In Name Only

16 Unpopular Baby Names That Deserve a Second Chance

Are these names disappearing forever? Check out some of the baby names in danger of extinction.

10 Unpopular Baby Names That Deserve a Second Chance

Do you know a baby named Claudine, Barbra, Seymour, or Elmo? Probably not. Fewer than five kids in the U.S. were given the names Claudine and Elmo last year, so they didn't even make the Social Security list at all—and Barbra and Seymour each had just five kids sporting the name. While many of the names on the endangered list are bizarre spellings, very exotic foreign names, or baby names that are a little questionable (like Riot or Pistol), there are some old-school names that may deserve another chance.

Check out my favorites from the endangered list, that might deserve a second shot at stardom.

For Girls

There's a whole slew of fun French names that are near extinction here in the U.S., but might make lovely options for girls here. Clemence, Cerise, Claudine, Victoire, and Agathe all fit that category. Not into French? Among the other nearly extinct names, there's Romilly (a nice alternative to the popular Amelia/Emily), Nigella (as in the famous TV chef and cookbook author), Finola (a charming Irish alternative to the popular Fiona), and Nazarene.

Many of the names that are in danger of disappearing have a lot of pop-culture baggage to them. We're talking Madonna, Moesha, Sigourney, Cher, and Kesha—and I think they're too closely aligned to their legendary bearers to be viable for many brand new baby girls.

For Boys

Yeah, Elmo's a hard sell, with that furry red Muppet making it seem a little childish. But there are some gems that are disappearing. From the bottom of the boys' list, consider Algernon (as in the classic book, Flowers for Algernon), Riordan (a lovely Irish name that a nice, not-so-popular alternative to the overpopulation of Aidan), Raoul, Ewen, Anselm, Delaney, and Oberon.

But besides Elmo, there's another whole crop of tainted classics that may be on their way out. Waldo was doomed by the popularity of the Where's Waldo series, while Adolphus and Adolph are too similar to Adolf Hitler's moniker. Iago has the baggage of being a Shakespearean baddie, Dudley's a dud (and Harry Potter's bully of a cousin), and Cletus is synonymous with the idea of rednecks, thanks to the character on The Simpsons.