Cool Baby Names OUTSIDE the Top 1,000 Baby Names

If you check the annual Top Baby Name list as a general What Not To Name My Baby reference — as many modern parents do — then this is the list for you.

You’re looking for a baby name that’s cool and usable, but you’d prefer if your child wasn’t one of many Jessicas/Michaels/Sophias in school — destined to be identified with a last initial. You moan and groan when your favorite formerly unique names (Henry, Penelope, Oliver) creep up into the “popular” zone, and you take your naming seriously.

And so I give you some of the coolest baby names that haven’t hit the Top 1,000…yet:



    First up, the ladies…

  • Amalia


    Meaning: Work

    A less-popular alternative to Amelia.

  • Mabel


    Meaning: Lovable

    First of all, how about that meaning? Mabel is one of those old-fashioned granny names coming back into fashion — but not fast enough to make it into the Top 1,000. Use it before it starts climbing.

  • Wren


    Meaning: A bird

    A sweet songbird of a name.

  • Etta


    Meaning: Estate ruler

    In a world where Emmas and Ellas abound, Etta is a similar yet jazzier cousin.

  • Aurelia


    Meaning: The golden one

    A more glittering, star-struck cousin to the Disney-inspired Aurora.

  • Emmeline


    Meaning: Work

    There’s something about “Em-“ names that are especially attractive (Emma/Emily/Emilia/Amelia), and Emmeline has the classic femininity without the modern trendiness.

  • Margot


    Meaning: Pearl

    Beyond the attractive meaning, Margot feels both classic and exotic, with a trendy o-ending.

  • Faye


    Meaning: Fairy

    This is an especially cool middle name option, similar to Mae and Rae. It’s also a vintage choice deserving a comeback.

  • Louisa


    Meaning: Renowned warrior

    Another vintage name that’s starting to register on our radar.

  • Gwen


    Meaning: White circle

    It’s not so much “in” anymore, but it’s not so far out that it’s unfashionable. I think Gwen has a classic appeal.

  • Magnolia


    Meaning: Flower name

    Similar to Lily, Daisy, and Iris, Magnolia is an ultra-feminine flower name with a unique spin.

  • Cordelia


    Meaning: Heart; Daughter of the sea

    A sophisticated yet stylish name that’s hanging out just below the Top 1,000 list.

  • Rosie


    Meaning: A diminutive of Rose

    A perkier version of Rose.

  • Poppy


    Meaning: Flower name

    The spunkiest of feminine flower names, which is popular overseas (Poppy is in the UK’s Top 20).

  • Maisie


    Meaning: Pearl

    It sounds like friendly Daisy, but with the attractive nickname option of Mae. And it’s all wrapped up with a vintage vibe.

  • Delia


    Meaning: “Born on the island of Delos”

    A popular nickname for Cordelia (another Outside-the-Top-1,000 pick), Delia has a poetic feel.

  • Remi


    Meaning: Oarsman

    Despite the slightly off-putting meaning, Remi has a modern quirkiness that’s very much in style right now.

  • Clementine


    Meaning: Mild, merciful

    This is a buzzed-about name in the online naming community, but still completely off the nation’s radar. Read: Your friends will think it’s cool, but your parents will give the stink eye.

  • Florence


    Meaning: Flourishing, prosperous

    Florence has all the qualities of a chart-climbing name — vintage, exotic, feminine, and it’s even a place name. Will Florence and the Machine give it a boost up? Maybe, but it currently ranks way down in “unique” territory. So have at it.

  • Sally


    Meaning: Princess

    Well, it means princess; we can start with that. And it’s also a super happy and friendly name — with a trendy mid-century flair.

  • Elodie


    Meaning: Marsh flower

    This one feels like it should be popular, but it’s totally not. So that’s probably exactly what you want in a name.

  • Maren


    Meaning: Sea

    Maren is a unique variation of Mary — so you could easily use it as a more modern namesake.

  • Astrid


    Meaning: Divinely beautiful

    Well she’ll always love the meaning of her name — that’s for certain. The name “Astrid” is pretty popular over in Sweden and Denmark, and it’s heard more frequently in the name-enthusiast community, but your little girl probably won’t have multiple Astrids in her class.

