Some parents are dedicated to picking a name that absolutely no one else has. They will scour the world for something that sounds positively perfect. Name obsessed parents want their children to have the advantages of having an original name, never be confused about who the teacher wants to talk to, never fading into the crowd, and always having an amazing conversation starter. It can also help filter out the spam and telemarketers: nothing says spam like misspelling your name.
A good example is a couple in Kentucky who named their daughter Zawatika after an oil field in Myanmar. In case anyone reading this is interested in giving their kids oil-related names, they were also torn between two other fields: Jawtika and Mottama.
Admittedly, creating a name out of whole cloth or picking an incredibly rare name does introduce a few pitfalls. Sometimes a name is incredibly rare to nonexistent because it is a little clunky, or a difficult to spell. Picking something unusual takes a little daring, as you will spend a lot of time explaining where the name came from. But you know what? Nothing ventured, nothing gained; all names have to start out somewhere, and your kid may just make a name famous.
This is a name that showed up on the nameberry.com forum for unusual names that the contributors’ knew only one from real life. Jesedel appeared in the list that a participant named Goodkarmavt provided in 2015.
The contributor didn’t specify how she knew the person, but regardless,
it is so rare that entering it as an internet search gets zero results.
What you do get in your search results is Jezebel. According to behindthename.com, Jezebel means ‘not exalted.’ The name is familiar from the Bible, of course, as the queen consort who persecutes the prophets. The name got an unfortunate connotation as meaning a loose woman, but that seems- uncalled for. Perhaps the parents wanted to avoid the historical association while keeping the pretty feel.
They might also have decided to create a portmanteau of Jesse and Della. Jesse is another Biblical name that means ‘he sees’ and Della is a Germanic name that means ‘of nobility.’ Or maybe they were aiming for Jesse-Belle. You can speculate endlessly about what the source of Jesedel is. There is only one person in this world with this name, and her parents are (or were) the only people who know what they were thinking when they gave the person the name.
Freeman is pretty common as a family name. It is one of those occupation names, or rather position names. The name was used in the Middle Ages to denote that someone was not a serf. You wouldn’t think something so on the nose and pedestrian would ever be used as a first name. It was though.
Starting around the 1880’s, Freeman was a first name of choice. According to behindthename.com, it was ranked 334 on the name charts in 1880. The name’s popularity zigzagged for about 20 years and then slowly slid into obscurity until virtually no one had the name after 1972. You might scour the country and find one or two Freemans in their 40’s or so.
You really have to be dedicated to finding an example of a name bearer who is younger. You might have heard the name as a nickname for the football player named Grover Quin, but that isn’t the name on his birth certificate. The name can be seen as a description or a wish for the well-being of your son. Some people are fond of spelling out what they want for their kid in their name, and everybody wants their son to be free.
According to Cracked.com, Steven Spielberg named his daughter Destry, and she is likely the only one left with the name. Thinkbabynames.com lists it as an English family name. In other words, it’s a last name that is being used as a first name.
There has been some suggestion that Destry might be the feminine form of Destro, an old GI Joe character, and that may be part an influence for choosing the name, but it seems unlikely. Thinkbabynames.com reveals that
the name was first listed on the records of the Social Security between 1960 and 1969. It reached 1349 on the name popularity charts in the 60’s but it has become so uncommon that it has literally fallen off the national name roll.
Destry is a great name for parents who hate nicknames. Who would shorten down a name that is already so cute? The only way you can make it shorter is to call the kid Des or Tree. You would have to be dedicated to nicknames to do that. It is also easy on people to use. Your kid’s namesake will be one hundred percent transparent, too, so there is very little explaining that you need to do.
There are a couple of reasons that someone might want to name their girl Epiphany. A mom might decide that she has made a sudden deep perception into life, the universe, and everything once she gives birth, and then give her kid a name that symbolizes the depth of her discovery. That is what the word means: ‘sudden perception.’
The family might also have a religious affiliation and the baby girl was born during the Epiphany on January 6th. The word, according to behindthename.com, the word comes from the Greek word epiphanea, which means manifestation. Epiphany barely registers on any name chart. According to babycenter.com, there were only 18 little girls born with that name in the whole of the country in 2018.
