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Unusual Names for Girls: Hidden treasures below the Top 1000

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By Aimee Reneau Tafreshi

Unusual names are becoming more, well, usual these days, especially for baby girls. Most parents are aware of the Top 1000 baby names, but what do you find when you look further down the list? Literary thousands of unusual baby names for girls and boys waiting to be discovered.

I decided to check out the names that flew below the radar this past year to find possibilities for parents seeking a unusual baby names that are not too far out there. I began my analysis with the girls’ names. A foray into the name data can be comical at times and involves wading through misspelled names (Deisy, Serinity), made-up monikers (Lakelyn, Naveah), and “kreatif-lee” spelled baby names (Avarie, Kynnedi), in addition to luxury goods (Chanel, Lexus, anyone?). Beyond these types of choices, many names in the lower rankings are brimming with possibility.

Unusual Place Names for Girls

Instead of the ubiquitous London or Paris, how about charming Brighton, exotic Capri, peaceful Geneva, cultured Holland or fair Vienna for a name with European flair? For those looking for a stateside choice, Austin or Raleigh provides a fresh pick for a girl in lieu of Brooklyn or Savannah. Expand your thinking to include places that have special meaning for you, from Indiana to India.

Supermodel Names for Girls

Surname name Brinkley, statuesque Giselle, powerful Iman and resilient Petra would befit a future catwalker. But supermodels can be an excellent source of unusual names for girls from around the world, from Doutzen to Fan.

Unusual Celebrity Names

For baby names with star power, Blythe, Calista, Drew, Liza, Marlo, Nicolette, and Selma are strong contenders. Greer, a personal favorite, lends an aura of old Hollywood glamour. For the more musically inclined, consider Billie, Etta, Florence or Emmylou for some Southern attitude. Many contemporary celebrities have unusual names that can be adapted for baby girls: Elle, Shailene, Demi, Hayden, Zooey, Kendall, and yes, even Beyonce.

Unusual International Names for Girls

Unusual international names are available by the thousands, for girls as well as boys. From our friends across the pond, think the lovely Georgina, in the spotlight Pippa or blue-blooded Poppy for British flavor. Magdalena (with nickname Maggie) or Ines make sophisticated Spanish picks. For the Francophiles, consider Cosette or Mirabelle. Other exotic sounding choices include Adina, Dalia, Evangelina, Rana, Tallulah and the Biblical Yael.

Unusual Literary Names for Girls

Accomplished Agatha, feminist Louisa and talented Zora would work well for the literati. Other unusual girls’ names from authors or characters in books include Hermione, Matilda, Maisie, Zadie, and Amaryllis. Go here for more unusual literary names for girls.

Unusual Vintage Names for Girls

Beyond the top 1000 names live some hidden gems buried for years. Bonnie, Clementine and Susannah each come with their own theme song and would suit an amiable child. Agnes and Millicent lend themselves to endearing nicknames (Aggie and Millie, respectively), or go straight to a “nickname name” like Frankie, Lindy, Nellie or Winnie. Adelle, Coral and Cordelia are striking choices. Follow this link on more on unusual vintage names for girls that may come back into style.

Unusual Unisex Names 

If you eschew girly names in favor of ones at home in either camp, some promising options include Afton, Arden and Palmer. Names more popular on the boys’ side lend themselves to unique sounding girls’ names; think Bryce, Ellis or Spencer.

Unusual Water-Inspired Baby Names

French for “sailor” and Latin for “of the sea,” Marin is a classic sounding watery name, or cut to the chase and name your baby girl Sailor. Other peaceful choices include Bay, Lake (both good middle name options) and Harbor.

Unusual Creative Baby Names

For those hoping to raise the next Broadway star or Georgia O’Keeffe, the names hovering below the top 1000 provide plenty of inspiration to indulge your creative side. Indigo, Monet, Odette and Zinnia are painters in the making, while Britton, December, Hollis, Jules and Lark are full of creative flair.

Mainstream names

If you desire a name that is not wildly popular but want to avoid a crazy name, these names are for you: Darcy, Justine, Laine/Lane and Maura make for perfectly respectable and “normal” sounding baby names who will grow up into responsible adults. For a name with a little more oomph, try Gretchen, Jessa/Jesse, Maribel or Vivianne.

Whatever your taste, there are plenty of baby name gems awaiting discovery beyond the Top 1000 most popular picks.

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About the author

Aimee Tafreshi

Aimee Tafreshi is a former litigator and mother of three young children. She is passionate about all things baby names. She is also a contributing writer for Little World Organics and has written for Fé Fit, Study Breaks magazine and The Daily Texan. She is working on a legal thriller while traversing the globe in support of her husband’s peripatetic career. You can follow her blog at
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6 Responses to “Unusual Names for Girls: Hidden treasures below the Top 1000”

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milasmama Says:

November 25th, 2014 at 3:37 am

Hidden treasures… for girls? I don’t see many offerings for the boys here.

Aimee Tafreshi Says:

November 25th, 2014 at 7:26 am

Thanks for reading the article. I am actually working on the boys’ list right now as a separate article — I do love boys’ names!

Chloe14 Says:

November 25th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I really like: Bonnie, Winnie, Nellie, Cordelia and Vienna.

Aimee Tafreshi Says:

November 25th, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Thanks Chloe — whenever I hear Winnie, I think fondly of The Wonder Years. I think Cordelia could make for a fun name!

Shaye Says:

January 1st, 2015 at 7:42 pm

What about these hidden treasure names?


Ansonfam4 Says:

March 11th, 2015 at 11:08 am

I love that you included Geneva! We are naming our third Geneva Katherine. I think it is such a sweet, pretty and gentle name!

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