Unique Baby Names: News to Me–Some Personal New Name Discoveries

June 19, 2013 WaltzingMoreThanMatilda

by Anna Otto of Waltzing More Than Matilda

Since I started a name blog a couple of years ago, I have learned of many new and unique baby names. Here is a small selection of some that I never knew existed until recently, and have seen on real people (mostly babies).  Most of them are rarely found on baby name sites. I’ve only included vocabulary names when I didn’t know the word existed before seeing it used as a personal name.


Athanasia: A Greek name meaning “immortal, deathless”. Saint Athanasia was an 8th century saint, and according to tradition, a star settled over her heart as a sign of her enlightenment.

Elif (eh-LEEF): A Turkish name based on Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. Because the letter is just a thin stroke of the pen, the name has connotations of slenderness and is sometimes translated that way. Due to folk etymology, it can also be understood as “demure, coy”.

Jinty: A Scottish pet form of Janet.

Kannika: A Cambodian name meaning “angel”.

Mietta (mee-ET-ta): The Italian form of the French name Miette, meaning “little breadcrumb, sweet little morsel”. It is sometimes used as a pet form of Maria.

Nei Nei: The Maori word for a New Zealand tree (Dracophyllum traversii).

Ru: A unisex Chinese name meaning “scholar”.

Silka (can be said ZIL-ka): A Frisian form of Cecilia.

Sitara: An Indian name which means “evening star (Venus)” in Sanskrit.

Tomine (to-MEEN-eh): A Scandinavian feminine form of Tomas. The usual nickname is Mina.


Aras: A Lithuanian name meaning “eagle”.

Carex: The Latin name for the genus of marshland plants known as sedges.

Inari (ee-NAH-ree): An androgynous or genderless supernatural being from Japan, particularly associated with foxes and rice. His/her name means “loaded with rice”.

Kalden: A Tibetan name meaning “from the Golden Age”. It is a Sherpa name, and also a surname.

Maino: An old Germanic name meaning “strength”. It is distantly related to the English word main, as in the phrase, They fought with might and main. It is also used as a surname.

Noa: A Polynesian name meaning “freedom”. I have seen the name on both boys and girls with Fijian heritage.

Ojas (OH-jahs): A Sanskrit word meaning “vigour”. In Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine), it is the essential energy of the body, the life force.

Sixten: A Swedish name meaning “victory stone”.

Zamzam: The name of a holy well in Mecca. According to tradition, God gave this never-dry spring of water to save Ishmael and Hagar – a son of Abraham and his mother who had been cast into the desert. The well’s name means “stop”, because the water was so abundant that Hagar called out for it stop flowing lest it flood them. The name is unisex, but more common on girls.

Zois: Means “life” in Greek, and is therefore the masculine form of Zoe.

What unusual names have you seen recently that you would like to share with other Nameberries?

 Anna blogs about a wide variety of Australian names, and Aussie name trends, at Waltzing More Than Matilda.


About the author


Waltzing More Than Matilda is the creation of Anna Otto, who blogs about a wide variety of Australian names, and Aussie name trends.

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