The most unique baby names of this past decade

When it came to baby names, the 2010s were an interesting decade, and, in many ways, it was a game changer. While many parents in the 2010s stuck to tried and true traditional monikers when choosing names for their babies born during the decade, many parents worked hard to find a unique baby name for their little bundle of joy. 

Drawing inspiration from other languages, religions, and even popular television shows and video games, parents in the 2010s got pretty creative when it came to picking out names for their little ones. Some of the unique names that parents chose for their babies in this past decade even seem to have been made up out of thin air, proving that some parents will do whatever it takes to make sure that their baby's name stands out. 

Thanks to lists of top baby names collected from Social Security Administration data over the years, baby name website Behind the Name is able to give us a pretty good look at what some of the most unique names of the 2010s are. Here are some of the loveliest and most unique baby names that parents gave to their babies this decade. 

Daleyza

The name Daleyza is so unique that it wasn't even spotted on the baby name charts until 2013. It debuted that year on the list of top baby names for girls in the top 600, slowly creeping up to the top 300 names by the end of the decade. According to Behind the Name, the origin of this rare moniker is uncertain, although it is possible that the name Daleyza is a modern variation of the more commonly known name Dalia (also spelled Dahlia), which is the national flower of Mexico. 

The name Daleyza seems to have come onto the radar of parents back in 2010, when Mexican-American musician Larry Hernandez named his daughter Daleyza. Daleyza Hernandez may have been among the first Daleyzas, but the name will likely endure beyond the 2010s. The name is likely to gain even more popularity in coming years as Daleyza is turning into something of a media influencer. The young Daleyza has nearly half a million followers on Instagram at the time of this writing and also has a budding YouTube channel.

Azariah

Unlike better known Biblical names such as Jonathan, James, and Samuel (all of which were in the top 100 names for boys in the 2010s), the baby name Azariah is quite the unique moniker. According to Behind the Name, the name Azariah can be found several times in the Old Testament, most notably as the name of one of the men ordered to be cast into a fiery furnace by a ruthless Babylonian king. 

Azariah is a Hebrew name that translates to "Yahweh has helped." It is derived from the word "azar" meaning "help" and "yah," which refers to the Hebrew God. In the United States, it has been used for both boys and girls. It first popped on to the baby girl name charts in 2009, where it appeared sporadically for a few years, finally cementing a spot on the list in 2014. It didn't appear on the baby boy name charts until 2013, but then remained on the charts until the end of the decade, eventually becoming more popular as a male name than a female name. By the end of the 2010s, Azariah was in the top 900 names for girls and in the top 800 names for boys.

Romina

Romina might be the title of a 2018 Mexican horror film, but that little detail has not scared parents out of giving their little girls this unique baby name. According to Behind the Name, the origins of the name Romina are uncertain, although it is thought that it might be a variation of Romana, an Italian, Polish, Slovene, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, and Late Roman feminine version of the name Romanus, which means Roman.

Romina is a newcomer to the American baby name charts, although it has seen some use internationally. It popped up on the Italian baby name charts in 1999, when it was ranked in the top 200. In 2013, it was ranked in the top 50 names in Mexico. In the United States, this rare name has slowly been on the rise since 2015, when it hit the charts in the top 1000 names for girls. Since then, it has slowly been climbing up the ranks, although it failed to crack the top 500 baby names for girls by the end of the decade.

Zaiden

Zaiden puts an interesting twist on the popular baby name trend of boys names ending in the letter "n." According to HuffPost, this phenomenon has become more and more pronounced since the 1970s, leading parents to come up with some creative names that are unique while still adhering to the trend. 

According to Behind the Name, Zaiden is a variation of the name Zayden, an invented name with seemingly no origin other than its use of the "den" suffix. Both Zaydon and Zaiden have been popular in the 2010s. Zayden broke into the top 200 names for boys in 2013, while Zaiden lagged behind, peaking at the top 400 in 2013, before dropping down to the top 500 names for boys by 2016.

The name Zaiden is a more unique alternative to more widespread and similar-sounding names like Hayden and Aidan, which were both top 100 names in the early 2010s. 

