Naming a baby is no easy task! With millions of options, most moms- and dads-to-be find it difficult to agree on the perfect name for their little one. They likely don’t want the name to be too common or else they'll end up with four kids with the same name in the same classroom. And that’s bound to get confusing.
Likewise, while most parents want something a bit different, they also don’t want anything too over-the-top. Kylie Jenner might be able to get away with naming her daughter Stormi, but regular moms might get some looks in their Mommy & Me classes if they name their child something as out-there. Plus, perhaps mom has found the perfect name but her partner doesn’t agree. One parent might prefer names that are more feminine or classic and traditional, while the other parent wants something edgy and distinctive. Perhaps one parent wants the baby’s name to have a family connection, while the other would prefer something wholly original.
Needless to say, picking out and agreeing on a baby name is a real struggle — maybe even more so than labor (though that depends who you ask!). That’s why we’ve created this list filled with less commonly used names that are bound to surge in popularity this year. Any of these would be perfect choices for a little lass or lad!
Needless to say, the first celebrity that comes to mind when thinking about this unusual moniker is Angelina Jolie. Although the name has become traditionally known as a last name, it’s increasingly becoming a well-known first name, too. Jolie is actually a French word that translates to mean “beautiful” or “pretty.” So, you can be sure your little girl will be quite the looker if she has a gorgeous moniker like this one.
Adriano is the masculine form of Adriana, though it’s used less than its feminine counterpart. It’s of Italian origin and translates to mean “man from Adria,” making it a nice way to honor an Italian heritage. It’s a fresh update on the more common gender-neutral name Adrien or the similar-sounding name Alejandro. Equal parts dashing and strong, you can be sure any boy with this striking name will grow up to be quite the charmer.
Verena is an uncommon Latin name with a beautiful meaning - when translated, it means “integrity.” Although some may feel this name sounds old-fashioned, it’s a fresh update to the trendier name Vera, which has been popularized by celebrities like designer Vera Wang. It’s also similar sounding to the Gossip Girl-inspired name Serena. Verena is distinctly feminine while also sophisticated and intriguing. Plus, the name Vera can also be used as a nickname if your little one ends up preferring something a bit shorter.
Leif (pronounced as either LAYF or LEEF) is a popular Scandinavian name that has stood the test of time. Although it may not be as popular as it once was, many parents are embracing their Scandinavian heritage by adopting this cute moniker. Leif translates to mean ‘heir’ or ‘descendant.’ It’s got a very commanding, authoritative sound to it, so don’t be surprised if your little boy grows up to assume a leadership role. You’ll have a strong-willed boy on your hands if he’s given this name.
We’re guessing that the Sanskrit name Priya will skyrocket in popularity this year. Why? Because of how crazy the media was over actress Priyanka Chopra’s wedding to Nick Jonas. Priya is a nice alternative to Priyanka if you want to opt for something shorter (and the shorter the name, the trendier it is). Priya also has a beautiful meaning, translating to ‘beloved.’ Your little girl’s name will be loved by everyone if you choose this darling 5-letter name for her.
While Taj can be used as a gender-neutral name, it’s more commonly been used as a boy’s name. The name originated in Hindi and translates to mean “crown.” With celebrity baby names like Saint, Prince, and Royalty climbing the charts, Taj is a nice way to jump on the regal trend without the name sounding too out-there. The name will be a constant reminder of the magnificent Taj Mahal, which helps gives the name its grandiose, royal feeling. Fun Fact: Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler has a son with this first name.
If you love classic names like Catherine or Catelynn, then consider the less common moniker Catalina, which is the Spanish version of Catherine. The name translates to mean ‘pure,’ which explains why it gives off a dainty, feminine vibe. Catalina is also the name of one of California’s Channel Islands, so it’s a great choice for parents who love the Cali vibe or travelling in general. Plus, think of all the adorable nicknames that could be derived from this moniker, like Cate or Cat.
Albion is one of the most unheard names on this list, which is why finding its direct translation can be a bit difficult. This cute boy’s name actually has roots in Celtic and translates to mean ‘white mountain’- which totally means your boy will be a skier or snowboarder if he’s gifted with this cute name. Albion is a fresh option if you like names similar to Albert. Additionally, it can lead to a lot of cute nicknames like Albi or simply Al.
With the release of her new album and all the relationship drama that followed her into the New Year, not a day goes by when Ariana Grande’s name isn’t mentioned by the media. Many parents have been taking inspiration from the pop star in naming their girls. So, if you also like the name Ariana, we recommend considering its variant Ariane. Though the name is of French origin, it has no direct translation. However, Ariana is Italian for ‘most holy,’ which is a pretty epic meaning if you ask us.
