Choosing a name that's instantly memorable but isn't cringeworthy is something of an art, but inspiration can come from anywhere.
For example, I was watching Despicable Me with my step-daughter the other day, and instead of focusing on the plot, I found myself pondering the names of the three cute orphan girls: Margo, Edith and Agnes. I wondered why those name had been chosen in particular. They're old fashioned but simultaneously cool, quirky, and, yes, instantly memorable. While I couldn't find out why those names had been chosen for the characters, I did manage to find lots of comments about them, including the following from BabyCenter:
'The little girls in Despicable Me have such cute old ladies names; I hope the movie is helping them make a comeback..."
"I like them too! Well, Agnes is the one I don't care for as much. It is nice to see those names in the movie as it makes them seem a little more wearable since the characters are so sweet."
The names found collected here have been sourced from here, there and everywhere and I hope moms will find a name both she, the baby and everyone that meets them can treasure.
I thought of the name Pearl because it's what Jack Osbourne (son of Ozzy) called his first daughter born in 2012. Originating from the Late Latin word 'perla,' Pearl has been used as a given name in the English speaking world since the 19th Century.
The pearl is the birthstone for June and it's supposed to impart health and wealth. In 2016 the name Pearl was ranked at 243 in the UK and in the US it stood at 650. It's a sweet and delicate name which I used to think was outdated, but it's actually really grown on me.
Sirius is a name I'd never encountered before reading Harry Potter, and now it's one of my firm favourites! Had I given birth to a boy, it definitely would have been a contender. It's original, thought provoking and flows off the tongue.
Pronounced either SIR-ee-as or SEER-ee-as, Sirius is the name of a bright star - it's actually the brightest star in the night sky that we know of - in the constellation Canis Major. It's early origins are Greek and it means 'burning.' I've read dozen of comments of moms gushing about how many compliments the name Sirius gets.
Two classes above me in school was this girl called Keeva and I idolized her. Half Swiss and half Irish, she was creative, beautiful and literally bouncing with good energy. It was impossible not to like her.
Pronounced KEE-va, this Irish name has been used by Buffy The Vampire Slayer actress Alyson Hannigan and her husband Alexix Denisof. Their daughter is Keeva Jane.
Some alternative spellings you could opt for if Keeva doesn't rock your boat include Kieva and Kiva, though I have to admit I prefer Keeva best of all. Interestingly, the original spelling of this name is Caoimhe.
There's just something so raw and masculine and memorable with this name. I absolutely love it! German in origin and pronounced FOWST, it comes from a surname which was derived from the Latin name Faustus.
If you just so happen to be of the Gothic orientation, or simply have a fascination for the darker things in life (Faust featured in a tale about a man who made a deal with the devil) it could make for an excellent and very individual choice. I for one know I've never met a Faust before, and will be intrigued when I finally do.
Love, love, love this name! Pronounced LEEV, Liv is originally derived from the Old Norse name Hlif which means 'protection.' It's use today has been influenced by the contemporary Scandinavian word liv which means 'life.' I wanted to use this for my daughter, but my partner, for some bizarre reason just wasn't feeling it.
I agree with commenter livingstar who wrote on BehindTheName.com forum that she sees this name as 'classy, beautiful, simple and sweet.' It was a popular name in Norway from the 1930's to around the 1950's where it hovered around in the top 10 names for girls.
Lestat is the name used and created by the great author Anne Rice for a main character in her Vampire Chronicles series of novels. (These were really important books for me when I was growing up, and I would wish for the years to pass quicker so I would be allowed to read them.)
Pronounced le-STAT, it's said that Rice's husband Stan was the inspiration for the name. I've read comments from several people who say the name should just stay with Rice's character, but I think that would be such a shame, and a waste of a great name!
This girls name gives me so many good vibes, I adore it! It's the perfect choice for parents for whom nature plays an important role. Pronounced JOON-a-per, it's from the English word for the type of tree. It's not as rare a name as I was expecting it to be, interestingly. It's grown in popularity and is now ranked in the top 500 names.
A mom on BehindTheName.com forum called her now two year old daughter Juniper, and is always getting positive comments about her name. She says her daughter's name fits her perfectly, as she's a 'spirited, wild child.'
