Extreme Baby Names: One you love but are afraid to use?

Today’s Question of the Week comes from the pages of our very own forums:

Is there a name that you wish you were gutsy enough to use—but probably aren’t?  One that you really  love, but fear is too extreme?

Are you afraid of the effect it would have on your child–or other people’s reaction?

FYI–some of the names your fellow berries have put on the table:

Alouette

Ambrose

Andromeda

Appoline

Apollo

Arroyo

…..and those are just some of the A’s!

So how brave are you?

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74 Responses to “Extreme Baby Names: One you love but are afraid to use?”

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4onica Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 12:35 am

Fifer! (girl)

daisy451 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 12:54 am

Do I ever! I have a whole list of crazy names that I love but wouldn’t use, including:
Isis, Ramses, Nefertiti, Cairo (I seem to have a subconscious Egypt obsession), Esmerelda, Otto, Zebedee, Ozias, Anais, Maelys, Penn, Kingston, Blaise, Inigo, Indira, Bentley, Axel, Moxie, Ziggy, Ugo, Philo, and Galatea.

ReeseHere Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 1:54 am

I HIGHLY considered Apollo for my son before he was born. It was my number 1 but I changed it at the last minute. No regrets, but Apollo would have been lovely.

erb2010 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 6:45 am

I felt this way about Clementine when discussing names for my last three babies. We’re having our fourth soon and are finally ready to use it! Some others- Agatha, Azalea, Clover, January, Magnolia, Marigold, Paisley, Octavia, Verity, Winter, Xanthe, Beau (although I would have used this as a nn), Ignatius, Linus

ninkynonk Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 7:07 am

Trying to work up the courage to use Ursula. Husband is totally on board… need the mettle to do it.

pam Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 7:50 am

A character in my upcoming novel is named Jupiter, called Jupe, and over the course of writing the book I came to really love that name. I wondered whether I’d be brave enough to use it in real life and decided no — that decision is reflected in a funny twist with the main character at the end of the book, but I can’t tell you what it is because I hope you’re all going to buy and read the book! (It’s called The Possibility of You, and it’s coming out at the end of February.)

Lola Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 9:12 am

For me, it’s Ottilie. Only. Seems hard for people to say right, which baffles & dismays me. It also ends the same as my girly Scottish surname. So while it stays on my list, I waffle. I utterly adore Ottilie but don’t know if I would be brave enough to name a daughter.

On the boys side, I’ve got nothin’! Ignatius, Cassius, Barnaby, Rufus, Remy & Rex are all on our list. As first names. Then again, the ‘boring classics’ go in the middle, so, why not?! (they’re not really boring).

So, I’m pretty brave (Leo & Simon were born in ’86, Josephine in ’04) but Ottilie gives me fits! 😀

Lola Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 9:14 am

Oh, and Ambrose, up there, is my Simon’s middle name! Apollo is a middle name in play on our boys list, too!

lorencs3 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 10:32 am

I would love to use Ximena, but it doesn’t match my ethnic background and still seems to be confusing and unknown to most people I ask, even though it ranks 300-ish in the US. Also Atlas, which I loved before Anne Heche used it, and Ptolemy, which some other celebrity used.

shieldsc Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 10:44 am

Isadora. I really wanted to use this but chickened out due to my fear of other people hating it. But my baby doesn’t seem like an Isadora anyway, so it turned out fine!

gipro2003 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 10:49 am

I’m pretty bold when it comes to using the more unusual names. I am expecting my first and the list for boys includes Phineas, Milos, Maximillian, Horatio, Leopold, Amadeus, and Ebenezer at this moment. The girls name is Karin Olympia. I wouldn’t hesitate to use many of the above names.

kyburg Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 10:50 am

I AGONIZED over using Walter. It took 6 months for me to seriously consider it, and then 3 days after he was born to get up the courage to put it on the birth certificate. 5 months later, no regrets! I have had 2 instances of negative feedback, but other than that nothing but compliments. And it fits him so well.

Flick Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 10:54 am

I’m pretty fearless when it comes to naming. My step kids have some bold names tucked in the middle, including Alejandro, Esperanza and Tazienne, my son’s name is actually kind of boring in comparison, lol. We plan on having one more and I’m set on using something bold and more to my tastes since I didn’t have a lot of choice in my son’s name and it will be my last chance at naming a child.

Tressa Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 11:06 am

Juniper and Ariadne are high on my list of loves, but I don’t think I could ever use them. Growing up with a name like Tressa has made me appreciate more heard-of names.

