Is your name dying out? The most unpopular baby names revealed

*spoiler alert* It's bad news for Gary...

Baby lying down looking at camera
(Image credit: Getty / Future)

Unpopular baby names at risk of dying out include Dale, Gary, Nigel, Alexa, Dierdre and Cheryl to name but a few. 

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) recently revealed its annual list of the most popular and unpopular baby names registered in the  UK.

While some have remained big favourites - Olivia and Oliver, we're looking at you - others have dropped to the bottom of the pile. According to these official stats, there were no registered births of boys called Nigel in 2020, nudging it closer to unpopular status.

Alexa is losing status with just 17 babies given this name in 2020. Maybe it's down to the Amazon device, putting people off?

In addition, only five girls were given the name Edina in 2020. Along with morning TV favourite Lorraine. This name was big in the 50s and 60s like Katherine and Janet are now unheard of as baby name choices. And poor Deirdre, this name last ranked in 1999. While no baby was named Belinda in the UK during 2020, which is a shame as this name means pretty one.

And, for boys names, the same is happening. Gary was once a popular choice in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but there were only ten Garys born last year. And, Tarquin has really fallen out of favour, with no boys in the UK given this name for the last ten years. Due to the same fate, Dale is really dropping down the charts, as only eleven boys were given the name in 2020.

Below are the top ten most unpopular baby names for boys and girls of 2020, ready for all the new babies in 2021 and beyond...

Top ten most unpopular boys names

  1. Hadrian
  2. Stewart
  3. Hank
  4. Melvin
  5. Bill
  6. Graham
  7. Stuart
  8. Dale
  9. Gary
  10. Tarquin

Top ten most unpopular girls names

  1. Chelsey
  2. Janet
  3. Katharine
  4. Kristen
  5. Catriona
  6. Donna
  7. Jordan
  8. Lorraine
  9. Rhian
  10. Suzanne

Don't worry though, if you've been given one of the unpopular baby names just remember that you are so much more than your name. As Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist Lynette Evans explains; “Our identity is also not set in stone - the person you are now is not the person you were five or even ten years ago. A name given to you at birth does not define you for your entire life. You may not have chosen your name, but it's your identity that describes who you are, and your identity can only come from you.”

With that in mind, here are the most unpopular baby names around right now...

Unpopular baby names for girls

Abbey Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Abb-ee
Meaning: While Abigail is rising in popularity, this shortened version has lost its appeal for modern-day parents, making it one of the top unpopular baby names. Just like its longer version, Abbey means my father is joyful.

Aileen Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ay-leen
Meaning: An Irish version of Helen, Aileen means bright, shining light. Nicknames for Aileen include Isla, Ayla, Lee and Lena.

Alexa Origin: Greek, English | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: A-lex-ah Meaning: Just 17 Alexas were born in the UK in 2020 – perhaps Amazon’s Alexa device is putting parents off the name? It means defending men.

Baby girl next to a heading that says Unpopular Baby Names For Girls

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Alison Origin: Scottish, French | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ali-sun
Meaning: A popular name back in the ‘70s, Alison has fallen out of popularity, with the shortened version Alice back in favour. It means noble.

Angela Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: An-juh-luh
Meaning: Ditched in favour of the more popular Angelina or Anjelica, Angela literally means angel.

Anita Origin: Spanish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic  | Pronunciation: A-nee-tah
Meaning: A Spanish diminutive of Ava, Anita means grace or unguided.

Anne Origin: French, Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ann
Meaning: While Anna hits the top 100 of names in the UK, unfortunately Anne isn’t doing so well. This classic name means grace and has regal connections - Anne was the name of six queens of England.

Annette Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: A-net
Meaning: This pretty name has been dwindling in popularity over the years. A pet name for Anne, it means grace.

Amanda Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: A-man-da
Meaning: A stalwart in any ‘70s or ‘80s school classroom, Amanda is now definitely a vintage name! It has a pretty meaning – she must be loved – which hopefully means it will be back up those charts again soon.

Belinda Origin: Spanish, German | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ba-lin-dah
Meaning: Literally no baby was named Belinda in the UK during 2020, which is a shame as this name means pretty one. It also comes with a solid history - in Babylonian mythology Belinda was the goddess of heaven and earth. It's still firmly on the unpopular baby names list though, sadly.

Bernadette Origin: German, French | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Ber-na-det
Meaning: This unpopular baby name means strong, brave bear.

Beverley Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Bev-ur-lee
Meaning: Singer Beverley Knight may have a name that’s not so fashionable now, but it was hugely popular at the beginning of the 20th century. It means beaver stream.

Britney Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Brit-nee
Meaning: Britney Spears gave this name a surge of popularity in the early Noughties, however, its star is now starting to fade. Despite being an American-sounding name, it actually means from Great Britain!

Brenda Origin: Celtic | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Bren-dah
Meaning: Blade of a sword. Brenda was popular until the start of the 21st century.