It was ranked 4678 at last check. Not surprisingly, there are only 2 Epiphanies that you would hear of. It is the ring name of the Professional wrestler Devorah Frost and the first name of the basketball player Epiphanny Prince. The was also a 6th-century Byzantine historian named John of Epiphania which is kind of close to the name. If you are interested in giving a deeply meaningful name that will stick out to your little girl, Epiphany is a fine choice.
Using a geographical feature as a name is not completely unprecedented. Forest crops up as a name from time to time. Take, for example, Forrest Whitaker. And that name has really worked for him. He did star in The Last King Of Scotland and a few other great movies.
He also wants to pass on the power of geographical names to his daughter. Cracked.com points out that
he named his daughter Ocean, an act for which he gave the explanation that the name will inspire her to be expansive.
It will most certainly help her stand out. There was a trend to use the name for a short while in certain social circles, especially in France, where it was spelled Océan.
It first appeared on name rolls in 1988, and there are now 82 females in America with the name. It has also been used as a name for boys, and there are 102 males with the name. Still, she isn’t going to have much company, since that is the grand total number of all the people with the name out of 300 million Americans. It definitely isn’t Emily. It also has the benefit of being something that everyone knows how to spell and pronounce.
On a forum on nameberry.com, Adalgisa was mentioned on a list of names that contributors had only heard of once. Some of these names were clearly only new to that one person, but Adalgisa stands out as a name that is new to basically everyone. An internet search brings up only one woman with the name, but she carries it beautifully.
According to revolvy.com, Adalgisa Nery was a Brazilian poet, born in Rio de Janeiro to a civil servant in 1905. She married a painter, Ismael Nery, in 1922. After the painter died, she started publishing short stories and poetry. She also began publishing a newspaper column, and this led to her being elected to public office. She passed away in 1980, after leaving public life and living in seclusion.
Weirdly, despite her very Brazilian history, her name is of German origin. It comes from the German name elements for ‘noble pledge.’ There may have been a few Italians with the name in the past since it is an Italian variant. Names.org even lists it as an Italian name. Still, pretty unusual to the point of uniqueness around here. Babycenter.com ranks it as 18,963rd in popularity as of 2012, with precisely no one being born this year with the name this year.
Ok, I cheat a bit here: Trilby O’Ferrall is the name of the heroine of the novel Trilby by George Du Maurier. This novel was massively famous when it was first published in 1894. George gave her name that meant ‘one who sings musical trills’, possibly because it invoked the main plot of the story which was about a sinister hypnotist and musician Svengali who hypnotized Trilby into being a good singer.
The novel was mostly about living the 1850’s Bohemian life in Paris and everyone being in love with Trilby.
This novel set the romantic Left Bank stereotypes that flourish even now and encouraged rebellious teens to become the wild artistic type. It is also where the tendency to call people who have total control over someone else Svengali.
The novel kicked off a trend of selling things associated with the novel. In fact, you can still find trilby hats inspired by the play version of the novel. According to babycenter.com, there are exactly 2 babies with the name in the United States, and those babies are 8 years old now. Otherwise, you can give your baby girl this name secure in the knowledge that virtually no one will share her name.
According to kotaku.com, on November 11, 2011, a couple won a competition held by the developers of the video game The Elder Scrolls. How did they win? They named their newborn son Dovahkiin. Dovahkiin is a hero of the Skyrim game, and he is one of those rare individuals who has a human form but dragon blood.
The name is supposed to come from the powerful, ancient dragon language, and reputedly translates as Dragonborn. The hero of The Elder Scrolls has many dragon powers, such as absorbing dragon souls and speaking the ancient dragon languages. That’s a pretty powerful name for a boy, and his parents won a lifetime supply of free Skyrim games. Since the dad had made a Skyrim PC out of devotion to video games, at least one person is going to be very happy about that.
Dovahkin can be shortened down to Dovy or Dov, and the boy’s middle name is Tom. If the kid wishes, he can just go by the more common middle name. That is the great thing about unusual first names: you get plenty of room to play the name elements. Also, if the kid grows up to be a Skyrim fan, he will inherit a great treasure.
