What names are you shocked to find so low on the list?

Our Question of the Week

There are some undeniably great baby names near the top of the popularity charts, from timeless classics like James and Elizabeth to modern favorites like Logan and Harper. It’s often said that “popular names are popular for a reason” — and it’s true!

But what about all the other great names that, for one reason or another, are still flying under most parents’ radars?

We recently rounded up 100 of the most usable yet underused baby names in the US today; all sit well outside of the current Top 1000, and many — like Blanche and Barnaby, Edwina and Emilian — are given to only a handful of babies per year. Surprised? We certainly are!

Which brings us to today’s Question of the Week: we want to hear your most surprising underused baby names, whether classic or currently on-trend.

Which names are you shocked to see sitting so low on the charts?

Which uncommon baby names would you like to see rise (and which would you prefer to keep on the down low)?

What are your favorite names from our “usable yet underused” list? Why do you think they’re not more popular?

Which as-yet-undiscovered baby names have you got pegged for future popularity?

Share your thoughts in the comments below, or join the debate on Facebook or Twitter!

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23 Responses to “What names are you shocked to find so low on the list?”

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laurelrobyn Says:

September 6th, 2018 at 11:27 pm

We’re naming our second daughter Cleo and I can’t believer hasn’t cracked the top 1000 in decades! It’s such a lovely and classic name. I see it having a meteoric rise.

josephinedagnall Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 12:31 am

I’m shocked to see that Kirsty doesn’t appear to rank in the UK – I know four teenagers and two young children who bear the name, and it’s really not seen as unusual in my area. It doesn’t seem to be in the top 1000, though.

Wittyusername103 Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 6:40 am

I’m shocked Pearl dropped so low this year. It was one of the biggest drops of the year!

Aurora31 Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 7:08 am

One name springs to mind immediately: Leonora. It has that liquid sound that is so popular right now. It’s so similar to Eleanor, which is trending, and of course Leo, which is currently hugely popular for boys. And yet, Leonora doesn’t even rank.

Also, Susannah of course. It’s one of my favourites but I I couldn’t get my husband on board.

Janie_Larkin70 Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 7:31 am

Although it’s more popular nowadays, I’ve long been surprised at how uncommon “Gideon” is. It’s such a lovely, underused Biblical name, and one I’d consider if I were still having babies.

When my middle child was born 32 years ago, his pediatrician had had a son around the same time. He had named him Matthias, which I thought was so great. I kind of expected that one to take off in popularity, but it never really did.

I did not check the chart before posting this, but, I certainly don’t hear of many baby boys named either Gideon or Matthias, and that’s surprising to me. They seem to have all the elements of star power.

Jasusom Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 8:20 am

I like the name Susannah, it feels modern but It seems to fit with the trend of classic names from 2-3 generations ago. It also has an abundance of nicknames. I’m guessing the low popularity is more a referendum on the previously fashionable Sue and Susan.

Eliane Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 9:09 am

The names I’m most shocked about are: Dahlia, Delphine, Rosamund, Rowena, Antoinette and Cosmo and Wesley.

LoveOneAnother Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 9:23 am

Here on the US charts, I’d say Rosalind, Imogen, Belle, Coral(ie), Mireya, Beverly (so close to Everly!), and Joyce for girls and Edmund, Ira, Ishmael, Clarence, Judd, and Dashiell for boys!

And looking at England’s list, I’m gobsmacked at some names that are in the top 1000 here but not there. Jane? Virginia? Julius? English nameberries, what do you think of those names? Are they truly considered too dated/unusual for you, or are you shocked too?

SparkleNinja18 Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 9:32 am

I’m surprised Margo doesn’t rank in the top 1000 in the US but Margot does. I’ve met 3 girls named Margo and 1 Margaux, but I’ve never met a Margot! This is also why I’m surprised when people say they find Margot to look more “correct” since I’ve never seen in outside of the internet, and Margo seems to be a more common name in my area. I believe it’s also the spelling used for the oldest Despicable Me girl.