Caitlin Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Kate-lin
Meaning: This pretty Irish name, which means pure, has seen a steep decline in recent years.

Carly Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Car-lee
Meaning: The feminine version of Carl, Carly means free man. Carla is a more popular choice in the UK right now.

Carol Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Kar-roll
Meaning: A feminine version of Charles, which means free man. A popular name in the ‘60s and ‘70s, no baby girl was given this name in 2020, cementing its place firmly on the unpopular baby names list!

Carrie Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Kar-ee
Meaning: Despite being a more modern version of the classic Carol, Carrie has lost popularity over the years, leaving it in the unpopular baby names list. Just like Carol it means free man.

Catriona Origin: Scottish, Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Ka-TREE-na
Meaning: The Scottish form of Katherine, it means pure.

Chelsy Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Chel-see
Meaning: This London and New York place name has taken a major dive in popularity since Chelsea Clinton made it popular.

Cheryl Cole on stage

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Cheryl Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Cher-ul
Meaning: Poor Cheryl – now part of the unpopular baby names club with only three babies were given the name in 2020. Popular up until the ‘80s when it took a dive in more recent times. It’s a French derivation of the word Cherie, meaning darling.

Cindy Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Sin-dee
Meaning: A diminutive of Cynthia, Cindy means from Mount Kynthos. Just ten babies were given the name in 2020.

Clare Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Klehr
Meaning: While Clare is not so popular anymore, the alternative spelling – Claire – has also gone down the name charts. It means bright or famous.

Courtney Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Kort-nee
Meaning: Enjoyed a popular spell in the ‘90s thanks to Courtney Cox and Courtney Love, this French name means from the court or short nose!

Dawn Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Daw-n
Meaning: A word name which means daybreak or the first appearance of light. Sadly only six Dawns made an appearance in the UK in 2020!

Davina Origin: Scottish, Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Daa-vee-nuh
Meaning: A feminine form of David, it means beloved.

Danielle Origin: French, Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Daa-vee-nuh
Meaning: The French feminine form of Daniel, it means God is my judge.

Debbie Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Deb-bee
Meaning: This unpopular baby name means bee. It was hugely popular in the 1950s but now the longer version of the name – Deborah – is slightly more popular.

Deirdre Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Deer-dree
Meaning: We dare you to think of this name and not recall Deidre Barlow in her big glasses on the cobbles at Coronation Street! Sadly, this baby name – which means sorrowful – has not been chosen for any babies in the UK since 1999!

Denise Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Den-eese
Meaning: A feminine version of Denis, Denise means god of Nysa.

Diane Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Die-ann
Meaning: While Diana still remains popular – thanks to Princess Diana – this version has waned in popularity. Both names have Latin origins and mean divine.

Donna Origin: Italian | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Donn-uh
Meaning: Donna means lady of the home and was a title of respect in Italy.

Doreen Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Daw-reen
Meaning: No baby Doreens were born in 2020, but as the name means brooding or sullen, perhaps it’s not surprising!

Edna Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Ed-nuh
Meaning: One of those vintage names, which may be on the cusp of a revival, means delight.

Edina Origin: English, Hungarian | Gender: Girl | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Ed-eena
Meaning: Possibly a derivative of Edwina, Edina means wealthy friend. Made famous by Jennifer Saunder’s character in Absolutely Fabulous, only five girls were given the name Edina in 2020.

Elisha Origin: German | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: E-li-sha
Meaning: Derived from the Old German name Alicia, it means noble, exalted or God is my salvation.

Ethel Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Eth-ell
Meaning: For any original EastEnders fans, Ethel will also be a reminder of Dot’s friend Ethel, and her sweet little Willy - her dog! Perhaps this is why Ethel – which means noble maiden – has dropped out of popularity.

Fay Origin: French, English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Fay
Meaning: This short and sweet name means fairy and was super popular until the ‘80s.

Fiona Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Fee-oh-na
Meaning: Thought to have been coined by a Scottish poet in the 19th century, Fiona comes from the Irish word fionn, which means fair or pale.

Gemma Origin: Italian, Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Jem-uh
Meaning: Saint Gemma was an Italian saint; Gemma was originally an Italian nickname for a precious gem. Can also be spelt Jemma.

Gertrude Origin: German | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Gur-trood
Meaning: A super popular name in the early 1900s, Gertrude means strong spear. It was the name of a Norse goddess and a saint – Gertrude the Great, who was unofficially the patron saint of cats!

Gwendoline Origin: Welsh | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Gwen-do-lin
Meaning: While Gwen still has some popularity, the longer version Gwendoline – which means fair bow or white ring – is fading fast in the name charts.

Gwyneth Origin: Welsh | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Gwin-eh-TH
Meaning: Actress and health guru Gwyneth Paltrow gave this classic name a boost. Meaning happiness, it’s anything but a happy ending as its popularity is starting to wane.

Heaven Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Hev-uhn
Meaning: Heaven is a divine word name which has seen ups and downs in popularity. An alternative is Nevaeh – Heaven spelt backwards!

