American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Name Lists

Underused Vintage Baby Names for Boys

A couple weeks ago, I published a darling list of underused vintage baby names for girls. All of the names were popular around the turn of the century (or even earlier!) and are now considered rare by U.S. baby name standards. They range from adorable and cute to elegant and distinguished, and all of them are ripe for a comeback. But what about the boys’ names? Well, here they are! Considering current baby name trends strongly favor old-fashioned names, these underused vintage baby names for boys are fresh and ready to turn the tide. Many of these options were considered fusty and unusable just twenty years ago, but today they’re getting ready for revival.

  • Algernon: This uppercrust gentleman began as a nickname among the Percy family, long the Earls of Northumberland. It delightfully means “mustache,” giving it a firmly masculine vibe. Most people will associate Algernon with Flowers for Algernon, though its appearance in the prep school video game Bully and horror writer Algernon Blackwood give it serious Dark Academia vibes. Shorten to “Algie” for a grandpa name with nature associations (“algae.”). Amazingly, Algernon only appeared in the U.S. top 1000 once (!) in the 1880s, though it saw minor usage throughout the 20th century, peaking in the early 1970s.
  • Archibald: Archie is popular again thanks to Prince Archie, so it’s only a matter of time before Archibald sees a resurgence! And believe it or not, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett have a child named Archibald. If you love literary associations, Archibald Craven is Colin’s father and Mary’s uncle in The Secret Garden. 100 boys were named Archibald in 2021, the highest number the Social Security Administration has ever recorded in birth data since 1880. If you’re not huge on Archie, consider shortening to Archer!
  • Arnold: Considering how popular Arnold Schwarzenegger is, I’m shocked Arnold isn’t a more popular baby name. Only 112 boys were given the name in 2021, which isn’t terribly low but still makes it rare and unusual for a modern baby. And isn’t Arnie such a cute nickname?
  • Bartholomew: This might be the most controversial choice here, but if we forget the nickname “Bart” and Simpsons references we can update to “Ollie,” “Artie,” and even “Arlo” – all of which are more than usable nickname options in 2023. Many parents will love that Bartholomew has Biblical origins and is the name of a famous saint. 37 boys were named Bartholomew in 2021.
  • Basil: With how popular nature and gender-neutral names are, it’s amazing more parents aren’t opting for Basil! Besides the delicious herb, Basil is an independent name of Greek origin meaning “king” and also an Arabic name that means “brave.” 73 boys and 28 girls were named Basil in 2021.
  • Clifford: Remember Clifford the Big Red Dog? Remember how he was the runt of the litter, but grew to the size of a house thanks to so much love? Wouldn’t that be a fantastic, sweet association for a baby? For what it’s worth, Kindercore is a new naming trend that throwbacks to beloved childhood memories. 150 boys were named Clifford in 2021, a more-or-less stable number (it fell out of the top 1000 in the early 2000s). Let’s bring it back!
  • Ebenezer: OK, despite Ebenezer Scrooge, this name has a wonderfully positive meaning: “stone of help.” Even so, didn’t Scrooge reform at the end? Nobody remembers his redemption…anyway. Eben, Ben, and Ezra are lovely nicknames for a little Ebenezer! 46 boys were named Ebenezer in 2021.
  • Edmund: Looking for an alternative to Edward? How about Edmund? Like Edward, Edmund derives from Old English / Anglo-Saxon, but it wasn’t nearly as popular after the Norman Conquest. Shortening to Eddie and all the other classic “Ed” nicknames, Edmund is also a fantastic choice for fans of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 172 boys were named Edmund in 2021. It means “wealthy protector.”
  • Gerard: I’ve never understood how Gerald remained popular for so many years after Gerard fell out of general usage. Maybe people emphasized the first syllable instead of the second…that would do it! Gerard has such a handsome, romantic sound. My primary association is Gerard Butler and his many action movies (and also, Phantom of the Opera), but other people likely associate with Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. 119 boys were named Gerard in 2021.
  • Gustav: August is a popular unisex choice in 2023, and regal Augustus has made a great comeback for boys starting in the early 90s. Gus is a classic nickname for both…and yet, there’s another way to get to Gus! Gustav is an unrelated German and Scandinavian name that was mildly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries until the early 1930s. That “V” ending is especially distinctive, and art fans may love the association with Gustav Klimt! If you miss the Romanesque prestige and length of Augustus, Gustavus is also an option. Just 34 boys were named Gustav in 2023, though over 400 boys were given the Spanish form Gustavo.
  • Herbert: Even though this is something of a family name, Herbert wasn’t even on my radar until recently, when I spotted it on an influencer’s baby! I was delighted by such a unique and refreshing choice in 2022 and 2023. Herbie and Herb are cute nicknames, and I think the nature vibes of Herb bolster Herbert’s chances for baby name success. Herbert itself means “bright army.” 53 boys were named Herbert in 2021.
  • Horatio: I’m going to be completely honest – this is probably my all-time favorite boys’ name. There are way too many reasons why to fit into this post, but Horatio (pronounced huh-RAY-she-o) boasts major literary and historical references spanning from Shakespeare (Hamlet) to the Napoleonic Wars (Horatio Nelson, Horatio Hornblower) and beyond. Horatio is the English form of Horatius, an old Roman name borne by a city-saving hero (Horatius Cocles) who’s somewhat akin to a smaller-scale Leonidas of Sparta. Distinguished and thoroughly unique, Horatio evokes adventure, courage, and intelligence. Somehow, just 12 boys were named Horatio in 2021. Admittedly it’s not the most nickname-friendly option, but I love the idea of shortening it to Ray, Ray Ray, or even Ori!
  • Isidore / Isadore: If Theodore is getting too popular for you (it’s currently ranked #10 in the U.S.!), try Isidore. Isidore is the English version of a Greek name meaning “Gift of Isis,” a meaning and origin that makes it one of only a few known men’s names derived from a woman’s name (others traditionally include Madison and Emmett). In 2021, 30 boys were named Isidore and another 19 boys and 5 girls received the Isadore spelling. Isidore / Isadore is a great way to honor an Isadora, Theodore, or Isabella in your life.
  • Orson has a lot to recommend it in 2023: for one thing, it means “bear,” which lends itself to fans of nature and animal names. Secondly, it’s short. It doesn’t have or need any nicknames! Thirdly, it has vintage Hollywood charm; I can’t be the only person thinking about Orson Welles! 97 boys were named Orson in 2021.
  • Percival / Percy: Fifteen years ago, I couldn’t even mention Percival without starting a fight. Now, it’s ostensibly fashionable! My generation first became familiar with Percy via Harry Potter, but the Percy Jackson series arguably has a much greater impact on that name. In this latter Percy’s case, it’s short for Perseus – another name that’s rising so quickly it may very well reach the top 1000 in a few years. Percival is great for fans of Percy who want a more formal option that isn’t Perseus, and it has Arthurian props. With the growing popularity of names like Arthur and Guinevere, that latter point likely means something to modern-day parents. In 2021, 46 boys were named Percival and 85 were named Percy; Percival’s actually in the middle of a spike, so it’s one to watch.
  • Phineas: Considering how easily Phineas shortens to “Finn,” I’m surprised more parents haven’t jumped at the opportunity to name their sons this! One of the most recent associations is the amusing Disney cartoon series “Phineas and Ferb.” 129 boys were named Phineas in 2021; an additional 35 children received the Phinehas spelling.
  • Rupert: Is Robert too popular for you? While Robert only ranks #79, that’s still a top 100 name. What *is* rare, though is Rupert. Rupert is an old-fashioned German version of Robert that’s currently far more popular in Britain than it is in the U.S. In fact, it actually broke the English and Welsh top 100 in 2021! While it ranks #93 there, it was only given to 26 boys in the U.S. during that same year. Contemporary namesakes include actors Rupert Grint, Rupert Graves, Rupert Everett, and Rupert Friend. Also…the guy who wrote the Pina Colada song? He’s a Rupert. Rupert was mildly popular in America until the early 1950s.
  • Ulysses: What I love about Ulysses – an unusual first initial and associations to Greek mythology and U.S. history. Ulysses is the Latin form of Odysseus, the titular character of Homer’s Odyssey. An old-school name that packs a punch, it was famously the first name of President Ulysses S. Grant, who was arguably one of the country’s greatest generals ever. Additionally, fans of classic rock may appreciate the connection to the Cream song Tales of Brave Ulysses. Like Horatio, it doesn’t shorten to many nicknames but I did come up with “Yul.” 180 boys were named Ulysses in 2021.

