What are your favorite unique baby names?

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Baby names are obviously a perennial parenting topic, but in all of our discussions about names we’ve never just point-blank asked: what are you favorite unique baby names?

Is your kid’s name a combination of family names handed down through generations? Something you pulled from your favorite book or movie? A name you totally made up? Or does your kid have one name — but you secretly love a totally off-the-wall name? (I knew someone who wanted to name her kid Saturn but went with a much more traditional name.)

Scroll through the comments on this open thread to find out: What are your favorite unique baby names?

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Comments on What are your favorite unique baby names?

  1. I have a name that I love, and is more old-fashioned than anything, but the husband hates it, so we won’t use it. I want someone to steal it because it’s a beautiful name!
    Sylvia Eileen.

  2. Our daughters name is Beatrix. So many people asked if it was after Beatrix Potter. I would simply explain to them that she wasn’t named after the wonderful author, but in fact was named after the incredibly kick ass character Uma Thurman played in Kill Bill (we’re huge Tarantino fans). They would often look at me confused or dismayed. So now I just respond “yeah she was named after the chick who wrote about rabbits” instead of getting in to the whole thing. Also, her having a family name was important to me so I some ancestry.com research and found a great great great aunts name and that is my daughters middle name which is Arabella. It was quite fitting because when I was little my dad used to call me Sarahbella (my name is Sarah). He didn’t even know he had someone on his side of the family with the name Arabella.

    • Beatrix was my favorite name! I had my heart so set on it that I kept accidentally calling my daughter Beatrix for the first couple weeks after she was born even though my husband and I ended up compromising (he didn’t care for it too much) on Wednesday instead. If we have another, I’m gonna really try and convince him into Beatrix for that one

  3. He’s English, I’m an Southwest American “mutt” with a Sioux great-great-grandmother; we live in Africa most of the time, and in the Rocky Mountains when we can. Being wildlife conservationists – he studied gorillas for years, then switched to marine conservation, and I’ve done outreach and media for marine biologists for more than a decade – we like nature names that are also evocative of our backgrounds. But as I’ve always had to spell my name to people, I prefer first names that are no-brainers to spell, and would get more creative with the middle name. We’ve got a penchant for the Celtic and the Zen, and for old-fashioned names. We’re still just dreaming at this point, but here are our favorites so far…


    First Names
    Lily (his granny)
    Hazel (his auntie)
    Eirlys (“snowdrop”, Welsh)

    Middle Names
    Pearl (a dear neighbor and friend)
    Iolanthe (Violet without the violence, Greek)
    Kamana (“butterfly”, Cherokee)
    Imogen (“beloved child”, Celtic)
    Esme (“emerald”, French, and related to Aimée)
    Umiña (“emerald”, Quecha)
    Marlowe (“driftwood”, Old English)

    How about…
    Lily Fern
    Lily Esme
    Lily Iolanthe
    Lily Mariposa
    Lily Marlowe
    Lily Umiña
    Hazel Pearl
    Hazel Esme
    Hazel Marlowe
    Hazel Umiña
    Fern Kamana
    Fern Eirlys
    Ruby Liana
    Ruby Thistle
    Ruby Pearl
    Pearl Marlowe
    Eirlys Amethyst
    Eirlys Imogen
    Eirlys Mariposa


    First Names
    Finn or Fionn (“bright, fair”, Irish)
    Marlow (“driftwood”, Old English)

    Middle Names
    Kai (“forgiveness”, Japanese; “willow tree”,
    Navajo; “ocean”, Hawaiian; “earth”, Scandanavian)

    How about…
    Finn Marlow
    Finn Heron
    Fionn Bamboo
    Finn Argyle
    Marlow Heron
    Marlow Bamboo
    Marlow Kai

    After baby, we plan to live in a Robinson Crusoe treehouse in a cove on the beach, eat coconuts and scavenge for shellfish, and work the occasional consultancy to keep the bottles of wine and bars of dark chocolate in stock…

  4. My husband wants to call our daughter Darwin… I think it’s quite funny, not sure if she’d hate us for the rest of her life if we did though 🙂

  5. Spouse and I talk baby names sometimes in preparation so we have a running list. It’s funny because his parents went with common names all three times after originally wanting offbeat ones: Wolfgang became John , Spouse was going to be Barnabus but became Michael, and Amber became Brian (woops, it’s a boy not a girl!). In fact my spouse has the exact same names as his uncle and his cousin, while his older brother has the same name as his dad, grandad, and who knows who else.

    All of the cousins on my mom’s side have other people’s names for middle names, which I want to continue. We have a mix of names to choose from because my grandmothers are from Belgium and Spain respectively, and one grandfather is a Polish first generation American. In my family we’ve got Ariane, Michele, Luisa, Quinn (boy), Theo, Abigayle, Thaddeus, Wendy, Gary, a selection of more common names. Ff I look even further back we’ve got Jose, Amancio, Dolores, Stanislaus, Stella, Ippolyte, Experience, and Philadelphia.

  6. My fiance and I are drawn to neutral names. Our two favorites are Micah and Jude.
    This way, our children get to choose how they display their genders for themselves.

  7. For boys:
    Samuel, Dante, Justus, Constantin, Lenius, Andreas
    For girls:
    Noelani, Nia, Tove/Tova, Valentina, Lea, Serafina (!!!), Aurelia

    Some of the names I love.

