Popular names are popular for a reason.  People like them!  So please don’t take this the wrong way.

I hear from so many readers that when their child was born, they knew no one named Olivia;  that they chose Ethan because it was unusual, only to find that there are three Ethans in their son’s preschool class, or that their best friend’s older sister had an Olivia the same week.

There is nothing wrong with a popular name.  They are easily recognizable and will serve a child well in life.  My only qualm really is with the datability of some of these names– that they will forever tie your child to the year 2009.  But whatevs, it’s your baby.

If you are looking for something that will blend with your child’s peers but be still be the only one on the roster, consider these alternatives.  They go in different directions but keep at least one ingredient the same: sound alikes, genre, origin, meaning.  If the suggested alternate does nothing for you, perhaps another will.  Still coming up short?  Check out last year’s suggestions here and here.  I tried to change each name, and where possible incorporated some of our readers’ suggestions, so thank you.

Rank Male name Female name
1 Jacob –> Silas Isabella–> Valentina
2 Ethan –> Ilan Emma –> Alice
3 Michael –> Malachi Olivia–> Olympia
4 Alexander –> Arthur Sophia –> Sonia
5 William –> Frederick Ava –> Vera
6 Joshua –> Seth Emily –>  Eliza
7 Daniel –> Paul Madison –> Madigan
8 Jayden –> Dorian Abigail –> Naomi
9 Noah –> Noam Chloe –> Clio
10 Anthony –> Antony Mia –> Esme
11 Christopher –> Balthazar Elizabeth –> Margaret
12 Aiden –> Declan Addison –> Anderson
13 Matthew –> Matthias Alexis –> Carys
14 David –> Abraham Ella –> Elsa
15 Andrew –> Philip Samantha –> Susanna
16 Joseph –> Moses Natalie –> Amelie
17 Logan –> Loden Grace –> Anne
18 James –> George Lily –> Lucy
19 Ryan –> Rhys Alyssa –> Azalea
20 Benjamin –> Phineas Ashley –> Aster
21 Elijah –> Elihu Sarah –> Ruth
22 Gabriel –> Abel Taylor –> Harlow
23 Christian –>Theodore Hannah –> Dinah
24 Nathan –> Asher Brianna –> Renata
25 Jackson –> Jasper Hailey –> Hattie
26 John –> Johan Kaylee –> Zelie
27 Samuel –> Lemuel Lillian –> Helen
28 Tyler –> Walker Leah –> Kezia
29 Dylan –> Dermot Anna –> Clara
30 Jonathan –> Thaddeus Allison –> Meredith
31 Caleb –> Calvin Victoria –> Louisa
32 Nicholas –> Louis Avery –> Clover
33 Gavin –> Graham Gabriella –> Antonia
34 Mason –> Hudson Nevaeh –> Nova
35 Evan –> Egan Kayla –> Katya
36 Landon –> Lachlan Sofia –> Cecilia
37 Angel –> Rafael Brooklyn –> Quinlan
38 Brandon –> Brennan Riley –> Marnie
39 Lucas –> Luca Evelyn –> Genevieve
40 Isaac –> Ike Savannah –> Tallulah
41 Isaiah –> Isidro Aubrey –> Phoebe
42 Jack –> Max Alexa –> Acacia
43 Jose –> Pablo Peyton –> Afton
44 Kevin –> Ciaran Makayla –> Michaela
45 Jordan –> Dante Layla –> Linnea
46 Justin –> Julius Lauren –> Rhiannon
47 Brayden –> Sullivan Zoe –> Liv
48 Luke –> Peter Sydney –> Daphne
49 Liam –> Finn Audrey –> Adele
50 Carter –> Carver Julia –> Petra
51 Owen –> Ewan Jasmine –> Jessamine
52 Connor –> Conrad Arianna –> Aurelia
53 Zachary –> Barnaby Claire –> Jane
54 Aaron –> Amos Brooke –> Brynn
55 Robert –> Roberto Amelia –> Ophelia
56 Hunter –> Archer Morgan –> Morwen
57 Thomas –> Timothy Destiny –> Nysa
58 Adrian –> Lucian Bella –> Della
59 Cameron –> Cormac Madelyn –> Jacqueline
60 Wyatt –> Wyeth Katherine –> Katarina
61 Chase –> Gus Kylie –> Wiley
62 Julian –> Jolyon Maya –> Gaia
63 Austin –> Augustin Aaliyah –> Amina
64 Charles –> Lawrence Madeline –> Adelaide
65 Jeremiah –> Obadiah Sophie –> Sylvie
66 Jason –> Atticus Kimberly –> Cecily
67 Juan –> Joaquin Kaitlyn –>  Tamsin
68 Xavier –> Omar Charlotte –> Eloise
69 Luis –> Lorenzo Alexandra –> Theodora
70 Sebastian –> Ambrose Jocelyn –> Rosalind
71 Henry –> Edward Maria –> Miriam
72 Aidan –> Damon Valeria –> Veronica
73 Ian –> Malcolm Andrea –> Simone
74 Adam –> Abram Trinity –>Unity
75 Diego –> Giacomo Zoey –> Ione
76 Nathaniel –> Tobias Gianna –> Giovanna
77 Brody –> Grady Mackenzie –> Murphy
78 Jesus –> Salvador Jessica –> Cordelia
79 Carlos –> Marcos Camila –> Dahlia
80 Tristan –> Desmond Faith –> Faye
81 Dominic –> Nicolo Autumn –> Saffron
82 Cole –> Clive Ariana –> Aurora
83 Alex –> Felix Genesis –> Eden
84 Cooper –> Sawyer Payton –> Fallon
85 Ayden –> Eamon Bailey –> Bryony
86 Carson –> Lawson Angelina –> Evangeline
87 Josiah –> Jedidiah Caroline –> Eleanor
88 Levi –> Boaz Mariah –> Mirella
_89 Blake –> Pierce Katelyn –> Ceridwen
90 Eli –> Ezra Rachel –> Rebecca
91 Hayden –> Hewitt Vanessa –> Larissa
-92 Bryan –> Harlan Molly –> Mamie
93 Colton –> Callum Melanie –> Emmeline
94 Brian –> Ronan Serenity –> Felicity
95 Eric –> Rex Khloe –> Poppy
96 Parker –> Porter Gabrielle –> Marielle
97 Sean –> Seamus Paige –> Sloan
98 Oliver –> Walter Mya –> Mika
99 Miguel –> Emanuel Eva –> Ada
100 Kyle –> Clyde Isabelle –> Delphine