Ah, I love vintage names! There were so many I could have included here, but I limited things for the sake of space and time. Honorable mentions go to Clarence, Lemuel, Mortimer, Ignatius, Aloysius, Eleazar, and many more. Are there any you would add? I’d love to know which underused vintage boys’ names are your favorites!

American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Name Lists

Underused Vintage Baby Names for Girls

If you’re a fan of vintage baby names like I am, you’re probably over the moon to discover that old-fashioned baby names are *in.* Sure, even generations famous for ultramodern names like the 1980s and 1990s had their “grandma” and “grandpa names” – I’ve heard at least one parent of an early-90s Emily say they picked an old-fashioned name not realizing other people were naming their kids Emily too. If you look at the current U.S. Top 10, most of the names are verifiably old-school! You can’t go anywhere there’s children without running into an Ava, Emma, or Olivia. Many parents may be tired of Mary, but they aren’t tired of names from 100 years ago.

Many of you may also prefer baby names that are a little more unique than what you find in the top 10, the top 100, or even the top 1000. Luckily, there are so many other baby names to choose from! I’ve curated a collection of wonderful old-fashioned girls’ names from below the top 1000. Keep in mind that in 2021 (the last year for which we have U.S. baby name data from the Social Security Administration), the minimum threshold for a baby girls’ name to enter the top 1000 and be considered popular was 254 girls receiving the name nationally. Anything below that number is considered rare! Anyway, here’s my list of underused vintage baby names for girls:

  • Agatha: Historically much rarer than Agnes, stately Agatha looks like it might make a comeback. Mystery-lovers everywhere will associate this name with Agatha Christie. 136 girls were named Agatha in 2021. If you love the nickname Aggie, Agatha’s one way to reach it!
  • Agnes, Aggie: Agnes is a lot more popular than it was 25 years ago, but it still needs a boost to reemerge victorious. Fans of British literature may the connection to Agnes Grey, the titular character of Anne Bronte’s 1847 novel. 211 U.S. girls were named Agnes in 2021, but only 5 girls were named her adorable nickname, Aggie.
  • Cornelia: Cordelia is rare, but elegant Cornelia is even rarer. This Victorian beauty easily shortens to Cora, Cori, Nellie, Lia, and other nicknames for greater approachability. 42 girls were named Cornelia in 2021.
  • Dottie: A classic, spunky nickname for Dorothy or Dorothea. For even more moxie and pizzazz, shorten it further to Dot! Dorothy itself is popular and rising, ranking #483 nationally, but if you want something more unusual and love the old-school nicknames trend that’s currently happening, Dottie may be the baby name for you.
  • Effie: Effie is classically short for Euphemia, a stately Victorian name that also deserves some love. Effie is still quite rare in the U.S., though it’s gaining traction in the U.K. If you love Scottish and Scottish-adjacent names like Archie and Maisie, Effie is another name you should consider. In 2021, 82 American girls were named Effie – far more than Euphemia, which belongs to only 11 girls born that year.
  • Elvie: Elvira is a cool name with witchy vibes, but nickname Elvie is just plain cute. I think Elvie works wonderfully as a unique alternative to Elsie, which currently ranks #221 in the U.S. and is still rising. 19 girls were named Elvie in 2021, compared to 1335 children named Elsie.
  • Enid: Likely everyone with a hobby or profession in baby names who watched Wednesday now has Enid on their radar. Earlier generations associate Enid with children’s author Enid Blyton or an Arthurian character, but 2023’s denizens think of a sweet, bubbly teenage werewolf girl. Just 34 baby girls were named Enid in 2021.
  • Eula: I stumbled upon this lovely lady within the last week while perusing SSA data, and later heard about someone who named their daughter Eula! It’s traditionally short for Eulalia, but I think Eula is easier to say five times fast. Just 6 girls in the U.S. were named Eula in 2021, which is almost as unique as it gets!
  • Evelina: If Evelyn is popular, why not Evelina? Evelina is the titular character of a famous early romance novel by Frances “Fanny” Burney, who inspired Jane Austen. Consider this gorgeous 18th-century option “Austen-adjacent?” 184 girls were named Evelina in 2021, which is somehow both more and fewer than I’d expect.
  • Fern is a vintage nature name that, like Effie, is gaining traction in the U.K. but still has a ways to go in the U.S. before it’s popular again. 140 American baby girls received the name in 2021 and it is on the rise, so just give it a few more years. Maybe 2024 or 2025?
  • Gertrude: I’ve written about Gertrude before and I sincerely believe it’s time to dust off this name. With great namesakes including Gertrude Stein and Ma Rainey and a wealth of nickname potential, I hope more parents will consider this strong name. And before you say “nobody names their kid Gertrude anymore,” let’s point out that U.S. parents gave it to 29 baby girls in 2021.
  • Ginger: Though Ginger has serious 1930s and 1940s vibes thanks to Ginger Rogers, it surprisingly peaked in the 70s. In those days, most people thought of Ginger as a nickname or variant of Virginia, but its status as a nature name and spice gives it currency for modern parents as a standalone name. 46 girls were named Ginger in 2021.
  • Inez: Inez (pronounced ee-NEZ or ih-NEZ) derives from a Spanish version of Agnes. Parents who want a smoother sound may prefer this four-letter form, which also benefits from its brevity. Need something different than Ava or Isla? Inez has you covered. Oh, and Inez gets major bonus points for historical associations with suffragette Inez Milholland, who campaigned for women’s right to vote until her premature death in 1916. 129 girls were named Inez in 2021, while 138 girls received the Ines spelling.
  • Lettie: Leticia and Letitia have fallen to the wayside, but Lettie is a fashionable nickname that’s slowly resurging. 173 girls were named Lettie in 2021.
  • Lois is stylish! It’s short, sweet, and to-the-point – a huge plus for fans of minimalist baby names. It’s also a fairly obscure Biblical name from the New Testament, so religious parents may appreciate that. Most of us likely remember Lois as Superman’s girlfriend, though. 119 girls were named Lois in 2021.
  • Maude, or Maud, is a short medieval form of the name Matilda, which is steadily gaining traction in the U.S. with a current rank of #466. Only 18 girls were named Maude in 2021, but I’m hearing a lot of buzz about it as an upcoming middle name. That makes sense, because it’s relatively short and only one syllable! Maude was at its most popular in the 1880s, which means it’s well overdue for a revival.
  • Minerva, Minnie: Minerva is Roman Mythology’s equivalent to Greek Mythology’s Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. Parents who grew up reading Harry Potter may associate Minerva primarily with Minerva McGonagall, the stern Hogwarts Deputy Headmistress and transfiguration teacher, but as an old-fashioned name that’s been popular before, that’s not the only association. Even so, baby names from mythology are hugely trendy in the 2020s! Overall, Minerva gives off smart librarian vibes, which makes it a great choice for bookish parents. You can even shorten it to adorable Minnie. 84 girls were named Minerva in 2021, while 63 girls received the name Minnie.
  • Rowena: Rowan is a trendy gender-neutral nature name ranking #106 for boys and #241 for girls! If you’re worried about its popularity, consider medieval Rowena, which hasn’t ranked nationally since 1963. Just 33 girls were named Rowena in 2021.
  • Theodosia: Theodosia hasn’t ranked in the U.S. Top 1000 since the 1890s, but the popularity of the musical Hamilton, the rising popularity of similar names Theodore and Theodora, and the maximalist baby names trend are creating a perfect storm for reviving this elaborate gem. 35 girls were named Theodosia in 2021, the current peak of a sharp increase we’ve had these last few years. An additional 10 girls received the Theadosia spelling.
  • Viola: Violet is one of today’s most popular floral names, but if you like your flower names a little rarer, try Viola! Like Agnes, Viola has the potential to reemerge into popularity with just a little boost. Music-lovers may appreciate that it shares its letters with the stringed instrument. The biggest current association though, I think, is actress Viola Davis. 208 girls were named Viola in 2021.

