The name parents choose for their baby may matter more than they believe. While our names may not choose our fate, who we identify as may very well influence it. We live under what the Romans called nomen est omen, or "name is destiny." Decide wisely what you decide to name your baby. You have so much of their life in your hands.
People with common names are less likely to stand out and be considered creative. Because contemporary people associate names with self-identification, babies with names like Tim or Mary just don't get as much attention as babies with more unique names. While previous generations preferred to name their child a respectable, ancestral names, many prefer to choose a name with personal significance or one that will mark their baby as unique.
This article offers 20 names that might not have been on your radar that sound as beautiful as they are unknown. Each one helps offer your baby a prosperous future, or at least a good head start. Keep these in mind when thumbing through popular baby name books, just in case you feel like giving your baby a more original name.
Hensley was initially a last name derived from the town of Hensley in East Worthington. This town is known for its woods and clearings, a place of great reflection as well as inner tranquility.
Hensley is a unisex name, so if you're waiting to find out your baby's gender until birth, you can hold onto this name regardless of whether your baby's a boy or girl. Gender-neutral parenting has its pros and cons, but if you feel your family's lifestyle could benefit from it, be sure to give it a shot.
Nature names have grown in popularity as people continue to get in touch with their inner selves outdoors. Although floral names like Juniper or Violet are most popular, Hensley offers a more personal reference to nature. Hensley might not fit your baby-to-be's personality. If this is the case and you still want to use a nature-inspired name, you have plenty to choose from.
This beautiful baby name is Latin in origin, a feminine version of the name Amireya. Amireya is derived derived from Hebrew phrase, "Jehovah has said." Whether religious or appreciative of ancient history, Mireya is a soft but strong-sounding name.
Another common meaning of Mireya is "Admired," which she is certain to be throughout her life. People named Mireya are known to be kind and honest, sweet but steadfast to their values. They are loved and appreciated wherever they go because of the beauty they radiate from the inside.
Some consider admiration vain or not very important. To be admired, however, is not just to be superficially liked. Admiration takes respect for another person's values and a desire to be more like them. People who are admired become role models and inspirations for others. If you want your baby to grow up loved and respected for who they are, Mireya may be a good name to keep in mind.
Origin: Latin, Dutch
Roman in origin, you have probably heard of the name Marcellus is a diminutive of: Marcus. Marcellus holds all the stoic strength of the name Marcus without the connotations of the many others who bore this name. This may help your baby forge their own identity as they grow up rather than rely on or feel in the shadow of past nameholders.
Marcellus is a brave, masculine name. Those who are named Marcellus are known for their intelligence above all things. Perhaps it is the classical connection, but people named Marcellus usually have a good head on their shoulders.
Marcellus is also a wholesome name. If you long for the classics but want to take a name less used, try Marcellus out and see if it fits your new baby. If the name is a little strong, feel free to use this as a middle name or soften it with the more approachable nickname "Marc."
A cute and quirky alternative to Gracie, Grecia means "Greece" in Spanish. This name is perfect for ancient mythology fans who want to give their baby a name that hearkens to the past while moving towards an ever-bright future.
In addition, a traditional meaning for Grecia is "she who has God's friendship." Whether you're religious or not, a name like this can encourage your baby to grow up a friend to all she meets. In this case, the meaning can be interpreted as a girl who goes throughout life shining her own unique light and encouraging others to share their unique talents with the world. If there's a more beautiful meaning than that, it would be hard to find.
A good name is one that has strong historical bonds but gives your baby enough leeway to make their own future. No history is more rich or vivid than Ancient Greece, and this little-known reference to Greco-Roman culture gives your baby a sturdy, stunning name.
The name Vaughn comes from the Welsh root word bychan, which means little. Vaughn is the perfect name for a baby without making too "cutesy" when he grows up. You may regret naming your baby "Junior," but Vaughn starts your baby off with a nice, mature name while still reveling in his newness as an infant.
