Cool Names: The Eccentric Aristocrats

How would you describe your favorite name style?, asked a recent Nameberry Question of the Week. Do you prefer cool names?  Classic?  Stylish?  Or what?

Which put me in mind of trying to characterize my own name style.  You might think that we at Nameberry were born knowing our personal name styles, since we’ve made a life’s work of classifying names into styles and helping other people figure out what kinds of names they love.

But like the shoemaker’s child, I’d never really defined my own name style until Linda posted this question.  I definitely like vintage names, I decided, along with names that are a bit unusual.  Cool names, but not too cool.  Classy, yet quirky.

And then the right term for it came to me: Eccentric Aristocrat.   You know, the kind of names that might belong to madcap lords and exotic baronesses (baronessi?) dashing around the countryside in yellow roadsters, drinking champagne and weekending at castles.

Yes, it’s a little bit British, but it’s also kind of Eurotrash and pretty F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton sophisticated American too.   Eccentric Aristocrat names hint at a Russian count as a grandfather, a Scottish pile as an inheritance, ancient relatives who have to be honored with highly unfashionable names – except now that you think about it, those names are actually kind of cool.

Regular readers of Nameberry will recognize the Eccentric Aristocrat in many of the names that, not coincidentally, are favorites on this site: Violet and Jasper, Flora and Felix.  Those are the kinds of names that I’d choose for my own children.  (The fact that I didn’t choose those kinds of names for my own children is another story, one that starts with my husband’s name style being more Solid Midwestern than Eccentric Aristocrat.)

A few rules on what makes a name an Eccentric Aristocrat:

1.   It must be rooted in tradition, but not traditional. So: Circe yes, Charles no.   Edward no, Edgar yes.

2.   It must have a distinct gender identification, but not a conventional one. The name Inigo is clearly male, while India plainly female.   Yet Inigo might just as well design clothes as play football, and India seems as appropriate a name for an international financier as for a supermodel.

3. It must be attractive but not beautiful. Think the highest quality Scottish cashmere, slightly moth-eaten.  Forget the usual standards of melody and flow.  Like rubber wellies paired with a ballgown, Eccentric Aristocrat names are more provocative than pleasing.

But enough with the theory.  Here are some examples of Eccentric Aristocrat names beyond those already mentioned.  I’ll leave the more obvious choices such as Beatrix and Barnaby to real life and go further out on the edge.

girls

boys

I know you’re itching to add more, so let’s hear them!

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53 Responses to “Cool Names: The Eccentric Aristocrats”

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Elizabeth Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 1:17 am

This is deffintly my style.

peach Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 1:30 am

Oh, some of my favorite girl’s names are here: Beatrix, Clementina, Cosima, Daphne, Eugenie, Sybil. I’m not such a fan of the boy’s names except Montgomery.

Names I’d add to this list:
girls: Rosalind, Geraldine, Adela, Maud, Hanne, Clarissa, Engracia.
boys: Lachlan, Tarquin, Thaddeus, Piero, Victor, Fabian.

Megan Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 1:31 am

Orson?

Suzi Q Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 1:37 am

You have absolutely pinpointed my naming style! You have made me very happy 🙂 I have a son called Felix and many of my favourites are there!

Cosima
Octavia
Clementina
Flora
Jemima
Theodosia
Ursula

Cosmo
Euan
Jasper
Peregrine

Abby Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 6:07 am

Peach, Tarquin was my first thought, too!

Florence Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 6:22 am

Eccentric aristocrat is defiantly my style. I love: Flora, Felix, Inigo, Beatrix, Ottilie, Bertie and Hamish!

Others to add (names of people i know) –
Girls: Euphemia, Hermione, Rafaella, Anastasia, Hebe
Boys: Fergus, Angus, Hector, Ivo, Caspar,

Stacy Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 6:23 am

Nico, to me, is definitely male, and not female. I don’t even see it as remotely female!

This list is mostly a bit beyond my style, but I do love some of them on it: Bryony, Beatrix, Cicely (and Cecily), Daphne, Hester, Araminta, Cecil, Edgar, Euan (and Eoin), Lysander, Bartholomew

I would also add: Tamsin, Dorothea (is that too pretty or traditional?), Marthe, Jonquil, Oonagh

I have more trouble with boys, as my taste is a bit more traditional there.

pam Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 6:42 am

I know what you mean, Stacy. In real life I would have a much easier time naming a daughter Araminta than a son Lysander — and think Araminta would have an easier time than Lysander on the playground too….

BasicSand Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 6:43 am

Here a few that I would add to your list:

Alastair
Lucian
Orson
Pascal

Arden
Flora
Kitty
Maude
Nell
Polly
Thea

ycw Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 8:29 am

I admire the style, but they aren’t the names I’d use for real children.

