Unusual Names for Girls: Below the Top 1000

Go straight to lists of unusual names for girls.

Often I’ll look up a name I think is attractive or stylish – or even trendy — on Nameberry, and find myself shocked to discover it doesn’t rank in the Top 1000.  How is it possible that a name du jour like Esme or Clementine, Tallulah or Wren doesn’t make it into the 1000 most popular names, I wonder, when it seems to me that every other baby girl I meet has one of these names?

But then I remember that I dwell in the relatively rarified world of Nameberry, where people’s taste in names tends to be pretty sophisticated.  Plus, some of these names seem poised for a big leap upward – or maybe that’s just my imagination?  I’ve marked those I expect to hit the Top 1000 any year now with an asterisk.

The really good news for the moment, though, is that all these names feel eminently stylish without actually being very popular.  Top name Bree was given to 262 girls last year; bottom name Louise just 100.  (I’ll deal with fashionable names given to fewer than 100 girls in another post soon.)  So while, if you live in a nameberry kind of neighborhood, it may seem as if all 108 baby Tallulahs were born within three blocks of you, the statistics confirm that it’s a highly unusual name nationwide.

That number on the left represents its rank in the complete U.S. tally.

*names destined for the Top 1000

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46 Responses to “Unusual Names for Girls: Below the Top 1000”

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Freya Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 1:10 am

I looove many of these names, especially Thea!

LCaldwell Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 1:22 am

My name is Louise, born 1992 on the West Coast. I’ve probably only met 3 others in my life, and they have all been 60+ yrs old.

I love: Faye, Viola, Susannah, Flora, Mabel, Aurelia, Willa, and Adele.

BasicSand Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 4:47 am

I hope you also do a follow-up with a boys list for also unusual and less popular.

CountryLizB Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 5:53 am

This is very interesting! I did think a lot of these would be more popular.

Whit Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 7:23 am

It’s interesting to see it all laid out. For example several people on here have mentioned how popular they think Willa is and apparently there were probably less than 250 girls named that last year.

pam Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 7:58 am

Yes, BasicSand, the boys are coming Monday. Stay tuned: It’s a very different feeling list.

Angela Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:03 am

Fantastic list!

I would also add Calla to the list. It’s such a pretty name and it’s out of the top 1000 which is surprising to me.

Lo Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:10 am

Mercy and Cecily have both been on my list for potential girls names. I actually hope Mercy cracks the top 1000 because my husband has rejected it with the “Nobody names their child that!”line of thinking.

Angela Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:10 am

I also like Bree and Bryn but beware of a meteoric rise.
Bree is a character in the Twilight series, and Real Housewife Betheny(I don’t watch it but saw her on Today Show) just named her baby Bryn.
Darn it!

Angela Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:14 am

There are girls named Sawyer, Laurel, Mae, Delia, Colette, Arden, and Tallulah in my neighborhood!!! Only one each though!

Meredith Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:31 am

We have chosen Faye for one of our expected twin’s name. It seems odd to me that so few babies are named that, because although it’s unique, I don’t think of it as being a “weird” or “out there” name at all. I feel this way about so many of the names on this list. The other twin’s name isn’t in the top 1,000 either. I can’t remember where the list is that you can search beyond the top 1,000. Anyone know?

namefan Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:36 am

Pam (I also sent the same message to Linda): Since I see you’re lurking around here, I want to let you know that I’ve sent another blog idea via PM on the message boards (since it’s been more than a week I didn’t know if you’re checking those or not).

phaedra_p Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:37 am

Wow, amazing. I knew about Esme but Clementine, Pearl, and Dora? I thought those would be in the top 1000 for sure.

Great list!

rachelmarie Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:42 am

I love:
Laurel, Susanna, Liv, Delia, Mabel, Willa, Remi, Faye, and Beatrix.

But I actually so see Liv rising more in popularity, in the midst of the Olivia and Ava craze.

Names 4 Real Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 9:40 am

I love Willa, Wren, Magnolia, & Maisie!!

On a side note, if you count all the spellings of Maisie (Maisie, Mazie, Maisy, Maisey), she would be in the top 1000 at around 826. Same with Bryn (Bryn, Brynn, Brynne), she would be at #278.


stacy Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 9:41 am

Oh, lovely list. I do know babies named Esme and Pearl and I know of a few Maisies. I think I’ve heard Clementine,, Arden and Scout floated by a few people, too.

I know an adult Delia and Bree (late 20s to early 30s), although that doesn’t mean much.

Viola and Beatrix were strong on our list (Viola was in our top three, in fact) I also lobbied for Cordelia many times, since I think it is so lovely. I also love Cecily, Laurel, Adele, Estella, Colette, Gwyneth, Chiara, Thea, Roxanne and Mariella. I also have a soft spot for Winter, but would never even bring it up in a discussion since my husband would shoot me down (and I don’t have the guts to use it, either.) I probably could never use Roxanne because of the Police song, and Thea only came up when we discussed the gorgeous Dorothea.