Khaleesi

Game of Thrones fans will be familiar with the name Khaleesi. It's a testament to the popularity of the show, which is based on the series of novels by George R.R. Martin, that this unlikely name has made it to the baby name charts. Khaleesi is the feminine variation of "khal," a term in the fictional Dothraki language which means "warlord." In the Game of Thrones series, Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke, who went through a stunning transformation this past decade) acquires the title of Khaleesi after her marriage to Khal Drogo.

According to Behind the Name, Khaleesi has been consistently charting since 2014, although, by the end of the decade, it hadn't yet broken into the top 500 baby names for girls. Khaleesi isn't the only Game of Thrones name that is gaining popularity with fans who want to name their little ones after their favorite series. According to Bustle, Game of Thrones names Arya, Sansa, and Brienne are also seeing a boost in popularity among baby girls. Makes sense, given how the women of Game of Thrones were the true heroes of the series.

Kayson

The name Kayson is a bit unusual because, while it's a unique name, it has a ring of familiarity about it. Its similarity to the name Jason keeps prevents it from sounding too odd, while still making for a distinctive and creative baby name. Kayson is an alternative spelling of the name Cason which, according to Behind the Name, is a surname derived from the English place name Cawston. The place name is derived from the Old Norse name Kálfr, which means "calf." This name, combined with the Old English "tun" which means "enclosure, yard, town," creates the name Cawston.

It may not be the most romantic of name origins, but that hasn't hurt Kayson's popularity. The unique appellation is on the rise. After debuting on the list of top baby boy names in 2009 in the top 900, Kayson climbed up the ranks over the course of the decade, entering the top 500 in 2014 and the top 400 in 2016. Other variations of Kayson include Kasen and Kason.

Yamileth

While Yamileth is a rather popular name in Mexico, it is not nearly as well known in the United States. According to Behind the Name, Yamileth first made an appearance on the baby name charts in 2010. While it hasn't risen very high on the list over the years, it did remain a ranked baby name for girls throughout the 2010s, holding steady in the top 1000 names. 

Yamileth is a variant of the Spanish name Yamila, which is in turn ultimately derived from the masculine name Jamil, which means "beautiful." People may, however, be more familiar with an Arabic variation of the name Yamileth, Jameela. The name Jameela became quite known in the 2010s, thanks to the celebrity Jameela Jamil who is known for her starring role on the hit show The Good Place. Jamil is also a noted feminist who is behind the "I Weigh" campaign which, according to its Instagram page, is "about radical inclusivity," making her an inspiring namesake for little girls who are given any variation of this name. 

Iker

According to Behind the Name, the unique baby name Iker comes from the Basque region. It means "visitation" in the Basque language, and it is considered to be a Basque equivalent of the Spanish name Visitación. Iker is a very popular name in Spain and Mexico, where it consistently ranks in the top baby names for boys. Iker's popularity in the United States is fairly recent. The name first popped up on the charts in 2010, debuting on the list in the top 700 names for baby boys. After its respectable debut, Iker remained on the list for the rest of the decade, rounding out the decade in the top 300 names for baby boys. 

Much of the name's popularity can likely be attributed to soccer. Iker is the name of beloved Spanish soccer player Iker Casillas, so it is likely that soccer-loving fans helped spread the use of the name in the 2010s.

Lyric

The musical name Lyric is one that made waves on the baby name charts in the 2010s. While not exactly a newcomer to the list of top baby names as Lyric first appeared in 1995, according to Behind the Name, what makes Lyric so unique is that it began to gain traction as a gender neutral name in the 2010s. For more than a decade, Lyric was used almost exclusively as a name for girls, but, at the end of the 2000s, parents started singing a different tune and Lyric popped on to the top 1000 baby names for boys in 2007.

While the name Lyric remained far more popular as a name for girls than as a name for boys throughout the 2010s, it didn't fall off the list of masculine names at all in the 2010s. It ended the decade in the top 1000 names for boys and in the top 400 names for girls. It seems that parents are quite fond of this melodic name which is rooted in the Greek word "lyrikos."

Bodhi

According to Behind the Name the name Bodhi is on the rise in a few countries, and has made it on to the charts of top baby boy names in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada, England, Wales, and the United States. Bodhi is one of the breakout names of the 2010s, first popping up on the U.S. baby name charts in the top 1000 in 2010 and remaining on the list through the decade, breaking into the top 400 in 2016.

