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Names Tied to a Single Celebrity

There are some celebrity names so singular that the celebrity in question barely needs a last name — and often doesn't even use one. While a handful of these unique celebrity names start out as one-of-a-kind only to spawn a legion of little namesakes (case in point: Zendaya), others remain indelibly linked to the personages who inspired them. After all, there’s only one Oprah!

Along with Zendaya, other unique celebrity names in the US Top 1000 include Blake, Chance, Drake, Keanu, Leighton, Pierce, Sutton, and Zayn. Singular celebrity names on the rise include Halsey, Lake, Rashida, and Winona.

Some names are uniquely tied to a single celebrity due to an unusual spelling, such as Bethenny and Ginnifer. Our picks for this distinctive group of singular celebrity names include the following.
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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 1920's, and is now attracting some attention as both a sunny nature and an exotic name. It's currently Number 680 on Nameberry.

JoaquinHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Joachim
  • Meaning:

    "God will judge"
  • Description:

    Actor Joaquin Phoenix (brother of River, Rain, Liberty and Summer) highlighted this one, then Kelly Ripa began talking about younger son Joaquin on her daily TV show, and presto—it's now one of the hottest and most appealing multicultural baby boy names.

PippaHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Philippa
  • Meaning:

    "lover of horses"
  • Description:

    Pippa, a peppy condensation of Philippa that turns it from serious to sprightly, has come into the public eye in a big way via the former Kate Middleton's sister.

ZaynHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "beauty, grace"
  • Description:

    Zayn zoomed up the popularity charts thanks to former One Direction member Zayn Malik; it was one of the fastest-rising names of 2016. The name can also be spelled Zain; the feminine version is Zayna or Zaina.

SuttonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "from the southern homestead"
  • Description:

    Sutton is a plain-sounding surname most notably worn by Tony-winning Broadway actress Sutton Foster, now starring in TV Land's Younger -- based on a novel written by Nameberry co-creator Pamela Redmond Satran.
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IdrisHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh; Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "lord; studious"
  • Description:

    A common Welsh name virtually unknown before the emergence of the charismatic Idris Elba, first on The Wire and then depicting Nelson Mandela in the acclaimed film.

    Idris Hawr "the Giant" was a legendary seventh century Welsh giant and magician who gave his name to a well known mountain, "Idris's Fort"

    Idris also exists in Arabic, meaning "to learn, study" and is the name of a prophet mentioned twice in the Koran. Idris Shah was a prominent Sufi writer.

DenzelHeart

  • Origin:

    Cornish
  • Meaning:

    "from the high stronghold"
  • Description:

    This old Cornish name took on a whole new identity via Denzel Washington, who has inspired several thousand namesakes. The actor was named after his father, who was named for a Dr. Denzel, who delivered him.

BlakeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired, dark"
  • Description:

    The unisex Blake, which indeed has two conflicting meanings, has a briskly efficient image when used for a girl.

BenedictHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "blessed"
  • Description:

    Parents who like Ben and Benjamin but find those forms too popular sometimes consider Benedict as a more distinctive choice. Unlike the Old Testament Benjamin, Benedict is the name of the saint who formed the Benedictine Order and of fifteen popes,including a recent one.

ViggoHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "war"
  • 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.
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KeanuHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "cool breeze over the mountains"
  • Description:

    An evocatively exotic name brought from Hawaii to the mainland by Keanu Reeves, who was born in Beirut to a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese father. It moved into the Top 1000 for the first time in over a decade in 2016.

PierceHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Piers"
  • Description:

    Actor Pierce Brosnan brings a strong helping of charm to this name.

SaffronHeart

  • Origin:

    Spice name
  • Description:

    Spice names are increasingly appealing to the senses of prospective parents; this one, belonging to a precious spice derived from the crocus has a vaguely orange-scented-incense sixties feel.

SiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Old Norse
  • Meaning:

    "Victory"
  • Description:

    Mia, Gia, and now Sia!

UmaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "nation"
  • Description:

    Uma is a throaty, exotic name for a Hindu goddess...and a Hollywood one. But as popular as Uma Thurman is, other parents have not yet picked up on her name, making it a rarity.
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DrakeHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "dragon; or, male duck"
  • Description:

    A simple one-syllable name that has been on the popularity list since the mid-1980s, Drake is most associated today with the single-named rapper (born Aubrey). The name peaked at Number 197 in 2010 and has since been on a slow decline, but it still can be counted among the stylish contemporary boy names starting with D.

IggyHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, diminutive of Ignatius
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • Description:

    Iggy is the quintessential pop star name, though it's the nickname Cate Blanchett uses for son Ignatius. Iggy does bring any grander-sounding name down to earth.

DoveHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Meaning:

    "dove, a bird"
  • Description:

    One of the new bird names, like Lark and Wren, this one's associated with the billing and cooing sounds of love. Soft and gentle, Dove also has the admirable association with peace.

KobeHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "tortoise"
  • Description:

    Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, whose name was inspired by a Japanese steak house, brought this energetic and appealing name into -- and out of -- the mix. Bryant's tragic death in a helicopter crash in 2020 may only increase the popularity of his name, as fans and admirers name their children Kobe in honor of the star.

TheloniousHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized variation of German Tillman, “one who plows the earth”
  • Description:

    One of the coolest of names, thanks to legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk, who inherited this Latin-sounding German name from his father. It has been used very sparingly since the 1960's, with just a sprinkling of baby boys receiving the name each year, though it's one of the unique baby names we predict will get much less unique as more parents embrace its quirky charms.
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LeightonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "meadow town"
  • Description:

    One of those names that's suddenly on the map because of a celebrity's influence, Leighton Meester of the TV show Gossip Girl. She pronounces it LAY-ton but some will intuitively say LEE-ton.

ElonHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "oak tree"
  • Description:

    The boys' name Elon is best known today as the name of Elon Musk, eccentric billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX. With Canadian singer Grimes, Elon Musk has a son with an even more unusual name, X Æ A-12.

ArsenioHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "virile, strong"
  • Description:

    Long considered Mr. Hall's exclusive property, it's now ready to be adopted by others.

DrewHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Andrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Drew is an elegant formerly male-only alternative to Andy that joined the stylishly upscale Paige-Brooke-Blair sorority, thanks largely to Drew Barrymore. Barrymore comes by her first name legitimately: it was the maiden name of her paternal great-grandmother, Georgiana 'Georgie' Drew Barrymore, one of many esteemed actors in her family history.

LakeHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    This body of water runs deep; the best of a group of new possibilities that includes Bay, Ocean, River, and the more established Brook. It has received attention via the actress Lake Bell. Lake would make a particularly cool and refreshing middle name, as Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady did for daughter Vivian.
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WinonaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sioux Indian
  • Meaning:

    "firstborn daughter"
  • Description:

    Rode two rockets to fame, with actress Winona Ryder and singer Wynonna Judd.

ZendayaHeart

  • Origin:

    Shona
  • Meaning:

    "to give thanks"
  • Description:

    Disney Channel star and recording artist Zendaya's unusual name comes from the word for thanks, Tendai, in the Shona language, spoken in Zimbabwe and southern Zambia. Its popularity is directly connected to this actress-singer's rising celebrity, as it only just made its first appearance on the US Top 1000 in 2014. It's a distinctive choice, and thanks to our affection for the letter Z and Zendaya's great meaning, more parents are choosing it for their daughters.

GwynethHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "blessed, happy"
  • Description:

    Because of Gwyneth Paltrow, this has almost become a one-person name, but not in the prohibitive there's-only-one-Oprah sense. Also seen as Gwenyth and Gweneth, this mellifluous appellation is definitely becoming more and more appreciated by American parents-- enough to land it on this year's Top 1000.

LebronHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "brown-haired one"
  • Description:

    The best-known bearer of this name by far is basketball superstar LeBron James.

ChanceHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Chauncey
  • Description:

    Once a cavalier Mississippi gambler type name, Chance has entered the mainstream since being endorsed by such celebrity dads as Larry King and Paul Hogan. Chance the Rapper has also boosted the name's popularity.
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KieferHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "barrel maker; pine"
  • Description:

    Kiefer is a strong occupational surname associated with "24" star Kiefer Sutherland, but one that could well join the other 'er' surnames currently in favor. Keifer is a German surname transferred to first name use, derived from two old Germanic words, kien and forhe, both of which mean "pine tree."

AxlHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Axel, Scandinavian version of Absalom
  • Meaning:

    "father of peace"
  • Description:

    Guns 'n' Roses musician Axl (born William) Rose created this name by dropping a vowel, a la Barbra Streisand. The traditional Axel is more popular, though celebrity parents Fergie and Josh Duhamel deliberately chose the Axl spelling to honor her rock hero.

