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.
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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