Fancy Baby Names
Origin:Feminine variation of German OTTO,
Meaning:"prosperous in battle"
Description:Ottilie and its diminutive Ottiline are a pair of names heard among the British upper crust, but have rarely been seen here since the 1880's. Though it has German roots via Otto, Ottilie has a distinctively delicate French feel.
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.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Persephone is the esoteric name of the Greek mythological daughter of Zeus by Demeter, the queen of the harvest. After she was kidnapped by Hades to be Queen of the Underworld, it was decreed by Zeus that she would spend six months of the year with her mother, allowing crops to grow, and six in mourning, thus accounting for the seasons.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Calliope is the name of the muse of epic poetry -- and also the musical instrument on the merry-go-round. Bold and creative, it would not be the easiest name for a girl lacking such qualities. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2016. While Americans usually pronounce this name with a long I sound and the emphasis on the second syllables, Greeks pronounce it with the emphasis on the third syllable -- ka-lee-OH-pee.
Origin:Dutch form of Jasper, Persian
Meaning:"bringer of treasure"
Description:This ancient name, also spelled Caspar, is finally shedding its ghostly image and moving into the 21st century. Popular in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where it's sometimes shortened to Cas, Casper could ride the style coattails of cousin Jasper. Casper was one of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the infant Jesus along with Melchior and Balthasar.
Origin:Greek, Italian, English
Description:We all heard it on Seinfeld as the long-concealed first name of Kramer, then considered a punchline. Now some pioneering parents are embracing this expansive Greek name, which makes a creative and cool choice for a baby. Influential celebrity couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost chose it for their son, born in 2021, which will likely drive Cosmo up in popularity. In the UK, it currently ranks within the Top 1000 boy names and is trending upwards.
Description:Lysander is a distinctive Greek name that could be thought of as a more creative cousin of Alexander. In ancient history, Lysander was the name of an esteemed Spartan naval commander and his literary cred comes from one of the two star-struck young men in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as one of the twin sons (the other being Lorcan) of Luna Lovegood, whom we learn about in the Harry Potter epilogue.
Description:Cedric was invented by Sir Walter Scott for the noble character of the hero's father in Ivanhoe, presumed to be an altered form of the Saxon name Cerdic. The name was later also given to Little Lord Fauntleroy, the long-haired, velvet-suited, and lace-collared boy hero of the Frances Hodgson Burnett book, who became an unwitting symbol of the pampered mama's boy.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Meaning:"advising like a man"
Description:One of the stellar unique baby names from mythology, Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of Cassiopeia who, like her mother, literally became a star--the constellation that bears her name.The Bohemian Andromeda makes a dramatic and adventurous choice in a time when four-syllable mythological names are gradually making their way into the mainstream.
Description:Ignatius? Good gracious! This is a name making a truly surprising return, sparked by its selection by not one but two celebrities--Cate Blanchett and Julianne Nicholson.
Ignatius, the name of several saints including the founder of the Catholic Jesuit order, was considered more apt to be borne by churches and schools than babies in the recent past, though it was not unusual from the late nineteenth century to 1930; it ranked as high as Number 602 in 1913.
Origin:German variation of Robert
Description:Rupert is a charming-yet-manly name long more popular in Britain (where it's attached to a beloved cartoon bear) than in the U.S. Yet we can see Rupert as a more stylish, modern way to honor an ancestral Robert.
Meaning:"white shadow, white wave"
Description:Guinevere was the name of the beautiful but ill-fated queen of Camelot, for so many years eclipsed by its modern Cornish form Jennifer. Today, Guinevere could be a cool possibility for adventurous parents intrigued by this richly evocative and romantic choice.
Description:Parents are beginning to look at imposing, somewhat fusty-sounding names like this one with fresh eyes: they definitely make a strong statement.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Cassiopeia, the name of a mythological mother who became a stellar constellation, is challenging but intriguing, and has all those softening Cass nicknames available. With the rise of other otherworldly and mythical choices, from Apollo to Jupiter to Juno, Cassiopeia may just feel more possible for mortals now than ever before in its long history.
Description:Now that many dogs are named Max, it's safe to use this sleek, solid, regal name again for your child. And with the charm of its final x, its regal meaning, and its offbeat simplicity, Rex is definitely one to consider.
