How to Find that Perfect Unique Baby Name

Scrambled letters

Question: What is a good boy’s name that is strong but unique, and not too “out there”?

Answer:  Those uniquely personal requirements are what everyone is looking for in a name.

OK, not quite everyone. I’ll get the occasional letter from parents desperate for a name with the letters J, X, N and V to honor all four grandparents at once. But most of us today want what you want: a name that’s distinctive without being weird, and that sounds “strong.”

The problem is, the closer you look at those criteria, the less they mean. I’ve heard parents use the word “strong” to describe everything from Messiah to Isadore, from Greysen to John. When it comes to baby names, “strong” turns out to be just another word for “sounds good to me.”

That’s what makes the name hunt so hard. We know what we like, but we don’t know how to describe it. Imagine how frustrating car shopping would be if we didn’t have terms like “hybrid sedan” and “compact SUV,” and just had to tell the dealer “I’m looking for a vehicle that’s attractive and useful.”

I have a suggestion for you, and for every parent out there floundering for adjectives to describe your ideal name. Stop trying. Instead of a theoretical description, find some examples. They don’t have to be perfect – after all, if you knew a perfect name you wouldn’t be looking. Think of 5 to 10 names that appeal to you, despite their faults, then try to pinpoint what those names have in common.


Do a lot of your choices come from surnames, or end in the letter R? Do you gravitate toward one-syllable names, or names from France and Italy? That’s news you can use.  Our baby name search tools could also provide some inspiration.

Good luck!