The 20 rarest baby names in the UK – and their meanings

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Kayleigh Dray

There’s something oddly fascinating about baby names, even if you’re not planning on having a child anytime soon (or, indeed, ever). And, to be honest, it’s easy to see why: with entire websites and books devoted to the subject – not to mention the plethora of consultants and companies devoted to ‘helping’ parents-to-be (at a cost) – the baby name business is booming.

Or, more specifically, the unusual baby name business is booming.

With so many parents and pet owners keen to find a strong, empowering and, above all else, unique name to bestow upon their little bundle of joy, there’s a lot to be said for finding a moniker that swims against the mainstream and truly stands out from the crowd.

Just a few weeks ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the most popular baby names of the year so far (Oliver and Olivia, if anyone’s interested). Rammed to the brim with vowel-heavy monikers ending in ‘a’, the list exposed our penchant for traditional and biblical names – not to mention our renewed fascination with the overtly feminine.

But, for those looking to avoid popular baby-naming trends, a Mumsnet post has re-analysed the ONS data to fish out the rarest options in the UK.

Baby peering over glasses as it reads a book

The unusual baby name business is booming

Each of the following names was registered just three times in 2016 – which is probably as close to being ‘unique’ as possible, in this day and age.

However, as you may have expected, there are certainly some unconventional options on the list…

The 10 most unusual baby girl names

1) Adalie
Meaning: “God is my refuge”

2) Agape
Meaning: “love”

3) Birdie
Meaning: “little bird”

4) Noam
Meaning: “pleasantness”

5) Onyx
Meaning: “gemstone, claw”

6) Oracle
Meaning: “prophecy”

7) Sonali
Meaning: “golden”

8) Sondos
Meaning: “silk brocade”

9) Tiger
Meaning: “jungle cat”

10) Yvette
Meaning: “yew, archer”

The most unusual baby boy names

1) Ajax
Meaning: “strong and brave warrior”

2) Dougal
Meaning: “dark stranger”

3) Henderson
Meaning: “son of Hendry”

4) Jools
Meaning: “youthful”

5) Marvellous
Meaning: “marvellous”

6) Oakleigh
Meaning: “meadow of oak trees”

7) Oswin
Meaning: “divine friend”

8) Richmond
Meaning: “wise protector”

9) Tadgh
Meaning: “philosopher, poet”

10) Thibault
Meaning: “brave people”

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Unusual baby names

It can be hard to find a name that truly stands out from the crowd

Of course, if you’d prefer to choose a name based on its badass meaning, we suggest browsing through our list of baby names inspired by feminist icons.

From Virginia [Woolf] to Benedict [Cumberbatch], vintage nicknames to modern monikers, there is a vast plethora of intriguing names which can be adapted to suit babies of any gender.

Or, if you’re in the market for a cool pet name, why not check out the most popular dog and cat names of 2016?

Images: Pexels/iStock


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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