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Unique Place Names

Place names are a hot category for baby names right now, with choices like Savannah, Brooklyn, and Austin all making the Top 100. But if you look a bit further down the map, you’ll find plenty of uncharted baby names.

Certain unique place names — including Chicago, Essex, and Morocco — have been familiarized by their use on celebrity babies but haven’t caught on with the general public. You may be interested in a unique place name that bears resemblance to a currently fashionable name, such as Bolivia, Cyprus, Juneau, and Zennor. Or you could choose a name that is virtually unused, including Amalfi, Genoa, Kauai, and Ravello.

These 100 unique place names were given to 25 or fewer babies last year, meaning your child is practically guaranteed to be the only Quebec or Louisiana in his or her Kindergarten class. Consult our complete collection below.

Unique Place Names
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ZumaHeart

  • Origin:

    American place-name and Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Zuma was entered in the American name lexicon when musicians Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale chose it for their son. Californians will recognize Zuma as the name of a beautiful beach in Malibu, and it's also the surname of a South African president. With the lovely meaning of peace and its place-name associations, Zuma is one of those American names that literally sprang from the earth.

OsloHeart

  • Origin:

    Norwegian place name
  • Description:

    Oslo, the capital city of Norway, makes for an intriguing new place name, especially with its bookended o's, as in Otto. One berry has already used it and we predict others will follow.

DelphiHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek place name
  • Description:

    An interesting unisex possibility, with an air of mystery connected to the Delphic Oracle, the most important oracle in ancient Greece; it was also a major site for the worship of the god Apollo.

CyprusHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    This Mediterranean island name would be a plausible choice for parents with a Greek or Turkish heritage.

VeronaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian place-name
  • Description:

    Verona is a scenic place-name with the added attraction of a Shakespearean connection, as in Two Gentlemen of....
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PomonaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "apple"
  • Description:

    This name of the Roman goddess of fruit trees is also associated with a suburban town in Southern California.

AlabamaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name; Choctaw
  • Meaning:

    "vegetation gatherers"
  • Description:

    Alabama is a hot southern place-name, picking up from Georgia and Savannah. This is not a geographical name come lately, though--there have been girls named Alabama dating back well over a century.

JamaicaHeart

  • Origin:

    Native American place name
  • Meaning:

    "rich in springs"
  • Description:

    Among the least gimmicky, most appealing and colorful of all the names found in the atlas, Jamaica almost sings out the exotic rhythms of the West Indies.

CaledoniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin place-name for Scotland
  • Meaning:

    "hard or rocky land"
  • Description:

    Caledonia is a rhythmic and exotic place-name used by singer Shawn Colvin for her daughter. It would make an interesting and apt choice for a girl with Scottish ancestry.

HalifaxHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    If you want to honor your grandfather Hal but can't work up much enthusiasm for his full name Harold, consider the more stylish (if a bit pretentious) capital of Nova Scotia.
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AberdeenHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish place-name
  • Description:

    This undiscovered Scottish port city name has a nice, upbeat feel and lots of good nickname possibilities.

PersiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Country name
  • Meaning:

    "land of the Parsa"
  • Description:

    The name Persia derives from Avestan Parsa, the name of the Indo-European nomadic people who migrated into southern Iran in about 1000 BCE. Persis or Persea, the feminine form of Perseus, feel more namelike.

OxfordHeart

  • Origin:

    English place-name
  • Meaning:

    "from the oxen crossing"
  • Description:

    High-collared and straightlaced, with the deadly "Ox" nickname.

AtlantaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Georgia and Savannah are already popular, but Atlanta is just entering the baby-name map. Atalanta takes it mythological.

AfricaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name, various meanings
  • Description:

    Most Africas today would be named for the continent, but the name actually existed in Scotland in medieval times, where there was a Celtic queen named Affrica. Africa has also been a Spanish name for girls since 1421. The church of the Virgin "Nuestra Senora de Africa" is in Ceuta, the Spanish city she is Patron of, in North Africa.
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MojaveHeart

  • Origin:

    Native American tribal and place-name
  • Description:

    Resonant place-name of the beautiful Southern California desert.

YosemiteHeart

  • Origin:

    Native American tribal name
  • Meaning:

    "those who kill"
  • Description:

    The evocative name of one of our most beautiful national parks -- yes, but also the bombastic cartoon character, Yosemite Sam.

ChicagoHeart

  • Origin:

    American place-name
  • Description:

    Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have done it again for their third child: Chosen a name that feels iconic yet strangely inevitable. They named North and Saint's younger sister Chicago, after Kanye's hometown. The name Chicago derives from a Native American word for "wild garlic," which once grew plentifully in the Illinois city, the third most populous in the US. Though one of the distinctly American names, Chicago has almost never been used as a first name before. The Social Security administration reported no newborns named Chicago in 2016, meaning it was given to fewer than five children, and quite possibly none. But we doubt that will be the case for long. Saint tripled in popularity after they used it for their son!

LucerneHeart

  • Origin:

    Swiss place-name or Latin
  • Meaning:

    "lamp"
  • Description:

    Projects the calm and pristine image of the picturesque Swiss lake and mountain town.

PerthHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "thornbush thicket"
  • Description:

    There's a Perth in Scotland and a bigger one in Australia; this name could make a statement similar to Heath.
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PortlandHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "land near the port"
  • Description:

    There are two lovely Portlands, in Maine and Oregon, but not many babies with their name.

