Unusual Girls’ Names: 100 excellent choices
One of our most popular blog posts ever was on 100 wonderful names given to 25 or fewer girls each year. (We did a boys’ version too.)
But what, we wondered recently, would happen if we narrowed the parameters even more? If we looked only at names given to ten or fewer girls in the most recent year counted? This still includes a mind-blowing total of nearly 10,000 names, but would we be able to find 100 great ones?
The answer, we believe, is a resounding yes, and we hope the list here proves it.
If you truly want an unusual name for your baby girl, this is the list for you. It includes underused classics such as Maude and Rowena along with international choices such as Anwen and Timea; ancient names such as Hebe and Hero; and newly-minted names like Cairo and Blue. And each given to only ten girls or fewer in the entire United States.
Our picks for the 100 best cool unusual girls’ names, with the number of children who received it in 2012:
1. Aberdeen, 10
2. Afra, 9
3. Africa, 8
4. Alannis, 9
5. Aliz, 10
6. Amabel, 7
7. Amorie, 10
8. Annetta, 10
9. Anwen, 10
10. Avis, 10
11. Bess, 6
12. Bette, 5
13. Blanche, 9
14. Blaze, 10
15. Blue, 10
16. Bridie, 8
17. Britt, 7
18. Cairo, 10
19. California, 10
20. Cameo, 9
21. Carlisle, 10
22. Carlotta, 10
23. Carola, 9
24. Cassiopeia, 5
25. Cece, 8
26. Celestina, 8
27. Celinda, 9
28. Chandra, 10
29. Christabelle, 10
30. Cicely, 8
31. Claudine, 5
32. Clea, 10
33. Clementina, 8
34. Concetta, 5
35. Cosima, 8
36. Dharma, 10
37. Domino, 6
38. Drusilla, 6
39. Emanuella, 10
40. Eugenie, 10
41. Eulalie, 6
42. Fara, 10
43. Fawn, 9
44. Federica, 8
45. Garland, 5
46. Gelsey, 6
47. Germaine, 6
48. Ginevra, 10
49. Gwendolen, 9
50. Hebe, 8
51. Hephzibah, 10
52. Hero, 8
53. Hyacinth, 6
54. Isabeau, 10
55. Jerusha, 9
56. Jessamine, 10
57. Kitty, 10
58. Leda, 10
59. Letitia, 6
60. Lucretia, 8
61. Maelys, 10
62. Mariabella, 10
63. Martine, 8
64. Matisse, 10
65. Maude, 9
66. Neri, 6
67. Oceane, 7
68. Ondine, 9
69. Parthenia, 6
70. Perrin, 10
71. Phillipa, 9
72. Raphaela, 10
73. Rashida, 10
74. Ravenna, 10
75. Reeve, 6
76. Rowena, 10
77. Sam, 5
78. Sanna, 10
79. Scotland, 10
80. Sian, 7
81. Sibylla, 7
82. Sidonie, 7
83. Sigrid, 10
84. Simi, 10
85. Sojourner, 7
86. Solstice, 6
87. Sonata, 7
88. Sonnet, 10
89. Sonoma, 9
90. Sorcha, 10
91. Stacia, 10
92. Sula, 8
93. Surya, 10
94. Tansy, 6
95. Taren, 6
96. Tilda, 10
97. Timea, 7
98. Trixie, 10
99. Tulsi, 7
100. Windsor, 10
Which are your favorites? Which would you use/not use?
About the author
View all of 's articles
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
on November 7th, 2013 at 2:36 am
A lot of these are on my short list. I had no idea that my favorite names were liked by so few :/ I’m also surprised to find some of these on this list
on November 7th, 2013 at 4:46 am
Carlisle is a fave of mine as I know a wonderful woman called Carlysle, I would consider it as a middle.
*Love Love Love these names.
on November 7th, 2013 at 7:37 am
Any list that includes Dharma and Solstice automatically gets the authenticity stamp of COOL.
on November 7th, 2013 at 7:58 am
Least Favorite: Reeve because it is my favorite boy’s name!
