Unusual Names for Boys: Below the Top 1000

Go straight to lists of unusual names and unique names.

When I looked at the boys’ names just below the Top 1000, I was surprised that I was less surprised than I was when I surveyed the girls’ selections. There are a handful of attractive, stylish names here that I would have sworn were among the Top 1000 — most notably Theo, Gus, Finnian, and Dashiell — but many more that simply feel in tune with their more popular brothers.

As with the girls’ names, I’ve starred those I think are headed for greater popularity. But the more important point is that, if you’re searching for a name that is fashionable yet not epidemic, any of these would be perfect choices.

All of these names were given to at least 100 boys but fewer than 200 boys last year.  For the complete boys’ master list, with actual numbers for all names, go here.

*Headed for the Top 1000

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24 Responses to “Unusual Names for Boys: Below the Top 1000”

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Andrea Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 12:23 am

I guess I’m not surprised some of these aren’t better used. I haven’t encountered any of them in the schools or seen them on birth announcement lists. I did interview one boy named Theo (short for Theodore) a number of years ago but he would be well into his 20s by now. There’s a teenage girl named Miller on the high school girls hockey team but I’ve never heard it on a boy. Forrest is a name that seems to have gone out with Forrest Gump. No one wanted their kid to come across as slow. There are so many similar sounding names that I think they are used only a few times. Parents who like a particular style all end up using different names in their quest to be unique. Names like Dashiell and Gus are popular with Yuppies and hipsters and Hollywood types but those people aren’t a large enough population to propel them to the top 1,000. Give them a couple of years and they’ll probably spread.

LyndsayJenness Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 2:49 am

^^ I have a Dashiell and I’m not a yuppie or a hipster or a Hollywood type 🙂

I heard a Miller at the zoo the other day and I went to school with an Eleazar (25 now), I haven’t encountered any of the others though. Angus is one of my favorite names ever, I kind of wish it was more popular though!

pam Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 7:30 am

I could happily name a whole family of boys from these names.

stacy Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 7:50 am

I know a baby Theo (not sure if it’s short for anything), a baby Ewan as well as a Foster and a Linus.

I also love: Thaddeus, Eamon (love!!), Truman, Judson, Finnian and Cormac. Oh, and Grey. We loved Grey in our house, but it’s not practical when your last name is the same as a car manufacturer.

Honestly, in addition to ones you’ve starred, I’d expect Langton, Lennox (via Lennon and Maddox), Simeon (via Simon), Truman, Hank (via Henry perhaps), and Harris (since Harrison is popular, I am shocked) to make it up the list.

Lauren Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 9:32 am

I can’t believe Edison isn’t higher up. I love that name!! It’s on my short list of boys names.

care1032 Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 10:08 am

I have a Theo and I see the name mentioned a lot, but have yet to meet another one (well, that isn’t over the age of 50 or on TV). Liking that it is still under the radar!

Gus is tops on my list for the next baby (IF there is a next one!). And I’ve always had a soft spot for Beck, Dashiell (or maybe just Dash), and Linus.

Great list! Would love to see one for girls!!

pam Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 10:11 am

The girls’ list ran on Friday through the weekend — just go back one blog.

care1032 Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 10:21 am

Thanks Pam! Got it!

L. Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 10:42 am

My son Thaddeus was born last year. We like his name because people are always surprised to hear it, yet it’s still a legitimate name that everyone has heard of. He doesn’t use a nickname.

literaturegeek Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 10:55 am

I am really secretly glad Their is on this list. Mine is Theodore with Their for short but I don’t want either to get too popular. I am also surprised at the following:
Eamon, Ewan, Dashiel and Grey

ycw Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 11:29 am

Names I could see using:
Simeon (though the similarity to simian is a turnoff), Thaddeus, Lionel, Enoch, Augustine, Phineas (though I prefer Phinehas), Eleazar, maybe Zev

Others I like:
Truman, Forrest, Lachlan, Dashiell, Linus

I think the reason Theo isn’t more popular is simply that there’s a large intersection of those who like it and those who refuse to use nicknames as full names; Theodore is a respectable 276, and most likely comprises the great majority of Theos. I prefer Dore, myself.