Laughing little baby alongside the unpopular baby name Hilary

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Hilary Origin: Latin | Gender: Unisex | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Hil-la-ree
Meaning: This unpopular baby name comes from the same word root as hilarious and means cheerful or happy.

Jacqueline Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Jak-uh-lin
Meaning: For many, Jacqueline recalls the glamour of the Kennedy era of politics and the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The female version of Jacques, it means supplanter.

Jade Origin: Spanish | Gender: Girl | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Jey-d
Meaning: This gemstone name means stone of the side. A protective stone, Jade is said to keep the wearer from harm, brings harmony and attracts friendship.

Jane Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Jay-n
Meaning: An old-fashioned name, Jane has been around since Tudor times and means God is gracious. Can also be spelt Jayne as in movie star Jayne Mansfield.

Janet Origin: Scottish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Jah-nit
Meaning: A derivative of Jane, Janet was popular in the mid 20th century and means God is gracious.

Jennifer Origin: Welsh | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Jay-n
Meaning: With so many Hollywood stars sporting this name – from Jennifer Lopez to Jennifer Lawrence – you’d think this name would be more popular, but it’s seen a steep decline in recent years. It’s derived from Guinevere, which means white wave.

Jodie Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Jor-dan
Meaning: A name that was in the top 50 UK names in the late ‘90s, only 14 baby girls were named Jodie in 2020. It means from Judea or Jewish.

Jordan Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Jor-dan
Meaning: The River Jordan is the name of a holy river in the Bible so it’s probably no surprise the name Jordan means down flowing.

Judy Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Joo-dee
Meaning: First used as a nickname for Judith – which means praised - Judy saw a rise in popularity in the ‘80s. The most famous Judy is undoubtedly Judy Garland.

Julie Origin: French, Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Joo-lie
Meaning: Julie derives from Julius, a Roman family name and means youthful.

Justine Origin: French, Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Jus-teen
Meaning: The female variation of Justine, sadly no children were bestowed with the name Justine this year. It means fair.

Karen Origin: Danish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ka-ren
Meaning: As unpopular baby names go, Karen has had a bad rap in recent years, which is a shame as this Danish variation of Katherine means pure.

Katharine Origin: Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ka-ren
Meaning: Even though this name has royal and saintly connections, it has lost popularity in recent years. It comes from the Greek word katharos, which means pure.

Kelly Origin: Irish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Kell-ee
Meaning: Originally a boy’s name, it’s since been a chosen name for girls as well. Of Irish origin, it means war.

Little baby girl asleep in the crib

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Kerry Origin: Irish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Kare-ee
Meaning: The meaning of Kerry is black-haired so is perfect for any dark-haired babies – both boys and girls.

Kimberley Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Kimber-lee
Meaning: Originally a surname, the name means Cyneburga's meadow. It was used as a first name in the ‘40s, it’s taken a decline in more recent years.

Kirsty Origin: Scottish | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Kurs-tee
Meaning: A short form of Christine, Kirsty means follower of Christ.

Kristen Origin: Danish, Norwegian | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Kris-tun
Meaning: Though a popular name in the acting world as Kristen Stewart, Wig and Bell attest too, it’s not that popular in the UK. It literally means a Christian.

Kylie Origin: Aboriginal | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Ky-lee
Meaning: Back in the late ‘80s, there were a plethora of baby girls called Kylie, after the Antipodean pop princess. Since it means boomerang, we’re hoping it will come back…

Lauren Origin: English, Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Lor-en
Meaning: Popularised by Lauren Bacall in the ‘40s, Lauren was actually a Roman surname, which means bay laurel.

Lindsay Origin: English | Gender: Unisex | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Lind-zee
Meaning: Originally an English surname, this unisex name means marshlands of Lincolnshire. However, it’s been banished to the marshlands of names as not one girl was given this name in the UK during 2020.

Lorraine Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Luh-reyn
Meaning: Lorraine means from the province of Lorraine – an area in the north east France. Big in the 50s and 60s, it’s a name that’s definitely dying out.

Marilyn Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Mar-i-lin
Meaning: Without a doubt made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the ‘50s, it now seen as somewhat of an old-fashioned name. The name was a combination of Mary and Lynn and means drop of the sea, bitter, beloved and lake!

Marjorie Origin: English, Scottish | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Mar-jor-ee
Meaning: An old royal name in England and Scotland, it means pearl.

Miranda Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Mi-ran-duh
Meaning: Miranda was invented by Shakespeare for his play The Tempest. It means marvellous but its popularity is anything but! Despite Miranda in Sex And The City giving it a revival in the late ‘90s, its dropped out of favour in more recent years.

Monica Origin: Latin, Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Mon-i-ka
Meaning: A popular name with Catholics because of Saint Monica, the name enjoyed a brief revival in popularity thanks to Monica Gellar in Friends. It simply means adviser.

Nathalia Origin: Portuguese | Gender: Girl | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Na-ta-lee-ah
Meaning: This Portuguese spelling is not that popular, however, as it means birthday of the Lord, we imagine it is popular with parents of those girls born on Christmas Day!