Favorite unique: Amorie, Aliz
Favorite meaning: Ondine
Favorite under-used classic/internationals: Anwen, Letitia, Lucretia, Parenthia, Sian (as a middle)
Favorite words: Sonnet, Sonata
Drusilla sounds too evil, maybe because it reminds me of “Cruella DeVil”; just don’t “get” Birdie–despite its history of use it still strikes me as silly and childish
on November 7th, 2013 at 8:04 am
strike Ondine I was thinking of Orina, which has only made the SSA list once
on November 7th, 2013 at 8:29 am
Would use these in a heartbeat. They feel sparkly & magical yet down to earth!
on November 7th, 2013 at 8:57 am
Celestina, Aliz, Amorie, Bess, Christabelle, Cicely, Claudine, Clea, Cosima, Drusilla, Hebe, Tansy, Sorcha, Sonnet, Sigrid, Sanna, Ravena, Raphaela, Ondine, Leda, Jessamine…
My absolute fave is Leda
on November 7th, 2013 at 9:03 am
Amorie, Bridie, Celestina, Clementina, Cosima, Drusilla, Eugenie, Eulalie, Isabeau, Jessamine, Letitia, Martine, Maude, Rowena & Sidonie 🙂
on November 7th, 2013 at 10:18 am
I like Clea and Leda. I also sort of like Sonnet and Fawn, but I’d never use them.
on November 7th, 2013 at 10:32 am
I like Amabel, Blue, Cece, Cicely, Clea, Hebe, Matisse, Tilda and Trixie.
I am surprised to see Martine and Claudine listed as ‘cool’ names. Here in Belgium they were very common around forty to fifty years ago, so I hear this name all the time, and I definitely don’t think of them as cool, but rather as middle-aged and boring 😉
on November 7th, 2013 at 10:56 am
@ iamamiam: slight correction – the name isn’t B-IRDie, the name is B-RIDie.
Even before this list, Rowena, Maelys, Claudine (although I prefer Claudina) have been long-term loves for me!! But from the list, Aberdeen, Cameo, Chandra, Ginevra, Sonnet, and Carlotta (just saw this one on another Berry’s signature yesterday!!) definitely peaked my interest.
Jerusha certainly stands out, but is familiar to me, as she (surname Clark) is a Christian author whom I’ve enjoyed reading; it was the first time I ever heard it tho. I also know a 60 yr old, caucasian Letitia who goes by Tish; this was also the first Letitia I’ve ever known personally. The one name I am surprised by here is Gwendolen – I thought she was much more popular than that! (I guess Phillipa surprises me too, since there was so much talk of it after the Royal wedding.. but Middleton’s name is actually spelled Philippa.)
To me, Avis goes along the lines of Avery/Averee, Arden, etc—but my husband works at Enterprise Rent A Car, so even if I decided it should go on our list, that just wouldn’t fly! Lol. Think I prefer Mavis to Avis tho. Sonata is a bit too automobile for me… as is Sonoma (altho I know it isn’t a car).
on November 7th, 2013 at 11:22 am
I’m delighted to see Avis was given to ten baby girls in 2012. It is my 92-year-old grandmother’s name and I think it is as spunky as she!
on November 7th, 2013 at 11:23 am
As always, I love the old-fashioned real names and dislike names like Solstice, Dharma, and the like.
Give me a Kitty or an Amabel any day as they will withstand the test of time.
on November 7th, 2013 at 12:14 pm
I like Cairo, Hero, Ondine, Gwendolen and Hyacinth.
on November 7th, 2013 at 12:20 pm
I just love Sonnett! And Amorie with a y (Amory), my other faves are Matisse, Windsor, Emanuella, Hero, and Cairo.
on November 7th, 2013 at 12:21 pm
on November 7th, 2013 at 1:25 pm
Some interesting choices to be sure, I especially love –
Rowena – It’s stunning and beautiful imo.
Ravenna – I love it, even though it is the evil queen name in Snowhite and the Huntsmen, there is something just striking about the name.
Gwendolen – It’s pretty, I still prefer Gwyneth, but I think Gwendolen is a good choice to get nn Gwen.
