As I did last year last year, I’ve now compiled a list of the best – in my opinion – names given to just five babies last year. I tried to keep to only conventionally spelled names or properly spelled variations, such as Agathe and Olivine.
Agathe – This is the Greek spelling of Agatha, meaning “good.” Agathe von Trapp was the oldest daughter in the famous von Trapp, known in The Sound of Music as Liesl. There’s a Saint Agatha and the writer Agatha Christie. Agathe is a strong name with a cute nickname: Aggie.
Araminta – This pretty, delicate name with an unknown meaning is heard more in the UK than the US. It’s the real first name of Harriet Tubman, and presents many nickname options such as Ara, Ari, Mina, Minta, Minty, and maybe even Minnie.
Olivine – This is a variation of Oliva, meaning “olive tree.” Olivine is also a yellowish-green mineral. It’s not generally my style, but might fit the bill if you’re looking for a rare gem name. Ollie, Vi, and Olive are possible nicknames.
Abidan – a Hebrew name meaning “my father is judge.” In the Old Testament, he actually was a judge, head of the tribe of Benjamin and a leader at the time of the Exodus.. Dan and Ab could work as nicknames.
Algernon – Another name I have a soft spot for. It means “having a moustache .” A vintage name with a stately image, it is also literary via a character on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and is the first name of the poet Swinburne.
Elior – An appealing Hebrew name meaning “my God is my light.” It’s a name I’d love to see more often, possibly as a more distinctive alternative to Eliot.
Frederico – This is the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese version of Frederick, meaning “peaceful ruler,” adding some Latin dash to the classic name. Some famous namesakes include Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca and iconic Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.
Llewelyn – This is a variation on the Welsh name Llywelyn. It is related to the Welsh word for “lion” which is llew, and in Wales is considered a patriotic name. I don’t know why this isn’t higher on the list, as it contains both hard and soft elements in good balance. I love the nickname Llew.
Tesla – There are sure to be people who disagree with this entry, but I love this as a hero name for a boy since the only thing I think of when I hear it is the male scientist, and not the increasingly popular electric car.
Tolliver – A little heard occupational name meaning “metalworker.” I love it as a fresh take for those tired of Oliver. Tolly makes a good nickname for any age too. As a bonus, it has surname connections to the barrier-breaking African-American journalist, Melba Tolliver.