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Category: international names for girls

unique girls' names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Very feminine names that were unusual and exotic a generation or two ago have risen to the top of the US popularity lists: I’m looking at you, Isabella, Sophia, Olivia.

So what’s the parent to do who loves this kind of elaborate girls’ name but wants something a lot more rare?

Some of the best choices in this style don’t even make it onto the extended list of American baby names: All the names starred below were given to fewer than five baby girls in the US in the last year counted.  And the others were used for only a handful of babies.

Is Cassiopeia or Petronilla too much name for a baby girl (or even a grown-up woman, for that matter)? Maybe, but you can always call her Cassie or Nilla and trust she’ll grow into her august appellation, at least by the time she’s 40.

And if you like super-feminine names for girls, why stick with the safe Gabriellas and Valentinas when there are all these exotic beauties out there?

Thirty rare, feminine names you might consider for your little girl are:

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Autumn Names: A harvest of great choices

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A couple of momberries-to-be who are expecting Fall babies have written in to ask for some Autumn name suggestions, and so, as we come close to the official onset of the season, here is our annual, updated round-up of Autumn names.

AUTUMN — Autumn is ironically the hottest season name, the only one in the Top 100 where it’s maintained its status for over a decade now.  The name Autumn first entered the U.S. Top 1000 in 1969, inspired by the hippie nature names and word names.  While it’s still attractive, however, it’s hardly fresh.

Names from other cultures that provide a newer route to Autumn include the Japanese girls’ names Aki and Akiko, the Turkish girls’ name Hazan, the Vietnamese Thu, and, in Chinese, Qiu for either girls or boys.

Fall month names are not quite as usable as those of the other seasons.

September – Why are MarchMayJune, August and even January hot while September (along with OctoberNovember, and December) is not?  Maybe there’s something chilly about that “ber” ending.  Still, this has an attractive sound and is certainly unusual.  The Latin Septimus, which means “seventh son,” sounds a bit Harry Potter and is perhaps too redolent of things septic.  But Seven, as recently chosen as the middle name of little Harper Beckham, might have some potential.

October – An equally unusual month name that gets an extra helping of cool from hipster writers Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida, who chose it for their daughter.  Perhaps more attractive are the Latin pair Octavius and especially Octavia, both of which mean (as does October) “eighth.”  Other Octavius and Octavia variations you might  consider:  OctavianOctavianaOctavienne, the Italian Ottavio or Ottavia, or the nicknames Tavy or Tavia.

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Guest blogger Leslie E. Owen introduces us to the distinctive  Catalan culture: its history, geography–and especially its unique international names.

What do Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Christopher Columbus, and the tenor José Carreras have in common? 

They are all Catalan, an ethnic group whose origins in Mediterranean Spain and France have roots in the merging of the indigenous Celts of the Iberian peninsula with the Romans.  Catalan is a Romance language that existed before Spanish, and derived from Vulgate Latin and Occidental.  The Catalan culture began around the ninth century CE, and was in its heyday between the eleventh and the fifteenth centuries.  At one point, the Catalans, who were sailors, merchants, and explorers, had expanded their territory from the Mediterranean coast of Spain and France through the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, and Greece.

Currently, there are six to eight million speakers of Catalan.  Catalunya is the largest semi-autonomous region in Spain, and includes the provinces of Barcelona, Lleida, Tarragona, and Girona, as well as parts of Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and the region of France that borders the Pyrenées and the Mediterranean.  During the Franco years, Catalan culture, music, language, and freedoms were brutally suppressed.  Since the constitutional monarchy of Juan Carlos, Catalunya has restored its language and traditional culture. 

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