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Unusual Baby Names

Unusual Baby Names
Unusual baby names come from a range of categories, from ethnic names to place names to word names to surnames used as first names. Unusual names are apt to draw attention, which makes them frequent choices among celebrities. Recent starbabies have been given unusual names such as Hart, Olympia, Taj, and Vale.

Along with Olympia and Hart, other unusual baby names on the rise include Alistair, Birdie, Coco, Fielder, Henrietta, Lumi, West, and Zebedee. Ultra-rare and unusual names given to fewer than five babies last year include Conran, Madrigal, Oceon, and Plum.

The best unusual names are distinctive without being strange, seem unique yet are also easy to understand. Of the thousands of unusual baby names on Nameberry, here are some of our favorites.
  1. 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.
  2. AlistairHeart
    • Origin:

      English spelling of Alasdair, Scottish version of Alexander
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      With many British names invading the Yankee name pool, the sophisticated Alistair could and should be part of the next wave. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2016. You have a triple choice with this name--the British spell it Alistair or Alastair, while the Scots prefer Alasdair--but they're all suave Gaelic versions of Alexander. Adopted by the lowland Scots by the seventeenth century, the name didn't become popular outside Scotland and Ireland until the twentieth century.
  3. 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.
  4. BlytheHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "happy, carefree"
    • Description:

      Blythe originated as a nickname for an upbeat person, coming from the Old English word bliðe, meaning "merry" or "cheerful." Today the homophone blithe shares the same meaning. Blythe was eventually adapted to a surname before it became a feminine given name.
  5. CasimirHeart
    • Origin:

      Polish, Slavic
    • Meaning:

      "destroyer of peace"
    • Description:

      Casimir, a traditional name of Polish kings, could do quite well these days as we see the rise of Caspian, Cassius, Castiel, et. al. Like Leopold and Laszlo, Casimir is strong and worth considering if you've got an adventurous streak — and bet your son will too. An alternative commonly cited meaning that modern parents might prefer is "proclaimer of peace".
  6. BirdieHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "bird"
    • Description:

      Birdie was until recently a middle-aged Ladies' Club member wearing a bird-decorated hat --but now it's just the kind of vintage nickname (think Hattie, Josie, Mamie, Millie) that's coming back into style in a big way. Actress Busy Philipps named her baby Birdie (inspired by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson), as did soap star Maura West.
  7. IndigoHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "Indian dye"
    • Description:

      Indigo is one of the most appealing and evocative of the new generation of color names. Color names have joined flower and jewel names -- in a big way -- and Indigo, a deep blue-purple dye from plants native to India, is particularly striking for both girls and boys. Indigo is the name of a character in the Ntozake Shange novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and was used for his daughter by Lou Diamond Phillips.
  8. LevHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, Russian
    • Meaning:

      "heart; lion"
    • Description:

      This concise one-syllable name, has two possible derivations and two positive meanings associated with it. In Hebrew, it means "heart", while in Russian it means "lion". So strong and simple Lev has both a soft and a fierce side.
  9. LavenderHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "purple flower"
    • Description:

      Lavender lags far behind sweet-smelling purple-hued sister names Violet and Lila, but is starting to get some enthusiastic attention from cutting-edge namers along with other adventurous nature names like Clementine and Marigold.
  10. CressidaHeart
    • 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. 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.
  11. OctaviaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "eighth"
    • Description:

      Octavia began as the Latin, then Victorian name for an eighth child. While there aren't many eighth children anymore, this ancient Roman name has real possibilities as a substitute for the overused Olivia; recommended for its combination of classical and musical overtones. It was chosen for his daughter by Kevin Sorbo.
  12. CalypsoHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "she who hides"
    • Description:

      This hyper-rhythmic name has two evocative references. In Greek mythology, she was an island nymph, a daughter of Atlas, who delayed Odysseus from returning home. It is also a genre of West Indian music, originating in Trinidad and Tobago and largely popularized in the States by Harry Belafonte.
  13. LaviniaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin, from ancient place name Lavinium
    • Description:

      Lavinia is a charmingly prim and proper Victorian-sounding name which actually dates back to classical mythology, where it was the name of the wife of the Trojan hero Aeneas, who was considered the mother of the Roman people.
  14. OziasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "salvation"
    • Description:

      Everyone says they want an unusual name — well, if you truly do, this is one with Biblical cred that fits the bill, with the added attraction of the user-friendly nickname of Oz or Ozzie. Ozias is the name of several minor figures in the Bible. Osias is another spelling.
  15. CosimaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian feminine variation of Cosmo, Greek
    • Meaning:

      "order, beauty"
    • Description:

      Cosima, the kind of elegant and unusual name the British upper classes love to use for their daughters, is given to a handful of baby girls in the US after being chosen by two high-profile celebs in the same month; cool couple Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mars as well as supermodel Claudia Schiffer. It was used earlier by celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, while the male form, Cosimo, was given to the son of Marissa Ribisi and Beck.
  16. BarnabyHeart
    • Origin:

      English variation of Barnabas, Aramaic
    • Meaning:

      "son of consolation"
    • Description:

      Barnaby, a genial and energetic name with an Irish-sounding three-syllable lilt, is an ancient appellation that manages to be both unusual and highly attractive and deserves to be used more than it is. A sweet-spot name that's a real winner.
  17. CocoHeart
    • Origin:

      Spanish and French pet name
    • Description:

      Coco came to prominence as the nickname of the legendary French designer Chanel (born Gabrielle) and has lately become a starbaby favorite, initially chosen by Courteney Cox for her daughter Coco Riley in 2004. At first it was the kind of name that the press loves to ridicule, but we predict Coco's heading for more broad acceptance and even popularity.
  18. CirceHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "bird"
    • Description:

      In Greek myth, Circe, daughter of Helios, the sun, was a sorceress living on the island of Aeaea, who could turn men into animals with her magic wand, which is just what she did to Odysseus's crew in Homer's Odyssey, transforming them into swine. All was forgiven, however, as Circe and Odysseus later had a child together—Telegonus. The name and legend have appeared in countless forms, from a section of James Joyce's Ulysses to short stories by Julio Cortazar to Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon to films to DC comics to a dance by Martha Graham. So is Circe's seductive legend too powerful for a modern little girl to carry? Your call.
  19. OberonHeart
    • Origin:

      Variation of Auberon
    • Meaning:

      "noble, bearlike"
    • Description:

      The Shakespearean character Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream is King of the Fairies, but the name, with its strong 'O' beginning, projects a far more virile image than that.
  20. InigoHeart
    • Origin:

      Basque, medieval Spanish variation of Ignatius
    • Meaning:

      "fiery"
    • Description:

      Inigo, almost unknown in the U.S., is an intriguing choice, with its strong beat, creative and evocative sound, and associations with the great early British architect and stage designer Inigo Jones. The sixteenth-seventeenth century Jones shared his name with his father, a London clockmaker, who received it when Spanish names for boys were fashionable in England, especially among devout Roman Catholics.