Unique Names Starting With H
Origin:English variation of French Henriette
Description:Harriet has long been considered a stylish, upscale name in England, but it's still waiting to be revived in the US—though some parents seeking a solid, serious semi-classic are beginning to consider it.
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.
Origin:Greek, feminine version of Hermes, "messenger, earthly"
Description:Hermione's costarring role in Harry Potter has made this previously ignored, once stodgy name suddenly viable. Hermione could really take off once today's children start having kids of their own.
Description:A term of endearment turned cute British celebrity baby name, used by actress Kate Winslet, chef Jamie Oliver, and TV presenter Fearne Cotton, among others. Honey was given to only 40 girls in the US in 2017, but it's relatively popular across the pond, where it ranks in the current Top 500 baby names for girls.
Origin:English botanical name
Description:This flower name was one of the most popular in her class in the seventies and eighties (in the 1989 movie Heathers, every snobby girl in the high school clique bore that name). Now, though still pretty and evocative of the Scottish moors, it has faded in favor of other purplish blooms, having fallen out of the Top 1000 after having been as high as Number 3 in 1975, when it was given to close to 25,000 girls.
Description:The name of the young Greek sun god, brother to the moon goddess Selene, who rode across the sky each day in a chariot pulled by four horses.
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.
Origin:Feminine variation of Henry
Description:Despite a return to such feminizations of male names as Josephine, Clementine, and Theodora, starchy Henrietta has not made it into that group. Still, if you look hard enough, you'll see that Henrietta has the same vintage charm.
Origin:Diminutive of Huckleberry, word name
Description:Though forever tied to Huck, short for Huckleberry, Finn, this is an undeniably cute short form that may have some life as part of the hipster taste for names like Duke and Bix.
Description:Most parents would find this old Roman name pretentious compared to the more accessible Adrian, but some history buffs just might want to commemorate the enlightened emperor.
Origin:Diminutive of Harold and Henry
Description:Could Hal be the Jack, Max, or Gus of the future? It just might happen in the new nickname environment. Hank Azaria put it on his son's birth certificate.
Description:Hiro is an apt name for a hero of the show Heroes -- and for our times. Widely used in Japan, sometimes also for girls. Hiroshi is a long form.
Description:She may have been queen of the Greek gods, but her name is wispy and wan.
Meaning:"near the holly bushes"
Description:Hollis is a surname-name used quietly for both genders. In 2015, it was given to 176 boys and 106 girls in the US. It has notable connections for both genders: Hollis Thompson is a professional (male) basketball player, while Hollis is an outsized favorite for girls in South Carolina, where Pete Hollis was a community folk hero. On the girls' side, it makes Holly more buttoned-up and distinctive.
Origin:Flower name, from Greek
Meaning:"blue larkspur; precious stone"
Description:Though it may not be as sweet and gentle as, say, Violet, the purple-hued Hyacinth still might hold some appeal for the parent seeking a truly unusual flower name.
Description:Hart could be the hero of a romantic novel, but on the other hand, it's short, straightforward, and strong sounding. The most famous bearer of the name was tragic poet Hart (born Harold) Crane, but it also has musical cred via Lorenz Hart, of the classic Rodgers & Hart songwriting duo and a literary tie to playwright Moss Hart.
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.
Meaning:"woman of honor"
Description:Honora and Honoria are two ways of softening the severity of Honor, while retaining its righteous meaning. They were predominant until the Reformation, when the Puritans adopted the abstract virtue names, and were introduced to Britain by the Normans.
Description:Harper got its start as a celebrity baby name when Paul Simon chose it for his now-grown son. Since then, other famous parents have followed suit: musician Tim Finn and actor Cecilia Peck both have sons called Harper.
Meaning:"hawk, a bird"
Description:Animal names are on the rise, especially more of the aggressive Hawk-Fox-Wolf variety than cute little Bunnys or Robins, and Hawk is a prime example.
Hawk is more commonly heard as a surname, represented by uber-skateboarder Tony Hawk, a pioneer of modern vertical skateboarding. Variations include Hawke, as in actor Ethan, Hawks, as in Golden Age movie director Howard, Hawking, as in scientist Stephen, and Hawkins, as in musicians Coleman, Screamin' Jay and Sophie B, and was recently given to his baby boy by quarterback Tony Romo. There have been characters named or nicknamed Hawk in The Revenant, The Path and Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels. Hawk ranks at Number 699 on Nameberry.
Description:Names ending in bert have long been in limbo, but with the return of Albert, maybe there's hope for Herbert. who could share the Bertie nickname. Herbert is a name that's been used by English speakers since medieval times, and was in the Top 25 in the US in the late 1920s, around the time of the presidency of Herbert Hoover, but there's been no sight of Herbert in the 21st century. Some Herberts, including novelists H. G. Wells and H. E. Bates, have preferred to go by their initials.
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.
Meaning:"dweller at the holly trees"
Description:Hollis is a surname-name used quietly for both genders. In 2015, it was given to 176 boys and 106 girls in the US. It has notable connections for both genders: Hollis Thompson is a professional (male) basketball player, while Hollis is an outsized favorite for girls in South Carolina, where Pete Hollis was a community folk hero. On the girls' side, it makes Holly more buttoned-up and distinctive
Meaning:"rock hill or army hill"
Description:A glamorous surname name most famously borne by 1930s icon Jean Harlow (born Harlean Carpenter), Harlow is also the name of a town in the English county of Essex. Outside of the UK, Harlow would fit right in with contemporaries Arlo and Marlow(e).