Sorcha – I love this! It just wouldn’t work well in America because of issues with people pronouncing it.
on November 7th, 2013 at 2:19 pm
I like several of these. Here’s the ones I would consider using:
Ondine — middle
Sojourner — middle
Sonnet — middle
Others I like but wouldn’t use:
Anwen — pretty but sort of blah
Cassiopeia — I’d love to but the spelling and pronunciation would kill my family
Celestina — very pretty but not for me
Eulalie — sweet but I know one who goes by Lolly
Gwendolen — I like it but not enough to use it
Hebe — it’s cute, but hee-bee isn’t a name I would give to anyone “That give me the heebie jeebies” is what I think of
Hero — too much of a word but I love the literary connections
Hyacinth — beautiful but the mythological connection is a boy and I like it there
Isabeau — I think it’s sweet but not for me
Kitty — I’m planning on using it as a nickname though
Leda — It’s just not up to par with the rest of my names
Rowena — I like it roh-wen-ah but I think most people say roh-wee-nah
The worst in my opinion:
Africa — O_o
Blaze — I like it fine on a boy, find it harsh on a girl
Blue — I will never get this as a name
Bridie — I just can’t get this one
California — weird state name choice
Carlisle — boys name and not girly at all
Domino — adorable nickname but weird as a first name
Garland — not the best word name
Gelsey — I think this sounds really weird
Reeve — This isn’t appealing on a girl at all
Scotland — I don’t like place names but this ones not even sort of pretty
on November 7th, 2013 at 3:02 pm
Cosima and Jessamine are gorgeous! I have to say though Clea is my favorite, I think I would actually swoon if I met a little girl named Clea.
on November 7th, 2013 at 3:33 pm
I would totally consider: Jerusha, Gwendolyne, Maelys & Rowena
on November 7th, 2013 at 4:13 pm
There are several names here that I love: Aliz, Cosima, Eugenie, Ginera, Gwendolen, Jerusha, and Maelys stand out. I’m with @annabelle about Claudine. I’ve worked with a few Claudines and they were close to my mom’s age.
Names I dislike: Blue (sorry Beyonce), Cairo (family friends have a lovely golden retriever by this name), Matisse, Reeve, Scotland (like as a country, dislike as a given name), and Windsor (makes me think of knots and castles).
on November 7th, 2013 at 5:11 pm
@iwillpraise I also misspelled Parthenia! ugh, I should probably just give up on posting early in the morning 😉
on November 7th, 2013 at 5:27 pm
Sojourner! What a beautiful name, and quite one to live up to. I immediately think of Sojourner Truth. I’d never use it, but wow…. what a powerful name!
Hyacinth, another beauty I’d never use, probably because it reminds me of the Kevin Henkes book Chrysanthemum.
Surprised to see Rowena on the list. I’ve met a few baby boys named Rowen/ Rowan, so I’d assume a similar female name would be somewhat equally popular.
Phillipa… While I know Pippa Middleton is Philippa, I’d expect to see the name and its various spellings higher up the charts, given the US’s royal obsession. Not one of my favorites, but it’s lovely to see a handful of traditional names on here.
I’m not really hot on Hebe. For one, people might mispronounce it as a derogatory word (honestly, I wanted to until I searched it!) and I think heebie-jeebies might invoke teasing.
on November 7th, 2013 at 5:38 pm
My favourite names have to be Amabel, Raphaela, Clea, Cosima, Garland and Ginerva. Both Amabel and Clea are already on my girl’s list. Germaine seems to be a more masculine name that I wouldn’t use.
on November 7th, 2013 at 7:32 pm
These are all so inspirational! My favorites are Amabel, Anwen, Blanche, Celestina, Cosima, Drusilla, Eulalie, Ginevra, Isabeau, Jessamine, Kitty, Leda, Lucretia, Maude, Rowena, and Scotland. Cosima, Jessamine, and Rowena are the three I’d be most likely to consider using.
on November 7th, 2013 at 9:10 pm
Cassiopeia is one of my favorite names…I’m glad it isn’t used as much, I wouldn’t want my future girl running around with ten Cassie’s and Cass’s in her class. It’s a pretty name, though.
on November 7th, 2013 at 10:18 pm
There are SO MANY great names on this list!
Names currently on my list: Amabel, Gwendolen and Maude.
Names I’d genuinely consider using: Cosima, Eugenie, Garland, Gelsey, Hyacinth, Isabeau, Kitty, Letitia, Maelys, Ondine, Philippa, Raphaela and Sigrid.
Names I wouldn’t use, but they’re still great: Aberdeen, Anwen, Avis, Bess, Blanche, Carlisle, Cassiopeia, Cece, Claudine, Concetta, Domino, Drucilla, Eulalie, Federica, Hero, Jessamine, Martine, Matisse, Oceane and Rowena.
on November 7th, 2013 at 10:50 pm
So surprised to see Amabel, Gwendolen and Rowena on here.
