Picking a name for a baby is a ton of work. The world is every pregnant woman's oyster! Out of the practically endless options for names that can be chosen, just one needs to get picked. Or maybe two or three if some middle names are added. Still, just one first name needs to be picked out of all the options.
Plus, you have to balance how the first name will sound with your last name, what your family might think, what your partner wants, what's popular, what's easy to spell and pronounce, what honors your culture and heritage, etc.
So how are expecting parents supposed to narrow down this gargantuan task?
I won't lie to you, it's going to be a hard task. But luckily, with lists like this one, the task is made slightly easier for you. Below you'll find a list of names that should absolutely delight you. These are names that you may have heard of, but they're not overdone or overused. They're beautiful names that are totally unique, without sounding too weird or out there. This is a list you're going to want to come back to again and again. Whether you're having a little boy or a little girl, one or multiples, your first or your fifth, you will find what you're looking for on this list!
How cool is the name Keaton for a little boy? It sounds strong and masculine, without being too beefy or imposing. It's definitely unique - you won't hear too many Keatons being called on the playground. Behind the Name tells us that Keaton is, "from a surname which was derived from a place name meaning 'shed town' in Old English."
It can also mean place of the hawks. So unless you're really into sheds or hawks, this probably isn't a name you'll pick for its cool meaning. But you can pick it for its cool sound!
Emerson is a baby boy name that sounds smart and sophisticated, without getting too posh or elitist. It definitely seems polished and professional. Emerson is a name that is going to serve your little boy throughout his whole adult life, while still sounding cute for a little boy. Emerson has English, American and German origins.
It means "brave and powerful". Most notably, it was the surname of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), an American writer and philosopher.
Baby Name Wizard shares, "Ralph Waldo Emerson exhorted young people to "hitch your wagon to a star" and "always do what you are afraid to do." Those could be inspiring messages to grow up with." Emerson is also becoming a popular name for baby girls!
Greer is a really cool name for a little girl. It definitely isn't one you hear everyday - it came it at number 2935 on the baby name charts. Behind the Name tells us that Greer is, "from a Scottish surname which was derived from the given name GREGOR."
According to Baby Center, Greer means "watchful guardian" - the perfect name for an observant little boy who protects his friends and family. While Greer is a unisex name, it's known best as a name for little girls thanks to 20th Century actress Greer Garson.
Graham is definitely a cool guy name. I can see Graham running a successful start up and traveling the world. It's also got a bit of English charm to it, which I love! Behind the Name shares the history and famouse name bearer of Graham,
"From a Scottish surname, originally derived from the English place name Grantham, which probably meant "gravelly homestead" in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by the Norman baron William de Graham. A famous bearer was Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), the Scottish-Canadian-American inventor who devised the telephone."
If you're a fan of Greek mythology or have some Greek heritage in your family, Apollo might be the perfect boys name for you. With Apollo, you're covering almost all of your bases when it comes to a cool meaning. Behind the Name shares,
"In Greek mythology Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto and the twin of Artemis. He was the god of prophecy, medicine, music, art, law, beauty, and wisdom. Later he also became the god of the sun and light."
Leigh is a beautiful name that can be unisex and spelled a few different ways (Lee, Li, Ley, Leah, Legh, etc.). Baby Name Wizard tells us that Leigh is an Old English name meaning "dweller by the wood" or "clearing".
Leigh is a great name if you're looking for something that is short and sweet. Leigh totally rolls right off the tongue. The name was most popular in 1969 and has dropped since then, meaning your little Leigh will be one of a kind in his or her class!
Gavin sounds like a guy who is cool, sweet and sensitive. He's a strong man, but he's not overly masculine or some big tough guy. Basically, Gavin sounds like a sweetheart to me! She Knows tell us that Gavin has Welsh, American, Arthurian Legend, Scottish and Teutonic origins.
It is derived from the Middle Ages name Gawain and means "hawk of the battle" or "white hawk". In Arthurian Legend, Sir Gawain was a knight of the Round Table and King Arthur's nephew.
