One of the first things that I thought of when I found out I was pregnant, after calculating my due date and hoping for a baby boy, was what I would name my baby once he arrived. Should I go with a family name? Should I make him a junior? Or should I consult the thousands of baby name books out there?
Once I confirmed that I was having a boy, I started my long and exhausting list of potential baby names. I jotted down names that I’d heard over the years and new names that I found online. There were a few exotic names that I’d never even considered before that I thought would be a good fit. In the end, I decided to go with a family name that is completely fitting to my son now.
However, unlike me, a lot of mommies to be want to choose original names that sound like they are derived from far away lands and ancient times. Exotic names are usually those that are popular in other countries outside the United States and have a natural, international feel to them.
Exotic names are great because they are usually one of a kind in small circles and not usually confused with other names. Here are 20 exotic baby names to steal for the next bundle of joy!
Similar to the name Violet but somehow much more feminine sounding, Violetta has Italian origins. It is a sweet but very classic sounding name that doesn’t go out of style. While I personally love it and love how timeless it sounds, it is not a name that I have heard in quite some time. It has that exotic appeal and evokes the image of a young Italian girl from the old country.
It is beautiful, feminine, and poetic. It is much more common to hear the simplified version of the name, Violet, in 2017 than it is to hear this longer, Italian version. The meaning of the name is the same as the shortened version and refers back to the color and flowers which are a dark, deep hue of purple.
Strong names that don’t feel too adult for little ones are hard to come by for baby boys but Killian is definitely one of them. It’s attractive enough to be the name of a child without aging them, while also being a name that your baby boy can grow into. Coming from the Irish and Celtic origins, Killian means strife, battle, small, and fierce. There’s also a faint religious meaning behind the name with it’s Gaelic meaning being church.
The meaning is just as strong as the sound of the name. Killian is a name that has various spelling options to fit any preference. It can can be spelled with a K or with a C, if you have a preference or name trend that you want to keep going, as well as with two L’s as opposed to one. The beautiful Irish name is perfect for anyone that wants to give their baby boy a strong, masculine name that is perfect for a baby as well as an adult.
This is one of those exotic and foreign names that also has a hint of familiarity. A play on the name Naomi, which is a popular name especially in the 90’s, this version is a subtle but adorable Japanese name. The meaning is just as lovely as the name; beautiful, pleasant, and delightful. It is a unique name that is short and straight to the point.
When people hear the term exotic names, they usually associate it with names that are long, hard to spell, and even harder to pronounce. Names like Nomi are still rooted in foreign culture, making them exotic, but aren’t overly complicated or difficult. Nomi sounds like the name of a sweet baby girl with a hint of a little extra something that you’ve never heard before.
There are few names that are as smooth, debonair, and cool sounding as Joaquin. Instantly, when I hear that name, I want to know more about that person. Joaquin is from the Spanish origin. It is the Spanish version of the Hebrew name Joachim, meaning lifted by God. The name is quite popular in Spanish speaking countries like Argentina and Chile and is considered in the top 6 of baby boy names. The name also has famous notoriety with the actor Joaquin Phoenix and the son of television host Kelly Ripa, also named Joaquin.
It is naturally smooth, attractive, and intriguing. While there is the famous actor named Joaquin, it’s likely that there aren’t many children with the name currently. It’s the ideal exotic name that comes to mind for a baby boy. I imagine a child named Joaquin being the tall, dark, and mysterious kid in his 8th grade class driving all the girls wild with his hair flips.
Definitely a name that has been heard of before but certainly not a name given to baby girls often in the United States, Seraphina is an exotic original that will turn heads as soon as its heard. One of the most well known celebrities with the name Seraphina is Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s daughter. Even still, it is not a name that is used widely.
It is incredibly dazzling and unique in the way that it sounds and even the way that it looks written down. The name has Hebrew origins and the Latin version is spelled Serafina. The distinctive name means ardent and fiery. A name choice like Seraphina is definitely one that will naturally have people gravitating towards it and anyone who has the name. It is so interesting because it’s not typical and beautifully stunning.
A popular Irish name, Colm is both unique and exotic. It easily rolls off of the tongue and is incredibly easy to spell, which is not always the case with exotic names. Unlike names like Jayden, Kayden, and John, Colm isn’t a common name that you will hear often. Colm is an Irish name that means dove. Despite the way that it’s spelled, it is a two syllable name that is pronounced similarly to Colin.
The M is a sound on its own. I love that it is a short and sweet name that is unforgettable and not easily messed up when pronouncing. When I was considering the name I’d give my son, I wanted to choose a name that was short, not easily mispronounced, and unique. Colm is one of those names that I would have considered had I known about it. It’s short, sweet, and special.
