150+ Rare International Names to Discover
Even as fully fledged name aficionados, we still encounter new names all the time – thanks, in no small part, to the wonderful suggestions of our international community!
We’ve just added a huge batch of brand new names to the Nameberry database. They hail from languages and cultures all over the world – from Cornish to Quechua, and from Sanskrit to Swahili – and all were suggested by you, our brilliant Berries.
Here is a small selection of our favorite new Nameberry names, together with the contributors’ comments.
Top New Nameberry Names
“Seen three times in the Bible: twice in genealogies and once, most notably, the alleged author of a number of Psalms.” – @eloiseattheplaza
The most prominent bearer of the name in the Hebrew Bible was a Levite singer in the court of David, who lent his name to the twelve Psalms of Asaph. Whether he was the author of these psalms, or whether they were simply named in honor of him, is unclear. His descendants formed a prominent guild of temple musicians known as the Asaphites.
Another rare name of Hebrew origin, but this time in one of its intriguing international forms. In the Bible, Bathsheba was the beautiful wife of King David and mother of Solomon. The jealous king orchestrated the death of her first husband after seeing her bathing on a rooftop.
As well as being the Spanish form, sleek Betsabé (bet-sah-BAY) is also used in Catalan, Basque and Hungarian. The French form of the name, pronounced the same way, is Bethsabée, and the Polish variant is spelled Betsabe.
Stylish surname Dawson got a massive boost from the debut of Dawson’s Creek in 1998, so will the 2018 film adaptation of the historical novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society do the same for Dawsey? It has never appeared on the US charts before, so it will be interesting to see what the 2019 data reveals!
Dawsey may derive from the same source as English surnames like Dawson and Dawes, which mean “son of David”, via the medieval diminutive Daw. Alternatively, it may come from the Old English word dowse, from Old French dous, meaning “sweet, pleasant”.
Also spelt Lunete or Luned, this pretty name belongs to a servant of the Lady of the Fountain in Arthurian legend, who saves the knight Owain and helps him to win her mistress’ hand. It comes from Welsh eilun “image, idol”, via Eluned.
“Recently, it’s one of the most popular given names in Hawaii. It’s one of my top three names and it isn’t in this database so I thought I’d suggest it!” – @jadeolivia
Makoa comes straight from the Hawaiian dictionary, and means “brave, fearless”. Actor Mark Dacascos has a son called Makoa – as well as two more children with beautiful Hawaiian names: Noelani and Kapono.
It’s not made up! (But it is very cute).
Nouela is the feminine counterpart to Nouel, the Breton form of Noel. Coming from the French word for “Christmas”, Noel and its variants have traditionally been given to babies born at Christmastime since the Middle Ages. But they now feel totally usable at any time of year.
In Greek mythology, Scamander is the personification of the river now called the Karamenderes, in modern-day Turkey. The origins of the name are not entirely clear. The ending appears to be from andros “man”, as in Alexander and Leander, while the first part may be from skazo “limp, stumble” or skaios “left-handed, awkward”.
As a verb, scamander is also a Victorian slang term meaning “to wander about without a settled purpose.”
Here’s a V name you’ve (probably) never heard before! Vitani was created for a character in the 1998 Lion King sequel from a combination of two Swahili words: vita “war” and shetani “devil”. As the meaning suggests, the character is a villain – but one who comes good in the end.
Those who were hoping for a more positive meaning might prefer to consider it an elaboration on Latin Vita, meaning “life”.
150+ New Rare International Names
And here is the full list of new additions to Nameberry, all suggested by you!
Which are your favorite rare international names new to Nameberry? What else would you love to see added? Tell us below!
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on July 23rd, 2020 at 11:39 am
I have never seen Betsaebe before and boy is it gorgeous. The Betsabé spelling is very exotic and makes the pronouciation more clear to me but I prefer the Betsabe spelling for two reasons, my Polish heritage and also I feel like accent marks can confuse English speakers and computerized forms made by them. I also love vintage/old fashioned nicknames, and Betsy seems like a very intuitve nn for Betsabe, but I wonder if people would ‘get’ Bee as nn for Betsabe or if I would be forever explaining it to people (and later my child would have to as well). I also love Alodia, Xiola Rhosyn, Metis, Nouela, Quetzalli, Hanalei, Bechan, and Solaria.
Asaph is also very handsome, other standouts are: Theophanes, Aurian, Kolja, Kauri, Astro, Makoa, Kessler and Alder for boys. I don’t think I would use all of them because i don’t have any connection to the cultures they come from and it wouldn’t be as meaningful to me as other names that come from cultures I am part of but they are gorgeous.
There are so many gorgeous names in this list, though I’m sort of surprised that some of them are new to nameberry, looking at you Maelle, Cleodora, Lulabelle, Elrond, Forsythe, Alder.
on July 23rd, 2020 at 2:46 pm
Ooh there are so many gems here! As a nature name buff, I’m a lil miffed to see Honeysuckle still hasn’t made the cut after all these years (and the famous Honeysuckle Weeks existing!) but I know it’s not everyone’s favourite so I’ll have to just keep shouting about it in the forums for now.
Seeing as we’re talking about international variants/secrets though, I would LOVE to see Addolorata (the Italian variant of Dolores) and Rivelan (the legendary king of the lost kingdom of Lyonesse and father to Tristan of Tristan & Isolde fame) get added!
on July 24th, 2020 at 3:31 pm
Awesome, I love expanding my name vocabulary! 🙂 Some of these look familiar like I may have suggested them, hehe.
My cousin lived in Hawaii for several years and named the dog she adopted there Makoa!
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