Joy Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 8:40 am

I wouldn’t put Georgiana on this list. She’s more of a classic, especially given her use by Jane Austen. She’s one of my favorites, along with Caroline, Louisa and Sabrina.

Lisa Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 9:15 am

I agree that Nico is solidly male which breaks your rule #2. However, I think that that is the perfect example of how even when we have very defined criteria for our naming style and how individual names do or don’t fit it…we all have those names that we like/love that just defy our rules.

Oh, and I will also second (third?) the idea that I run more traditional on boy names than girl names.

Lola Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 9:20 am

This seems like my style. These are on my lists: Araminta, Jemima, Ottilie & Sybil (as Sibyl) for girls and Balthazar, Cosmo, Percy, Peregrin(e), Rollo, Valentin(e) & Willoughby for boys.

Some others I’d put on this list:
Fenella
Callisto
Maud
Oona
Elspeth
Amabel
Cleome
Rex (well, maybe too manly)
Durante
Galen
Claud(e)
Philo
Dorian
Cicero

As just a few that crossed my mind!

pdxlibrarian Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 9:31 am

Oh, fun! Names that might fit in with your list:

Diantha
Gulliver
Rosalie
Victorine
Leta
Lucretia
Byron
Woodrow
Rutherford

linda Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 11:00 am

I once had a British boss named Peregrine, whose sister was Pandora–definite EccAristos!

Other Carolyn Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I think my style might be eccentric welsh aristocrat, lol. I love most of these names, although I wouldn’t give all of them to a child (sometimes because of cultural connotations, the big one there being Jemima, and sometimes because I live in the redneck part of Canada and kids can be cruel).

These were my favourites: Amaryllis, Araminta, Bryony, Cicely (though I prefer it Cecily), Clementina, Daphne, Eugenie, Georgiana, Jemima (but the syrup, ack, why?), Octavia, Ottilie, Primrose, Sybil, Theodosia, Zanna, Balthazar, Bertie, Cyril, Edgar, Euan, Hamish, Ivon, Jago, Lysander, Montgomery, Percy, Romulus, Valentine. So, basically all of them.

I’d also consider these names in a similar style: Alastríona, Ambrosia, Ariadne, Cressida, Delphina, Fenella, Pandora, Thomasina, Verity, Zara, Alasdair, Alden, Audley, Caius, Edwin, Evander, Hadrian, and Heathcliff (my boys names take a nose dive into the very welsh side of things after that).

Macy Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 12:25 pm

yeah, Nico is obviously a male name…

I like Cecil for some reason. Don’t ask my why.

n Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 2:09 pm

i have a willoughby…so i guess this is my naming style.

Leila Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I love so many of these! Daphne Georgiana is the name of my daughter, actually, and I have boys named Edgar Fitzroy, Horatio Valentine, and Lysander Bartholomew, and we nearly named Lysander Romulus! A lot from your list, I’d say (even if one’s Horatio instead of Horace)!

JuliaDrucilla Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I think Nico is unisex. I’m fairly sure that there is a semi-famous (female) designer named Nico. That said, it doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of your list. I have a brother named Felix and n, I love Willoughby!

jpruitt76 Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I just *love* Daphne, Eugenie, Sybil and Octavia! Also Beatrix and Cosima.

From the boys, Montgomery and Willoughby are great (I know a guy named Willoughby who goes by Wilby). Ditto Edgar, Felix and Barnaby.

I would add:
Enid
Bevin
Yvette
Ingrid
Nova
Ramona
Mona
Zinnia
Phaedra
Xanthe
Sunniva
Zelda
Eudora
Sidra
Toril
Tosca
Trilby
Marit
Berit

Otto
Barrett
Fritz
Remington
Remy
Gideon
Merritt
Arlo
Anders
Angus
Fergus
Tobin
Burke
Tarquin
Soren
Clive

spinfairy Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 5:46 pm

This is a great list, so my naming style!

Two of my children’s names are on it (Octavia and Inigo) and the other two aren’t far off the mark, as a PP mentioned Ariadne, that just leaves Halcyon to add to the girls. There are so many names on there that we toyed with at naming times, so I feel this must definitely make me eccentric (and British) but unfortunately I am nowhere near the aristocracy!

Claire Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 6:53 pm

A lot of these are too out there for me, so I guess you might describe my style as more “traditional aristocrat” — names like Josephine, Louisa, Edith, Jack and Edmund. LOL. But I like Eugenie and Alistair.

