Classic Names: Ten You Never Thought Of

vintage baby names

We’re always coming across names on nameberry that we never thought of before, undiscovered gems that suddenly seem attractive and eminently usable for a real live person.

How come everyone flocks to Ava and Aiden, or even Avery and Atticus, when there are so many names like this hiding in plain sight?  Beats us.  If you truly want something distinctive, there are thousands of such choices to be found just by clicking Unusual Names in the left purple column on most pages of nameberry.

Here, the first in a series of classic names you might not have considered…..but definitely should.

ABIJAH – A Biblical name used in the Colonial times that can work for both boys and girls.  Rhymes with Elijah, stands in for that name or Abigail.

AMORET – Redolent of love, this unusual name comes from Edmund Spenser’s “The Faerie Queen.”  The character of Amoret represents married love, an ideal sentiment.

BATHSHEBATrue, it’s a whole lotta name.  But Bathsheba, which means “seventh daughter,” has a rich Biblical and literary history.  Short form Sheba walks that intriguing line between being edgy and ready for prime time.

CIRCE – Okay, so she was a siren who turned Odysseus’s men into pigs and lured the poor hero away from the patient Penelope.  She also had a lovely name, pronounced sare-see, that would make a standout modern choice.  That’s her in the picture above.

CORIN – It may sound like a nouveau two-syllable boys’ name, but Corin has a Shakespearean pedigree.

ELEAZAR – A Biblical boys’ name with more zest and distinction than the flagging Eli variations.

KETURAH – Old Testament name – she was Abraham’s wife post-Sarah – that hasn’t been much used in the past few hundred years but has a rhythm and feel that’s appropriate for today.  And in case you’re still looking for Biblical names you never heard before, Keturah and Abraham had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 

LORCAN – If Logan and Aidan are megapopular, can Lorcan be far behind?  Somehow, this Irish boys’ name meaning fierce has not achieved the notoriety of its compatriots.  But smart parents will look to it as a fresh entry in that trendy crowd.

NICASIOLove Nic-names but tired of Nicholas?  Then consider this Spanish choice that’s related to Nike.

PALADIN – A French name that means “of the palace,” Paladin was a title of honor given to Charlemagne’s twelve best knights.  That’s a name story any little boy would love taking to kindergarten.  There was a fifties television show by this name.

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25 Responses to “Classic Names: Ten You Never Thought Of”

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Charlotte Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 3:59 am

Nice list! I think my favourite from that selection is Paladin, although I’m not sure I could see my son wearing it. Oh, and I think Keturah was Abraham’s wife after Sarah, not before.

pam Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 7:56 am

You’re right, of course! Thanks: The post is corrected.

Tanya Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 9:17 am

Love Amoret and Nicasio. Great list.

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I have Keturah and Lorcan on a semi regular rotation for names I recommend. Adding Corin and Nicasio to that list.

On Ohdeedoh recently I came across a French Bethsabée, which I thought was enchanting. I believe is their version of Bathsheba?

tikicatt Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

How do you pronounce Corin? Like the female Corinne – or Kah-rinn with the accent on the first syllable? Loving on the Nicasio name! Very fresh with the uber cool O for the last letter.

pam Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Core like in apple, in as in the opposite of out. Only downside: similarity to Karen and, yes, Corinne.

Boston Girl Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Out of the lot I like Amoret, Corin and Paladin. More cool names for future story characters… 🙂

olivegreen Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 3:53 pm

I love Amoret and Nicasio–very cool.

Erin Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Wondering about the pron of Nicasio — Nih-case-ee-oh? Or maybe Nih-cash-oh? Or something else?

Like Amoret, Lorcan and Paladin!

Emmy Jo Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Lovely list!

My favorite for girls has got to be Amoret — Spenser also calls her Amoretta at times, which I find just as pretty, though perhaps more likely to be confused with a liquer.

For boys, I wish more parents would turn to Eleazar and Abijah. After all, they’re not a far step from Ezekiel and Elijah. Why shouldn’t they be just as usable?

Sebastiane Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

I think all of these names are cool. I would not consider them classics though because to me a classic is a name that has been consistently popular for a long time. Though legit names with a rich history, none of these ever made it to the top 1000.

I am especially fond of these,

AMORET-this is so sweet and romantic

BATHSHEBA –Sheba is an awesome nickname

CIRCE-I have always loved this

KETURAH-Ketty is a sweet nickname


Pam Says:

June 25th, 2009 at 11:12 pm

The pronunciation of Nicasio is nee-KAH-see-oh. Listen here:

teabee Says:

June 26th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

I went to school with an Amoret except it was spelled differently so I couldn’t find it here before and wondered if it was made-up. Thanks for the info!

JNE Says:

June 28th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Toddler TV favorite in my house, Yo Gabba Gabba, has an episode in which a cute little girl named Keturah is featured in the ‘real kids dancing’ portion of the show. I thought it was a very unique and didn’t realize it was a Biblical name. Of all the names on the list, that is the only one I’ve heard in use in any way. Fun post!

Amanda Says:

July 5th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Corin- also a name from CS Lewis’s “The Horse and His Boy”. Corin was the 2nd in line to the Archenland throne behind his twin brother Cor.

Amanda Says:

July 5th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Paladin might be a choice that will ring odd with the gaming generation. Many games, from Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft to name two, have a paladin class. I, myself, am known as a draenei paladin! 🙂 The paladin in gaming is referred to by such things as “Pally”, “Pink”, “Laddie”, and “dink”.

robynkit Says:

August 3rd, 2009 at 10:14 am

I suspect we’ll see many more gaming and fantasy names in the near future: WOW: Paladin. Lorcan sounds like a fantasy name to me. The only name I would consider is Corin–Keturah is seldom occasionally used–Biblical names are a good option but there are some of them that sound cumbersome or do not roll off the tongue easily (Uz and Buz, Zadok) and would garner a lifetime of teasing. My daughter just named her son Seth which I like–for a girl I would consider Charis which is Greek for Grace.

Catherine Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 9:16 am

Bersaba is an old Cornish variant of Bathsheba too.

Korin Says:

January 19th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

my name is Korin and i have never heard of of anyone with my name. the closest ive heard of is Corrine but still i guess its nice to have a “unique” name but sometimes i wish my parents didnt name me that particular unique name

Shelley Says:

May 3rd, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Circe is a beautiful name, but aside from its Greek origin, George R.R. Martin bestowed the name “Cersei” upon his completely wicked queen in his A Song of Ice and Fire series… I would totally rank her up there with Jezebel in wicked queen lore.

Leslie Owen Says:

May 7th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Glad someone mentioned the Lewis connection to Corin.

Keturah is a fairly common African American name in my region of Florida, I know several girls named Keturah. It’s also a somewhat popular Israeli name as well. And Ketty is adorable as a nn.
I’ve always loved Abijah — Bije was the nn — have some colonial ancestors with that name. Another old colonial name that I’ve heard recently (from Puerto Rico) is Adriel.

*person* Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 7:04 pm


rollo Says:

July 14th, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Paladin WOW! A great find; and would his brother be Raphael?

dieselsmomma Says:

November 23rd, 2012 at 11:01 pm

My sister in law is coryn. I really like circe and amoret. ♡♥♡

Oriana1990 Says:

November 18th, 2013 at 8:18 am

n.b. Corin is a female name in Shakespeare, so it’s pretty solidly unisex! Love Lorcan, and Paladin also has a Tolkien link I think?

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