Baby Names Blog: Blog of Baby Name Wizard author Laura Wattenberg | These 16 Familiar Boys’ Names are Actually Rare—And Always Have Been

Unusual, but not weird. Not trendy, but not outdated either. Easy to spell and pronounce, but not ordinary?

If that’s your impossible baby name target, no worries, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve tracked down 16 boys’ names that are familiar, usable, and perennially rare. So rare, in fact, that none of them has ever ranked among the top 300 names in America. Even the likes of Millard and Wilmer have managed to climb higher than that.

The rarity should make any of these names distinctive to your son wherever he goes. In fact, many of them stand out in sound as well as style, with few sound-alike names (think Aiden and Hayden, Jason and Mason). The familiarity, meanwhile, gives them an easy confidence. They should be recognized wherever they go, without too many raised eyebrows.

(And be sure to check out the rare-but-familiar girls’ names, too.)

Photo: Getty Images

Benedict From actor Benedict Cumberbatch, General Benedict Arnold, Pope Benedict, Eggs Benedict
Campbell         From the common surname, actor Campbell Scott, and Campbell’s Soup
Casper Because of Casper the Friendly Ghost, and various place names and brand names
Cormac From author Cormac McCarthy
Gray As a common word and surname, and from former California Governor Gray Davis
Harris As a common surname, and via related names Harry and Harrison
Judd Because of actors Judd Hirsch and Judd Nelsion, and filmmaker Judd Apatow
Jules From author Jules Verne and cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and contemporary spellings like Juelz
Kip As an occasional nickname as well as a given name and surname
Leif From explorer Leif Erikson and singer Leif Garrett
Linus Via comics character Linus van Pelt, Linux creator Linus Torvalds, and scientist Linus Pauling
Murphy From the common surname, and (female) tv character Murphy Brown
Palmer From the common surname, and soap opera character Palmer Cortland
Phineas From TV series Phineas and Ferb, scientific subject Phineas Gage, and current “Finn” names
Stone As a common word and surname, and tv journalist Stone Phillips
Truman Because of writer Truman Capote, film The Truman Show, and President Harry S.Truman


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