There's so much to think about when a new baby is on the way. Parents get excited about the nursery, clothes, toys, and of course, names! And baby names are just fun to think about in general, even when a baby-to-be isn't in the picture -- especially with some of the names circulating today that range from cute, quirky, unique, and all the way to unusual and far out there.
Choosing a name for a baby can be hard sometimes. Parents want to choose a cool and one-of-a-kind name, but they don't want to choose a name that won't age well, either. I mean, not that it couldn't happen, but I have yet to meet a professional adult named Optimus (Prime). Or maybe they really like a common name, or have an heirloom family name, but want to add some extra flair to it.
The good news is that it's surprisingly easy to give classic names a makeover. By replacing a letter, adding a letter, switching letters around, or omitting one completely, parents can make an old name seem brand new.
Here are 25 classic names with alternatives spellings that really give them a breath of new life.
With all the excitement surrounding the revival of the childhood classic, Winnie The Pooh, the name Christopher might be on your radar thanks to the character, Christopher Robin. If you’re thinking about using it for your baby boy but want something a little more unique, consider jazzing it up a bit by spelling it with a ‘K’! The traditional Christopher is currently #65 in popular baby names for 2018, while the more spunky Kristopher is #1443. There’s something refreshingly unique about replacing traditional ‘C’s with a ‘K’. It gives the name’s spelling a stylish edge.
This name has Greek origins. It is said to be derived from Cynthia, which means ‘moon,’ giving it an innately beautiful meaning. It is traditionally spelled Cindy, so if you like the name but you’re looking for a name that will make people do a double take at its spelling, just switch the vowels around! This funky spelling is way down on the popularity list this year, only coming in at #9580, which will make your baby girl’s name one in a million.
An interesting take on a classic name, Josef is sure to make your son stand out in the crowd. We don’t see a lot of ‘F’s included in name spellings these days, making this spelling variation of the classic Joseph a true breath of fresh air. It’s a name of Hebrew origins which means, ‘God shall add (another son)’ making it a perfect match for your baby boy, especially if he’s your second! This off the path spelling currently ranks at #2091 in popular baby boy names in 2018.
Jasmine is a Persian name made popular by the Disney princess in Aladdin, and is representative of a wonderfully delicate and fragrant flower. While its traditional spelling is beautiful, there’s something about adding a ‘Z’ and a ‘Y’ that makes the name just a little bit more unique and exotic. This alternative spelling comes in at the 7586th position for girl names this year, while its traditional spelling is highly popular, ranking at #124. There really isn’t enough names around that include a ‘Z,’ making this a perfect choice if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind name.
Here’s one you won’t see flying around too often! Andrew is the traditional spelling, and it means brave and manly, so your strong little boy will have a name to match his personality. Switching out the ‘EW’ for a single ‘U’ (more in line with its phonetic spelling) gives this name a fun and quirky makeover. This name hasn’t made the popular name charts this year, and only came in at #5371 in 2017, so it might be the name for you, if you’re going for originality. It doesn’t hurt that this unique spelling variation just looks cool, either!
There’s just something about sticking a ‘Y’ in the middle of a name that makes it look and sound more magical and dreamy. The more common Erin is currently in the 376th position for popular girl names this year, while this alternate spelling is #1845, making this the more unique choice of the two spellings. It’s of Irish origin (or Scottish, depending on your source), and it means peace, which is a fitting name for any sweet and angelic baby girl.
At a glance this one seems pretty normal, but taking a second look, you’ll notice that there’s a sneaky little ‘Z’ right in the middle. It’s a name of Greek origins and it means defender of men. The commonly spelled, Alexander, is highly popular currently holding the 14th position in boy names this year, while this new spelling is #1396. Not only does this jazz up the original moniker, including that illusive ‘Z’ is like having a secret in the middle of your son’s name.
This is one of the more unusual reimaginings of names on the list, but there really is something about a ‘Y’ that makes a name look cool. Its traditionally spelled counterpart, Alice, is a popular name thanks to Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, and currently holds the 59th place in baby girl names this year. Alys, on the other hand, appears much further down, coming in at the 6446th position -- making this a wonderfully unique and refreshing name spelling for your beautiful baby girl.
Jaxson is actually proving to be quite the popular boy name this year, holding the 65th position in 2018, so far. But that doesn’t subtract from the breath of life this variation gives to its older and more common version, Jackson, which is even more widely used coming in at #12 this year. It has English origins and is debated to mean ‘son of Jack’ or ‘God is gracious.’ The letter ‘X’ is another letter that isn’t often seen in names, which is why this particular spelling is refreshing to see.
I might be a little bit biased toward the letter ‘K’, but there’s just really something edgy and refreshing about seeing it in a place that it doesn’t traditionally belong. The more common Rebecca means captivating, and swapping out those ‘C’s for ‘K’s certainly make the name something to look at. This alternate spelling is sure to make your baby girl unique on the classroom roster, as it has yet to break into the charts this year, and only made #13325 in 2017.
Michael is a classic name, and there’s totally nothing wrong with the way it’s usually spelled, but if you’re looking for something a little more out of the box, consider this funky spelling variation! It’s been growing in popularity over the years coming in at #3148 in 2018, which is 177 spots higher than last year, but your baby boy is still sure to be one of a kind with this alternative spelling -- especially since the more common, Michael, is the 15th most popular boy name this year.
