baby

Picking a baby name can be incredibly difficult. Many people want to avoid a baby name that’s too popular because that means their child will likely share a name with other kids in their class. There’s a lot to be said for originality and picking a name out of the norm, but of course you don’t want to pick a name that is so unpopular that it will lead to teasing on the playground. So how do you strike a balance?

Sadly, there is no perfect formula to picking just the right name for your little one, but there are some names that you’ll probably want to avoid. Baby name website BabyCenter tracks user data to let us know which names are in, and which ones aren’t so trendy. Since the listings are updated regularly, it’s theoretically possible that some of these names might come back into style in a couple of months, but they have slipped so far down the rankings that it would take a miracle to salvage them. These are baby names you’ll probably want to cross off your list.

Meredith

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Sorry, Grey’s Anatomy fans. Despite the show’s enduring popularity and the fact that Meredith Grey is still saving lives several seasons after the show debuted, we’re going to have call it quits on this name. Meredith has been on the decline for a while, but from 2017 to 2018 it slipped down 137 places to rank shockingly low at number 696.

This Welsh name might mean "great ruler," but Meredith’s reign is over — at least for now. The name hit peak usage in the late 1970s and early 1980s, so it’s possible that its dramatic drop in the rankings might just be a sign that people have finally decided that this name sounds old fashioned. While it might circle back into common usage one day, it’ll probably be several years before that happens. For now, at least, Meredith is one of the most unpopular names of the year. Here’s hoping that its luck changes soon.

Dennis

Not even Dennis the Menace could have orchestrated a catastrophe as big as the one that has hit his name. Dennis might not have been a trendy name last year, but it was still hanging out in the top 1000 boys names. Then came the 2000s. It seems like parents all over the country woke up and realized that this name, which was popular with the baby boomer generation, was too old fashioned for a child of the 21st century. From 2008 to 2018, Dennis dropped over 300 places, now coming in at a lowly 696.

Talk about a fall from grace. While it seems like this name was popular just yesterday, some of the most famous people associated with this name are actually middle-aged. It’s hard to believe, but actor Dennis Quaid was born in 1954. Bad boy Dennis Rodman hasn’t been sinking hoops professionally for years — the former NBA star was born in 1961.

Heather

While it might not seem like the film Heathers was released all that long ago, the cult classic debuted in 1988. By the time any babies born this year are old enough to appreciate the dark humor of the film, they’ll be so far removed from the decade that they’ll think Heather sounds like a name for grandmothers. They won’t be that far off the mark, either. While the name Heather was incredibly popular around the time that the film came out, enough time has passed since then that this name has officially become so last year.

While the name managed to hang onto a slot in the top 1000 names for baby girls long after its heyday, it has dropped 360 places since 2017, now coming in at 1,322. Unless a miracle occurs, there’s no way to resurrect the name Heather and restore it to its former glory anytime soon. This name is definitely over.

Casey

In 2018 the world is so done with Casey Affleck that it’s even kicking his name to the curb. Thanks to the #MeToo movement and the many people speaking out against sexual harassment, Casey’s name is mud these days. Affleck was supposed to present the best actress award at the 2018 Oscar ceremonies but withdrew from the event amid accusations of sexual harassment.

The name Casey was ranked at 539 in 2017, but has dropped over a hundred places since then to 664. Some clarification is needed for this unisex name: While its popularity has waned for boys, girls are claiming this name for themselves. It jumped up 174 places from its 2017 ranking to land at its current rank of 808. So, while it may not be exactly super popular yet, it is on the rise. Even if this upward trend continues for girls, it’s safe to say that Casey is on its way out as a boys name — at least for now. Maybe a wave of strong, empowered women bearing the name will help to rehab the moniker’s reputation, and it will once again become popular for boys.

Gloria

This name was pretty popular in the early and mid 20th century, but dropped off in use after the 1950s. While Gloria saw a dip in popularity, it hung around for a while, managing to stay in the top 1000 names for girls for decades after it hit peak usage. It looks like 2018 was the year to destroy Gloria’s tenuously held relevance, though. The name dropped 151 spots to land painfully at 918.