Names that surprise me with being so low: Laurel, Adele, Louisa, and Wren.

I also think Viola might crack the top 1000, via Violet.

So odd to me that of our top three names, two weren’t in the top 1000 (and we chose the one in the 160s, although it went back and forth up to the end, and we still get comments all the time about how infrequently people hear it.)

Salome Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 10:12 am

Awesome post!! Thanks for taking the time to compile all of that info. This gives me much more hope for my favorite names in the future. I was afraid everyone and their mother was already in love with Beatrix. Please, please do a list for the boys!

Taffy Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 10:21 am

If you’re shocked by this post and discovered how far down the rabbit hole you’ve been led by NB, get some data for yourself direct from the SSA.
Top 1000:
Beyond the top 1000

pam Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 10:40 am

Thanks for that link, Taffy, though I do want to reiterate that this blog is taken from the SSA list, which is also included in its entirely on nameberry. The link is in the post, but it’s also here: http://nameberry.com/blog/popular-baby-names/girls-names-2009/

pam Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 10:43 am

This is the link to names beyond the Top 1000: http://nameberry.com/blog/popular-baby-names/girls-names-2009/

And yes, we’ll have the boys’ corollary to this post on Monday.

British American Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Interesting list! 🙂

I know a 5 year old Pearl locally and I’ve seen a 3 year old Flora. But I’ve not spotted any of the others on local girls.

peach Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

I know of a toddler named Willa and a new baby named Wren but otherwise I’m delighted that these names are still uncommon.

There are many charming names on this list: Laurel, Adele, Aurelia, Estella, Colette, Gwyneth, Cordelia, Mariella, Susannah, Evangelina, Clementine, Louisa, Beatrix, Isadora, Allegra.

Lisa Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I know a Wren, but it’s short for Lauren, and a Gwen short for Gwendolyn. Louisa was mt fave for our daughter, but knocked out by my husband, due to not being common enough.

I think a lot of these names are loved by many, but ultimately aren’t used that often (perhaps due to husband veto, as in my case) or are maybe used as middle names. I also agree with the poster about multiple spellings being another culprit.

Sarah Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Yeah but Bryn is going to skyrocket thanks to Bethanny Frankel. In fact, it will probably be one of the biggest movers next year.

L. Says:

September 10th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

My friend just named her newborn Gwyneth after naming daughter #1 Hannah. I don’t know of any other kid with any of these names, but Louisa, Louise, Cecily, Adele (or Adela), and Colette are all names I would definitely consider. I’m confused by Rhiannon. I see it here all the time, but I have no idea how to pronounce it.

CountryLizB Says:

September 11th, 2010 at 5:17 am

I know a 2-year old named Colette and 2 teenage sisters named Bree and Laurel.

Kathy Says:

September 11th, 2010 at 8:06 am

I love this list because the names are unusual, but they are genuine names that aren’t made up and if you use one of them it wouldn’t seem like you are trying too hard to be different. My all-time favorite name is Susannah (I much prefer this spelling). I also love Louise/Louisa, Darcy, and Shea. Names that I would never use but like a lot are Wren, Rhiannon, Faye/Fay, and Willa.

Janine Says:

September 11th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Tallulah is my number one girls’ name, but I’ve been floundering because of its perceived popularity. This list really cleared that up for me!

kari Says:

September 11th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Before I found out we were having a boy, most of my top girl names were on this list: Wren, Cordelia, May, Adele, Gwyneth and Ramona. I’m eager to see the boys version on Monday. So far we have a few names we like but none we really love.

elizajames Says:

September 12th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I know a Colette, Louise, Rhiannon, Bree, Keziah, Darcy, Roxana and Chiara, but not one is under 25. Mabel is adorable, it’s been on my list for awhile now.

Stephanie Says:

September 13th, 2010 at 10:57 am

I shudder at the thought of Sawyer being in the top 1000 girl names list.

Natasha Marie Says:

September 14th, 2010 at 9:04 am

I adore the name Arden, and used to have a neighbour named this (i beleive she would be about 8yo now?).

I’m also partial to Scout, but I feel like people would still automatically associate the name with Demi Moore, despite the fact that her daughter must be in her late teens by now.

babynamesrule Says:

September 24th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

I love the name Allegra and know a few little girls with the name, but I continue to be surprised whenever I hear it. I guess that’s the appeal for me.

isabel Says:

February 9th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I love Estella. It’s literary, beautiful, and rare. Gorgeous name!

Betty Says:

March 25th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

My little girl is named Mariella (5 years) and it really suits her……didn’t realise there is a Kate Nash song called Mariella. I’m pleased it’s not that popular!

Perry Marrion Says:

April 9th, 2011 at 1:00 am

I am very happy to see the big database of good baby names. I like to this “Mercy” is beautiful and will affect good future.