Do you have any favorite underused vintage girls’ names from this list? Are there any you’d add? Let me know!

An honorable mention goes out to Hildegard, Hedy, Eudora, Augusta, and Rosalind. Winifred is one to watch, but I think that may enter the top 1000 in the new 2022 stats when those arrive in May! All the others are rare and unusual for a 2023 baby…for now!

American Names · Name Lists

Read the Menu: Baby Names from Food

Are you looking for a list of baby names exclusively associated with healthy foods? If so, you’ve come to the wrong blog post. If that *is* what you’re looking for, check out my posts on baby names inspired by fruits and vegetables! For everything from comfort food to haute cuisine, you’re in the right place. Either way, I hope you’re hungry. Here is a food baby names you’ll find on a menu, for foodies and culinarians alike!


  • Benedict is a distinguished vintage baby name that shares its name with a popular egg dish. Benedict teeters on the edge of the top 1000 with a ranking of #991 in the U.S., though it’s sure to rise thanks to Bridgerton. I’ve written extensively about Benedict here.
  • Bran is an Irish and Welsh name meaning “raven,” a Game of Thrones character, and a type of cereal. 14 boys were named Bran in 2021.
  • Nova is a type of salmon lox typically served atop a cream cheese bagel. Despite this Latin word’s meaning of “new,” Nova is a vintage name that was mildly popular in the early 20th century and that’s become wildly in the 21st. At last count in 2021, Nova ranked #32 for baby girls and #853 for baby boys. Who knows how much higher it will jump when the 2022 data arrives in May?

Appetizers and Sides:

  • Bao – When I saw Bao in the SSA data, I immediately thought of bao buns. Bao exists as a name in both Chinese and Vietnamese, and in Chinese the meaning depends on the character used to write it (one possible definition is “treasure” or “jewel”). 11 boys were named Bao in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Chip is a stylish nickname for Charles or Christopher, though I bet it would also work for Chester! The question is, are we talking about kettle-cooked potato chips or fries? 39 boys were named Chip in 2021.
  • Nori is the seaweed sheet you find wrapped around sushi, a Japanese name with varying kanji, and a dwarf character in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Many Americans are more familiar with Nori as the nickname of Kardashian baby North West. 251 girls and 23 boys were named Nori in 2021.
  • Roe is a rare, gender-neutral baby name that shares its letters with a surname and fish eggs. Caviar, anyone? 17 girls and 9 boys were named Roe in 2021.

Cheese Plate:

  • Blue – Mmm, blue cheese. All three commonly-accepted English spellings (Blue, Bleu, and Blu) are established baby names. Chances are most parents stick Blue in the middle name spot, but the parents of 45 boys and 42 girls gave it first name status in 2021. Parents of 42 boys and 33 girls named their children Bleu that year, and parents of 46 boys and 35 girls used the Blu spelling. Blue/Bleu/Blu is a fun gender-neutral word name, and I wonder if it’s going to take off in the coming years?
  • Brie – There’s no denying the flexibility and usability of Brie as a baby name, especially as a nickname. Brianna, Brielle, Gabriella, and Sabrina can all shorten to Brie, whose sound is as soft and lovely as the cheese. 77 girls.
  • Cabot – Cabot may sound like your classic English surname (and it is), but it can also be a variation on Italian Caboto, the last name of early explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot). 7 boys were named Cabot in 2021.
  • Colby is a modern unisex name that fits in any era and setting from the beaches of California to a New England prep school. Colby currently ranks #650 for boys with 418 uses, though 55 baby girls also received the name in 2021.
  • Jack is a classic nickname for John that’s even more popular, ranking #11 in the U.S. to john’s #27.


  • Amandine isn’t just a French variation of Amanda – it’s also an almond-based garnish to dishes like Trout Amandine and Green Beans Amandine. The name is so rare in the U.S. that it hasn’t registered for several years.
  • Bento was given to 13 boys in 2021. Many more people ate from bento boxes, or Japanese boxed lunches. According to Behind the Name, the name Bento is a Portuguese nickname for Benedito.
  • Chana is the Hebrew version of Hannah. Currently ranking #802 in the U.S., most of the 348 baby girls who received this form of the name in 2021 were born in New York and New Jersey, states with large frum Jewish populations. Meanwhile, Chana Masala is delicious Indian dish consisting primarily of chickpeas and spices.
  • Chole is another name for Chana Masala, and ostensibly also a common misspelling of Chloe. While not all Choles may truly be Chloes, it’s one of the baby names parents legally change the most often according to the Washington Post. Anecdotally, I know a Chloe whose name was misspelled “Chole” on an important medical document, which makes me wonder if some of the children whose names are changed had that happen to them too. 44 baby girls were registered under the name Chole in 2021, and I’m curious to see if that number is smaller in an updated set that arrives in May.
  • Curry – Mmm, who doesn’t love a steaming, fragrant bowl of curry? Curry didn’t appear in SSA birth data for 2021, but it frequently shows up in other years. I’m thinking Steph Curry may be a popular namesake?
  • Frank and Frankfurter are some of the other names for hot dogs that you’ll hear. A timeless boys’ name associated with Francis, Franklin, and Frankie, Frank ranked #444 in 2021.
  • John reminds me of Hoppin’ John, a classic Lowcountry Southern dish with West African heritage and influences. It is traditionally made from black-eyed peas, rice, and pork (the types of peas or meat used may vary). John currently ranks #27 in the U.S.
  • London hearkens to London Broil, an American beef dish. A unisex place name, London ranks #219 for baby girls and #864 for baby boys.
  • Patty is traditionally a nickname for Martha or Patricia, but I’m thinking about burgers and falafel. 6 girls were named Patty in 2021.
  • Reuben is both a Biblical name and a tasty sandwich. A classic reuben consists of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing on rye bread. There are many variants (especially pastrami), of course, and nowadays they don’t even need to contain meat. Current rank: #883.
  • Rachel is what you call a reuben with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. Many rachels swap out the corned beef or pastrami for turkey. Rachel currently ranks #239 nationally.
  • Salmon isn’t a name you really hear anymore (it’s Biblical!), but Salmon P. Chase was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court between the Lincoln and Grant administrations.


