30 Classic Baby Names with a Twist

30 Creative Spins on Classic Baby Names to Freshen Up Time-Tested Favorites

What’s old is new again! Some of the most popular names for babies are actually very old and traditional. We’ll call them, “classics.” These classics need a bit of dusting off, however, and it’s a great idea to spice up a boring baby name with a twist. By getting creative, you can find a name that seems both classic and fresh at the same time. For instance, the name Henry is a perfectly good, handsome name, but it’s a bit overdone at this point. Why not try a rock-infused name like Hendrix instead? Names are just like other words and carry certain connotations. The name Hendrix predates the Middle Ages, but because it belonged to guitarist Jimi Hendrix, it makes it much cooler than Henry. Here are some baby name ideas for parents who want an established sounding name without compromising on inventiveness.

30. Cruz

30 Creative Spins on Classic Baby Names
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Instead of Craig or Chris, try the name, Cruz for your baby boy. The name is Spanish in origin and means the “cross of Christ.” You might be thinking the name seems far-fetched but Cruz was one of the top 100 names for boys in 2017.

29. Gemma

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Gemma is an extremely popular name in the UK with two of its biggest stars Gemma Chan and Gemma Arterton both sharing the name. Gemma is a more laidback version of Jeanette and has a certain playfulness to it. Gemma means “precious stone” and originated in Italy.

28. Landyn

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According to the latest data, Liam is the most popular name for boys in the country. And, rightfully so, it’s a handsome name. But, you don’t want your son being one of several little Liams in his class. Landyn is an excellent option that is a completely American invention. The name Landyn comes from Olde English names London or Landon. The name means “ridge.”

27. Emmeline

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Emmeline is the OG name that predates Emma or Emily. Emmeline was once the “old lady” name but now it’s hip again. This English name means “work.” Considering that Emma is one of the most popular names (the most popular name for girls in 2018), you might want to consider something a little different so your baby girl can stand out.

26. Nile

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Noah is another very popular name for little boys and consistently ranked in the top 10 over the last decade. Noah is an established and beautiful name, but if you’re looking for an alternative that’s also very old, Nile is a superb option. Nile comes from Irish Gaelic and means “champion.” You’ll be calling him “champ” every time you say his name! If Nile seems too exotic for you, then try the English version, Niles.

25. Liliana

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Lillian and Lilly are fairly common names for girls, but a name like Liliana has got that fourth syllable which can really make it a blast to say. Since the 1880s there have been 50,000 girls given the name Liliana. It’s of Latin origin and means “purity.”

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24. Olivier

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Oliver is such a sweet name for a little boy, but if you’re looking for a twist, the French version of the name, Olivier sounds almost romantic. Legendary actor, Laurence Olivier famously had the surname. Olivier and Oliver both mean “olive tree.”

23. Ariel

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In Hebrew, the name Ariel is usually given to boys. Female versions are typically spelled Arielle or Ariella. But, we like the name Ariel for a girl. Avery and Aria are two similar names that are a touch too popular and both of them land in the top 20. The name Ariel means “lion of God.”

22. Lex

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Alex and Alexander are very popular names and have been for hundreds of years. Give the old Alex a break and shorten that baby name to Lex. Lex might sound a bit butch (it 100% does), but we think you’ll learn to love calling your sweet boy something so tough sounding. If Lex sounds too over-the-top, Xander would be another great name that’s not too far off from Alexander.

Baby Name Generator

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21. Sierra

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There are too many Sarahs in the world and it’s time that you did something about that. Instead of Sara, consider the Spanish name Sierra. The name means “saw” or “mountain range.”

20. Willem

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We’re definitely not telling you to name your child for Willem Dafoe. We just like the name Willem instead of William or Liam. Willem is Dutch in origin and means “strong-willed warrior.” The Social Security Administration that keeps track of baby names totaled the number of babies named Willem at 2,500 since 1880. It sounds familiar, but it’s not all too common. Which is definitely a plus!

19. Amélie

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Amelia and Emily are names that consistently make the top 10 ten list. They’re beautiful names. But, you could go all the French with and name your daughter Amélie. The name means “industrious” and is fairly popular in France. If you’ve ever seen the film, Amélie you’re probably already in love with this name.

18. Ronan

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The name Ronan is infinitely better than Ronald and also not your great-uncle’s name. Ronan is an Irish name and it means “little seal.” Another popular name is Roman and that’s a bit overdone too. Ronan would be a great option and since 1880, almost 10,000 baby boys have been given the name.

17. Zadie

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We see your Sadie and Katie and raise you a Zadie. The name Zadie is an English name with Greek roots that means princess. It has not been as popular in the U.S. as its very familiar friend, Sadie. Acclaimed English novelist Zadie Smith bears this stunning name.

16. Diego

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If you like the way the name Daniel sounds or you like the meaning of the name James, consider Diego. The name is of Spanish origin and like James means “one who follows.” There are a couple of notable Mexican Diegos like muralist and artist Diego Rivera or actor Diego Luna.