JennyBrynn Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 11:17 am

November!

I’m brave enough to use names that are long established, even if unusual. But I’m not so brave with word names.

kalikeli Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 11:34 am

I love a lot of these but am more conservative when it comes to the actual naming. Re: Apollo, I know someone named Apolinario, he goes by “Poli” and I think that is so awesome. Others I love (mine are mostly boys since I have 2): Joaquim, Ignatio (Nacho), Umberto, Tycho, Inigo, Gaje. For girls i like: Kamala, Bryn, Sequoia, Uma.

klcalder2 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 11:36 am

Calliope. Sigh, I love that name. There are others, but that’s my favorite. I also would have used Lyra for my daughter had my husband not been such a butt about it :). It’s not like it’s a strange name, but it is to ears who hear a set of names all the time and don’t consider any others.

gabby1 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 11:54 am

Remember the infamous Balloon boy stunt? The kids name was Falcon and I think that is an awesome name. But I freely admit, I’m not cool enough to be able to name a son that. But I think a sibset of Falcon and Fox would be great though.

i.heart.nerds Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I am pretty brave at using names I like. This little one is going to be Agatha, but she would be Percival if she were a he.
I also like Bertram, Augustus/Augustine and Gertrude. If i wasn’t sure then I would stick it in the middle.

Reeny Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 12:12 pm

– LOLA: I agree with you on Ottilie. I think it is a charming, soft and unusual name, but I don’t think I’d be brave enough to use it. I can imagine that once the name stands for a person it would become a lot more appealing and less unusual, as is the way with less common names, hence one of the reasons for why they are less common. Still, I would have to see the baby first to know the result to this one.

For a boy, probably Etienne. I think it’s lovely and soft and mirrors an old family surname (Ayrton) but I don’t think I could use it because it’s so difficult to pronounce in comparison with my other favourite, Louis (Louie).

LadyCap Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Isadore. It was my great-grandfather’s name and I have always loved it, but even the family thinks its a bit out there. He used to offer people $50 to name a kid after him–middle name didn’t count–the joke being he knew no one would name a kid after him.

tikicatt Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 12:27 pm

@gipro2003 – love your list!

My too extreme to use includes Abraxas, Horatio, Huebert, Barnabas, Cosmo (it’s just too Kramer), Ashley -m, Odysseas, Achilleas, Aristotle – I’ve got a Greek thing going.

I recently met a very lovely adult Electra and that name has now hit the girl’s list.

JenniferMariska Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I’m really hoping to use Ophelia. I think it’s beautiful! I met a little Ophelia at the park when I was working as a nanny. Hopefully when we have kids, I’m brave and can convince my husband to use it.

tct1219 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I used to feel that way about Clementine but now I wonder if it’s not ‘out there’ enough and that eventually there will be thousands of little Clementines running around. I still love it, though, and may use it for another daughter if my husband will get on board.

cwalker1 Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I love Ambrose too! Or Amory for a boy.

Girls: Galilee or Oona. I used to feel this way about Beatrix but I think I’ve convinced myself and my husband.

littlebrownpony Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 2:21 pm

That’s a great question. I’m pretty tame by Nambeberry standards, but I do foster a deep love for Juniper and Althea (girls) and Roscoe for a boy. Or August for a boy or a girl. Alas, I will probably never have the guts to use any of them for Baby #2! But my next male pet will definitely be Roscoe!

skizzo Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Not afraid of any names, if I love them, why not? On my boys list is Sequoia, July, Emrys, Kelsey, Silver, Wynn, Shia, Lincoln, Ryder and Indiana.

Nyx Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 3:09 pm

First off, I must say that I LOVE the fact that the “extreme” names in this case are names like Ignatius, Humphrey, Daciana or Zelda 😀

And I would have to answer YES to this question 🙁 . Including the names above, there are a lot of “extreme” names that I didn’t use. In general, the names I used mostly fall into the “timeless/classic” category (especially my oldest son’s first and middle name). I don’t regret the names, but I do wish I would have added a second middle name to include something more “extreme” 😀

jotadito Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 3:40 pm

The names I love but are a bit scared of (and that my husband vetoes) tend to be ones with either god/goddess ties or famous namesakes. Examples: Apollo, Adonis, Edison, Odysseus, Artemis (okay, heavy on the Greeks). Also Casimir and Perseus.

encore Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I love Nala but I don’t think I would ever use it.

linzybindi Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Oh I SO love this post! My husband seems to feel that just about any names I suggest are too extreme…which is why I love the nameberry crowd!

