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Unique Names Starting With I

ImogenHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "maiden"
  • Description:

    The story goes that Imogen originated as a Shakespearean printer's misspelling of the traditional Celtic name Innogen, used by him for a character in one of his last plays, Cymbeline. The Innogen of legend, who Shakespeare’s character was based on, was the wife of Brutus of Troy, the first king of Britain. Earlier versions of her name, including Ennoguent, Innoguend, and Innoguent, were found in Brittany from the 9th-11th centuries. They are probably derived from the Gaelic word inghean, meaning "daughter" or "maiden," and possibly have a connection to the Proto-Celtic word for "white," from which the suffixes -gwyn and -gwen evolved.

IgnatiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • 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.

IsoldeHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "ice ruler"
  • Description:

    Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.

IoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, a violet-colored stone
  • Description:

    This unusual Greek flower and color name has gained considerable recent attention via actress Ione Skye, who is the daughter of sixties folksinger Donovan.

IngridHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "fair; Ing is beautiful"
  • Description:

    The luminous Ingrid Bergman's appeal was strong enough to lend universal charisma to this classic Scandinavian name, which has been somewhat neglected in the US. Even today, a child named Ingrid would be assumed to be of Scandinavian ancestry, signaling the name has never been fully integrated into the English lexicon the way other European choices from the same era like Danielle or Kathleen have.

IsadoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Isis"
  • Description:

    Why is Isabella megapopular while Isadora goes virtually ignored? Too close a tie with tragic modern dancer Isadora Duncan (born Angela Isadora), who was done in by her long flowing scarf, perhaps, or with fusty male version Isidore. But we think Isadora is well worth reevaluating as an Isabella alternative. Quirky couple singer Bjork and artist Matthew Barney did just that and named their daughter Isadora. Isidora would be an alternative, just as proper but not quite as charming spelling--the one used as the spelling of a fourth century saint's name.

InesHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, Portuguese, Slovene and Croatian variation of Agnes
  • Meaning:

    "pure, virginal"
  • Description:

    This form of Agnes, Ines has always been popular since the true story of the thwarted lovers Queen Ines of Castro and King Peter of Portugal. This has to be one of the most heartbreaking and bloody true romances in history!

IdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious one"
  • Description:

    Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.

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.

IndigoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "Indian dye"
  • Description:

    Indigo is one of the most appealing and evocative of the new generation of color names. Color names have joined flower and jewel names -- in a big way -- and Indigo, a deep blue-purple dye from plants native to India, is particularly striking for both girls and boys. Indigo is the name of a character in the Ntozake Shange novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and was used for his daughter by Lou Diamond Phillips.

IcarusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Icarus, the mythological figure famous for flying too close to the sun, has a couple of negatives: his rash reputation, and those "icky" nicknames.

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.

InezHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Agnes
  • Meaning:

    "pure, virginal"
  • Description:

    Also spelled Ines, this name of the prudish mother of Don Juan in the Byron poem has a touch of mystery, but has also been fully integrated into the American name pool.

IantheHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "purple flower"
  • Description:

    Like Violet, Lavender and Lilac, Ianthe is a purple flower name. Chosen by the poet Shelley for his daughter, Ianthe has a poetic, romantic, almost ethereal quality. In the ancient myth, she was the daughter of Oceanus, supreme ruler of the sea, and also a Cretan woman so beautiful that when she died the Gods made purple flowers grow around her grave.

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.

IsobelHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish variation of Isabel
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    The Scottish spelling of Isabel has a definite character of her own, the 'o' giving her an extra infusion of strength but also an element of confusion. How do you pronounce that? Answer: Exactly like Isabel or Isabelle.

IggyHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, diminutive of Ignatius
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • Description:

    Iggy is the quintessential pop star name, though it's the nickname Cate Blanchett uses for son Ignatius. Iggy does bring any grander-sounding name down to earth.

IzaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic, Basque, Hausa
  • Meaning:

    "shawl; star; section of tree"
  • Description:

    Attractive, rhythmic choice with roots in several languages and cultures. It's a lesser-known a celestial name, meaning "star" in Basque and referring to a star in the constellation Boötes in Arabic.

IsidoreHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gift of Isis"
  • Description:

    Isabel and Isadora are back: could it now be time for a more widespread revival of Isidore? In 2014, both Isidore and Isadore were on the list of fastest-rising names in the US.

IrvingHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "green river, sea friend"
  • Description:

    It might be surprising to know that this name originated as a Scottish place and surname name, as in Washington Irving. It became a popular choice for first-generation Jewish-American boys, such as best-selling authors Irving Stone and Irving Wallace, whose parents looked to surnames from the British Isles to confer a measure of assimilation and class. Irving Berlin changed his name from Israel; actor Ving Rhames streamlined and coolized it. Irving was a Top 100 name during World War I, and though we don't envision it reaching those heights again, we can see some hipster parents having their own little Ving.

IonaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish place-name
  • Description:

    This name of a small island off the coast of Scotland is trending upwards along with other I names.

IndigoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "Indian dye"
  • Description:

    Indigo is one of the most appealing and evocative of the new generation of color names. Color names have joined flower and jewel names -- in a big way -- and Indigo, a deep blue-purple dye from plants native to India, is particularly striking for both girls and boys. Although most people don't think of it like this, Indigo might also be considered among the most stylish Greek baby names in use today. Some cultural references: The Indigo Girls are a folk duo, 'Mood Indigo' is a classic Duke Ellington jazz composition, and there is a 1970's New Age theory that Indigo children possess special, sometimes supernatural abilities. Indigo is the name of a character in the Ntozake Shange novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and was used for his daughter by Lou Diamond Phillips.

IlyaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian variation of Elijah
  • Meaning:

    "the Lord is my God"
  • Description:

    A rare example of an a-ending boy's name that sounds masculine, Ilya has a large measure of creative Slavic charm. >p>Ilya Ilyich Oblomov is the central character in Goncharov's novel "Oblomov." Unfortunately, he spends most of his life in his bathrobe and slippers.

IvorHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish variation of Welsh Ifor
  • Meaning:

    "yew"
  • Description:

    Ivor, a favorite choice for upscale characters in Brit Lit novels by authors like P.G. Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh, is an interesting and unusual name just waiting to be discovered by parents in this country.

IndiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name, from the River Indus
  • Description:

    Euphonious and long stylish in England, India was one of the fastest-rising names on the 2013 list, after jumping 240 spots back into the Top 1000.

IrinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Irina is a Russian ballet-inflected classic, one of the Three Sisters in the Chekhov play. While some Americans will pronounce this like Irene with three syllables, the pronunciation used throughout Europe, where it's widely used, starts with a short i as in it or if and a strong emphasis on the second syllable.

IkeHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Isaac
  • Description:

    Ike, once the quirky one-person nickname of President Dwight Eisenhower, has morphed into a cool kid nickname of the early 21st century. The rise of Isaac and the stylishness of short down-to-earth nicknames like Max and Gus means that many parents like Ike once again. In the Top 200 (!) at the end of the 19th century, Ike fell off the Social Security Top 1000 by the end of Eisenhower's presidency in the late 1950s but may rise again -- though our guess is that more modern parents will put Isaac or Isaiah on the birth certificate.

IvarHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood, archer"
  • Description:

    Part of a small group of similar names with similar roots — Ivor, Iver, Ivo, Ives — which are all worth looking at. Used throughout Scandinavia, Ivar is currently a Top 100 name in Sweden. In the Willa Cather novel O Pioneers!, there is a character known as —oops —Crazy Ivar.

IsaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "strong-willed"
  • Description:

    Isa is a name unto itself but might also be a short form of Isabel or Isadora. With the new popularity of Isabel and Isabella and even Bella, Isa may become more familiar.

IchabodHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "the glory is gone"
  • Description:

    Ichabod, an eccentric Old Testament name, is forever tied to the character of Ichabod Crane -- and worse, the teasing possibilities of "icky bod." Even its original meaning is a negative. Skip Ichabod, as if you were ever tempted.

IgnacioHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "fiery"
  • Description:

    Ignacio, like Horacio, makes its gray-bearded English equivalent name sound positively dashing. While the Ig- beginning summons up such associations as ignoble and ignorant, the era for Ignacio and Ignatius and Iggy may be nigh.

IvesHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Yves
  • Meaning:

    "yew wood"
  • Description:

    Smooth and sleek one-syllable name, sometimes suggested for Sagittarius boys.

IdaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "behold the sun"
  • Description:

    A pretty, if unusual choice for a summer baby, particularly a girl with an ancestor named Ida. An epithet of the goddess Aphrodite, Idalia is derived from the Greek place name Idalion

IshmaelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God will hear"
  • Description:

    Ishmael is most familiar through "Call me Ishmael," the opening line spoken by the youthful narrator of Moby-Dick. Few American parents have followed that advice, though the Spanish and Arabic spelling, Ismael, ranks at Number 362. With its warm and pleasant sound, though, we could see Ishmael tagging along behind Isaiah and Isaac.

IndiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "beauty"
  • Description:

    A striking and feminine possibility associated with a modern hero — longtime Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.

InnesHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "from the river island"
  • Description:

    Innis is the name of an island (and Gaelic word for island) which became a Scottish surname and clan name before being used as a first. It hasn't been heard much in the U.S., but could attract more attention with the growing popularity of Latin s-ending boys' names such as Atticus.

IsisHeart

  • Origin:

    Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "throne"
  • Description:

    Isis has gone from magical, feminist name on the rise to the forbidden list because of the extremist terror group called ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Unsurprisingly, Isis was one of the fastest-falling names in 2014, dropping 130 ranks to reach #706.

IolantheHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "violet flower"
  • Description:

    Iolanthe is known primarily through the1882 Gilbert & Sullivan operetta of that name, in which the title character is a fairy. Iolanthe is a softer version of Yolanda, and is the kind of multi-syllabic classical name once considered too weighty for a modern baby girl, but now within the realm of possibility--this one as a dramatic twist on Violet

InakiHeart

  • Origin:

    Basque
  • Meaning:

    "fiery, ardent"
  • Description:

    You can think of Inaki as a version of Inigo and a Basque variation of Ignatius. Technically, it takes a tilde -- aka that squiggly line -- over the n, which means the n is pronounced like nyah. Inaki is very popular among the smart set in Argentina.

IndiHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Indie, English
  • Meaning:

    "independent"
  • Description:

    A true maverick of a girls' name — even more so with this spelling, the least common between Indie, Indy, and Indi.

IndyHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Indiana
  • Description:

    The heroic movie figure Indiana Jones was often called Indy, as in the equally testosterone-laden Indy 500 car race. Indie, as in indie films, is the more girlish version of the name, sometimes short for India or Indigo.

IngaHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "guarded by Ing"
  • Description:

    Ing was a powerful Norse god whose name inspired several modern variations -- though Inga has become a caricatured Scandinavian choice.

InaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, feminine suffix
  • Description:

    This suffix is used as an independent name, but doesn't your little girl deserve more?

IndianaHeart

  • Origin:

    American place-name
  • Meaning:

    "land of the Indians"
  • Description:

    Indiana is one of those place-names (think Camden and Trenton) that sounds cooler than the place that inspired it. Its fashionable -ana ending certainly sounds eminently name-like, and Indie/Indy/Indi is one of the hottest nickname names for girls right now.

IgorHeart

  • Origin:

    Old Norse via Russian
  • Meaning:

    "warrior"
  • Description:

    Musical association with Igor Stravinsky, but also Dr. Frankenstein's right-hand man.

InaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "shining light"
  • Description:

    Inara is of those words that seems to mean something different in each of a dozen different languages, and was the name of an important goddess to the Ancient Hittites. But it owes much of its (admittedly scant) popularity as a baby name to Joss Whedon's cult hit sci-fi series Firefly, in which one of the main characters is named Inara Serra. Bottom line: One of the most intriguing and easily-translated Arabic names for girls.

IsmeneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "knowledgeable"
  • Description:

    Sister of Antigone and daughter of Oedipus in Greek mythology, Ismene's name is unlikely to make it in modern times because of its teasability factor. Ismay or Esme would be better bets.

IzzyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Isabel and Isabella
  • Description:

    The longer Isabella stays in the Top 10—and it's been there for more than a decade—the more we hear the nickname Izzy (especially if we watch Grey's Anatomy). it's just a matter of time before it stands on its own, as it has as a first name for the daughter of Eddie Murphy and Paige Butcher.
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