The number of uncommon baby names is growing in popularity as parents try to choose unique nicknames for their children.
Naming an actual human is a tricky process. Choosing something too extravagant could set your child up for a life of bad pronunciation.
But also picking a popular name risks being one of eight Olivias on the preschool registry.
It’s no wonder, then, that more and more moms and dads are choosing to think outside the box a bit when it comes to choosing a nickname for their child.
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According to a survey by parenting site ChannelMum, 7% of parents have already chosen a unique name for their child, while two-thirds (65%) would consider a more specific choice when it comes to naming their little one.
Official figures from the Office of National Statistics show that around 60,000 different names are registered each year, but the number of choices is growing as more parents select unique nicknames for their offspring.
So what drives moms and dads to seek out more unusual names?
It turns out that the search for something a little different is partly driven by their kids’ desire to stand out from the crowd, with 72% admitting they went with a unique name for that very reason.
Meanwhile, one in 50 even chose to create their child’s nickname so it could be easily found on social media.
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Of course, this surge in efforts to stand out can also be partly attributed to celebrities who continually push the boundaries of baby naming. (We’re looking at you Elon Musk and Grimes!)
Commenting on the trend towards rarer nicknames, baby name expert SJ Strum told Yahoo UK: “There is currently a huge increase in the number of parents who appreciate individual names to make their baby stand out – and 7% have even attempted to create their own unique name, which is not the case.” another uses.
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“While this can be partly attributed to social media and the desire to be ‘searchable’, the rise of the individual name also reflects our cultural connectedness and our shift to celebrating our individuality.”
Strum says trends regarding how parents choose names for their children have also changed thanks to our changing cultures.
“Parents used to have slim choices with royal names or surnames passed down,” she explains.
“Now, in 2022, we are inspired by broader influences including nature, space, spirituality and travel. All of these bring bold and exciting new names to a world where we now celebrate differences, embrace diversity and want to highlight what makes us all special.”
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Unique baby names for girls
One of the biggest baby name trends right now (apart from “Peaky Blinders” and nicknames from bygone eras) is picking a gender-neutral nickname that could be used for either sex, and Remi fits that bill perfectly.
Meaning “rower”, the name has grown in popularity in recent times and is currently one of the fastest growing distinctive options.
“Gender-neutral baby names are so popular, and we predict that Remi will soon knock the more traditional Emily off the baby name popularity lists,” Strum adds.
This isn’t the first time gender-neutral baby names have been cited as a fast-growing trend. In 2018, a survey of UK parents by online marketplace OnBuy.com found almost half (45%) would choose a unisex name, with over a quarter (27%) admitting they would choose a gender neutral name just to keep up with the trends.
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Strum says names ending in “ie” prove popular because they’re playful and also tick the box of already a nickname.
Marnie, derived from Marina, a name of Latin origin meaning sailor or bubbly, has become popular as a name in its own right and offers expectant parents the perfect mix of being quirky and fashionable.
It was also the choice of Lily Allen’s daughter, Marnie Rose, whom she shares with ex-husband Sam Cooper.
This name means life. “Spiritual names like Bodhi and Veda are already on the rise, but the pick of underdog Zoya, currently 162, is expected to hit its peak within five years,” says Strum.
More unique than celestial sister names Luna and Cosmo, Strum predicts that Nova, deriving from the Latin Novus, which means newborn star, will continue to be popular with parents and currently sits at 144 in the baby name charts.
Rising 73 spots last year but still staying outside the top 100, Strum says Primrose is the hottest floral name around right now.
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Unique baby names for boys
Chosen by Joe Wicks for his second child, Marley, which means ‘pleasant wood’, is climbing down the baby name charts.
Unranked 20 years ago, Archer is now at No. 172 on the most popular lists and, according to Strum, is fast heading into the top 200.
The boy’s nickname, which derives from the English word meaning archer, also taps into the trend of surnames as first names.
Although this name is currently quite rare, Strum says it is on the rise. “It is the ancient name of the two easternmost hills of Jerusalem,” she adds.
The nickname, which is the Scandinavian form of the Hebrew Absalom, which means “man of peace”, was the name chosen by Perrie Edwards and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Little Mix for their first child, a boy, born last August.
The second fastest growing boy name outside of the top 100 last year, Strum says it’s a strong name she expects we’ll hear more about.
The fastest rising boy name outside of the top 100, Strum says this moniker has climbed over 300 places in the UK and America.
According to babycentre.co.uk, the name derives from the Slavic form of Jakob, which is a German form of Jacob, from the Hebrew aquv or aqab, which means “heel” or “supplanter”, Kobe also experienced a spike in popularity following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.
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