Pamela Origin: Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Pam-uh-luh
Meaning: While Pamela Anderson is probably the most famous star with this name, Pamela actually goes back to the 16th century. It means honey or all sweetness, but despite this cute connection, only nine babies were given the name in 2020.

Phyllis Origin: Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Fil-is
Meaning: Phyllis was the name of a woman who was turned into an almond tree in Greek mythology and the literally means green bough.

Two cartoon horses alongside the unpopular baby name Rosamund


Rosamund Origin: German | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Roz-uh-muhnd
Meaning: A variant of an old German name Rosamond, this name means horse protector.

Rowena Origin: Welsh | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Row-ee-nah
Meaning: Rowena was the heroine of Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe. Popular up until the 1960s, the name means white spear or famous friend.

Sandra Origin: Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: San-dra
Meaning: A female derivation of Alexandra, which means man’s defender, Sandra was hugely popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Fast forward to 2020 and only a handful of girls were given the name.

Shannon Origin: Irish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Sha-nuhn
Meaning: This Gaelic name means old and wise. Chances are if you grew up in the ‘90s, you’ll remember this name from Beverley Hills 90210 star Shannon Doherty. Sadly, it’s lost its LA appeal over the years.

Sharon Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Sha-ron
Meaning: Sharon was a popular partner for Tracy back in the ‘80s but rarely any parents are choosing this name nowadays. It is of Hebrew origin and means fertile plain.

Shauna Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Shaw-nah
Meaning: Zero girls were given the name Shauna, which means God is gracious, in 2020.

Sheila Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Shee-luh
Meaning: This Irish version of Cecila means blind one.

Shelly Origin: English | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Shee-luh Meaning: Originally a surname, Shelley was given to people who lived in a clearing near a hillside or a meadow’s edge.

Shirley Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Shir-lee
Meaning: Bright meadow. Made famous by Shirley Temple in the ‘30s, only eight girls were given this classic name in 2020.

Sinead Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Shin-aid
Meaning: An Irish name known via singer Sinead O’Connor, it means God’s gracious gift.

Sonia Origin: Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Son-ya
Meaning: While it’s not strictly on the extinction list, Sonia has seen a drop in popularity. This Greek-derived name means wisdom.

Tammy Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Tam-mee
Meaning: A version of Tamara, Tammy, which means date palm tree, was huge in the ‘70s and ‘80s. If you’re of a certain age, there’s no doubt you’ll have fond memories of Tammy Girl

Tamzin Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Tam-zin
Meaning: Not a single girl was named Tamzin in 2020 – even the variety spelt Tamsin is fast becoming an unpopular baby name. It means twin.

Tanya Origin: Russia | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Tan-ya
Meaning: The Russian diminutive of Tatiana, which was originally a Latin family name.

Teresa Origin: Greek, Spanish, Italian | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Tuh-ree-suh
Meaning: Teresa means to harvest or late summer and is probably originally taken from the Greek island of Therasia.

Cute baby girl with the meaning of the name Tiffany beside her

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Tiffany Origin: Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Tiff-annie
Meaning: While there are still around 60 babies a year named Tiffany, it’s fallen from its dizzy heights of the ‘90s when it was most likely popular due to the luxury jewellery brand of the same name. It stands for God’s appearance.

Tina Origin: English, Greek | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Tee-nuh
Meaning: A shorter version of Christina, Tina means steadfastness. One of the most famous women bearing this name – Tina Turner – was actually christened Anna Mae!

Tracy Origin: Irish | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Tray-cee
Meaning: One of the big ‘80s names, alongside Sharon, Tracy or Tracey was originally an Irish surname. It means warlike.

Toni Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Toe-nee
Meaning: A unisex name (usually spelt Tony for boys), it’s a diminutive of Antonia, which means priceless one. Priceless it might be, but it's still firmly on the unpopular baby names list.

Tricia Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Trih-shuh
Meaning: A shortened version of Patricia, Tricia was a popular name around the 1950s and means noble.

Vanessa Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Ver-jin-yuh
Meaning: Invented by writer Jonathan Swift for his poem Cadenus and Vanessa in 1713, Vanessa was a popular name in the ‘80s. It’s also a type of butterfly.

Virginia Origin: Latin | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Ver-jin-yuh
Meaning: Virginia means pure and was hugely popular in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Ginny is a nickname derived from Virginia.

Wendy Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Wen-dee
Meaning: Wendy was supposedly invented by Sir James Barrie as one of his characters in Peter Pan. It means friend.

Wilma Origin: German, Scottish | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Meaning: A shortened version of Wilhelmina, Wilma means resolute protection. It jumped into popular culture with The Flintstones – Fred Flintstone’s wife was named Wilma.

Whitney Origin: English | Gender: Girl | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Whit-nee
Meaning: Originally an English surname, Whitney means white island. The name enjoyed a huge surge in popularity in the ‘80s thanks to singer Whitney Houston.

