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Exotic Lite Baby Names

Exotic Lite Baby Names
by Pamela Redmond

Maybe you want an exotic name for your baby....but not too exotic. Something international, yet recognizable to most Americans. Your category? Could be the Exotic Lite baby names here, from a range of cultures.

Gently exotic names are becoming more popular as more Americans are celebrating diversity and searching for names that represent their ethnic heritage or blend cultures. The Irish Liam, rarely heard outside the Emerald Isle a generation ago, is now the Number 1 boys' name in the US and wildly popular throughout the English-speaking world as well as non-English-speaking Europe.

On the girls' side, the Spanish Isabella has ranked highly in the US for a few decades now and also is a top name in countries as diverse as Australia, Ireland, Germany, and Sweden.

Along with Liam and Isabella, other Exotic Lite names that rank in the US Top 100 include Mila, Camila, Layla, Aaliyah, Valentina, and Quinn for girls, and Mateo, Angel, Santiago, Jose, and Leonardo for boys.

Exotic Lite names favored by Nameberry visitors include the Scottish Isla, Irish Maeve, and multicultural Amara for girls. For boys, Nameberry's top Exotic Lite names are the Irish Finn, the Hindi Aarav, and the Indo-Iranian Aryan. A bit further down the list are Elodie, Astrid, and Adah for girls; Soren, Kai, Declan, and Luca for boys.

Some Exotic Lite names are popular in a wide range of countries, languages, and cultures. Along with Maeve and Finn, these truly international names include Kai, Luca and Lucia, Enzo, Mila and Milan, Teo and Mateo.

If you're looking for a name that works in the English-speaking world but also holds a lot of international style, one of the Exotic Lite names could be for you.
  1. MaeveHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "she who intoxicates"
    • Description:

      Maeve appears in Irish mythology in two forms, one as the powerful Queen of Connacht, the other as the queen of the fairies. Maeve of Connacht was a warrior queen, famous for starting a war in attempt to steal her ex-husband’s stud bull. Other spellings are Meabh, Medb and Meadhbh, which are connected to mead, a honey-based wine that was produced in many ancient cultures.
  2. SorenHeart
    • Origin:

      Danish and Norwegian variation of Severus
    • Meaning:

      "stern"
    • Description:

      This gentle Scandinavian name, soft and sensitive, is being discovered in a major way by parents in the US. It's most closely identified with the nineteenth century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, but there have been modern fictional Sorens as well, in The Matrix Reloaded and the book series Guardians of Ga'Hook, Charlie and Lola, and Underworld.
  3. IslaHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish place-name or Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "island"
    • Description:

      Isla, the Spanish word for island, is also the name of a Scottish river, an island (spelled Islay), and the red-haired actress Isla Fisher, married to Sacha Baron Cohen. A top girls' name in the US, Isla is also popular overseas, especially in England, Wales, and her native Scotland.
  4. MiloHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin and Old German
    • Meaning:

      "soldier or merciful"
    • Description:

      Milo is most commonly considered to be Germanic name derived from the Latin word miles, meaning "soldier." However, there is evidence to suggest it also may have independently spawned from the Slavic root milu, meaning "merciful." Milo predates brother name Miles, a variation that evolved when the name immigrated to the British Isles in the Middle Ages. Mylo is an alternate spelling.
  5. ElodieHeart
    • Origin:

      French, variation of Greek Alodia
    • Meaning:

      "foreign riches"
    • Description:

      Elodie derives from Elodia, the Spanish variation of Alodia, a gothic German name associated with Saint Alodia. Saint Alodia was a child martyr in 9th century Spain, along with her sister Nunilo. In France, Elodie is spelled Élodie, with an accent over the E.
  6. RowanHeart
    • Origin:

      Scottish and Irish
    • Meaning:

      "rowan tree; little redhead"
    • Description:

      Rowan – a strong surname and nature name (it's a tree with red berries) – is deservedly growing in popularity. Some scholars identify Rowan as originally a girls’ name, related to Rowena and Rhonwen, while others say Rowan's always been used for both genders. Sharon Stone chose the Roan spelling, which also relates to the reddish color, for her son, while Brooke Shields used Rowan for her daughter. Yet another increasingly popular spelling is Rowen.
  7. FinnHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "fair or white"
    • Description:

      Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.
  8. KaiHeart
    • Origin:

      Hawaiian
    • Meaning:

