Rare Place Names for Babies
Rare place names for babies are those that are undiscovered. Some place names, such as Cayman and Nile, can be used for boys, but most of the rare place names work best for baby girls.
Along with Cayman and Oslo, other rare place names for babies include Avalon, Cyprus, Delphi, Marbella, Nairobi, Quebec, Sicily, and Bronx. Rare place names inspired by American states include Alabama, Jersey, Louisiana, and Indiana.
City names for boys in the rare category include Rio, York, and Charleston. Unique city names for girls include Venice and Atlanta. Unusual gender-neutral city names are Havana and Reno.
Here are some choices on (and off) the map, including unique city names, country names, island names, and the names of mythical lands, all of which can be used for babies. The rare place names for babies here are ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.
Meaning:"island of apples"
Description:Avalon, an island paradise of Celtic myth and Arthurian legend--it was where King Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds-- and also the colorful capital of the California island of Catalina-- makes a heavenly first name. Actress Rena Sofer and British musician Julian Cope used it for their daughters.
Origin:Norwegian place name
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.
Description:Odessa, a Ukrainian port city, was given its name by Catherine the Great, who was inspired by Homer's Odyssey. It would make an original and intriguing choice.
Meaning:"from Mount Olympus"
Description:With its relation to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and to the Olympic games, this name has an athletic, goddess-like aura, making it the perfect Olivia substitute.
Description:This lovely orange-scented Spanish place-name would make an inventive namesake for an Aunt Valerie.
Origin:Greek place name
Description:An interesting unisex possibility, with an air of mystery connected to the Delphic Oracle, the most important oracle in ancient Greece; it was also a major site for the worship of the god Apollo.
Description:This name of the French town where a young peasant girl had a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1858 vaulted into the spotlight when Madonna chose it for her daughter, but few other families except for devout Roman Catholics have followed her lead (any more than they've used Rocco for their sons).
Origin:Place-name, world's tallest mountain
Description:A twist on the standard Everett takes it to lofty heights. The snow-capped Everest would surely stand out in a classroom, yet has an acceptable name-like feel.
Description:Rio is a reductive ranchero place-name with an attractive Tex-Mex lilt. No Doubt's Tom Dumont has a son named Rio Atticus.
Meaning:"land of the Indians"
Description:Indiana is one of those place-names (think Camden and Trenton) that sounds cooler than the place that inspired it. Its fashionable -ana ending certainly sounds eminently name-like, and Indie/Indy/Indi is one of the hottest nickname names for girls right now.
Never as popular as Florence; today's parents might prefer Venezia, Verona, or Romy. It is also a Hindu name meaning "one with shiny hair" and is another name for the goddess Lakshmi.
Description:Rockers Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz put a new baby name on the map when they chose this downscale New York borough name for their son. The Bronx, the place, was named for early Dutch settler Jonas Bronck. Might Bronx become the next Brooklyn? We'd be surprised if it did.
Description:Has a lively and swaggering sound, and also some unfortunate associations with Reno, city of gambling and failed marriages.
Origin:French, feminine variation of Philippe
Meaning:"lover of horses"
Description:Philippine would be taken as an ethnic identification rather than a name in the U.S. Better try Philippa, though if you don't mind eternally correcting people, Philippine can make an interesting alternative. Pippa can be a short form of Philippine as well as Philippa.
Origin:Spanish place name
Description:Equally strong, dramatic and romantic, this name of an old kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula and a modern Spanish community as well, would give a boy an instant pedigree.
Origin:River name, color name, or variation of Niall, Irish
Description:Water names are a cool category these days, and this one of the famous Egyptian river is no exception. It streamlines the fussier Niles and also may be thought of as a color name, meaning dark blue or indigo.
Origin:English place name from Dutch
Description:Zealand is the English translation of the Dutch province name Zeeland (originally Seelant). It's more commonly associated with New Zealand, the Oceanic country named by the Dutch. As a baby name, Zealand entered the popularity charts for boys in 2000, but has never been given to more than 40 babies in a single year. It is used for girls as well, but with less frequency.
Origin:Italian, feminine variation of Dominic
Meaning:"belonging to the Lord"
Description:Fashionably Continental and much fresher than Dominique, though it's been used since the Middle Ages. Dominica can be spelled any number of ways, from Dominika to Domenica, but we prefer this version.
Description:Verona is a scenic place-name with the added attraction of a Shakespearean connection, as in Two Gentlemen of....
Origin:English from Hebrew
Description:Abilene is a rarely used place name, mentioned as such in the New Testament, that combines the cowboy spunk of the Texas city with the midwestern morality of the Kansas town where Dwight D. Eisenhower spent his boyhood. Abilene is a much more untrodden path to the nickname Abbie/Abbie than the Top 10 Abigail.