Do you like your baby names rare? This list of very rare girl names is for you!
I’m a little obsessed with the names that don’t chart in the current US Top 1000.
The Social Security Administration reports that only 73.48% of children born in 2015 received a Top 1000 name. The numbers are even more dramatic for girls – only 67.9% were given a name in the Top 1000.
Yup, that means that almost three out of every ten children born last year answers to a name that is outside of the mainstream.
Or maybe not.
Because the names outside of the Top 1000 also include an awful lot of crazy, creative spellings. There are plenty of smoosh names. (Is Lilygrace really that different from the many, many girls named Lily Grace?) And some names might seem pretty ordinary, but it’s shocking to realize how infrequently they’re used today.
Just for fun, let’s take a look at a dozen rare girl names – really rare!
Rare Girl Names: A through G
Atalanta – No, not Atlanta, like the capital of Georgia. (Though rumor had it that the Beckhams shortlisted the place name for daughter Harper Seven.) In Greek myth, Atalanta became an accomplished hunter. She could outrun most men, too. When the time came for her to marry, her father agreed to only consider suitors who could best her in a contest. The stories of her courage and accomplishments are impressive. If Arabella is big, why not Atalanta? Fewer than five girls were given name in 2015, making it among the rarest of the rare girl names.
Carys – This modern Welsh name meaning love sounds like a blend of traditional girl names Caroline and Alice. Better yet, it’s a celebrity baby name, chosen by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas for their daughter in 2003. And yet, the name remains rare, given to just 82 girls last year.
Galilee – Galilee is an ancient place name from the Bible, the region Jesus called home. Just 25 girls were named Galilee in 2015, but it could work beautifully as a girls’ name. Less expected than Eden, with the same rhythm as Emily and Avery, Galilee makes a meaningful and surprising choice.
Rare Girl Names: H through M
Honora – A mix of virtue name and quirky British pick, Honora was worn by a minor character in Once Upon a Time, and makes plenty of appearances in history and literature. But none are especially well known, and a mere 19 girls were named Honora in 2015. If you’d like an unusual formal name for Nora, this is a great option.
Kahlo – Confession: the first Kahlo I ever met was a dog. But artist surname names, like Matisse and Calder, can wear beautifully on children. Kahlo pays homage to artist Frida Kahlo, picks up on our affection for girl names ending in o, like Margot and Willow, and definitely belongs with rare girl names – it was given to fewer than five girls in 2015.
Marigold – Between Downton Abbey’s Marigold and our affection for floral names like Lily and Violet, this name might not stay under the radar for long. But in 2015, just 66 girls were given the name, putting it far behind other botanical options like Azalea and Magnolia.
Rare Girl Names: N through T
Quinlan – Quinn, the go-to name for fictional television cheerleaders, currently ranks in the US Top 100 for girls. Quinlan is another Irish surname name. If you love Addison and Payton, but crave rare girl names, Quinlan could be for you. In 2015, just 25 girls received the name. Worried about borrowing from the boys? While it is slightly more common for our sons, they’re not using it in big numbers, either. A mere 50 boys were named Quinlan last year.
Saskia – In our age of Sophia and Olivia, any girl name ending in -ia can feel promising. And yet Saskia – a Dutch and German name derived from the word Saxon – was given to just 18 girls last year.
Trudy – I know, I know. Gertrude is rare for a reason. It is the age of effortless names like Mila and Aria. But nevermind Gertrude. How ’bout Trudy? We love Lucy and Sadie and Ellie. Trudy feels retro and unexpected, but not as guttural as Gertrude. (Though really, I adore Gertrude, too!) Just 23 girls were named Trudy in 2015, plus another 26 Gertrudes.
Rare Girl Names: U through Z
Vivica – There’s more than one way to spell this appealing name, but even when all the spellings are tallied, Vivica remains rare. This one can substitute for so many stylish V names, from Olivia to Vivian. Vivica A. Fox makes this spelling most visible, but it was still given to just 9 girls in 2015.
Wynne – Wynne is cousin to Welsh name Gwen. While Gwen feels familiar, Wynne remains seldom heard. It’s far less common than Lynne, much more modern than retro Wendy, and every bit as tailored as Claire or Sloane. Just 25 girls were named Wynne last year, putting it on the list of rare girl names.
Zosia – Girls’ Zosia Mamet pronounces her name like Sasha with a Z, but I’ve usually heard Zosia pronounced with a long o. But it’s really up to you, because nearly no one is named Zosia. Just 17 girls received the name in 2015. If you love Zara and Zoe, but want something truly unusual, Zosia is for you.
Would you consider any of these rare girl names? What are your favorite seldom heard names for girls?
I actually went to school with an Atalanta. I like Marigold and Honora. Not sure if I would use them, but they’re very pretty and not too out there.
Love Wynne (and it’s a great way to get to Winnie if you don’t like Winifred), Trudy, Zosia and Quinlan.
Atalanta would be fantastic!
I also love Honora, Marigold, Trudy, and Zosia.
Daphne Anson says
I tend to see Zosia as in the same bracket as Basia – a Polish diminutive for a formal name. (Zofia and Barbara respectively.) I have only ever heard Zosia pronounced Zohsha
I agree with another poster that Carys is not rare – a truly rare Welsh name is Aeres which means “heiress” and seems to be confined to the Carmarthen area. It sounds a great deal like Iris to the non-Welsh ear.
Juno Blue says
I know quite a few Carys’s. I guess it’s not such a rare name in Scotland. Zosia, Saskia and Viveca are my favourite’s from this list though I would spell it Viveka.
Carys and Honora are both lovely, imo. I love Honora 🙂
I feel like Atalanta would be a hard name to live with. It would be constantly misheard and misspelled.. That can get old quick! (Coming from a Marissa who is always called Melissa).
My SO and I both like Carys but disagree on pronunciation. He wants it to rhyme with Paris, I pronounce it like Cahh-riss.
If I wanted a name that sounded ilke “Care-iss” I would use Cerys.
I always thoughts Zosia was pronounced ZOH-see-uh. Still, I dig.
Wynne also works as a less expected alternative to Quinn (which seems to be popping up everywhere nowadays).
I like Wynne alot. I love Carys and Marigold! Hard to imagine why they’re so seldom used.
My daughter’s middle name is Wynn. I just love single syllable middles. I toyed with Wyn (the Welsh spelling) but have never seen it with an ‘e’. I have met several people with our spelling as a surname but that is probably regional.