  • Ambrosia is an option for anyone who’s looking to honor an Ambrose in their life or family tree. These days, ambrosia is a fruit salad made with marshmallows and some kind of cream, though in Greek Mythology it’s the divine food only the gods can eat. 8 girls were named Ambrosia in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Caesar probably isn’t the healthiest salad either, but it’s great for people who struggle with the texture of raw tomatoes and onions, which seem to be found on most other classic salads. 55 baby boys were given this imperial name in 2021, but Cesar (the Spanish and Portuguese version) is a top 1000 baby name ranking #386.


  • Alaska is a trendy place name and the namesake of Baked Alaska, an ice cream cake that’s sometimes set on fire. 88 girls were named Alaska in 2021.
  • Charlotte is the #3 girls’ name in the U.S. and the name of a bread pudding style.
  • King – It’s past Mardi Gras, but who doesn’t love the colors and flavors of a king cake? King ranks #185 in the U.S.
  • Madeleine is the French version of Magdalene and the name of a delightful cookie. The current U.S. rank for this spelling is #381; Madeline and Madelyn are both more popular.
  • Napoleon – Most of us will think of the emperor, but it’s also a type of layered puff pastry treat. 14 boys were named Napoleon in 2021.

Other inspired options include Bryan (via Matzo Brei), Holland (via Hollandaise), Loxley (from Lox), Pomeline (via Pommes Frites, or French Fries), and Rue (from Roux and Rugelach).

Do you have a favorite food name from this list? Are there any other culinary baby names you would add? Let me know!

Note: Data for U.S. baby names comes from the Social Security Administration, which publishes both a national list of the top 1000 baby names and an extended list down to 5 uses based on all the applications they receive for a given year.

American Names · Name Lists

300+ Isogram Names Starting With ‘C’

I’m a huge fan of isograms. When discussing baby names, an isogram is a name that (usually*) doesn’t repeat letters. For example: Caroline is an isogram, but variant Carolina is not because it repeats an ‘a.’ Playing the isogram game is a great way to find unique and distinctive name options. You would be surprised what you can come up with! All kinds of names can be isograms, so if you’re looking for an interesting way to name your baby, they’re a great place to look.

Here’s a long list of isogram names for boys and girls starting with ‘C!’ Most (but not all) came from recent Social Security Administration data. Even some incredibly old-school options are still in use (I’m looking at you Caedmon and Cephas), though the jury’s still out on Cyneburg.

3 Letters:

  • Cal
  • Cam
  • Cat
  • Che
  • Chi
  • Coy
  • Cub
  • Cyn

4 Letters:

  • Cade
  • Cady
  • Cage
  • Cain
  • Caio
  • Cali
  • Cami
  • Camp
  • Cane
  • Carl
  • Cary
  • Case
  • Cash
  • Cate
  • Cato
  • Cera
  • Chad
  • Chai
  • Ciar
  • Ciel
  • Chaz
  • Cher
  • Chet
  • Chip
  • Cian
  • Cing
  • Ciro
  • Clay
  • Cleo
  • Clea
  • Clio
  • Coby
  • Coda
  • Cody
  • Cole
  • Colm
  • Colt
  • Cope
  • Cora
  • Cord
  • Cori
  • Cove
  • Crew
  • Cruz
  • Cung
  • Cyan
  • Cyra
  • Czar

5 Letters:

  • Cabot
  • Cagri
  • Cahir
  • Caine
  • Cairo
  • Caius
  • Caleb
  • Calix
  • Calum
  • Camry
  • Caomh
  • Capri
  • Cardi
  • Carlo
  • Carly
  • Carol
  • Carys
  • Casey
  • Cason
  • Cathy
  • Cedar
  • Cedra
  • Celia
  • Celso
  • Celyn
  • Cerys
  • Cesar
  • Cesia
  • Chaim
  • Champ
  • Chani
  • Chaos
  • Charm
  • Chase
  • Chevy
  • Chief
  • China
  • Chloe
  • Chord
  • Chris
  • Chumy
  • Cielo
  • Ciera
  • Cindy
  • Clint
  • Clive
  • Cloud
  • Clove
  • Clyde
  • Coast
  • Colby
  • Colin
  • Conal
  • Conri
  • Coral
  • Corey
  • Costa
  • Covey
  • Cowan
  • Cozbi
  • Craig
  • Crash
  • Croix
  • Cuban
  • Curie
  • Cybil
  • Cyril
  • Cyrus

6 Letters:

  • Cadmus
  • Caelum
  • Calder
  • Calise
  • Caloni
  • Calvin
  • Calvus
  • Camber
  • Camden
  • Camilo
  • Camoni
  • Canelo
  • Canute
  • Capone
  • Carder
  • Carine
  • Carlin
  • Carlos
  • Carmel
  • Carmen
  • Carson
  • Carwyn
  • Casein
  • Casper
  • Castle
  • Castor
  • Catori
  • Celina
  • Cephas
  • Chaise
  • Chanel
  • Chaney
  • Chapel
  • Charis
  • Charvi
  • Chavez
  • Chayil
  • Chenoa
  • Chenxi
  • Cheryl
  • Chesky
  • Chetan
  • Chinwe
  • Chioma
  • Chione
  • Chosen
  • Christa
  • Christy
  • Cinder
  • Claire
  • Clarke
  • Claude
  • Cletus
  • Clover
  • Clovis
  • Cobain
  • Coburn
  • Colden
  • Colter
  • Colvin
  • Colwyn
  • Conley
  • Conrad
  • Conway
  • Corbin
  • Cordae
  • Corina
  • Corley
  • Cortez
  • Corvin
  • Corwyn
  • Cosima
  • Coumba
  • Cristo
  • Crixus
  • Cronus
  • Crosby
  • Cruise
  • Crusoe
  • Curtis
  • Cutler
  • Cuyler
  • Cyaire
  • Cyniah
  • Cypher
  • Cyprus
  • Cyrano
  • Cyrine

7 Letters:

  • Caedmon
  • Caelius
  • Caisley
  • Caitlyn
  • Caledon
  • Calhoun
  • Caliber
  • Calixto
  • Calvert
  • Calypso
  • Caoimhe
  • Cambrie
  • Cameron
  • Carlito
  • Carlson
  • Carlton
  • Carmelo
  • Carmine
  • Carolyn
  • Carsten
  • Cashlyn
  • Cashton
  • Castiel
  • Catelyn
  • Cathryn
  • Celiyah
  • Ceriyah
  • Chanley
  • Charbel
  • Charles
  • Charlie
  • Charity
  • Charvik
  • Chadwin
  • Chasity
  • Chaskel
  • Chasten
  • Cherish
  • Chibuzo
  • Chidera
  • Chinedu
  • Chisolm
  • Chloris
  • Clodagh
  • Clarity
  • Claudio
  • Clayton
  • Clifton
  • Coleman
  • Columba
  • Coralie
  • Coralyn
  • Cordula
  • Costner
  • Courage
  • Crimson
  • Crosley
  • Cynthia
  • Cyprian
  • Czeslaw

8 Letters:

  • Caroline
  • Cephalus
  • Chambers
  • Champion
  • Chandler
  • Charline
  • Charlton
  • Charlize
  • Charming
  • Chaselyn
  • Chaseton
  • Chidubem
  • Chifundo
  • Chikamso
  • Chinedum
  • Chrisean
  • Chrislyn
  • Clarkson
  • Claudine
  • Claudius
  • Cleophas
  • Cliodhna
  • Coleston
  • Coltrane
  • Consuela
  • Copeland
  • Cordelia
  • Cornelia
  • Courtlyn
  • Courtney
  • Cynebald
  • Cyneburg

9 Letters:

  • Calogerus
  • Cambridge
  • Cristobal
  • Claiborne
  • Corisande
  • Cornelius
  • Courtland
  • Creighton

10 Letters:

  • Charleston
  • Christabel
  • Christobal
  • Chrysanthe

There are so many great names to choose from here! I honestly thought there wouldn’t be that many isogram names starting with ‘C,’ but I was wrong. Can you think of any others? As always, let me know some of your favorites.

