One of the major struggles when it comes to picking a name for your little one is trying to strike a balance between a name that's unique and personal with one that carries the family, cultural or societal meaning and significance you want it to. With the amount of pressure sometimes in place to choose the right one, we've come up with 10 not too outlandish alternatives to 10 of the most common names.
Hamish The Scottish variant for James is still quite the rarity in the US. It means 'supplanter', like the original, but was also once used as a nicknames for all men who hailed from the Scottish Highlands, giving it quite the rustic charm.
Emmaline With both Emma and Emily high up in the top 10, you might be on the lookout for something a little more unique for your little bundle. While it possibly has the appearance of a modern creation, the name Emmaline has a very old history. It has a lovely sing-song flow to it, thanks in part to its Medieval French origins.
Malachi A name most people will be very familiar with, Malachi still makes a nice alternative to the uber-popular Michael. Although the two names come from separate sources, Malachi and Michael have a similar intonation, though we think our pick has a more booming, powerful sound to it. A Hebrew name, popular in Ireland, Malachi means 'my messenger'.
Zela This exotic sounding African name is a variant of Zoey, and given the popularity of that name and all its incarnations, we can really see Zela making its mark in the US. It sounds unique and ultra-fashionable, with a pleasing playful nature to it. It, like the rest of the Zoeys, means 'life'. This could also be used as an alternative to Ella!
Marston In 2016, Mason entered the top 5 most popular boys' names in the US, while Carson came in at #81. Marston, on the other hand, has never really made it onto the radar of American parents, but may that should change! Softer than Mason while still retaining its powerful, masculine tone, Marston has a real Old English charm that could make it a winner.
Safiyya Pronounced very similarly to the number 4 ranked name Sophia, Safiyya (sah-FEE-yah) sounds dynamic and fresh as well as looking completely unique. It might pose some difficulty with the spelling, but it does give it a very exotic and regal air. It's an Arabic name with an extremely sweet meaning: 'confidante, best friend'. Maybe this could be the perfect name for your new little best friend.
Cormac Irish names are huge at the moment in the US, and that trend looks like it's going to continue. But if you're worried your little boy will get lost in a sea of Aidens, Liams and Connors, don't fear: there are plenty of alternatives from the Emerald Isle to choose from! Cormac is one of our overlooked favorites. It means 'charioteer' and comes from a rich mythological tradition of high kings and heroes.
Analia A combination name of two of America's favorite names, Analia is a unique, melodious choice. It's easy to spell (always a plus!) and has a cross-cultural appeal to it. Broken down, it means 'grace' (Anna) and 'weary' (Leah). It could be an excellent choice if you want to honor or remember an Ann or Anna in your family, but want to give your daughter something completely her own.
Cason This is a completely modern invented name, but is already in the top 500. Its success is due in no small part to the incredible popularity of similar sounding names like Mason (#4 in 2016), Grayson (#37) and Jason (#84). Definitely a name to watch out for, we also like the alternate spelling, Kasen.
Harriet With the huge success of Charlotte, it seems time to bring another bastion of English aristocracy in from the cold. Harriet, meaning 'estate ruler', has a classic chic ring to it and is rich with literary, political and humanitarian namesakes. So-called 'old-fashioned' names are experiencing quite the boon right now, and we think Harriet should be the next up-and-coming success.