15. Talia

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Talia was an unpopular baby name for 400 years until 1976 rolled around and saw the release of the film Rocky. Sylvester Stallone’s costar Talia Shire, who played Adrienne, helped popularize the name. For lovers of the names Natalie or Natalia, Talia is a great alternative. The name has Hebrew origins and means “by the water.”

14. Luca

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If you want a spicier version of Luke or Lucas, try Luca. The name Luca is popular across Europe but especially in Italy where the name means “bringer of light.” In Romania, the name Luca is also popular and it has ancient tribal significance where the name means “wolf” or “wolves.”

13. Brielle

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Short for Gabrielle, Brielle has become a pretty popular name over the last couple of years. It’s hard to believe that the unusual name is already in the top 100 names given to girls. Let’s keep this momentum going! Brielle means “God is my strength” and has origins in French.

12. Mathias

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If you’re fond of the name Matthew but are tired of its ubiquity, Mathias or Matteo are fine options that offer a little variety. Mateo or Matteo are both popular and in the top 100 names given to boys in 2018. Mathias is a bit of a wildcard. It was pretty popular in the 1950s but then fell out of fashion until the 2000s. It’s not a common name by any stretch, but it still means “gift from God.”

11. Vera

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Vera was one of the hottest names at the beginning of the 20th Century but it fell out of fashion by the 1950s. Recently, the name’s got some steam again and has made its way back on popular baby name charts. The name has Latin and Russian origins and means “truth.” The name became popular again along with the rise of designer Vera Wang and actor Vera Farmiga.

10. Atlas

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If Anthony, Alex, and Asher are too mainstream for you, the Greek name Atlas is a great option. For lovers of travel and adventure, this name would be a really fun name for a little boy. The name means “to carry.” Just like you’re going to do with that baby! Aw.

9. Jade

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The name Jade hasn’t been as popular in the United States as it has remained for decades in the UK. Jade had one of it’s best showings in popularity in 2007 when it was the 113th most popular name for baby girls. Jade is also the name of a precious green stone that the name derives from. Mover over Jane and Jenna, it’s time to make room for Jade.

8. Mack

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Mark, Matt, and Jack are names that are all very popular. The name Mack is from Scottish origin and means “son of.” Since the 1880’s there have been about 40,000 boys named Mack in the U.S. Many people associate the name with “Mack the Knife,” but we can change that, one Mack at a time!

7. Phoebe

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While many will associate the name with Lisa Kudrow’s character on Friends, Phoebe or the hugely talented creator of Fleabag Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the name isn’t all that popular these days. It is a very old name. It was used by the ancient Greeks to describe Apollo, the god of the sun. The name means “bright.” While Sophie and Chloe are excellent names, Pheobe would be a more exciting option.

6. River

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Names from nature are so popular among parents, and River is one that’s trending. It’s not yet in the top 200 hundred baby boy names, but it’s well on its way. The name is British, as you might have guessed. River would be a great alternative to Robert. Actor River Pheonix helped popularize the name in the 1990s. Also, actor Keri Russell named her son River in 2007.

5. Yara

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The name Yara is on the rise in the United States. While the name is wildly popular in Brazil (spelled Iara) and in Arabic speaking countries across the world, the name Yara is only now gaining traction in the United States. In Arabic, Yara means “water lady” or “small butterfly.” In Brazilian mythology, Iara is a goddess with green hair. You can expect to see this name on the top 100 list in the coming years.

4. Cash

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Names like Cash, Ash, and Nash all have a bit of an edge to them, which we really like. Cash’s meaning is contested and some scholars think the name means “hollow” others think it means “vain” and more argue that it comes from the French word for money box, “caisse.” Whatever it means, Cash is a cool name that’s much more interesting than Carson.

3. Ensley

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You might have heard of the Irish/Scottish name Ainsley before. It’s a fairly popular girls’ name, but we think the alternative Ensley is a better choice. The name means “solitary meadow” and it’s one of the fastest rising girls’ names in the United States. 1 out of every 4,000 girls was given the name in 2018.

2. Milo

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If Cash or River are too “out there” for your tastes, consider Milo. Milo is a fairly popular name but less common than Miles or Milton. The name Milo is English in origin and means “soldier.” Liv Tyler named her son Milo in 2004. Milo strong without being too serious we like how casual the name sounds.

1. Mae

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Madeline, Maya, and Mia are all girl’s names that start with “M” in the top 100, but we are pretty sure you can choose a more inspired name. Mae is in an English name, and it’s pronounced just like the month of May. Mae is derived from Maia the Roman goddess of maternity and growth. Mae was popularized as a shortened spelling and nickname for Mary. When actor Mae West took the name for herself, she put Mae on the map.

From Atlas to Zadie these are our favorite baby names that put a spin on the classics to give you some variety because it’s the spice of life. Although these names might seem exotic or uncommon they all at one time were very popular names. We also imagine some of the names on this list are poised for a comeback and you’ll be hearing the names Yara and River more in the coming years. Be bold parents and give your kid a name they can be proud of!

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