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Undiscovered Baby Names: What New Names Have You Heard Lately?

January 28, 2010 Pamela Redmond

Our first crowd-sourced blog, on original names that lead to popular nicknames, was such a hit that we’ve decided to give it another go.  Our new topic: Undiscovered baby names — undiscovered by you, that is, at least until recently.

I first thought of this subject last September at a Labor Day picnic, when I was introduced to a man named Hanan (it rhymes with cannon).

I was struck, as I always am in this situation, that even after writing ten books on names, after being professionally immersed in the subject for two decades, and after virtually a lifetime of name nuttery, I can still come across names that I’ve never heard before.

Hanan, as it turned out, was actually in the nameberry database: It’s an Old Testament name of a member of the tribe of Benjamin, just waiting to be rediscovered.

I started jotting down other names that were new ones on me and looking up their origins.  Other recent selections from my personal undiscovered baby names list:

JARA or YARA — A German friend who lives in Madrid and is expecting recently told me that, if she has a girl, she plans to name her Jara or Yara, a name that works in both Spanish and German.  This was a new one on me, and when I looked it up I discovered that Yara is an Arabic name meaning butterfly and also the name of a Brazilian goddess, while Jara (which can be pronounced with the Y or the J sound at the beginning) might be a variation of Yara or may be

an unrelated Slovakian name that’s also the name of the Hindu goddess of the household and happiness.

DARIEL — I met a woman recently who told me her grownup daughter’s name was the very pretty Dariel, a name she invented.  She was torn, she said, between Dara and Mariel, so she combined the two to make Dariel.  Many such hybrid attempts are dismal, but this one is a success.

KESTER — I discovered Kester in my guilty pleasure reading of the London Telegraph birth announcements.  It is, I discovered in nameberry’s very own database, the Scottish form of Christopher.  Very cute.

Now here’s the nameberry challenge: Tell us a name that was recently new to you.  We’d love to hear the story behind your discovery of it (movie credits? travel experience? new friend?) and what you’ve been able to learn about its origin and meaning.  Can’t wait to discover your undiscovered names!

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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