Clunky Cool

  1. Abner
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of light."
    • Description:

      This neglected Biblical name--it was the name of the commander of Saul's army and appears twice in the New Testament--is ready to flee Dogpatch. It was regularly used in the nineteenth century, but was pretty much demolished by the long-running hillbilly comic strip L'il Abner, which began in 1934 and ran through 1977. A more respectable namesake is Abner Doubleday, who has been credited with inventing baseball.
  2. Abraham
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of multitudes"
    • Description:

      Abraham is among the most classic baby names that's still widely-used today, popular for its references to both the Bible and American history. The Biblical Abraham was the first of the Old Testament patriarchs and is considered the founding father of the Jewish people. He was originally named Abram, until, according to Genesis, he was told, "No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations."
  3. Adelaide
    • Origin:

      Variant of Adelheidis, German
    • Meaning:

      "noble, nobility"
    • Description:

      Adelaide is now heading straight uphill on the coattails of such newly popular sisters as Ava, Ada, and Audrey, and in the company of Adeline and Amelia. It was chosen by actress Katherine Heigl for the name of her second daughter.
  4. Agatha
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "good woman"
    • Description:

      Agatha until recently summoned up visions of martyred saints, mauve silk dresses, and high lace collars, but now that some dauntless excavators have begun to resurrect it, we're sure more will follow their lead. Actor Thomas Gibson used it for his daughter in 2004.
  5. Agnes
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "pure, virginal"
    • Description:

      Agnes is the Latin variation of the name Hagne, which itself derived from the Greek word hagnos, meaning "chaste." In medieval times, St. Agnes was a very popular saint, leading to its popularity as a girl's name. Agnes Grey is the title of one of the two novels written by Anne Brontë.
  6. Alastair
    • Origin:

      Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "defender of men"
    • Description:

      To Americans, a quintessential British name, introduced to the U.S. public by suave journalist/PBS Masterpiece Theater host Alastair Cook. Sometimes used in the U.S. by parents with Scottish heritage.
  7. Alberta
    • Origin:

      English, feminine variation of Albert
    • Meaning:

      "noble, bright"
    • Description:

      This jazzy old name could make a comeback, the way Josephine and Ella have. In England the name was popularized by Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, after whom her governor general of Canada husband named the North American province. Jazz singer Alberta Hunter was a noted bearer.
  8. Alfred
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "wise counselor; elf counsel"
    • Description:

      Alfred is up off his recliner! If you're looking for a path to Fred, you can go directly to Frederick or take the long way around with the so-out-it's-in-again Alfred. Alfred is quite popular in several European countries, especially England and Wales, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
  9. Angus
    • Origin:

      Anglicized form of Aonghus, Aonghas, Gaelic
    • Meaning:

      "one strength"
    • Description:

      Angus is a traditional yet stylish choice in the UK, especially in Scotland. And it's a cool choice for US parents too, particularly those whose roots go back to Glasgow. The ancient Celtic form Oenghus has important historical overtones in Scotland, and the Gaelic form Aonghas is associated with two distinguished modern poets. In Irish folklore, Angus Og is a chieftain-lord who used his magical powers for the pleasure and prosperity of mankind--and in Irish myth, Aonghus was the god of love and youth.
  10. Aquilina
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of Aquilo, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "eagle"
    • Description:

      A lot of parents claim to want a name that's different, but if you really do, Aquilina, modern-feeling but based on an ancient favorite, would be one good choice.
  11. Arnold
    • Origin:

      English from German
    • Meaning:

      "ruler, strong as an eagle"
    • Description:

      Strange as it may now seem, the venerable St. Arnold was a Greek by birth, a musician who became a member of the court of Charlemagne. The name is said to have been introduced into Britain by the Normans in the form Arnaud.
  12. Arrietty
    • 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.
  13. Augusta
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of Augustus
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      Augusta is a dignified name reminiscent of wealthy great-aunts, but with the fashion for both August and Gus for boys, Augusta could get some fresh energy.
  14. Augustine
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      Augustine is more substantial (and saintly) than August, less pretentious than Augustus, and, along with its nickname Gus, is definitely a viable choice.
  15. Augustus
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "great, magnificent"
    • Description:

      Parents are beginning to look at imposing, somewhat fusty-sounding names like this one with fresh eyes: they definitely make a strong statement.
  16. Aurelia
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "the golden one"
    • Description:

      Aurelia is an ancient Roman name that's become a surprise hit in the contemporary world. A top favorite on Nameberry, it reentered the US Top 1000 in 2014 after a 70-year absence and continues to climb.
  17. Augustine
    • Balthasar
      • Origin:

        Greek
      • Meaning:

        "God protects the king"
      • Description:

        Balthasar was one of the biblical Three Kings who visited the infant Jesus, also used by Shakespeare and in the oil-rich Getty family; offbeat and intriguing. Balthazar is another, equally appropriate spelling.
    • Barnabas
      • Origin:

        Aramaic
      • Meaning:

        "son of consolation"
      • Description:

        Barnabas, whose birth name was Joseph, was one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem, who undertook missionary journeys with Paul the Apostle, His name is a bit Old World compared to the update Barnaby, but could gain some attention as boys' names ending in 's' are enjoying a comeback.
    • Barnaby
      • Origin:

        English variation of Barnabas, Aramaic
      • Meaning:

        "son of consolation"
      • Description:

        Barnaby, a genial and energetic name with an Irish-sounding three-syllable lilt, is an ancient appellation that manages to be both unusual and highly attractive and deserves to be used more than it is. A sweet-spot name that's a real winner.