I know one Éloi, and I always wanted to ask if he was named after the gentle, peaceful creatures in Well’s The Time Machine. He claims it is spelled more like Eli, but clearly at least one person spells it this way. It cropped up on the nameberry.com forum of names that you have only heard of once.
It is a ‘real’ name. According to thinkbabynames.com,
Eloi without the accent mark is derived from the Latin name Eligius and the Hebrew name Eli. The name means ‘high, elect.’
The website makes a massive understatement when it calls it a ‘rare’ name for males. It was ranked 74957 on the 2000 US census, not even registering on many name charts. Certainly, there are more boys named Eli in this country since it has a Biblical origin.
With the accent mark, there is possibly 3 or 4 bearers of the name in the United States. It is the French variant on the Latin name that means ‘to choose,’ and the French have been rather fond of it. It is in the top 100 names in France, but if you don’t live there or in Catalonia, the odds are that you have only heard this name once. And that was here.
Servane was another name that cropped up in the nameberry.com ‘contributors heard only once’ name lists. It was again not revealed where this person with the name was or where they came from originally, but it might have been France. Themeaningofthename.com reveals that it is from Brittany, a part of France that was founded by people Cornwall and Devon.
It is derived even further: Servane is the feminine version of Servan. Servane barely registers on name websites. It is so rare that there have been less than 5 people per year given the name between 1880 and 2016. It first appeared in America in 1933 and there are less than 100 women with the name Servane in the United States now.
No one seems to know what Servane means. It sounds like ‘servant,’ and it is possible that it is an occupation name. That seems to be a common source for a lot of names. Still, that is a complete guess. Does it matter? You can make up a meaning if you feel like it. Servane is a beautiful name and it is vanishingly rare the world over. Anyone with the name will never answer to anyone else’s call ever.
The first time I saw this name, I thought, “That is an Irish name.” Only the Irish produce such beautiful, yet complicated, names. It turns out I was right. According to thinkbabynames.com,
the name is from Gaelic and Celtic origins and is pronounced KO-hal. It means “battle rule.” All right, so it is a very Irish name.
So what is it doing on an Italian saint? St Cathal of Taranto was reputedly a bishop between the 7th and 8th century. His relics were found in a coffin at Taranto in 1071. The story was that he grew up in a monastery school at Lismore in Waterford County, Ireland. It’s possible he came from the city of Rahan, but his history is more myth than a tangible record.
Either way, this saint is invoked for protection against plague, drought, and storms. His saint’s day is May 11. There are a few other people named Cathal, including a singer, but it is an exceedingly rare name. According to names.org, there have been 40 people registered on the rolls in total between 1880 and 2016. There are currently a whopping 10 of them in the US, so if you know one, you are one of the lucky ones.
Erelle is probably an alternate spelling of Arelle. At least, that seems very likely. Arelle, according to thinkbabynames.com, is derived from a Hebrew name that means ‘messenger from God.’ It can also be spelled Arella. It could also be a feminine variant of the Hebrew name of Erel, a name of Hebrew origin that means ‘angel or hero’ and is related to the post-biblical name of angels, ‘Er’ellim.
There is another origin possibility: Erel is a name that the Yakut people, a group that lives in Siberia, use as a name that means ‘Elder.’ Presumably, Erelle is the feminine version of Erel. Of course, Erelle could be short for Orielle or someone adding a little extra panache to the name Ella. Whatever the source, it is now an option for anyone looking for a feminine name.
I don’t know who thought of using this name, but it is a pretty one. It came up on the nameberry.com forum for very rare names, so someone had it somewhere. It must have been very recent, though, because name.org has not found any people with the name Erelle on any name rolls in the Social Security Administration. It will definitely stand out wherever the name bearer goes.
Names.org listed 3 women with the name Doriane. One was born in 1967, one in 1976, and one in 1989. Those are just the ones that the website had any real information about them. There were apparently 39 babies with the name born in America between 1880 to 2016, and its first appeared as a name on February 27th, 1904.
It reached its height of popularity in 1980 when a whole whopping 7 people were given the name.
The name may be so rare because it is a variant of a Greek name that has a million other variants.
