Unusual Names: 10 More You’re Not Using
Here, our latest collection of names that have been overlooked and are deserving of greater consideration:
ALOISA. Aloisa has several things going for it: It starts with A, which is nearly a guarantee of appeal these days; it’s superfeminine; it’s a grownup name ready to face the tough times ahead; and it’s also a distinctive spin on such up-and-coming choices as Louisa and Eloise.
AMITY. Virtue names like Hope, Faith and Grace have been on the rise for several years as parents look back to the righteous values of an earlier time in history; then Jessica Alba stepped out of the box with the less used Honor. Amity, taking it a step further, succeeds in combining virtue with an attractive feminine sound and a warm, friendly meaning.
POSY. Flower names have been well-used over the past decade or two, with such garden variety specimens as Lily, Rose, Violet and Daisy blossoming (sorry, can’t help it) everywhere and parents now looking to somewhat rarer blossoms like Aster, Lilac, Lotus, Poppy and Amaryllis. Our nominee for cutest underused flower name: Posy.
VARYA. President Obama has introduced an unprecedented sense of multiculturalism to our country, which is reflected in the global initiative of his daughters’ names, the Russian Sasha and the Hawaiian Malia. Varya is, like Sasha, a Russian nickname name (short for the rhythmic Varvara, the Russian version of Barbara), that starts with V, which happens to be the consonant du jour.
CASSIAN. A Latin clan name turned Irish saint’s name that means curly-headed and is ready for import.
FRANK. This is the perfect name for the new Era of Transparency: what could be more frank than Frank? Out of the Top 10 since 1922, Frank feels like a grandpa—or great-grandpa—name, and yet doesn’t carry the vintage baggage of names like Stanley and Marvin. It was picked by hip musical duo Diana Krall and Elvis Costello for one of their twin boys (the other was Dexter), and was recently portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio in Revolutionary Road.
HAMISH. Hamish is a Scottish name popular in Britain but nearly unheard of here, where it’s more familiar as hamishe, the Yiddish word for family-like, an increasingly popular value in an ever-more-impersonal world. Bonus: It’s a variation of the overused Jacob and James, so would make a perfect alternative to those.
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on June 21st, 2010 at 1:37 am
I love Frank and Hamish! I think those are awesome. The others… not my style.
Is it just me, or do Cassian and Lorcan both sound like characters from Lord of the Rings?
on June 21st, 2010 at 2:23 am
Great blog! I love almost all of them, but my favorites would be Aloisa and Lorcan. 🙂
on June 21st, 2010 at 6:33 am
Love Aloisa, Amity and Hamish 🙂
on June 21st, 2010 at 7:07 am
Posy & Frank for me! I could happily have Josephine/Posy & Francis/Frank. Lovely.
Varya’s too nicknamey for me but it’s one I could see appealing to many who already like Micha & Sacha. At least Varya is solidly femimine! 😀
on June 21st, 2010 at 8:32 am
Lorcan sounds like he just stepped off the Starship Enterprise.
Aloisa and Amity can’t be too far away from a comeback. They sound very “today”. My sister has a friend who named her daughter Amalie. I like Amaryllis, but I’m not sure I can get past the spelling nightmare it would be.
on June 21st, 2010 at 8:57 am
I love the name Hamish and met a couple of really cute ones in my travels, but not an American. I would use it, but I know for a fact that my husband will never go for it!
on June 21st, 2010 at 9:20 am
Amity immediately makes me think of Amityville Horror. I prefer Verity.
on June 21st, 2010 at 9:35 am
I love Amity. I think she is such an overlooked gem. I also love Cressida, Varya, Posy (swoon!) and Cassian.
on June 21st, 2010 at 9:35 am
Hamish is quite popular where I live (Sydney) and I know a 6 year old Lorcan whose mum is Irish.
I adore Frank, totally. I’d want it for a third son except our last name has a ‘ck’ in the middle 🙁 It’s all cute 50s rude boys for me, just like Johnny. Both great names.
Toni Vitanza Said
on June 21st, 2010 at 9:46 am
Along with other flower names, what about IVY?
on June 21st, 2010 at 10:07 am
😐 All I can see in Lorcan is ‘orca’. But I do like Cassian because it sounds like Caspian, which is straight out of The Chronicals of Narnia. Aloisa is nice too.
on June 21st, 2010 at 10:13 am
The names are all ones to consider! But I can’t get over the picture of the baby with this article. SOOOO Cute.
on June 21st, 2010 at 10:28 am
My name’s Rose, but one of my nicknames is Posy, which gives Posy an automatic A+ for me. I love that name.