Prim Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I guess this must be my parents style because my name’s Primrose and my siblings are Balthazar, Geneviva and Esmeralda. 🙂

babynamesrule Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I love this style and these suggestions. My style and my finance’s style are quite opposite (I’m an eclectic eccentric and he’s an all-around classic guy,) but I think even he would think some of these are cool. Come on, who doesn’t think Montgomery is a great middle name?

hilary Says:

May 31st, 2011 at 10:18 pm

This is a great post! I was wondering how you would define the difference between beautiful and attractive? I have my own ideas, but I’m curious to see how you’d articulate it.

Aly Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 12:30 am

This is totally my style. I have a Georgiana (Georgie).

CountryLizB Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I like these names that are listed:
Amaryllis
Hester sp. Esther
Jemima
Octavia
Sybil sp. Sibyl

Edgar

tavn Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 6:46 pm

What about Lucan? Lucan was the nickname of an old Roman poet. It was also the name of the butler for Arthur & his knights, apparently.

*person* Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Ottilie is my favourite!
My name is kind of aristocrat-ish, but more “I’m gonna inherit the kingdom in your face” then eccentric.

Claire.
Attractive, but not beautiful. Nobody on seeing my name written thought I was a boy, but nobody would think it strange if I was a scientist or banker. Not prissy and princess-y like Clara, but still traditional.
I hated it at the age of five, but at the age of eleven… I’m likin’ it 🙂

*person* Says:

June 1st, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Claud Maud, Morgan and Morag are my favourite for girls… Hah, maybe THIS is my style!

lele Says:

June 2nd, 2011 at 7:52 am

Kinda of my style. I like Cecily, Pandora, Ophelia, Artemis for a girl and Piero, Cassius, Ruben Montgomery for a boy

C in DC Says:

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I love Georgiana and Ottilie for the girls and Jonty for the boys. I’ll add a guilty pleasure: Chauncey.

mummyto3 Says:

June 3rd, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Some lovely names there for the girls.
I particularly like: Amaryllis, Daphne, Cosima, Flora, Cicely (prefer Cecily), Jemima and quite fond of Primrose, although I wouldn’t use it myself.
Some of them are too OTT for me: Araminta, Serendipity, Theodosia.
Is Maybelle made up? It sounds like a mish mash of two names to me.

For the boys, I do like some of them: Bartholomew, Cosmo, Hamish and even have a soft spot for Montgomery. However, I think that, in reality, it would be very hard for a boy to carry most of these names. I don’t think a little Balthazar, Peregrine or Valentine would feel too thrilled about their name as teenagers, at least not in the UK!

Kittyn Says:

June 3rd, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I /love/ so many of these names! Notably Octavia, Otillie and Theodosia are on my list for a girl, and I find Balthazar, Bartholomew and Edgar endearing.

I consider my style “a little bit of everything,” and this taste is definitely included in it. I love many of the names mentioned in the article/blog post.

Sunday Summary: 6/5/11 | Appellation Mountain Says:

June 5th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

[…] well can you define your name style?  Nameberry’s Pam pegs hers as “Eccentric Aristocrat” while Bewitching Names’ Isadora calls hers “Worldly Strega.”  I have a theory […]

Madi Says:

June 5th, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Elodie Isobel and Violet Rosalie
Asa James and Sailor Hope
Denver Lake and Micah Zane

Tamsyn Says:

June 18th, 2011 at 11:11 am

My name is Tamsyn, not Tamsin (my mother didn’t want the word “sin” in my name).

I love almost all the names on the list, although I think that Nico, while a cool nickname for a girl, is, by itself, completely a boys name.

Casey Says:

June 19th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

While I’d say this doesn’t pinpoint my style exactly, I appreciate it and there are several names from this list that I would consider, which are:
For girls-
Bryony
Circen(LOVE)
Clementina
Daphne (LOVE)
Emerald
Primrose

For Boys-
Edgar
Euan
Ivon
Jago (LOVE)
Montgomery
Percy

Blue Says:

July 11th, 2011 at 7:31 am

I really like those names, although I would never give them.
We have a French family name and French first names are running in the family.

I would like to add :

– girl –
Celeste
Ariadne
Penelope
Almondine
Genevieve
Evangeline
Cadence
Millicent
Meredith
Mavis
Haggith
Dorith – Dorrit
Aldith
Iseult – Isott
Damaris
Imogen
Mabel – Maybel
Juniper
Tempest
Ismay
Wallis
Phaedra
Talulah
Corisanda
Zephalinda
Tabitha
Ornella
Calantha
Cleo(-patra)
Beulah

– boys –
Ambrose
Constantine
Ezechiel > short : Haskell
Tennessee
Tiberias
Ulysses
Melchior
Ramses
Everett
Orville
Rowell
Ivor
Ephron
Cyriack
Emeric
Emery
Ogden
Hector
Ywain
Ackerley
Latimer
Chadrick
Bingham
Carswell
Ellison
Merrill
Llewellyn
Ansell
Clarence
Benedict
Dorius
Harmon

Jennifer Says:

July 28th, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Yes! My husband always mocks me for my choice in names… especially when we were trying to choose a name for our first kid last year.