*There’s a second type of isogram that repeats each letter of a word or name, but these are extremely rare. Cece and Coco are examples of this other version, with each doubling two letters.

If you want to look at my previous isogram name lists, here they are:

American Names · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names

Name Profile: Myrtle

What’s the deal with Myrtle? Myrtle is one of those super rare baby names that literally nobody is using, which surprises me for a few reasons. Firstly, “Old Lady names” are highly fashionable, and it’s not uncommon to find young girls with gloriously vintage names like Olive and Maxine that you’d expect a grandmother or great-grandmother to wear. Secondly, “myrtle” is a type of plant, tree, and flower, setting the name firmly in the “nature names” category that is so wildly popular right now. Everywhere you look, today’s children are named River, Sage, and all manner of words taken from the world and environment around us. Then, it’s a color name, which is mildly trendy considering options like Ruby and Indigo. Finally, its sheer rarity makes it an actual unique baby name. Myrtle has a lot going for it!

Derived from the Greek μύρτος or myrtos, Myrtle was a popular women’s name through the end of the 19th century and much of the 20th century. The Social Security Administration tracks U.S. birth data back to 1880, and while those early years before 1937 or so weren’t the most accurate counts, if a name is in the top 100 for that year you’d best believe it was popular or at least some kind of fashionable. Myrtle was already firmly in the top 100 by then, with its popularity remaining relatively steady for quite a while. It wasn’t until 1926 that Myrtle left the top 100, and 1965 when it finally dropped out of the top 1000. From then, it withered into obscurity. Myrtle doesn’t even chart in the SSA’s extended data most years after the mid-90s; there was a tiny spike in 2013-2014 after the 3rd season of American Horror Story, and another small spike in 2019 when just 12 girls were named Myrtle, but that we know of, no children were named Myrtle in 2021 (the most recent year we have data for). When I said earlier that literally nobody is naming their kids Myrtle, I meant it. Myrtle is an extinct baby name.

As far as baby names go, and like most baby names, Myrtle has its pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros!

Myrtus Communis, or the Common Myrtle

This old-fashioned name is usually taken from the plant, a beautiful flowering shrub with powerful historical meaning. The Greeks and Romans associated myrtle with the goddesses Demeter (Ceres) and Aphrodite (Venus), the latter important deity representing love and fertility. With the popularity and trendiness of mythological baby names, perhaps Myrtle (or Ancient Greek Myrto) is a viable name option for a child born around Valentine’s Day? In Judaism, the myrtle is associated with the Sukkot holiday and takes the name Hadassah after brave Queen Esther, who saved her people (incidentally, Hadassah, her original name, derives from a Hebrew word that means “myrtle” or “myrtle tree”). British Royal Weddings have included sprigs of myrtle in bridal bouquets since the Victorian era – I wonder if that’s how the name became popular? Besides its historical and mythical connections, Myrtle is also a lovely shade of dark green. Families who spend a lot of time in Myrtle Beach may love associations with the ocean, summer vacation, and the beach. There’s even a book series for middle grade (grades 4th-8th) readers called the Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries, set in the Victorian era like Enola Holmes.

Those are a lot of things to love, but let’s create balance and discuss any possible negativity (this website is, after all, the “Well-Informed Namer”). The first con I can think of is Myrtle’s sound, which is consonant-heavy. Myrtle belongs in the same auditory realm as names like Bertha and Gertrude, names with an “er” sound that also haven’t returned into widespread usage. I don’t think that’s a major con though, and I can see some options (i.e., Gertrude) becoming fashionable again. I think the biggest issue with Myrtle is the potential for disgusting “Moaning Myrtle” jokes that some adults and teenagers of the Harry Potter generation unfortunately might make about a person bearing the name. Need I say more about that?

Ultimately, I think Myrtle has promising potential in the coming decades, but I don’t know if we’re ready for it now. As a vintage flower and plant name, I think we’ll see a few pop up now and again. Parents who want to be absolutely sure they will give their child a truly unique, one-of-a-kind baby name may want to consider this option. What do you think of Myrtle?


  1. Social Security Administration
  2. Myrtle: The Provenance and Meaning of a Plant, by Julia Blakely, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives.
  3. Nancy’s Baby Names
American Names · Analysis · Classic, Old, and Traditional Names · Modern names

Name Profile: Beverly

Do you like the sound of Everly but prefer something vintage? Is Evelyn, which ranks #9 in the U.S., too popular for you? You may love Beverly, an old English place name meaning something akin to “beaver stream” or “beaver meadow.”

Beverly: Surname, Place Name; Likely Meaning: "Beaver Stream" or "Beaver Meadow," or someone who lives near there; popular baby name from 1905 to 1999 for girls, until the 1950s for boys; Rare alternative to Evelyn and Everly; Vintage and Modern.

Beverly was one of the very first last-names-as-baby-names to become popular for girls. We’ve come a long way in that naming genre! I wager that most preschools have students named Harper and Avery, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if their moms or teachers are named Ashley or Taylor. Their grandmothers might be Leslie and Kelly, and their great-grandmothers could be Shirley or Beverly. The names change, but the style remains the same. Beverly was a part of the vanguard that made it cool to name a baby girl with a surname, or to name a baby girl with a boys’ name. Beverly’s old-fashioned now, but I think it’s one of the first truly modern baby names.

Beverly, like Shirley and other surname baby names, originally began as a men’s name. Indeed, Beverly became conventionally unisex for nearly 50 years before the 1950s, when it dropped out of the U.S. top 1000 for boys. I dare say that when Beverly first became popular for girls, for a brief period it was even gender neutral…as gender neutral as a name could be while trending before World War I! Even so, once it really took off for girls, there was no turning back. It was officially feminine.

What made Beverly popular to begin with? Those first names in that style didn’t come from nowhere; we know the concept of Shirley as a girls’ name came from a Bronte character . As it turns out, Beverly became popular because of a hit 1904 book, Beverly of Graustark, and a later 1920s movie based on the story. The timing is just right to imagine Beverly as a flapper or the baby of one. Beverly has a certain glamorous old-lady feel to it, making it a great choice for parents who want their daughters to sparkle and shine with confidence. There’s even the associations with Beverly Hills, California – for parents who want to evoke a sense of glitz, wealth, and celebrity – and Star Trek, for nerdy parents who love Beverly Crusher. Of course, the book that started it all isn’t even the most important literary connection to Beverly, at least not for modern parents. Today’s parents may wish to honor beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 104.

