The Most Unique Baby Boy Names Of 2021 - The List (2024)


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ByLouisa Marshall/

If you're anything like us, you've had an official note page on your phone with a list of baby names since you were 16. Whether it was while reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to a new indie rock hit, most likely you wrote a name down when inspiration struck. But with time comes perspective, and some of the names that were popular in 2015 — think Noah, Liam, or Jacob (we're thinking of you, "Twilight" fans) — aren't nearly as hip as they once were. The year is 2021 (as of publication, it's almost 2022), so instead of sourcing baby name inspiration from the werewolves of our teenage years, we might be looking at names like Simon, Colin, or even Bo (calling all Bo Burnham lovers). So what has 2021 taught us when it comes to boy baby names? The more unique, the better.

It's safe to say that the world doesn't need any more Liams, Williams, or Jacksons — no offense, but Liam, for instance, is the most popular boy baby name as of 2021 (as per What To Expect). So if you're seriously considering boy baby names, or you're just looking for inspiration, we have collected some of the year's most unique options, and they do not disappoint.


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Calling all literature lovers — this is the name that should be at the top of your list. Atticus is one of the year's most unique baby names, and it first entered the United States' top 1000 boy baby names in 2004. For popular baby site Nameberry, Atticus is a top favorite, and it's not hard to understand why. Not only is the name indicative of old school academia, but Atticus lends itself nicely to nicknames. Atty is a great option for a shortened version of this unique name, as is Ace and even Gus. The nickname ideas bring a playfulness to an otherwise very serious name, which is great for kiddos who want to mix things up when they're younger.

Of course, the name Atticus is very professional in its own right, and if you're thinking of lawyers, it's not hard to understand why. Arguably the most important and well known Atticus is Atticus Finch, the main protagonist in Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird." While the character is well known, the name itself is not common. According to the Social Security Administration, the name Atticus was only used in 0.060% of all male births in 2020.


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We love a name that is meaningful and unique, and the baby boy name Sterling meets the criteria. As noted by The Bump, Sterling originated in Britain and means "genuine" or "of high quality" — so setting your child up for a genuine and authentic personality, even through just their name, is a good move. When it comes to the originality of Sterling, Oh Baby Names reported that the name has had a "long 100+ year history" in the United States, and it peaked in popularity at the end of the 20th century — even so, the name never scored higher than 308 on the top baby boy name reports. As such, the name is a very unique choice for 2021, and while it might not come across as particularly hip or "trendy," its timeless aura will only serve your kid in the long run.

What's more is that Oh Baby Names noted that "in more recent years, Sterling has come dangerously close to disappearing," so this unique name could carry on a lovely name that soon could cease to exist in the mainstream. Sterling only made up 0.041% of baby boy names in 2020 according to the Social Security Administration, so uniqueness is in the cards.


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There's something about a unique name for a baby boy — that has great shortened and nickname potential — that we just absolutely love. Making the list for more original names for your little kiddo is the name Finnegan, and to say that this is a favorite name of ours is an understatement. Can you just imagine a little boy running around, having fun named Finnegan? Ugh, our parental hearts are just bursting.

According to Oh Baby Names, the name Finnegan hasn't been around for that long, and it only made an appearance on official baby name charts in 2005. As such, your little boy named Finnegan won't have a ton (if any) name competition during elementary school, which is an added bonus. If nicknames are your thing, what better pet name is there than Finn? Indicative of the beloved Mark Twain novel "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" — or a nod to "Glee," no judgment here — Finn is an adorable nickname that isn't super common either.

Not only was Finnegan listed on Baby Center's Unique Baby Names list, but the name was only used in 0.039% of male births in 2020 according to the Social Security Administration. If unique is what you're looking for, this is the name to consider.


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There was always that one kid in elementary school whose name stood out in an effortlessly cool way. Whether it was a girl named Lennon or a boy named Jax, there was always one kid who had swag, even as a 7 year old. Another unique baby boy name that we think screams "subtle swag" is the name Edison.

Traditionally thought of as a last name, Edison is a great option for parents who consider themselves history buffs or who are looking for a great E-name that isn't as traditional as Edward. As noted by Nameberry, Edison is of English origin and is most commonly associated with, you guessed it, Thomas Edison. Its subtle rise in popularity over the years has loosely been tied to the increased occurrence of the typically female name, Addison, and it was even projected that "Twilight" era parents might be looking for an E-name that isn't as obvious as the Cullen protagonist.

