Unusual Baby Names: Top choices under the radar

Unusual Baby Names: Top choices under the radar

The big news in baby names this week has been the Most Popular Names 2012: Top 1, Top 10, Top 100, Top 1000.

But swimming just below the surface — not quite on the radar but not truly off, either — are dozens of more unusual baby names poised to find wider favor….or dropping from view.

Many Nameberry favorites exist in this limbo of baby names, including choices such as Aurelia and Wren for girls that missed making it into the Top 1000 by a single point.

Of course, that may bring relief rather than disappointment to many parents.  If you want to name your baby Magnolia or Clementine, Bishop or Langston — or already have — you may tremble on surveying the new Top 1000, hoping your favorites stay off the list.

We looked below the Top 1000 for girls and boys and found those names within 50 points of the cutoff that we felt were heading back into style, along with those sailing off into the sunset.

In raw numbers, 251 girls received the Number 1000 name Katalina while 197 boys were named Number 1000 boys’ name Dangelo.  The numbers after each name below represent the number of children given that name in 2012.

One note on the names we say are Heading Out: Some of these may appeal to parents in search of a name with Geek Chic or an unusual classic.  Hello, baby Ralph!  Or….dare I suggest….baby Pamela?

Here, the names just under the Top 1000 coming into style and heading out:


Heading In

Aurelia 250

Wren 250

Mercy 248

Astrid 246

Rory 246

Amalia 244 (though it was on in 2011; we think it will climb back)

Lyra 242

Remi 242

Sutton 240

Mabel 238

Noa 238

Liv 236 (touched the Top 1000 in 2011 and fell back out again)

Margot 235

Ellison 234

Faye 230

Emmeline 228 (though spelling Emmaline climbed onto the Top 1000)

Maren 226

Louisa 222

Gwen 221 (some may doubt that Gwen and Antonia, below, are heading back in, but we love them both.)

Antonia 219

Magnolia 218

Delia 215

Clementine 204

Cordelia 204

Ellery 201

Heading out

Stacy 251

Theresa 230

Penny 227 (though Penelope is rising)

Bonnie 222

Annette 213

Darlene 213

Pamela 213

Maryjane 211

Janet 210

Sally 205

Gretchen 201


Heading In

Garrison 197

Baylor 195

Cortez 195

Ephraim 193 (is the world ready for a new generation of baby Ephraims?)

Royal 193

Enoch 192 (see Ephraim)

Grey 184

Lachlan 183

Bishop 182

Thatcher 179

Otis 178

Miller 178 (On the Top 1000 in 2011 but dropped off.  We think it will resurface.)

Judson 177

Taj 172

Azariah 171 (see Ephraim and Enoch)

Canaan 170

Ford 170

Keller 170

Langston 168

Ulysses 165

Bode 163

Cormac 163

Stetson 163 (talk about a cowboy name!)

Magnus 158

Duke 154

Heading out

Gordon 194 (but we love this!)

Irvin 193

Clarence 190

Glenn 178

Ralph 178 (Love this too!  Or at least I do; Linda, not so much)

Gerard 170

Dale 162

Norman 153

Photo by Elena Kalis.  See more of her beautiful pictures here.

Want names that are much more unusual?  Then look for the new Nameberry e-book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names, coming very soon to the new Nameberry Store!

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.