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Your 'Uncommon' Baby Name Is Everywhere

A number of friends have told me that they've selected "uncommon" and/or "old -fashioned" names for their babies -- and then they proceed to say that the baby will be called Ava, Olivia, Isabella, Aiden, etc. They are all perfectly good choices, and there is nothing wrong with selecting a popular name -- but they honestly believe that these names are uncommon. They apparently don't follow baby-naming trends whatsoever. When this happens, should I tell them that the name they chose isn't as unusual as they think it is? Or smile and nod and then secretly giggle when their child is "Ava C." or "Aiden #4" in their kindergarten classroom?

- Common Conundrum

My dear, there's a name for people like you. (Don't worry, it's a polite name.) You're a Name Enthusiast. Like us, you carry special knowledge, and see things in baby names that others don't. The challenge for you, Ms. Enthusiast, is to spread the name knowledge around without coming off like a bore, or boor, as the case may be.

First rule: If the baby is already born, the only proper response to her name is "how lovely!" But if the name is still just a plan, I believe you can do a good deed by correcting parents' misperceptions. After all, a mom who chooses Ava to be "unique" is setting herself up for a whopping case of namer's remorse.

You don't have to tell the parents that they're wrong. Instead, lend them a little of your own name knowledge and help them discover the truth for themselves. Try this on a mom who says she likes the unusual: "Oh, aren't name popularity trends fascinating? Have you looked at this great website that shows you what's popular?" Then, send her to the NameVoyager at She'll thank you!

The prospective Ava parents will surely type in that name and see its soaring popularity graph. That will either scare them off the name, or make them realize that they love Ava so much that it's worth risking "Ava C." status. Either way, they should end up happier with the name they choose.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

October 18, 2009 1:13 PM
By Kristen (not verified)

I fell in love with the name I chose for my daughter that I had found in a baby naming book and thought it was rare as I hadn't ever met anyone with that name. I later found out that it was getting popular and there was even a character on a very popular tv show (that I don't watch obvously) with that name. I decided to keep the name anyways, because I was stuck on it. If I had known the popularity of the name sooner I possibly would have changed it.

January 21, 2010 11:05 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I decided on a name when I was in middle school. I'm not going to mention it, but it is a president's last name, and no it's not Madison. I know for a fact that this name, at the time, was not very popular. I investigated on the internet. I have held onto it dearly for the past decade and am now noticing that it is now catching on!!! I'm so frustrated and no where near having my first child. I'm torn as to stick with it, I love it, or move on to something more uncommon. I don't wan't my child to be one of many (name) in her kindergarten class.

February 20, 2010 12:49 PM
By Kristin (not verified)

Well, there will only be one little Paget in my daughter's class, and it'll be her! I like names that were never common, like Paget, Lexus, and Esmee for girls, and two part names for boys, like Matthew-Gray(I love Matthew Gray Gubler) and Carlisle-Grae.

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