Unusual Baby Names: Great names at the bottom of the list

unusual baby names

By Pamela Redmond Satran

If you’re looking for unusual baby names that are also attractive and intriguing, a good place to start is at the bottom of the extended US popularity list, at those names given to just five babies.

Down there, among the wacky inventions or truly terrible kree8tiv spelling variations, are dozens of intriguing choices that you won’t encounter coming and going.

A few of them — Jessamy and Amyas, Celestia and Inigo — might even be considered fabulous.  But all are worth further consideration.  And given that each was given to only five babies in the entire US last year, they qualify as truly unusual baby names.

unusual baby names

If you’d like to further explore the names given to five babies every year, download the zip file of national data here.

Another explore our hand-picked collection of unusual-yet-wonderful baby names in our book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names.  This book is our exclusive selection of hundreds of names that have never appeared in the US Top 1000, and is an invaluable source for both the expectant parent in search of truly unusual names and name lovers looking to expand their knowledge about names that lie far off the beaten path.  Available in ebook and paper versions.

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20 Responses to “Unusual Baby Names: Great names at the bottom of the list”

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augusta_lee Says:

August 18th, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Great list! From the girls list I love Amandine, Briony, Calixta, Cassiopeia, Celestia, Clementina, Eugenie, Hyacinth, Jessamy, Letitia, Sunniva, and Thisbe. I like Jericho for boys, but it’s too Christian for me to use.

Point of confusion: Why are Shaun and Constantine on the girls’ list? Both are exclusively male, and always have been. I believe that Carmine is also a male name — and Bronte is a surname.

As for boys, I really like Amyas (prefer Amias), Baird, Calisto, Christo, Frazier, Inigo, Ludovic, Macauley, Peregrine, Wyn (prefer Wynne to honor one of my favorite authors). I wonder if Kristof will see an upswing thanks to Frozen — though parents will probably go for the more Anglicanized Christoff. Christo is another intriguing twist on Christopher.

hoges20 Says:

August 18th, 2014 at 11:45 pm

LOVE Thoreau & Rudolf from the boys list. And hopeful that Rudolf may still survive his reindeer affliction.

J_Anne Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 12:02 am

Shaun and Constantine are on the list for girls, I assume because they were used for 5 girls born in the U.S. last year. I have always thought that Constantine sounded like a girls’ name, despite its masculine origins, maybe as a more wearable version of Constance, which seems sort of dated/old to me. Needless to say, I love the thought of Constantine becoming unisex and I’d love to meet a baby girl Constantine.
For me, the favorites of this list were Briony, Cassiopeia, Eugenie, Eulalie (though I prefer Eugenia and Eulalia, -ie ending names always strike me as nickname-y), and Letitia for girls. For boys I liked Calisto, Inigo, Peregrin, and Thoreau.
It was also nice to see Remus and Severus, both of which I expect will gain popularity as more and more Potter fans move into having kids and name their kids after their favorite character. Though, with the names being so distinctly Potter-ish I don’t think they will gain too much, naming your kid Severus would be a pretty big commitment.

augusta_lee Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 1:07 am

Even if Constantine is (god forbid) used for girls, it will never be a unisex name.

senseandsensibility Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 6:23 am

Oh I love some of the names here! Good choice, most of ’em!

paw Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 7:17 am

My favorites are Celestia, Coretta, and Jessamy for the girls. I am a little for conservative on boys names and only like Rudolf.

If I was to ever name a child after a Harry Potter character, it would be either Hermione, Albus, or Sirius. Perhaps, they got more than 5 babies named for them last year though.

mermuse Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 7:55 am

I have a dear friend named Catharine, I’m surprised the spelling was only used for 5 babies last year.

freddiethepink Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 9:52 am

Some lovely names!

I have Frederica and Peregrin on my list!

I also like Amandine and Thisbe.

labelo Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Great list! Although if on is looking for an unusual name, I’m not sure that an less common spelling like Catharine really makes a name all that more unusual.

I was surprised to see that Remus hadn’t gained more popularity with HP!

TarynAmber Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 4:08 pm

augusta_lee, that is not a fact. I’m sure at some point people thought Leslie and Hilary would “never be unisex” either. I’ve never met someone named Constantine (although I have met a few Costas), so the name is completely historical to me anyway. But just because you don’t think it could be a girls name doesn’t mean other people will agree. With lots of feminine nickname option, lots of vowels, and the soft and musical but still “tough” sound…I think it could easily become a unisex name.

marypoppins Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Both my grandfather and my great grandfather were named Rudolf (one was known as Rolf, the other as Rudi). I also know two Constantines, both male. One is age 3, the other in his 20s.

jame1881 Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

That girls list really is beautiful!

For the boys:
Pacer – never thought of that one before. I love Parker and Walker, so this one fits right in! I like it!
Sims – I know what video game these parents are obsessed with…

PeachyOwl Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

I really love both list but I fail to see how Shaun is a girl’s name, it’s all masculine to me. Also Gazelle??? I would have to try not to laugh if i met someone named Gazelle.
I really love Celestia though and Peregrine is a character in a story I’m writing.

Emily Ila Says:

August 19th, 2014 at 11:37 pm

How exciting!! My baby was one of the 5! Our first child, Peregrine Griffin was born last July. It makes me so happy to see all the positive responses to his name!

I adore the name, though it’s quite a lot for such a little baby. We’ve been using Pippin as a nickname 🙂

Entangler Says:

August 20th, 2014 at 1:43 am

I have to say most of these names are simply dreamy but Shaun on the girls list and Sylvanus for the boys are just no go for me. Shaun because to me it’s all boy and very dated and Sylvanus for the dreaded anus. If the name were pronounced Syl-VA-nus I’d be in love.

Chloe14 Says:

August 21st, 2014 at 6:11 am

Some of these names are really great it’s a shame not many mums are choosing them for their children! For boys I really like Macauley but prefer the Macaulay spelling it’s a shame more people are not using this name I wonder why though? As for the girls I really like Briony but prefer the Bryony spelling and I also like the name Celestia!

nativoyoung Says:

August 21st, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Hyacinth has always been a love of mine. Beautiful.

sarahdoodle Says:

August 23rd, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I like Cassiopeia, Jessamy, and Baird. Side note, I don’t really think Catharine is an “unusual name,” just a less popular spelling of a common (though still lovely) name.

SugarPlumFairy Says:

August 24th, 2014 at 11:15 am

Constantine [-TEEN] is feminine in French, the male form is Constantin. So it’s a legitimate girls name. Shaun is the kind of very popular male name that is inevitably used on girls (like James and Michael occasionally are). There’s a famous American olympic female gymnast named Shaun (Shawn?).

Like people have mentioned, it’s always interesting to see names from Harry Potter popping up.

Bobcat108 Says:

April 5th, 2015 at 6:21 pm

I’m not sure how Nanette can appear on a list of “great names” when the description of it is “No no Nanette.” Perhaps an updated description of the name is in order…

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