This name has had a huge historical impact. Women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem bears the name, but considering that she was born in 1934, it makes sense that people are starting to think of this name as a little bit dated. The hit song "Gloria," is slightly more recent, but we’re still pretty far (at least in baby name years) from its 1982 release. The name Gloria might be unpopular now, but don’t discount it just yet. To put it in the words of a song sung by another famous Gloria — Gloria Gaynor — we think this name will survive.

Randy

We aren’t really sure what happened here, but for some reason, 2018 has not been kind to the name Randy. Sure, the name has been slowly fading from popularity since it hit its peak in 1956, but it seemed like Randy would see a graceful descent into obscurity, then make a comeback a few decades later. It looks like such a fate isn’t to be, though, because the name has been cruelly toppled out of a precarious position in the top 1000 boy names, and pretty much forgotten — practically overnight.

In 2017, the name was ranked 665, down just 31 places from 2016. Now, however, the name has experienced a horrible downfall, dropping to a devastating low of 1,182. While it’s easy to forget they’re middle aged, Randy Jackson, born in 1956, and Randy Travis, born in 1959, prove that this name has been around for a while.

Anne

Anne is one of those names that seems like it will be around forever — probably because it has been around for centuries. History books are filled with examples of the name, which is of Hebrew origin and means "full of Grace." In the 16th century, King Henry VIII of England founded the Church of England so he could divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn. Playwright and poet William Shakespeare also married a woman named Anne. Modern day celebrities like Anne Heche and Anne Hathaway proved that the name has staying power, but it looks like its era might finally be over.

Anne slipped down 40 places in the ranks, landing at 791. While it might seem like the name is doomed, there is hope yet. The name has been around long enough that it is bound to cycle in and out of popularity, and its use has ebbed and flowed over the years. For now, though, we’re unfortunately going to have to go with the numbers, and call Anne one of the most unpopular names of 2018.

Albert

It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that dropping down 118 places from the previous year means that a name has become unpopular. Albert, ranked 483 in 2017, took a tumble from its top 500 ranking to come in at 560 in 2018. This name, which is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means "noble, bright" has been slowly petering out for decades. It was expected that it would soon fade out of popularity, although we didn’t expect it to spiral into unpopular territory so quickly.

It’s surprising that more parents don’t want to use this name considering its incredible legacy. German mathematician Albert Einstein is one of the most famous geniuses of all time. The name has also had a long association with royalty. Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, bore the name. Other royals named Albert include Albert I of Belgium and Albert II, prince of Monaco.

Monica

Friends may be there for you (at least on Netflix), but their names won’t be for much longer. Ross has already been out of the top 1000 names for boys for half a decade, and has recently been joined by the name Monica, which dropped 221 spots since 2017, coming in at 1,012. It’s a pretty big dip in the rankings for the name. You’d think that the popularity of the show Friends, which ended in 2004 but is still a hit with audiences, would have kept Monica afloat for a few more years, but it looks like the name has fallen too far for saving.

The good news is that Rachel, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe are still hanging in there. Given the downward trajectory of Monica and Ross, though, it’s probably only a matter of time before the other four names fall off the charts.

Curtis

Curtis is a French name that means "courteous," but it’s being poorly repaid for its good manners. While it managed to rise 21 places since 2017, it wasn’t enough to make it into the top 800 baby names, as it placed at 808. So, it’s an unpopular name to say the least. Part of the reason for the name’s decline could be that we just don’t hear it enough. The name Curtis doesn’t have many modern cultural associations — unless you count last names, in which case there’s Jamie Lee Curtis.

While there have been famous people with the name, they either aren’t popular enough in the mainstream to have a significant impact on baby name trends, or lived too long ago to influence them. Notable examples include singer-songwriter Curtis Mayfield, who lived from 1942 to 1999, and singer Curtis Lee, who had a top 10 hit song in the 1960s. One of the most famous people to bear the name now doesn’t even use it. Rapper 50 Cent was born as Curtis Jackson.

