Baby Names So Common, Nobody Uses Them
You've probably heard the old Yogi Berra line about a popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." When it comes to baby names, it's not a joke. Scores of names sit unused precisely because we consider them too common.
For example, I'll take a guess that the names Glenn and Theresa sound super-ordinary to you, while the names Maverick and Paisley sound fresher and more creative, maybe even surprising. Yet Glenn and Theresa haven't ranked among the top 1,000 baby names for years. Maverick and Paisley are now 17 times as common.
The key is that our sense of name popularity doesn't just come from baby name stats, it comes from our our own experience. You probably knew plenty of adult Glenns and Theresas when you were a kid. But your kids are a generation further removed from those names' heyday. How many Theresas will they know, vs. how many Paisleys?
Below is a list of 112 uncommon baby names. These names have roots, are easy to spell and pronounce, and will virtually guarantee that your child will be the only one in her preschool with that name. That's the good news. The bad news is that, as a group, the names are going to seem thoroughly boring and unfashionable to you.
The thing is, it only takes one. If you can find one appealing name on the list -- and I think you will -- you've hit paydirt.
Maybe you're looking for a biblical girl's name, and you're intrigued by Judith as an alternative to Hannah or Abigail. Then consider that there are 43 Abigails born today for every Judith. 43! Or maybe you think Neil has some of the same smooth, trim Celtic style that has made Liam a hit. The tally is 46 Liams for every Neil.
Think of this as a spectacular bargain-shopping opportunity. If a name like Judith or Neil or Sonia or Craig sounds good to you now, it's likely to sound just as good, and far fresher, to the next generation. And won't your daughter be more interested in how her name sounds to her peers than to yours?
Current Popularity Rank: 500-1000
Anne, Bonnie, Bridget, Carla, Carolyn, Denise, Deborah, Eileen, Elaine, Ellen, Erica, Gloria, Gwen, Heather, Joyce, Judith, Kathleen, Kristen, Linda, Meredith, Monica, Natasha, Patricia, Paula, Renee, Sandra, Sharon, Sonia, Susan, Tara, Wendy
Brent, Brett, Byron, Carl, Casey, Chad, Clay, Craig, Curtis, Douglas, Gary, Gerald, Harold, Harry, Heath, Hugh, Lance, Larry, Lionel, Nelson, Randall, Randy, Ray, Reginald, Roger, Roy, Terrance, Toby
Current Popularity Rank: 1001-2000
Anita, Betsy, Betty, Carol, Connie, Constance, Diane, Donna, Janet, Janice, Lois, Pamela, Robin, Shannon, Sheila, Stacy, Tanya, Theresa
Barry, Brad, Clifton, Clint, Dale, Dion, Duane, Dwight, Earl, Fred, Gerard, Glenn, Harris, Kent, Kirk, Kurt, Perry, Ross, Stewart, Stuart, Todd
Current Popularity Rank: 2001-5000
Beth, Christa, Glenda, Joan, Kay, Lynn, Sherry, Suzanne
Cliff, Hal, Ward
Current Popularity Rank: 5000+