These 16 Familiar Boys' Names are Actually Rare—And Always Have Been

Jan 10th 2019

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 Not trendy, but not outdated either.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



January 16, 2019 11:24 PM

We had a little boy in September and named him Judd! I had only heard it from my grandfather's middle name (which is why we chose it). I love it as an alternative to Jude/Judah and rustic/old timey without being over used! (Note, he will not show up on name statistics, as his formal first name is Robert, for hubby's grandpa who passed away right before baby was born).

January 24, 2019 11:57 PM

Benedict, Phineas, and Gray might be unique unto themselves, but they sound similar to much more common names. Benedict will get called Ben, a nickname for the #6 most popular male name. Phineas will likely be Finn, which is a top 200 name, and if you combine Finn and all the other names that would result in a nickname of Finn, it's top 100. Grayson+Greyson are both very popular and I'm sure many will be called Gray. I wouldn't put them in the same category as something like Cormac, which really does not sound like any popular American name. 

February 26, 2019 7:04 AM

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February 28, 2019 6:44 AM

Cormac is a pretty common first name in Ireland, I'm sure you could find plenty in

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February 28, 2019 7:28 PM

What are your thoughts on the name Kobe? I called my dog Kobe back in 2010. You can imagine my surprise when my sister in law announced her baby (due in 5 weeks) is to be named Kobe. We live in different continents, so I don't think she realises it's my dog's name, and I dont have the heart to tell her!

March 1, 2019 12:27 PM

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March 10, 2019 4:46 PM

I wanted to say these names are quite rare when I saw the word "familiar" on the post title, but then I read through it and saw that they are actually rare names. I think I like Truman and Stone. I can't relate with them - Truman being the name of one time US president Harry Truman, and the WWE wrestler, Stone Cold Steve Austin classhall

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March 13, 2019 6:47 PM

Casper is a lovely name. Though it could make me imagine my dog's ghost coming out of his pet memorial.

March 14, 2019 9:19 AM

These names are pretty much rare to be honest. I have only heard about a name once or twice in my 28 years of living.

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March 16, 2019 1:17 AM

Hi. I'm steven criss. It's a rare name itself. In this list, I like the names Harris, Jules, and Casper. These are not outdated names but actually sounds great for me. The stylish sound and theme of the name is important.<a href="">Telegram Themes</a>


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March 27, 2019 3:00 AM

The name "Benedict" reminds me of the series Sherlock Holmes. His projection ability about any situation is always more effective than any high quality projectors. Just kidding. Very nice and rare name actually.

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April 16, 2019 7:59 AM

Gray and Judd are my faves, I think. They are short, simple and attractive-sounding. At least IMHO! :) - <a href="">Pusenje kurca</a>

April 16, 2019 8:02 AM

Forgot to mention "Kip", it's pretty rare but beautiful! - pusenje kurca 

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May 8, 2019 6:28 PM

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I've just named my new born child Stone as me and seeing this in your list gives me chills. Finally I've got some free time for myself and I'm hyped to go back to my make-up products and do something cool with my child face haha

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August 26, 2019 2:12 AM

My Expected date of delivery is in October and i really liked the names you suggested in this blog. I want to name my baby similar to the name of his father, But thanks alot for suggestions.