There’s an upside to choosing very popular boy names: your son will always find his name on a personalized souvenir shop T-shirt. If that’s not incentive enough, though, you might want to pick a name that’s lesser-used. You may be sacrificing your little guy’s chances to buy a ready-made key chain some day, but it’s worth it to you as long as he’s not one of ten Liams in his grade at school.
If you’re seeking boy names that aren’t overused, but trending upward (and out of “weird” territory), read on — we’ve got 20 of the best picks for unique names that may not have crossed your mind before.
“Luc” names are super hot right now. Lucas is currently at #8 on the Social Security Administration’s popularity charts; Luca was one of the fastest rising boy names last year, jumping 507 spots to #106; and alternate spelling Luka was right behind it, jumping 338 spots to #320. Deluca uses this popularity as a springboard, but hasn’t even made it to the top 1,000 yet.
People love names ending in that long O — look no further than Theo, Leo, and Milo for proof. Add in that this one sounds like the wildly-popular Aria (and Arya … thanks, “Game of Thrones”), and you’ve got a name that fits in perfectly with the trends, yet isn’t even on the popularity radar yet.
This is a diminutive of Griffin, which is #224 on the popularity charts right now. But as a standalone name, it doesn’t even rank in the top 1,000.
Boy names ending in “-er” will always be stylish, as is evidenced by our recent love for Oliver, Asher, and Carter (and our longstanding love for Alexander and Christopher). This one’s a little bit different, but its ending makes it fit in beautifully.
Mix a dash of Alex or Albert with the same ending sound as Julian or Orion, and you’ve got Albion: definitely not mainstream, but not strange either. (And psst … if you’re a Harry Potter fan, it’s a good way to pay homage to a name like Albus … as in Dumbledore … without being “you named your kid after Dumbledore?” obvious.)
This one could be short for Quillan or Quiller, or used as a name in its own right; either way, it has a distinctive literary feel (aren’t you just imagining one of those feathery pens and an inkwell?) and isn’t one you’ll run into everywhere.
Kairo is destined to crack the top 1000 by next year (it leapt up 319 spots at last count and is now hovering just outside the charts), and we’ve already established that Milo is popular — #178 and rising. A name like Kahlo combines elements of those two popular boy names, with an artsy vibe to boot.
Unlike Mason, Carter, and Parker, this is an occupational name that has escaped the spotlight. We don’t know why — it’s a great name with a cute nickname (Shep) — but it’s still just outside the top 1,000, with only 286 boys given the name in the U.S. last year.
With Rylan currently at #292 on the charts, and Ryland at #532, it’s clear that people already love the sound of a name like this. Swap out the beginning R for an H, and you’ve got a name that hasn’t even surfaced in the top 1,000, ever.
There are a couple of good reasons to love this name. First, it’s only a stone’s throw from the perennially-popular Brian. Second, it sounds like “brawn,” a word that means “strength.”
It might sound like Felix (currently #231), but knocking that F off the front makes it into an entirely different name, as though it were a mashup of Alex and Elias. And it almost has a science-y vibe, like the word “helix.”
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More than 13,000 babies were given the name Jacob last year, seeing as it’s currently #13 in popularity. But only 104 babies were named its diminutive, Coby (currently #842). Since its sound is distinctly different than Jacob, most people wouldn’t even equate the two.
K-names are hot. Short names are on fire. Actor Kit Harington: need we say more? Additionally, Kit is a diminutive of Christopher; so it’s like Chris, but with a shorter, more modern makeover.
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Thanks to singer Niall Horan — and to the trend of geographical baby names like Nile, as in the Egyptian river — and the aforementioned popularity of names that end in the “long O” sound, Nilo has the potential to be big. But it has never even made the top 1,000, with only five babies given the name last year.
At #114, Emmett is among the most popular boy names, and if you mash it up with a Welsh name like Rhys (also popular, at #464), you’ve got Emrys. Even though it’s pronounced differently than Rhys — it’s EM-riss as opposed to EM-reese — it’s still got that Welsh feeling going for it.
If you’re looking for a name that falls comfortably into “middle of the road” territory, not super-popular but not totally obscure, these are the perfect choices. But whether you choose to name your son something that 20,000 other people have chosen, something that’s virtually unheard of, or anything in between, your son will be one of a kind. Guaranteed.
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