Like Everly, there’s well more than one way to spell Beverly. The most traditional alternate spelling is probably Beverley, which can be attested as a men’s name by the mid-18th century via Beverley Randolph (whose name came from a family surname). Other old spellings that aren’t currently in use for babies include Beverlee, Beverli, and Beverlye, though maybe surprisingly there’s no history of Beverleigh. There’s also Beverlyn, a rare name which peaked in the 50s but has the potential for trendiness in the 2020s and going into the 2030s thanks to the “Lyn” and “Lynn” endings that are so popular for baby girls’ names. Currently, the only two spellings parents are using are Beverly and Beverley.

Exactly how trendy is Beverly these days? Well, I think things are looking up. Beverly peaked in the 1930s and 40s before falling into near oblivion by the new millennium, eventually dipping reaching an almost 100-year-low in 2010 at just 99 girls in a year. Since then, it’s been creeping slowly back upwards – probably thanks to Everly, which started taking off right around then. Everly has actually dropped a little since its 2019 peak, but Beverly is still rising and was given to as many as 188 girls in 2021. Did Everly rise too quickly? Are parents already looking for something fresh but familiar with Beverly? Is it the vintage vibes? The nature meanings? If Beverly doesn’t take off now, I think it’s primed for the 2030s and 40s in a kind of 100-year-cycle.

What do you think of Beverly? Do you see it coming back soon? Let me know! 

American Names · Modern names · Name Lists

Baby Name Mash-Ups: Boys Edition!

Do you enjoy mashing two names together to create a third? Whether you love name games, want an unconventional honoring name, or simply like rare baby names, name mashes are a fantastic way to explore the outer bounds of language.

Yesterday, I posted a list of real girls’ names that qualify as baby name mash-ups. Today, I publish the boys’ names! All of the mash-ups listed are legitimate baby names found within the Social Security Administration‘s data set for U.S. babies born in 2021. I also list how many times they were used that year to get a sense of rarity or popularity (For context, the SSA publishes all names used at least 5 times in a year. The most popular name in the country, Liam, was given to over 20,000 babies. To be considered popular, it needs to rank in the Top 1000…which started at 217 boys for the names Atharv, Bishop, Blaise, and Davian. Sense of scale!).

  • Adrius = Adrian + Atreus. 7 boys were named Adrius in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Aidric = Aidan + Godric. 6 boys were named Aidric in the U.S. in 2021.
  • Alexiel = Alex + Daniel. 6 boys.
  • Amarion = Amari + Marion. 136 boys.
  • Augden = August + Ogden. 5 boys.
  • Axcel = Axel + Excel. 10 boys. Hey, some people love spreadsheets!
  • Azaiah = Azariah + Isaiah. 166 boys.
  • Azarious = Azariah + Julius. 6 boys.
  • Baxton = Baxter + Paxton. 5 boys.
  • Braven = Brave + Draven. 94 boys.
  • Breyson = Brayson + Greyson. 12 boys.
  • Briceson = Brice + Bryson. 11 boys.
  • Briggston = Briggs + Brixton. 26 boys.
  • Broxton = Brock + Brixton. 7 boys
  • Chrisean = Chris + Sean. 6 boys.
  • Dylangael = Dylan + Angel, Dylan + Gael. 6 boys
  • Eliam = Eli + Liam. This is actually a Biblical name, but it’s a great mash option. Rank: #736, and was given to 345 boys in 2021.
  • Emmerick = Emery + Merrick, Emery + Eric, Emeric + Merrick. 5 boys.
  • Ethaniel = Ethan + Nathaniel. 20 boys.
  • Faustin = Faustino + Austin. 5 boys.
  • Geremy = Gerald + Jeremy. 9 boys.
  • Gianluca = Giovanni + Luca. 180 boys.
  • Graceson = Grace + Grayson. 47 boys. This is an interesting option for parents who want to honor a woman named Grace with their son’s name.
  • Hughston = Hugh + Houston. 7 boys.
  • Iangael = Ian + Angel, Ian + Gael. 5 boys.
  • Jakayden = Jake + Kayden. 28 boys.
  • Jamichael = James + Michael. 22 boys.
  • Jaren = Jason + Daren, Jason + Karen. 34 boys.
  • Jayco = Jayden + Draco. 9 boys.
  • Jeaven = Jeremy + Heaven. 5 boys.
  • Jebediah = Jeb + Jedediah. 27 boys. This is one of the older mash-ups and one of the older psuedo-Biblical names on the block.
  • Jessiah = Jesse + Josiah. 142 boys.
  • Joevan = Joe + Evan. 5 boys.
  • Juliam = Julian + Liam. 5 boys.
  • Kaydrian = Kayden + Adrian. 11 boys.
  • Kendarius = Kendrick + Darius. 13 boys.
  • Kendrix = Kendrick + Hendrix. 98 boys.
  • Lesther = Lester + Esther. 8 boys.
  • Lloyal = Llewelyn + Loyal, Llewyn + Loyal, Lloyd + Loyal. 9 boys.
  • Maxson = Max + Jaxson. 45 boys.
  • Maxton = Max + Paxton. Rank: #994 for 218 boys.
  • Miking = Mike + King. 22 boys.
  • Nashton = Nash + Cashton. 14 boys.
  • Rhyson = Rhys + Bryson. 7 boys.
  • Rorick = Rory + Rick. 10 boys.
  • Samaj = Sam + Semaj. Semaj is backwards for James. 11 boys.
  • Santonio = Santiago + Antonio. Of course, I also thought about a smoosh of San Antonio. 12 boys.
  • Thobias = Thomas + Tobias. This spelling looks a lot like the word “phobias.” 5 boys.
  • Xaviel = Xavier + Daniel. 6 boys.
  • Zebastian = Zebedee + Sebastian. 9 boys.

What do you think of these? Several of them are Bible-inspired without actually being Biblical, which is a really interesting trend I’ve been noticing.

What baby name mash-ups can you come up with for boys? I spotted Apollo and Pablo together in the boys’ data and misread together them as Apablo, so there’s an option!

American Names · Modern names · Name Lists

Baby Name Mash-Ups: Girls Edition

Whether you like to call them mash-ups, smooshes, compound names, or something else, it’s always fun to find or create names that mash two names together into one. It’s a great way to explore language, and sometimes you can find a new and unexpected appellation that way. Here is a list of real girls’ names for the creative mind to construct and deconstruct from two other names! Most of these probably aren’t meant to be mash-ups (indeed, many are unique and unconventional spellings), but who doesn’t love name games? All the mash-ups are listed with the number of baby girls who received the name in 2021, according to data from the Social Security Administration. If rare and uncommon baby names are your thing, I think you’ll enjoy these mashes too – only one of them is in the top 1000.