Yvonne Origin: French | Gender: Girl | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ih-von
Meaning: Peaking in popularity in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Yvonne is a French name that means yew wood.

Cute baby boy in a towel

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Unpopular baby names for boys

Ainsley Origin: English | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Aynz-lee
Meaning: A surname since 11th century, Ainsley means one wood or meadow.

Aladdin Origin: Arabic | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Uh-la-dn
Meaning: The hero of the self-titled folk story, Aladdin means nobility of faith. Despite three babies being born with this exotic name in 2017, none have been born since!

Alf Origin: English |  | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Ahlf
Meaning: It may be an unpopular baby name, but Alf has the cutest of meanings - it derives from old English meaning elf or magical counsel!

Barry Origin: Irish | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Bari
Meaning: Barry is thought to be an anglicised version of the Gaelic name Báire, which translates into fair-headed or fair-haired.

Ben Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ben
Meaning: While this shortened version of Benjamin isn’t going extinct, it has dropped a whopping 300 places in the most popular UK boys’ names. Of Hebrew origin, it means son.

Bert Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Burt
Meaning: While this short boys’ name means illustrious, respect for Bert has dropped with only seven boys being given the name. Interestingly, Bertie – for both boys and girls – is on the rise.

Bill Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Bill
Meaning: A shortened version of William, Bill means resolute protection. Most parents prefer the full name for their little ones, probably because of the regal connections!

Blair Origin: Scottish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Blehr
Meaning: Once cool, Blair is no longer flavour of the month. Originally a Scottish surname, it means someone who lives on the plain.

Picture of Brad Pitt beside an explanation of his name

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(Image credit: Getty)

Brad Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Br-add
Meaning: Once a much-loved boys’ name – possibly down to the rise in fame of Brad Pitt – very few parents are choosing this American-sounding name. It means broad clearing in the wood.

Brandon Origin: English |  | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Bran-don
Meaning: A name which peaked in the ‘90s – possibly thanks to Brandon Walsh in Beverly Hills 90210 – Brandon means broom-covered hill.

Brett Origin: Celtic | Gender: Unisex | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Bret
Meaning: Brett goes way back to the Middle Ages – it was a mane for the Bretons who arrived in Britain during the Norman Conquest and quite simply means from Brittany.

Carl Origin: German | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic Pronunciation: K-arl
Meaning: A German derivative of Charles, Carl means free man.

Chad Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Chad
Meaning: Despite sounding American, Chad has its roots firmly in Blighty. It’s old English and means battle warrior or protector. It's still on the unpopular baby names list though.

Chesney Origin: English, French | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Chez-nee
Meaning: Whether this name makes you think of Coronation Street or one-hit wonder Chesney Hawkes, it’s definitely lost its appeal with no babies recorded as having this name in 2020. It means oak grove or camp.

Clarence Origin: Latin | | Gender: Boys | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Klar-ence
Meaning: Clarence means bright – and we’re really hoping this cute vintage boy’s name will have a bright future once again!

Clifford Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Klif-erd
Meaning: In the Middle Ages, the Clifford family was a powerful family in England, however Clifford for a given name is on the wane. It means lives near the cliff.

Clive Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Klyve
Meaning: This old English name literally marked where people live – it means lives near a cliff!

Craig Origin: Scottish | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Krayg
Meaning: Even Craig David can’t turn the fortunes of this unpopular baby name! Of Gaelic origin, it means rocky.

Dale Origin: English | Gender: Unisex | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Dayl
Meaning: Just eleven boys were given the name Dale in 2020 – it means valley.

Dave Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Dayv
Meaning: While David continues to be popular, the nickname Dave has fallen from grace. Meaning beloved, parents aren’t showing this baby name any love.

Derek Origin: English, German | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Der-ik
Meaning: Introduced into Britain via Flemish weavers, Derek is thought to come from the German name Theodoric, which means the people’s ruler.

Duane Origin: Irish | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic |  Pronunciation: D'wayn
Meaning: An Irish surname originally, it means dark or swarthy. Can also be spelt Dwayne, as in the actor Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock!

Eamonn Origin: Irish | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ay-mon
Meaning: This classic Irish name has really dropped out of favour – no boys were given the name in 2020. It means wealthy protector.

Earl Origin: English, Norse | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Url
Meaning: An English aristocratic title, Earl means nobleman or prince. As English as it sounds, it was actually brought to UK shores by the Vikings!

Erol Origin: Turkish | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: E-roll
Meaning: Erol means brave – apt as it bravely soldiers on with only a handful of boys given the name each year, keeping it firmly on the unpopular baby names list!

Gary Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Gair-ee
Meaning: Once a popular name in the ‘70s and ‘80s, there were only ten Garys born last year. It means spearman.

Geoff Origin: French | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Jeff
Meaning: Perhaps seen as the preserve of grandads rather than newborn babies, Geoff means pledge of peace. Can also be spelt Jeff.

Graham Origin: Scottish | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Gray-um
Meaning: A classic Scottish surname, this unpopular name actually derives from the English town Grantham, which translates to gravel area.

