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Exotic Place Names

small_palm_treeMaybe it’s because we’ve been planning our summer vacation, but the idea of exotic place names sounds very appealing right now.  Options can be found all over the map: Nameberry has a big all-inclusive list of exotic place names.  A selection we’d like to visit, figuratively and literally.

AFRICA – Most obviously, the name of the continent, but there was also a Celtic queen named Affrica.

BIMINI – Caribbean Island name is cute and casual.  Pronunciation: bim-in-ee.

BRAZIL – Also spelled Brasil, this Celtic saint’s name also references the South American country.

CUBACuba Gooding Jr. put this one on the map (sorry, couldn’t resist).  Another option: Havana.

JAVAJava Kumala was chosen as the name for their newborn daughter by Josh Holloway of TV’s Lost and his Indonesian wife.

KYOTOKyoto means “capital city,” though the Japanese city is known more for its beauty than for being a center of government or industry.

MOROCCO – Rhythmic name of the north African country could work for boys or girls.

PACIFICA – This peaceful name relates to the Pacific Ocean.

PALMAPalma de Majorca is a Spanish island city as well as a botanical name.

PERSIA – Though the country is now called Iran, Persia has more chops as a person name.  Writer Louise Erdrich has a daughter named Persia (and one named Pallas).

QUITO – The name of Ecuador’s capital works better for boys than for girls: unusual for place names.

RIO – Devil-may-care name drawn from Brazil’s best-known city, better for boys but can work for girls too.

ROMANY – Actor Romany Malco popularized this name relating to Gypsy lands and culture.  A fresher spin on Roman or Romy.

SAHARA – Hot, dry, exotic: a good place to go if you want to move beyond Sarah.

SAMOA – An unexpected choice from the South Seas.

SICILY – Everyone will confuse it with Cecily (and Cicely), but all you have to say is, “No, as in Italy.”

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