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Category: unique baby names

Unique Baby Names: Do you dare?

alice and cat

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Reading the latest birth announcement from England‘s Telegraph newspaper, I can’t help thinking that a lot of the names, while wonderful, might give many sensible parents pause.

Wilfred may be cool, after all, but it’s also undeniably nerdy – by choosing this name, am I condemning my child to playground marginalization?  Is Zephyr too wacky, Ophelia too tragic?

The question isn’t really, Do you dare to give these names to your children, but should you dare?

As many Britberries have pointed out, the names usually found in the Telegraph represent not widespread British naming trends but eccentric aristocratic tastes, so perhaps most of us aren’t debating the merits of Digby and Venetia in any case.

Before we focus on our question, a few trendlets to note: Several girls named Jessica.  Middle names Tom, Sue, and Adventure.  And in a reversal of American style, boys’ names generally more daring than girls’.

Back to the issue at hand: What do you think of these adventurous, intriguing, but perhaps too-challenging names taken from recent Telegraph birth announcements?  Would they work in the U.S….or anywhere else, for that matter?

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The Newest Names on Nameberry

new baby names

We’re always adding new names to the Nameberry database, whether new discoveries or expansions of older listings.

Our latest collection includes word names and nicknames, international imports and mythological revivals.  We bring you these new entries not as our latest recommendations but as fresh additions to the lexicon.

Here, our 16 newest names:

Alcina, Alcie, and Alsie

Alcina is best-known as the name of the beautiful sorceress of the eponymous Handel opera drawn from the Orlando poems. Alcina and her sister Morgana live on an island where Alcina seduces every passing sailor but once their novelty wears off, changes them into plants, rocks, or animals. Alcina comes with modern-sounding short forms Alcie or Alsie, which feel more baby-ready now that names such as Elsie, Elsa, and Isla are becoming popular again.

Bruin

Bruin is the Old English term for bear, taken from the Dutch word meaning brown. Bruin might be a sports fan’s choice or an animal name in hiding. As a kind of hybrid of Roone and Bruno, it’s definitely got some cool.

Celestina

We are hearing more of such heavenly names as Celeste and Celia, which opens the door to the range of lovely variations rarely heard before, including the Italian and Spanish Celestina.

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coolunusualgirl

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:

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yoma

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

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.

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The Most Unusual Name You’ve Ever Heard

Venice-Beach-620x494

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.

Nor are we noting strange celebrity baby names, as it’s not just you alone who’s heard of starbabies Moxie, Apple, and Bronx Mowgli. Names from movies, books, and television don’t count either.

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.

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