With a name like Rocco, you know you'd have a super cool little rockstar on your hands. If it's cool enough for Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale to choose for their son, it's cool enough for you too! Rocco has Italian, American and German roots. It means "rock" or "rest".
And it even has a cool history! Behind the Name shares, "This was the name of a 14th-century French saint who nursed victims of the plague but eventually contracted the disease himself. He is the patron saint of the sick."
While you obviously don't want your kid to get the plague, maybe a name like Rocco will lead him to work in the medical field?
As soon as I hear the name Suki, I instantly think of Melissa McCarthy's character, Suki St. James, from Gilmore Girls. Suki was such a sweetheart. She was a klutz, but the most amazing chef with a heart of pure gold. Who wouldn't want that for their little girl? Suki can also be spelled Sookie, Sukie, or Suk-Yee. In Japanese, the name Suki means "beloved" and is used in the verb "love" in the Japanese language. How perfect is that for a new baby?
How sweet is the name Delilah? If you're a bible reader, you'll know Delilah from the Samson and Delilah story in the Old Testament. Behind the Names tells us, "In the Old Testament she is the lover of Samson, whom she betrays to the Philistines by cutting his hair, which is the source of his power. Despite her character flaws, the name began to be used by the Puritans in the 17th century."
Or, if you're a music fan into Tom Jones or The Plain White Tees, you may know the name Delilah from their songs. Delilah, in Hebrew, means delicate.
Peyton brings back memories from my days watching One Tree Hill. And while the character Peyton certainly wasn't my favorite, I have always loved the name. Of course, there's also Peyton Place, the 1950's novel and movie, Peyton Randolph (1721-1775), the first president of the Continental Congress, and Peyton Manning, the NFL player.
So yes, Peyton can definitely be a unisex name. Peyton has Scottish, American, Latin, Irish and English roots. It means "royal" and was originally a last name based on a place in Sussex, England.
I've always thought Rosalie was such a soft and graceful sounding name. It's a little bit cooler and more unique than the name Rose, but you can totally still use Rose as a nickname. Rosalie is just so beautiful! Rosalie spiked in popularity in 1938 thanks to the release of the movie Rosalie, based on a musical by the same name.
She Knows shares the numerology for Rosalie: "People with this name have a deep inner desire to create and express themselves, often in public speaking, acting, writing or singing. They also yearn to have beauty around them in their home and work environment."
Rhys is definitely one of my favorite names for a baby boy. I think it's such a cool and strong name. I absolutely have a thing for names that are short and sweet, but also unique. Rhys would be the masculine form of the name Reese, which we know best as belonging to Reese Whitherspoon.
In Welsh, Rhys means "enthusiasm" and was a popular name for many Welsh rulers. Rhys can also mean ardor or rashness. It began as a last name but has become more popular as a first name.
I think Emme is such a sweet name for a little girl. It's a great version of the uber popular name, Emma. Emme is slightly more refined and sophisticated - almost like it could belong to a little French baby girl. It's also the name of Jennifer Lopez' daughter.
In German, Emme means "whole" or" universal". Emme can also be a short form for names like Emmy and Emmeline. Emmeline means hardworking, which is always a great trait for a little one.
So Alice is not a new modern name. But it is making a big comeback. Alice may sound like an older name belonging to a mom or grandma. But it's also so fitting for a little girl. How sweet does this name sound?
Baby Name Wizard shares that Alice is a name that has evolved and changed a lot through history. It began as Adalheidis in German, changed to Adelaide by the French, shortened to Aaliz/Alia/Alix, changed by the English to Aeleis/Alys, and eventually became Alice. Alice means "noble one".
Jackson is definitely a popular name, sitting at #12 on the baby names chart in 2018. But it's popular for a reason. Jackson is a super cool name! It takes a stable old school name, like Jack, and dresses it up for the modern little guy.
If you want to get more unique with it, you can even consider alternate spellings like Jaxon. Like many "son" names, Jackson literally means son of Jack. Jackson has Scottish, English and American origins. It also means God has been gracious; has shown favor.
