Category: creative names
Hey!, we thought. Here we are, a name site, with lots of regular visitors who are fascinated by names and think and know a lot about the subject, and yet they’re known by names they’ve invented for themselves. So where did those names come from?
We were admiring the name Calliope the other day (yes, after all these years, we still love names enough to sit around and think about how much we like them) and we started thinking: What a good name for a musician to choose for her child.
Whether or not you’d name a baby after your profession in real life, it’s a fun thing to consider.
Creative baby names can be more than names you invent: The category can include names from literature, the arts, and even photography. You could consider a related word name–the late tennis champion Arthur Ashe and his photographer wife named their daughter Camera– and we’ve also heard of at least one little girl called Leica, after the iconic brand.
Much better though to turn to the names of the greats in the field for artistic inspiration. Here are the Nameberry Picks of the 12 Best –meaning of course the most creative baby names.
Andreas Feininger, Gursky
Ansel is very much associated with this great photographer of the American West, and could serve as a tribute to him in the middle spot. The name Ansel is related to the German Anselm, which happens to be the name of another artist, Anselm Kiefer.
August has been heating up in Hollywood–used by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin and Jeanne Tripplehorn, (and by Garth Brooks for his daughter), and is rapidly becoming the preferred month name for boys. August has two august literary namesakes: playwrights August Strindberg and August Wilson.
One of the romantic vintage names now on the cusp of a revival, Dorothea means ‘gift of God’ (it’s the reverse of Theodora), and its literary heritage includes Dorothea Brooke, the heroine of the George Eliot novel Middlemarch.
This is a name with four legitimate spellings—depending on how many consonants you want to use. One of the increasingly popular E-boy names, its namesakes include such variously spelled Elliotts as Roosevelt, Ness, Gould, and Spitzer
Adam has faded, but sweet, simple Eve (forget the one in All About Eve) is being appreciated anew these days. It’s biblical but without a heavy religious feel, short but strong, has musical cred via singer Eve, and it’s even a palindrome. Actor Clive Owen chose it for his daughter.
Felix, which means happy and fortunate, would make a felicitous choice, now that it’s thrown off the old negative associations with Felix the Cat and the overly fastidious half of The Odd Couple, Felix Unger. The name of four popes and 67 saints, it’s currently a Top 10 choice in Europe.
Here, five ways to choose unusual names that have all the best qualities of the genre and avoid the worst.
1. Spell them the, uh, normal way.
Okay, let’s say you want to name your child Atticus. Unusual, yes; weird (at least in today’s terms), no. But change it up to Attykus and you tip it over the line to weird.
2. Keep your gender-bending within bounds.
Using an androgynous name like Taylor or Mason, for a boy or a girl, is one way to be distinctive. You can even push the limits by choosing an all-boy name like Eric, say, as a daughter’s middle name to honor an ancestor, or reclaiming a name such as Sasha for your son. But using Eric as your daughter’s first name or letting your son’s name veer too far into the feminine camp starts to get weird.
3. Choose unusual names that have regular old nicknames.
Rosamund might be unusual-in-a-good way, but one of the best things about it is that you can always call your daughter Rosie if, for whatever reason, you think she needs a name option that’s a little less unusual.
4. Make sure people can pronounce and understand them.
You may be interested in an unusual name that fits your ethnic identity, and that’s great, but if people in the country where you live are going to have endless trouble pronouncing or remembering it, you’ve got a problem. Xanthipe may be lovely if you live in Athens, but in Athens, Georgia, you’d do better with Cynthia.
5. Pick names that will last your child a lifetime.
Sure, your friends think Floyd is a cool name, in a retro hip, so far out it’s in kind of way. But how’s Floyd going to sound when yelled out on the soccer field? Can Floyd get a blind date? Even if a three-year-old or a 30-year-old would deem it the best kind of unusual, if a 13-year-old would call it weird, it’s out.