Although baby name trends seem to come in waves, most parents aren’t exactly trying to give their newborns the same name as hundreds or thousands of other babies born the same year (or even decade). There are plenty of timeless baby names, sure, and many are still fresh centuries after inception. But what about parents who want a more unique name that commands attention without being too out-there?
Many parents want striking, bold names that aren’t so “weird” that people have to ask how to spell them or have mom or dad (or the child themselves) repeat the title multiple times. At the same time, picking names that are unique can help set a little boy or girl apart from their peers at school and later in life, too. Still, there’s a fine line between what’s bold and what’s odd—but don’t worry, because there are plenty of options for parents who don’t want to invite questions about their kiddo’s off-the-wall name.
For moms and dads who want strong names for their little boys, there are plenty of not-so-subtle options. These 25 picks are striking and, for the most part, uncommon—these aren’t names that every baby on the block will have, although they may have had their moments in past decades.
“Cato” directly translates to “good judgment” in Latin, and it’s safe to say that parents who pick the name for their little boys are making a good decision! According to Baby Names, this name hasn’t even ranked in the United States, although it has hung in the hundreds ratings in other countries. There are a handful of organizations and businesses with the title, but as far as baby names, Cato is an unconventional name that works with family names that are unique as well.
If mom or dad is a Vampire Diaries fan, this one is a no-brainer. But for those who aren’t familiar, Niklaus is the name of a centuries-old vampire on the show, and clearly, this version of the name Nicholas has a bit more traditional origin. Nicholas (and its variants) is popular all over the world, but switching it up in English-speaking countries as Niklaus gives your little boy a bold edge. And you can still call him Nik if you want to shorten it!
It’s the name of a constellation, so there’s some fun lore that goes with it, but it’s a nice change from the traditional boys’ name Ryan. Orion has astrological origins, sure, but it’s also Greek for “dweller on the mountain,” according to Baby Names. Meanings aside, it has a unique sound that is similar enough to a mainstream favorite but unique enough that your little boy will stand out a bit. The only limitation is with last names beginning in O’ like O’Connor or O’Malley!
It might be nearing the 300 ranks on popularity charts in the US, according to Baby Names, but Bodhi has faded in and out of popularity over the years. At the moment, it’s on a downturn, meaning your little Bodhi will likely be fairly unique in the neighborhood. The name also has a great background: it means “understanding of true nature,” meaning you may expect your tot to be wise and adventurous in nature. Of course, it also has a nice sound to it, and the multiple spellings give parents flexibility.
It seems like this name was more popular around 1990, with lots of ‘80s babies carrying the moniker. But these days, it ranks beyond the 300th position on baby name popularity charts, according to Baby Names. And honestly, it does sound more like a mature person’s—or at least a teenager’s—name than an infant name. But that’s the beauty of it: Wade isn’t too edgy or mature for a baby, and it’s also suitable as your little one grows up.
This name literally means “extremely rare,” so if that’s not an endorsement for its uniqueness, I’m not sure what is! Full disclosure: I know of exactly one Ender, and he’s not a newborn baby, so to me, this is one of the more rare and striking names. Particularly in the US, this name doesn’t rank highly on naming charts, according to Baby Names. That means it’s sufficiently unique—yet not too out-there—for your newest little one. Besides, its simple spelling and pronunciation means few mistakes will be made when calling on your kiddo in school.
Granted, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have probably contributed to this name’s recent comeback. Thanks to their little boy Silas, the name is just outside the top 100 on baby name charts in the United States. Still, it’s not one of the more popular picks in a time when throwback Latin names aren’t really “in.” The meaning is also a great choice: it means “man of the forest,” which helps pair it with other earthy and “old” names like Liam, Owen, and Oliver.
This one is a modern approach to baby naming; like the name “Ender,” it almost takes a word and then adds to it to make it more of a moniker than just a vague noun. Because the name “Wild” would be odd, but for some reason, Wilder doesn’t sound unnatural. It’s a little bit like Archer or Grover in that aspect: it’s a woodsy name with a natural vibe. And, according to Baby Names, it literally means “wild animal,” which is actually kind of cute.
If you’re an older parent, you might recognize Quentin as the first name of a famous filmmaker and actor, but for younger generations, this is just a bold-sounding baby name that’s up for grabs. It’s actually Latin for “fifth,” but you don’t have to be on your number five baby to choose it! And, it ranks beyond the 500s in terms of popularity, according to Baby Names, so you’re unlikely to meet another Quentin in your child’s elementary years or beyond.
Waylon sounds more traditional because of its English roots, and Baby Names suggests that it pairs well with siblings like Jasper, Weston, and Holden, among others. It’s a bold name that can stand on its own (good luck making it a diminutive as a nickname) but it’s also one that has a classic vibe. There is a famous singer named Waylon Jennings, but your tot is so far removed from Jennings’ stint as a singer between the ‘60s and ‘00s that modern kids likely won’t make the connection.
As a teen, I remember watching Nickelodeon’s Victorious and loving the name of the character Beck. Of course, people pine after Victorious now because Ariana Grande starred in it, but back then, each actor (and character) stood on its own. And while Beck can definitely be a nickname, it’s also a short and sweet name that’s bold for a baby boy. Plus, if mom or dad is a fan of David Beckham, it’s an ideal tribute that isn’t quite so overt as naming the tot Beckham.
