Rare baby names you'll fall in love with

Traditional baby names aren't for everyone. Maybe you're a free spirit or maybe you just don't want your kid to have to share a name with several people in their class when they start school. Whatever the reason, you don't want to give your baby just any name. If you are trying to veer away from more commonly used names, check out this list. These are some lovely, but rare, baby names that you will absolutely love.

Noe

Pronounced "NO-e," this name is a variation of the more popular Noah. With the name Noe, you get the awesome meaning of the more recognized name (which means "rest" or "comfort") without having to worry about giving your kid a name that everyone else has. Considering that the name Noah has been a top choice for baby boys, the odds of kids named Noah getting constantly mixed up with their classmates is a very real possibility, making Noe a great choice if you love the name Noah.

Melina

The origin of this gorgeous name is a bit uncertain, but one sweet explanation is that it comes from the Greek "meli" which means "honey." The name hit its peak in 2009, but even then it only managed to reach number 456 on the list of top baby names for girls. It's safe to say that Melina is a hidden gem that won't be overused any time soon. Nearly identical, and also rare, is the French version of the name, Mélina.

Niko

The name Niko is used throughout Europe as a variation of the much more well-known name Nicholas. While it is fairly popular in some countries, primarily used in Finland, Slovenia, and Croatia, this adorable moniker is still pretty rare in the United States. If you think that the name is a little too informal to be used as a given name, you could still use it as a nickname! Many people use it as a nickname for Nicholas. 

Cassandra

In Greek mythology, Cassandra is remembered as a Trojan princess. The daughter of Priam and Hecuba, Cassandra had the gift of prophecy and even prophesied the fall of Troy, but no one believed her. This elegant and noble name became very popular during the Middle Ages before falling out of favor. It saw a brief revival at the end of the 20th century, but is not used very much these days, making it the perfect rare baby name for your own little princess.

Sage

While many might think of this name as one for girls, Sage is becoming increasingly popular as a gender neutral name. Its slowly growing popularity doesn't mean that it's commonly used, but it does mean that you can pick this name before finding out whether you're having a boy or a girl. This rare baby name is taken from a sweet spice commonly used in cooking but is also used to describe a wise person.

Renata

A popular name in Mexico, Chile, and some European countries, Renata is a rarely used name in the United States. Its international flair makes it an intriguing choice for your baby girl. The name comes from the Latin male name Renatus which means "born again." Unlike its female counterpart, Renatus has all but died out as a given name. Renata has the same root as Renee, which is another rarely used name although it was popular for a few decades in the 20th century.

Lennon

The name Lennon has a long history. It was originally an Anglicized version of the Irish surname Ó Leannáin, which translates to "descendant of Leannán." The root name, Leannán, is the Gaelic word for "lover." Probably best known as the last name of John Lennon, a member of the iconic group The Beatles, Lennon first became a masculine name and then a gender neutral name. This is a wonderful name for your baby, especially if you're a fan of The Beatles and want to pay homage to John Lennon.

Viviana

Not only is the name Viviana more elaborate than the name Vivian, but it is also a lot less commonly used. Both names have a long and ancient history, coming from the Latin root "vivus" which means "life." Variations of the name have been around for centuries, but the use of the name Viviana is still quite rare. This is a chance to pass on a beautiful piece of history to your little girl! 

Harlow

Harlow is yet another baby name that evolved from a surname into a given name. Coming from Old English root words which roughly translate to either "rock hill" or "army hill," Harlow has been in use as a last name for centuries. As a given name, it is still pretty rare, and it can be given to either a baby boy or a baby girl. As an added bonus, the name Harlow evokes the refinement of the iconic actress Jean Harlow, who starred on the silver screen in the 1920s and 1930s.

Alondra

This incredibly beautiful name means "lark" in Spanish. While Alondra is trending in Chile and Mexico, it is a rare moniker in the United States. It almost broke into the top 100 names for baby girls in the 1990s, but has since been virtually forgotten outside of the Spanish-speaking world. Just like the song of the lark, this name sounds quite musical and could be a good choice for you if you love to sing or want your little girl to grow up musical.

Fabian

The name Fabian dates back to the ancient Roman family name Fabius. Since those times, it has taken on many variations, including Fabianus, Fabijan, and Fabiano. A popular name in Chile as well as some European countries, the name is much rarer in the English-speaking world. If you want to give your baby a time-honored, but uncommon name, Fabian is a fantastic choice.

Callum

This Scottish name deserves to have a chance across the pond! Once popular in the United Kingdom, Callum is a very rarely used name in the United States that deserves to be used more often. It's related to the much more widely recognized name of Colin, but is rare enough to be a unique name choice for your baby boy. The uncommon name traces its roots back to the Latin name Columba, which means "dove."

Meadow

When you think of names that come from nature, you may think of names that are more common now but have their roots in nature, like Brooke or possibly more likely you think of flower names such as Rose or Lily. But if there's anything better than a flower, it's a whole meadow full of them! The name Meadow has not been used as a given name for very long, but its melodic sound makes it a beautiful and unique name choice for a little girl.

