Menu
ADVERTISEMENT

Best Unique Baby Names

It may feel impossible to find a baby name that is stylish, practical, and no one is using, but trust us, these names do exist. Historical archives, international popularity charts, and even the dictionary offer hidden gems of baby names.

Some of the top names internationally, such as Ebba and Florian, would make stylish and practically one-of-a-kind choices for American-born children. Word names including Isle and Poem and Prairie, Finch and Fielder may be ideal for parents searching for a modern moniker for their little one.

These are 100 of our favorite highly unique baby names, each given to 25 or fewer babies in 2018.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

RaffertyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "floodtide, abundance, prosperity"
  • Description:

    Jaunty and raffish, Rafferty is one of the most engaging of the Irish surnames, used by Jude Law and Sadie Frost for their son. Fortunately, it doesn't still go by its original form: O'Raighbheartaigh.

FleurHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "flower"
  • Description:

    Fleur is a generic, delicate flower name that emigrated into the English-speaking world when John Galsworthy bestowed it on one of the Forsytes in his celebrated saga. More recently, there was Fleur Delacour, a French witch and the Beauxbatons champion for the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter.

IvoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood, archer"
  • Description:

    Ivo is an unusual, catchy name with the energetic impact of all names ending in 'o'. Hardly heard in the U.S., it is used a bit more frequently in England, as is the related Ivor, a favorite of such novelists as Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse. Ivo is currently most popular in the Netherlands.

CirceHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • 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. The name and legend have appeared in countless forms, from a section of James Joyce's Ulysses to short stories by Julio Cortazar to Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon to films to DC comics to a dance by Martha Graham. So is Circe's seductive legend too powerful for a modern little girl to carry? Your call.

IoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Io may be one of the slightest names in the book, but there aren't many two-letter names with as much substance as this Greek mythological example. Io, a name used for the largest moon of Jupiter, was in classic myth raped by Zeus and escaped from him by changing herself into a cow.
ADVERTISEMENT

InigoHeart

  • Origin:

    Basque, medieval Spanish variation of Ignatius
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • 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.

AnoukHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch and French variation of Anna
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Anouk, made famous by French actress Anouk Aimée, is a singular name with a lovely sound and a Bohemian feel. Anouk Aimée was born as Francoise, but adopted the first name of the character she played in her debut film.

AilsaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish from Norse
  • Meaning:

    "elf victory"
  • Description:

    Ailsa is a traditional Scottish name for girls related to a rocky island in the Firth of Clyde called Ailsa Craig. It might make an interesting alternative to the outdated Ashley or overly popular Ella, and could also be thought of as a relative of Elizabeth or Elsa.

FlorianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "flowering"
  • Description:

    If Flora and Florence have returned full force, Florian, with its trendy Latinate ending, could also have a chance. Popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland -- he was the venerated patron saint of those in danger from water and of firefighters -- might sound a tad feminine and floral to English speakers. But as a middle name, Florian could be a great way to honor grandma Florence (or any other flower name).

LilacHeart

  • Origin:

    English, from Persian
  • Meaning:

    "bluish or lilac"
  • Description:

    Could Lilac be the next Lila or Lily or Violet? It certainly has a lot going for it--those lilting double 'l's, the fabulous fragrance it exudes, and the fact that it's a color name as well, providing a ready made nursery theme. In addition, the lilac is symbolic of first love.
ADVERTISEMENT

BeeHeart

  • 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.

NedHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Edward
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy guardian"
  • Description:

    Ned is a gently old-fashioned Nancy Drew-Bobbsey Twins-era short form for Edward that sounds cooler than Ed and is enjoying a small style renaissance.

CelestineHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "heavenly"
  • Description:

    Celestine is a pretty, crystalline extension (actually a diminutive) of Celeste that would make a choice that is both delicate and strong. It is also a popular name in France.

RomillyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "man of Rome"
  • Description:

    Originally a male name springing from the Roman twin Romulus, this attractive name was introduced to the English-speaking world by painter Augustus John who used it for his son. Romilly John became Admiral of the Fleet in England.

CrispinHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "curly-haired"
  • Description:

    Crispin, which was introduced into the mainstream by actor Crispin Glover and which means "curly-haired" in Latin, has an image very much like its first syllable: crisp, autumnal, and colorful.
ADVERTISEMENT

TamsinHeart

  • Origin:

    English, contracted form of Thomasina
  • Meaning:

    "twin"
  • 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..

HumphreyHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful warrior"
  • 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.

NixieHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "water nymph"
  • Description:

    If you love Dixie, Trixie and Pixie, this name of a mermaid-like sprite in German folklore may be for you. It might also make an update for Nicki.

CereliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "relating to springtime"
  • Description:

    Cerelia is a melodic and unusual choice, perfect for a child born in April or May. Another version is Cerella.

HesterHeart

  • Origin:

    Medieval variation of Esther, Persian
  • Meaning:

    "star"
  • 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.
ADVERTISEMENT

TheodosiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "giving to God"
  • Description:

    This feminine form of Theodosius has long been buried deep in the attic, but might be a good discovery for the parent who wants to move beyond Theodora. Vice President Aaron Burr named a daughter Theodosia ("Dear Theodosia" is a song in the smash musical Hamilton), and it was the birth name of silent screen vamp Theda Bara. Theodosia actually appeared on the US popularity lists in the 1880s and 90s.

ApolloniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, Feminine variation of Apollo, Greek sun god.
  • Description:

    This name of a third century Christian martyr has an exotic, appealing feel in the modern world. It first came to American attention via Prince's love interest in the film Purple Rain.

FintanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "white fire or white bull"
  • Description:

    Fintan is an ancient Irish saints' name that in legend is also the name of the only person to survive The Flood. Popular in modern Ireland, Fintan is ripe for export to the US where it is rarely used but could make an excellent long form for the stylish Finn.

AvisHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • Description:

    Avis is a bird name that's been in hibernation for awhile, possibly due to the car rental association, but it could make a return on the wings of Ava. Baldwin brother Daniel chose it for his daughter.

DulcieHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, diminutive of Dulcibella
  • Meaning:

    "sweet"
  • Description:

    A sweet-meaning and sounding name dating back to the Roman Empire, and later found in the antebellum South, Dulcie has in the modern era been heard most often in Australia.
ADVERTISEMENT

ZebHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Zebediah or Zebulon
  • Description:

    Short and to-the-point, it turns an ancient biblical name into a friendly cowboy.

OceaneHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "ocean"
  • Description:

    Oceane (oh-see-EN) has been one of the chicest names in France for several years, ranking in the French Top 50. This is a sophisticated name that could easily cross the ocean, and is much more stylish than the English Ocean or Oceana.

IsabeauHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Isabel
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    With Isabel getting so popular, parents are searching for new varieties of the name, and Isabeau is one that makes a lovely French twist.

EulalieHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Eulalia, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "sweetly speaking"
  • Description:

    Eulalie hasn't ranked in the US Top 1000 since 1899, but its French roots might make it more appealing to modern ears than its sister Eulalia.

FinchHeart

  • Origin:

    English word and nature name
  • Meaning:

    "to swindle"
  • Description:

    It feels like Finch should be a modern bird name that's as popular as Wren or Lark, but that's not the case - so it's one to consider if you're looking for a nature name that's familiar but rare. These colorful birds have made big contributions to science: the Galápagos finch played an important role in forming Darwin's theory of evolution, and the zebra finch has helped our understanding of how birds learn songs. It's also a surname belonging, amongst other admirable people, to the family in To Kill a Mockingbird.
ADVERTISEMENT

ThaisHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "beloved, bandage"
  • Description:

    A paramour of Alexander the Great and the heroine of a Jules Massenet opera based on the life of a fourth century Egyptian saint, this name is nothing if not dramatic. Often spelled with a diaeresis or umlaut -- aka two dots -- over the letter i, Thais is a Top 100 girls' name in France.

PoeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "peacock"
  • Description:

    An evocative unisex one-syllable name, Poe is most distinguished by its literary reference. Edgar Allan Poe was an influential American author and poet, credited with inventing the genres of detective and science fiction, which might provide inspiration for parents who are fans. And now its choice as the name of the hero played by Oscar Isaac in the new Star Wars movie is sure to catapult it from literary choice to major favorite.

BranwenHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "blessed raven"
  • Description:

    This is an attractive Celtic mythological name, popular in Wales and a cousin of the better known Bronwyn. In Welsh mythology, Branwen was turned into a bird.

IzaraHeart

  • Origin:

    African, Hausa
  • Meaning:

    "section of tree"
  • Description:

    Attractive, rhythmic, exotic choice.

EamesHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of the uncle"
  • Description:

    An upscale surname with a nice modern design connection to the creators of the Eames chair and other midcentury furniture classics, Charles and Ray Eames.
ADVERTISEMENT

ArriettyHeart

  • Origin:

    Literary name, variation of Harriet
  • Description:

    A pretty, dainty name for one of the little characters in the children's book series The Borrowers. It was the basis for a later Studio Ghible animated film, The Secret World of Arrietty. While the connection to Harriet is tenuous, you might want to consider Arrietty as an honorific for an ancestral Harriet, Harry, or even Henry or Henrietta.

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.

SunnivaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "sun gift"
  • 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.

EbbaHeart

  • Origin:

    English or German
  • Meaning:

    "fortress of riches, or strength of a boar"
  • Description:

    Ebba, the feminine version of Eberhard and also a form of an old English name, is in the Swedish Top 10 but virtually unknown in the US. However, with the rise of Emma, Ella, Ada, and similar simple-yet-traditional names, Ebba may enjoy more widespread popularity.

ZosiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variant of Sophia, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • Description:

    This unusual and exotic choice was used by David Mamet for his daughter, who is now grown and an actress on the hit show Girls.
ADVERTISEMENT

DotHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Dorothy
  • Description:

    Old-fangled nickname could make dot.com era short form or middle name.

SanneHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch, diminutive of Susanne
  • Meaning:

    "lily"
  • Description:

    Sanne is hugely popular in the Netherlands, but almost unknown here — which makes it an interesting prospect for the parent in search of an unusual name. Pronounced sah-na, Sanne is in keeping with the Dutch taste for nicknames plucked from the middle or end of a name vs. the beginning, such as Bas for Sebastien or Bram for Abram.

MamieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Mary or Margaret
  • Description:

    Mamie is back. Having finally shorn her Mamie Eisenhower bangs, this insouciant and adorable nickname name is perfect if you want a zestier way to honor a beloved aunt Mary. Meryl Streep's actress daughter, properly named Mary Willa, is called Mamie Gummer. You might think of Mamie as a sister of the stylish Maisie.

FableHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Fable, like Story, is a word name with real potential, combining enchanted tale-telling with a moral edge. And soundwise, it would fit right in with the likes of Abel and Mabel.

DecimaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "tenth"
  • Description:

    In the days of huge families, this name of the Roman goddess of prophecy and childbirth, and one of the Fates, would be saved for bambina number ten. Now it might be used for a girl born in October, the tenth month.
ADVERTISEMENT

PallasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • Description:

    This rarified Greek name -- in classical mythology Pallas Athena was the goddess of wisdom and the arts -- might appeal to literary-minded parents. Among the raft of stylish girl names that start with P, Pallas is one rare choice that is often overlooked....but shouldn't be.

CiscoHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Spanish Francisco
  • Meaning:

    "Frenchman or free man"
  • Description:

    The ultimate sidekick name. Start with Francisco and then, if this fits, okay.

WinHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Winslow, Winthrop, or Winston
  • Description:

    Win is an upbeat, can-do name that can be a short form of one of the buttoned-up British choices above or can stand on its own. Welsh Wyn is another possibility.

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and singer Ciara named their son Win Harrison. Harrison is Wilson's father's first name.

SpikeHeart

  • Origin:

    American nickname name
  • Description:

    Spike is part mid-century nickname-name, ala Buster or Buck, and part word name, with an all-over cool creative dude feel thanks to directors Spike Lee and Spike Jonze. Mike Myers named his son Spike. That's right: Spike and Mike. Spike qualifies as one of the distinctly American names.

FitzroyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of the king"
  • Description:

    An English surname originally given to the illegitimate sons of a monarch. Might be a nice middle name choice to honor an ancestral Roy.
ADVERTISEMENT
Loading ...