Vaughn is an open, happy name, and those who bear it are often known as laid-back and altruistic. They are known for their kindness as much as their easygoing nature, and people named Vaughns are considered good friends. Vaughn is well-known as a last name in English culture, but few use it as a first name.
The name Vaughn was most popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century and since then, its popularity has decreased over time. While vintage names like Henry and Eugene are regaining style, Vaughn is a tad more unknown.
Origin: Native American
Lula began as a nickname for Tallulah, a name that means "running water." Of all the elements, water is the most healing. This name is calming and encourages your baby to grow up as someone who cares for others to the best of their abilities.
Lula is also an adorable alternative for Lily. The latter name has gained considerable popularity over the past several years and, while adorable, can be seen as a name a little too "trendy" for some parents.
This is a common cycle for classic names: every once and a while, names will surge in popularity until they become so common that they fall out of style. Lula avoids this cycle by offering a graceful but understated beauty.
Lula offers the same wholesome, feminine sound without quite the same baggage as Lily. This name is as old-fashioned as it is refined, and a Lula is sure to grow up as elegant as her namesake.
Eliseo is Italian for Elijah. Like Elijah, this name means "my God is Yahweh." While Elijah references the Biblical prophet from the Old Testament, the name Eliseo may be a more approachable and comfortable name for families not of the Christian faith.
Some people like Biblical names for their constant popularity over time. While names like Ashley or Kyle wax and wane, Biblical names such as Stephen, Abraham, or John never go out of style. Eliseo has the same staying-power as Elijah without the same level of popularity. Whether you identify as religious or otherwise, using a Biblical name can be a good choice if looking for a classic and comfortable name.
Like many little-known names on this list, the best names are those that take time-approved roots and make them into a name of their own. Eliseo does just that and, if you're looking for a name that honors historical ties, this may be your perfect pick.
Origin: Portuguese, Germanic
Adelaide stems from a form of the Germanic name Adalheidis, which means "noble" and "kind." Both of these qualities go well together. In fact, the more you think about it, the more you can't have one without the other. As Adalaide grows up, you may want to remind her of her name's meaning.
Adelaide is a perfect name if you want your child's name to be different but still fit in with other kids. If you want to, you call call her Addy as a nickname. Addy is as wholesome and sweet as Adelaide but more approachable as she's growing up. Once she's older, she can use the more mature-sounding Adelaide and thank you (maybe not aloud) for giving her such an elegant name.
Famous name-bearer includes St. Adelaide, the wife of Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great. St Adelaide is, among other things, the patron saint of parenthood. This may come in handy as you're raising your little Adelaide. Hey, you can never be too careful.
Erasmus means beloved, and its meaning makes this the perfect name for a firstborn boy. What word better fits a newborn than "beloved?" As they grow through their first year of life, they are surrounded by people who love and care about them. This name offers a beautiful meaning with subtle classical overtones.
Perhaps the most famous bearer of the name Erasmus is the Dutch scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam, an early Humanist philosopher. This added namesake gives Erasmus a more serious, intellectual tone. If your baby is born with a look as if they're lost in thought, consider the name Erasmus for a first or middle name.
Erasmus was a big fan and philosopher of humanism, or the belief that humans are inherently good and can create works of profound beauty throughout their life. Though Erasmus himself might not have thought about it, the miracle of life is perhaps one of the most beautiful acts someone can perform.
There is noting more humanistic or profound than giving life to another human being. The name Erasmus encourages the pursuit of humanism throughout your baby's life while reminding him that he was a miracle from the day he was born.
Valeria is the female form of Valerius, second-century Roman saint and martyr. Some describe Valeria as similar to the name Valerie but with a slightly more musical sound. With the name Valeria, your baby will grow up comfortable and even proud of her name for its subtle individuality.
When choosing a baby name, you may want to consider whether you can shorten it into a nickname while your chils grows up. Sometimes certain names can be a little heavy for a baby and take time for them to fit what you've chosen. Valeria comes with a nickname as beautiful as the full name itself.
