Cool Baby Names Outside The Top 1,000 List

The yearly list of Top Baby Names is useful as a general “What Not To Name My Baby” reference – as many modern parents do – so this is the cool baby names list to consult.

Choosing a baby name is important, but you wouldn prefer if your child wasn’t just another Jessica/Michael/Sophia at school – named after 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 cool baby names that haven’t hit the Top 1,000 … yet:

Girl Names

1. Amalia

Meaning: Work

A less-popular alternative to Amelia.

2. 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 this as one of the cool baby names before it starts climbing.

3. Wren

Meaning: A bird

A sweet songbird of a name.

4. Etta

Meaning: Estate ruler

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

5. Aurelia

Meaning: The golden one

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

6. 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.

7. Margot

Meaning: Pearl

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

8. 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.

9. Louisa

Meaning: Renowned warrior

Another one of those vintage cool baby names that’s starting to register on our radar.

10. 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.

11. Magnolia

Meaning: Flower name

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

12. Cordelia

Meaning: Heart; Daughter of the sea

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

13. Rosie

Meaning: A diminutive of Rose

A perkier version of Rose.

14. Poppy

Meaning: Flower name

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

15. 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.

16. 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

17. Remi

Meaning: Oarsman

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

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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 one of those cool baby names.

22. Maren

Meaning: Sea

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

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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)

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Contemporary Names

Boy Names

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Miller

Meaning: Grinder of grain

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

6. Ford

Meaning: Dweller at the ford

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

7. Thatcher

Meaning: Roof thatcher

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

8. Bishop

Meaning: Occupation name

Perhaps following in Deacon’s path?

9. 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.

10. Duke

Meaning: English rank of nobility

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

11. 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”.

12. Otis

Meaning: Wealthy

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

13. Baylor

Meaning: “Horse trainer”

A modern upgrade to Taylor.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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”).

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. Clarence

Meaning: Bright

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

21. 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.

22. Ralph

Meaning: wolf-counsel

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

23. Langston

Meaning: Tall man’s town

Probably most notable for the Langston Hughes association, this could be an unexpectedly good option for one of those cool baby names choices.

24. Ulysses

Meaning: Wrathful

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

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