When organizing your short list of baby name possibilities, the process usually involves gleaning a variety of sources before plucking the ones you deem worthy of further consideration and adding them to your list.
Unfortunately, there is an entire source of untapped names left ungleaned and unplucked due to the fact that you aren't even aware of their existence. And how could you be? This list is comprised of seemingly ordinary words that have credence as names (see #17); exotic inventions concocted by imaginative new parents who just aren’t satisfied with the status quo (as in #19); names that have become so associated with a distinct character that you've simply forgotten they are viable options you are free to add to your list (such as #14); and unique sounding letter combinations that, for some reason or another, just work (like #2).
When it comes to making what may be one of the most difficult decisions of your life--what to name your child--make sure you are aware of all the sources available to you beforehand. Continue reading for 27 names you didn't know existed.
This is not a joke. Pronounced Ab-si-dee and spelled Abcde as in the first five letters of the alphabet, this girl’s name appears to have first reared its head in the United States as a girl’s name sometime during the 1990s. People liked it. The quirkiness struck a chord in them for whatever reason and it soon picked up some momentum before reaching its all-time high in popularity in 2009. At that point, there were 32 baby girls registered with the name Abcde but soon after this, the name lost some of its steam.
Chalk it up as a short-lived gimmick within the world of baby names but the fact is it exists as an available moniker free for you to choose for your own future alphabetized miracle. Either way, the name will stand out as the artistic creation it was meant to be.
Whether you choose to spell it with a “k” or “c”, this short but sweet baby name can work for either boy or girl. Unique and religious if you wanted to go that route, Ark is the perfect name in terms of being simple to spell and impossible to abbreviate.
The name choice is sure to cause somewhat of a stir in your circle, so be prepared to offer up where the idea originated from and why you selected it. Here are some suggestions to get you started: You’re a fan of Joan of Arc but the name Joan is too run-of-the-mill for your purposes; You love the group Pearl Jam but Pearl is a bit too dated for your new addition (they have a song called Arc on their 2002 album Riot Act); You are a huge Noah enthusiast but wanted a more subtle reference.
If Ark seems strange-sounding at first listen, consider that it isn’t all that different from more commonly-heard names Clark or Lark.
This Irish girl’s name is actually a Latinized version of the feminine name Asunción which is the Spanish word for ‘assumption’. Typically pronounced as either Ah-soon-thyon or Ah-soon-syon, the name is replete with religious connotations as it refers to the Virgin Mary being received into Heaven.
While Assumpta is clearly not out to win any popularity contests, the name has gotten considerable usage within the Roman Catholic population as well as within religious sisterhoods. That said, neither is a necessary prerequisite if you like the quiet beauty and devout aspect of the name for your daughter.
A few variant names include Assunta, Assumpcio, and Asun. So, if you’re scouring the Earth for a girl's name that’s unique (check!), religious (you betcha!) and can be easily shortened with a cool nickname (uh . . . maybe?), then look no further than Assumpta. Although, take special care when downsizing it. We recommend steering clear of using the first syllable when concocting an abbreviated form!
This Hebrew boy’s name means “swiftness” and is lifted directly from the pages of the Bible. In the Old Testament, Boaz is the name of Ruth’s second husband who is both wealthy and generous. While the name was favored by 17th-century pilgrims and can still be found kicking around in Israel, it is not exactly sitting within the top 10 here in the United States, although it is listed within the top 500 boys’ names on Nameberry.
Pronounced as Bo-az, the name is most often associated with the Jewish holiday Shavuot as this is typically when the biblical story of Ruth is read in a synagogue. Besides being a compact choice, it also fits the bill of including a “z” which is in high-fashion at the moment, as well as abbreviating into the awesomely apparent Bo.
So, you’re having a boy and you’re on the hunt for a name that is easy to spell, simple to pronounce yet has a strong and manly definition. We present to you the German-originated Bodo. Currently popular in Germany, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Bodo is virtually a non-existent boy’s name in North America.