Greg Origin: Greek | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: G-reg
Meaning: A shortened version of Gregory, which is slightly more popular with UK parents, Greg means vigilant or a watchman.

Hadrian Origin: Latin | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Hay-dree-en
Meaning: Hadrian was a Roman emperor from 117 to 138AD – and yes, the famous wall was named after him. The name means dark-haired, but sadly for this historical name, most parents prefer Adrian for their little boys so it's staying put on the unpopular baby names list.

Hank Origin: German | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Hank
Meaning: A diminutive of Henry, this nickname dates back to the 17th century and means estate ruler.

A baby on the side of a cliff alongside the unpopular name Heathcliff

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Heathcliff Origin: Scottish | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Heeth-kliff
Meaning: This romantic literary name has definitely seen a dip in popularity over recent years. Unsurprisingly, it means heath near a cliff!

Hermes Origin: Greek | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Her-mees
Meaning: Despite this ancient name having a rich history – Hermes was the messenger god – it’s fallen out of favour in recent years. Yes, it may be the name of a luxury fashion brand, but it’s also the name of a parcel delivery service…

Hero Origin: Scottish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Heer-oh
Meaning: Despite being chosen by Myleene Klass for one of her daughters, this heroic name is on the wane. It means demi-god.

Howard Origin: German, English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: How-erd
Meaning: A commonplace name for most of the 20th century, Howard – which means high guardian or brave – has dropped off big time in the popular name charts.

Iago Origin: Welsh | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ee-aa- gow
Meaning: Whether it’s because it’s difficult to pronounce or because Iago was the villain in Shakespeare’s Othello, this Welsh name is not popular with modern parents. A Welsh variant of James, it means supplanter.

Iggy Origin: British | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Igg-ee
Meaning: It comes from the Roman name Egnatius, which means fire or fiery. A rock star name through and through, both Iggy Pop and Iggy Azalea use the moniker for their stage names.

Jared Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Jair-red
Meaning: Jared means he descends. Popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s, even Jared Leto can’t rescue this unpopular baby name!

Jeffrey Origin: German, English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Jehf-ree
Meaning: This Americanised version of Geoffrey has fallen out of grace. Of German origin, it means pledge of peace.

Jim Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Jim
Meaning: While James shows no sign of waning in popularity, the shortened version Jim is definitely not feeling the love. It means supplanter.

Judd Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Juhd
Meaning: A short form of Jordan, this short name means descend or flow down.

Keith Origin: Hebrew | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Keeth
Meaning: Of Scottish and Gaelic origin, the meaning of Keith is woodland or forest – and that’s where it probably will be staying as only five boys were given this classic name in 2020.

Kieran Origin: Irish | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Keer-ren
Meaning: Kieran was the name of Ireland's first-born saint and means little dark one.

Kirby Origin: Norse | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Ker-bee
Meaning: While Kirby is a town in Merseyside, the gender-neutral name actually has Norse origins and means church settlement.

Larry Origin: Latin | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Lare-ee
Meaning: A diminutive of Lawrence, this unpopular boy’s name means meaning from Laurentium, a city in ancient Italy.

A cute cartoon lion next to the meaning of the name Len


Len Origin: German | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Len
Meaning: This name won’t be getting a ‘ten from Len’ as zero boys were given this name in 2020 making it a firm favourite on the unpopular baby names list. A variation of Leonard, it means brave lion.

Leroy Origin: French | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Lee-Roy
Meaning: If you grew up in the ‘80s, you’ll remember Leroy from Fame. The light has dimmed on this name as it’s definitely got less famous during the years. Of French origin, it means king.

Leslie Origin: Scottish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Les-lee
Meaning: Despite being huge around the mid 20th century, Leslie is not a popular name for either girls or boys these days, which is a shame as it has such a pretty meaning – holly garden!

Lester Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Less-tur
Meaning: A place name that literally refers to the town of Leicester!

Lionel Origin: French | Gender: Unisex | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Lye-a-nel
Meaning: Unlike its other big cat brothers – Leo and Leonard – Lionel, which means young lion is falling out of popularity with parents.

Melvin Origin: English, Scottish | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Melvin
Meaning: Melvin means council protector, but it’s status as a popular name is definitely not protected – only eight boys were given the name in 2020, marking its status as one of the unpopular boys names as firm.

Mitchell Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Mitch-el
Meaning: An English variation of Michael, this name means who is like God.

Montel Origin: English, Italian | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Mon-tell
Meaning: Some believe Montel is a modern invented name, others say it comes from Italy and means mountain – regardless, it’s not a popular choice for modern day parents.

Morris Origin: English, French | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Mor-iss
Meaning: A variation of Maurice, this English surname turned first name means dark-skinned. Some sources also say it means of the marsh.

Nash Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Nash
Meaning: Originally a surname, Nash means by the ash tree. Hugely popular in the ‘90s, only three boys were given this unusual name in 2020.

