enough research to know what actually is unusual. People say “I shall name my son Aiden because I have never heard of anyone with that name before”, and never bother to look up how popular it actually is. And then their poor Aiden is in a class with 2 others, plus Jayden, Kaden, Hayden, and Braden. Mom says “Well I never heard of anyone with that name!”
(silly mom, you had months to visit ssa.gov at least once and look it up!)

There may not be any truly UNIQUE names, but there are many that are highly unusual while still being usable. At least 75% or more of my name list is not on the top 1000, and at least 50% of it never has been– and they are legitimate names [meaning, I did not “make them up myself” or use an alternate spelling]. I know that I could easily name all my children so they could go through life and maybe meet one person with their name–maybe not even that.

I’m sure I haven’t seen every Nameberryite’s children’s names, but nothing I have seen so far surprises me, to be honest. It’s just sort of all hipster.

Marly Says:

November 29th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I certainly agree with you on this. So many people are working so hard to keep up with the Jones’s (is that a name pun??). I personally think that a name is a gift and the best gift reflects the person you’re giving it to. I’ve talked to countless people about their names and to me, the most unique ones are the ones with great stories behind the name. Great post!

Chels Says:

November 30th, 2009 at 11:04 am

To follow up what Marly said….I think it’s not that people are working to keep UP with the Jones’s. It’s that they’re working to keep AWAY from the Jones’s.

stephanie_elizabeth Says:

November 30th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

The blogger who loved Knox probably fell in love with the name due to Dead Poet’s Societ, where one of the characters names is Knox Overstreet. (Love it!) That is where I fell in love with the name, which is no longer useable because of the Brangelina spawn.

A friend of my mine from high school recently named her son Psalm. While I applaud the attempt at uniqueness, I am not certain this name will age well. I can see him going by Josh or Joshua (his middle name) when he is old enough.

Mae Says:

December 1st, 2009 at 11:01 am

One of my favorite potential names is Soleil (prounounced (so lay) But I wonder if it is a pretty, nature name or a too unique circus name.. ?

Alex Says:

December 7th, 2009 at 11:15 am

thanks so much for sharing! This post really made me stop and think.

Abigail Says:

December 14th, 2009 at 3:16 am

I love traditional “old lady names”. I believe some celebrities must walk through their house with the eyes closed, then pick something up and say,
“Toliet brush, that’s the name,”

Tracey Says:

December 19th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Dare I mention that I gave my youngest the middle name “Eressea”–it means “unique” in Syndarin Elvish of Tolkien!

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