Offbeat Baby Names
Offbeat baby names are those that are just a little bit quirky, a tiny bit unusual, and off the beaten track. These names are unexpected on little babies, either because they’re old-fashioned, like Henrietta and Otis, or they’ve always been outside of the mainstream, such as Thisbe and Macallister.
Along with Otis, other offbeat baby names in the US Top 1000 include Bellamy, Clementine, Cleo, Jacoby, Lyle, Magnus, and Otto. But most quirky baby names fall well outside the most popular list, such as Flavian, Jessamy, Rafferty, and Wednesday.
Quirky names are perfect for creative, individualistic people and their children. Here are some offbeat baby names you might want to consider today, ordered by their popularity on Nameberry.
Origin:French feminine version of Clement, Latin
Description:Clementine is a Nameberry favorite that has finally broken back into the US Top 1000 after more than half a century off the list. Still, its style value may mean there are more Clementines than you might guess in your neighborhood—it may be a name that raises Mom's eyebrows, but it won't surprise your friends.
Description:Imogen has long been fashionable in England and is gaining favor in the US among stylish parents. Pronounced the British way — the initial i is short as in Kim, as is the final E as in Ken — Imogen is as pretty and classy as it is distinctive.
Description:Otto is cool again. Long a quintessential Old Man Name, Otto has been promoted to trending darling of adventurous baby namers.
Origin:Variation of Otto, German
Description:Otis has real appeal for parents attracted to its catchy O initial and combination of strength and spunk. The appealing hero of the British TV show Sex Education has done much to propel Otis into the forefront of cool names.
Origin:Latin, variation of Cassius
Description:Cassian is a saints' and Latin clan name, related to Cassius, that is virtually unused and waiting to be discovered.
Origin:Scandinavian from Latin
Description:Magnus is a Latin name, literally meaning "greatest," that has a Scandinavian feel. It dates back to Charlemagne being called Carolus Magnus, or Charles the Great. Norwegian king Magnus I, named after Charlemagne, introduced it to his culture, and thus Magnus was the name of six early kings of Norway and four of Sweden. It is still a highly popular name in Denmark and Norway.
Meaning:"prosperous in battle"
Description:Ottilie is trending in the UK, where the pronounced T helps the name sound pretty and delicate, ala Amelie. Ottilie is less popular in the US, where many Americans pronounce it as a near-homonym for "oddly".
Origin:Diminutive of Rosemary, Roma, Romana, Romilly etc.
Description:Austrian actress Romy Schneider seemed to be the singular bearer of this international nickname name until it found new style currency in the past decade.
Description:Cleo, one of the few girls' names to boast the cool-yet-lively o ending, is of course short for Cleopatra, the name of one of the most powerful women in history.
Origin:Greek, Italian, English
Meaning:"order, beauty, universe"
Description:We all heard it on Seinfeld as the long-concealed first name of Kramer, then considered a punchline. Now some pioneering parents are embracing this expansive Greek name, which makes a creative and cool choice for a baby. Influential celebrity couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost chose it for their son, born in 2021, which will likely drive Cosmo up in popularity. In the UK, it currently ranks within the Top 1000 boy names and is trending upwards.
Meaning:"leaping water, lady of abundance"
Description:As memories of the outragrous actress Talullah Bankhead have faded, this hauntingly euphonious Choctaw name has re-entered the public domain. A modern hipster favorite, it's been chosen for their daughters by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patrick Dempsey, Damian Dash, Rachel Roy and Sara Rue, trail-blazed by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis for their now grown daughter. (Trivia tidbit: Bankhead's namesake was her paternal grandmother who, in turn, was named after the Georgia town of Tallulah Falls.)
Origin:Latin diminutive of Durant
Description:Though closely associated with the great medieval Florentine poet Dante Alighieri -- who's so famous most people skip the last name -- it's not as much of a one-man name as you might think. Heck, it's not even a one-poet name, thanks to British pre-Rapahaelite Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Though especially well used in the Italian-American community, it would make a striking name for any little boy.
Meaning:"she who brings happiness; blessed"
Description:Beatrix has a solid history of its own apart from Beatrice, with that final x adding a playful, animated note to the name's imposing history.
Description:Alaric is an ancient regal name that sounds modern enough to be considered. Alaric was a traditional name for the kings of the Ostrogoths, the most famous of whom was Alaric I, the King of the West Goths who sacked Rome in 410.
Description:Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes.
Description:Both offbeat and upbeat, this evocative traditional Irish name that runs through Celtic mythology is known here via award-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy (born Charles). The author's adopted name is related to Cormac Mac Airt, one of the great legendary high kings of Ireland.
Description:Rufus is a rumpled, redheaded (it was the nickname for red-haired King William) ancient Roman name popular with saints and singers (e.g. Rufus Wainwright); now, Rufus is on the cutting edge of cool.
Description:An attractive French word name known here via former child TV star Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punky Brewster. It started to be lightly used in the U.S. in the 1920s and is now attracting some attention as both a sunny nature and an international word name. It's currently in the Nameberry Top 500.
Description:Phineas is the English variation of Phinehas, a Hebrew name likely derived from the Egyptian name Pa-nehasi. Pa-nehasi, meaning "the Nubian" can also be translated as "the bronze-colored one." The Egyptians distinguished themselves from their Nubian neighbors through differences in skin tone.
Origin:Irish, variation of Una
Description:Oona is a name made famous by Eugene O'Neill's daughter, who became Charlie Chaplin's wife. One of the original Oona's granddaughters was named after her, and is now an actress famous in her own right for playing Talisa of Volantis in HBO's "Game of Thrones." The double-o beginning gives their name a lot of oomph.