Cute black baby sitting on a cloud

Getty Images / Future

Neal Origin: Irish | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Neel
Meaning: While the spelling Neil is slightly more popular, this classic name is definitely on its way out bumping down the unpopular baby names list.Which is a shame as it’s a very cute and fluffy name meaning cloud!

Neymar Origin: Brazil | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Neigh-mar
Meaning: Footballers have a lot to answer for – yes, we’re looking at your Neymar. This Brazilian invented name, which is rarely given to British boys, is a mash up between Neptune and Mars!

Nick Origin: Greek, English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Nik
Meaning: A diminutive of Nicholas, Nick name means victory of the people. Our favourite Nick? Saint Nick of course so we hope for his sake, this name doesn’t go extinct!

Nigel Origin: Latin | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Nye-jel
Meaning: Do we blame the demise of this traditional name on Nigel Farage? Or is it because there are just many cooler names out there? Regardless, there were no Nigels born in 2020! It comes from Nigellus, a medieval Latinized form of Neil.

Oakland Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Oak-land
Meaning: A surname that was given to people who lived near a patch of oak trees, it hasn’t translated so well to a first name.

Oswald Origin: English, German | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Oz-wald
Meaning: A firm favourite on the unpopular baby names list, Oswald of Northumbria was a king of Northumbria and a saint, and this unusual name means God’s power.

Orville Origin: French | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Or-ville
Meaning: Orville Wright was one half of the aviation duo, however, this name is no longer flying high. Of French origin it means gold town.

Phaedon Origin: Greek | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Phae-don
Meaning: Three boys were given this unique name in 2020, but we don’t think it’s ever going to take over from Oliver as the most popular name. A Greek name, it means he who gives you light.

Piers Origin: Greek | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Peers
Meaning: Bad news Piers Morgan – you’re on the way out! Four boys were given the name Piers, which means rock, in 2020. Meaning it's found it's place on the unpopular baby  names list.

Ptolemy Origin: Greek | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Tol-uh-mee
Meaning: Perhaps it’s the confusion on how to pronounce this name that makes it so unpopular, but Ptolemy has great historic roots. Ptolemy was an Alexandrian astronomer and the name of one of Alexander the Great's generals – it means warlike.

Quinten | Origin: Greek | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage Pronunciation: Quinn-ten
Meaning: Quinten comes from the Latin name Quentin and means fifth, so would be perfect for that fifth child!

Raine Origin: English, French | Gender: Unisex | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Rain
Meaning: The name Raine for a boy literally comes from nature, while for a girl it’s French and means queen. Sounds lovely? Still in the unpopular babe names category we're afraid.

Reg Origin: English, French | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Reg
Meaning: Not a single Reg was born in 2020, yet the longer version Reggie is hugely popular, which just goes to show it’s all about style! Both are versions of Reginald, which means counsel power.

Rhett Origin: Dutch | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Rett
Meaning: Rhett will forever be associated with Scarlett O’Hara’s lover in Gone With The Wind. This Dutch originated romantic name means advice.

Roderick Origin: German | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Rod-er-ick
Meaning: A name with regal connotations, Roderick means famous ruler. Rod Stewart, who was christened with the name Roderick, ditched it for his shorter stage name, but perhaps it’s time to come back into fashion after its long stint on the unpopular baby  names list.

Rodney Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Rod-nee
Meaning: That ‘plonker’ Rodney may have given this old-fashioned name some popularity in the ‘80s, but it’s definitely been put to bed now, cosy and safe in the unpopular baby names bed. Meaning island near the clearing, it could see a resurgence in years to come.

Ron Origin: Norse | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ron
Meaning: Ron may not be popular, but the longer version Ronnie was ranked 54th in the UK in 2020! The Vikings bought the name to the UK and it means ruler’s counsellor.

Ross Origin: Scottish | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Ross
Meaning: Ross Geller from Friends gave this name a nudge of popularity from the unpopular baby names list in the ‘90s but it’s starting to dwindle. Originally the surname of a Scottish clan, Ross means upland or peninsula.

Rye Origin: Scottish, Irish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Rye
Meaning: The name of a grain that is used to make whiskey, Rye is also thought to have come from the name Ryan, which in Irish means little king.

A surprised looking red-headed baby alongside the unpopular baby name meaning of Russell one of the many unpopular baby names

Getty Images / Future

Russell Origin: French | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Russ-ell
Meaning: Despite the likes of Russell Crowe and Russell Brand, this name is slowly fading out of popularity. It means redhead or fox-coloured and began as a nickname for those boys with red hair.

Sanjay Origin: Sanskrit | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: San-jay
Meaning: An historic Indian name that was super popular in the ‘80s, but only four boys were given this Hindu name, which means triumphant.

Sascha Origin: German | Gender: Unisex | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Sas-cha
Meaning: A diminutive of Alexander, it means defending warrior. The alternative spelling of Sacha as in actor Sacha Baron Cohen is more popular.