    • I’m married to an Andreas, and will provide this bit of information: he’s told me that everywhere he goes, all his life, within a couple weeks, people spontaneously start calling him “Dre.” The one exception was when he lived in Germany, and everyone called him “Andy.” Even if he introduces himself as Andreas, he quickly becomes “Dre.” So if you name your kid Andreas, make sure you like the default nickname. 🙂

  8. So many great names have been mentioned! I go back and forth with wanting to give my future offspring offbeat names. My main goal is that they end up with a name that won’t make them one of many in their classroom (I grew up in the age of Megan S., Jennifer L., etc and I always felt bad for them). My future husband, (husband in 10 days, eek!) Paul, is less worried about that and gravitates to more popular names or 80s/90s names.
    Now that we have officially pulled the goalie we will, hopefully, be pregnant soon (crossing fingers, toes, legs, arms, eyes) and I’ve already started a preliminary list of names:
    Edith (his grandmother’s name, he doesn’t like it as much as I do)
    Wilhelmina (my family is Dutch, makes for a pretty long name – last name will be Huntsberger),
    Beatrix (love, love, love for so many reasons)
    Orrin (future hubby and I have river names for middles, might want to continue the tradition)
    Pepper (I picture a spunky little girl but I doubt myself – will that name prevent her from being a Supreme Court Judge if she wants to? Then I think “That’s bullsh%t!” if she wants to be a Supreme Court Judge she won’t let a name stop her, right?)
    Sheppard (Firefly/Serenity, love me some Sheppard Book)
    Margo(t) (Despicable Me)
    Remus (Harry Potter)
    Zia (Paul and I grew up in New Mexico and appreciate the meaning behind the symbol) – The Zia Indians of New Mexico regard the Sun as a sacred symbol. Their symbol, a red circle with groups of rays pointing in four directions, is painted on ceremonial vases, drawn on the ground around campfires, and used to introduce newborns to the Sun. Four is the sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle. The number four is embodied in:

    the four points of the compass (north, south, east, and west);
    the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter);
    the four periods of each day (morning, noon, evening and night);
    the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle years and old age); and
    the four sacred obligations one must develop (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of others), according to the Zia’s belief.

    Oh, and I just met a woman named Cricket and I thought that was an awesome name!

    Keep the names coming! I love reading everyone’s comments!

  9. Hello!

    Me and my hubby are pregnant right now with our first child! (YAY! so excited to finally be pregnant after trying for awhile. :)) and since we haven’t found out if they are a boy or girl yet, we came up with both. Our girl will be Ceirdwyn Lyn Ellen, Ceirdwyn is an old celtic name (I’m obsessed with Ireland/Celtic anything) and also is a name of a character in the Highlander TV show, which my husband is a major fan of. Lyn is my middle name and my mother’s, so keeping the name passed down. Ellen is my hubby’s grandmother’s name, who was very important to him and wanted our baby girl to have something of her great grandma who she will sadly never get to meet.

    For the boy, Cedric Gene Michael. Cedric, is an old English name, and since me and my hubby are both HUGE Harry Potter fans, this is from that (We plan on buying something Hufflepuff for his room and dragons to decorate :)). Gene is my hubby’s grandfather’s name, so the same thing applies here as the name for the girl does. Michael is my husband’s first name, his father’s first name and my father’s middle name, so we covered all the bases.

    I have also loved odd names, I have a semi common name(just a less common spelling) so I hated having to deal with someone having the same name as me. So hopefully my child(ern) will not have that probably!

  10. My little one’s name is Ash Orion. Orion is kind of offbeaty, but pretty common as unusual names go. It has incredible significance to me, however. If the next one is a girl (hoping I’m currently preggy!), she’ll be Ophelia Dove. I’m usually against nicknames (hence the one-syllable boy names), but I don’t think I could help calling her Fifi. And yes, totally because Shakespeare.

    For a boy, we’re interested in Wyn and Kit, but not sure about a middle name. Wyn wasn’t even a thing until I met a Winn at the school I student taught at, and I was struck by how awesome it was in action.

  11. I loved the names October, Harley and Julietta, for a girl, after my first choice- my daughter’s name is Jezebel Nikolina (the Serbian version of Nicole, which is my middle name (my husband is from Serbia))

    And Valentino, Vladimir, Dracula, Atlas, Arlo, and Judas for boy names. My son ended up with the name Devendra Rebel.

    I would have LOVED to have a twin boy and girl, to name them Judas and Jezebel.

    My friend has a grandson with the name Jaxx-lee.

  12. My favorite names come from novels..

    Atticus, Uriah, Cornelius (nickname Neeley) or Finnegan for a boy.

    Moiraine, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Faile, (pronounced Fye-el), Scout, Harper, or Briar.

  13. My son’s name is Damian- like all of the Tamora Pierce fans, we chose to name my son after my favorite author’s lead character. (Anne Bishop’s “Dark Jewels Trilogy,” is amazing, btw) The character is actually Daemon, but we compromised for the sake of dealing with his right-wing family. The story there, and why we chose that name, is because I read the first of those novels to my late husband, my son’s father, 1 chapter per night that we spent together, to help him sleep.
    His middle name is Orion, for the constellation/Greek mythology figure.

    And yes, y’all, I know the tragedies around both the character & the mythological figure- I felt a strong leaning, while pregnant with him, toward the east Asian traditions of choosing a mean/insulting name to draw away bad spirits. Obviously, I wasn’t going to name my kid Mud Fence, so my compromise was to name him for figures with great tragedies, as a superstitious hope that it would repel tragedy from him.

  14. My daughter’s name is Carmel George. We had a very long list but non of these names were in it. When she was born we looked for a name by letters and found Carmel and it seemed to fit. George is just a “chicken” game me and her dad played that got out of control when I actually signed her name in government papers like that. I love it. And to think we actually thought to call her Emanuel- it’s a beautiful name but Carmel fits her so much better!

  15. We named our daughter Evangeline Louise, the only name we were both 100% on board with. Evangeline because we both love the song by The Band and Louise was a family name. Since we live in Tx, we redneck it up by calling her Evie Lou.

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