Unusual International Baby Girl Names
Unusual international girl names are a great place to start if you're looking for a beautiful and unique baby girl name with a solid history. With uncommon baby names getting more and more fashionable, it can be hard to find one that still feels fresh and undiscovered. But there's a whole world of beautiful options out there!
Uncommon international baby girl names that are popular here on Nameberry (but not in the US, shhhh!) include Anjali, Cressida, Eira, Saoirse and Ziva. And if you're looking for a truly unique international name for a girl, there are plenty of beautiful rare options in the list below, including Araluen, Demelza, Ismene, Mahalia and Zuleika.
Along with Eira and Zora, other short and funky international girl names outside the US Top 1000 include Bijou, Daru, Ezri and Rio. Or if you prefer long, statement-making names, try Antonina, Cleophee, Endellion or Zipporah.
When considering rare names for your baby girl, it's always important to bear each name's cultural context in mind. If the name is not from a culture familiar to you, do some research (asking on our friendly international Forums is a great place to start!) to make sure that you understand the background to the name, and any cultural significance it may have.
Browse a selection of the best unusual international girl names below, or check out our full list of International Baby Girl Names for even more ideas!
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Persephone is the esoteric name of the Greek mythological daughter of Zeus by Demeter, the queen of the harvest. After she was kidnapped by Hades to be Queen of the Underworld, it was decreed by Zeus that she would spend six months of the year with her mother, allowing crops to grow, and six in mourning, thus accounting for the seasons.
Description:Saoirse originated as a baby name in 1920s Ireland as an applied use of saoirse, the Gaelic word for "freedom." The name was first adopted during the Irish War of Independence, when the Irish Republican Army fought the British Army for the liberation of Ireland from British rule. In modern times, Saoirse, as well as a host of other Gaelic names, are being revived in Ireland, the UK, and the US.
Origin:French from Greek
Meaning:"of Delphi; womb"
Description:Delphine is a sleek, chic French name with two nature associations—the dolphin and the delphinium, a bluebell-like flower, a well as a link to the ancient city of Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the womb of the earth. All of these derive from the Greek word delphus "womb".
Description:From the first time we saw the name Saskia attached to a portrait of Rembrandt's wife (her full name was Saakje van Uylenburgh, but she was always called Saskia), we have found it utterly charming and wondered why it hasn't attracted more fans In this country--she's appreciated by the Brits, who have moved her to Number 392. Saskia is one of those names that's been used in Europe since the Middle Ages, but has never crossed the ocean.
Description:Caoimhe, pronounced (more properly) kwee-va or kee-va, is a pretty and distinctive Gaelic name but one that could well lead to no end of confusion outside the Irish community. Even in its native habitat, it is sometimes spelled Keeva.
Description:Cressida is a pretty mythological and Shakespearean heroine name much better known in Britain than it is here — an imbalance the adventurous baby namer might want to correct. For although the Trojan heroine of that name in the tale told by Boccaccio, then Chaucer, then Shakespeare, didn't have the greatest reputation — she was faithless to Troilus and broke his heart — the name today sounds fresh, crisp and creative.
Description:X marks the spot in names these days, usually at the middles or ends of names, but here is one that puts it squarely up front.
Description:This Welsh nature name that can be pronounced exactly like the male Ira. Or, to avoid confusion, you could just name her Snow.
Description:Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
Origin:Greek, feminine version of Hermes, "messenger, earthly"
Description:Hermione's costarring role in Harry Potter has made this previously ignored, once stodgy name suddenly viable. Hermione could really take off once today's children start having kids of their own.
Origin:Catalan and Provencal pet form of Hebrew Anna
Description:Anais is an unusual, alluring name forever attached to the daring French-born American novelist and diarist Anais Nin (born Angela, with Anais as one of her middle names), who became the inspiration for the naming of the daughter of musician Noel Gallagher. Anais is also the name of a popular perfume.
Origin:Arabic, Basque, Hausa
Meaning:"shawl; star; section of tree"
Description:Attractive, rhythmic choice with roots in several languages and cultures. It's a lesser-known a celestial name, meaning "star" in Basque and referring to a star in the constellation Boötes in Arabic.
Description:A soft and interesting Hebrew name long popular in France, where it has ranked in the Top 400 since 1986 (as Salomé). Ex-ER star Alex Kingston named her daughter Salome Violetta.
Description:Xochitl is a Nahuatl or Aztec floral name used in southern Mexico and pronounced SO-chee-tl or SHO-chee-tl, although sometimes the "tl" at the end is not pronounced. Internet entrepreneur Xochi Birch is probably the best-known bearer in the US – except for the Xochitl brand tortilla chips. Definitely among the most intriguing international flower names and a beautiful choice for those looking to honor Nahuatl heritage.
Description:Sunniva was an Irish-born saint who fled to Norway, where she hid in an island cave with her followers and eventually died. After miracles were reported on the island, the cave was excavated and Sunniva's intact body was found. Sunniva is the patron saint of Western Norway. Her name would make a fascinating and unusual choice for a modern baby girl, and if her story is a bit grim, you can take refuge in the upbeat nickname Sunny or Sunni.
Description:Spelled with either one 'l' or two, Calista came to the fore in 1997 when Calista Flockhart hit it big as Ally McBeal. Flockhart, who bears her mother's middle name, didn't just introduce a name, she introduced a whole sensibility. Pretty and delicate, Calista is definitely worthy of consideration, especially for parents with Greek roots.
Meaning:"place of the cherry blossoms"
Description:Rio is one of Japan's most popular girls names, constantly sitting in that country's Top 10. Of course, Rio may also stem from the Portuguese and Spanish word for river, and the Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro. A truly international name for a cosmopolitan baby!
Description:A zippy little international name. The Hebrew name relates to the month of Israeli independence. The Slavic Ziva (also spelled Živa and Siva) is a goddess of love, life and fertility.
Description:A popular Irish name virtually unknown here, but one that feels like it could follow in the footsteps of Siobhan and Saoirse. It's pronounced SOR-ka, but with a little hiccup between the 'r' and the 'c' that's difficult for non-Gaelic speakers to reproduce. Spelled (and pronounced) Sorsha, she is a major character in the movie Willow.