Shane Origin: Irish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Sheyn
Meaning: Shane first became popular with the Western movie of the same name in 1953 but has recently dropped out of the top 100 boys’ names. A version of Sean, it means God is gracious.

Shawn Origin: Irish | Gender: Unisex | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Shawn
Meaning: Pop star Shawn Mendes has not been able to buck the downwards trend of this variation of Sean, which means God is gracious.

Shaquille Origin: Arabic | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Shah-KEEL
Meaning: The ‘90s saw this cool name peak as parents named their little boy after basketball star, Shaquille O’Neal. It means well developed or handsome.

Simba Origin: Swahili | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Sim-bah
Meaning: Perhaps The Lion King was the final nail in the coffin for this lion-inspired name, which means lion or strength.

Skylar Origin: Dutch | Gender: Unisex | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: Sky-lah
Meaning: A variation of the Dutch name Schuyler, this cute sky-inspired name means scholar.

Spike Origin: American | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Spike
Meaning: A nickname, which became popular as a given name in the ‘90s thanks to the likes of director Spike Lee, Spike means long, heavy nail, which may be the reason it’s fallen out of popularity.

Stan Origin: British, French | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Stan-lee
Meaning: While the longer version Stanley ranked fairly high in 2020 with UK parents, Stan is not feeling the love! Stan comes from Old English, stan meaning stone and lah, meaning wood or clearing.

Stevie Origin: Greek | Gender: Unisex | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Stee-vee
Meaning: Related to the Greek name Stephen, Stevie means crown. It’s slightly more popular for girls than boys, probably thanks to singer Stevie Nicks.

Stuart Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Stu-art
Meaning: Whether it’s spelt Stewart or Stuart, this name, once popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s is almost extinct! It originated as a surname - meaning house guard - and was given to someone who served as a steward in a manor or royal household.

Tarquin Origin: Latin | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Tar-kwin
Meaning: With no boys in the UK given this name for the last ten years, it’s clear this posh name is losing favour with parents as it slips deep into the unpopular baby names list. Originally a Roman clan name, it means from Tarquinia.

Terrence Origin: Latin | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Ter-uhns
Meaning: Terence was a Roman playwright, and the name comes from the Roman family name Terentius, meaning smooth.

Tim Origin: Greek | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Tim
Meaning: Timothy still has a place in when it comes to classic names but derivatives like Tim and Timmy are falling out of favour. The name means honouring God.

Tobey Origin: Welsh | Gender: Unisex | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Toe-bee
Meaning: A diminutive of Tobias, it means God is good. While the spelling Toby is still popular, the additional e seems to be a turn-off for parents, making it an unpopular baby name. We’re not sure actor Tobey Maguire would agree…

Trevor Origin: Welsh | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: trev-er
Meaning: Derived from Trefor in Welsh, this old-fashioned name means large settlement.

Tristian Origin: Celtic | Gender: Boy | Style: Boho | Pronunciation: tris-t-ian
Meaning: While Tristan is a little more popular, this variation isn’t proving as attractive to new parents. The meaning is derived from the French word triste, which means sad.

Tyrone Origin: Gaelic | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Ty-rohn
Meaning: The actor Tyrone Power first made this name popular in the ‘30s and ‘40s, but it’s lost its star appeal and slipped into unpopular baby names in recent years. Or Irish origin, it means land of Owen.

Vaughan Origin: Welsh | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Vawn
Meaning: A popular Welsh surname, Vaughan means little.

Vivian Origin: Latin | Gender: Unisex | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Viv-ee-uhn
Meaning: While more popular for girls, Vivian as a boy’s name has fallen out of popularity. A saint's name, it means lively.

Warrick Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: War-rick
Meaning: The name Warrick was originally derived from a family having lived in the county of Warwickshire. It means leader who defends. Can also be spelt like Warwick.

Wayne Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Classic | Pronunciation: Wayn
Meaning: First made popular by actor John Wayne in the ‘30s and ‘40s, it’s lost its cowboy cool. An English career name, it means wagon builder.

Wes Origin: English | Gender: Boy | Style: Modern | Pronunciation: Wes
Meaning: While Wesley is still being chosen as a boy’s name, the derivative Wes has fallen out of favour. This English name means western meadow.

Wilbert Origin: German | Gender: Boy | Style: Vintage | Pronunciation: Wil-bert
Meaning: Hugely popular at the turn of the 20th century, Wilbert has almost died out. A variation of Wilbur (which is definitely a more popular choice for parents), it means resolute or brilliant.

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Jayne Cherrington-Cook
Family Writer

With over 22 years’ experience in journalism, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just as at home interviewing A-list stars as she is testing nappies. Having started her career writing about Pokémon, ponies and wrestling, Jayne moved into the world of film journalism, where she spent the next eight years pinching herself while she got paid to interview Hollywood film stars and attend premieres. Since then, she’s launched websites for major magazines, worked with top brands such as Westfield, LK Bennett and Hunter, and had her own tech column in Women’s Own.