Uncommon names

  1. Absalom
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "father of peace"
    • Description:

      Absalom, because of its biblical and literary associations, just might appeal to the daring namegiver.
  2. Alexei
    • Origin:

      Russian, Greek
    • Meaning:

      "defending men"
    • Description:

      Alexei could well join the legion of Alex names popular in the US. There are countless opportunities to liven up Alexander, and Alexei (or Alexey) is one of the most straightforward and appealing.
  3. Ambrose
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "immortal"
    • Description:

      Gentle but grandiose and beloved by British novelists including Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, Ambrose was a fast rising name in 2022. Entering the UK Top 1000 for the first time and proving popular among Nameberry users, its elegance, softness, and vintage style means it fits in with popular Theodore, Sebastian, and Jeremiah.
  4. Ansel
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "with divine protection"
    • Description:

      Ansel, primarily associated with the great western photographer Ansel Adams, famed for his magnificent photographs of the Yosemite Valley, could make a creative artist-hero choice. For Adams it was a family name – he was named after his uncle, Ansel Easton. And, in turn, Adams was the namesake of young heartthrob Ansel Elgort, son of a photographer.
  5. Azalea
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "azalea, a flower"
    • Description:

      Azalea is one of the fresher flower names, along with Zinnia and Lilac, that are new to the name bouquet — in fact, it entered the Social Security list for the first time in 2012. So if Lily and Rose are too tame for you, consider this brilliant pink springtime blossom with a touch of the unusual that has been growing in popularity.
  6. Beck
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "small stream"
    • Description:

      The popular single-named alternative singer (born Bek) has given this cool nature-meets-surname name a new lease of life. Another notable bearer is Beck Weathers, a Texan pathologist who survived the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, which was covered in the book and film Into Thin Air.
  7. Cato
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "all-knowing"
    • Description:

      Cato conjures up images of ancient Roman statesmen and southern antebellum retainers; it could have revival potential, with its 'O' ending and the current interest in the names of Greek and Roman antiquity.
  8. Clarice
    • Origin:

      Medieval form of Clarita, a derivative of Clara
    • Meaning:

      "bright, clear"
    • Description:

      If you’re a fan of the annual animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll recognize the name of Rudolph’s beautiful doe sweetheart, pronounced cla-REES—uncomfortably close to the Silence of the Lambs pronunciation. Clarice was the name of the wife of Lorenzo de' Medici, and Clarice Cliff was a famed British ceramics artist. Though a Top 300 name from 1906 to 1934, modern parents might prefer the more delicate Clarissa.
  9. Columbia
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "land of Columbus"
    • Description:

      Columbia is a rarely used name with many associations. From the eighteenth century it has been used as a female personification of the United States, often appearing as a flag-draped patriotic figure. And as such it's inspired a plethora of place and company names, from the District of Columbia to Columbia University to Columbia Records, and songs like "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean." A character called Columbia appears in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  10. Constantine
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "steadfast"
    • Description:

      This Roman Emperor's name has long been considered too grand for an American boy. But in this era of children named Augustine and Atticus, it just may be prime for an unlikely comeback.
  11. Crispin
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "curly-haired"
    • Description:

      Crispin, which was introduced into the mainstream by actor Crispin Glover and which means "curly-haired" in Latin, has an image very much like its first syllable: crisp, autumnal, and colorful.
  12. Ezra
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "help"
    • Description:

      Ezra has a lot going for it: the strength of its heroic Biblical legacy, its quirky sound, and its fresh but familiar feel. Ezra is now at its highest point ever, but its intuitive streamlined spelling and deep roots could make it a worth successor to Elijah in the Top 10 -- or even to Liam or Noah at Number 1.
  13. Freja
    • Origin:

      Swedish and Danish
    • Meaning:

      "lady, noblewoman"
    • Description:

      One of the most popular names in Scandinavia, Freja--or Freyja--was a major deity of Norse paganism. Beautiful, blonde and blue-eyed, she was the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. In the US, the name is most likely spelled Freya.
  14. Lazarus
    • Origin:

      Latinized Greek variation of Hebrew Eleazar
    • Meaning:

      "God is my helper"
    • Description:

      Lazarus is a name that looks as if it could possibly be raised from the dead, just like its biblical bearer. Look for it in the next wave of Old Testament revivals that transcend their long-bearded images, the way Noah, Moses, and Abraham have for this generation.
  15. Leonora
    • Origin:

      Italian diminutive of Eleonora or Eleanor, meaning unknown
    • Description:

      Its mellifluous sound makes Leonora--which has a rich history and a tie to the popular Leo names-- a keen possibility for revival. Though it's been hiding below the Top 1000 since the 1940s, Leonora is being rediscovered by stylish parents in the US and Europe.
  16. Lilia
    • Origin:

      Spanish, Italian and Russian
    • Meaning:

      "lily"
    • Description:

      Lilia is pretty double L name that makes for sparkly, floral choice with plenty of international flair. More distinctive that Lily, less popular than Liliana, Lia, and Lilian, Lilia was a new entry to the US Top 1000 in 2023.
  17. Liv
    • Origin:

      Norse
    • Meaning:

      "life"
    • Description:

      The fame of actress and Aerosmith daughter Liv Tyler helped to infuse life into this short but solid Scandinavian name that was chosen for her daughter by Julianne Moore.
  18. Maeve
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "she who intoxicates"
    • Description:

      Maeve is a short and sweet name that has become one of the most stylish Irish names for girls in the modern US. Maeve would make an excellent first or middle name choice, with more heft than Mae/May and more modern charm than Mavis.
  19. Mette
    • Origin:

      Norse, variation of Margaret
    • Meaning:

      "pearl"
    • Description:

      This is a Scandinavian variant of Margaret, and is pronounced MEH-teh or MET, rhyming with jet.
  20. OSWIN