Beginning with the Germanic element “bod” which means “lord”, the name Bodo typically means “leader” although the meaning later mutated to include definitions “messenger” or “tidings” as in “that doesn’t bode well”.
In ancient times, Bodo was a name often associated with nobility (namely a couple of counts from the 13 and 1400s). In more modern times, Bodo can be found in use within German society as the name of athletes, politicians, and writers.
Similar sounding yet slightly more popular choices are Boyd, Buddy, Bodhi, and Brody.
There are several plausible origin stories for this particular boy’s name including it is an anglicized version of its Gaelic form Bruic, its germanic form Bruck or Breck (which translates into “swamp” or “wood”), its Yiddish form Brik (which means “bridge”) and/or Slovenian version Bric.
The name Brick doesn’t literally translate into “brick” or “stone”. It means “from the bridge” or “dweller from a hilly place”. It was given a much-needed boost in fame in part due to Tennessee Williams’ 1955 play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof turned movie (1958) starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, where Brick is the name of one of the main characters.
Often found as a surname, the name has plenty of first-name usages as well, especially within the American world of athletics. However, no matter how much you like the name, give it a pass if your last name is Wall.
On par with earlier listed name Assumpta, Concepta has a similar story in terms of origins and usage. Based on the Latinized name Concepción (pronounced Con-thep-thyon or Con-sep-syon), this girl’s name often refers to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary - not Madonna’s greatest hits album released in 1990. Commonly found in use within the Roman Catholic population in Ireland, the name is lower on the radar within North America.
If you have a soft spot for the country of Chilé, the name may work for that reason as there is a Chilean city called Concepcion.
Variant names similar in sound include Conchetta, Concettina, Chita, and Conchita. And whereas nicknames derived from Assumpta’s first syllable are a definite no-no, this isn’t the case when it comes to Concepta. A few cute ideas to get you started are Connie and Coco.
If you’re looking for a fabric-related name and aren’t interested in lamé, taffeta or satin (which may be confused with Satan), try Cotton on for size. And yes, it is a real-life boy’s name most often found in use during Puritan times. Cotton Mather was the name of a minister associated with the Salem witch trials.
And besides having an association with the fabric and plant, the word can also be used as a verb meaning “get along with” or “to grow fond of” as in “I cottoned to the idea of naming my son Cotton immediately”.
If you’re a horror movie junkie, you may remember that Cotton was the character name of American actor Liev Schreiber in the 1996 slasher flick Scream.
However, if your last name happens to be Candy or Batting, do everyone a favor and continue moving forward in your name quest.
The baby name Espn is just one more example of overzealous parents seeking out new solutions to their baby naming conundrum. Originally named for ESPN as in Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, the name is pronounced as Espen and works for either girl or boy.
The name appears to have gotten its start as a potential baby moniker in 2000 when a Texas couple used it for their newborn son. Since that time, the world has welcomed several more baby Espns, all christened after the cable sports network.
Repurposing popular brands as baby names is an actual thing now as American babies named Pepsi, Ikea, Audi and even Google can attest to. At least Espn has a nice ring to it and the cable show’s connection isn’t immediately obvious.
Meaning “wave” in Hebrew, the name Gal (which typically rhymes with the word “ball”) is good for either boy or girl. Israeli actress/model Gal Gadot, perhaps most famous for her role in The Fast and the Furious franchise, will soon be appearing on the big screen once again in order to reprise the role of Wonder Woman. So, if this name appeals to you, you may want to act now before the popularity of this 2017 blockbuster skyrockets the name Gal into overdrive.
If the name is a definite start in the right direction but you are looking for something a bit longer, consider other possibilities: Galiana, Galina or Galilee for a girl, and Gallagher, Galileo or Galvin for a boy.
While Gal currently sits low on the totem pole of popular North American names, it is soaring in Slovenia where it ranks in at #19.