  • Adaleine = Adeline + Madeleine. 8 girls were named Adaleine in 2021.
  • Adamari = Ada + Amari. 32 girls were named Adamari in 2021.
  • Adamaris = Ada + Stellamaris, Adam + Damaris. 37 girls.
  • Alyssandra = Alyssa + Alessandra. 20 girls. This may be a genuine mashup in some cases.
  • Amberley = Amber + Emberly. 28 girls.
  • Ameliana = Amelia + Emiliana. This maximalist version of Amelia was used 40 times.
  • Ariellie = Aria + Ellie, Ariel + Ellie. 6 girls.
  • Arianelly = Ariana + Nelly, Ariana + Annalee, Ariana + Nayeli. 26 girls.
  • Avangeline = Ava + Evangeline. 23 girls.
  • Baisley = Bailey + Paisley, Bailey + Haisley. 12 girls
  • Bellanie = Bellamy + Melanie. 8 girls.
  • Brystal = Bristol + Crystal. 14 girls.
  • Callaway = Calla + Calloway. 41 girls.
  • Delaila = Delilah + Laila. 9 girls.
  • Delayah = Delaney + Malaya, Delaney + Leia. 9 girls
  • Elizabella = Elizabeth + Isabella, Elizabeth + Arabella. 21 girls.
  • Elliotte = Elliot + Charlotte. 53 girls.
  • Elouise = Eloise + Louise. 216 girls.
  • Embersyn = Ember + Emersyn. 6 girls.
  • Emmarie = Emma + Marie, Emily + Marie. 174 girls.
  • Eunique = Eunice + Unique. 10 girls.
  • Francely = Frances + Aracely. 10 girls.
  • Giabella = Gianna + Isabella. 24 girls.
  • Gwendalynn = Gwendolyn + Adalynn. 10 girls.
  • Havanna = Havana + Savannah, Haven + Savanna. 15 girls.
  • Hayeslee = Hayes + Haisley, Hayes + Paislee. 5 girls.
  • Hazeley = Hazel + Haisley, Hazel + Paisley. 9 girls
  • Janellie = Jane + Ellie. In reality, probably a variant of Yaneli? 8 girls.
  • Jenesis = Jennifer + Genesis. 379 girls with a national rank of #745. This is the only popular mashup baby name I list here.
  • Jeweliana = Jewel + Juliana. 5 girls.
  • Lauralai + Laura + Lorelai. 5 girls.
  • Lehlani = Leilani + Kehlani. 43 girls. Like Alyssandra, I suspect this is a genuine mashup.
  • Lydiann = Lydia + Ann. 11 girls.
  • Maevery = Maeve + Avery. 17 girls.
  • Maisley = Maisie + Haisley, Maisie + Paisley. 35 girls.
  • Makinsley = Makayla + Kinsley, Makenzie + Kinsley. 19 girls.
  • Marilena = Maria + Elena, Maria + Helena. 21 girls.
  • Marleaux = Marlowe + Beaux, Marlowe + Devereaux. 5 girls.
  • Melaney = Melanie + Delaney. In reality, the pronunciation is probably identical to Melanie. 8 girls.
  • Myrcella = Myrtle + Marcella. I know, I know…Myrcella comes from Game of Thrones, but I can dream! 5 girls.
  • Parys = Paris + Carys. 9 girls.
  • Pauleth = Paulette + Arleth, Paula + Arleth. 13 girls.
  • Persephanie = Persephone + Stephanie. 6 girls.
  • Reigna = Reign + Rayna. 33 girls.
  • Renesmee = Renee + Esme. The original name smoosh! 161 girls.
  • Roselani = Rose + Leilani, Rose + Kehlani. 9 girls.
  • Serinity = Serenity + Trinity. 19 girls.
  • Sophonie = Sophie + Stephanie. 5 girls.
  • Taylani = Taylor + Leilani, Taylor + Kehlani. 16 girls. 
  • Tayleigh = Taylor + Kayleigh. 12 girls.
  • Zoella = Zoe + Ella. 28 girls.

One of my favorite name mash-ups didn’t even make the 2021 data. Gwenevieve (Guinevere + Genevieve) has popped up a few times starting in 2008. You could also mix Gwendolyn and Lillian to get Gwenllian, which is a Welsh name…however, the double ‘l’ sounds different in Welsh than in English, so just be mindful. Other possible mash-ups include Hermione (from Hermia and Ione), Isadora (Isabella + Theodora), Tallulah (Talia + Lula), Jaylannie (Jayla + Annie), and Davinity (Davina + Divinity).

What are some of your favorite baby name mash-ups? Would you ever consider using one? Let me know and read the boys’ list!

American Names · Modern names

Name Profile: Xyla

Xyla is a name nobody seems to know much about. It’s so ultramodern it looks futuristic. It’s rare yet trendy. And when the Social Security Administration releases their list of America’s most popular baby names of 2022 in May, it’s likely to debut in the top 1000. Given to 233 girls in 2021, Xyla teeters on the edge of popularity.

There is so much to love about Xyla:

  • Names beginning with ‘x’ are unusual, to the point that only 4 names (Xavier, Xander, Ximena, and Xiomara) currently rank in the top 1000. Names combining the letters ‘x’ and ‘y’ are even rarer; in the 2021 SSA extended data that goes down to 5 uses, only 3 names begin with ‘Xy.’ One of the other two is Xylah, a variation of Xyla.
  • It’s short and sweet. Today’s parents love names like Max and Ava – names that are easy to spell, easy to say, and don’t have nicknames. Xyla is a little trickier to spell than those names, but it’s uncomplicated. You get the point as soon as you see it.
  • Xyla works as a nature name! One possible derivation is Xylon, the Latinized spelling of an Ancient Greek word meaning “wood.” Plants contain something called a “xylem,” and mycologists (people who study fungi/mushrooms) might appreciate Xyla as a short form of Xylaria. Xyla is an unconventional choice for parents who love plant names and more general nature names, but it fits nicely with other modern nature baby name options like Indigo and Azalea.
  • Xyla can have musical associations. A musician or music-lover may choose Xyla to reference the xylophone.
  • Did I mention it’s futuristic? Xyla is visually satisfying in the way that Xerox sounds. I don’t know about you, but it makes me think about spaceships and people living in a century beyond our own. And to top that, 1999 was the first year it ever appeared in the SSA birth data…Xyla definitely has a hopeful, space-age new-millennium vibe, something we sorely need right now.
  • It sounds like a bell. Move over Tyler and Kyla; Xyla is here to play!
  • Speaking of Kyla: if you don’t like the ‘Z’ sound of Xyla, you could always Hellenize the pronunciation and treat the ‘x’ like a ‘kh,’ in the way that Khloe is a legitimate spelling of Chloe because of the original Greek ‘chi.’
  • There aren’t many ways to spell it yet. Of course the most popular version is Xyla, but Zyla trails in hot pursuit at 211 girls (don’t be surprised if both Xyla and Zyla are in the 2022 Top 1000). Zylah and Xylah are less common options.

As far as middle names go, I recommend avoiding anything that starts with a vowel so the names don’t bleed into each other (Xyla Ann is going to sound like Xylann, which is a cool name idea but probably not what you’re looking for). You want contrast between sounds, which means hard consonants in this case. My recommendations for middle names include Bee, Rose, Bronte, Frances, Monet, Cove, and Robin.

What do you think of Xyla? Would you use this modern moniker? What’s your favorite spelling? Let me know!

American Names · Name Lists

Names Beginning with Cal

Do you want to honor a Cal in your life? Maybe you just love Cal as a nickname and want a formal version. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a long name list of names beginning with “Cal” to kickstart your baby name inspiration! I’ve ordered them from most popular to rarest based on publicly available data from the Social Security Administration, which publishes the previous year’s popular baby names every May (the latest data we have is from 2021). A few of the names don’t rank at all! If you’re looking for a classic or an undiscovered gem, you may find it here.

