Later, Liam
15 Obscure Baby Names That Need A Revival

If you’re looking for something quirky and cool that won’t be shared by every other kid in your child’s class, try these.

A baby in a vintage outfit lies in a bassinet outdoors.
Anastasiia Krivenok/Getty Images

Has your favorite baby name become too popular? According to the Social Security Administration’s list of popular baby names, Liam, Noah, and Oliver were the top three names for boys, and Olivia, Emma, and Charlotte were the top three names for girls in 2023. So, if you’re in love with one of those names but really want to give your kid a more unique moniker, you might want to hit pause on ordering a personalized baby blanket just yet.

Don’t get me wrong; these names are great! They’re popular for a reason. But maybe your hunt for the perfect name for your little one has led you to wonder, Will my kid be able to find his kindergarten cubby amongst the hordes of ‘Oliver’ cubbies?! If this sounds like you, don’t worry: I got you. These lesser-known names are sure to stand out among the rows of homogenized cubbies or backpacks with matching monograms.



If you love the names Emilia (#44) or Amelia (#4) but don’t love the hype, you can go with the 955th-ranked girls’ baby name, Emiliana. It shares a Latin root with the former names, which mean “to strive or excel.” It’s a win-win.



Here’s a baby name you can’t refuse. Actually, 99.9% of parents with a child born in 2023 did refuse it. Only 239 babies born in 2023 share the name of The Godfather actor Marlon Brando. It should come as no surprise that Marlon hasn’t been a popular name since the film’s release in 1972.



I’m getting distinguished gentleman vibes from this name, which peaked in popularity in 1914. Benedict is a great alternative to more familiar “Ben” names, like Benjamin (#11), Bennett (#74), and Bentley (#189).



Ranked 905th, Raquel shares the same meaning as its more popular variation, Rachel. But they both mean the same thing: a female sheep or an ewe. How cu-ewe-te!



Some popular variations of this name are Luke (#31), Luca (#24), or Lucas (#9). But if you’re hearing one — or all — of those names called out at the playground, try a more obscure name that ranked 923th in 2023 and means “light.”



Anika ranks 928th, but the slightly different spelling “Annika” ranks 956th. Meaning “grace,” it’s a name befitting a princess. Reminiscent of the Tony-award-winning actress who voices Tiana in Disney’s Princess and the Frog, Anika Noni Rose.



Talk about a unique boy’s name for golf enthusiasts — or, more simply, fans of the delicious iced tea/lemonade drink named for golfer Arnold Palmer. Palmer ranks 942nd, and surprisingly enough, Arnold doesn’t even appear on the top 1,000 boys’ baby names. Hasta la vista, Arnie.



While Rose ranks 124th for girls’ names, Roselyn is at the humble 926th spot. Or, if you prefer the Shakespearean spelling of the name, Rosalind doesn’t appear in the top 1,000 baby names. Just remember: A rose by any other name would smell as sweet!



As long as you don’t mind the possibility of your kid being asked if he works in refrigeration, Vance could be the perfect name for your boy. It ranks 836 places below its more popular counterpart, Vincent.



Shay made three appearances on the SSA list of popular girls’ baby names in 1970, 1971, and 1974 before coming back into style 50 years later, like bell-bottom jeans. Though ranked for girls’ names in the 900s, this name meaning “gift” would be a unique name for a boy or girl.



Perhaps those who saw The Matrix (1999) at an impressionable age became parents in the 2020s. That could explain how Neo made it to the list of popular boy names. In 2023, Neo (#971) was ranked much lower than Keanu (#536).



Does seeing this name give you the urge to sing “Shy” from Once Upon A Mattress? If you get that obscure musical theatre reference, you ought to pick an obscure baby name like Winifred, which landed at the 967th spot on the 2023 list.



If you’re more of a morning person than a night owl, you’ll probably want to skip a lunar name like Luna (#10) for Soleil. This name ranked 978th in 2023, but since it’s French for “sun,” it deserves placement in our cultural orbit.



Though more popular for boys’ names in the early 1900s, Hollis also appeared briefly on girls’ names lists in the middle of that century. Meaning “holly tree,” Hollis could adorn your custom birth announcement sign whether your babe is wearing a pink or blue onesie.



This baby girl sounds exactly like the very trendy Violet (#16), yet with an artistic suffix that tells the world your daughter belongs somewhere sophisticated, like a Parisian café.