Category: unique baby names
In my relatively short lifetime of 23 years, reactions to my name, both my own and those of others, have taken quite a journey. In the beginning, it was one that promised little more than mispronunciation. For the first year of my life, even my own grandpa called me “Shanty.” Before I traveled to the Netherlands, Japan, France, India, and many other places, I spent my childhood in a Midwestern town of 8,000, nestled between cornfields and tucked into the toe of Indiana’s boot.
I read an article recently about the power of our names, which said that name sounds, popularity and meaning can influence the paths we take in life. Shanti is a name that has attached me to a culture (it’s a vernacular and prayer word that means “peace” in Sanskrit and Hindi) with which, partly because of the name itself, I feel a comfortable connection despite my own very different ethnic heritage of Irish, English and French bloodlines.
The mythical secret vault of truly unique baby names is real, but only the US government holds the key.
To protect privacy, the Social Security Administration doesn’t release names given to only one child, drawing the line at five or more. So the names given to five babies are the most unique we’re able to learn about. Most of those on that rarefied level are tortured spellings of more familiar names: Mikeila and Scarlotte, Masun and Stanlee. And there are truly terrible names at the depths of the extended list too, as detailed in our recent blog.
But then there are those nearly unique baby names that are eminently usable, ripe for the picking for the parent who truly wants a distinctive choice. These are not for everybody, but we found over 50 excellent choices that were used for just five children each in 2012. Among them are names that are among our all-time favorites, such as Petal and Tiernan for girls, O’Brien and Poe for boys.
Our favorite nearly-unique (given to just five children) baby names:
Since I started a name blog a couple of years ago, I have learned of many new names. Here is a small selection of some that I never knew existed until recently, and have seen on real people (mostly babies). Most of them are rarely found on baby name sites. I’ve only included vocabulary names when I didn’t know the word existed before seeing it used as a personal name.
SEEN ON GIRLS
Athanasia: A Greek name meaning “immortal, deathless”. Saint Athanasia was an 8th century saint, and according to tradition, a star settled over her heart as a sign of her enlightenment.
Elif (eh-LEEF): A Turkish name based on Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. Because the letter is just a thin stroke of the pen, the name has connotations of slenderness and is sometimes translated that way. Due to folk etymology, it can also be understood as “demure, coy”.
Jinty: A Scottish pet form of Janet.
We’re all familiar with color names like Scarlett, Ebony, Gray (recently popular), and Cole (as in black) but what if you want a color name no one’s used before, or at least you’ve never heard. What if you want Blue but Beyonce ruined it for you? Maybe you could try Cerulean or Cyan? In this post, I hope to bring to your attention some stunning colors that I think would make fabulous names.
Malachite — This is a gem and a bright, minty green color. It has the same sounds as Malachi with the cool KITE sound at the end. Kite, incidentally, would make a cool nickname.
Wacky celebrity baby names are popular gossip-mag fare all over the world, and we love hearing about Audio Science, Moxie Crimefighter, Princess Tiaamii and Phaedra Bloom Forever. But we’ve got some intriguing home-grown celebrity baby names of our own right here in Australia.
Retired AFL footballer Brodie Holland has twin boys named Kip and Bowie. I’ve been told Kip‘s name is inspired by actor Kip Pardue, while Bowie is presumably after singer David Bowie. Kip and Bowie‘s older sister is Stevie – another pop reference.
The eldest daughter of TV chef Pete Evans has an appropriately culinary name – Chilli. She was born the year after Gwenyth Paltrow’s daughter Apple, which inspired Pete to also use a type of food as a name. Chilli‘s younger sister is Indii.