If you have a baby girl and love sweet, amazingly feminine baby names then Poppy is irresistible. When I hear the name Poppy, I just imagine a chubby little baby girl with a floppy hat sitting in a garden in the summertime. Poppy is a popular name deriving from the United Kingdom, being most popular in England, Wales, and Scotland. The name comes from the bright, vibrant colored flower.
Poppies are known for symbolizing sleep and peace; they were popular in ancient Greek and Roman culture. A beautiful name that has an old school European ring to it, Poppy is the perfect name for a baby girl. If I had a baby girl instead of a little boy, I always wanted to give her name that was classic while still being unique. Poppy is one of those names that isn’t completely unheard of but is still quite intriguing.
Before even researching this name, it clearly sounds like a classic German name, which I love. I like that it sounds like a name that you’ve heard before (ahem.. Kaiser roll) but you don’t really know anyone that actually has that name. Kaiser is a name that comes from the German culture and means emperor. It is not a name that is usually given as a first name in Germany as it is considered a title similar to that of Emperor or President.
I love the way the name sounds for a baby boy and the shortened nickname of Kai is also nice. It is a strong name that definitely is not heard of often. By the time your baby boy reaches adulthood, they will likely be one of few with the name Kaiser. It can be spelled a few different ways depending on how authentic you’d like it to look. You can swap the "s" for "z" or the "ai" for a "y." It’s totally up to you and the way you want the name to look.
A charming, distinct baby girl name, Saskia is one of those names that you must snatch up as soon as you hear it. It’s a perfect blend of girly and exotic. Instantly, anyone that hears it will ask where the name originates from. Saskia is from the Dutch origin and means a Saxon woman. It has been used for centuries upon centuries in European countries.
Though it dates back to the middle ages of Europe, the name is not nearly as popular in the United States. This means, if you give your baby girl this beautifully charming name, she will definitely be a conversation starter just by introducing herself. The name Saskia reminds me of the girl in grade school that just seems to have it all together, down to the super cool name.
There are literally endless ways to spell this name from using an F instead of a P to using accent marks; the options are endless. This variation, however, is one of French origin. What I love about this name is how easily it rolls off of the tongue and how exotic it sounds. Meeting a person named Philippe instantly makes me think that they are fresh off of their last international voyage.
The name naturally sounds regal and established. As far as meaning, Philippe means lover of horses which, when I think about it, makes sense as horseback riding is certainly an activity I can imagine someone named Philippe enjoying. The name is a derivative of the American name Philip, one that I also love though it is much less exotic. It is not a name that you hear too often but when you do, it makes you raise an eyebrow.
This is by far one of my favorite names for a baby girl. It sounds so special, charming, and like the name of the most delightful person you could ever come across. With clear French origins, the name Collette is one of those exotic names that you hear and instantly imagine sitting in a French bistro sipping on an espresso while eating a fresh croissant.
The name went vacant in popularity for about 30 years but as of late, it has started to reemerge in use. While it’s still not as popular as today’s top US girl names like Harlow, it is a classic that will simply never go out of style. The French meaning for Collette is victory or victorious which is totally fitting. I have a soft spot in my heart for classic baby girl names that are exotic while not being totally unheard of.
Instantly, when I heard this name, I thought that it sounded like it came from Russian origins. Turns out that it is actually a French variation of a Roman family name. Either way, it is definitely a classic name that I have heard before but rarely hear being given to babies in the last decade. It is short, cool, interesting and almost sounds like it should come with an accent.
Though it is kind of a luxurious, exotic name, it has a humble meaning. The French version of the name means servant. There is a Russian version of the name that is spelled Sergi that gives off a slightly different feel. I personally love the simplicity of the name and how, though it is quite short, it packs a big exotic vibe.
Baby girl names ending in the letter A have a fun and lighthearted feel to them and Neema is no different. Short, snappy, and quite easy to pronounce for an exotic name, Neema is a lovely name that walks the line of being feminine but not exactly girly. It isn’t very long and doesn’t conjure up images of little girls dressed in floral dresses with ruffled socks.
Neema sounds like an important but likable person that can play as hard as they work. Neema is a name rooted in African, Egyptian to be specific, culture. It means full of grace in Swahili. The meaning on its own makes Neema a good choice for a baby girl name. The meaning matches the sound of the name quite well as Neema sounds graceful but not intimidating.