In Scandinavia, the name Bo is considered to be masculine and would never be used for a girl, but I've encountered several girls called Bo, including the daughter of TV personality Ulrika Johnson.
Originating from the Old Norse word bua, which means 'to live,' this name, in my opinion, feels neutral, though simultaneously adorable and easy on the eye! I can't see any reason why this name can't be given to little girls too.
I've read from several people that Bo has been used as a nickname for Robert. It can also be used as an alternative spelling for Beau.
Over ten years ago I had a German friend who called her daughter Louisa and ever since I've been smitten with this name. It has a special feeling about it which I don't get from the similar name Louise.
Pronounced loo-EEZ-a in English and loo-EE-za in German, it's a Latinate form of the name Louis. One famous bearer that comes to mind is the author of the novel 'Little Women,' Louisa May Alcott. In 2016 the name Louisa was given to 345 girls born in the US. A tiny proportion when you think about it. It's most definitely not overused.
Waldo is one of those names that makes me smile, for all of the right reasons! It's one of those Grandfather type names that I really think deserves to make a comeback.
Pronounced WAWL-do, it's Germanic in origin and means 'rule.' Back in the Middle Ages, it was used as a surname. Nowadays when it's chosen it tends to be in the honour of American poet, essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If you have seen the Where's Wally books, you might be interested to know that the name Wally was changed to Waldo for the US and Canadian editions.
I'm besotted with this name and if I were to have another little girl, it would be on the name list! A famous bearer that might come to mind is the American dancer Isadora Duncan. It also happens to be the name of Björk's only daughter. It's a variant of Isidora and was invited by combining the name Isabella and Theodora.
I regularly hear of parents who have used the name Isabel and Isabella, but I've never actually met a little girl called Isadora. Commenter Goldcrown on BehindTheName.com made the good point that 'it's rarity is part of its magic.'
I've never met someone called Silas before. Have you? It's said that it may well be a short form of Silvanus, which is the name of a companion of Saint Paul in the New Testament. Though it could originate from the Hebrew name Saul. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel called their son Silas Randall Timberlake.
It wasn't used as an English name until after the Protestant Reformation. While it's not a name I've ever considered before, I do think it's handsome, unique and strong. On BehindTheName.com an anonymous user chose this usually masculine name for their daughter, calling her SilasRose.
This name Viola first enchanted me when I discovered Danish YouTuber and model Wioleth (real name Viola) on Instagram. Meaning 'violet' in Latin, there are several ways you can pronounce it. In English you'd say vie-O-la or vi-O-la. In Italian it would be VYAW-la and in German VYO-la - opt for the one you like best!
Shakespeare knew a good thing when he saw one, as he used the name for the heroine in his play Twelfth Night. It's a name that, while sounds so extraordinarily English, is actually quite frequently used in countries such as Finland, Poland and Hungary.
Wynter is another name that I really wanted to use for my daughter, but again, my partner wasn't having it. Pronounced WIN-ter - just the same as the season - it's very much a unisex choice. Wynter is an ancient name that dates back centuries in England, though historically it was more commonly used as a surname.
I encountered a commenter on BehindTheName.com forum whose parents opted for the even more unusual, but still beautiful spelling of Wynnter. In 2016 the name Wynter was given to 397 girls born in the US. A whimsical nickname you could use is Wyn.
This name is just gorgeous! It's unusual and I can't help but think of flowers when I hear it. On the occasions I meet someone called Mai I'm instantly jealous. It's a name I wish my parents had considered for me.
Pronounced MIE in English and mah-ee in Japanese, it's a Japanese word meaning 'dance.' Though it's also said to mean 'real, genuine, love and affection.' Not a bad bunch, if you ask me.
The majority of renowned figures with the name Mai happen to be Japanese sports women, including competitive figure skater Mai Asada and synchronized swimmer Mai Nakamura.
Xander is a name which must not be left to go to ruin, despite the naysayers out there! (And there are a few.) It's so different and special and strong, not to mention one of the most masculine names I can think of.
This short form of Alexander was popularised by Buffy The Vampire Slayer and can be pronounced in two different ways. There's the Dutch pronunciation KSAHN-der and the English pronuncation ZAN-der. You could also always go for X-ander.
Nicknames that are an option include X, Xman (I can so imagine a little boy loving this!), Xan and Xanderman.