While the name Bodhi is quickly gaining traction in the English-speaking world, it has its roots in Sanskrit. The name Bodhi comes from a Buddhist concept and means "awakening" or "enlightenment." According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Bodhi is the final Enlightenment, the end of the cycle of transmigration which leads to Nirvana. This final Enlightenment can only be attained "by ridding oneself of false beliefs and the hindrance of passions." Achieving Bodhi is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.

Aitana

Aitana is not a new name, but it is one that gained traction in the 2010s and became one of the most unique names for baby girls for the decade. According to Behind the Name, Aitana is the name of a mountain range found in Valencia, Spain. As a given name, it dates back to at least the early 20th century. Poet Rafael Alberti named his daughter Aitana in 1941. It has been a favored name in Spain since the early 2000s, but its popularity in the United States is a bit more recent. It first popped up on the baby name charts in 2015 in the top 1000 names, breaking into the top 500 baby names for girls in 2018. 

Popularity of the name may have been boosted by Spanish singer Aitana who, according to La Vanguardia, rose to fame when she finished as the runner-up on TV show Operación Triunfo in 2017.

Raiden

While, according to CBR, the Mortal Kombat character Raiden began to turn from a good guy into a bad guy in the 2010s, many parents still rushed to give their baby boys the same name as the video game character. Perhaps they were taking their inspiration from Japanese folklore rather than video games. According to Behind the Name, the name Raiden comes from Japanese mythology. It is derived from the Japanese words "rai," meaning "thunder," and "den," meaning "lightning." According to Japanese lore, Raiden is a regional epithet of the god Raijin.

Raiden first appeared on the American baby name charts at the end of the 2000s, but it really came into its own the past decade. While it barely cracked the top 1000 names at its debut, it slowly gained traction as more parents caught on to the name. By 2014, Raiden had climbed into the top 500 names where it remained for the rest of the decade.

Montserrat

According to Behind the Name, Montserrat comes from the name of a mountain found near Barcelona, Spain. In the 10th century, a monastery was founded there. Montserrat is rooted in the Latin phrase "mons serratus" which means "jagged mountain."

Unlike other place names which have been popular monikers through the 2010s, such as London and Paris, Montserrat is a newcomer to the baby name charts. It cracked the top 100 names for baby girls in Chile in 2013 and 2014. It made a brief appearance on the baby name charts in the United States as well. While Montserrat has also charted in the United States, it only appeared in the top 1000 names for girls in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Not only is the name Montserrat unique, but it is also one of the most rare baby names, giving it an air of exclusivity along with its international flair.

Xavi

A shortened form of the more commonly heard Xavier, Xavi has become a name in its own right. It gained some traction in the U.S. in the 2010s, although it never caught up to the popularity of Xavier. While, according to Behind the Name, Xavier — one of the most unusual baby names of 2019 — is a beloved name in several countries including Australia, France, New Zealand, England, Wales, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United States, Xavi remains unique enough that it hasn't seen such widespread popularity. 

Xavi appeared on baby name charts for boys in Catalonia, Spain, for much of the 2010s. It also ranked on the list in the Netherlands, and appeared on the U.S. list from 2010 to 2013, during which time it failed to break out of the top 900 names. 

Part of the name's appeal may be attributed to the Spanish soccer player Xavier Hernández Creus, who goes by the mononym Xavi. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Xavi is considered to be one of the best players of the early 21st century.

Kalani

The lovely and unique name Kalani can trace its roots to Hawaii. According to Behind the Name, the name Kalani means "the heavens" and it is derived from the Hawaiian word "ka," which means "the," and the word "lani," which means "heaven, sky, royal, majesty." While Kalani failed to make it on to the baby name charts in the first part of the 2010s, it finally debuted in the top 900 of the list of top baby names for girls in 2015 and held steady on the list for the rest of the decade. Kalani ended the 2010s in the top 600 names for girls.

Part of Kalani's popularity may be attributable to Kalani Hilliker, who rose to worldwide fame on the reality show Dance Moms. According to her IMDb profile, she has appeared on several other shows including Shake It Up, Bunheads, and Dirt. Hilliker is also a rising social media star with millions of Instagram followers and a growing YouTube channel, so it's likely that her popularity will influence the growing popularity of the name Kalani for years to come.