While this term is most often used to refer to a job in the musical or acting industry, Gig also has a time-tested credibility as a boy’s name. There is the American film, stage and television actor Gig Young who was most famous during the 1960s. He was actually born Byron Young but adopted the name Gig after a character he played early on in his career. While his story ended tragically during the 1970s--he murdered his wife and committed suicide--you shouldn’t let that deter you from the name.
In fact, Gig Morton is the name of an up-and-coming, fresh-faced actor from British Columbia, Canada. Born in 1996, he is named after his father, Gig Sr. and is probably most famous for the television series Mr. Young.
This is just one more example of a simple name that is short, sweet and simple to pronounce. And if you are looking to feminize it, add an “i” to the end and you have the cute and chic sounding, Gigi.
This highly unusual (and mainly female) name has Scottish roots as a surname and means “alert” or “watchful”. And what most don’t realize is that it’s based on a contraction of the full name Gregor which originated from the Latin name Gregorius and means “vigilant”.
Once considered a popular boy’s name, the name got its start as a female first name most likely due to the Oscar-winning 1940s actress Greer Garson. Greer had been her mother’s maiden name and though she was born Eileen, she adopted Greer as her stage name and soon reached A-list celebrity status.
More recently, celebrities Kelsey Grammer and Brooke Shields both selected Greer as the name of choice for their respective daughters. Greer Grammer was born in 1992, and daughter of Shields Grier (notice the spelling change-up) Henchy was born in 2006.
Unfortunately, this perfectly acceptable boy’s name is currently associated with a certain blue muppet as opposed to the 22nd President of the United States, Grover Cleveland. Back in the day (namely the 1880s), many a baby boy was named Grover in honor of President Cleveland including major league pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander (1887-1950).
Based on the Old English term “graf”, the name Grover started out as a surname meaning “someone who lives near a grove of trees” but eventually made the leap to first name status. The name reached its zenith of fame during the Cleveland administration, reaching a high of #20 in both 1884 and 1885.
Presently, there are just over 13,000 men with the name Grover living in the United States but of that number, 82 percent are over the age of 55. Despite fading considerably in all North American neighborhoods save for Sesame Street, the name has a certain vintage charm and cache that is definitely due for a comeback.
While on the topic of muppets, the name Kermit is yet another example of an interesting and unique boy’s name gone to the wayside thanks to the indelible association with the Jim Henson creation, Kermit the Frog.
Originating from the Irish surname MacDermott, Kermit is thought to be an anglicized form of the Irish name Diarmaid which is comprised of elements “di” meaning “without” and “airmit” meaning “injunction”. It is also considered to be a variant of the popular Isle of Man surname Kermode.
Defined as meaning “free man”, the name Kermit piqued in popularity during the 1910s but still resided within the top 500 boys’ names during the 60s. Soldier and explorer Kermit Roosevelt (1889-1943) was the son of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.
Upon the debut of Kermit the Frog in 1955, its use as a boy’s name soon began to dwindle and basically disappeared altogether.
Currently a famous Kennedy nickname as well as an established middle name, there’s really nothing stopping Kick from gaining some ground as a unisex first name.
For some unknown reason within the Kennedy enclave, girls by the name of Kathleen are called “Kick”. Inspired by this Kennedy-esque trend, actor Jeremy Sisto used it as his son’s middle name. Bastian Kick Sisto was born in 2012 and isn’t the first in his family to be given a unique moniker. Sisto’s older daughter is named Charlie-Ballerina.
So if your soon-to-arrive newest addition enjoys playing soccer in utero or you choose the name for personal kicks, it’s yours for the taking. And really, it isn’t all that much different from more ubiquitous names like Rick, Mick, and even Kirk.
If you’re thinking about choosing the name Kindly or Kindness for your baby daughter, you’d better keep your fingers crossed that she doesn’t turn out to be a little hellion. Or else little Kindly will need to rely on the kindness of strangers when dealing with her poor behavior.
So, if this name tugs at your parental heartstrings, consider this: It is extremely similar sounding to the uber popular girls’ names Kendall or Kindle yet just a touch more exotic and unique. Currently, there are 10 girls living in the United States who are named Kindly with most of them per capita residing in Florida.
