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Category: unusual boy names

12 Awesome Off-the-Grid Baby Names

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By Pamela Redmond Satran

Looking for truly unusual and distinctive baby names?  Then we have an amazing collection for you: thousands of names never in the US Top 1000 collected in the very first Nameberry book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names.  Here is a sampling of a dozen of those wonderful names; for thousands more, download your copy of the book today!  

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photo by Elena Kalis

The big news in baby names this week has been the Most Popular Names 2012: Top 1, Top 10, Top 100, Top 1000.

But swimming just below the surface — not quite on the radar but not truly off, either — are dozens of more unusual baby names poised to find wider favor….or dropping from view.

Many Nameberry favorites exist in this limbo of baby names, including choices such as Aurelia and Wren for girls that missed making it into the Top 1000 by a single point.

Of course, that may bring relief rather than disappointment to many parents.  If you want to name your baby Magnolia or Clementine, Bishop or Langston — or already have — you may tremble on surveying the new Top 1000, hoping your favorites stay off the list.

We looked below the Top 1000 for girls and boys and found those names within 50 points of the cutoff that we felt were heading back into style, along with those sailing off into the sunset.

In raw numbers, 251 girls received the Number 1000 name Katalina while 197 boys were named Number 1000 boys’ name Dangelo.  The numbers after each name below represent the number of children given that name in 2012.

One note on the names we say are Heading Out: Some of these may appeal to parents in search of a name with Geek Chic or an unusual classic.  Hello, baby Ralph!  Or….dare I suggest….baby Pamela?

Here, the names just under the Top 1000 coming into style and heading out:

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Baby Names 2013: Our Latest Finds

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We’re always adding new names to the database, and here are Nameberry’s ten newest baby names 2013:

Sunniva — Thanks, Mom2Seven, for urging us to add the ancient saint’s name Sunniva to the Nameberry database.  Saint Sunniva was born in Ireland but fled to Norway when an invading heathen king wanted to marry her.  With her followers, she hid in a cave on a Norwegian island.  After her death, miracles on the island led to an excavation of the cave, where Sunniva‘s body was found intact.  Sunniva, pronounced SOON-ee-va, is the patron saint of Western Norway, making this a distinctive choice for a family with Norwegian ancestry.  That’s her above on a Norwegian stamp.

SwithinSaint Swithin, whose name is also spelled Swithun, is well-known throughout Britain for his July 15 feast day, which is believed to determine the weather for the next 40 days.  The original Swithin was the bishop of Winchester, where his remains are interred in the famous cathedral.

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Unusual Boys’ Names Ready To Pop

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Last week we brought you our selection of rare girls’ names destined for stardom; now we bring you our pick of unusual boys’ names ready to climb the popularity ladder.These are names given to fewer than 100 boys last year in the U.S.   But in Nameberry’s analytics, we see them drawing twice as much attention as other names.What that means: No matter how unusual these names are by the numbers, they’re attracting considerable buzz. And that’s bound to translate over the coming years into usage for a lot more babies.

As with the girls’ names, these names share much beyond their potential popularity.  Most are ancient names, slumbering for centuries.  While they hail from a range of cultures, a quorum are rooted in Ancient Rome or mythology.  And as has been the trend with boys’ names, how they end — in n, r, us, or o — seems to be more important to their fashion status than their first initial.

Here, 9 unusual boys’ names we see ready to pop.

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There are a lot of names I love and enthusiastically encourage other people to use.  But when it came to naming my own kids?  No way.

The most common reason for championing a name that you wouldn’t use yourself is, of course, cowardice.  I think of all the names I considered for my younger son but chickened out on actually using: Penn, Pike, Otis….sigh.  I’d lead the cheer if a parent on the Nameberry forums was thinking of one of those wonderful names.  But in the end, we went with the much safer Owen.

My husband would tell you that we never really seriously considered Otis, because he hated it.  So there’s another reason you might only be able to envision a beloved name on someone else’s child.

Plus, with a last name that starts with S, the truth is we never would have used a first name that ends with an S sound, for fear of confusion.  Similarly, you may love elaborate names like Orianna but wouldn’t pair them with your equally-elaborate last name, or shy away from a short name like Tom if your last name is Smith, or avoid favorite ethnic first names such as Maeve or Massimo if they clash with a last name of a distinctly different ethnicity.

Or you may love really unusual distinctive names — Pallas or Peaches, Snow or Xen — but just feel that, in real life, you couldn’t do that to your own child.

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