Outrageous Baby Names You Might Just Fall in Love With
We all love to raise our eyebrows at wild baby names, but some of them are actually pretty great.
Outrageous names can come from history, myth and literature; from the world of word names; and from the opposite gender. What makes them surprising is their rarity, the “I never knew that could be a name!” factor. But that’s subject to change, of course. The names that seem too much today might be mainstream in ten years’ time, like Maverick (in the US Top 100) and Bear (in the Top 1000).
Whether you’re bold enough to give any of these to your children, or prefer to appreciate them from afar, here are 10 out-there names you might just fall in love with.
When this aeronautical name came up for consideration on Swistle Baby Names in 2014, it seemed pretty wild. (Spoiler: they used Beatrix instead.) Years later, it’s still on name-lovers’ minds and feels a lot more viable. The pool of word names, including occupational names, grows every year. Bellatrix, once an unthinkable option, has a rare-but-steady presence on birth certificates. And the longer Ava stays at the top of the charts, the wider parents will cast to find similar-sounding alternatives.
One of many dramatic heroine names that sound a little wild now, but could just be the next Ophelia or Persephone. Boudicca was an ancient British queen who led a rebellion against the Romans, and appears occasionally on birth announcements in Britain. With its strong, victorious associations and built-in nickname Boo, it might just appeal to others, too.
Who’d name their son after the master of illicit liaisons? Almost 100 parents in the last 10 years, that’s who. In the same time period, another great lover — Romeo — has become a steady staple on the charts; a rapper named Casanova has kicked off his career; and the name Nova has risen for boys (though far more for girls). All a perfect storm to launch this Italian surname?
This year, Danger has been one of the most-viewed names on Nameberry. We think it’s self-perpetuating: you browse the list, see Danger, think “what?” and click through… keeping the view figures high. But what if it’s a sign of things to come?
Danger debuted in the US charts in 2009, and in 2020 it was the most popular it had ever been… admittedly with only 11 boys. Anecdotally we know some parents use Danger as a middle name, so their kid can say “Danger is my middle name”. Maybe it was only a matter of time before they started using it in first place too. It has energy and power, and an undeniably cool sound: similar Ranger and Granger have both been on an upward trend recently.
...plot twist...for a girl! Boy names on girls can be divisive, but you might just love the idea of a little girl called Graham instead of something more expected like Grace or Tatum. There’s something about this style of name that sticks in the memory: I’ve never forgotten the woman named Baldwin whose name story we featured five years ago. Seven girls in the US in 2020 were named Graham, which has the option of cool Grey as a nickname.
Sure, the meaning of “doing harm” isn’t great. But with a different spin, disruptive is cool. Difficult women are cool. Maleficent is a powerful independent, likeable character in the 2014 and 2019 movies of the same name, and it was used for five girls in the US in 2020.
A literary and historical name, Ozymandias is another name for the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II, and the title of a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley. It’s a lot of name, but if you like your names ancient and grand (and with the potential for Ozzie), it could be up your street.
Now that Bear seems positively mainstream, how about his cuddly cousin? If not as a first name, then it could be sweet as an animal middle name (à la Zooey Deschanel’s daughter Elsie Otter, and Macklemore’s daughter Colette Koala), or a nickname for Pandora.
Swap a couple of letters in Valerie and you get something with a completely different aesthetic. Now that Norse names like Odin and Thor are rising, parents are finding inspiration from all over Scandinavian mythology, like the maidens of the battlefield.
This buoyant name was completely unknown until the 1990s, but is now gently rising for both sexes, with the girls a decade behind the boys. (In 2020 in the USA, it was given to 112 boys and 33 girls.)
Several celebrity babies have also helped: Korn frontman Jonathan Davis named his son Zeppelin in 2007, actor Jensen Ackles welcomed his son Zeppelin Bram — named after a sailing knot — in 2016, and acting couple Kiele Sanchez and Zach Gilford named their daughter Zeppelin Adele in 2017.