Uncommon Girl Names
Description:Calla is a lily name that is much more distinctive and delicate than Lily. Rarely heard today, it did appear in the popularity lists in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
Meaning:"beauty, flow, lapis lazuli"
Description:Rumi is a Japanese girls' name that sounds like a couple of other choices more familiar in the West -- Rumer and Remi -- that is achieving notice because of its choice by two celebrities, including Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Description:Oriana is a dashing medieval name, with a meaning similar to Aurora. At this point, though, Oriana is much more unusual than Aurora and makes a unique choice if you're searching for names that mean new beginnings or dawn.
Meaning:"one; also, lamb"
Description:In an epic poem, the personification of truth, beauty, and unity; this ancient name is popular in Ireland but rarely heard here. The Oona spelling has more oomph.
Origin:English, contracted form of Thomasina
Description:Tamsin is an offbeat name occasionally heard in Britain and just waiting to be discovered here. U.K. actress Tamsin Greig is a star of the show Episodes, Tamsin Olivier is the daughter of Joan Plowright and Sir Laurence Olivier..
Meaning:"region offering peace and contentment"
Description:Arcadia, a name for an unspoiled paradise, makes an attractive secular alternative to Nevaeh or Eden. For parents who want an unusual name with a friendlier nickname, Arcadia has the advantage of cute Cady.
Origin:Animal name or diminutive of Beatrice
Meaning:"she who brings happiness"
Description:We've seen Beatrice and Beatrix climb in popularity, along with traditional nickname Bea. And now there's Bee, giving it a buzzy nature world spin, plus a tie to popular late night TV''s Samantha Bee, not to mention Aunt Bee on the old The Andy Griffith Show TV show. Bee can theoretically be short for any girl names starting with B.
Origin:English variation of Sadie
Description:When aspiring British writer Sadie Smith decided to change her name to the more distinctive and zippy Zadie at the age of fourteen, this attention-magnet name was born. But though it might sound like a modern initial-switch, Zadie was actually Number 539 in 1881, remaining in the Top 1000 for almost thirty years.
Description:Sunniva was an Irish-born saint who fled to Norway, where she hid in an island cave with her followers and eventually died. After miracles were reported on the island, the cave was excavated and Sunniva's intact body was found. Sunniva is the patron saint of Western Norway. Her name would make a fascinating and unusual choice for a modern baby girl, and if her story is a bit grim, you can take refuge in the upbeat nickname Sunny or Sunni.
Origin:Feminization of Marcel, French
Description:Balancing femininity, vintage charm, and fantasy nerdiness, Marceline is one to watch. Marceline the Vampire Queen from the 2010-2018 animated TV series Adventure Time brought her elaborate French name back into public consciousness. It re-entered the Top 1000 in 2020, after an 86 year hiatus, and rose into the 700s in 2021. Nicknames Marcie and Marcy are rising in popularity as well. Marceline may appeal to parents who like frilly, traditional, and sophisticated names such as Josephine and Genevieve.
Origin:German variation of Leonora, Italian derivative of Eleonora, meaning unknown
Description:A "modernization" of Leonora that has suddenly come back on the radar along with the many other Leo names--both male and female. With literary cred via a famous eponymous poem by Edgar Allan Poe (and also in his even more famous The Raven,) Lenore was steadily in the top half of the popularity list until the mid-fifties, falling off in 1973. Cameron Diaz played a Lenore in The Green Hornet.
Description:Priya originated in India as a name derived from the Sanskrit word for “beloved.” In India, where names are often given based on one’s birthday and horoscope, Priya is traditionally given to girls born in August. Priya is used in Hindu mythology as the name of a daughter of King Daksha—known for fathering 146 daughters.
Origin:Flower name, from German surname
Description:Zinnia is an unusual floral choice with a bit more edge and energy than most and beginning to find its way onto namers' wish lists of botanical possibilities. Named after an eighteenth German botanist called Johann Gottfried Zinn, it appears in Roald Dahl's Matilda as the young protagonist's mother.
Meaning:"altar of the sky"
Description:Obscure but intriguing Spanish name. Araceli Segarra is a noted mountain climber.
Origin:Medieval variation of Esther, Persian
Description:The disgraced heroine of The Scarlet Letter's name, after long neglect, just might have a chance at revival, following in the wake of sister-name Esther. We've characterized her elsewhere as an eccentric aristocrat, much more accepted in the U.K. than she has been here.
Origin:Swedish or Cornish
Description:Pixie is a cute -- quite possibly too cute -- name that suddenly feels possible thanks to the craze for names that contain the letter x. Though its origin may be uncertain, a pixie is internationally recognized as a sprite or fairy: tiny, sometimes green, usually pointy-eared.
Origin:Variation of Avis, Latin
Description:Aviana is a name that's kinda like the megapopular Ava, and kinda like the popular Ariana, and not quite as widely appealing as either of them. But it's on everyone's scope now as the choice of actress Amy Adams for her new daughter -- ironic as she was quoted as saying she wanted a "normal" name. Turns out that Adams was born in Aviano, Italy, explaining the mystery. The first syllable of the name can be pronounced ah, ay, or (most commonly) to rhyme with have.
Meaning:"to give thanks"
Description:Zendaya has propelled her unusual African name into the spotlight and up the popularity charts. Zendaya is one of the major baby name influencers of our era. What does Zendaya's name mean? The name Zendaya comes from the word for thanks, Tendai, in the Shona language, spoken in Zimbabwe and southern Zambia. The name Zendaya's popularity is directly connected to this actress-singer's rising celebrity, as it 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.
Meaning:"very fair, beautiful"
Description:Anwen is one of the simplest and best of the classic Welsh girls' names, more unusual than Bronwen but with the same serene feel.
Meaning:"God will judge"
Description:As the song says, "Dinah, is there anyone finer?" Dinah is a charming, underused Old Testament name with a rich literary and musical resume.