Use the name Lyra for a nickname if needed. Although Valeria is the perfect name for a smart, fun-loving girl, your baby may take a little while to grow into her name. Lyra is a diminutive that carries the same beauty of Valeria in a smaller package.
Becket comes from Middle English word bekke, meaning stream or brook. Initially, this was a surname used to describe those who lived near a stream. As generations continued, the surname shifted from the last name Becket (or the more popular Beckett) into a male first name.
In the past couple of decades, last names have made the jump into adorable first names for babies. You may know a couple of Andersons or Taylors and want to give this trend your own spin. Becket is a quiet, thoughtful name that coming from England that will give your baby a reflective and meaningful name.
One famous bearer of the surname is Thomas Becket of Canturbury, an archbishop known for his turbulant yet passionate relationship with King Henry II of the Plantagenet house. Thomas is known in contemporary times through the 1964 drama Becket, which starred brooding Silver Screen actor Richard Burton as a conflicted, yet strong-hearted Thomas Becket.
Origin: Ancient Hebrew
Selah is a musical term in ancient Hebrew texts that noted the place where the reader could stop and gather their thoughts. Although scholars are not entirely sure what selah meant in terms of music, most interpret it as a sign of peace or calm. Selah enters ancient literature as a pause, an invitation to the readers to reflect on the words for their own internal benefit.
Selah is most commonly found in the Book of Psalms, known in Jewish and Christian worship as the book of hymns and sacred songs. Traditionally, the Psalms are believed to have been written by King David, who was an accomplished musician as well as a king and leader. Naming your child Selah may encourage a love of music that stems back from millenia of appreciation.
This name encourages musical affinity and spirituality, in whatever sense your child chooses to interpret it. Perhaps your child will not grow up to be a musician, but a name like Selah is one that helps them remember to think deeply about life and seek out hidden beauty.
Garamond is a French name and another surname-turned-first name. This name is a good fit for those who have French heritage or an affinity for French culture. If you're going to choose a culture with rich history, France should stand high on the list.
Paris as we know it as stood as a city from Roman occupation to the present, and from northern France to southern Provence, every inch of the country shines with beauty and age. Raising a child to appreciate culture takes time and effort, but giving them a fitting name may make the process easier.
You may also recognize Garamond as the name of a popular font. This typeface was designed by Claude Garamond in the sixteenth-century. Five centuries of history goes into the name Garamond, leaving it a name unlikely to go out of style while remaining comfortably out of the limelight. The best names are those that stand as respectable but still remain a little unknown.
In old English, Twyla translates as "woven" or "pulled together." Twyla is a warm, comfortable name perfect for a baby born in winter months. She may grow up to be a baby who weaves together friend groups all her life or keeps your family bonded and together.
People named Twyla grow up to become compassionate and inner-directed, the kind of person whose heart beats in its own rhythm. Twylas encourage others to feel comfortable and safe around them, and they know how to make lasting relationships. They know who they are, but they also seek to know others. This makes them balanced, kind people.
Famous bearers of this name include Twyla Tharp, famous choreographer and ballet dancer. Tharpe is also well known for her book "The Creative Habit," which encourages those in all disciplines to seek creativity and helps them find creative balance in their own life. Maybe your baby will follow in this Twyla's footsteps, or maybe they'll explore artistic passion in their own way.
Origin: Spanish, Greek
Nicasio means "from the isle of Nikosia" and has Greek roots. Nicosia is the largest city on the island of Cyprus, a city that has been fertile and populated since the Bronze age. The Mediterranean origins give this name a sense of reputability while remaining lighthearted enough for the name to fit comfortably for a baby.
Nicasio also means "victory" due to its connections with the Greek goddess Nike. A name like this can influence your baby's destiny, encouraging them to get back up when they fall down and persevere through hard times because they know they can. After all, success is literally their first name.
If you or your partner love the humanities, consider this name. Nicasio hearkens to the Classical period, a time of rich philosophy, art, and culture. The Ancient Greeks understood so much about life and meaning, and they saw beauty in the Earth that so few notice even today. Raise your child to appreciate the little wonders and diverse cultures around them with a name that embodies humanism at its finest.
