If you think unique girls’ names are hard to find, just try naming a boy.
Look at the history of popular names for boys, and you’ll find much less variation than their female counterparts. Of course, you’ve got many more choices than the perennial favorites (like, since practically the dawn of man) John, William, and Robert, but to find something truly unique you’ve got to dig deep.
And that’s where the Social Security Administration’s annual compilation of data comes in handy.
Everybody knows that the SSA keeps a yearly tally of the top 1,000 most popular baby names — but did you know that they keep a record of all names given to five or more babies?
Way down at the bottom of the list, buried like gems beneath the Liams (there were 19,837 of those last year) and Noahs (18,267 of them) are the names that were given to just five babies. FIVE.
Here are our picks for those “sweet spot” names, the ones that are completely underused at this point, but still sound on-trend (read: not too weird).
This artsy-sounding name calls to mind M.C. Escher, one of the world’s most famous artists, and for good reason; it’s derived from his surname. With the popularity of Asher, this one has a familiar sound, and would be a great alternative.
There’s just something Southern about this name, which has the bonus of the cute nickname Beau. It sounds kind of like Bodie, which has been on the rise.
If you’ve got a baseball fan in the house, this would be a great way to pay homage to their favorite sport.
Like Ryker, Sawyer, and Hunter, this name has a rugged and adventurous vibe. It also sounds very close to Richard when you say it out loud, so it might be a good choice to honor a beloved Richard without naming your kid directly after him.
Another poetic name, this one is derived from the surname shared by poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. It could also be a subtle way to pay tribute to a Tennessean tie.
If we’re being honest, since this name was only used five times, it could simply be a result of five people misspelling Cairo, which is a popular place name these days. But Cario is a cool name derived from the Latin word “carus,” which means “beloved.” Awww.
This Catalan name definitely sounds more exotic and nontraditional than its English counterpart, Henry.
This is a modern twist on Josiah, but its close proximity to the word “jovial,” which means “friendly and cheerful,” is a sweet association.
It’s a word name, of course — a parson is a member of the clergy (with brothers Bishop and Deacon, maybe?) — but in terms of sound, it’s like a mashup of Parker and Carson, two very popular names that combine to make one cool new alternative.
You couldn’t have a sailor without a seiler — a German word for a rope maker, and the origin of this interesting name. With a sound similar to Tyler, Kyler, and Skyler, it strikes that perfect balance of being rare but not odd.
If you’re into Greek mythology names, this one is more subtle than, say, Apollo or Zeus; Argo was the name of the legendary ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the city of Colchis. Plus it’s similar to Arlo, which is experiencing a popularity boom.
It’s like Lennox, but with the perenially-popular “br” sound at the front. A great alternative to Brennan or Brendan.
A diminutive of Casimir, this version sounds much cooler — especially with that punchy “Z” at the end. Just say it out loud: Cazzzzzzz.
The name Soren has been seeing a steady increase in popularity since it hit the “1,000 most popular” list back in 2003, so switching it up a little bit with Doren doesn’t seem strange.
Is there a better name for the little light of your life than one that literally means a bright light? We think not.
Emery is a popular name, but soundalike Imre — which is Hungarian in origin — is rarely seen.
This is as made-up as a name gets, so it has no meaning or history, but its sound alone gains cool points. Think Kyrie, but with a Z thrown in for spice.
Finding the perfect baby boy name can be tricky, since there isn’t as much variety. These choices are unique enough to stand out, yet familiar-sounding enough to be “wearable.”
Need naming help and inspiration, from the super-popular to the rare gems? Check out the Scary Mommy baby name database!