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20 Unique & Snappy 1-Syllable Baby Names Beyond Max & Sam

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Choosing just the right baby name is a process that can take days, weeks, months, or right up to delivery. The time when name-selection was as simple as naming all the kids after Dad, Mom, and favorite relatives is pretty much gone. Now we have a lot more choices, which means a lot more headaches. But one option parents-to-be shouldn't overlook is picking one of the many unique baby names with one syllable out there.

I sometimes think we parents get so caught up in the romance of the multisyllabic "ella," "ana" and "son" names that we forget the impact of their simpler compatriots. A one-syllable name has snap and sass; would 007 be as cool if he introduced himself as "Bond. Ignatius Bond"? Most small names also have a friendly informality about them; calling the Duchess of Cambridge "Kate" rather than her given name of Catherine makes her seem more approachable as a royal. And when movies, TV shows, or commercials feature a personable, everyone's-buddy character, odds are his name is Bob, Sam, or Mike.

Instead of giving your new baby a name you're planning on shortening anyway, why not opt for a zingy short name that can stand on its own? The usual assortment — Max, George, Jane, Grace — are all good possibilities, but you could go a step further and gift your child with a less-used name that will be as special as they are. Here are just a few unique one-syllable baby names.

1
Bree
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Fancy Nancy fans will recognize this as the name of Nancy's best friend. It's a bree-zy name that's Gaelic for "hill," according to Baby Center, and it makes a nice alternative to Brianna. Just don't spell it "Brie," because that would be pretty cheesy... get it? (Sorry, couldn't help it.)

2
Elle

Even if your daughter isn't "legally blonde," the name of the movie character is still sweet and ultra-feminine (it's French for "she," according to Nameberry). It's also the name of one of the biggest supermodels ever (Elle McPherson), and your little one will have a super easy time learning to write her name (just two letters are involved).

3
Bryce

Appropriate for either a boy or girl (think actress Bryce Dallas Howard), this Scottish name means "of Britain," according to The Bump. Of course, you don't have to be of British descent to love this traditional name, which manages to be super modern-sounding, too.

4
Bax

For parents who love the the snappy sound of a name ending in "x," but want something a little less common than Max, this Old English name meaning "baker" (per The Bump) fits the bill nicely. There's just something edgy about names that end in an "x" (so don't be surprised if it turns out this kid was born to be wild).

5
Jazz
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Music-loving parents will be taken with this melodious name that is derived from Jasmine and Jasper, according to Nameberry. It's appropriate for either gender, and can also be spelled with one "z." Fun fact: Tennis champ couple Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi gave their daughter the double single-syllable names of Jaz Elle.

6
Maeve

This lovely Gaelic name means "intoxicating," noted The Bump, and is pronounced to rhyme with "Dave." The modern spelling is much easier to remember than the original Meadhbh, the name of the "legendary warrior queen of pre-Christian Ireland" who's remembered as tall and fair, with an iron sword.

7
Ash

A zippier alternative to Ashley, Ashton, Ashlynn, Asher, or any other "ashy" name, Ash means "ash tree," according to Nameberry. It works for either a boy or girl, and it's even better if you already have children with nature-inspired names.

8
Wynn

Talk about a "wynn-er"! Baby Name Wizard reported that this name with a modern vibe comes from the Welsh word meaning "fair" or "white." A "Welsh favorite," this one-syllable name is a descendent of longer names Gwendolyn and Guinevere.

9
Tai

More common in the U.S. as a girl's name but equally suitable for a boy, Tai is Chinese for "most extreme," according to Nameberry. It's also Maori for "the tide." Skater Tai Babilonia helped to make this name popular recently.

10
Tess
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This vintage name is a derivative of Teresa or Theresa, meaning "late summer," per The Bump, making it a great choice if you're expecting an August or early September daughter. Nameberry also noted that Tess is not only the heroine of the classic book Tess of the D'Urbervilles, it's also a name used in a number of movies starring Katharine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Melanie Griffith, Kate Hudson, and others. (Hello, Working Girl!)

11
Bryn

This Welsh name meaning "hill" is used almost exclusively for boys in Wales, according to Baby Name Wizard; Brynn, the girl's version (meaning "hill") "outshines the original Welsh Bryn in the popularity stakes," reported Nameberry.

12
Niall

Gaelic for "cloud," this boy's name was dubbed "classic and cool" by Nameberry: "Niall is pronounced nye-al--something like Neil, but this Irish spelling of the name makes it much more current and cool." A great choice, whether or not you have other Irish names in the family.

13
Jax

The Bump reported that this name has been on the rise since 2005. It's a thoroughly modern invention that started as a nickname for Jackson, but now can stand proudly on its own.

14
Zan
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You can practically guarantee that your child will be the only one in school with this snazzy name. As a girl's name, it's Chinese for "support" or "comfort," per Nameberry. For a boy, it's derived from Alexander, so it makes a less-trendy option if you were already thinking about Xander.

15
Bay

From the Latin for "berry," according to The Bump, Bay also has an appealing "watery" association. If you like Bailey or Brayden, put this cute name on your list. (This one will also be super easy for your little one to pronounce when she's learning to talk.)

16
Dee

Thinking about any "D" name for your baby girl? Cut to the chase and go with this short-and-sweet version. Dee fell out of favor after the 1960s, according to Nameberry, so it's overdue for a revival. It's got a fun retro vibe, too, like soda shops and poodle skirts and diners and chrome.

17
Joy

A French name meaning (you guessed it) "joy," as reported by BabyCenter, gifting your daughter with this name is like blessing her with a lifetime of happiness. While this one is a more common choice around the holidays, there's nothing wrong with feeling joyful all year long.

18
Wren

Of English origins, according to BabyCenter, this girl's name is also the name of a little brown songbird. There are few things sweeter and lovelier to inspire a child's name than a songbird, and who knows? She just might go on to have a musically-inspired life.

19
Clyde
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Sure, it's a famous outlaw's name, but this one also "relates to the River Clyde that runs through Glasgow, Scotland," according to Nameberry, and was a Top 100 name in the U.S. in the 1930s. Seems poised for a comeback.

20
Beck

An English name with a rather bucolic meaning: "One living beside a small stream," according to Nameberry, Beck is more commonly associated with the award-winning musician today. Think of it as equal parts hipster and nature-inspired.

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