Origin:Scottish variation of James
Description:Just as Seamus/Seumus is Irish for James, Hamish is the Scottish form — one that's not often used here, but still redolent of Olde Scotland. If you're ready to go further than Duncan and Malcolm, out to Laird and Ewan territory, this may be worth consideration. It also sounds just like the Yiddish word for homey.
Description:The sophisticated Edmund and its nearly-identical French twin Edmond are coming out of mothballs now that Edward, inspired by Twilight, is once again a hot name.
Origin:Polish and 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.
Description:If you love both unique baby names and flower names for girls, Amaryllis might be a perfect choice for you. A showier flower name than Lily, but in the same botanical family, Amaryllis is not as outre as it might at first sound. It was used in Greek poetry as the appellation of pure pastoral beauties; Amaryllis is the heroine of Virgil's epic poem Ecologues, after whom the flower was named. Other references are characters in the George Bernard Shaw play Back to Methuselah and The Music Man. James Bond-creator Ian Fleming had a half sister named Amaryllis Marie-Louise Fleming, who was a noted British cellist.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:Fletcher is a common surname with a touch of quirkiness; it definitely fits into the So Far Out It's In category--and moving further in all the time along with other occupational names from Parker to Forester.
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.
Meaning:"flower and color name"
Description:Lavender lags far behind sweet-smelling purple-hued sister names Violet and Lilac, but is starting to get some enthusiastic attention from cutting-edge namers. It does have a history as a name, going back to the eighteenth century, when it was also used for boys. But its recent attention comes from Lavender Brown, a witch character in the Harry Potter saga – though Lavender had also been previously featured as a best friend character in Roald Dahl's Matilda.
Origin:English flower name
Description:A quaint and quirky flower name, until recently considered a bit too prim for most American classrooms but brought back to life in recent years by the attractive character of Primrose "Prim" Everdeen in the Hunger Games series. In the Top 300 girl names in England and Wales and on Nameberry, Primrose remains rare in the US, but is made more accessible by a raft of sweet nickname options, including Rosie and Posy.
Meaning:"one who pierces the valley"
Description:There are several Percivals scattered through the Harry Potter series, which might help transform the old-fangled, fussy image it has accrued. Actually, the original Percival was the one perfectly pure Knight of the Round Table, a worthy hero. The name was invented in the twelfth century by a poet named Chretien de Troyes, for his ideal knight in the poem Percevale, a Knight of King Arthur.
Description:Alaric is an ancient regal name that sounds modern enough to be considered. Alaric was a traditional name for the kings of the Ostrogoths, the most famous of whom was Alaric I, the King of the West Goths who sacked Rome in 410.
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.
Description:The Hungarian classic Laszlo, with its zippy 'z' middle and energetic 'o' ending, has become something of a hipster option, beginning to be considered by cutting-edge parents.
Origin:Italian variation of Roland
Meaning:"famous throughout the land"
Description:Orlando, the ornate Italianate twist on the dated Roland, with a literary heritage stretching back to Shakespeare and before, has appealing book-ended o's, and is open to combination with almost any last name, a la British actor, Orlando Bloom.
Origin:Italian feminine variation of Cosmo, Greek
Description:Cosima, the kind of elegant and unusual name the British upper classes love to use for their daughters, will almost certainly come into wider use here 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:Pandora has occasionally been used by the British gentry (for girls with brothers who might be called Peregrine) and is now starting to be heard in the US too: It was given to 39 baby girls last year.
Description:Although Greek in origin--in the fourth century, a bishop by that name established the principles of the Greek Orthodox Church--Basil for years took on the aura of aquiline-nosed upper-class Britishness of Sherlock Holmes portrayer Basil Rathbone, then spiced with the fragrant aroma of the herb that entered with the Pesto generation.
Origin:Invented hybrid name from Arabella and Aminta
Description:Araminta is an enchanting eighteenth-century invention familiar in Britain and just beginning to be discovered here. It was used in 1693 by William Congreve in his comedy The Old Bachelor, and in 1705 by the versatile Sir John Vanbrugh, architect of Blenheim Palace as well as a playwright, for his comedy The Confederacy.