The girl’s name Kindness seems to be just a touch more popular in the name game with 246 girls with the name registered as living within the United States.
Mainly known as a respectful title for an aristocratic woman, Lady is also an actual female name quite popular during the early 1900s. It is sometimes considered to be a nickname for the longer name Adelaide.
So whether you are a fan of the musical stylings of Lady Gaga (whose real first name is Stephanie, by the way) or Lady Antebellum or have a soft spot for the 1955 Disney movie Lady and the Tramp, the name Lady is a credible option for your infant daughter.
Although, not everyone is a fan of the name. If you’ve seen the 2000 hit movie Almost Famous, you may recall that Kate Hudson played a character by the name of Penny Lane who admits her birth name was Lady but that she later changed it.
Arising from the ancient Greek name Linos which means “flax”, Linus is typically pronounced as either Lie-nus or Lee-nus. According to Greek legend, Linus was the musical and poetic son of the god Apollo and in real life, Linus was the name of the second pope who served after St. Peter during the first century.
More recently, the name has become connected to Charlie Brown as Linus is the name of his messy-haired pal who carries around a blue security blanket.
While definitely a faded classic by North American standards, Linus is currently within the top 100 ranked names in Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden. It is also commonly found in German and Danish society as well.
Whatever the case, Linus has proven chops as a leading man name in Hollywood. Humphrey Bogart portrayed Linus Larrabee in the 1954 movie Sabrina and more recently, Matt Damon was Linus Caldwell in three Oceans movies.
Originally thought to be a cute nickname option for full boy’s name Miguel, Miggy has now taken on some level of understated popularity as an unusual unisex first name. For a girl, Miggy can be a similar yet more unexpected choice than Meggy, Maggie or Missy.
Miguel (pronounced Mee-gehl) is a variant of Mikhail or Michael which is a biblical name meaning “close to God”. Miggy would make an interesting alternative to any of these more commonly seen male first names.
In 2013, Miggy made BabyCenter’s unusual boys’ names list, and while societal examples of the name in use are few and far between, there are currently 30 people named Miggy residing within 15 of the United States. So if you love the name, don’t hesitate to make your new arrival #31.
If you like “x” names but consider monikers like Pixie, Dixie and Trixie old hat, then get a load of the lesser known Nixie. This girl’s name is German in origin and means “water nymph”. Figuring within German folklore, a nixie is a mermaid-like sprite.
Presently, "nixie" is also a slang term for a letter or package undeliverable by the post office due to a faulty or illegible address. Perhaps that definition will work well for an infant girl who takes a while to be delivered.
First introduced into the English language in 1816 by Scottish writer and poet Sir Walter Scott, the name seems to be gathering some trend-setting steam some 200 years later. American actor Chad Lowe named his daughter born this year, Nixie Barbara.
Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a trailblazer in terms of baby names, consider Nixie simply the name Nicky with a fashionable twist.
If you’re convinced this is an abbreviated form of girl’s name Audrey or boy’s name Otto, you’d be dead wrong. Odd exists as an actual name unto itself.
Based on Old Norse word “oddr” meaning “point of a sword”, Odd is an honest-to-goodness male name currently found in Scandinavia and Norway. Oddly enough, the name is mainly only found in Nordic countries perhaps due to the association with the English word which would definitely make it an odd choice in English-speaking countries. That said, there are still 270 men named Odd living in the United States.
While its pronunciation is similar to that of the English word, there is a bit less annunciation on the “d” at the end. Possibly considered a variant to a few other highly unusual boys’ names such as Oddur, Odie, and Oddie, it may be the perfect choice for twins - one is Even and the other is . . . well - you know.
A 1976 movie by the name of Sparkle which starred Irene Cara as singer Sparkle Williams may have been behind the name’s move into regular society but for some reason or another, the luster never caught on. And if it did for a brief period, it has since worn off. Even the 2012 remake starring Jordin Sparks and including the late Whitney Houston wasn’t enough to brighten its usage.
