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Unique U-Names for Babies

Umber to Uziah

by Linda Rosenkrantz

I know. There aren’t many people searching for a U name.  But wait—before you skip from the T’s of Thea and Theo to the V’s of Violet and Viggo, pause for a moment and consider these unique U-name possibilities, from the storied Ulysses to the virtuous Unity. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re seeking a word name, or a biblical, ancient, color or an international option.

Unique Girl Names Starting with U

UMA—This evocative, almost-one-person name is imbued with the image of the glamorous Uma Thurman, who was given this Sanskrit appellation of a Hindu goddess by her father, a professor of Eastern religion. In Hebrew, Uma means “the nation,” and is sometimes used for girls born on Israeli Independence Day. Close cousins include UNA, an ancient Irish name, and the medieval German Uta, tied to legendary acting teacher Uta Hagen.

UMBER—A new color-spectrum possibility, that of a dark, deep, rich brown hue called Burnt Umber in the Crayola box. With Amber a reviving semi-classic gem and Ember newly popular at Number 209, why not consider the distinctive Umber, wearable for both girls and boys.

UMBRIA—The name of the beautiful Italian region known for its medieval hill towns, truffles and wine, would make a hauntingly lovely, one-of-a-kind choice. A successor to Siena?

UNITY—Puritan virtue names like Unity and Verity deserve a comeback, embodying as they do qualities we’d all like to impart to our kids. Unity Kincaid is a character In the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman.

URBANA—A unique possibility for your city girl. As well as being the female version of Urban, Urbana is a place name in Italy and in several US states.

URSULA—Kids may still be associating Ursula with the campy, corpulent octopus sea-witch in Disney’s 1989 The Little Mermaid, but she has many other more legit references, including a 4th century saint, two Shakespearean characters, Ursula Brangwen, heroine of D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow, and novelist Le Guin. Ursula was a Top 500 name in the 1960s and 70s, and British Influencer Plum Sykes choosing it for her daughter put it back on trend alert.

Unique Boy Names Starting with U

ULYSSES—With so many classic Greek names being revived, Ulysses might be next in line.  It has  so many distinguished associations, including to the Homeric hero (Odysseus being the Greek form of Ulysses), eighteenth US President Grant, and the eponymous James Joyce novel.  On the US popularity list well into the twenty-first century, Ulysses is off now but is at Number 605 on Nameberry. Former SNLer Ana Gasteyer made this bold choice for her son, and the Peter Fonda movie Ulee’s Gold provided a friendly nickname.

UMBERTO—The far more romantic and royal Italian version of the English Humbert, also boasts the notable namesake of novelist Umberto Eco.

URBAN—This name borne by several saints and popes could make a comeback as a nouveau-style word name with the trendy an-ending. Urban was often heard through the 1930s, once reaching as high as #435, but it has completely disappeared from both the urban and rural name landscape. In the New Testament, Urban appears as an active member of the Roman Christian church.

URIEL—a rarely used Hebrew names that means ‘light’, Uriel represents one of the four angels surrounding God’s throne, the one responsible for inspiring writers and teachers.  Uriel is a symbolic name given to boys born on Chanukah. Nickname Uri is used on its own, popular in Israel.

UTAH—An unvisited place name with a Western vibe, probably named for the Native American Ute tribe. We like its combination of a strong soft syllable with a softer ending.

UZIAHUziah, also known as Uzziah and Azariah, was a king of ancient Judah, reigning for 24 years. It would be an interesting choice for anyone looking for an unusual but accessible biblical option which, thanks to Mr. Dickens, is more appealing than Uriah.

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond Satran of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. In addition to contributing stories on trends and celebrity naming, she guides the editorial content and manages the Nameberry Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.

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3 Responses to “Unique U-Names for Babies”

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Selkit Says:

September 10th, 2019 at 8:39 am

I love Umber and Umbria. I’m using Umbriel (after Uranus’ moon) as the middle name of my novel’s protagonist. (It’s sci-fi/futuristic/set in space, so I figure I have some leeway with using slightly outlandish names. Who knows what naming conventions will be like in a couple hundred years?)

LuMary Says:

September 11th, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Ulysses is quite nice, especially in honor of General/President Grant.

Ursula is the baby born to George and Elizabeth Warleggan on Poldark.

I know of a woman with Swedish-American roots who named one of her 5 children Ulrika.

tabitha Says:

September 14th, 2019 at 11:03 pm

Of these, I like Una and want to like Urban…. But it’s too much of a word to me. I prefer the French variant Urbain.

Some others U may like…. (Ha!)

Udane – summer (Basque)
Umi – ocean (Japanese)
Undine – wave (Medieval)
Unna – to love (Old Norse)
Ursus – bear (Latin)
Usko – faith (Finnish)
Usharani – daughter of heaven (Indian – Sanskrit)

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