Sure, you’ve heard of gender-neutral names like Eden or Aiden, but what about Edon? This four-letter name is typically given to baby boys, and while it’s definitely unique, it’s not so out-there that mommy friends will be criticizing it behind your back. In Albanian, the name translates to mean ‘loved,’ which is definitely how you feel about your baby boy. It has roots in English, Irish, and Scottish, and is considered a variant of the name Edan.
Genevieve is one of the more well-known names on this list and for good reason! This name might be a classic, but it has a feminine, sophisticated sound that makes parents keep coming back to it. The name has French roots and the French pronounce it as ‘GEN-vi-eve.’ The English pronunciation, on the other hand, is ‘JEN-uh-vieve.’ Genevieve has a gorgeous meaning as it translates to ‘tribe woman,’ making it the perfect choice for any budding feminist.
Talbot is a strong, masculine name if you’re on the hunt for a baby boy name that will turn heads. This English name translates to mean ‘command of the valley,’ which is a sure sign your little one will land in a leadership position if they’re given such a commanding name. Who knows, maybe you’ll have the future leader on your hands! Talbot is unique enough that you shouldn’t expect other kids in the classroom to have this moniker, although it’s not too over-the-top or difficult to pronounce.
Bea is considered a diminutive of the classic name Beatrice. Considering that short names are in (and easy to pronounce!), we suggest skipping the long version and opting for Bea as a first name, not just a nickname. It’s a great option for parents who love the sound of names like Ava or Eva but want something that stands out more. Bea means ‘she who brings happiness,’ so we bet your little girl will be a ray of sunshine if she has such a spunky name. Plus, Bee is a pretty cute nickname!
Girls aren’t the only ones who can have names inspired by gems and jewelry! Jules is an eclectic option for parents expecting a boy. It’s got a similar sound to Jude, which is a plus for any Beatles fans. Jules is actually the French form of Julius and is often used for the name Julian. Expect your little boy to have a lively attitude with this name, as it translates to mean ‘youthful.’ This name has been featured in a lot of movies, including Pulp Fiction, Bend It Like Beckham, and St. Elmo’s Fire.
Charlotte is a gorgeous name that will always remain popular and classic. So if you love that name yet want something a bit less traditional, try the fun moniker Lottie. Although Lottie is often used as a nickname for Charlotte, it’s gaining popularity as a first name. It translates to mean ‘free man’ and as origins in French, just like Charlotte. This name has been incredibly popular in the United Kingdom, so perhaps it’s time to get the ball rolling in the Americas.
Considering Victoria and David Beckham chose this name for one of their boys, you know it’s a good name! Cruz has a very suave- or should we say posh- sound to it that makes it perfect for either a boy or a girl. The name comes from Spain and translates to mean ‘cross.’ Many parents have opted for this name due to its Christian roots, although we think it’s a great choice regardless of mom and dad’s background. It has a distinctively edgy yet also polished sound, meaning your little boy will probably be the popular kid at school with this name!
Names like Angela and Angelina are already super popular- but the less common name Angelia isn’t! This name has roots in both Latin and Greek, and is inspired directly by the word ‘angel.’ Thus, it makes sense that its meaning is ‘divine messenger’ or ‘messenger from God.’ Angelia is sweet, delicate, and ultra-feminine, which is perfect for moms and dads looking for something super girly. Plus, think of all the cute nicknames you could call your little one, like ‘Angel’ or ‘Angie.’
Finneas is more commonly spelled Phineas, which is why you might recognize it from the Disney show Phineas and Ferb. We prefer the ‘F’ spelling since it detracts from the cartoon connotation. But however, you choose to spell it, Finneas is a darling name for a baby boy. It has origins in Hebrew and translates to mean ‘oracle,’ which was an ancient priest that acted as a medium to speak to the Gods. It’s also a great choice if you’re attracted to names like Finnigan or Finland. Plus, Finn is an adorable nickname!
Giana is a variation of the Italian name Giovanna and is also considered the Latin feminization of John. While it’s traditionally pronounced JAHN-ah, it’s more commonly said as GEE-ana nowadays. It has a beautiful meaning by translating to ‘the Lord is gracious.’ Although this name is distinctly feminine, it’s also got a bit of flare to it. We can’t imagine a Giana being anything but sassy and direct. Gia is a beautiful nickname that can be used as a shorthand.
