Category: exotic baby names
One of our favorite name nerd activities is combing the bottom reaches of the official US list of baby names to find choices that are both high unusual and eminently usable.
The focus of our search this time: Names with an international flavor, better known in Italy or the Netherlands, Tokyo or Tehran than they are in the US.
If you’re looking for an unusual and exotic name for your little girl or boy, consider these 100+ excellent choices all given to 25 or fewer babies in 2014 — the exact number follows the name.
By Bree Ogle
It’s amazing how much fashion, and with it, the models who display it, changes over time. For example, the fifties were exemplified by women with defined brows and cinched-in waists. The sixties saw the rise of Twiggy, who brought extreme thinness into vogue. The seventies were the time of uber-blondes like Bitten Knudsen and Gunilla Lindblad, and the eighties seemed to have a lot of commercially attractive models like Christie Brinkley. The nineties were all about “heroin-chic,” a look typified by gaunt Kate Moss.
And now? It’s anything that makes you different. The current “It” girl is Cara Delevingne, who owes some of her fame to her bold brows. Lindsey Wixson, another popular model, is known for her distinctive pout. It’s all about standing out, whether it’s your looks or your name–be it real or adopted. There is no denying that a girl called Kid is going to be more memorable than one named Katelyn.
In recent years, it seems that more and more writers are taking inspiration from classical mythology and medieval bestiaries. Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Supernatural and countless others are full of mythical creatures. This seems to be having an impact on parents, as many of these names are starting to see increased use on birth certificates.
Just in time for Halloween, here is a list of ten names inspired by mythical creatures that wouldn’t seem as out of place on the playground as you might at first think.
Cerberus – this three-headed dog (or hell-hound) seemed a lot less intimidating in Harry Potter when named Fluffy and guarding a trapdoor rather than the gates of the Underworld. The most commonly accepted pronunciation is SUR-ber-uss, meaning ‘formidable guard’ or some variation of this. Cerberus has never charted in the U.S, but it would be a very cool name for a boy.
Chimera – Pronounced ky-MEER– this one sounds like a smoosh of girls’ names Chiara and Mira. Thought to be a creature comprised of lion, snake and goat parts that breathes fire, it’s also used as a generic term to describe creatures that are composed of various animal parts. Despite the grim creature association, it has a pretty sound and could make a good girl’s name.
Dragon – Dragons capture our imagination like few other creatures, with depictions ranging from fiery vengeful beasts to wise advisers and companions. Dragon has only ever charted as a boy’s name, probably because on a boy it comes across as positive, conjuring images of strength and might, whereas calling a female a dragon is generally meant to be a slight, that her anger and “fiery” nature are uncontrollable.
Like your names with a bit of a magical, mystical flair? Then how about taking some inspiration from Cirque Du Soleil, a company for whom magical and mystical is all in a day’s work. Below are some of the top picks just from the titles of their shows, although the shows are also rich with great character names if this list gives you a taste for a Cirque du Soleil inspired name.
Alegría – Oh so very close to Allegra, it’s almost surprising this hasn’t found it’s way on to the name charts considering the current love for alternate spellings and embellishments. Both Alegría and Allegra are Italian names meaning ‘cheerful, joyous’. The added benefit of this spelling is that it’s a nice step away from the medication.
If you grew up in the 1980’s you probably have fond memories of some of the fantasy adventure movies from that decade. For many, these movies were an early introduction to a different style of naming. Sometimes they were a slight twist on an old familiar name, other times they seemed completely magical and fantastical. But the great thing now is that those names are an instant reminder of those beloved films. Here are 20 of the top picks:
Atreyu (The Neverending Story) – Pronounced ah-TRAY-yoo, he was the warrior boy of the story. It is thought that the name has both Indian/Hindu origins – where it means ‘warrior’ – and German origins in the name Atreju, which means ‘son of all’. Both are quite apt for this character, who was raised by a village when his parents died. The name is still rare, but has seen some use since the early 1990’s.
Aquila (Ladyhawke) – Aquila is traditionally a male Latin name meaning ‘eagle,’ but is more often used as a girls name in America. Pronounced either ah-KEE-la or ah-KWIL-la, it was the name of the land in Ladyhawke.
Auryn (The Neverending Story) – The Auryn was the name of the amulet Atreyu wore to protect and guide him in his quest. It was also on the cover of the book Bastian was reading ‘The Neverending Story‘ from. This name could go to either gender, as it sounding similar to both girls’ name Lauren and boys’ name Oren, and has only recently started appearing on the US charts for both.