Nameberry's Favorite Unique Names

Nameberry's Favorite Unique Names

Nameberry's editors, writers, regulars, and visitors have so many favorite unique names that any list is certain to miss thousands of wonderful suggestions.

These are drawn from the answer to a forum question we asked recently, asking people to nominate their 20 favorite unique names for the list on our home page.

The berries came up with magnificent lists of unique, uncommon, and unusual names for boys and girls that are connected here. For lots lots more, go to the forum and add your own picks to the list.

The unique names on this list are as always ordered by their popularity on Nameberry.

  1. Evander
    • Origin:

      Scottish; Greek
    • Meaning:

      "bow warrior; strong man"
    • Description:

      Evander is a name that could build on the popularity of shorter form Evan, and could work and play well with schoolmates like Zander and Xander.
  2. Lysander
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "liberator"
    • Description:

      Lysander is a distinctive Greek name that could be thought of as a more creative cousin of Alexander. In ancient history, Lysander was the name of an esteemed Spartan naval commander and his literary cred comes from one of the two star-struck young men in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as one of the twin sons (the other being Lorcan) of Luna Lovegood, whom we learn about in the Harry Potter epilogue.
  3. Leander
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "lion-man"
    • Description:

      Leander is an almost unknown name with great potential as a possible alternative to the overused Alexander. In Greek legend, Leander was the powerful figure who swam across the Hellespont every night to visit his beloved Hero, a priestess of Venus.
  4. Cressida
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "gold"
    • 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.
  5. Peregrine
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "traveler, pilgrim"
    • Description:

      Peregrine is considered to be an elegantly aristocratic name in England, but has never made it to the U.S., where it has been seen as extravagantly eccentric. In the new naming climate, though, it's not beyond consideration — in fact it's already been chosen by at least one Berry.
  6. Lazarus
    • Origin:

      Latinized Greek variation of Hebrew Eleazar
    • Meaning:

      "God is my helper"
    • Description:

      Lazarus is a name that looks as if it could possibly be raised from the dead, just like its biblical bearer. Look for it in the next wave of Old Testament revivals that transcend their long-bearded images, the way Noah, Moses, and Abraham have for this generation.
  7. Osiris
    • Origin:

      Egyptian
    • Meaning:

      "with strong eyesight"
    • Description:

      Osiris is the name of Egyptian mythology god-king who died and was reborn every year. Emerging from centuries of obscurity, Osiris has several ingredients for success in the modern world: Roots in ancient myth, an uplifting meaning, an s ending and the cute nickname Os or Oz.
  8. Suki
    • Origin:

      Japanese or English
    • Meaning:

      "loved one; lily"
    • Description:

      As a Japanese name, Suki has the sweet meaning "loved one". It's also an English diminutive of Susanna, making it a creative and modern way to honor a Susan in your life.
  9. Acacia
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "thorny"
    • Description:

      Acacia is an attractive, rarely used Greek flower name enhanced by its popular beginning-and-ending-with 'a'-construct, and is gradually beginning to catch on as a new member of the stylish girl names starting with A.
  10. Jethro
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "excellence"
    • Description:

      Jethro, though the biblical father-in-law of Moses, has suffered for a long time from a Beverly Hillbilly image, but some really adventurous parents might consider updating and urbanizing it and transitioning it into the hip o-ending category.
  11. Helios
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "sun"
    • Description:

      The name of the young Greek sun god, brother to the moon goddess Selene, who rode across the sky each day in a chariot pulled by four horses.
  12. Yvaine
    • Origin:

      Female variation of Yvain or Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "evening star"
    • Description:

      A mix of Yvonne and Elaine, Yvaine was first noticed in the Neil Gaiman fantasy novel and then movie Stardust, in which Claire Danes played the 'fallen star' Yvaine. This In all its forms, one of the most classic Scottish names for girls is now attracting namer attention--just as that other Gaiman-inspired name, Coraline, did. Yvaine has a definite romantic, medieval charm. A small segment of namers are definitely taking notice.
  13. Hestia
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "hearth, fireside"
    • Description:

      Hestia is the name of the Greek goddess of the hearth, home and chastity. Though Hestia has been long dormant as a name, it's a possibility for the parent in search of a classic name with deep roots that's also unusual. It's one of the Greek goddess namesthat's both familiar and distinctive.
  14. Mercury
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "Roman messenger god"
    • Description:

      Adventurous parents are starting to look back to names of ancient gods like Mercury, Zeus, and Apollo. This one is also a planet and a metallic element, and has a friendly nickname, Merc. The Roman god Mercury, which derives from the Latin words for trade or wages, is the patron of tradesmen and travelers and the fastest-moving planet in the solar system. Mercury is the planet associated with the sign of Virgo, so this is one of the prime names for Virgo babies.
  15. Cerelia
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "relating to springtime"
    • Description:

      Cerelia is a melodic and unusual choice, perfect for a child born in April or May. Another version is Cerella.
  16. Nerissa
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "from the sea"
    • Description:

      An offbeat possible replacement for the overused Melissa and Marisa, Nerissa was used by Shakespeare for Portia's witty confidante in The Merchant of Venice. Queen Elizabeth has a cousin named Nerissa.
  17. Oslo
    • Origin:

      Norwegian place name, Old Norse
    • Meaning:

      "meadow at the foot of a hill"
    • Description:

      Oslo, the capital city of Norway, makes for an intriguing new place name, especially with its bookended O's, as in Otto. One Berry has already used it and we predict others will follow.
  18. Tamara
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "date palm tree"
    • Description:

      Adding a final a to Tamar lends it a more sensual Slavic tone, making it a more popular choice than the original.
  19. Nimue
    • Origin:

      Celtic Mythology (one of the names of the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legends)
    • Description:

      Nimue (Lady of the Lake) is the ruler of Avalon in the Arthurian legend. Nimue plays a pivotal role in many stories, including giving King Arthur his sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father.
  20. Jubal
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "ram's horn"
    • Description:

      This unusual name might be a possibility for musical families: Jubal was credited in Genesis with the invention of the lyre, flute, harp, and organ. It also has a jubilant feel through its sound and meaning, and has had some southern popularity via Confederate general Jubal Anderson Early. George Eliot wrote a poem called The Legend of Jubal.