Bonus: not only is Edison a more unique take on the "-son" ending names (think Harrison or Jackson), but it's not common at all in the United States. According to the Social Security Administration, only 0.025% of boys born in 2020 were named Edison.


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Lionel is really up there when it comes to our favorite unique baby names of 2021. The Social Security Administration reported that the name Lionel was only used by 0.022% of parents when naming their baby boys in 2020, and the year the name officially peaked in the 21st century — which was only at 475 out of 1,000 — was 2016.

So if Lionel is a name that really vibes with you, you're in luck! It's incredibly unique, and because it isn't as popular as it used to be, chances are your kiddo will be the only Lionel they know. According to The Bump, Lionel originates from Latin and means "lion." For those of you out there that are astrologically inclined, Lionel would be a great name for your son, especially if he's born under the sign of Leo. The name would not only be unique, but it'd be a subtle nod to the stars.

The name is also indicative of old-timey classics, like the Lionel collectable train set. reported that Lionel is "an unusual baby name for boys" and since it peaked in the 20th century in 1934, you're guaranteed to have a very original name.


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Calling all social justice warriors — we have a name for you that won't disappoint. If journalism, social justice, the Civil Rights Movement, or a combination thereof hold significant meaning to you, perhaps you're looking for a unique baby boy name that embodies your passions. Ida B. Wells was one of the most well-known journalists of her time, and her work in the late 1800s helped define a new era of social justice. As such, the baby boy name Wells is the perfect choice, for not only is it unique and fairly uncommon, but it's reflective of one of the most important women in history.

As reported by the Social Security Administration, Wells was only used in 0.028% of male births in the United States in 2020 — not only is that pretty low, but the name also peaked in popularity in 2020, so to say that Wells is a unique name that will stand out from the crowd is an understatement. The Bump noted the name's significant historical ties, and Nameberry gave us information about the name's background. Wells means "spring," which is a lovely association to have with your new baby.


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When we think of names that start with "El-," the common option is Elijah, or Eli for short. If you're finding yourself drawn to El- boy names, but don't want to opt for a name that's more common in the everyday vernacular, why not try out Ellis? There's something about it that's unique, yet familiar. As noted by Nameberry, Ellis is of English and Welsh origin, and is more common as a last name than a first name.

But don't let that detract you from giving this unique name its due diligence — Ellis could be a great first name, especially paired with a single-syllable middle name. Ellis Jae, Ellis Lee, and so many more, are great names that have a unique flare that is sure to stand out. What's more is that the name Ellis made it on Baby Names' Cool and Unique Baby Names list for 2021, meaning that it certainly isn't declining in baby-swag status.

And if stats are your thing, only 0.055% of male babies born in 2020 were named Ellis, and the name peaked in popularity back in 2017, as noted by the Social Security Administration. So if originality is what you're looking for, Ellis is the option for you.


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We know what you're thinking: the Jonas Brothers. But hear us out — Jonas is a really cute and unique name for a baby boy. As a last name, "Jonas" is just about everywhere you look thanks to Nick, Joe, and Kevin, but unlike the three brothers with some of the most basic first names in the United States, using the name Jonas as a first name is a move that not many will expect.

As noted by The Bump, the name Jonas is of Hebrew origin and means "dove," which is just lovely when you think about it. The names Jonas and Jonah have "done a flip-flop in popularity in the past 100 years," according to Oh Baby Names, but Jonah has ultimately come out on top in frequency, as it is used more than five times the amount that Jonas is. This is good news for those of you looking for unique baby names, as your kiddo won't have competition in the first grade when trying to assert himself from all the Bens, Nicks, and Jacks in his class. In fact, Oh Baby Names even admitted that the name is "good news to parents who don't like overused or trendy names."


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The thing about unique baby names for boys that you have to keep in mind is that you shouldn't risk originality with plain old weird. No offense to the celebrities who might (might) be reading this, but naming your kid Apple is just a little odd, so we're all about setting the tone between unique and cool. Archibald is a great option for a baby boy whose parents are looking for a name that's not nearly as common as names like Daniel or Matthew.

The Bump noted that the name Archibald means "genuine, bold," and "brave," which are all strong attributes that every parent wants for their kid. Oh Baby Names informed us that the name Archibald goes all the way back to the 19th century in the United States, and became popular at the turn of the century. It had, however, gone consistently down in usage by the 1920s, and in 2012, the name was only chosen for 33 little boys in the United States.

In fact, it's so unique and infrequently used that the Social Security Administration doesn't have any stats on it. Did we mention that the nickname Archie would be up for grabs? Add this one to your list.