  • Ellison


    Meaning: Son of Ellis

    She might have to go through her life saying “N-no ELLison, not Allison,” but it’s a unique “Elle”/”Ellie” name.

  • Flora


    Meaning: Flower

    Flower names are extremely popular right now, but there are a few attractive options that haven’t fully caught on yet, like Poppy and Iris. Add “Flora” to that list. (Also: the Disney connection, obviously)

  • BOYS


    And now the boys…

  • Grey


    Meaning: Color name

    The more formal version of Grayson/Greyson is quickly scooting up the ranks, Grey is an attractive color name that’s hanging just below the Top 1,000 list. It could be an especially awesome middle name choice.

  • Garrison


    Meaning: Son of Garret

    A more modern twist to the outdated Gary, and Garrison also has the trendy feel of a place name and/or surname name.

  • Taj


    Meaning: Crown

    Taj made two brief appearances in the Top 1,000 (1976 and 1998), and it has a cool vibe that consistently leaves it lingering in “unique but usable” territory.

  • Magnus


    Meaning: Greatest

    Magnus exudes power (and maybe a little ego), so it might require a strong personality. But with the right personality — man, it could soar.

  • Miller


    Meaning: Grinder of grain

    It’s still pretty unique, but it has the trendy “surname name” and “occupational name” qualities.

  • Ford


    Meaning: Dweller at the ford

    He might have to live with an association to cars, but it’s becoming a rising surname name.

  • Thatcher


    Meaning: Roof thatcher

    Another occupational-meets-surname name that’s trendy yet unique. It’s also a modern twist on Tyler and Taylor.

  • Bishop


    Meaning: Occupation name

    Perhaps following in Deacon’s path?

  • Enoch


    Meaning: Dedicated

    We all know the extreme popularity of Biblical names (like Noah, Caleb, etc.). And Enoch is a strong Old Testament name deserving of a revival.

  • Duke


    Meaning: English rank of nobility

    Again, it takes the right personality — but it might be right for you.

  • Judson


    Meaning: Son of Jordan

    A hybrid of popular Hudson-Jackson, Judson could provide the right kind of alternative. It also kind of sounds like 80s-favorite “Justin”.

  • Otis


    Meaning: Wealthy

    It’s short and punchy, with a vintage flair and trendy hard “O” sound. This is certainly a cool choice.

  • Baylor


    Meaning: “Horse trainer”

    A modern upgrade to Taylor.

  • Cortez


    Meaning: Courteous

    English and Irish surnames are sprinkled throughout the Top 1,000, but this unique Spanish surname could have the unique flair you’re looking for.

  • Cormac


    Meaning: Tree trunk

    Cormac has never made it onto the US Top 1,000 list, but it’s a traditionally Irish name steeped in Celtic culture.

  • Keller


    Meaning: Cellar master

    A German surname that has the trendy “two-syllable name ending in ‘-er” thing going for it — i.e. Cooper, Asher, Ryder, etc.

  • Louie


    Meaning: Renowned warrior

    A friendlier version of Louis — and it makes the French pronunciation easier to recognize (rather than having to say “It’s Lou-ee, not Lou-iss”).

  • Clifford


    Meaning: “Lives near the ford by the cliff”

    You’ll have to take the Big Red Dog association into consideration — you know, for kids — but Clifford is starting to come back into fashion.

  • Boden


    Meaning: “Hill shaped like a bow”

    It has the same two-syllable feel as trendy Mason and Owen, but it has a cooler “Bo” nickname.

  • Clarence


    Meaning: Bright

    Clarence just might have enough old-man charm to climb back into the spotlight, a la Henry.

  • Rocky


    Meaning: Rest

    Is the name “Rocky” above the Sylvester Stallone association yet? It has the punchy strength that suggests it’s on its way back.

  • Ralph


    Meaning: wolf-counsel

    Ralph is a name with literary and historical significance — plus a dash of old-man appeal.

  • Langston


    Meaning: Tall man’s town

    Probably most notable for the Langston Hughes association, this could be an unexpectedly cool name choice.

  • Ulysses


    Meaning: Wrathful

    Ulysses is a heavy name to carry, but the right little boy could carry it high.

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