5 Tricks for finding a truly unique baby name

Nov 30, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. ET

Are you in a baby name rut? Let us help! Think outside of the box by looking for baby names in unexpected places. For inspiration, check out these tips and tricks for finding a truly unique baby name for your girl or boy.


Finding a truly unique baby name can be a challenge for parents who want a baby girl name or boy name that is unique, but not too "out there" or weird. For help, check out our five tips below.

Last name switcheroo

Break the rules by using a last name as a first name. Last names such as Kennedy, Lincoln, Smith or Sawyer may be ordinary last names, but they make cool and unique first names. This is also a great way for moms to pass on their own name by using their maiden name as a first name. You can also get creative by altering your maiden name slightly to make a completely new name.

Some examples of last names that make cool first names include Brady, Cassidy, Presley, Kramer and Reed.

A look back to the past

Consider looking at baby names of the past to find a unique name for the future. Baby girl names and boy names that were popular in the 1800s, such as Maude or August, sound fresh and new today. Look at your own family tree for unique names that can be passed down to your baby.

You can also check out our Advanced Baby Name Search that allows you to look up baby names by decade, ranging from the 1880s to today.

Get into character

Think about character names from your favorite movie or books to find a unique baby name. One note of warning: Avoid popular names from modern books, such as Bella from Twilight, because these names tend to shoot to the top of the baby name lists. In fact, Twilight names Isabella and Jacob were the most popular baby names last year, according to the Social Security Administration.

Your best bet is to find a classic book or movie instead of a current favorite or look at the supporting characters in a popular modern book, such as Jasper or Rosalie from Twilight, to find a unique name that won't be as likely to be considered too trendy or popular.

Check out unique names from books >>

Think outside the box

One trick for finding a truly unique baby name is to consider nouns or objects as baby names. Gwyneth Paltrow did this when naming her daughter, Apple, as did Chef Jamie Oliver when naming his daughters the flower names Poppy and Petal.

Flower baby names make feminine and unique names, as do spices and colors. Get creative and have fun making a list of noun baby names for your baby.

Check out flower baby names >>

Get exotic

Look at other cultures and languages for baby names that are unique and exotic. You can look at names from your own ancestry or perhaps a language that you have studied. Search for baby names by origin to help you come up with the perfect unique name.

More baby name ideas

Unique baby names from pop culture
Creative baby name spellings: Good or bad?
Unique ideas for naming siblings