I’ve got several of these on my list.
Ones I’d definitely consider actually using: Eulalia (I prefer this to Eulalie), Chandra (has a MTG association for me, not sure that’s a good thing but I like it)
Ones I like but I’m not sure I’d use: Blaze (maybe as a mn?), Blue, Cicely (the meaning isn’t great and it’d probably get misspelled), Solstice (though I prefer Soleil, and I haven’t really made many combos with either), Sibylla (looks a bit too much like “sibling” and probably would have spelling issues) Sigrid, Rowena (I really like this as a middle, but not sure about it as a first), Amabel (far as -bel names go I currently prefer Mirabel, but this is sweet)
I also like but probably wouldn’t use: Hyacinth, Jessamine, Blanche, Maude, Carlotta, Isabeau, Ginevra, Kitty (too nicknamey bleh), Sidonie, Fara, Bess (three strikes: nickname, cow association, and religious meaning. Wah.)
I also really like Cameo and Hero (want to add them to my list now aah)
And I kind of like Martine, I like Martina and Martin but they’ve never really been on my list or gotten used in my combos for some reason. Same with Carlotta.
And Timea is interesting.
One I don’t get at all is Garland. Always sounded masculine to me… And Gelsey sounds odd and made up. Nice meaning but not really a pleasant sound.
I also don’t like Aberdeen. I just see “beard” or “a beard”. And in Eugenie I see “eugenics” which is far worse.
Those are the only ones I really dislike though. And I actually think Garland would be interesting – on a boy.
Several of these names (i.e. Bess, Kitty, Bridie, Britt, Trixie, Sam, Cece) are cute but very much nicknames.
And I know a Sonnet (about 10-12 years old I think?), which made it seem much more like a usable person name, though I don’t think I’d use it.
on November 8th, 2013 at 7:43 am
I like a lot of these names, so it’s great to know they’re unique, but not unheard of. Especial favorites include Anwen and Celestina (though Celestia is my favorite), and Cassieopia and Fawn have been growing on me lately.
on November 8th, 2013 at 8:49 am
Yay – I can post on here today – I couldn’t post on the blog yesterday.
These are the standouts for me…
on November 8th, 2013 at 2:55 pm
Wonderful names, with a few surprises. I knew Gwendolyn was the more popular spelling, but I can’t believe Gwendolen is so low.
I love Ondine.
on November 8th, 2013 at 3:51 pm
I swear some of the unusual choices of the USA are very popular in the UK for example the Sian is very popular here.
on November 9th, 2013 at 5:28 pm
LOVE Sojourner. What a great namesake, but a big one to live up to.
I’m also smitten with Sorcha, Cassiopeia, Ginerva, and Jerusha.
on November 11th, 2013 at 1:03 pm
Love this list!
Waiting for a boys version now 🙂
Best 100 Cool Unusual Boys’ Names – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on December 10th, 2013 at 7:18 am
[…] we brought you our Top 100 picks for the best cool unusual girls’ names; today it’s the boys’ […]
on December 16th, 2013 at 1:17 am
I like a lot of these, but I was especially happy to see Sojourner and Sigrid on here. I agree with RainbowBright908 on Sojourner. Sigrid reminds me of Ingrid, which I also love.
on December 18th, 2013 at 6:31 pm
Ceciley never makes the list. lol.
on January 14th, 2014 at 4:16 am
I LOVE Hebe and my middle name is Fawn, so of coarse I love it too!:-)
on November 22nd, 2014 at 9:45 pm
I was pleasantly surprised to see my daughter’s name, Leda, on this list. She was born in 2011. Is it really true that this name is THAT rare that fewer than 10 children received it in 2012? It’s also hard for me to believe that this is true, because we live in a medium-sized town and there is another child at my daughter’s preschool who has the same name (born in 2012). Just checking to see if this is a crazy coincidence.
on November 22nd, 2014 at 10:16 pm
@Kgz, yes, it’s true, only 10 girls were named Leda in the US in 2012. So….crazy coincidence to live in the same town with another one!
on October 8th, 2015 at 2:05 pm
My daughter was one of the 10 Maelys girlies born in 2012. 🙂
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.