Category: Baby Names
I spent much of last winter devouring a book called A Dictionary of English Surnames, by Reaney and Wilson, which presents family names used and recorded in England dating from back to when surnames first started being documented there (after the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century) up to the present day.
I was surprised and delighted by the meanings and/or origins of so many of the entries, several of which seem to cater neatly to the modern desire for creative first names, interesting nicknames, and offbeat ways of honoring relatives or other important people. In addition, their deep roots and historic usage give them a gravitas that other unusual names sometimes lack.
Here are some of my favorites:
Boo! It’s almost Halloween, and your kiddo is getting ready for a ghoulishly good time. They’re a bit young for the Exorcist kind of fun, but they’re totally into friendly ghosts, good witches, adorably fuzzy black cats, and anything else that screams “Halloween!” without being threatening. While you’re getting into your fave Stephen King novel, your tot needs something tamer. And that’s why we’ve got these low-fright Halloween reads for you!
By Linda Rosenkrantz
One of the most recognizable images of Halloween is that of a witch riding her broomstick across a full moon, which explains why trick-or-treat expeditions have long featured little girls garbed in black with tall pointy hats and maybe a few warts and moles. But pop culture has given us a variety of witches, some of which are actually nice and comical and even beautiful. So if you’re looking for a baby name that subtly references the holiday, here’s a mix of unusual witch-inspired names way beyond the expected Samantha and Sabrina.
By Kathleen McIntosh
With two new Harry Potter extensions, A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic, set for release on October 20, this is a good time to revisit some of J.K. Rowling’s most cleverly-named characters.
Many names are references or wordplay that, had we been aware as children, reveal that character’s role or personality. Take note, writers: you can really pack a punch with your characters’ names. It’s the kind of clever detail that makes you say “aha!” as a teenager or adult, that engages you, and surprises you years after the fact.
If you’re looking for baby girl names that are unusual but not weird, international yet familiar, we’ve pulled together this list to suit your style.
You may recognize a handful thanks to their star connections: Ilaria is the name of Alec Baldwin‘s Spanish-born wife, for example, and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds named their younger daughter Ines just last year. The African-born daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is named Zahara, and actress Uma Thurman got her name from a Hindu goddess.
Here, 31 baby girl names that are exotic, elegant, and eminently usable.