Category: Unusual Baby Names

Invent-a-Baby-Name Challenge Champs!

Invent a name winner

By Abby Sandel and Linda Rosenkrantz


If we’ve ever had the slightest doubts about the creativity of the Nameberry community, they are hereby gone forever.

When we announced our latest Invent-a-Baby-Name challenge two weeks ago, we expected something like the healthy response we got last time—which was 222 entries.

This time we were overwhelmed by 590 separate responses. And since we generously invited you to not limit yourself to a single suggestion,  some of the comments packed with dozens of names, as you opened the floodgates to your inventive ideas, bringing the total number of names well into the several thousands. Our intrepid intern, Laura, counted 5,665 separate entries!

After painstakingly (and exhaustedly) considering every single name, we soon realized that it would be almost impossible to narrow down the winner to just one name.

And so we have broken it down into seven of the most highly represented categories—after realizing that inventing a name doesn’t have to mean completely creating one out of whole cloth, but could also include transforming words and surnames and place names that haven’t been used for real-life kids before into viable baby names. In fact, one of our prime criteria was wearability–could we see this name actually being used?

The overall winner for 2016 is at the very bottom of the post, but first, let’s look at some of the best invented names entered this year, with the favorite name in each category in boldface type!

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How Ramona Made Me A Name Nerd


By Duana Taha

We’re delighted to present a chapter from Duana Taha’s recommended new book, The Name Therapist.

For a certain type of outspoken, literary woman, Harriet M. Welsch is a touchstone figure. She is mouthy and candid and brutal in her pursuit of the truth. I mean, she has to be. She’s a spy. For the uninitiated, I’m talking about Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, and if you’re reading this in a place that sells books, you should purchase that one to go along with this wonderful volume you’re holding.

I’m not saying an eleven-year-old Manhattan-based spy is my role model but, you know, listening to everyone talk about their names for years is a form of observation, and Harriet certainly taught me all about that—you see where I’m going here? She’s not not my role model.

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Zodiac baby names

If you’re looking for baby names related to the astrological sign of Virgo, here are dozens of intriguing ideas!

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Naming Baldwin

Benilde Little

by Benilde Little

There weren’t that many names that I considered giving my first-born. Even though I had amniocentesis, we didn’t find out the gender. My husband didn’t want to know and so I let him have his way. I really wanted a girl, but knew I’d be happy with whoever showed up.

Her last name would be the same as my husband’s, which is Virgin. It limits things. We’d agreed that a boy would carry on Cliff’s family name – he’s a III – which gave me the lead in choosing a girl’s name. I had always liked the name Esme. I liked Grace, I also liked Neema (which means Grace in Tanzania—at least that’s what was on the tag attached the African doll we had). None of those names sounded right with Virgin, though. I also wanted a name that meant something, had a connection to someone–a family member or a place or in the case of Baldwin, a favorite writer.

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Invent a Name Contest, 2016 Edition!

Inventing name contest

Way back in February 2015, we challenged readers to invent new names.

After all, everyone is doing it. In 2015, babies born in the US were named Summerlyn and Symphanie, Caylor and Zaylor, Baxton and Bellany.

But berries have a knack for better namecraft.

Dozens of amazing possibilities were submitted during our last round. We narrowed the finalists to a single blog post of amazing, never before heard names and crowned the victors!

It’s time for another edition of the Invent a Name contest. The rules remain the same. You can:

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