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Unique swaps for popular baby names

Do you love last year’s top baby names, but don’t want your child to be one of several Jacobs in his kindergarten class? We’ve found some names that are similar, but less commonly used.

Baby boy

The Social Security Administration releases the country’s most popular baby names every year, which means that quite a few babies had the top names bestowed upon them the year before. Some of the most popular names can stay at or near the top for many years, and some never fall far from the top 10 or 20. Giving your child a top-rated name means that they will probably come across other girls or boys with the same name quite often as they move through life.

Popular or unique?

Not all parents feel that common or traditional names are a bad thing and happily give their child a popular moniker. But if you’re interested in finding a name that is a little less common, we’ve got a fun idea for you. Instead of generating a list of random uncommon and hard-to-find baby names, we’ve taken the top 10 names from last year for each sex and tweaked them a little for fun and unique alternatives.

You’ll see foreign versions of the same name, nicknames that can be used as a given name and names that are totally unrelated, but may remind us of their more popular counterpart — by either the first syllable or another. You also might discover a cool, old-fashioned name that was used long ago and hasn’t gained its popularity back, but is similar to one of the names on the list.

This is also a good way to name your baby after a relative — if you don’t care for the exact name, twist it a bit until you come up with a new version you and your partner both love that still honors your relative!

Name swaps for boys

  • Jacob: Jacoby, Jake, Jace, Jackson, Obie, Jack
  • Mason: Mase, Mack, Mark, Marcus, Max, Marty
  • Ethan: Evan, Etienne, Everett, Ezra, Edwin, Edmond
  • Noah: Nolan, Noe, Noel, Norman, Norris, Noble
  • William: Will, Willard, Wilton, Wiley, Willis
  • Liam: Ian, Ivan, Lee, Leland, Lester, Lewis, Leo, Leon, Levi
  • Jayden: Jaylen, Jay, Dennis, Denver, Justin, Jordan, Jason
  • Michael: Mike, Mikhail, Mitchell, Mickey, Micah, Mitch
  • Alexander: Alex, Xander, Zander, Xan, Alain, Alvin, Alec, Alonzo
  • Aiden: Andy, Andrew, Anthony, Angus, Andre, Anton, Denton

Name swaps for girls

  • Sophia: Sophie, Sonya, Sonia, Sofia, Phoebe, Phoenix
  • Emma: Emerson, Emilie, Emmy, Emery, Emelia
  • Isabella: Bella, Belle, Isis, Isla, Isobel, Belva, Belen
  • Olivia: Olive, Ollie, Ola, Olga, Violet, Vivian, Vida
  • Ava: Avery, Avianna, Avis, Valerie, Vada, Avalon, Aven
  • Emily: Emilee, Emmalee, Ember, Leah, Lena, Leona, Leia
  • Abigail: Abby, Abriana, Gail, Gabriela, Gael, Gada, Galina
  • Mia: Mina, Mila, Mira, Mika, Mirtha, Maya, Midori, Maeve
  • Madison: Maddy, Mabel, Madeline, Madge, Macy, Mattie
  • Elizabeth: Betsy, Bess, Liza, Bette, Libby, Bethany, Betina, Elisabet

Even if you don’t want to use a popular baby name, don’t set them aside just yet — you may find inspiration from them that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

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