  • Caleb, a Biblical name that probably means “dog,” is the most popular “Cal” name. Current rank: #51.
  • Calvin – When people think of formal names for Cal, Calvin is probably the first name that comes to mind. A timeless name, Calvin has never been out of the U.S. Top 1000. Current rank: #145. \
  • Callie – Rank: #177. Other spellings include Calli (42 girls), Calleigh (36 girls), Cally (14 girls), Callee (13 girls), and Calley (7 girls).
  • Cali is a variation of Callie with summery California beach vibes. Current rank: #337.
  • Callan is an Irish surname baby name that might just be the new Ryan. It ranked #375, and variant Callen ranked at #458. Other spellings include Calen (43 boys) and Callyn (19 girls). 
  • Callum is an increasingly popular Scottish name derived from Columba, a saint’s name which means “dove.” Callum currently ranks #273, while variant Calum ranks #838.
  • Calliope – Rapidly rising Calliope comes to us from Greek Mythology, a major source of trendy baby names in the 2020s. Besides its origins and a beautiful sound, its 4 syllables give it a maximalist vibe. Current rank: #603.
  • Callahan is an Irish surname. Current rank: #659 for boys, but don’t be surprised if it eventually takes off for girls too. Alternative spellings include Calihan (40 boys, 6 girls) and Callaghan (25 boys, 5 girls).
  • Cal itself is a popular baby name, firmly fitting in with other rising vintage standalone nicknames like Millie and Charlie. Current rank: #876.
  • Calista – 137 girls. Additionally, 43 girls were named Callista, 8 girls received the spelling Calixta, and 6 were named Calysta.
  • Calla is a rare floral name related to lilies, making it a wonderful choice parents seeking flower names. 134 girls were named Calla at last count, and a few baby girls (just 9!) were named Cala.
  • Caliyah rhymes with Aaliyah, creating an intriguing pairing option for twins. 96 girls were named Caliyah in 2021.
  • Caleigh is an unusual spelling of Kaylee given to 84 girls in 2021. Calee and Calie (20 girls) are other versions, though they could also be versions of Callie depending on how parents say them. You can also find Caley, which was given to 10 girls, and Calii, which was given to 5 girls.
  • Calder falls firmly into the “last names as baby names” category! 80 boys were named Calder in 2021.
  • Calian looks like it could be a mash-up of Callan and Killian. 71 boys.
  • Calix is an English form of Calixtus or Callistus given to 54 boys. 18 boys were named Calyx, which I think is an even more stylish option with the ‘y.’
  • Calia – 51 girls. 40 girls were also name Caleah, 16 were named Callia, 15 were named Caliah, 12 named Caleigha, 10 Caleya, 7 Calea, 7 Caliya, and 6 Caleyah.
  • Calani appears to be an alternate spelling of the Hawaiian name Kalani or a unique spelling of Kehlani, which is a pop musician’s name. 49 girls were given this spelling, and 11 were named Caloni.
  • Caliana looks like a maximalist version of Cali, Callie, or Kaylee. 48 girls were given this spelling, another 18 were named Calianna, and 5 were called Calliana.
  • Calloway – Fans of Cab Calloway and surnames as baby names are sure to love Calloway! A unisex option, 47 boys and 7 girls were named Calloway in 2021. Callaway is a gender-neutral spelling that was given to 41 girls and 41 boys that year.
  • Calina was given to 33 girls. 5 girls were named Caleena, additionally.
  • Cale can be short for Caleb or a variation on Kale. 33 boys.
  • Calynn is a form of Kaylin given to 25 girls. Another 9 girls were named Calyn
  • Calogero is an Italian name given to 22 boys.
  • Caliber is trendy (if rare) because it belongs to the same category of gun-related baby names as Remington, Colt, and Gunner. Of course, there’s always the possibility someone had an out-of-world experience at a Caliber Collision center. 20 boys and 6 girls were named Caliber in 2021.
  • Calil appears to be a variation of Khalil. It was given to 18 boys. Other variations are Caliel (8 boys) and Caleel (6 boys).
  • Calypso – An ultra-rare girls’ name from Greek Mythology, Calypso also has musical associations via the Caribbean music genre. 17 girls were named Calypso in 2021.
  • Calayah could be a variation of Caliyah or Malaya. Either way, it’s absolutely beautiful! 16 girls were named Calayah, while 15 girls were called Calaya.
  • Caleesi is an uncommon spelling of Khaleesi that was given to 13 girls.
  • Calise – I imagine this rhymes with Elise, not Alice. 13 girls.
  • Calissa looks like a name mash of Melissa and Calista. It was given to 12 girls.
  • Calais – 11 boys, 6 girls. Calais is a place in France that belonged to the English for centuries. As a boys’ name, Calais ties into Greek Mythology. It’s also the name of a football player, Calais Campbell.
  • Calcifer – 10 boys. Calcifer is the name of the demon in Howl’s Moving Castle.
  • Caledon appears to be a masculine form of Caledonia (see below). A possible namesake here is Caledon “Cal” Hockley, Rose’s jerk fiance in the Titanic. 10 boys.
  • Calel looks like a variation of Kal-El, i.e. Superman. 10 boys.
  • Caliann – This could be a variation of Kaylee-Ann or Callie-Ann, and I’m not sure how to pronounce it. 10 girls.
  • California is pretty self-explanatory. 10 girls.
  • Calixto is a form of Calixtus or Callistus given to 10 boys.
  • Caled – Could this be a typo of Caleb? 9 boys.
  • Caladin – I think Caladin is a variation of Kaladin, which is a Brandon Sanderson character’s name given to 80 boys. Caladin was given to 7 boys.
  • Caldwell is a surname baby name. 7 boys.
  • Calhoun is a surname baby name. 7 boys were named Calhoun in 2021, and I sincerely hope none of them have John C. Calhoun as their intended namesake.
  • Calvary is a gender-neutral option for parents who want to reference the site of the Crucifixion. 7 girls and 7 boys were named Calvary in 2021.
  • Caledonia is the old Latin name for Scotland. It was given to 6 girls in 2021.
  • Calliejo is a double-barrel first name that probably looks like Callie-Jo on paper! 6 girls.
  • Callisto has two different origins. The men’s version is related to Callistus, while the women’s version is from Greek Mythology. Either way, the apparent result is a gender-neutral baby name! 6 girls and 6 boys were named Callisto in 2021.
  • Calila looks like a feminine form of Khalil and, ergo, a variation of Khalila. 5 girls.
  • Callidora, which means “beautiful gift” in Greek, was given to 5 girls in 2021. I recently included this name in a longer list of names ending in “Dora.”
  • Callister appears to be a short form of McAllister. 5 boys.
  • Calvert is strongly associated with colonial Maryland, and today there’s even a Calvert County. 5 boys.
  • Calabash is a type of gourd that would make an intriguing option for parents who love baby names from nature and plants.
  • Calamity offers Western and Neo-Cowboy vibes thanks to Calamity Jane, who’s kind of a less famous Annie Oakley.
  • Calanthe is a rare flower name for orchids that derives from Greek words meaning “beautiful” and “flower.” Calanthia is a longer version. 
  • Calfuray is a rare flower name of Mapuche origin associated with violets or purple-colored flowers.
  • Calgary fits in with place name baby names.
  • Caligula – I don’t recommend naming your child Caligula, but it’s a great pet name!
  • Calm could be a fantastic virtue name.
  • Calpurnia is an Ancient Roman name that sometimes pops up in literature. The most recent namesake is a children’s book character called Calpurnia Tate.
  • Calrose – I think this is a brand of rice, but it works surprisingly well as a baby name!

There are a few other names that include “Cal” in the middle of the name. Some highlights from the 2021 data-set include Lyrical, Accalia, Deucalion, and Macallan.

Do you have a favorite name beginning with Cal? Is there another name you think I should add to this list? Let me know!