Origin:German or English
Meaning:"high guardian or brave heart"
Description:Howard, once hugely popular -- in the Top 50 from the 1870s to early 1950s, hitting Number 24 in 1920 -- has been stuck in Dad-Grandad limbo for decades, but is showing some signs of stirring back to life. Along with such formerly-fusty names as George and Harold, Howard may soon feel baby-appropriate, perhaps with the short form Ward.
Description:This choice feels more familiar than other hall-related English surnames, thanks to designer Halston, the single-named disco-era society playmate of Liza and Elton.
Meaning:"lives where hawthorn hedges grow"
Description:The great American novelist sets this above many other surnames (and nature names, for that matter), but it's still an imposing and adventurous choice. Do nicknames Hawk or Thorne make it more approachable? The timid should stick with Nathaniel.
Description:Honor is a somewhat more pressured virtue name than Hope or Grace, placing a high standard on any girl carrying it, but it's a goal worth setting. By choosing Honor for her daughter, Jessica Alba brought it very much into the modern world.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Meaning:"the messenger god"
Description:These days, more people will relate to Hermes -- pronounced ayr-MEZ -- as an upscale brand name like Chanel and Porsche than as a Greek god. Actress Kelly Rutherford took on the challenge when she bestowed the name on her son. Hermes is the god of travel, writing, athletics, and thievery, among many other things.
Description:The name of a British town on the Thames that hosts a famous regatta, so it could be an appropriate middle name for the son of boat-lovers.
Meaning:"brother of the exalted one"
Description:Hiram is the kind of forgotten biblical name that adventurous parents who wish to move beyond David and Daniel are beginning to reconsider--even though it has bits of its old stiff-collared image clinging to it, along with a little hillbilly feel as well. The name belonged to an Old Testament king of Tyre who helped David and Solomon plan and build the temple in Jerusalem, and was a favorite in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, though a couple of well-known bearers dropped it--Ulysses S. Grant was orignially Hiram Ulysses Grant, but he didn't like having the initials H.U.G., and country singer Hank Williams was also born Hiram. With its definite funk factor, and its friendly nickname Hi, Hiram would make a distinctive choice.
Origin:Latin clan name
Description:The ancient name Horace sounds fustily fuddy-duddy, and yet, with the resurrection of Homer, and the new interest in old Roman names...who knows.
Origin:Word name and literary name
Description:Everybody knows Huckleberry Finn, the Mark Twain character named, Twain said, for the 19th century slang term for "humble." A few modern parents have put it on a birth certificate, including "Man Vs. Wild" star Bear Grylls, who, like many parents, will call the boy the much more manageable Huck. It was also the name of a child on TV's West Wing,
Description:Despite the possibility of gender confusion, the Hero in Greek myth was a woman. Myleene Klass got that when she chose Hero for her daughter, and Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson used it as their daughter's middle--and we wouldn't be surprised to see more girls with this heroic name.
Description:Short for Brunhilda, the operatic Valkyrie of Teutonic legend, Hilda still has not quite shaken off that image that image. Though with the resurgence of Matilda, she might just have a bit of a comeback.
Origin:German, Dutch, and Scandinavian, diminutive of Johannes
Description:Though familiar to all via such childhood icons as Hans Brinker, Hans(el) and Gretel, and Hans Christian Andersen, few Americans have chosen this name for their sons because of its intractably Old Country image.
Description:Gentle meaning and bona fide Hebrew history, but feels old-mannish, like Herman and Menashe.
Origin:French from German
Description:Heloise is an ancient name related to sleek, peppy classic Eloise. Both ultimately derive from the Germanic name Helewidis, which became Helewis in medieval England. In the twelfth century, the name was borne by the beloved of the French philosopher Pierre Abelard, who was considered to be one of the most learned women of the Middle Ages.
Description:Hestia is the name of the Greek goddess of the hearth, home and chastity. Though Hestia has been long dormant as a name, it's a possibility for the parent in search of a classic name with deep roots that's also unusual. It's one of the Greek goddess namesthat's both familiar and distinctive.
Description:Homer is a name that has traveled from the ancient Greek scribe of the great classical epics to Bart Simpson's doltish dad, and has also become the surprise hot celebrity pick of such parents as Richard Gere (his father's name), Bill Murray, and Anne Heche. Simpsons creator Matt Groening has both a father and a son named Homer.
Meaning:"cliff near a heath"
Description:Heathcliff is the name of the original passionate macho hero of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and also of the cartoon cat. It was chosen by fashionista Lucy Sykes for her son, and inspired the late Heath Ledger's name. But otherwise it's barely used, and perhaps a bit much of a namesake. For a modern boy we'd recommend Heath....or Cliff.
Origin:Diminutive of Hyman, Hebrew
Description:Hy was once a nickname for Hyman, a Jewish Anglicization of Chaim. Today it has gone extinct, for obvious reasons.
Description:In the New Testament this was exclaimed by those around Jesus when he first entered Jerusalem. An exuberant choice!
Description:Since so many of the biblical prophet names -- Daniel, Jonah, Nathan, Samuel -- are overused, you might want to consider this distinctive alternative. Hosea was the author of the book of prophesies bearing his name, whose underlying message was a promise of restoration. The Talmud claims that he was the greatest prophet of his generation.
Description:Holland, like most place names, is gender neutral. There's about one boy Holland born in the US these days for every girl Holland.
Meaning:"bright, shining intellect"
Description:A name that sounds so old-fashioned some parents out there might conceivably find it quirky enough for a comeback, along with other one-time fuddie-duddies like Oscar and Homer.
Description:More familiar to English speakers in the Italian Elio form.