Choosing a name for your baby is one of the best parts about preparing for parenthood, but it certainly comes with its challenges. Deciding on the name that will define someone for the rest of their life is no small task and there are many things to take into consideration. Is it too difficult to spell? How can you incorporate a family name? Are there any negative associations with this name? And of course, there’s the question of whether or not the name has become too popular.
The thing about popular names is that they are popular for a reason (i.e., they are wonderful name choices), and if you don’t mind having your little one share a moniker with multiple classmates when they reach school age, then go for those top names! BUT, if you’re on the hunt for something a big less expected, then this list is a great place to start. Here are 20 alternatives to popular baby names that may be on your list already!
If you like…
Then you might love: Jonah or Amos
Noah has long been one of my most favorite boy names, but apparently a lot of other people agree, as it is currently the #1 male name in the U.S. Instead, you may want to opt for Jonah or Amos. Both have a similar two-syllable vibe and they have Biblical roots as if that’s your inspiration.
Then you might love: Levi or Callum
Liam has had its heyday, and though still popular, there are some newbies on the horizon. Levi and Callum both share the sound quality of Liam, but have a fresh feel. Levi was definitely one on my short list of potential baby names when I was pregnant.
Then you might love: Cooper or Logan
Jackson has a bit of a rough and tumble quality to it that I love and it’s one that is shared with its counterparts Cooper and Logan. Perhaps if you end up with three rowdy boys, you can use them all!
Then you might love: Ezra or Eamon
Ethan is a solid choice for a boys name, but if you still haven’t decided on it 100%, check out Ezra or Eamon as less popular (but still super cool) choices. Eamon especially is quite similar to Ethan, but definitely more unique.
Then you might love: Miles or Holden
Mason is certainly a sought-after name these days. If a name with less fans is what you’re after, then maybe Miles or Holden would be good variations. I especially love Holden and it’s literary significance (Holden Caufield of “The Catcher in the Rye”) and it has that same ending “n” sound.
Then you might love: Owen or Lewis
Oliver has been around for awhile now, so if you love it, but aren’t sure you want something quite so popular, perhaps you can give Owen or Lewis a chance.
Then you might love: Theodore or Edward
If you love a good traditional name like William, perhaps Theodore or Edward could be the perfect name for your little one. The nickname potential is strong with the options of Theo/Teddy or Ed/Eddy. So cute!
Then you might love: Arden or Logan
Aiden has been much beloved in recent years (and really a great many boy names ending in “en” or “an”). If you love the idea of a name ending in “en” or “an,” perhaps the less often used Arden or Logan could serve your little one well.
Then you might love: Hank or Cal
Jack is such a wonderfully strong and simple boys name, but just in case you’re looking for something that strays a bit further from the norm, Hank or Cal fit the bill. Both are classic sounding boy names with strong consonant sounds, but are a bit more unexpected.
Then you might love: Charlie or George
If English names like Henry are your thing, then Charlie or George would make good backup choices. Both are English in origin as well, and I mean, it really doesn’t get much more English than little Prince George of Cambridge!
If you like…
Then you might love: Lucia or Ophelia
If you really love the name Sophia and Sophie just isn’t different enough for you, then perhaps Lucia or Ophelia could be good stand-ins. They both share the same romantic, Italian flow. Lovely choices.
Then you might love: Maeve or Audrey
If you love Ava, but are still undecided and looking for some alternates “just in case,” you might want to consider Maeve or Audrey. Maeve has a similar sound to Ava and Audrey is in the same vein of old-time Hollywood actresses (think Ava Gardner and Audrey Hepburn).
Then you might love: Caroline or Clementine
Charlotte is pretty high on the popularity list where baby names are concerned, but I still really really love it. I mean, the nickname Charlie? Swoon! If you’re looking for a different option though, Caroline or Clementine might be fun choices. Caroline is still in the top 100 for baby names, but not quite as popular and Clementine is so fun and completely adorable!
Then you might love: Piper or Georgia
Fun fact: Harper was the name I wanted to name my oldest daughter before becoming pregnant six years ago. I’m thankful I didn’t though as it soared in popularity right around the time she was born and still maintains a top spot on the baby names list. It is a lovely name, but if you’re looking for something a bit more uncommon, then Piper or Georgia are great substitutes that both offer the same spunky feel as Harper.
Then you might love: Emmaline or Emilia
Emma is such a sweet name, although Emmaline or Emilia could certainly stand in as strong alternates that are definitely still in the same vein. I love the nickname of “Em” for any of these!
Then you might love: Eliana or Arabella
If you love the romantic feel of Isabella, but don’t want your little girl to be sharing the nickname “Bella” with five of her other classmates, then perhaps Eliana or Arabella would be good alternatives. Both have the same romantic feeling and the sophisticated sounding “a” ending.
Then you might love: Madeline or Emerson
Madison has been popular for many years now (I seem to recall its rise starting sometime in the early 2000s), so if you really love the sound of it, but are on the hunt for something a bit more unique, Madeline has a very similar sound as both are 3 syllables starting with “M” and include that mid-D sound. Emerson is another lovely pick that is different, but still shares that “on” ending and a similar feel.
Then you might love: Olive or Viviana
Olivia has been at the peak of baby name popularity for quite some time, so while it is an incredibly lovely option if you have your heart truly set on it, Olive or Viviana both share similar sounds (gotta love that “V”). Olive is a bit more quirky and Viviana leans slightly more traditional, but either would make a great choice.
Then you might love: Eliza or Margaret
Elizabeth is one of those tried-and-true classic names, so it’s no wonder it’s at the top of the baby names popularity list. If you’re using Elizabeth as a family name, but want to venture a bit off the path, Eliza is a more whimsical variation of the traditional name. Margaret is another great option as it is still a strong classic, but not quite as popular these days.
Then you might love: Ryan or Rowan
If you have a penchant for gender neutral names or boy names for girls, then one of these names might be fore you. Although Ryan may sound more traditional for a boy, it sounds fresh and cool for a girl and the same for Rowan. Definitely more unexpected than the more oft used Riley.