We had a boy and named him Gaius.

If we had a girl, my pick was Theodosia.

lisa Says:

August 11th, 2011 at 12:31 am

I love this style!
We need a german name for our 3 day old baby girl,
can you think of any in this style?

So far my husband likes Greta,
my other kids like Heidi.

Any thoughts on this or suggestions for me?
thankyou

EbonyEden Says:

March 5th, 2012 at 3:08 am

Definitely my naming style! 🙂

brown_town_ Says:

July 12th, 2012 at 7:46 am

it’s important to note how these names have evolved over time. Fitzroy was the last name French kings gave to their bastard sons. It was a way to recognize their royal paternage but let everyone know that they were conceived out of wedlock. Just imagine the playground teasing the day that’s revealed in history class.

blueberry1215 Says:

July 22nd, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I’ve found my style! 🙂
I was having a hard time describing it, and when you said vintage I was hopeful you had a name for my style, too.
I’ll admit it, some of these names, like Waldo, Balthazar, and Ursula, I would never dream of using. They’re just too much for me. I also like to mix in more modern choices, such as Haven and Rory, which I am absolutely loving right now!
Other than a few that I would pass over, this list is full of names that I simply adore.
Thanks for writing it! <3

pam Says:

July 23rd, 2012 at 5:21 am

Glad you like it, Blueberry. Rory is my daughter’s name! But it’s not a “modern” name — it’s an ancient Irish boys’ name. Rory O’Connor was a high king of Ireland in the 12th century; another Rory O’Connor was an Irish republican activist in the early 1900s. Though the name does sound modern!

Glycemia Says:

July 25th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

An important thing to keep in mind that historically, the upper class have been the trendsetters in society. This applies to names, too. The lower classes would soon adopt the prestigious names or some derivative of them, then the upper class had to make up new names, and it repeats.

That is why we see people with questionable names such as “Blue Ivy…” It may seem eccentric, but that will be in a book of 10,000 baby names 20 years from now.

Of course we live in an age where we like to think that the barriers between classes have dissolved… But we can still see the subtle relationship between them.

sarahmezz Says:

January 27th, 2013 at 6:10 am

Nico was actually the name of a very FEMALE German singer who often collaborated with The Velvet Underground (releasing the album The Velvet Underground & Nico). She was friends with Andy Warhol and also appeared in the film La Dolce Vita.

MicroHorse Says:

February 18th, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I quite like Cecilia myself, for a girl, and Emmeline. Anneliese is also a good one for a girl.
Another boy name could be Gilbert. Its not one to be mistaken for a girls name and can be shortened to ‘Gil’ or ‘Bertie’.
I think a nice boy name is Eustace. It doesn’t have any complicated syllables and can’t really be shortened. Valentine is a nice one as well.

benjamelissa Says:

June 10th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I don’t know my style, yet. Probably not this one. I would name a daughter Zanna, though. My choices would probably be Devin for a girl, Alyssa is my all time favorite, but I also like Janna, Mallory, and my new favorite is Avvie for a girl. Boys favorites are Ian, Gavin, Evan, Caleb, Aaron, Alexander, and Nathanael. A new favorite is Eben. So, I guess I’d describe it as a little bit different but not too unusual. Safe, maybe? It’s funny, because a lot of the classic names that pop up on many different posts are in my family tree. My maternal grandmother was Alice Beatrice and her mother was Mary Louisa Jane. My hubby’s mom was Pauline Elizabeth. and my great grand father was George Emory. Names I hadn’t thought of using before finding this website. But now I’m seeing them in a whole new light. Thanks, Nameberry.

Catastroffy Says:

December 17th, 2014 at 5:45 am

I would say that this was my style, although I edge slightly further on more simple classics. I love Timothea, Alistair and Ottilie, but I also love Anne, Edith, and Mary. I would be more likely to use the full-blown aristocratic names on characters than on children, but I’m far away from having children so you never know.

Eccentric Boy And Girl Names | Welcome to Atkhmer Says:

June 22nd, 2015 at 12:09 am

[…] Cool Names: The Eccentric Aristocrats – Baby Name Blog … – How would you describe your favorite name style?, asked a recent Nameberry Question of the Week. Do you prefer cool names? Classic? Stylish? […]

ashbee Says:

November 22nd, 2015 at 1:15 pm

I love this style! Not a single name on here I don’t like. 😀

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