Every individual is unique, so why shouldn’t everyone have a unique name? That seems to be the reasoning of today’s parents who want their child’s sobriquet to be one of a kind, or at least one that a dozen other kids on the playground don’t have. The one drawback to a rare but beautiful name is that it could skyrocket in popularity and lose its uniqueness pretty fast, becoming one of the fastest growing first names in America.
Today parents also prefer gender-neutral names that can work equally for both sexes, which may explain why Murphy lands on this list for both girls and boys. Or why Noah, traditionally a boy’s name, has entered the conversation as a girls’ moniker. And if you’re looking for a never-before name try a place, such as Capri or Everest. (These are 30 uncommon baby names of the last 100 years.)
Popular names from other countries provide other possibilities, as well. Ireland’s Cillian and France’s Marceline may be common overseas, but less so here.
In some instances, the names are simply traditional ones with a new spelling, like Nyomi for Naomi. Or a last name — Jones, McCoy — used as a first name, usually for a boy. Yet what’s a bit surprising is for all the newness of most of these names, several haven’t been popular in decades.
A handful of the names on this list, incidentally, aren’t really “never-seen-before,” but rather “haven’t-been-seen-in ages.” Abner, Cal, Violette, and Loretta evoke bygone eras, proving that what was once old can be new again.
To determine the most popular never-seen-before names in 2020, 24/7 Tempo reviewed records from the Social Security Administration to find names that were among the 1,000 most popular in 2020 but don’t appear in the top 1,000 for the years 2016-2019.