Okay here are my names…

Daphne
Finola
Imogen
Magnolia – my favorite extreme name!

Alistair
Rafferty
Thaddeus

mermuse Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Llewellyn for a boy and Amarantha for a girl

1baby Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Saoirse was the name we both(!) loved, but I wasn’t brave enough to saddle my kid with all those vowels. On the other hand, we landed on Cerys Anjali and while I think it’s pretty, I’m not sure we did her any favors in the “ease of use” department.

shieldsc Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Esmerelda is a good one. *sigh* What a gorgeous name. Most of the extreme names are ones I would have used but my hubby vetoed.

authorintraining Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Ryker
Fifer (on a girl)
Guinevere
Genevieve
Bronwen (I did use it for a character though)

smismar Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Siobhan. It’s my not-so-secret name crush, but I could never use it. It would never be spelled or pronounced properly and I just couldn’t do that to a little girl. I wish there was an acceptable Anglicized version of it, but they all look like made-up imposters.

nikkiolle Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I have always thought that if my child was born on certain holidays that I would include this in there name..now that my husband and I are on the path to having an only child, will I ever have the guts?

New Years Baby- Silver, Nova
Valentines Baby- Valentina
Halloween Baby- October, Wednesday
Thanksgiving Baby- Cinnamon, Mayflower, November
Christmas Baby- Holiday, Peppermint, Winter, Christmas, Snow

My favorites are October, Holiday and Peppermint

sharn Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 6:58 pm

@tikicatt, I’m just curious what you meant by it’s just too Kramer? My last name happens to be Krammer (with two M’s) and being from New Zealand I have never heard that reference before.
I don’t really have any ‘extreme’ names so to speak, I’m a firm believer in if you love it, use it. 🙂

Ivannie Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 7:41 pm

@sharn, I just thought I would tell you I know two families in my tiny town with the last name of Kremer, but they are both spelt like that.

But other than that, my parents were put there a bit with my own name Ivannie (Eye-vu-knee) and I was a bit weary with my own kids names…
Maraeya (Ma-ray-a)Amarantha and Hadderax Cael, but I love them both and im glad i did.

rollo Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 8:22 pm

My guilty pleasure name is the wonderful Rupert with the cute nn of Rupe.

Someone out there please use it for me!

miloowen Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I love the family names of Mildred and Berte for girls and Bertram and Erling for boys. Don’t think I would have used them, though.

Way out? Parthenia — my great-great grandmother, Parthenia Jones Hammett.

Virtue names though — Wrestling and Comfort for boys, Solace and Mercy for girls.

Sarah A Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Tiberius, only because I think it would be a difficult name to wear if one were anything but confident and handsome. If I had a crystal ball and could ensure that DH and I would produce Brad Pitt/Hugh Jackman-like offspring (ha!) then I would love to bestow Tiberius on a future son, along with other wonderful ancient Roman appellations like Leonidas and Augustus.

For girls, the only names I love but most likely wouldn’t use are because they would get butchered in English: Eirene, Khadija, Hajar, Ruwaida, Thekrayaat.

laurbails Says:

November 2nd, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Apollo is for sure one of mine. I’ve also got Basil (could use this), Aronnax, Eero, Alulquoy (Chumash for dolphin) or its Anglicization Alacoy, Ajax (though recent blogs make this seem tame), Alfred (could use this), October, Ulysses (though I do know three, not convinced it’d be easy), Bernard, and Thomas Edward double barreled as a single name.

To the pp who listed Siobhan— I grew up in a very non-Irish area with a Siobhan, and it was a complete on-issue. Once everyone knew how to pronounce her name, it seemed just as normal as Ashley or Claire. I think it’s ubiquitous enough to use nowadawys.

To the pps who listed Otto, Oona, Daphne, and Magnolia: those are some of my top “normal” names! Uh oh…

aunt_ning Says:

November 3rd, 2011 at 9:53 am

Sharn, I believe what she ment by too “Kramer” is there is a show that was very popular in the US called Seinfeld and there is a character called Cosmo Kramer who is very out there and strange to say the least.

Fernweh Says:

November 3rd, 2011 at 11:59 am

@Sarah A, I too love Tiberius but can’t use it because of the Star Trek connection.

moxielove Says:

November 3rd, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Moxie for a girl and Satchel for a boy.