The very first person that comes to mind when I hear this name is, of course, the actor Keanu Reeves. However, he is the only one that I know of with that name and I’ve always wondered about its origin. A truly tropical exotic name, Keanu comes straight from the beautiful paradise of Hawaii. The actor, whose father is half Hawaiian and half Chinese, made the name quite popular during the height of his acting career.
The name has a naturally easy going vibe that sounds like drinking something delicious out of a coconut while swinging in a hammock on a warm afternoon. The meaning of the name aligns almost exactly with the way that it sounds. Keanu is a Hawaiian name that means the cool breeze. While I like the name for a baby boy, it can definitely be considered a unisex name for both baby boys and girls.
A lovely yet mature sounding name, Nasiba is a one of a kind exotic and unique name choice. The beautiful name is from Muslim origin and means noble or high born. The name Nasiba is one that I’ve never heard before but it sounds mature, regal, and intriguing. Baby girl names can often times sound too dated or too young and fall on either the baby name side or the old woman side.
Nasiba is a name that perfectly walks the line in the middle. It sounds young enough for a newborn baby but can grow with them as they get older. It is also exotic sounding without sounding complicated or too trendy to the point of it seeming odd in the next 30 years. It is like a new classic. I love the simplicity but intriguing sound of the name and would consider it for my baby girl.
Another short and sweet name, Reza is a Muslim name with Arabic origins. Specifically, the origins are said to be from Persia. Typically a baby boy name, I think it sounds beautiful as a boy or girl name. It’s one of those unisex names that are fitting for both genders. I think for a girl, Reza sounds strong while also being sweet. For a baby boy, Reza sounds youthful and kind, which is a pleasant twist for baby boy names.
Reza has a meaning that is as sweet as it sounds. Its Arabic meaning is contentment, acceptance, and satisfaction. Reza is certainly a name that sounds exotic and unique. Another meaning is humble and sweet. When naming my son, I wanted a name that was masculine but still kind and friendly sounding. For baby boys, I adore names that have a youthful, boyish ring to them. Reza is one of those names.
A beautiful, elegant, and regal name that sounds like a woman who was born to be a part of the upper echelon, Cosima is perfect for a baby girl. Its origins come from the Greek culture and means universe, beauty, and harmony. It comes from the male version, Cosimo, which is based off of the Greek word, kosmos, meaning an orderly universe. The meaning is just as sweet sounding as the name itself.
While it is definitely a name rarely heard in the United States, a few noteworthy people have chosen the sweet sounding name for their bundles of joy. UK socialite, author, and chef Nigella Lawson named her daughter Cosima. Although it has some celebrity notoriety and is certainly not a totally unheard of name, Cosima is an exotic choice that is not nearly as common as a sweet baby girl names like Sophia or Isabella.
Names that begin with the letter Z have always been intriguing. There are so few of them that sound good and even fewer for boys. While it’s unlikely that you will see Zenon on a tourist keychain or Coke bottle, it is a name that demands attention. I personally love boy names that can not be shortened into nicknames and Zenon fits the bill. It’s strong and powerful all on it’s own. It actually flows so well that you wouldn’t even want to shorten it.
The name has multiple origins including the name of the Greek god Zeus and the modern Polish name Zeno. There are also Spanish origins as well. Zenon can mean either receiving life from Zeus or simply living. Even though, with a Z name, your child will likely be the last in line for just about everything that is alphabetical order in school, they will undoubtedly have one of the coolest and most exotic names.
Esperanza is one of those absolutely timeless and classic Spanish names that will honestly never go out of style. There will never be a day that a name like Esperanza is not a stunning option for a baby girl. While it definitely has a whimsical, old Spain feel to it, the name Esperanza also has a great level of strength behind it. She does not sound like a girl that you can just push around.
The name means hope and expectation which is totally appropriate for a little one. The name has gotten some shine with the famous jazz singer, Esperanza Spalding carrying the name effortlessly. The name was also used in the book House on Mango Street for one of the characters as well as the book Esperanza Rising. A baby girl name with both strength and a hint a sweetness, Esperanza is the perfect exotic name for a little girl.
The first thing that came to mind when I read about this name was how cool it sounded. Jibri immediately reminds me of the effortlessly cool kid in class that I just couldn’t figure out. With origins that are rooted in the Arabic language and the African culture, Jibri is definitely an exotic name that you won’t hear just anywhere. The meaning behind the name Jibri is a religious one, meaning God is my might.
If you love exotic but faith based names, Jibri is a great option for your baby boy. When I was naming my son, I wanted a name that sounded appropriate for a kid but also one that could grow with him. Jibri is one of those names. He can be the coolest kid in 5th grade as well as the best happy hour partner after a long day at his corporate job.