Some parents want a name that’s not just unusual, but nearly unique- a name their child almost certainly won’t share. For those parents, there’s always the option of completely inventing a name. But if they want something highly unusual AND traditional, that option is off the table. So I’ve compiled a list for parents who gravitate towards the traditional, but still want something unique. All of these names rank below the top 1000 but have a history of use for more than 100 years.
Etta- Etta shares a lot with the much more popular Ella- including a famous singing bearer. For Ella, it’s Ella Fitzgerald, and for Etta, it’s Etta James (pictured).
Marielle- A dignified French variant of Mary.
Mercy- This Puritan virtue name has a quality not common in Puritan virtue names-cuteness!
Nicolette- Popular in the 90s on the heels of Nicole, Nicolette could be an interesting possibility.
Cornelia- Cor- names like Cora and Cordelia are trending up, but Cornelia hasn’t joined them.
Annette- This French variant of Ann was fairly common until a precipitous drop in the 80s.
Augustina- Frilly and princess-y, but less common than Valentina or Genevieve.
Isadora- For fans of Isabella.
Antonia- Rare, well-known, and rich with nickname possibilities- but varying pronunciations could be an issue.
Agatha and Agnes- Who could resist a little Aggie?
Ines-Agnes’ Italian and Portuguese variant, recently used by Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively for their second child.
Maud- Matilda has seen a resurgence, but this diminutive was left behind.
Maxine- Max is having a bit of a revival for girls, from a female lead on Two Broke Girls to Mark Zuckerberg’s 1-year-old daughter (whose full name is Maxima).
Rita- A Margaret variant popular from the 1910s to the 1950s, now rare for babies.
Marguerite- Another Margaret variant, this one a bit more formal.
Mavis- Nickname possibilities include the on-trend Mae and Mave.
Pamela- This mid-century staple has fallen precipitously down the charts
Thora- The Norse goddess of thunder.
Florence/Flora-Though they seem related, they’re not- Flora shares a root with “flower” and Florence comes from “flourish.”
Marian- The little girl who hilariously interrupted her father while he was giving an interview for the BBC in a recent viral video bears this lovely and unusual name.
And a bonus! Theresa and Margery- neither ranks, though variant spellings Teresa and Marjorie are #665 and 799, respectively.