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Creative Baby Names: Original but not outre

abbygrover

This week for her Nameberry 9, Appellation MountainAbby Sandel seeks out and finds creative baby names that are on the safe side of unusual.

We endlessly dissect outlandish names.  There are the wacky celebrity choices that make headlines in the mainstream press, and the footnotes at the end of articles announcing Mason and Emma the most popular names in Montana, but a handful of babies named Banana or Marvelous.  Heck, we’re still talking about Blue Ivy, and probably will be until she heads off to middle school.

And yet much of the time parents still gravitate towards the more popular choices.  How many times have you heard: “We wanted something unusual, but we just kept coming back to Ava.”  It takes an awful lot of daring to choose a name that is completely out of the mainstream.

This week’s list is packed with possibilities that are just a little bit different – not shocking departures from the mainstream, but neither are they currently in the US Top 100 – or even the top 1000.

The nine most newsworthy names from last week are:

Meridian – Did you spot this one on SwistleMeridian has much to love – it is a noun name, and Alice Walker used it for a heroine in a 1976 novel.  She also sounds like quintessential good girl appellation Meredith, as well as Pixar heroine Merida.

Keeva Jane – Now that Kira and Kayla are fading, could Keeva pick up where they left off?  She blends the nouveau appeal of a K name with the sound of the enduring classic Eva.  Plus she’s a phonetic spelling of the Irish Caoimhe and the name of Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof’s new daughter.

Isabetta Rose – Reality television veterans Rob and Amber Mariano welcomed a third daughter, a little sister for Lucia and Carina.  Look again – she’s not Isabella, she’s Isabetta, a spin on the oh-so-popular name.  I’ve never heard it before, but it seems like it would wear well.  Plus, Isabetta can lead to Betty or Betsy as short forms, without resorting to the classic, but well worn, Elizabeth.

Grover – Are you reading the analysis of the very bottom of the 2011 name lists? Nancy recently rounded up rare boy names, like Crispin, Rufus, and PiersGrover – a nickname for the kid in 2002 bestseller The Nanny Diaries – is the one that most intrigues me.  Ends in –r is a stylish sound, as is the letter o.  Sure, there’s the Muppet, but Oscar seems to have risen above his furry roots.

Halston – This is one I’d never considered until Eponymia’s look at rare names from the 2011 data.  The name was given to eight girls in 2011, putting her in the same category as Jessamine, Evelette, and Domino.  She also sounds something like Harlow and even Harper, plus there’s the possibility of shortening Halston to Hallie.  A young Nickelodeon actress answers to Halston and could boost the iconic fashion designer’s surname.

Jalé – The Toronto Star has a great story about a random name spotting that led to a child’s name.  At first glance, Jalé seems confusingly creative, too close to the word jail.  But there’s a backstory that transforms Jale from a modern innovation to a meaningful name steeped in history.

Poet – The talented Kal Barteski blogs at lovelife.  She’s the mother to the spectacularly named sisters Penn Lily, Pilot Maile, and Poet Olli.  More proof that creative people choose really thoughtful and interesting names for their children.

Dodge – Let’s go to the movies.  Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley star in comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, coming to a theater near you this summer.  Knightley plays Penelope, called Penny – yet another invitation for that charming name to skyrocket.  But I’m more intrigued by this one: Carrell’s character is Dodge. If Owen Wilson has a baby Ford, is Dodge an option?

Django – While we’re in Hollywood, there’s been so much buzz about the new Quentin Tarantino flick, I was sure that Django Unchained was set to debut this summer.  Not so … it is actually set to premier in December.  A few years ago Django would have been impossibly strange.  But now that ends-in-o names are big for boys, maybe Django’s jazzy roots will help him join Milo and Leo on the playground.

What are your favorite just-a-little-different names?

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