Colter, Beck
A bit politically charged, though they do fit the surname trend… Not sure a famous woman’s surname can catch on for little boys, however masculine it sounds. I keep wondering when we’ll see an explosion of little girls named Palin, though; good namesake, surname trend, ends in -lin. Almost rhymes with the why-on-earth-is-it-popular-for-girls Peyton.

I think these four are the only ones I’m really surprised didn’t make the top thousand:
Truman, Lochlan, Dashiell, Harris

One of my favorites is Hezekiah, up to 878 from 932 last year. How many Hezekiahs do you know? You really don’t have to leave the top 1000 to be unusual (though it is fun to play with those lists).

Macy Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

What about the unisex names that were once in the top1000? I think some may return

Em Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I really like this list. A few of these names are actually on my list of favorites.

Theo
Lionel
Truman
Clifford
Otis
Magnus
Harris
Foster
Cormac

smismar Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Really like a lot of these! Thaddeus, Truman, and Linus (IHO of Pauling) are on my short list. I worry about the Peanuts association with Linus, though. Clifford was my grandfather’s name, so it’s on a middle name list, but I worry about the big red dog. So many good names have been ruined by one stupid pop culture reference or another.

pam Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I have friends who named their son Clifford, and call him Ford. It’s great.

Natasha Marie Says:

September 14th, 2010 at 8:53 am

I am really surprised that Lachlan rates so low. Here in Australia it is extremely popular, and I’d imagine it would be so in Uk as well.

My favourites from the list are Lachlan, Angus and Ewan (i prefer the Euan sp). Although in my mind these aren’t unusual names, maybe with the exception of Euan.

Becca Says:

September 14th, 2010 at 10:12 am

I like
Turner- my mothers maiden name!
Hank- I think this one will be on the rise. Not sure though.
Channing
Finnian
Phineas
Judson
Bowen
Otis- I think maybe on the rise too. Not sure though.

Great list!

Casey Says:

September 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am

Bit late on seeing this. My five-month old son is named Arlo. For the most part people love it, although we occasionally get the “Oh… is that a family name?” and our labor and delivery nurse put quotation marks around it on the little tag for his bassinet. Sigh.

I like a lot of these names. Will definitely bookmark this to look at when we have another one!

Nicole Says:

October 24th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

I have a two year old Arlo. We love the name, and he could be nothing but an Arlo. Either people love it or they just smile and say “oh”, or assume we love Arlo Guthrie. I’m hearing about more and more Arlo babies. I’m due in 7 weeks and we have no boy names. Looking for another strong yet soft, somewhat classic name.

Lucky*Clover Says:

August 7th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I’m shocked at Enoch, I’ve never seen this Bible name used! I’ve heard of a couple of little boys named Gus and Colter seems to be the new Colton in my neck of the woods.

iCheeseburger Says:

February 19th, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Other sensible boy names that were not in the top 1000 for 2010:

Dale (was 916 in 2009)
Constantine (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 1970)
Wendell (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 1995)
Ramsey (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 1997)
Elroy (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 1966)
Campbell (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 2005)
Cam (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 1896)
Vladimir (has never been in top 1000)
Gaylord (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 1956)
Jemison (has never been in top 1000)
Maximillian (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 2005)
Mac (hasn’t been in top 1000 since 1976)

Maximillian REALLY surprised me.

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SiaMia Says:

April 25th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Of this list, I have only personally met a baby named Augustine.

Gus, Hank and Forrest are on their way up

aimers6 Says:

July 23rd, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I have a Finnehas, he was due 4-4-04 wanted to name him Forrest but my husband said no. My youngest is Hewitt. Never met another.

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