Thinkbabynames.com thinks it is from Daria and Doria. Doria was probably a place name. Daria is from Persia and Greece, and it means ‘maintains possessions well.’ Behindthename.com suggests another source- Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
It is possible since the book was written in 1891, so it would fit the timeline for when the name first appeared in the US. Doriane might be the feminine version of Dorian. Where did Wilde get the name Dorian? You know, he might have taken it from the surname Doran or the Greek Dorian tribe. Or maybe he made it up. Victorian authors seemed really taken with making up names.
Petrea is another name that contributors to the nameberry.com website had only heard once. According to names.org, there was one slightly well known Petrea. She was Petrea Burchard, an actress that was born in March of 1955. It is a Greek name, and it is a feminine variant on Peter. That would mean that the name means ‘rock.’
You can think of it as meaning ‘stable and firm.’ It is actually a fairly old name. It first appeared on the American scene in 1870, and it reached its highest point of popularity in 1942, when 10 babies were given that name. Between 1880 and 2016, only 63 people have ever had that name in the United States. It is a little more common as a last name, as about 555 people use it as a surname.
Of course, if you are looking for a feminine variant of Peter (perhaps you really like the name and don’t want to change it if you have a girl) you can also use Pier or Peta. Petrea is particularly feminine, though. I think it is the extra vowels and syllables. Either way, the proud bearer of this name can be called Pet by her family, which could be fun.
A contributor to the nameberry.com forum offers this as the name of a friend of hers. She didn’t say where this name came from. There are many possibilities, though. El Camino literally translates as ‘The Road’ in Spanish. The El Camino Real has an interesting history. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica,
this is a highway in California that follows the coast.
It was built from the current city of San Diego to the city of Sonoma while California was run by Spain. This was between 1542 and 1821. The Camino Real parallels the current Pacific Highway, so perhaps the parents of Elcamino really enjoyed their trip up the California coast and want to commemorate it in their daughter’s name. Chevrolet also created a hybrid truck called the El Camino, a classic car.
This was in production between 1959 and 1960 and 1964 and 1987. This was a two-door station wagon in the body with a wide flatbed added to the back. Perhaps the parents of little Elcamino appreciate a truck with style. There are also a few colleges and high schools with the name. Perhaps the parents attended the school together. We may never know the backstory of the name, but it is fun to imagine.
Raintree was another name that a contributor offered up as a name that he had only heard once. According to names.org, the name has never appeared in the records in the United States Social Security Administration. This means that there are less than 5 people given the name every year.
Now I have heard of few people named Rain. There is an actress named Rain Pryor who was born in 1969 and an actress named Rain Pheonix who was born in 1972. Guys have also been given the name. It is a thoroughly American name that has the connotations of abundance. There also guys with the name, and there are a total of 127 people with the name in the United States as of 2016. So, perhaps some parent has heard the name Rain and decided that adding Tree makes an already pretty, gender-neutral name extra special.
It is also possible that the parent was trying to Americanize the Hindi name Rajendra. This is a name that means ‘lord of kings,’ and behindthename.com reveals that it is a combination of the Hindi god’s name Indra and raja. At any rate, that is the name that behindthename.com offered up when I entered Raintree in the search box.
Zaina is certainly more conventional than Raintree as a name. It is pronounced Zay-nah, so it is very easy on the tongue. It is also intuitive to spell, which is always handy when dealing with bureaucracy and substitute teachers. Thinkbabynames.com says that it is a name of Greek origin.
The original name was Xenia (like the superheroine Xena.)
It comes from the Greek word for foreigner or guest (xenos) and has come to mean ‘hospitality.’
Zaina could also be a feminine variant of Zane or an Arabic name that means ‘beauty.’ I like the Greek meaning better, though. Everybody calls their baby girls some form of beautiful, and hospitable as a virtue gets short-shrift. The one person that you might have heard of that has this name is Saint Xenia, a 5th-century martyr who is in the pantheon of the Eastern Church.
This is a new name for the United States, but it became relatively popular in short order. It first appeared on the census records in 1980 and climbed in popularity until it belongs to 151 females in this country. It may become something that you will hear far more often than once in the future, but it is still uncommon.
Apple is, famously, the name that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin gave to their daughter. Cracked.com quotes her as saying that Chris suggested the name when she was pregnant just out of the blue. She went on to say it sounded right to her because apples are sweet, wholesome and have Biblical connotations.