Tori

Little People, Big World star Tori Roloff might be a household name, but unfortunately the name itself hasn’t caught on with parents. Historically a nickname for the more formal name Victoria, Tori dropped 103 places from last year’s ranking to come in at a low 722 at the end of 2018. In the mid-90s, this name consistently ranked in the top 200 names for baby girls, but it has gradually been slipping down the charts for several years and, at this rate, will likely be seen as decidedly old-fashioned in another couple of years.

Strangely, however, this decline in popularity doesn’t seem to be affecting the name’s origin, Victoria. Parents are probably better off giving their babies this more traditional variation of the name, at least if they don’t want to saddle their little girls with an unpopular name. Victoria is holding steady at 29, down just one place from 2017.

Francis

Once a beloved boys name, Francis dropped dramatically in popularity in 2018. It fell 100 places, now landing at a rank of 651. The decline in popularity of this once-widely used name might have something to do with the scandals that rocked the Catholic Church in 2018. The scandals made the once-popular head of the church, Pope Francis, lose favor with people around the world, and it looks like the name is following suit.

Francis might be on the way out for boys, but its feminine counterpart, Frances, seems to be faring a bit better. Ranked at 604, a 57-rank increase from its ranking in 2017, the feminine version of the name is on the rise. This is good news for fans of the name who are expecting a baby girl, but it doesn’t help out parents looking forward to a baby boy. At this rate, it’s going to take a miracle to save Francis from being one of the most unpopular baby names of 2018.

Ellen

It seems unfathomable that a name as classic as Ellen could be on its way out, but it has actually been in decline for a couple of years. This might be the year that the name is declared officially dead, given that it’s fallen 157 places to come in at a dismal 875. Even Ellen DeGeneres, the phenomenally popular television personality and actress, isn’t enough to keep this name from falling into obscurity. In fact, she might be the only reason that the name has held on this long.

Fortunately, there is some good news for fans of Ellen (both the name and the celebrity). Ellen might be experiencing a serious decline in popularity, but it is a version of a once-outdated name that has been seeing a comeback. Parents who love Ellen might want to consider Eleanor, which is ranked at 58. This way, you can still nickname your baby Ellen while avoiding the stigma of giving her an unfashionable name.

Alonso

The name Alonso has been around for centuries. It was famously used by William Shakespeare in his play The Tempest as the name of one of its antagonists. In spite of its association with a literary villain, Alonso has been a fairly common name even in modern times. While it never quite made the mainstream, it managed to stay in the top 800 names for several years. For some reason, however, people apparently turned their backs on the name in 2018, and the name has now dropped 192 places to come in at 863.

It’s not all bad news for Alonso, though. Parents might be rejecting the Shakespearean moniker, but many of them are opting for a trendier spelling of the name: Alonzo. Despite being just one letter off from Alonso, Alonzo is doing much better in the ranks, and the name jumped up 107 places since 2017 to come in at 402.

Louise

Lady Louise Windsor is one of the lesser-known royals, which might be why her name isn’t climbing the charts like the names of more famous members of the royal family like Charlotte (the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and Meghan (the name of the Duchess of Sussex). Charlotte is holding steady in the top 10 names for girls, while Meghan saw an astronomical jump of 747 places in 2018. Louise, in contrast, fell 228 places to come in at 875, sealing its fate as one of the year’s most unpopular monikers.

It’s a shame that this lovely name is seeing a decline, especially since its fierce meaning of "famous warrior" is a legacy that any girl would love to have in her name. Louisa, another version of the name, has had an even more egregious fall from grace. In 2018, the name fell a whopping 238 places, kicking it out of the top 1000 names to land at 1,061.

Marvin

The name Marvin landing on this list really hits home the fact that Motown music has seen its heyday. The music of singer/songwriter Marvin Gaye defined a generation in the 1960s and 1970s, but the influential musician passed away in 1984 so it has been a while since his name topped the (music) charts. We don’t need to hear through the grapevine that Marvin has also slid down the baby name charts; we just need to look at the numbers.

Marvin has slipped down 113 places since 2017, landing at a 2018 rank of 887. Its drop in rank isn’t too much of a surprise when you consider that the name reached the peak of its popularity in the 1930s. This might indicate that the name’s current unpopularity is a temporary state and that the name might cycle back into style after a few years of being considered old-fashioned. For now, however, we’ve got to give it up.