Darian

Most likely a variation of the name Darren, Darian has become a name in its own right (albeit a rarely used one). Not only does it have a distinctive and distinguished sound, but the name also works for both boys and girls. Currently, the name is more popular for boys than it is for girls, but it is rarely used for either gender.

Lyra

This beautiful name comes from astronomy and is the name of a constellation of stars. Lyra is named after the lyre of the mythological figure Orpheus, who created music so beautiful that he was able to convince the god of the underworld to allow him to bring his deceased wife back to the land of the living. 

The name was used by Philip Pullman as the name of the protagonist of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. While the series was a critical and commercial success, and was even adapted for film, the name Lyra is still rarely used, making it a unique choice. 

Arden

Originally a last name of English origin, Arden was best known to mid-20th century TV viewers as the stage name of the star of the hit series Our Miss Brooks. Eunice Quedens adopted the name Eve Arden, but Arden is also used as a first name. While Arden has been used as a masculine name for more than a century, it's used more as a feminine name these days — that is, when it's used at all.  

Heath

Modern audiences recognize Heath as the name of the actor Heath Ledger, but probably can't name many more (if any) people named Heath. The name Heath enjoys a lot more use as a last name, but started gaining some traction as a given name in the 1960s when it was used as the name of the character Heath Barkley on the show The Big Valley. Despite the popularity of the show, Heath has yet to catch on as a first name and is still quite rare.

Maeve

This rare name has slowly been climbing the ranks since the late 1990s, but is still far from widely used. Maeve has a long history, coming from the Gaelic name Medb, which means "intoxicating." Maeve was the name of a legendary warrior queen in Irish mythology whose adventures are immortalized in the Irish epic The Cattle-Raid of Cooley. What better name could there be for your own little princess? 

Leighton

Gossip Girl fans are already familiar with the name Leighton as it's the name of one of the show's stars, Leighton Meester. What many don't realize, though, is that the name is actually a gender neutral name. It's rarely used in the U.S., but when it is, it's more frequently used for girls. That all changes across the pond, however. In England and Wales, Leighton is a name primarily given to baby boys. Leighton is a variation of the name Layton, which was originally a last name.  

Antonia

Unlike its male counterpart, Antonio, Antonia is rarely used in the United States. The lovely name is popular in other countries, however, especially in Chile, Romania, and Croatia where it has ranked in the top 100 names for baby girls. The name has ancient roots, and can be traced back to the Roman family name of Antonius. Variations of the name have been used for centuries, dating back to at least the 1st century B.C. Antonia may not be used often, but it does have a lot of staying power! 

Archie

It's surprising that the name Archie, a shorter form of the name Archibald, isn't more popular given the fact that it's the name of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's baby, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. The name was an unexpected one for the young royal, as it's not exactly traditional, but that's part of its charm.

As Sophie Kihm of baby name website Nameberry told HuffPost, while "nickname names" are unusual for the royal family, they are quite popular in the U.K. In the U.S., however, that trend doesn't continue, making Archie a rare but lovely name on this side of the pond.

Zola

Short, sweet, and far too rare, no one is sure where the name Zola comes from. Behind the Name noted that it might be an invented name, although it is an Italian surname, perhaps most famously borne by the French-Italian author Émile Zola.

The name Zola gained some traction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, although it never quite became popular. From 1942 on, it wasn't seen at all on the baby name charts, although it crept into the top 1000 names for baby girls in 2018. Still, this name has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream.

Ignacio

While Ignacio has been popular in Chile and Spain, it flies mostly under the radar in the United States. As noted by Behind the Name, this Spanish moniker can trace its roots to the late Roman name Ignatius. Ignatius comes from Egnatius, a Roman family name of Etruscan origin.

According to Behind the Name, the spelling of the original name Egnatius was changed to Ignatius in order to connect it to the Latin word "ignis," which means "fire."

Ingrid

While the name Ingrid isn't completely underappreciated — Behind the Name noted that it's been in the top 1000 names for baby girls since 1940 — it's still pretty rarely used and has barely remained on the charts. In spite of its relative unpopularity, Ingrid evokes timeless beauty — literally. The name comes from Ingríðr, an Old Norse name meaning "Ing is beautiful," Ing being the name of a Germanic god.

One of the most famous bearers of the name Ingrid was quite beautiful herself. The late Ingrid Bergman was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and she starred in the classic film Casablanca.

Jericho

How can you not love the name Jericho? While this powerful-sounding name may be quite rare as a given name, you've probably heard this moniker before. It comes from the name of a city in Israel, Jericho, which is mentioned throughout the Old Testament of the Bible, as noted by Behind the Name.

While the meaning of the name Jericho remains unknown, it is possible that it comes from one of two Hebrew words: "yareach," which means "moon," or "reyach," which means "fragrant."