I didn’t really like any of the guys names – Hamish for me, at least right now, is the guy from the new Alice in Wonderland. Frank is nice, but not something I’d be drawn to. I find Lorcan sounds weird coming out of my mouth. I do really like the idea of Aloisa, though.
on June 21st, 2010 at 11:07 am
Amity always recalls to me the horror film “Amity-ville Horror”
I really like Cressida and Adlai
on June 21st, 2010 at 11:23 am
YES to Frank! I was pushing for Luca to be Franklin at one point but DH wouldn’t have it. I would be so happy if I met a little Frank though. Also love Posy, but as a nn. Apart from Josephine, what other names could lead to Posy? Hmm. Will have to think about that one. Although I do love Josephine.
on June 21st, 2010 at 12:08 pm
Amity equals “Amityville Horror” and always will to me. Hamish is real name of Hammie in the comic strip. That seems like the obvious nickname, unfortunately. And, sadly, I associate Alois and Aloisia with the names of Adolf Hitler’s father. Posy is perhaps a little overly cute, but it is the name of one of the sisters in the Ballet Shoes by Noel Streafeild, so maybe it will catch on.
on June 21st, 2010 at 12:15 pm
I think Hamish, Posy and Cressida are names brimming with character, but my I absolutely love Frank. Love love love. I’m going to call my first son Frankie. As well as being a family name, it’s so unpretentious and cool and short. Girls names, I like them to have plenty of flair. But I’ve always loved the solid one-syllable classics like Jack, Mick, George, Will, Pete, John etc.. for boys. I’m also glad to see others here like it too 🙂
on June 21st, 2010 at 12:39 pm
Like Amity and love Posy! So adorable!
British American Said
on June 21st, 2010 at 2:24 pm
I know a Posy (who is British and 30ish). 🙂 I’ve not found it cutesy on her.
Hamish would be nice enough, especially if you have Scottish heritage you wanted to honor.
Frank is one I’ve not considered before – though it is the name of my brother’s dog.
on June 21st, 2010 at 2:34 pm
I love Aloisa and Cressida!
Emmy Jo Said
on June 21st, 2010 at 5:24 pm
As a literature nut, I’m a definite fan of the Chaucerian Criseyda and the Shakespearean Cressida. I’ve always wondered why some names become popular while other similar-sounding ones with a similar history do not. Cressida is a good cross between Jessica, Claudia, and Cassandra (all of which are familiar, reasonable choices), and I think it would be well-received today. That being said, I don’t think I’d use it personally. The sound doesn’t completely appeal to me — but I’m not a fan of Jessica or Claudia either.
The one I like best on the boys’ list is Frank. I know a 10-year-old Frank who is a charming little boy. The name was actually under serious consideration for our son as well. But he ended up a Julius instead.
Hamish reminds me too much of the lunchmeat. I know it’s not pronounced the same way, but whenever I see it, I think of someone saying, “No, I won’t have the roast beef today. I’m actually feeling a bit more ham-ish.” But Tavish (the Scottish version of Thomas) is one I could get behind!
on June 21st, 2010 at 10:53 pm
Lorcan’s in my top.10 for boys!
on June 22nd, 2010 at 1:26 am
Hamish is super popular where I live (in Australia). Possibly due to Hamish Blake, one half of the super-popular drive-home radio show, Hamish & Andy (it’s number 1 in every capital city nationally at that timeslot). I love the name!
Posy is cute and is used in the Hunger Games series as the little sister of one of the main characters. I love it but can’t see it on anyone older than 5.
I quite like Russian diminuitives but Vanya is not one of my favourites.
on June 22nd, 2010 at 5:06 pm
I think Lana is an underused name. It’s got that old Hollywood glamour feel going for it. Fresher than Ava.
on June 24th, 2010 at 3:18 am
The previous posters have said it but in Australia, and Brisbane where I live, Hamish is super popular! I would say recently it’s popularity is due to Hamish Blake, hilarious and likeable radio cohost. I think it’s really cute but at least three boys called Hamish that I know are nicknamed Ham which I like a lot less..
on June 24th, 2010 at 10:43 am
@Emmy Jo — Isn’t Hamish pronounced Hay-mish? That would get rid of the pork issue. On the other hand, the Yiddish hamishe can mean “homely” as in “plain-looking or ugly,” so the connotations on that name still aren’t great…. But then, if the name is pronounced Ham-ish, then the Yiddish word isn’t so similar after all. Hm…hamlike or homely…not great options, which is unfortunate because it’s otherwise a nice name. That said, I prefer the Irish Seamus.
I really like Cressida, and I’m a fan of Frank, too — but I like it as a nickname for Franklin (I like the sound, the formality, and the fact that Franklin throws in connotations with Ben Franklin and FDR).
on June 25th, 2010 at 12:02 pm
Amity and Cressida were on my short list when I was expecting. Brother in law pointed out that Cressida is a toyota model. I love Amity though and still wanna use it for another daughter
on July 7th, 2010 at 3:59 pm
Please don’t let Posy/Posey get too popular! Its one of my favorite names and I would hate to see it in the spotlight!
on July 9th, 2010 at 12:32 am
Posy is one of my favorite girl names (though I normally spell it with an ‘ie’ = Posie)
It’s funny you mention Adlai, because my family had connections with the Stevensons and as such, it’s one of my favorite names! So definite yes from me =)
on October 5th, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Poesy is on my top list. Trying to decide if it can stand alone and what middle name I would use with it, which is harder than it seems. I told my girlfriend this option and she is sold and won’t let me change it anymore! So pending any complaints from my parents, Poesy it is. This spelling means poetry and not flowers, which is much better in my opinion.
on March 2nd, 2012 at 9:28 pm
Did Suzanne Collins read this list? She used Cressida and Posy in Mockingjay.
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