Image from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland


11 Responses to “Alternates for the Top 100 Names of 2009”

  1. Leeds Says:

    I did this recently myself:

    Jacob ~ Oscar
    Ethan ~ Theo
    Michael ~ Benedict
    Alexander ~ Lucien
    William ~ Hugo
    Joshua ~ Satchel
    Daniel ~ Elias
    Jayden ~ Malory
    Noah ~ Grant
    Anthony ~ Colm

    Isabella ~ Helena
    Emma ~ Fiona
    Olivia ~ Cecelia
    Sophia ~ Natasha
    Ava ~ Josephine
    Emily ~ Gretchen
    Madison ~ Thora
    Abigail ~ Miriam
    Chloe ~ Socorro
    Mia ~ Ruth

  2. youcantcallitit Says:

    Great minds, Leeds. ;-)

    I really like Theo for Ethan, Helena for Isabella, Cecilia for Olivia, and Miriam for Abigail.

  3. Awkward Turtle Says:

    I’ve really liked Wiley for a girl or boy since I heard about jazz singer Lee Wiley (who was a woman).

  4. Jennifer Says:

    Well done. Great post.

  5. British American Says:

    Oooh, I love lists like these. Great job! Can I start renaming the kids I meet with these new versions?! ;)

    William –> Frederick
    William was on my boy list when we had our son and I was just reading about the name Frederick, thinking it’s a pretty good one.

    Oliver –> Walter is perfect too. Both of those were on our boy list, with Walter being the more ‘out there’ choice.

    Lily –> Lucy
    We almost did that one too. :)

    Samantha –> Susanna is a very pretty substitute. And I like Aiden –> Declan.

  6. Christina Fonseca Says:

    Awesome ideas! I love this list and have bookmarked it. I’ll definitely be referring expectant parents to this post.

  7. Patricia Says:

    I’m glad you did this again — brilliant! I’ve looked over your alternates for the 2008 top 100 several times.

    Pleased to see that Jane made your list again –
    Claire –> Jane, although I think Jane was an even closer alternate name last year — Grace –> Jane.

    Some other favorites:
    Emily –> Eliza
    Samantha –> Susanna
    Natalie –> Amelie
    Lily –> Lucy
    Victoria –> Louisa
    Sophie –> Sylvie
    William –> Frederick
    Henry –> Edward
    Sean –> Seamus

    Many of your alternate names could be a good name for a younger sibling of the same gender.

  8. Jennifer Says:

    Wow, you put a lot of work into this, Elisabeth! I’ll definitely refer people to this from time to time.

  9. Claire Mello Says:

    The Lily -> Lucy idea caught my attention. Lucy was one of our options on the list before our Lily was born. Lily actually wasn’t even on the list. I decided on that the day before she was born. Love Lucy though! I couldn’t convince my husband to get on board with it.

  10. Claire Mello Says:

    and Nova is definitely a better choice than Nevaeh – blech!

  11. Meg Says:

    I really enjoyed your alternative list this year!! You really had some fantastic alternative suggestions.

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