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Extinct Baby Names

Extinct Baby Names

If you're hoping to find a list of wonderful extinct baby names ready for revival, keep looking. What we have here are extinct names that were commonly used for babies decades ago, but today have faded from use for reasons that may be obvious. Perhaps it was not difficult to be named Nimrod or Elmo in 1920, but those names would be difficult for any child to carry today. Some of these baby names have gone extinct because of changes in slang, some because of changes in values or unpleasant associations.

And then there are the names that are simply way out of style, often extinct spelling variations of once-popular names or antiquated names that have acquired such a thick layer of dust it's hard to imagine them ever feeling shiny and baby-ready again. Whatever the reason, many of these extinct baby names should probably stay extinct. Read the list for a laugh -- did people really do that?!? -- but if you're looking for a lovely antique baby name, try this big list of Vintage Baby Names instead.

CherryHeart

  • Origin:

    Fruit name
  • Description:

    With other fruity names like Clementine, Olive and Plum ripe for the picking, sweet Cherry remains remarkably underused: just 27 baby girls received the name in 2017, down from 343 at its peak in 1948. The unsavory slang meaning no doubt goes a long way towards explaining its fall from grace.

MyrtleHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek botanical name
  • Description:

    Long in our category of so-far-out-it-will-always-be-out category, once seen as a gum-cracking 1940's telephone operator, we think it's time to reassess Myrtle, and look at is as a nature name, a plant with pink or white aromatic berries. Ruled by Venus, myrtle is a plant associated with love, peace, fertility and youth.

LolitaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, diminutive of Lola and Dolores
  • Description:

    In Nabokov's notorious novel, Lolita is the pet name given by the pedophilic narrator, Humbert Humbert, to his victim: a young girl called Dolores and nicknamed Lola or Lo by her mother. Still, it seems that a few parents are prepared to look past this problematic association, seeing this as a offbeat option for those who defy convention. We would recommend thinking seriously about the background of this name before bestowing it on your daughter.

ElmoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian from German
  • Meaning:

    "protector"
  • Description:

    Elmo, like fellow Sesame Street characters Kermit and Grover, has a hard time being taken seriously. (It isn't easy being red either.)

LucretiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, female form of Lucretius, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    A pretty and plausible Latin name that's gotten a bad rap through the years via a link to Lucrezia Borgia, who, though long considered a demon poisoner, was actually a patron of learning and the arts.

CinderellaHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "little ash-girl"
  • Description:

    One familiar name never used for real people, for obvious reasons.

LemonHeart

  • Origin:

    American fruit name
  • Description:

    Lemon is one of the more unique names related to fruit, compared with sisters Clementine and Apple. That may be because lemon is also a word that's slang for a clunker, something that doesn't work very well. No baby wants to feel like a Lemon, so this is one of those unusual names that is best avoided.

DiggoryHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "Lost one"
  • Description:

    This buoyant name has the same bouncy rhythm as Rafferty and Barnaby, but is virtually unused. It has plenty of literary cred, too: characters in The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native have all borne the name.
    The name is used in Cornwall, but originates from a Breton medieval poem about Sir Degare. Degare most likely comes from the French word egare - astray. .

GaylordHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "brisk, high-spirited"
  • Description:

    Best left on the old southern plantation, sipping his mint julep.

FannyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Frances
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    As this word is less often used to mean derriere, it becomes more possible to view Fanny as the kind of appealingly quaint nickname name, like Josie and Nellie, that many parents are favoring now.

HedwigHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "war"
  • Description:

    An ancient German saint's name – and most famously the name of Harry Potter's snowy owl – but the combination of "head" plus "wig" feels a little too literal in English.

DocHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    A boy with this name is certain to be bombarded with "What's up, doc?" every day of his life. Even Doctor would be preferable.

PansyHeart

  • Origin:

    English flower name from French
  • Meaning:

    "thought"
  • Description:

    Pansy is an early floral name that lost credibility when it became a derogatory slang term for gay people. Better these days: Posy or Poppy.

MayoHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish place-name
  • Meaning:

    "yew-tree plain"
  • Description:

    When ordering a baby name, hold the mayo.

BrownHeart

  • Origin:

    Color and surname
  • Description:

    Most color names, like Scarlet and Violet, are definitely female, but not this one. Brown is as rich and warm as the tone it denotes, though we must admit the Italian version Bruno has more spark and substance.

HymanHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized variation of Chaim
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    Hyman was commonly used by first-generation Jewish immigrants to Anglicize Chaim, but similarities to terms like heinie and hymen have taken it out of the realm of modern possibility. The original Chaim would be preferable to Hyman.

SantaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Santo, Italian
  • Meaning:

    "saint"
  • Description:

    Santa has an appealing sound, or maybe that's sleigh bells we hear? It's difficult to separate the Italian girls' name Santa from the association to Mr. Claus, king of Christmas. The German diminutive Senta -- or Snow or even Christmas -- might be an easier name to handle.

NimrodHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "we shall rise up, we shall rebel"
  • Description:

    Our kids laughed when they saw this name. Enough said.

BabeHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name or diminutive of Barbara
  • Description:

    You can call your baby "babe," but don't name her that.

AlmondHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Almond may seem like a hippy modern name, but its use for American boys goes right back to the mid-nineteenth century.

FarmerHeart

  • Origin:

    Occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "farmer"
  • Description:

    Shepherd is soaring in the charts, so why not Farmer? Perhaps because, unlike some of the occupation names that are so popular today, it is still an everyday word. Even so, if you're looking for a name that fits modern trends but no one else is using, Farmer could be the one.

PocahontasHeart

  • Origin:

    Algonquin
  • Meaning:

    "playful one"
  • Description:

    Seen from one vantage point, Pocahontas is a name that will please no one. It's sure to invite playground mockery, and some will accuse parents without Algonquin ancestry of cultural appropriation. In certain circles, the 1995 Disney movie still stirs up bad blood. The name doesn't even present any obvious nickname possibilities to hide behind.

GayHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "joyful"
  • Description:

    The meaning of this word flipped from "cheerful" to "homosexual" during the twentieth century, and it's now almost certainly too loaded to sit comfortably as a baby name. Which is a shame as sound-wise it's very appealing, just a short step away from Faye, May, and Rae.

FairyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "fairy"
  • Description:

    Fairy's reputation as a slur directed at gay men takes it off the table as a baby name option. Go with Pixie or Faye instead.

IcyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "icy"
  • Description:

    A short form of the modern coinage Icelyn that feels cool as a short form, but too frosty for a full name.

HokeHeart

  • Description:

    Hoke is a surname name with a Southern feel, thanks to Morgan Freeman's character in the Oscar-winning movie Driving Miss Daisy. Parents may have passed this name by because of the similarity to hokey and hokum, slang for exaggerated or contrived. But there's at least one distinguished bearer: Chicago journalist Hoke Norris, famous for his coverage of the Civil Rights movement.

PrunellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "small plum"
  • Description:

    Most ella names are hot, but this is one that won't catch fire because of the disagreeable connotations of prunes.

WelcomeHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Warm and open, but way too much teasing potential.

AlfHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alfred
  • Description:

    Strictly for TV aliens.

DeforestHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "living near the forest"
  • Description:

    Nature surname with an aristocratic edge. Spelling it DeForest distances it from deforestation.

CoyHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname
  • Description:

    Though rarely heard today, Coy has been around for a century and was not an uncommon name a hundred years ago. There have been a couple of NFL players named Coy, Coy Bowles is in the Zac Brown band--and of course there was Coy Duke in 'The Dukes of Hazzard.'

MelvinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "chieftain"
  • Description:

    Melvina ranked in the Top 1000 for over 65 years in the US, coinciding to a large extent with the years its much more popular masculine counterpart Melvin ranked in the Top 100. Today, Melvin is still hanging on in the Top 1000 for boys, but Melvina hasn't been given to more than 20 babies in a year since 1991.

DicksonHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "son of Dick"
  • Description:

    Dickson's nickname problem keeps it from having the upside possibility of similar names like Jackson and Harrison. If you're looking for fresh baby names to honor an ancestral Richard or Dick, consider Dixon. Or better, Richardson.

LittleHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    A name that shows up on the Social Security roles of a hundred years ago. Let's hope it was a never-to-be-repeated mistake.

PhilanderHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "loving mankind"
  • Description:

    Old southern name too close to "philanderer".

ArthurineHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine form of Arthur, Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "bear"
  • Description:

    If you're looking for a girl's name that honors an ancestral Arthur, try Artis.

DimpleHeart

  • Description:

    An adorable nickname for a smiley baby, but not suggested as a legal name.

WorthyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "valuable"
  • Description:

    Here too lies the danger of entitlement.

SisterHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Sister is an old-timey nickname-name for girls, ranking in the Top 1000 as a proper name for girls until the beginning of the 20th century. But more often, Sister was used as a nickname in the truest sense of the word, not a short form ala Kathy but a nickname in the way that Chip and Bud are. Or maybe Junior is a more appropriate name analogy: Sister was sometimes the nickname given to the only girl in a family of boys, so literally a descriptive word name like Junior.

FriendHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Sociable middle name choice with a Quaker feel.
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