Avery is one of my favorite unisex names. It works perfectly for boys and girls! Avery was originally a last name deriving from the name Alfred. Baby Name Center tells us that Avery means wise - it means ruling with "Elf wisdom" in French and "counselor" in English. Baby Name Wizard shares how unisex names that started out as boy names and have moved to accepted girl names work.
They say, "Once a name starts to turn feminine, parents of boys usually run in the other direction. But lately, favorites like Jordan and Peyton have been bucking the trend. Cross your fingers that elegant Avery joins them as a two-gender standard."
Julian is another sweet and sensitive name for a baby boy, without going too far on the feminine side. Behind the Name shares the history of Julian saying,
"This was the name of the last pagan Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (4th century). It was also borne by several early saints, including the legendary Saint Julian the Hospitaller. This name has been used in England since the Middle Ages, at which time it was also a feminine name (from Juliana, eventually becoming Gillian)."
Quinn is an awesome name for a little one. It's short and sweet but also beautiful and smart sounding. Quinn is another unisex name, though I have to admit that I like it better for a baby girl. Baby Name Wizard tells us, "Derived from the Irish surname O' Quinn which is from the Gaelic O' Cuinn (descendant of Conn). The name is derived from conn (wisdom, reason, intelligence)."
So Quinn means "wise" - I told you it sounded smart! Quinn has also been rising in popularity lately so keep that in mind if you're choosing this pretty name.
Bethany has always been one of my favorite names for a little girl. It was a name I loved when I was a little girl myself and would play house and name my dolls. But even as an adult, I'm still so into the name Bethany. Behind the Name shares the history of Bethany,
"In the New Testament the town of Bethany is the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. It has been in use as a rare given name in the English-speaking world since the 19th century, used primarily by Catholics in honour of Mary of Bethany. In America it became moderately common after the 1950s."
Bethany can mean daughter of the lord, house of figs, house of song or house of affliction.
Did you know that Aubrey actually started out exclusively as a name for boys? But after the success of the 1972 song "Aubrey," the name has been more popular for little girls. Meaning "elf ruler", it resembles the female name "Audrey" with a "d." BabyCenter tells us more about Aubrey saying,
"From the Germanic name Alberic, king of the elves in German mythology. It later became common as a Norman first name. When used for girls, it's also a variation of the name Audrey."
Jude is definitely a cool guy name but it has some historic and biblical roots. Jude can mean "young" or "the praised one". It is related to the biblical names Judah and Judas. Baby Name Wizard shares,
"This name has a pioneer style and a strong religious heritage that give it impressive gravity. It also has a zippy sound that keeps it unpretentious. The one other choice with that same style combo is Luke, a soaring hit name. Jude is an uncommon alternative with breakout potential."
Noel has got to be on your mind if you're having a little one due around Christmastime or if you're a big Christmas fanatic (like yours truly!). Of course, Noel literally means Christmas in French and has Latin roots.
It can be used for both baby boys and baby girls, though I do prefer it for little girls. Probably because it's the French name I chose for myself back in third grade French class. In French, the female version would actually be Noelle, so you have options. You also want to remember that this name is pronounced no-elle and not nole (like Joel or Cole).
Mila is one of my favorite names for a baby girl! I totally have a thing for names that are short, sweet, unique and just a little bit foreign sounding. Mila is great because it's short and easy to spell. But it still sounds very sophisticated and worldly. Mila has Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Czech, Serbian, Croatian and Macedonian origins. It means "gracious" and "dear". It can also mean "industrious" and "hard working" in Russian. Mila is also known as a short form for Milena, Ludmila, and Camila.
Zeke has got to be one of the coolest boy names around. Any name that starts with a Z and is short and sweet is automatically cool in my book. Zeke also manages to be cool and modern while also having old school ties to the bible. Zeke is a short form of the biblical name, Ezekiel, which means "God strengthens". Baby Name Wizard tells us,
"The name is borne in the Bible by a 6th century B.C. Hebrew prophet whose ministry lasted more than twenty-three years. His prophecies are recorded in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel."
Sources: behindthename.com, sheknows.com, babynamewizard.com, babycenter.com
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