Once upon a time, this name never would have made it onto this list. But in recent years, it's captured my heart and nowadays I adore it. It's pronounced SKOWT and is, I hope you agree, endearingly different.
From the English word scout, which means 'one who gathers information correctly,' it's originally derived from the Old French word escouter which means 'to listen.' I for one am loving how much meaning stands behind this name! I agree with a commenter on BehindTheName.com who said that this name makes her think of a 'spunky little tomboy who's kind hearted and adventurous.'
I used this name in a novel I never published about an English girl in Iceland. Einar was her Icelandic love interest. He was a lovely guy, by the way. Originating from the Old Norse name Einarr, the meaning behind this swoon worthy choice is 'warrior.'
It's a name commonly used in Iceland and Norway, but I think it would certainly turn heads anywhere else. Pronounced AY- nahr, it flows off the tongue so beautifully. Say it aloud and you'll see what I mean. One notable figure with this name is Einar Selvik, the founder of Norwegian music group Wardruna.
I'm really taken with the soft, gentleness of this name. Originating from the Latin flos meaning 'flower,' Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring. It's been used as a given name since the Renaissance.
Pronounced FLAW-ra in English and FLO-ra in German (I don't know which I prefer) it's one of those names that's so fresh and distinctive and different. In 2015 it was given to 173 girls born in the US. I've read comments where people have said that it's 'too plain' for their tastes, but I couldn't disagree more. I really love the nickname Flo too!
Amir is the name of a good friend of mine from Iran, a country where this name is exceedingly popular. He's a poet and one of the most genuine, kind-hearted, open minded people I know. I've never known someone suit their name as much as he does!
Amir means 'commander' or 'prince' in Arabic, and you might recognise the name from Khaled Hosseini's bestselling novel The Kite Runner. It's a name which is really majestic, and will mature beautifully as your child grows up. I've always pronounced this name A-meer, but I've read that it can also be pronounced Aah-mhir.
While Dora might be simple to look at, it's a happy, sweet name for a little girl! Pronounced DAWR-a in English and DO-rah in Croatia and Serbia, Dora is a short form of either Dorothy, Theodora or Isadora.
I've met one Dora in my life, and she was an outgoing, wild, free spirit from Croatia. I met her when she was cycling solo around Iceland. I read a comment from a woman who's great grandmother was called Dora Fern, a gorgeous combination if you ask me. In 2015 the name Dora was given to 101 girls born in the US.
I know it's a bird of prey, but bear with me! When I was growing up, my best friend lived in a farmhouse called Falcon, and the name has always stayed with me. The house itself was in a beautiful valley in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors where plenty of these birds can be found.
I'm really enthusiastic about using names from the animal kingdom for our kids, and, I think you'll agree, Falcon actually works really well as a name for a human being! Other bird names you could opt for include Robin, Wren, Hawk and Sparrow.
Ever since I first listened to Björk in the late 90's I've been obsessed with the name. For years I was pronouncing it wrong. I was pronouncing it 'byork' so it rhymed with 'York,' when I should have been pronouncing it 'byerk' so that it rhymed with 'work.'
Björk means 'birch tree' in Icelandic, Swedish and Norwegian, though with the Norwegian spelling you would use their letter ø instead of ö. If you're considering this name, I say go for it! If not for a first name, then for a second. You rarely hear it used, especially outside of Scandinavia.
If you're anything like me, you'll feel a peace like nothing else when you're out in the forest. A sense of belonging, wholeness and joy. If this is the case, Forest is a name you'll definitely want to be putting down on your list.
Interestingly, the name Forest had its peak in 1893 when it was ranked at 222. In 2016 it was given to 129 boys born in the US. Despite it being chosen more for boys than it is for girls, I can say with surety that it's a unisex option, like with the majority of 'nature names.'
Riley originates from two different sources. In Ireland, it comes from a surname and is a variant of Reilly. As an English surname, it's derived from a place name that means 'rye clearing' in Old English.
Pronounced RIE-lee, it's another unisex name - though there will always be people who argue against this - that will cater well to every stage of your child's life.
Some alternative spellings you could opt for include Rilee, Riliegh, Rylie and Ryley. A mom on BehindTheName.com commented that she called her daughter Rylie Drew which is a beautiful combination, especially with the alternate spelling!
Sources: BehindTheName.com, NameBerry.com