Doralee Says:

May 8th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

My mom named me after my Aunt Dora but added “lee” at the end. It is not hyphenated but one word. I go by Dora, mainly because that is what people end up calling me. Word of warning: TV show theme song names. I don’t mind it but some may get annoyed with having a song sung to them by random people in school. I love my name and wouldn’t have any other.

Max Says:

July 4th, 2011 at 11:41 pm

My name is really Max, just Max. Not Maxine. I love it, makes people not think im just some “fragile girl”. My favorite names, and the names of my daughters, are: Angel, Mercy, Ren, Sapphire, and Evaline. Evaline I believe is just beautiful. But I love all of these names, they are unique and beautiful names (least to me!).

Ashma Says:

July 12th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

i know my name is very uncomman as when people ask me my name there always shocked love the name louisa but.my middle name is louise so wouldnt consider it i love the name esmea n scarlett i have two children named david n ella-louise n am now pregnant so great to look for other names unfortunatly i lost my daughter so couldnt have anything simula xxx

Lauren Elizabeth Says:

July 17th, 2011 at 10:33 am

I love the names Fay, Cecily, Rhiannon and Willa. All of which are on my list. I’m shocked at how far down they are! 🙂

Anonymous Says:

August 9th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I find my own name rather strange. And I have heard less with the same name and spelling than a few on that list. My name is Jaycee, and I love my name.

kilika Says:

August 10th, 2011 at 1:32 am

she is good girl name

Reeny Says:

August 24th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

My best friend named her doll Viola when we were very little. Ever since, I have loved it (with pronunciation Vee-oll-ah). Whenever I talked about names as a kid this name received very unpopular responses from people. This was during the 90s, when the name wasn’t at all anywhere resembling the fashions of the time. I rediscovered it recently in a book, having entirely forgotten about it, and thought how beautiful, soft and feminine it still sounds, and – fresh!

As for the other names on this list, I live in England and some of these names are quite well heard of here, such as Clementine (lots of Clems), Beatrix, Louise and Louisa, Esme and Flora. All beautiful, classic names and still ones that aren’t on every third or fourth child.

P.S Is anyone else having difficulty with opening the links to other lists? I keep getting a redirection error message.

MMmama Says:

December 21st, 2011 at 2:17 am

Brynn and Arden are two of my top picks this time around.

Brynn was second choice for our second girl in 2009. I was put off when someone we knew named their baby girl Brynn (and they have a Ben(jamin)!) last year but still liked it and it’s hubby’s top pick. But looking at that list if you add up all the different spelling variations of Brynn you get 1193 instead of 944. And if you take into account the Brynleys and all the spelling variations as well that’s another 1224. Brynna and it’s variations another 208. Altogether that would make 2625 really similar names. Add to that some reality star used it and it seems less and less original. I mean it’s still not up there with Ava, but not nearly as uncommon as I thought.

I love the sound of Arden and it seems safe popularity wise, but both my 6 year old girl and my 4 year old boy both said that it’s a boys name (which it was) and my mom knows someone with a son Arden. 😛

I am due in 3 days and for some reason naming number 4 is so much harder!

Helen Xx Says:

July 29th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I really love the name Roxanne or Roxana but i also love Magnolia and Clementine! i think they are so cute and unusual!! which is why i think i like them! i love Faye and Tallulah as well!! 🙂

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

June 30th, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I love so many of these names and I’m glad to see them so far down on this list!

Mae is a recent addition to my list, but it joins similar sounding Faye (also on this list) and Bay (which was added because of the show Switched at Birth). Both Mae and Maisie (as nicknames) are the reason that Margaret has been added to my list. Mabel has been on my list since the Buchman’s chose it for their little girl in Mad About You.

Aurelia is the name of my maternal grandma’s mom and for a long time was my choice of middle name in a honor-the-family name (Elena Aurelia, both my maternal grandparents mothers’ names). I still love the name but have decided to honor different members of my family instead, but if I have a second daughter, I’ll have to put Elena Aurelia back on the table!

Mercy is a name I’ve chosen for a minor character in a story I’m writing. I’ve since fallen in love with it. Another name I’ve chosen for my story that’s also on this list is Evangeline, which I’m also falling in love with. A third, Verity, I love but isn’t on this list.

I’m on the fence with Rhiannon, (I believe it’s pronounced ree-ann-nun). I want to like it but am not quite sure if I do.

Honor is beautiful but I’m upset that it’s probably going to be getting more and more popular since Jessica Alba chose it for her little girl.

Louise is a favorite of mine but I can see it becoming popular since I’ve heard of quite a few Louisa’s, sort of like Olivia did for Olive.

My all time favorites on this list, though, are Justine, Colette and Allegra. I have loved these names for as long as I can remember. I am curious where my other all time favorite name, Colleen, is since I didn’t see it on this list. I can’t say enough about these four names! I’m just glad to see they’re not very high on this list!

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