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. Unusual celebrity baby names include Hart, Olympia, Taj, and Vale.
Along with Olympia and Hart, other unusual baby names trending now 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, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.
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.
Origin:English spelling of Alasdair, Scottish version of Alexander
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.
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". The traditional Polish spelling of the name is Kazimir.
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.
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: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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Meaning:"of the mind, intellect"
Description:Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength, one of the mythology names for girls that might appeal to adventurous feminist parents. With Juno and Jupiter, she made the Capitoline triad, whose worship was at the very center of Roman religion.
Origin:Italian feminine variation of Cosmo, Greek
Meaning:"order, beauty, universe"
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.
Description:Oisin is one of the most popular Irish baby names in its native land, though largely unknown in the US. The original Oisin was the mythological son of Finn McCool and Sadb, the goddess who was changed into a deer. A legendary war hero and poet, Oisin had a name that is also reminiscent in sound of the ocean. Pronounced correctly, this name has an attractive sheen.
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.
Origin:English variation of Hebrew Zebediah
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Zebedee is an adorable and unusual New Testament name--which may sound like but is not a contradiction in terms. Unlike some of the longer biblical Z-names, Zebedee has a more lighthearted usability, with its gleeful ee-ending. And Zeb makes a fabulous nickname.
Description:Though to most Americans Viggo is a one-person name attached to intense actor Mortensen, it is actually an old Norse name dating back to the Vikings, and is currently the 32nd most popular appellation in Sweden. Viggo Mortensen is a Jr., sharing his name with his Danish father. We think this name is so, well, vigorous, that it might appeal to others as well. Taylor and Natalie Hanson seemed to agree when they chose it for their fourth child.
Origin:Basque, medieval Spanish variation of Ignatius
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.
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.
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.
Description:Lumi may be a rare girls' name in the USA and England, but it comes in the Top 50 in Finland, where it means snow. Given the popularity of Winter, Holly, Ivy and many other wintery-christmassy names, we think that short and spunky Lumi definitely has potential for greater usage outside its home country as one of the more unusual names for Christmas babies.