Actually, she rattled on about it on Oprah in 2004, but that is the gist of what she said. On the positive side, just as Ocean and Raintree are familiar to everyone, everyone recognizes Apple. Kindergartners will be able to spell her name. Of course, the Biblical connotations are not fantastic- it is a bite of the apple of knowledge that dooms humanity (in fairness, the fruit in question was probably originally called a fig. Europeans tended to call all fruit apples, so that was how it was translated once the Greeks and Romans got a hold of the story.)
And actually, Gwyneth and Chris’s kid is not the only Apple in the world. There is an actor from Hong Kong with the name and a basketball player. Those were the only people with the first name of Apple that names.org could find though. Only 3 people out of 7 billion is an impressive feat.
Memphis is a name in a long tradition of naming people after places. Paris, Florence, and Lydia, for instance, are all cities that people have used to christen their children. Of course, there at least 2 places called Memphis that the name could have come from. There is Memphis, Tennessee, a city that has been memorialized in Marc Cohn’s song ‘Walking in Memphis.” I love that song.
Then there is the ancient city of Memphis in Egypt, a majestic ruin that sits on the mouth of the Nile and was one of the oldest cities in that great civilization. I don’t know which of these cities that Bono was thinking of when he picked Memphis Eve, but cracked.com gives it as the name of Bono’s daughter.
Memphis is actually a Greek word. The Egyptians called their big city Aneb-Hetch. Memphis means ‘established and beautiful.’
This meaning may explain why the name goes back such a long way and why it is used for both sexes. The first time it was recorded in America in 1876, and the first time it was used by more than 5 people in a year was in 1915. It has surged in popularity, but little Memphis Eve will still probably be the only one in her class with that name.
Some names evoke epochs. Some evoke scientific achievements. Linnea manages to evoke both without having anything to do with either. Yes, Carl Linnaeus named the categories we still use to identify life forms and started the scientific naming conventions we use today. But his name has nothing to do with naming stuff. And Linnea, a feminine variant on his last name, has nothing to do with categorization, either. According to names.org, Linnea is a Scandinavian name that means ‘lime tree.’ The Linnea is also the national flower of Sweden. I sense a theme, now that I say that: Carl Linnaeus did like botany.
It might be quite popular in Sweden, but here in the United States, you probably don’t hear it much. It ranks 1374th out of all the names available, so it doesn’t register on the Social Security’s name page and won’t show up in many classrooms. However, there is a bakery and a lot of Swedish grandmothers with the name, so it might be due for recognition.
After all, there have been a few Linneas in America since 1896; it isn’t completely out of nowhere. Also, there are a few variant spellings that may be more popular: Linea, Lenea, Linna and Lynae all work as well.
Shrisa showed up on the nameberry.com forum as a name that belonged to only one person that the contributor had met. The contributor claimed that it was pronounced shur-ee-suh, which makes sense. Hey, points to the parents for creating a name that the substitute teacher will never mangle when taking roll.
It is also hard to spell incorrectly. What’s more, this one seems to be a name that is genuinely unique. According to babycenter.com, they could not find another Shrisa in any of the 5,838,786 records of public data that they scoured. There are fewer than 5 people with this name in the whole country.
The closest girl name that I could find to Shrisa was Sarisha, a Hindi name which translates as ‘charming.’
This is also a very rare name, with less than 5 little girls bearing the name as of 2016. It is possible that Shrisa is a variant spelling of Sarisha. It is also possible that the person being talked about is a boy with a masculine name, as Shrisha is a male name from India that means ‘Lord Vishnu.’ This name is rare even in India, but that should not deter you from using it if you like it.
Saliese has a fantasy vibe to it. The bearer of the name is a princess or a dragon or something similar. That is good for the niece of shelly68 on the nameberry.com forum for rare names. She can be the only little dragon princess with it in her class since names.org found no one with the name in the U.S Social Security Administration public data. (This is assuming that she goes to school on Earth, and not on Planet Dragon.) Presumably, her relatives call her Sally when she is at home.
There is a name that sounds like it, and, fittingly, it was the name of a character from George RR Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire. It is Selyse, a name of possibly French origin that might mean ‘beautiful maiden.’ He could have also made the name from the names Selene and Elise, which means ‘moon’ and ‘dedicated to God’ respectively. According to behindthename.com, either scenario for the creation of the name is possible.
