Category: unique baby names
One of our most popular blog posts ever was on 100 wonderful names given to 25 or fewer girls each year. (We did a boys’ version too.)
But what, we wondered recently, would happen if we narrowed the parameters even more? If we looked only at names given to ten or fewer girls in the most recent year counted? This still includes a mind-blowing total of nearly 10,000 names, but would we be able to find 100 great ones?
The answer, we believe, is a resounding yes, and we hope the list here proves it.
If you truly want an unusual name for your baby girl, this is the list for you. It includes underused classics such as Maude and Rowena along with international choices such as Anwen and Timea; ancient names such as Hebe and Hero; and newly-minted names like Cairo and Blue. And each given to only ten girls or fewer in the entire United States.
Our picks for the 100 best cool unusual girls’ names, with the number of children who received it in 2012:
Whose name is worse than mine? Almost no one’s, by my lights. I’ve spent decades looking, and 99 percent of the names I hear are better than my own. Once in a great while, I do come across a name that I actually think is worse, and I view such names with both pity and awe–but more on this later.
What’s so bad about my name? I come by it honorably enough; I was born in Chadera, Israel, where the name Yona was perhaps not so common as the Susans or Debbies that populated my grade school classrooms, but neither was it freakish. Then my parents moved back to the United States and it did not occur to them to Anglicize my name, which was always confused or mangled: Yola, Yoda, Ona and Zona were a few of its many ungainly permutations. And coupled with my unusual last name, Zeldis, made for an even more confused reaction.
When I entered a new school in fourth grade, my teacher looked at the class list and said, “What is Yona Zeldis?” I had to raise my hand and say, “It’s me.” She thought it was a misprint and that it should perhaps have been Zelda Yonis; no such luck though.
Forget Oranjello and Lemonjello: We’re not talking about bizarre baby name urban legends here. We don’t want to know that your sister-in-law’s cousin’s best friend works as a delivery room nurse and swears some clueless mom named her daughter Female.
What we want to hear are the most unusual real-life names you’ve ever heard. As in: I shook this person’s hand. Lived next door to her. Maybe even gave birth to him and chose his incredibly unusual name myself.
Any details you can give us about the name’s origins and meaning would be appreciated because, you know, we can never get enough.
Like your names with a bit of a magical, mystical flair? Then how about taking some inspiration from Cirque Du Soleil, a company for whom magical and mystical is all in a day’s work. Below are some of the top picks just from the titles of their shows, although the shows are also rich with great character names if this list gives you a taste for a Cirque du Soleil inspired name.
Alegría – Oh so very close to Allegra, it’s almost surprising this hasn’t found it’s way on to the name charts considering the current love for alternate spellings and embellishments. Both Alegría and Allegra are Italian names meaning ‘cheerful, joyous’. The added benefit of this spelling is that it’s a nice step away from the medication.
The same phenomenon applies to some names from pop culture, though these can change over time. Juliet has definitely transcended its Shakespearean associations, though is Romeo still rooted to the tragic stage? What about Clementine, which for decades would inspire a chorus of “Oh My Darlin’” but now may have escaped that fate?
Our question of the week is:
Which names are still tied to one person, character, association?