Soren is of Scandinavian origins and isn’t a very popular name in many other areas. However, it has reached the top 600 in the US, meaning it’s somewhat familiar to most audiences but not overly common. It’s a great name for multicultural families, but its pronunciation is simple enough that it won’t cause problems when your kiddo enters school or starts making friends. Baby Names also suggests sibling name pairings like Silas, Freya, and Scarlet—so you can see how it’s both classic and edgy at the same time.
This one might sound strange to English-speaking people’s ears, but it’s more common in places like the US than you might think. According to Names.org, there have only been 268 babies named Onis in the United States since the 1880s. The site also notes that Onis is a Hindu name, and it’s also a more popular last name in the US than it is a first name. Bottom line? It’s unique yet subdued for a baby boy, and it likely won’t present pronunciation or spelling issues.
The name Eamon is a personal favorite of mine because it’s a traditional Irish name, and I’m partial to names that begin with E—there aren’t a whole lot of them for baby boys, after all. Plus, if you have Irish roots or just like names such as Ronan, Finn, Declan, or Liam for other boys in your brood, it fits in perfectly! And, the pronunciation is one of the bold and trendsetting ones with this one: it’s said like “aim” + “an,” a pleasant-sounding yet surprising pronunciation.
Another strong Irish name that’s bold and simple, Sloan means “expedition” or “invasion,” according to Baby Names. It’s outside of the top 600 popular baby names in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been used infrequently in the past century or so. The pronunciation is straightforward, and the name fits well with other (sometimes Irish) selections like Declan, Liam, Finn, Cora, Sadie, and Aria. The name is also more common as a surname (think one of your favorite docs on Grey’s Anatomy!).
Per Baby Names’ charts, Abram has been rising in popularity in the US, but it’s still outside the top 400. That makes this familiar yet unique name the ideal fit for a modern boy! It’s a variation of Abraham, but the shorter take makes it a bit edgier while still keeping the original meaning, which, according to Baby Names, is “high father.” It’s a little bit traditional and a little bit bold—an ideal combo for a standout boys’ name.
You don’t have to be a fan of Miley to appreciate this one, although your kiddo may have to withstand some pop culture references if Miley continues to be popular as they grow up! Of course, Cyrus also has Persian roots, according to Baby Names, so there is a deeper meaning than just the parents being fans of a specific singer. Cyrus is also a name that ranks beyond the top 400, so in the United States, at least, it’s not a well-known title.
Another Hebrew name that is short and sweet and a little bit edgy, Ezra is a more popular name in the US than most of the others on this list. The name's popularity likely comes from a combination of Biblical roots and parents looking for a relatively uncommon name that uses a just as uncommon blend of letters. At the same time, it’s super short and snappy, so no abbreviation is required. And technically, the name means “help” in Hebrew, a meaning that everyone can get behind.
So far I’ve met one Linden in my life, which explains Baby Names’ statistics on the moniker: it’s within the top 900 on baby name lists in the United States. It’s safe to say that options like Landon and London are far more popular, although Linden also has English roots. According to Baby Names, the meaning is “from the flax hill,” which is a bit poetic but also benign enough that parents don’t have to choose it for its meaning.
If you can get past the similarity of this name with the spelling of a word which means “spooky,” this is a fantastic and edgy name for a baby boy born in 2018 (or 2019!). In Celtic, the name means “from Ireland,” so its meaning is similar to that of Erin (or, also, Aaron if you desire a different spelling). Or, for families who are outdoorsy or prefer place names for their kids, there’s also Lake Erie in North America to attribute your naming choice to.
I grew up in California knowing a boy named Kellan, but I haven’t heard the name since the 1990s. Apparently, there’s now an actor with the moniker—Kelan Lutz—but apart from that variation, the name hasn’t hit the charts in terms of popularity. It’s beyond the top 500 in the United States, despite its intriguing Irish background and plenty of spelling variations. As far as meaning, this is one for the books: Baby Names says it means “descendant of the brightheaded one,” whatever that means.
This is another unique Irish moniker that hasn’t taken off in terms of popularity in the United States, although it’s likely popular across the pond! Its meaning isn't very pleasant, but hear us out: it’s unique yet easy to spell, and you could always call your tot Cory (or even Mac) depending on his personality or preference. And, as a bonus, it’s unlikely your little guy will ever run into another Cormac—unless he’s in Ireland for some reason, of course.
If you have any biblical knowledge, this name will probably sound familiar. Not only was it the name of a person, but it was also the ancient name of a country that spanned present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. So while it has some religious meaning, it also has place-name value, which some parents might appreciate. Not religious? Consider the popular name Isaac—Canaan uses the same double “A” and has the same appeal. It’s also up there in terms of scarcity: Baby Names says it’s in the 700s on charts in the United States.
Another fan favorite for Vampire Diaries watchers, Damon is an edgy pick that suits a grown adult the same as it does a baby or young boy. What’s interesting is that the name means “to tame, subdue” in Greek, according to Baby Names, so there is some more depth to it than the notoriety comedian Damon Wayans gave it! It’s up in the 400s on US popularity charts, so it’s an uncommon pick for modern babies—although that could change when the fans of Vampire Diaries are done with it!
There’s just something about these Irish and Scottish names that’s so appealing both in terms of sound and meaning. Callum is Scottish and means “dove,” an idyllic name that is easy to spell and quite rare, at least in the United States. There are a handful of actors with the first name, but it’s still a sparsely used moniker today, ranking above 600 on naming popularity charts, per Baby Names. It also pairs well with short and snappy names like Liam, Declan, Finn, and Owen for dapper little boys.