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Unique Boy Names: Unusual and Rare

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Unique names for boys are more widely used now in than ever before. Fifty years ago, the Top 20 boys' names represented 41% of all male children; by contrast now, the Top 20 boys' names represented less than 15% of all baby boys, meaning there are many more rare and unusual boy names in general use.

The greater variety of names being used today means that unique boy names are more likely to be accepted at school or in the workplace. There are lots of ways for boys' names to be unique, from spelling to new creations, but here at Nameberry we're often most inspired by those names which are at once unusual and yet filled with history and meaning.

Here is a selection of our current favorite rare and unique names for boys, from A to Z. For even more choices and connections to all of Nameberry's resources on choosing unique names, go to our master page on Unique Names.

  • Abner

    This neglected Biblical name--it was the name of the commander of Saul's army and appears twice in the New Testament--is ready to flee Dogpatch. It was regularly used in the nineteenth century,... Read More 

  • Adlai

    Adlai is an Old Testament name long associated with 1950's liberal presidential candidate Stevenson, who was named after his grandfather, who was Grover Cleveland's vice president in the... Read More 

  • Ambrose

    A favorite of British novelists including Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, Ambrose has an air of blooming well-being and upper-class erudition. It comes from the same Greek root as 'ambrosia',... Read More 

  • Amias

    Amias or Amyas is a unique name with an attractive sound and feel and a lovely meaning. Though it might sound like a Biblical name,... Read More 

  • Anatole

    Anatole is one of the unique boys' names with an exotic-ish feel but an uncertain provenance, with a meaning related to sunrise and thus to fire. While it's Greek in origin, it is associated more... Read More 

  • Angus

    Angus is rapidly moving from fuddy-duddy, kilt-wearing old Scotsman to hip young American; it's definitely a plausible choice, particularly for parents whose roots go back to Glasgow. The ancient... Read More 

  • Atlas

    Previously thought too powerful for a baby boy--who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders--Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names now... Read More 

  • Auberon

    Rarely heard in the US, Auberon has a gentle autumnal feel rare in a male name. Possibly starting as a pet form of Aubrey, it was also infuenced by Oberon, the king of the fairies in... Read More 

  • Auden

    The poetic, soft-spoken Auden has recently started to be considered as a first name option, used for both sexes, appreciated for its pleasing sound as well as its link to the distinguished modern... Read More 

  • Aurelius

    Since Aurelius was given the supermodel seal of approval by Elle Macpherson, this is one of the Roman emperor names, like Augustus, now in the realm of possibility. Like the female Aurelia and... Read More 

  • Azriel

    Azriel is more masculine than Ariel, more unusual than Israel. Also spelled Asriel and Azrael, Azriel is the name of the Angel of Death in Jewish and Muslim traditions.Read More 

  • Balthazar

    This evocative name of one of the Three Wise Men of the Orient, also spelled Balthasar, may finally be ready for prime time. Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar were the Magi who brought gifts of gold,... Read More 

  • Barnaby

    Barnaby, a genial and energetic name with an Irish-sounding three-syllable lilt, is an ancient appellation that manages to be both unusual and highly attractive and deserves to be used more than... Read More 

  • Baxter

    An x makes any name cooler, so that Baxter has a bit more pizzazz than the original Baker. Baxter had some currency as a first name a century ago--it was on the popularity lists sporadically from... Read More 

  • Booker

    Booker would make for a very cool name, for writers, reformers, R & B fans and those wanting to pay tribute to Booker T. Washington.

    Booker T. Washington, born in slavery, became a... Read More 

  • Branch

    Branch is an attractive name with associations both with trees and with branching out into brave new worlds. Baseball's Branch (born Wesley, with Branch as his middle name) Rickey broke the color... Read More 

  • Caius

    Caius is classical and serious but also has a simple, joyful quality. There was a third century pope named Caius, as well as an early Christian writer, several Shakespearean characters, and a... Read More 

  • Casimir

    Casimir, a traditional name of Polish kings, would have problems assimilating here. But like Leopold and Laszlo, Casimir is strong and exotic and worth considering if you've got an adventurous... Read More 

  • Caspian

    One of the most romantic of appellations, as well as being a geographical name of the large salty sea between Asia and Europe that probably inspired C.S. Lewis to use it for the name of the hero... Read More 

  • Cassian

    Cassian is a saints' and Latin clan name, related to Cassius, that is virtually unused and waiting to be discovered.

    There have been at least four fourth and fifth century St. Cassians,... Read More 

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