Veda is Sanskrit for knowledge, which is something that along with kindness, happiness, and bravery, we all wish our baby to have. Some parents consider naming their child after virtues they want them to pick up in life, like Justice or Charity. Veda is not nearly as obvious, but in a similar way, this name encourages people who have it to seek knowledge for their own personal benefits.
In Hinduism, the Vedas are the most ancient of Hindu scriptures. They contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on certain rituals. Although the Vedas are ingrained in tradition they also shine with deep spiritual knowledge.
Names define us and they form an important part of our identity. Your child's name may bring out personality traits that might have otherwise stayed in the dark. Girls named Veda may grow up with a love of insight and reading, and you may have to wrestle a book out of their hands on more than one occasion. But that's hardly a bad thing!
Ellison simply means "son of Ellis," a straightforward yet stated baby name. The name isn't flashy or particularly outrageous for a little-known name. Instead, Ellison blends in well with more popular names and stands out only through your baby's own merits.
The name Ellison is also another gender-neutral name. Whether you're waiting to find out your baby's gender or perhaps you're trying gender-neutral parenting for a spin, Ellison not only removes your baby from popular name stereotypes but also gendered name stereotypes.
As a whole, gender roles are important and beneficial to society, but your child may feel so pressured to conform that they stay away from things they might enjoy. Giving them a gender-neutral identity allows them to explore who they are all on their own and come to the conclusion themselves.
This may be an ideal name for a child who you want to grow up confident and secure in their identity. If Ellison's not your cup of tea but you enjoy the idea of gender-neutral names, however, check out this list of unisex names and see if any spark your interest.
While your baby will be brand new to this world, the name Circe stems from Homer's Greek epic The Odyssey. This poem was written over three thousand years ago, and although we (possibly) know the author's name, we know little about who he was despite placing his epic among the greats in all of literature.
Circe is a sorceress who inhibits the lost soldier Odysseus and his men from returning home by turning his sailors into pigs. Additionally, Circe is daughter of the sun god Helios and the Oceanid Perse. She is known in Greek mythology to be very gifted in magic and just a little bit wild.
A name like Circe encourages your daughter to stand up and be herself in all aspects of her life. Not only this, but it inspires her to do so with confidence. Channel Greek mythology through your child's name without resorting to tried and tired names like Athena or Artemis. A child named Circe will without a doubt grow up comfortable in her skin and ready to change the world in her own way.
For those with Scottish ancestry, Moncrieff can be a kind gesture back to your family tree. The name comes from Moncrieff Hill near the Royal Burgh of Perth, a place that is green and full of life. This name is a lively one, and babies who bear it grow without the heaviness of some traditional names.
Although Moncrieff is almost entirely used as a surname, you may want to consider it as a first name for your baby boy. Just because few choose it doesn't mean that it's a poor fit in every situation. If anything, your baby will stand out that much more and shine with individuality.
If you're a fan of English drama, Moncrieff is also the surname of the protagonist in Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest. Mischievous and a true romantic, Algernon Moncrieff is perhaps one of the funniest characters in all of literature. What better role model for your new baby than the witty and wise Oscar Wilde?
Perhaps the sweetest name on this list, Nayeli is Zapotec for, "I love you." Every time you say your baby's name, you will be reminding them how much you care about them and how glad you are they found their way into your family.
Love is the greatest emotion we experience in our lives. If you think about it, love is truly all that matters. In the end, possessions and achievements fade away and we are all left reflecting on two groups: those who we loved and those who loved us in return. In a mother's case, the people you'll love with more of your heart than anyone else are your spouse (of course) and your children.
Naming your baby Nayeli sets your baby up for a fulfilling life by encouraging them from birth to put love first. Remind your Nayeli as she grows up that every time someone says her name, they are telling her that they love her, and encourage her to saw (or show) the same to them.