This is a refreshing take on a common name, and though its Irish meaning is king, Rian has the versatility to be used for either a boy or a girl. It may be worth your consideration if you’re team green and waiting until birth to find out if you’re having a prince or princess! There’s something equally as magical about replacing a traditional ‘Y’ with an ‘I’. This new spelling has gained some attention this year, currently putting it in the 911th position.
A name of mixed origins, Jayne (or the traditional Jane) has two distinct meanings. Drawing from its English origin, the more common Jane means God is gracious, but this unique variation, Jayne, is said to have Hindu origins meaning victorious. Either meaning you choose to associate with the name is beautiful in its own rights. It’s not too popular of a name, currently in the 1552nd place for girl names this year, and the ‘Y’ in the middle really adds a sense of whimsy!
Here’s that edgy looking ‘K’ again! This name, with this spelling, is so unique that it has yet to break on to the popular names list this year, and only achieved popularity in 2017 reaching the 11,433rd position. It’s a fresh take on the more common Zachary. It includes most of the letters commonly forgotten when it comes to names, ‘Z’ ‘K’ and ‘Y’. It’s a name of Hebrew origins that means ‘God has remembered’ or ‘Remembered by God,’ making a great name for your baby boy if you happen to be religious.
This is another name that’s perfect if you’re team green! Kamryn is a refreshing take on the more common, Cameron. It has become growingly acceptable for use when naming a bouncing baby boy or a precious baby girl. This amazing name has Scottish origins, and while its meaning, crooked nose, isn’t the most profound, this alternate spelling carries enough beauty and character to make up for it. As a girl’s name, Kamryn ranks at #408 this year, while its boy equivalent comes in at #828 in 2018.
With the exception of the letter ‘K’, the easiest way to jazz up a name is by replacing vowels. There’s something about phonetic spelling that can also give old names new life, such is Natalee. Not far from the classic, Natalie, the new double ‘E’ spelling makes looking at the name feel new. The name is derived from the Latin ‘natalis’ which translates to birthday or Christmas day, making this a fitting name for one of the best gifts you’ll ever receive -- your baby girl!
Here’s a unique name spelling that is actually really aesthetically pleasing. Replacing the typical ‘I’ in Ian to an ‘E’ makes this feel like a completely new and unseen before name. This classic name comes from English origins and means God is gracious. It currently sits on the popular baby boy names list this year at #1606, while the more common Ian is higher up on the list, holding the 92nd position. This alternative spelling is perfect for your new bundle of joy.
Making a simple name just a little more complex can really jazz up the feel of an old moniker. This is actually a common reimagining of the class girl name, Amy, but that doesn’t make it any less refreshing to see. The traditional Amy has Latin roots and means beloved, while this beautiful variation has French origins and means loved one -- which are the basically the same, making them equally as lovely as each other. Aimee currently charts this year’s baby names list at #1217.
Trystan is a unique respelling of the more common, Tristan, which has Welsh roots and means the loud one -- a perfect name for an energetic and rambunctious little boy. If you’re looking for a name you won’t see too often on the classroom roster, Trystan might be for you. It currently sits on the popular boy names list of 2018 in the 2040th position, while the more traditional spelling is currently #114. The replacement ‘Y’ makes this name new, edgy, and a little bit romantic.
This name comes in many spelling variations, depending on the country it lands in, with the more common spellings being Sofia or Sophia. The added “Y” gives this beautiful girls’ name an extra sense of whimsy and romance. It’s a name of Greek origins and means wisdom. The more common Sofia and Sophia currently rank at #21 and #5, respectively. This reimagining comes in at #3974 this year, making it a one of a kind choice for your baby girl, if unique is what you’re looking for in a name.
An interesting variation of the classic name, Lucas, this respelling is sure to add some attitude to your baby boy’s name and persona. Coming from Latin roots, Lucas means light-giving or illumination, which is a perfect descriptor for the ray of light that a child can often be. Each version of the name is popular in their own right, but the more edgy, Lukas, being a little bit less common, currently holds the 218th position for boy names this year.
There has always been something astoundingly beautiful and elegant about the name Grace. This comes as no surprise, as in Greek mythology the name relates to beauty, blossom, and joy. As with other names though, the extra ‘Y’ adds another layer of originality and whimsy. This lovely variation of the name also has the perk of being less commonly used, only ranking at 4914 for baby names in 2018, meaning your stunning daughter will have a one of a kind name.
I know, this one isn’t as exciting of a change as the others, but it proves that you can get a fresh and new look to a common name by simply omitting a single letter (especially a silent letter). The more common John, is the male counterpart of Jane, and likewise means God is gracious. Interestingly though, some sites report this name being of Hebrew origin, while Jane has English roots. That aside, sometimes a short and concise name can be a breath of fresh air in all the unique monikers parents have been choosing lately.
Another example of that infamous letter ‘Y’ adding a sense of elegance to a classic name. This is a variation of Elena, which is actually a shortened form of Eleanor. The name has Greek roots and means light. This variation also proves how phonetic spelling can instantly refresh the way a name looks. It’s not a super popular name, currently in the 1315th position for girl names this year, which means your baby girl will have a name that’s all her own!
This is a quirky take on an already super cute name. Its most common variations include Zoe and Zoey. Sticking that unusually placed ‘i’ in the name undeniable adds character and spunk to it. Zoie/Zoe/Zoey has Greek origins and means life. Each version is climbing the popularity charts this year, but the funky Zoie remains unique, barely breaking the top 1000, coming in at the 919th position. With this variation your baby girl won’t only have a name that sounds cool, she’ll have a name that looks cool.
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