Quirky Boy Names 2017Quirky Boy Names 2017 can cover an awful lot of territory. I could talk about unusual celebrity names, like Terrence Howard’s Qirin, or the go-to crazy name of the moment, Rocket. (Which isn’t crazy at all.)

Or maybe I’d look at names from the bottom of the list. Except I’ve done that already, and a surprising number of rare boy names could make great choices.

Instead, let’s focus on the boy names trending here, at Appellation Mountain, since the year began. Quirky boy names 2017 rank among the most popular posts on the site, but chances are you won’t find them trending in the overall US popularity data. At least not enough to make a dent – yet. Some of these might just make it onto a list of future up-and-comers, while others seem destined to remain curiosities.

Incidentally, the list is ordered by page views – the higher up it appears, the more Appellation Mountain readers looking into the name!

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Credence

CredenceCurrent US popularity rank: unranked

Credence combines musical associations (think Creedence Clearwater Revival) with a reference to the Harry Potter universe. In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Credence Barebone is a long-suffering wizard in 1920s America. I’ll keep this spoiler free, but you can’t see the movie and not remember his name. But Credence also succeeds on meaning. It comes from the Latin credo – belief – making this a modern virtue name. In our age of meaning-rich choices, like Bodhi and Messiah, Credence fits right in.

Read more about Credence here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Deckard

Deckard: Baby Name of the DayCurrent US popularity rank: unranked

Surname-name Deckard fits with rough and tough boy names like Ryder and Knox. They’re edgy, but still on the right side of wearable. Decker also fits in this category, but Deckard owes its place on this list to pop culture. Jason Statham plays Deckard Shaw in The Fast and the Furious franchise. Shaw was the bad guy in 2015’s Furious 7; he returns as an ally in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious. While still quite rare, Deckard rose in use in 2016. When we see this year’s numbers, it should be up again.

Read more about Deckard here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Huxley

Huxley: Baby Name of the DayCurrent US popularity rank: #867

With that cool middle ‘x’ factor, Huxley appeals to parents after something edgy, but not invented. It also fits in with surname names like Henley, Hadley, and Riley while seeming slightly more masculine. The famous English family included author Aldous and scientist Thomas, a colleague of Charles Darwin, which lends this name some substance. It also shortens to friendly nickname Huck, which might be a bonus.

Read more about Huxley here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Loxley

Loxley: Baby Name of the DayCurrent US popularity rank: unranked

Loxley caught my eye thanks to a documentary about the legend of Robin Hood, also known as Robin of Locksley or Loxley – pick your spelling. The ‘x’ version brings to mind current favorites, from Alex and Axel to Felix and Fox to Xavier and Xander. Loxley has caught on like wildfire on Pinterest, even though just 29 boys were named Loxley last year. That has me wondering if Loxley could be the new Bentley? Just add a high profile use or two, and it could take off, a hero name with a romantic vibe.

Read more about Loxley here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Mars

Mars: Baby Name of the DayCurrent US popularity rank: unranked

Dare I write that Mars is out of this world? Bruno Mars took it as his stage surname for precisely this reason. But like many a celestial name, Mars also ties to myth. He’s the Roman god of war. With ancient picks like Atlas and Orion on the rise, Mars fits in better than you might think, and ‘s’ enders from Brooks to Caius feel quite stylish. A new record 56 boys were named Mars in 2016 – more than double the number born just one year earlier, though it’s been used in small numbers since at least the 1920s.

Read more about Mars here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Rafferty

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Handsome, upbeat Irish surname Rafferty has yet to crack the US Top 1000. That’s despite Jude Law and Sadie Frost naming their firstborn Rafferty back in 1996. In the UK, the name ranks higher, with around 160 boys receiving the name, compared to just a dozen or so in the US. That could change, though. First, Rafferty Law is now a model and rising celebrity in his own right. Second, parents have embraced longer surnames like Sullivan and Finnegan of late; why not Rafferty, too?

