Unusual baby names

Newborn baby

Choosing your baby's name can be challenging. Choosing an unusual name that will stand out from your child's future classmates, but not so much that they'll all fail to pronounce it, can seem an insurmountable task. Be inspired by Mumsnetters' favourite names for boys and girls that fit the bill, but stop short of introducing a baby Pyjama to the world. After all, you might want something that'll set them apart – but they'll still want to fit in.

Unusual boy names | Unusual girl names | Unusual names in the top 100

Should I choose an unusual baby name?

Research shows that many parents who regret their baby's name do so because it became too popular or wasn't distinctive enough, so choosing an unusual name for your baby is a far better decision than might first appear.

As for what is defined as “unusual”, well that really depends on the the area you live in and the circles you mix with – whether you like it or not. It might seem obvious, but if you live in Wales, you're likely to come across a lot more Sians and Catrins than you would were you to live in Sunderland, for example.

And you shouldn't forget that fashion is a fickle beast. Think about how popular “Kevin” was in the 1970s. While you might argue that it's high time it made a comeback, Harry Enfield has probably rung the death knell of Kevin for some time to come. On the flipside, traditional names have stood the test of time for a reason.There is nothing wrong with following the crowd to an extent – and indeed, when Jane does go on to rule the world, people will stand back in awe and say in hushed tones: “not-so-plain Jane.”

You could go off-piste and come up with your own unique spelling or combination of more typical names. But be careful – if you go too “out there”, your child will be forced to spell it out to doctors' receptionists and at job interviews for years to come, with the mumbled explanation that his mother had a spiritual awakening by way of Pinterest when he was six months in utero.

Finding the balance between unusual and unoriginal

My husband's mum almost named him Moonbeam, but she was off her face during labour at the time. She eventually settled on Paul.

Want to avoid your child being one of five kids responding to the same name in the playground, but not quite brave enough to choose something which doesn't even appear on most baby name lists? If you're looking for a nice middle ground between overused classics and the really obscure, then why not opt for one of these popular names, which still have a bit of an edge on Jack and Olivia.

Unusual boys' names in the top 100

  • Austin
  • Carter
  • Elijah
  • Finley
  • Harvey
  • Jaxon
  • Jayden
  • Jenson
  • Logan
  • Lucas
  • Mason
  • Riley
  • Sebastian
  • Theo
  • Tobias

Unusual girls' names in the top 100

  • Aisha
  • Amelie
  • Aria
  • Clara
  • Darcy
  • Esme
  • Lacey
  • Lexi
  • Martha
  • Maryam
  • Mila
  • Robyn
  • Summer
  • Willow
  • Zara
Cute baby

Choosing a name no one else will have

If you don't want to run the risk of any other parents on the maternity ward announcing they've chosen the same name as you, then try these uncommon and more original names on for size.

I think if I had chosen a really unusual name, I would be fully prepared for some to love it and some to hate it. It wouldn't bother me if someone thought it was the worst name ever if I liked it.

Unusual boy names

  • Ambrose
  • Amos
  • Arran
  • Atticus
  • Axel
  • Bertram
  • Blaise
  • Brock
  • Cassius
  • Clarence
  • Clement
  • Corin
  • Cormac
  • Elric
  • Emil
  • Enzo
    I wouldn't want to use a name from another culture unless it was something I had some sort of link to, such as if I had lived there
  • Ernest
  • Flynn
  • Gregor
  • Innes
  • Ivo
  • Jago
  • Jolyon
  • Kingsley
  • Laurie
  • Lucian
  • Magnus
  • Malachi
  • Marin
  • Nelson
  • Orson
  • Oswin
  • Otis
  • Pascal
    Is Peregrine too 'Lord of the Rings'?
  • Peregrine
  • Rafferty
  • Raoul
  • Rufus
  • Silas
  • Solomon
  • Sorley
    I love the name 'Sorley'. It's a Viking name meaning 'summer visitor'.
  • Struan
  • Sullivan
  • Sylvester
  • Thibault
  • Valentine
  • Vaughan
  • Victor
  • Wulfric
  • Xavier
Baby standing in cot

Unusual girl names

  • Allegra
  • Anais
  • Antonia
  • Ariadne
  • Blythe
  • Calliope
  • Catrin
  • Constance
  • Cressida
  • Daphne
  • Delilah
  • Deryn
  • Eden
  • Elin
  • Etta
    I like strong names that are still suitably feminine-sounding.
  • Gaia
  • Gloria
  • Honey
  • Imelda
  • Judith
  • Laurel
  • Leonie
  • Lucinda
  • Maeve
  • Malin
  • Merryn
  • Morven
  • Nina
  • Nora
  • Octavia
  • Ophelia
  • Paisley
  • Paloma
    Paloma is such a beautiful Spanish name.
  • Phaedra
  • Priscilla
  • Quinn
  • Raven
  • Romy
  • Rosamund
  • Saskia
  • Savannah
  • Seraphina
  • Solange
  • Tallulah
  • Verity
  • Willa
  • Wren
  • Xanthe
  • Yasmin
  • Yolande

You might also want to take inspiration from the great and the good (and perhaps the most bizarre) in the world of celebrity baby names. After all, you wouldn't want your darling child to look passé at school sat next to Blue Banjo Science, would you?

Ultimately, it's up to you where on the spectrum of popular to esoteric you choose to sit. One thing is for sure here: you have to think about whether your future mini-me would be comfortable introducing themselves as the leader of the free world with the name you've chosen. If it fits that bill, then go ahead.