SouthernPeach Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 9:39 am

Greer was a total surprise! I love the name (especially for a girl) and know someone with this name and spelling.

clairels Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 11:09 am

I am not surprised that Barnaby is not popular, and I don’t ever see it becoming popular. It just has none of the qualities that modern parents seem to gravitate to in a name.

mamanamer Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 11:40 am

I’m surprised that Clement hasn’t rocketed up the charts with other vintage favorites. It’s got a nice sound, nice meaning, and a sweet, folksy nickname (Clem) in the same vein as Gabe or Hank or Finn or some of the others we hear all the time.

ceruleanstardust Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 12:46 pm

I can’t believe that Caterina/Catarina/Katarina/Katerina etc aren’t in the top 1000 for the UK and US.

MissBennet Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 2:06 pm

I keep lists like this for both the USA and England and Wales–they’re looong!

10 surprisingly not in the US top 1000 in 2017:
Girls: Cleo, Harriet, Neve, Darcy, Beatrix, Justine, Zora, Imogen, Ida, Flora
Boys: Harris, Rio, Conall, Gus, Orson, Cormac, Ewan, Dashiell, Blair, Galen

10 surprisingly not in the England and Wales top 1000 in 2016:
Girls: Juniper, Willa, Celia, Marion, Jane, Viola, Sybil, Anne, Fenella, Clea
Boys: Gavin, August, Griffin, Hal, Silas, Malcolm, Quentin, Roger, Bennett, Duncan

@clairels–it depends on where you are a modern parent. Barnaby ranks in the mid-200s in England and Wales, so about as popular as Griffin, Milo, Jaden, Beckett, or Felix in the USA.

Myosotis Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 3:03 pm

I won’t do the US list, because I’m not as familiar with it, and being from the UK there are plenty of names not on the US list I’m surprised aren’t. To the point where I sometimes wish I lived there so I’d be able to use some names I find too popular haha.

But going off England/Wales list, I’d expect Sybil, Tasha, Sally, Trixie, Viola, Alexandria, Marilyn, Olympia, Nikolai (did see a leap last 2015-2016), Linus, Ephraim, August, and Isidore to be more popular. So mostly more vintage choices that are otherwise very on trend here. I will add that I’m very glad they aren’t in the top 1000 though!

@LoveOneAnother: I was really surprised when I found out Jane isn’t in the England/Wales top 1000. I’ve always seen it as a classic and thought it was still popular, but apparently not.

Pansy Says:

September 7th, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Georgina. How is this not in the top 1000? It’s classic, feminine with a masculine nickname and has a very royal sound to it. It makes no sense to me that there are Isabellas and Charlottes galore but no Georginas.

NaomiNY Says:

September 8th, 2018 at 12:58 am

I was surprised to see that Benedict, Lucinda, Theodora, Cressida, Peregrine and Casimir were underused, being that names from about a century ago are making a comeback. Especially with Benedict, what with the actor Benedict Cumberbatch being a good association with the name.

emz876 Says:

September 8th, 2018 at 5:49 am

Harriet! I’m surprised she is’nt that popular. Its a classic, vinatge name with usable nicknames Harri, Hattie, Hettie ect.

As well as a great moniker of the name Harriet Tubman (born Armintina).

arietta-rose Says:

September 8th, 2018 at 8:05 am

I agree with @emz876 – though I believe her birth name was Araminta, not Armintina 🙂 – that Harriet should be up there.

ceryle Says:

September 8th, 2018 at 11:07 pm

Ross! How is it not in the top 1,000???

baffled_jessica Says:

September 9th, 2018 at 10:21 pm

I agree about Casmir (one if my personal faves), Benedict, and leonora. But for Ross, a It has a bad rep among some mellenials because if the character Ross Geller from Friends. He hasnt aged well and even for those who don’t hate the character they might feel like its a very ’90s name bc if the association with the show

ladyhope Says:

September 10th, 2018 at 8:59 pm

With how popular Cora has been getting, I’m surprised Cordelia left the top 1000 again. Also, the equally lovely Delia.

fromtheocean12 Says:

September 10th, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I was surprised about Georgina, Millicent and Theodora. They all follow the hot vintage trend and have lots of nicknames. I’m especially surprised about Theodora, given the rising popularity of Thea. I was also surprised to see Diane, Helena and Suzannah, they seemed like those types of classic names that are beginning to come back into fashion. Lastly, for girls I was shocked to see Elspeth, since I see it on NB so much.

For boys I was mainly surprised to see Percy and Kit on the list, as I’ve seen them on NB numerous times as well.

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