Malibuxo Says:

November 3rd, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I would certainly use Ambrose, I’ve even considered it.

auroradawn Says:

November 3rd, 2011 at 7:56 pm

The names I’d like-to-use-but-wouldn’t are the ones I’d like to see the guys “take back”: Addison, Ashley, Avery, Courtney, Hilary, Whitney, and, yes, Jocelyn! After reading a novel by Elizabeth Goudge (“A City of Bells”) with a hero named Jocelyn, I’m hooked on it as a man’s name. I just don’t think I could do it, at least here in the US, because of the huge teasing potential.

Jacquelini Says:

November 3rd, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Oooh, I have many names on my list that might be considered out there. The following names I would use as first names but I never really considered as out there since the others on my list are much much more unexpected.
Ambrose
Augustus
Phinnaeus

The others I like run from ancient history through to somewhat invented and last name names. I am not so much afraid to use them but I don’t want any name that sounds like something else or can’t be pronounced by the average person. Even I have trouble with some of my own names and therefore they are on my list as loves but they are discreetly highlighted so that I don’t dwell on them too much!

justme Says:

November 3rd, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Peregrine was a name I fell in love with when I was in the UK for a year of University. Over there the name sounded so masculine strong, here it sounds the opposite of that.

Taz Says:

November 4th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

goldie/marigold, merritt (cause the cigarette reference), lolly and honey (too sweet)
ulysses for a boy

amandaberry Says:

November 6th, 2011 at 2:30 am

Girls: Agatha, Odessa, Angelica
Boys: Gunner, Dundee

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

November 6th, 2011 at 11:18 am

[…] favorite post of the week was easily Nameberry’s Extreme Baby Names: One you love but are afraid to use?  The lists were fantastic – Maelys, Moxie, Apollo, Ursula, Paisley, Atlas, Ariadne, […]

skizzo Says:

November 6th, 2011 at 11:56 am

@auroradawn: ooo I love those names on a boy. In fact, Kelsey is on my shortlist for a boy. I think those are usable depending on the area – I’d definitely take out Avery from the “hard to use” list though, it’s still quite popular for boys and I know a couple of them.

ladybug99 Says:

November 9th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Though I’ve seen some these up here, I’ll post them again!

November- LOVE all the nickname possibilities!! Nova, Emmie, Ember… but it’s a lotta name… maybe with the LN Smith 🙂

Leopold- just saying makes me sigh with happiness and I love nn Leo. But, will he get teased for having, as my mom put it, a “Grandpa Name”?

Odette- Swan Lake….

Mason- Kardashians 🙁

Gilbert- I’m not even sure why I love this one!! NN Gil is edgy and uncommon but NOT Bert!!! Gilbert and Leopold would make a swoon-worthy sibset…

Rush1986 Says:

November 10th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I knew a Siobhan. I called her SIO-BUH-Han. I dont think it bugged her and i do like the name now.

Mine are:
Briar, Lyric, Valnecia
Felix, Franco, Rhys, Lyndon.

I LOVE Briar but for some reason i just cant see myself using it.

I also love Rhys and Lyndon but again, just cant see it being used.

Namestory Says:

November 11th, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I know this is truly out there, and not really a name at all, but for some reason I love Shenendoah. But I could never picture myself yelling it on the playground, and there’s no way my husband would have gone for it. Others I like that would probably never use are Wynter and Clover. The most extreme ones we seriously considered while naming our third were January and Saoirse. I would definitely use either of those, but they didn’t win out in the end.

ferntailwp Says:

December 14th, 2011 at 2:32 am

I would have no regrets in naming a kid! I’m not really afraid of anything, the only ones I have reservations about are Shoelace for a guy and Eyelash for a girl. Both could take the second part of the name and have it either sound tough-as-nails or feminine, but I feel like people would finally stick me in the crazy people home where I belong haha. I absolutely adore Serendipity (Sera) or Chamomile (Cammie) for girls and I would use them in a heart beat and the same goes for Shylock or Lysander for a guy (both Shakespeare names).

emilymaryjane Says:

December 16th, 2011 at 7:26 pm

My mum had this problem she wanted to call me Emiliana which is Italian dad didn’t like it so I got Emily instead mum was refusing it because it was so common but I haven’t met another Emily yet

R_J Says:

December 17th, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Many of these have already been mentioned. I love the names January, Ariadne, Winter, Lux, and Calliope. I recently met a woman named Cedar and thought that was beautiful. I also love Briony- if only it didn’t sound like Brian.

purplekitty5773 Says:

December 24th, 2011 at 1:11 pm

One name I won’t use is Judas, only because I know there will be some uptight person who will take offense to the name because they have nothing better to do with their life.

plainname Says:

December 29th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Sorry to all of you Odessa lovers, but that name will be forever awful to me. I grew up in Odessa, Texas and it is horrible. Ugly, trashy, and hillbilly! Ugh! Horrible!