      "sea"
    • Description:

      Kai has many origins and meanings. What does the name Kai mean? That depends on which Kai you're referring to.
  9. FreyaHeart
    • Origin:

      Norse
    • Meaning:

      "a noble woman"
    • Description:

      Freya is derived from the Old Norse name Freyja, meaning "Lady, noble woman." It is the name of the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. Freya can be considered a feminization of Frey or Freyr, the name of the goddess’s brother.
  10. EnzoHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian variation of Henry, also diminutive of Vincenzo and Lorenzo
    • Description:

      Enzo originated as the Italian variation of Heinz, a German name derived from Heinrich, related to Henry. It has historically been used as a short form for Italian names such as Vincenzo and Lorenzo. The most famous bearer of the name is Enzo Ferrari, founder of the luxury sports car brand.
  11. LyraHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "lyre"
    • Description:

      Lyra is a constellation name taken from the lyre of Orpheus. It contains the star Vega and thus could make a melodic choice for a parent interested in music, astronomy, or mythology. It has more depth and history than Lyric, is more unusual than Lila (which it rhymes with). It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.
  12. AstridHeart
    • Origin:

      Scandinavian
    • Meaning:

      "divinely beautiful"
    • Description:

      Astrid is derived from the name Ástríðr, which is made up of the Old Norse elements that mean "god" and "beautiful." Astrid has been a Scandinavian royal name since the tenth century, and many people associated it with the Swedish author of the Pippi Longstocking stories, Astrid Lindgren. Related names include Asta, a diminutive used throughout Scandinavia, and Astride, the French form. Despite their similarities, Astrid is unrelated to Astra, a Latin name meaning "of the stars."
  13. ElioHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian, Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "sun"
    • Description:

      Elio is a sunny and spirited Italian and Spanish name that makes a great crossover prospect, which could catch on as Enzo has. Elio is also currently popular in France, ranking in the Top 250.
  14. LucaHeart
    • Origin:

      Italian variation of Luke and Lucas
    • Meaning:

      "man from Lucania"
    • Description:

      If there was once a bias against this charming and venerable Italian name for possibly sounding too feminine, consider it gone. Since Luca entered the boys’ names U.S. popularity list in 2000, it has shot up in popularity. It's one of the top Italian baby names in the US and a popular choice throughout Europe as well.
  15. LiamHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish short form of William
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      Liam originated as a nickname for Uilliam, the Irish variation of William. William is an English name from Germanic roots that was brought to Ireland when the British fled England following the Norman Conquest. The Irish began using English names, including William, which led to the development of Uilliam and its short form, Liam.
  16. AnastasiaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek, feminine variation of Anastasios
    • Meaning:

      "resurrection"
    • Description:

      Anastasia is the feminine form on Anastasius, a Greek name derived from the word anastasis, meaning "resurrection." It was a common name among early Christians, who often gave it to daughters born around Christmas or Easter. There are handful of saints named Anastasia, including the patron saint of weavers.
  17. ElenaHeart
    • Origin:

      Spanish, Italian, German, Greek variation of Helen
    • Meaning:

      "bright, shining light"
    • Description:

      Elena, a pan-European version of Helen, has roots in Spanish, Italian, Slavic, and Romanian, among others. Helen, the name from which it derives, came from the Greek word helene, meaning "torch." Alternate spellings include Elaina, Ellena, and Alena.
  18. MateoHeart
    • Origin:

      Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      Mateo is a Latinate form of Matthew, which derived from the Hebrew name Mattiyahu, consisting of the elements mattan, meaning "gift" and yah, which references the Hebrew God. Mateo can also be spelled Matteo, which is the Italian variation. Matheo is an archaic Spanish spelling, although it is used in France as Mathéo.
  19. AthenaHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek mythology name
    • Meaning:

      "from Athens"
    • Description:

      The given name Athena was derived from the city name Athens, which is of uncertain origins. In Greek mythology, Athena is the name of the daughter of Zeus who was the goddess of wisdom, warfare, handicrafts, mathematics, and courage, among others. She was the great patroness-goddess of the city of Athens. In the Odyssey, Homer describes her as 'sparkling-eyed Athena.'
  20. MicahHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "who is like the Lord"
    • Description:

      Micah is a biblical name that growing numbers of parents are looking at as a more unusual alternative to Michael, projecting a shinier, more lively image.