Read more about Rafferty here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Endeavour

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Endeavour is the equivalent of Phryne from the girls’ list. Both attract attention thanks to fictional  detectives from elsewhere in the English-speaking world. Inspector Morse ran on British television for more than a dozen years; now a prequel titled Endeavour has become a hit, with Shaun Evans starring as the young detective. Endeavour is Morse’s first name, but he’s not fond of it, and does his best to hide it. Colin Dexter penned the original novels; in it, we learn that Morse’s mother liked virtue names, while his father appreciated that Endeavour was the name of a ship captained by James Cook. It’s a tough one to wear, but might make an appealing middle.

Read more about Endeavour here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Cove

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Cove combines multiple trends: short boy names, high-value Scrabble letters, and nature names, too. It’s a wonder we don’t hear it more often. Perhaps parents hesitate because cove can also mean “that guy,” at least in outdated British slang. But that seems like an obscure fact. The word has been borrowed as a boys’ name in small numbers during the twenty-first century, and is occasionally heard for girls, too.

Read more about Cove here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Calder

Calder: Baby Name of the DayCurrent US popularity rank: unranked

With ties to the arts (thanks to sculptor Alexander) and ice hockey (thanks to the rookie of the year award, the Calder Memorial Trophy), this name feels versatile. It shortens to friendly nickname Cal, and makes a great update to Top 100 staples like Carter and Cooper. If you love surname names for boys – especially those stylish -r enders – but worry that all of your favorites are too popular, Calder might be the perfect pick.

Read more about Calder here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Auden

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Poetic surname names feel both timeless and on-trend. Think of Tennyson, Keats, or Blake. Austin gets a second boost, thanks to the name’s similarity to Austin. Auden made headlines as the name of actor Kelsey Grammer’s youngest son, Auden James Ellis. Grammer was inspired by the poet. While Auden has yet to rank in the US Top 1000, it did reach a new high in 2016. 104 boys were given the name, along with 41 girls.

Read more about Auden here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Otto

Current US popularity rank: #527

When The Simpsons debuted in the late 1980s, the name Otto was fit only for the unlicensed bus driver at Springfield Elementary. At the time, the traditional German name lingered near obscurity, a long and storied history ignored. That’s changed dramatically since then, and while there’s something quirky about Otto, it’s increasingly headed back to the mainstream. The name has risen in use every year for the past six years, and stands just outside the current Top 500, an alternative to Theo or Milo.

Read more about Otto here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Finnian

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Finn names dot the boy’s Top 1000, from elaborate Finnegan to just Finn. Biblical Phineas – pick your spelling – is heard, too. At first glance, Finnian might be an invention based on Julian, but it isn’t so. Several Irish saints answered to this name, and it can be found throughout the history books. It’s also spelled with a single ‘n’ – Finian.

Read more about Finnian here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Valen

Current US popularity rank: unranked

Some names seem like they should exist. If there’s Joseph and Josephine, Clement and Clementine, then doesn’t Valentine suggest the possibility of Valen? It might be cousin to all of the Val- names, or perhaps it comes from a surname with roots in Old Norse. Either way, Valen was used sparingly in the twentieth century, and has picked up speed in recent years, with 64 boys and 15 girls receiving the name last year. It sounds vigorous and modern.

Read more about Valen here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Zev

Current US popularity rank: unranked

A mini name, with two high-value Scrabble letters? Zev ought to be racing up the US Top 1000. Except few parents have heard of this appealing Israeli import. Another factor in its favor? The name means wolf, which makes it right at home with so many nature names we love for boys today, like Fox and Hawk. Alt fairytale YA series The Lunar Chronicles gives one of its heroes the name Ze’ev – another spelling of the name. I’ll keep this spoiler free, but let’s just say Ze’ev appears in Scarlet, the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Read more about Zev here.

Quirky Boy Names 2017: Bridger

Bridger: Baby Name of the DayCurrent US popularity rank: #859

Bridger flirts withe US Top 1000, appearing and then briefly disappearing, since 1999. It fits with rugged boy names, preppy -r enders, and has a great namesake, too: legendary nineteenth century mountain man Jim Bridger. No surprise it remains more common in the American west than elsewhere, but it could easily cross over. Bridges seem like a powerful symbol likely to appeal to many families, regardless of their roots. And the sound fits well with so many trending names for boys.

Read more about Bridger here.

What are your favorites from this list? Would you consider any of the quirky boy names 2017 for your son?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I really like Bridger and Cove!

    The Fantastic Beasts association is a little too much for me to warm up to Credence.