Baaz - which can also be spelled as Baz or Baez - is a Kurdish-originating name that translates to mean “regal” or “falcon.” Naming babies after royalty and birds are both trends, so you’d be hitting two birds with one stone with a name like Baz. Interestingly, Baaz is considered diminutive of the names Sebastian and Basil. It’s also most commonly used in the Netherlands. However, with its short spelling and the ease of which it rolls of the tongue, we’d say this is one baby name to keep on your list.
If you’re a fan of Les Misérables, then you’ll likely love this name! Colette sounds extremely similar to Cosette, a character from the famous musical, which is likely because both names have roots in French. Colette is traditionally a French surname, though it is said to be adopted from the Greek name Nicholas. Actors Dylan McDermott and Constance Zimmer have given this beautiful name to their daughters. Plus, Collie makes a beautiful-sounding nickname. Can you see yourself with a Collette?
Cian is another C-name that parents are swooning over this year. Cian is a Gaelic name that translates to mean ‘ancient.’ However, we don’t think there’s anything old-fashioned about this moniker as its so uncommon that no one will realize it has a long history. Cian was used a lot in Irish mythology. Specifically, he was the mythical ancestor of the Cianachta as well as the son-in-law of Brian Boru, a famous Irish king. With a long history, it’s no wonder this name is so majestic and appealing.
Like feminine names like Eloise or Ella? Then Elodie is for you! This gorgeous French name is a variation of the equally beautiful Gothic name Alodia. Elodie translates to mean ‘wealth’ or ‘heritage,’ so maybe your little one will be a self-made millionaire when they grow up if this name is any prediction. With a soft, feminine sound, Elodie is perfect for any little princess. Some possible nicknames include Elle, Ellie, or even Elo.
Kenway is an English baby name. It’s historically been used as both a first and last name. Perhaps the best part about this name is its valiant meaning: Kenway means ‘brave in war’ or ‘bold warrior.’ The name is commandeering without being pretentious or too loud. Likewise, it can always be shortened to the common name Ken. We imagine your son will grow up to be a hero in some way with a name this important.
Khadija is another ‘K’ name that is rising in popularity this year- probably because Khloe Kardashian’s besties are twins Malika and Khadija Haqq! This pretty name originates from Arabic and interestingly means ‘premature baby,’ although we wouldn’t take that to mean anything. Khadija is actually an important name in the Islamic faith as the Koran names Muhammad’s first wife as Khadija. For a trendy nickname, we recommend Kady or Dija. But with a name as gorgeous as this one, there are dozens of nicknames you could come up with.
Although the name Fonzi has roots in Italian, it’s actually not traditionally a first name at all. Fans of the ‘80s sitcom Happy Days will recognize this as the name of the leather-clad biker played by Henry Winkler who for some reason hung around with a bunch of teenagers (but was also unbeatably cool). The character’s nickname was inspired by his last name Fonzarelli, but we honestly think it sounds like a real name in itself. Plus, can’t you imagine calling your little boy The Fonze?
Everyone has heard of Iman, one of the world’s originally supermodels (as well as one of the first persons to go by only one name). If you’re attracted to this hear-catching name, then you’ll love its variant, Imani. This Arabic name translates to mean ‘faith,’ which is a beautiful meaning for a little girl’s name. Unlike many of the other girl names on this list, Imani isn’t overtly feminine. Rather, it oozes strength, fierceness, and sophistication.
Traditionally, Lambert has been used as a last name - just think of singer Adam Lambert as an example. However, more and more parents-to-be are choosing it as a first name and we think they’re right on trend. This German name has a nature-inspired meaning as it translates to ‘land brilliant.’ Thus, it’s an especially great choice for nature lovers or parents who love traveling. On another note, Lamb would also make a pretty cool nickname. At least no one in your kid’s class would have the name!
While Magdalena is more common, we like the fresh twist that the moniker Magdalene provides. The name is mentioned throughout the Bible, which is likely why it has a distinctively vintage feel to it. Since it’s on the longer side, it gives it a regal air. And this also makes for more nickname options, like Magda or Maggie. This is also a great choice if you’re drawn to the more used name Margaret yet want something a bit more unique.
Finally, the last baby name on our list is another one that can be used for girls or boys, although it's more typically given to boys. Quentin is the Latin word for ‘fifth.’ And considering that number names are in (for example, Victoria Beckham’s daughter is named Harper Seven), then this could be a nice way to embrace the trend without actually naming your kid after a number. Quin is also a cute variation or nickname of Quentin, though it’s more commonly used with girls.
Sources: NameBerry, SheKnows