LouisianaHeart

  • Origin:

    French place-name
  • Description:

    Louisiana is a geographic spin on the Louise theme. Pretty, if a bit of a syllable overload. Short form Lou or Lulu lightens it.

ZennorHeart

  • Origin:

    Cornish place and saint's name
  • Description:

    This Cornish place name is possibly named after a female saint, Senara. However, it can work just as well on a boy and would make a very interesting choice for those of Cornish descent or who love Cornwall.

AmalfiHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian place-name
  • Description:

    This name, from the picturesque town on the Italian Riviera, borrows a bit from Amelia and a bit from Emily.

MiamiHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Miami -- or Florida, for that matter -- hasn't achieved the place-name stardom of southern sisters like Savannah and Georgia. Quincy Jones used it as his daughter KENYA's middle name.
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TexasHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    After Dallas, Austin, and Houston, the new cowboy on the block. Old-school Western nickname: Tex.

BaltimoreHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    With place-names extending their range, this is an unmapped possibility, though a bit stiff.

EssexHeart

  • Origin:

    English place-name and surname
  • Description:

    A rarely-used place name (probably because of the last three letters), Essex was the ancient kingdom of the East Saxons and is now a county in England. The singer David Essex used it as his stage surname, and reality TV couple JP and Ashley Rosenbaum used it for their daughter's name, though few have followed suit.

LaredoHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    We've seen babies with Texas city names like Austin, Houston and Dallas--, why not the unexplored Laredo, which has a lot of cowboy charisma? Laredo might make for a more modern and creative namesake for an Uncle Lawrence/Larry--as could the related Laramie.

EnglandHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Most parents would prefer London for their daughters.
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QuebecHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    An interesting Canadian province and city name that has some literary history as the name of a character in Dickens's Bleak House; could make a distinctive choice for parents with northern roots.

AndorraHeart

  • Origin:

    European place-name
  • Description:

    Andorra is the pretty name of a pocket-sized princedom in the Pyrenees, noted for its skiing.

IndusHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name
  • Description:

    From the name of the river which flows through Pakistan, India, and Tibet.

JuneauHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Juneau, the name of the city in Alaska, has rightfully taken a back seat as a name to the classic Juno. Most famous reference: When the pregnant teenager is introduced in the movie "Juno," the prospective adoptive father says, "Oh, like the city in Alaska." Juno takes a deep breath and then says simply, "No."

FloridaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name and Spanish from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "flowery"
  • Description:

    Lacks the cachet of some newer place-names.
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ManilaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name
  • Description:

    The name of the capital city of the Philippines is just conceivable as a baby name, giving off the faint scent of vanilla.

ShenandoahHeart

  • Origin:

    Native American place-name
  • Description:

    While some sources assign the place-name the romantic meaning "beautiful daughter of the stars," the Virginia region itself says the name is of uncertain Native American origin with many possible but no definitive meaning. No matter: Shenandoah is a lovely name that's rare but usable.

KyotoHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Japanese city name not yet on the map for babies, but why not?

CarlowHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish place-name
  • Meaning:

    "four-part lake"
  • Description:

    Gives Carlo a place-name/surname spin.

UmbriaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian place name, from the Umbri, one of the chief tribes settling the Italian nation
  • Description:

    Umbria is a lovely, virtually unused Italian name for girls, reflecting the beautiful rolling hills of the area's countryside. And since it's right next door to Tuscany, in which Siena resides, maybe Umbria could be a follow-up to the popular Siena-Sienna.
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BermudaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Maybe if you spent your honeymoon there. We did say maybe. Bermuda was used in the 17th century, such as Bermuda Rolfe.

CorsicaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Corsica, the picturesque Mediterrean island birthplace of Napoleon, makes an easy switch from atlas to baby name book, with its delicate, feminine ending. Just don't consider neighboring island Sardinia.

GalwayHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    Associated with the poet and novelist Galway Kinnell, this name of an Irish city, county, and bay would make an evocative choice. For further literary cred, writers Liam O'Flaherty and Frank Harris both hail from Galway.

TempeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek place name
  • Description:

    The Vale of Tempe is an important place in Greek mythology as well as a real place in Greece. The ancient poets wrote of it as the halcyon dwelling of Apollo and the Muses. The modern cities in Arizona and Australia are named for the Greek Tempe, which is pronounced tem-pee.

AlbanyHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    A capital place-name possibility.
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PrideauxHeart

  • Origin:

    Cornish place name
  • Meaning:

    "meadow of waters"
  • Description:

    Prideaux is a Cornish place name and surname that is occasionally attested as a girls' first name. It likely stems from the French phrase "pré de eaux", meaning meadow of waters. For fans of Margaux, Prideaux might be a less-common and very pretty alternative.

ProvidenceHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "divine protection or care"
  • Description:

    A Puritanical virtue name and also a place name, belonging to the state capital of Rhode Island and several other towns and cities in the US.

AntarcticaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "opposite the north"
  • Description:

    Ed Sheeran put this continental place name on the map when he used it as the middle name for his daughter Lyra, born in 2020.

OntarioHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name
  • Description:

    This geographical name with Iroquois roots has a lot going for it: a strong sound, a vigorous o ending, and -- a quality prized today -- rarity.

JaffaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew place-name
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful"
  • Description:

    A pleasant and adaptable place name for a part of Tel Aviv.
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