Description:Peregrine is considered to be an elegantly aristocratic name in England, but has never made it to the U.S., where it has been seen as extravagantly eccentric. In the new naming climate, though, it's not beyond consideration — in fact it's already been chosen by at least one Berry.
Meaning:"citizen of Rome"
Description:Originally a surname deriving from the Roman twin Romulus, this attractive name was introduced to the English-speaking world as a first name by painter Augustus John who used it for his son. Romilly John became Admiral of the Fleet in England.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:The name of the Greek goddess of love has rarely descended to mortal use, though the Roman equivalent Venus, thanks to tennis star Williams, now seems completely possible. But with the new fashion for goddess names, we may see more little Aphrodites in the playground with Jupiter and Juno.
Origin:Scottish and Irish
Meaning:"man of force"
Description:In Celtic lore, Fergus was the ideal of manly courage; Fergus is a charming, slightly quirky Scottish and Irish favorite.
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.
Description:This name once seemed a bit grand and pompous for an American baby boy, but a significant number of parents are now preferring it as a substantial platform for the nickname Max, among them Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, who chose it for their twin son.
Origin:Latin clan name
Description:Fabian is the ancient name of a saint and pope that also has Shakespearean cred as Olivia's servant in Twelfth Night and more recently made an appearance in Harry Potter. In the U.S. Fabian became best known via the 1960s teen idol/singer who went solely by his first name.
Origin:Russian from Latin family name
Description:Tatiana was derived from Tatius, a Sabine-Latin family name of unknown origin. Titus Tatius was the name of an ancient king who ruled over the Sabines, an ancient Italic tribe who lived near Rome. The Romans used the name Tatius even after the Sabines died out and created the short forms Tatianus and Tatiana. The names were eventually disseminated throughout the Orthodox Christian world, including Russia.
Description:In music, the term allegro means "quickly, lively tempo," which makes this quintessential Bohemian ballet dancer's name all the more appealing. Allegra is one of the most distinctive yet accessible girl names starting with A.
Origin:Latin, Roman clan name
Description:One of the few ancient Roman names that doesn't end in us, the rarely heard Tarquin has a decidedly creative, even dramatic flair, which could appeal to the parent looking for a strikingly original name. Sir Laurence Olivier used it for his oldest child, who was named Simon Tarquin but called by his middle name.
Description:This Roman Emperor's name has long been considered too grand for an American boy. But in this era of children named Augustine and Atticus, it just may be prime for an unlikely comeback.
Origin:Spanish and Cornish variation of Jacob
Description:Jago is a dashing alternative to overused favorite Jacob.
Description:This aristocratic, somewhat formal Germanic route to the popular Leo is a royal name: Queen Victoria used it to honor a favorite uncle, King Leopold of Belgium. Though Leopold sounds as if it might be a leonine name, it's not really a relative of such choices as Leon, and Leonard.
Description:The short form Archie is so open and friendly --and very trendy in the British Isles--that some parents are now beginning to consider the formerly fusty Archibald as well. SNL comedians Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are one couple who made this breakthrough choice.
Description:Magdalena is a pretty name forever associated with the fallen-yet-redeemed Mary Magdalen; often heard in the Hispanic community. But forward thinking parents are reviving Magdalena along with Magdalene and the unrelated but similar-sounding Marguerite.
Origin:English variation of Latin Horatius
Description:Like Horace, Horatio is a variation on the Latin Horatius, but its Shakespearean and optimistic Horatio Alger pedigree makes it an attractive up-and-comer, especially with its cool final o. A modern reference is the charismatic TV character Horatio Caine played by David Caruso in CSI: Miami.
Origin:Greek mythology name or feminine form of Ambrose, Latin
Description:Ambrosia combines some of the more whimsical qualities of more popular Aurora and Isabella, with a heavenly meaning.
Description:Humphrey is an old name that might have faded completely were it not for that Bogie flair. A royal name in Britain, where it's used somewhat more frequently, Humphrey might just have some life beyond Bogart here, especially with the recent interest in the names of Golden Age Hollywood stars. His first name was the maiden name of his mother, Maud Humphrey, a well-known illustrator who used baby H. as a model.