Theatrenut23 Says:

January 7th, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Persephone, Artemis, Calliope, Harpreet…
And surprisingly, Adelaide. Having sat in many a French lesson where the prof is explaining adjectives like “laide” , which means ugly… I don’t have the guts to put my kids through that, especially since I’m an avid French speaker at home.

spacecow1993 Says:

February 8th, 2012 at 1:40 am

Ohhhh, mine is definitely Briseis (breh-SAY-iss). I think it’s just gorgeous, especially with the super cute nickname Sissy. Plus she’s one of my favorite characters in mythology. The woman who entranced Achilles. But I’m afraid it just sounds too ancient Greek. Especially with the somewhat unusual second syllable stress

LydSyl Says:

February 12th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

boy — Beowulf. Actually, I WOULD use it!
girl — Blaithin. (BLA-heen) I wouldn’t use it only becuase I know a sweet girl with this name and it fits her so well, I wouldn’t want to take her name and use it.

Historia Says:

March 7th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Winter

laurbails Says:

March 7th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

When I saw this I immediately thought of Apollo! Also Eero, Horatio, and Peregrine.

arunciblespoon Says:

April 29th, 2012 at 11:48 am

Peregrine, Hermione, Caspar, Clementine, Ignatius, Juno, Thisbe, Hermia, Cassius, Calliope, Cato and Apollo.

Not completely off the table, but they could end up as middle names.

MamaMaassy Says:

July 24th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Ever since I read Rainbow as a joke name in a magazine years ago, I’ve loved it to bits. Alas, my husband only looked at me and laughed. As a compromise, we do both like the name Rayne as a middle name (it’s hard to put it in front of any other name and make it flow… no pun intended).

However, with our first on the way (due at Christmas) I’m happy to say that most of our names we’ve come to an agreement on are more out there than most, including boys – Leonidas, Bear, and Caspian, and girls – Raux, Eowyn, and Phoenix.

Sadly, I did have some other somewhat extreme favs that hubby nixed, including Cairo (he’s Egyptian), Nairobi, and Petrova.

dayjoysky2815 Says:

October 1st, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Definitely Valkyrie. I thought this would be the ultimate name for our daughter but it was a bit…intense. Ended up using Valerie.

Like a poster above I have also really liked the name Briseis. I thought the nick name Bri would be cute as well.

Other names that I’ve liked but seemed a bit out there or my husband vetoed were:
Nova
Novelly
Jovana–sounds too italian and we are nowhere near italian.
Neville–yes like from Harry Potter
Hermione
Dallas- not too out there for me but hubby said no way, for a boy or a girl. Maybe I can still convince him ^_^
Indre-hubby said wha?
Forsythia
Dren – ok, this is the name of the animal-human from that movie Splice and I never would actually use it but I thought it had a nice ring to it. This was before Wren became exceedingly popular.
Cassius- husband said no way for a first name
Fionnuala
Mercutio

I swear there are hundreds more but those are just some off the top of my head.

ImpossibleDream91 Says:

December 7th, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Ophelia
Lysander
Magnolia
Crispin “Kip”
Briseis
Castiel
Tybalt
Sigyn
Baelfire
Rameses
Winter
Artemis (for a boy)
October

BlueYorkie Says:

December 2nd, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I am in LOVE with Tigerlily, but I would never do that to a child. Also-
Hickory
Remedy
Ambrosia
Artemisia
Clover
Wiley
Hermione
Acacia
Larkspur
Skylark(e)

Boys-
Basil
Oakley
Cedar
Merit
Lugo
Fox
Griffin

eperdument Says:

January 4th, 2014 at 9:24 am

Ombeline – old french
I’d use it if I had a last name that suited it. It’s so soft when said in French, like a whisper of loving poetry.
Appoline
Brunhilda
Kerrigan
Vesper
Astoria nn Story
Illyria – small chance I’ll use this
Estoire nn Story
Fable
Ever
Gretel
Ottilie
Lorelei – nn Lore
Echo

Pan
Basile
Eben
Caspar
Nevenoe

KHALLRED Says:

July 21st, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Hero, Hermione, Verity, Petal, and Philippa for girls, Edmond, Rhys, and Atticus for boys.

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