28 Unique & Uncommon Baby Names for Every Gender

A woman smiling and holding up a smiling baby.

Choosing an unusual or uncommon name for your baby has become a lot more common. (Isn't it ironic?) But for what it's worth, baby names are always a hotly debated topic and the popularity of one or another waxes and wanes with every year that passes—and a name that's seldom given in your neck of the woods may actually be super-popular in another.

When naming your child, all sorts of things—pop culture, current events, religious history, and family names—can come into play. And since all parents know their babies are the best things since sliced bread, many want to grace their children with unique names that present their importance and individuality. So whether your new baby's name is something they'll inherit, an amalgam of different monikers, or a different spelling of a more popular title, here are 28 names you probably don't hear every day—from traditionally female and male names to gender-neutral ones that work for any baby.

Unexpected Names For Boys

Your baby will clearly be an individual with one of these six boy's names.


Jantzen is the Danish variant of John, the most common name in the U.S.


It's an interesting name and you'll be hard-pressed to find another little dude named Legion—there's actually less than a 1% chance that another boy in school will have the same name.


Pronounced, lay-lund, Leyland comes from the English surname meaning "land lying fellow"—it's classic and a bit rugged.


It may rhyme with Kevin, but Nevin is perhaps a nicer twist. It's also of Latin origin and translates to "holy" and "sacred."


This cool name is inspired by Japanese mythology and is pronounced rye-den; it loosely translates to "god of thunder and lightning."


Although Ryo (pronounced ray-o) can be used as a girl's name, too, it's a traditional boy's name in Japan that means "excellent."

Surprising Girl Names

We all want our little girls to shine like the stars they will undoubtedly become—any one of these eight unique names will prove your angel has truly broken the mold.


A sweet, Italian name that's reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast and all its scenic beauty.


Indira is Hindi and Sanskrit for "beauty." Shortening it to Dira would be cute, too.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fans will appreciate Orla: There's a fellow student at Hogwarts called Orla Quirke. It's also a Celtic name meaning "golden princess."


Seren is a Welsh word, meaning "star." Some background: Seren appeared in the form of Sirona, the goddess of hot springs. It's a girl's name that's already big in Wales but hasn't yet taken off anywhere else.


Native-American in origin, Tallie translates to "leaping water," and is often short for Talicia and Talia, which is Hebrew for "gentle dew from heaven."


Tayah is short for the Russian name, Taisiya, which is borrowed from Thais, a Greek female courtesan who traveled with the army of Alexander the Great. Loosely translated, Tayah means "favorite."


Your little Viva will embrace life and live it to the fullest—very literally. The name is Latin in origin, meaning "alive, living, life."


Whether you spell it with one "n" or two, Zana (pronounced zah-nah) is a Polish variation of Jane and also a shortened version of the Hebrew-derived, Susanna.

A woman with a ring on her hand allowing a baby to hold her fingers.

Gender-Neutral Baby Names

Unisex baby names are more popular than ever, with parents becoming increasingly aware that a baby's sex at birth may not necessarily determine its gender. Although most names have either feminine or masculine origins, these 14 beautiful names work for all genders.


Adecyn is the phonetic spelling of Addison, which means "son of Adam."


An Old English name meaning "old friend," Auden (aw-den) is also a well-known British surname (think: poet W.H. Auden). Audie is a super-cute nickname, too.


Names with tree origins (Ash, Juniper, Oak, Ebony) are lovely ways to signify your child's individuality—and the cedar tree has biblical as well as natural-world connotations.


A variant of the popular Greek and Spanish name Demario, Damaris is Latin for "gentle." Fun fact: In the New Testament, Demaris was a Greek woman who converted to Christianity after hearing St. Paul speak in Athens.


It's an Anglo-Saxon surname derived from the Olde English word meaning “hunter.” (Eric Draven is also the protagonist in the 1994 action-film, “The Crow,” which was adapted from the 1989 comic book series of the same name.)


This Irish surname got first-name status when the American novelist (Mary) Flannery O'Connor rose to fame in the 20th century, and means (very literally) "red eyebrows."


A homonym of heart, the name Hart is English and translates to "stag." Makes sense: It's also defined in the dictionary as a male red deer that's over five years old. (FYI: Model Miranda Kerr and husband Evan Spiegel named their son Hart, after Spiegel's grandfather, Hart Hunter Spiegel.)


An homage to the British poet Rudyard Kipling (and also a so-named community in Ohio), Kipling is an English surname that's a charming first name, and even more adorable when shortened to Kip.


Greek, for "defender," Lexis is as equally used as a boy's and girl's name. It's also the shortened form of Alexis, also a decidedly unisex handle.


Another name with Greek origins, Nico is short for Nikodemos (a compound of the words "nike" (victory) and "demos" (people, population), which very literally translates to "victorious people." Think: Andy Warhol's muse, Nico, and the character Nico Reilly in the 2008 TV series, "Lipstick Jungle."


Like the iconic Mount Rainier in Washington state, Rainier is a powerful, regal name. It's also German for "wise army."


A masculine name of German origin that's commonly used in Sweden, Stellan means "peaceful one" and "calm." (Actors Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their son Stellan, after their personal friend and fellow actor, Stellan Skarsgard.)


Storey originated in the Viking era, and is derived from the word "storr," meaning "large." It's also a common English surname and a variant of Story, which connotes its literal meaning in English. Actress Jenna Elfman's first son is also named Story.


Pronounced zen, Xen is a short, sweet name that's a different take on the spelling of Zen, a form of Buddhism that originated in China in the 6th century and later spread to Japan and Korea.

Still In Research Mode?

If even more uncommon baby names are what you're after, browse the Social Security Administration's baby names site to learn how popular a name is at any given time in the U.S.—it aggregates by state and year and has kept record since 1919. (Still unconvinced that your potential name isn't that, well, special? Run it through this handy Baby Name Uniqueness Analyzer to prove it.)

Related Stories