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Offbeat Baby Names

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 Beatrix, 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.
  1. OttilieHeart
    • Origin:

      German, French
    • Meaning:

      "prosperous in battle"
    • Description:

      Ottilie and its diminutive Ottiline are a pair of names heard among the British upper crust, but have rarely been seen here since the 1880's. Ottilie does have a few cultural references: She is a key character in Goethe's Elective Affinities, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem called To Ottilie, Franz Kafka had a sister named Ottilie, and it is the name of the protagonist in the John Wyndom sci-fi story Random Quest.
  2. ClementineHeart
    • Origin:

      French feminine version of Clement, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "mild, merciful"
    • 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.
  3. OttoHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "wealthy"
    • Description:

      Cutting-edge parents have revived this German name a la Oscar.
  4. ImogenHeart
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      "maiden"
    • Description:

      The story goes that Imogen originated as a Shakespearean printer's misspelling of the traditional Celtic name Innogen, used by him for a character in one of his last plays, Cymbeline. The Innogen of legend, who Shakespeare’s character was based on, was the wife of Brutus of Troy, the first king of Britain. Earlier versions of her name, including Ennoguent, Innoguend, and Innoguent, were found in Brittany from the 9th-11th centuries. They are probably derived from the Gaelic word inghean, meaning "daughter" or "maiden," and possibly have a connection to the Proto-Celtic word for "white," from which the suffixes -gwyn and -gwen evolved.
  5. OtisHeart
    • Origin:

      Variation of Otto, German
    • Meaning:

      "wealthy"
    • Description:

      Otis has a double image: it's cool and bluesy a la Otis Redding, but also an upscale, high-society name of the past. Otis has real appeal for parents attracted to its catchy O initial and combination of strength and spunk.
  6. MagnusHeart
    • Origin:

      Scandinavian from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "greatest"
    • 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.
  7. CassianHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin, variation of Cassius
    • Meaning:

      "hollow"
    • Description:

      Cassian is a saints' and Latin clan name, related to Cassius, that is virtually unused and waiting to be discovered.
  8. CosmoHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek, Italian, English
    • Meaning:

      "order, beauty"
    • 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.
  9. BeatrixHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • 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.
  10. DanteHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin diminutive of Durant
    • Meaning:

      "enduring"
    • 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.
  11. LinusHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "flax"
    • 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.
  12. TallulahHeart
    • Origin:

      Choctaw, Irish
    • 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.)
  13. PhineasHeart
    • Origin:

      English, Egyptian
    • Meaning:

      "the Nubian"
    • 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.
  14. RupertHeart
    • Origin:

      German variation of Robert
    • Meaning:

      "bright fame"
    • Description:

      Rupert is a charming-yet-manly name long more popular in Britain (where it's attached to a beloved cartoon bear) than in the U.S. Yet we can see Rupert as a more stylish, modern way to honor an ancestral Robert.
  15. HamishHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish variation of James
    • Meaning:

      "supplanter"
    • Description:

      Just as Seamus/Seumus is Irish for James, Hamish is the Scottish form — one that's not often used here, but still redolent of Olde Scotland. If you're ready to go further than Duncan and Malcolm, out to Laird and Ewan territory, this may be worth consideration. It also sounds just like the Yiddish word for homey.
  16. RufusHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "red-head"
    • 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.
  17. CormacHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "charioteer"
    • 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.
  18. RomyHeart
    • 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.
  19. CleoHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "glory"
    • 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.
  20. SoleilHeart
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "sun"
    • 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.