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The name Gray for a baby boy might seem a little strange at first, but we promise that it's worth adding to your list of unique name options from 2021. Nameberry reported that while Gray is common as a last name, its presence as a first name is still very new, and as such, you could be one of the first parents to name your baby boy after this cool color.

When we think of names associated with colors, we think of Ruby or Scarlet or Violet, which are most commonly names for baby girls. But boys don't have the same amount of color-inspired first names. Cue Gray, which should absolutely be given some consideration. If relating potential baby names to celebrities is your thing, then you should know that California's 37th governor was a man by the name of Gray Davis — which just rolls off the tongue and sounds so effortlessly cool, right?

And while the name is so infrequently used that the Social Security Administration doesn't have any info on it, Mama Natural named Gray as one of its Cool Baby Boy Names of 2021. You could also opt for the spelling Grey, if that serves your interests better. Need we say more?


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If you've picked up any kind of subtle pattern through this listing of unique baby names, it's that common last names are actually contenders for first names in 2021. The sentiment is true for our next option on the list, Fitzgerald. Now, we're big fans of this name, not only because it has this rich, 1920s Gatsby feel to it, but because it's reflective of some amazing artists and creators. Think of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, or F. Scott Fitzgerald, both of whom have stood the test of time. Their creations in music and literature speak for the 20th century, so if alluding to the work of past geniuses is up your alley, then this is a name definitely worth considering.

As noted by Kidadl, the name Fitzgerald means "son of the spear-ruler," and hails from Ireland — it all sounds very old-timey, if you ask us. And you might be surprised to find out that the name is so infrequently used, that it doesn't have any information about it via the Social Security Administration — it hasn't broken the top 1,000 baby boy names since 2000, so if unique is what you're looking for, this is the name worth paying attention to.


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Single syllable names hit different. There's something so pithy, unique, and assertive about single-syllable names that their multiple counterparts just can't compete with. But instead of opting for a one-beat name like Jack or Luke, why not go for a name like Penn? Penn is the definition of a unique name, and you guessed it: It hasn't broken into the top 1,000 boy names in the 21st century (via the Social Security Administration).

So what's made the name popular in 2021? Well, it might have to do with the increased popularity of the hit Netflix thriller show, "You," starring the lovely "Gossip Girl" alum Penn Badgley. Of course, for those of you who are ... Millennials ... and are having kids, Penn might make you think of Penn Jillette from the comedy magic duo, Penn & Teller. Either way, the single-syllable name is certainly worth consideration.

How did Badgley get the name, you might ask? He told QG that he was named after the famous tennis ball brand, as his father took to squeezing a tennis ball due to anxiety while his mom was having her first sonogram (via Today). The more you know.


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Annie. Mary. Two Agatha Christie characters. What do they all have in common? Their last names are all Lennox, and that's the next name on our list of unique baby boy options for 2012. As noted by Nameberry, Lennox is a great option, and it has a fairly rich history. It's been known as an "aristocratic and powerful Scottish surname" in part due to its unique last letter — X. The name refers to "the elm grove" in its meaning, so if you want a name inspired by Mother Nature, this could also be a great fit for you!

And don't worry, Lennox hasn't been used solely as a last name, either. British Olympic boxer Lennox Claudius put the name in the spotlight, but it's still not so common that you'll hear it every day. According to the Social Security Administration, only 0.063% of baby boys born in 2020 were named Lennox, which equated to 1,159 little Lennoxes. The name also peaked in popularity in 2020, so if you're looking for a name in 2021 that is destined to get attention for all the right reasons, Lennox should be at the top of your list.


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To round out our list of unique baby boy names of 2021, we combined our love of pop culture, politics, and overall swag to come up with the name you absolutely have to consider: Walker. You might not have ever thought of this name, but Walker dates back to the 19th century and is a great choice if you want a baby boy name that's assertive, bold, yet playful.

Not only did the name Walker make it on Fatherly's round up of Unique Baby Boy Names in 2021, but it peaked in popularity in 2020 — don't worry, you unique baby boy name fans, you. It hasn't peaked that much. As noted by Oh Baby Names, the name Walker first appeared in the 19th century, but started to decline in the early 20th century. It all but disappeared from the 1950s to the 1980s, and then saw a brief resurgence due to former president George W. Bush. The "dubbya" that we all refer to is actually the name Walker — little fun fact for you. Of course, when we think of Walker, we think of the late actor Paul Walker, whose name could certainly inspire some movie lovers out there.

The Most Unique Baby Boy Names Of 2021 - The List (2024)
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