30 Rare, Exotic, Gorgeous Girls’ Names

rare girl names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Very feminine girls’ names that were unusual and exotic a generation or two ago have risen to the top of the US popularity lists: I’m looking at you, Isabella, Sophia, Olivia.

So what’s the parent to do who loves this kind of elaborate girls’ name but wants something a lot more rare?

Some of the best choices in this style don’t even make it onto the extended list of American baby names: All the names starred below were given to fewer than five baby girls in the US in the last year counted.  And the others were used for only a handful of babies.

Is Cassiopeia or Petronilla too much name for a baby girl (or even a grown-up woman, for that matter)? Maybe, but you can always call her Cassie or Nilla and trust she’ll grow into her august appellation, at least by the time she’s 40.

And if you like super-feminine names for girls, why stick with the safe Gabriellas and Valentinas when there are all these exotic beauties out there?

Thirty rare, feminine names you might consider for your little girl are:


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14 Responses to “30 Rare, Exotic, Gorgeous Girls’ Names”

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thorn144 Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 2:26 am

I’ve been saying and saying Talitha, Galatea, and Cassiopeia are amazing, actually usable names! Acantha, Doveva, Leocadia, and Socorro are also great. Some suggestions: Sophronia, Victorine, Aquila, Iridessa, Zenobia, Sapphira, Ayelet, Esperanza, and Sorella. Nice post!

Noetje74 Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 3:13 am

I’ve always loved Ambrosia… I just love the way it sounds. But it takes one hell of a child to pull it off.

Maple10 Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 4:57 am

It’s hard to picture most of these names in a little girl, but I would be happy to see them used none the less.
How cute would a little girl named Artemisia nn Artie be?

AldabellaxWulfe Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 8:14 am

I do frequently experience trouble when indulging in longer choices, because while they have become a major obsession over the past year or so, I can’t quite tell whether or not they’re realistic. Sometimes I’m super into them, but other times I’m not quite sure whether I can honestly see myself chasing a little girl down the street shouting “Berengaria! Berengaria, come back here right now!” And I can’t really tell if the picture of cleaning the snot, dirt and tears off of a tiny Isabellina is adorable, or awkward.

I know that the general consensus is to shorten them, to help make longer choices appear to be a bit more down-to-Earth – especially when used on children. But, if you name daughters Cleopatra and Theodosia, only to proceed to call them (or have others call them) “Cleo” and “Thea” a vast majority of the time , then really, what’s the point of giving them long names to begin with?

It’s really quite frustrating because I do love longer choices. I just wish I could come to the decision of whether or not they make the _best_ choices….

EvaThyssen Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 9:29 am

It means ‘martian’ (f) in Spanish!

mistletoenargle Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 10:27 am

I LOVE Kassiani!

LoveBugsMama Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 11:58 am

I adore Pomeline!

Sorceress Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Love Pomeline, Cassiopeia, Petronilla, Zephyrine, Galatea, and Amadea, not Amedea. Doveva is pretty, but bit heavy sounding.

lesliemarion Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Wonderful post!

I love some of these and others are just interesting.

Some that seem in this vein to me:

Araminta, Beulah, Caledonia, Damaris, Dulcinea, Eugenia, Flavia, Isadora, Theodosia, Taffeta, Ursuline, Vermilion, Madelief, Cesaria, Ghislaine, Mariposa, Sonja, Villette, Dinah, Jemima, Viridiana, Zuleika, Forsythia, Svetlana, Ligeia, Ngaio, Cynara, Phryne, Antonia, Nerissa, Octavia, Morven, Endellion, Nandina, Marguerite, Esclarmonde, and yes, Berengaria! 🙂

Mrs_Darling Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 1:10 pm

If you wouldn’t name your kid Pinocchio or Tinker Bell, don’t use Cendrillon. It may sound pretty and unique to an English speaker, but to someone who speaks French, it really is just exactly the same as Cinderella…

teacupsandtiaras Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Elisabetta is one of my favorites! I come from a long line of Isabel/Elizabeth variations and I think it’s a fresh, unique take on the name!

Pam Says:

June 14th, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Marciana comes from the same root as Martian — Mars, the planet and the god of war. Other names related to Marciana and Marcia, Marcella, Marcus, and Mark!

HonestyTulips Says:

June 15th, 2016 at 5:42 am

I love Athenaïs!

genigets Says:

April 13th, 2018 at 1:21 pm

I love the name Jolie. It’s French and means pretty. It’s unusual enough that there won’t be 5 other girls in her class by that name, but isn’t so unusual as to make your child a target for teasing, at least no more than any name. Many middle names wld go well with it. Jolie Michelle, Jolie Beth, the list is as endless as your imagination.

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