That said, there are currently just under 2000 women with the name Sparkle living in the United States with the majority per capita residing in Washington D.C. Less than 1 percent of them are under the age of 12 so if unique is key for you, then you may have just found the perfect name to dazzle.
If you like the prettiness associated with the name but are worried about playground repercussions for your child, consider some more traditional names that connote the meaning of light such as Dawn, Thea, Aileen or Aurora.
If you’ve always been partial to spice names like Ginger, Pepper, Saffron, and Sage, then Sugar isn’t probably a huge stretch for you. Most often used as a term of endearment on par with Baby or Darling, there’s nothing stopping Sugar from being used as an official first name for your precious little sweetie. Sugar isn’t the only tooth-achingly sweet girl’s name out there either; there’s Candy, Honey, and Taffy for your consideration as well.
This particular word name has plenty of credit backing it up in both the literary and entertainment worlds. Sugar was a character name in the hit musical television series Glee as well as within the 2009 novel The Help written by Kathryn Stockett. And if that isn’t enough to tip the scales in its favor, then know this: There are currently 658 women named Sugar living within the United States.
While the name Tintin seems befitting for either girl or boy, for some reason, it is a tad more popular as a girl’s name. Currently enjoying some mild popularity as a baby name in European countries including Sweden, Finland, and Belgium, Tintin is laying down some American roots as well. There are presently 43 people living in the United States who answer to the name with the majority of the Tintin population (per capita) residing in Indiana.
Where the name actually comes from is up for some debate although the most plausible explanation is from the famed Belgian comic The Adventures of Tintin by cartoonist Georges Remi (under the pen name Hergé). The series was one of the most popular European comics in the 20th century.
If you like where the name is headed but feel it’s still missing something you can’t quite put your finger on, add a hyphen to it or shorten it to the equally unique Tinny or Tin.
You may recognize it as a city in Ohio but Toledo has enjoyed some relative success as a girl’s name as well. Toledo, Ohio is known as the glass city due its long history of glass manufacturing but how it made the leap to girl’s name from there isn’t quite so transparent. Somehow or other, it morphed from a city name to a surname and eventually transitioned to a first name.
Before you cast your yea or nay vote on the name Toledo, here are a few more facts you should know: As a girl’s name, it was considered fashionable in 1940 when there were more than four girls named Toledo residing within the United States. But even at that time, Toledo was only ranked at #3862 on the name list.
Currently, there are 387 individuals named Toledo living within the U.S. with the most concentrated per capita residing in Oregon, not Ohio. And why more popular as a girl’s name over a boy’s name is anyone’s guess. Perhaps because of cute nickname possibilities Tolly or Edie.
This relative newcomer to the baby name scene was first noted on the naming charts in 2011 when it sat at #4363 on the list. Meaning “rescue” or “seeking shelter”, Wael boasts Arabic origins making it a highly popular choice in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon as well as a trendy option for Muslim people living in Pakistan and India.
Wael seems to be making a name for itself in Egypt as well since it is the name of several prominent Egyptian athletes born in the 1970s and 80s.
Usually pronounced as either “Wale” or “Wah-el”, the name is similar sounding to a few other lesser used names such as Vail, Wall or Wally. Currently, there are just under 1700 males with the name living in the United States with the most per capita residing in Michigan.
This recognized abbreviated form of several male names beginning with the prefix “Whit” can also be repurposed as a stand-alone name. Whit hit its high point in 1903 when it reached #908 on the baby name charts but it was all downhill from there. In 2012, Whit resurfaced in a somewhat half-hearted comeback when it registered back on the charts--this time much lower at #3681.
This unique and understated boy’s name can be found throughout the entertainment industry in actor Whit Bissell (born in 1909 as Whitner) most famous for popular movies Hud (1963) and The Magnificent Seven (1960), director Whit Stillman (born in 1952 with middle name Whitney) and actor Whit Hertford (born in 1978 as Whitby).
Similar sounding boys' names include Wade and Wyatt.