AlanisHeart

  • Origin:

    Female variation of Alan
  • Meaning:

    "handsome, cheerful"
  • Description:

    Singer Alanis Morissette made this twist famous. She was named for her father Alan, who is said to have spotted this version in a Greek newspaper. So far it has been pretty much a one-person name, but could make distinctive update of Alana--especially with s-ending names making a comeback.

NewtHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a small salamander"
  • Description:

    Rarely used on its own and irrevocably tied to former House Speaker Gingrich -- who was christened Newton.

SolangeHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "solemn"
  • Description:

    This is a soft, soignée French girls' namethat has become familiar here via singer Solange Knowles, younger sister of Beyonce.
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TuesdayHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "Tiu's Day,"
  • Description:

    When actress Susan Ker Weld changed her name to Tuesday, she opened up a whole calendar of possibilities. This was decades before the arrival of Sunday Rose Urban.

RooneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of the champion"
  • Description:

    Talented actress Rooney Mara (originally born Patricia Rooney) has single-handedly transformed this Gaelic surname into a wearable and elegant girls' name. Often said to mean "red-haired", the original surname, rendered as O' Ruanaidh, actually means "descendent of the champion". Trivia note: the most famous Rooney, Mickey Rooney, was originally born Joseph Yule.

SigourneyHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "daring king"
  • Description:

    Actress Sigourney -- born Susan -- Weaver made this unusual name (which she found in The Great Gatsby) famous, if not popular.

BodeHeart

  • Origin:

    Possible diminutive of Bodhi
  • Description:

    Bode is a short and sharp name that re-entered the Top 1000 in 2014 after a few years off the list. However, with its flat sound and omen-related meaning, we do not think naming your son Bode bodes very well.

ShaquilleHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "well developed, handsome"
  • Description:

    No longer a one-person name, as a number of parents have been inspired by basketball great Shaquille O'Neal to adopt it for their own future athletes.
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SelmaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "godly helmet"
  • Description:

    After decades of playing mah-jongg with her buddies Bernice and Myrna, Selma has been given a somewhat more youthful spin via actresses Selma Blair and Salma Hayek. Popular in the early 19th century, it is still #34 in both Sweden and Norway. Selma won a Nobel Prize via Swedish author Selma Lagerlof, the first woman to win for literature.

EugenieHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Eugenia, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wellborn"
  • Description:

    Eugenie enjoyed a major dusting off when Fergie and Prince Andrew chose it for their daughter, restoring a patina of royal sheen it hadn't had since the time of Napoleon III's glamorous empress--who spent much of her life in England. It was also borne by Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, after whom Prince Andrew's younger daughter was named.

SalmaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "safe"
  • Description:

    Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek lends a large dollop of glamour to this name that would otherwise resemble the middle-aged Selma.

MacaulayHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "son of righteousness"
  • Description:

    Made famous by former child star Macaulay Culkin, one of the more popular Mac names.

RushHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "basket weaver"
  • Description:

    Might suggest speed, excitement, even danger, were it not for its best-known bearer, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.
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EltonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "from the old town"
  • Description:

    Elton is an unassuming, lesser-used place name belonging to several towns in the British Isles, the US and Canada, and even a lake in Russia. The singer Elton John gives it a bit of extra pizzazz.

AudrinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Audrey
  • Meaning:

    "noble strength"
  • Description:

    Audrina is a name that owes its fame to overnight reality TV sensation Audrina Partridge, one of the original cast of the MTV reality series The Hills.

JacindaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Jacinta
  • Meaning:

    "hyacinth"
  • Description:

    Jacinda, a form of the lovely and unusual Spanish and Portuguese flower name Jacinta (for Hyacinth), was first popularized by the Australian actress Jacinda Barrett. Today, the girls' name Jacinda is most notable as the name of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, one of the first world leaders to give birth in office, widely credited with her strong and compassionate leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.

CharlizeHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminization of Charles
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Charlize is a name that owes its very life to a star: elegant blond South African actress Charlize Theron. She was named after her father, whose name was Charles. Charlize jumped onto the popularity lists in 2004, the year the actress won the Oscar for lead actress in Monster.

RihannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "sweet basil"
  • Description:

    Rihanna, the name of the Barbados-born singer, whose birth name was Robyn Rihanna, attracted a fair number of parents for several years, but has now declined to Number 830. It has also generated several spelling variations.
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