It certainly doesn’t show up on websites dedicated to defining names, so perhaps the niece’s parents took George’s name and decided that they wanted to change the spelling. There is a Fijian name, Sailasa, that looks a little like it, too, but is probably unrelated. At any rate, this name now exists if you want it.
Irlan is yet another attempt at using a last name as a first name. Houseofnames.com reveals that the surname first appeared in Stirlingshire on court records in 1288. The name belonged to descendants of a clan that lived in the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada and probably referred to the fact that the first users of the name were from Ireland.
In fact, the name appears as de Irland when an ancestor went to pay homage to King Edward I in 1296.
There are plenty of folks with some variation on the family name Ireland all over the place. Bearers of this last name owned land in Lancashire, and included a few knighted folks along with a baronet. The name appeared as a first name on a list of folks who nameberry.com contributors knew only one of. It is possible that it was the maiden name of someone, and the mom didn’t want to lose the power of that name altogether but also didn’t want to keep her maiden name. This has been a popular solution for a lot of people who were afraid that their surname was dying out and felt compelled to take another’s family name.
As a first name, it appears on no public records, so the bearer will be the only one with the honorific. There are a few people with the first name of Ireland, too- it ranked as 983 on the name charts as recently as 2015. Irlan could have been a variant that honored one of these folks.
Noelani sounds a little bit like someone wanted to feminize Noel, but that would be wrong. According to names.org, it is a name of Hawaiian origin that means ‘heavenly mist or dew.’ If your significant other is angling to name the kid Misty, this might be a good substitute. It came to the United States relatively recently.
It showed up on public records in 1970 first, but it never had the same fan base as Leilani, possibly because it does sound like the girl version of Noel. Currently, there are only 87 girls given the name, although the Noelani you know may be a bit older, as it experienced a spike in popularity in 2006, when 145 baby girls were given the name. That would mean that most bearers of the name are 12 now.
With the heavenly name meaning, Noelani or Noelanie has shown up quite often as the name of Polynesian restaurants. It has also shown up in Denmark and Singapore, but the United States is the native stomping grounds of this name: we have more of them here than any other country. In a certain sense, despite how rare the name is, it is native to here. At least, it is native to one of our states, and not surprisingly, the use of the name is concentrated in Hawaii and California.
Elysia is a cheerful name. It looks a lot like Lisa or Elise, and, indeed, if you are borrowing this name, be prepared for your daughter to be called either of these names regularly. Also, the spellchecking app on her computer might autocorrect it to Elysium for a while before it catches on that your girl’s name is Elysia. This is fitting, according to thinkbabynames.com, because
the name comes from the Latin word for their mythological realm of the deceased, Elysium.
The website gives the meaning of the name as ‘sweetly blissful,’ and that is certainly how the word it is based on is frequently used. Poetic types tend to use it as a stand-in for heaven and ‘going to the fields of Elysium’ can be a fancy euphemism for dying and going to heaven.
If you are up on your Greek and Roman mythology, Elysium was not always a great place to be, so that is perhaps why this name has not caught on the way some of its sound-alike names have. It is a measly 2494th in popularity, but that just means that name bearers will not be confused when their name is called at recess.
Hokunani appears practically nowhere. Names.org admitted that there are no mentions of a person by that name in any of the 5 million records that the Social Security Administration publishes, and it was one of the contributions on nameberry.com’s ‘names belonging to only one person you know’ forum.
It is also the name of a high school in Hawaii. This is a name of Hawaiian origin, and can also be spelled Hokulani. It literally translates into ‘starry sky’ and is sometimes more poetically translated as ‘heavenly star.’ That may be why a high school that wants its students to reach for the sky in academic achievement.
It is a new name that only appeared in the 20th century. The oldest name-bearer is 40 and was born in 1977. That’s for people, though. It does show up as the name of hotels and restaurants, which makes sense. The nice thing about carrying this name, aside from the rarity of the name making it memorable, is that it can be shortened down to Nani or Hok, depending on your mood. It is pretty long, so it might run into snags when baby Hokunani is filling out one of those forms where you put one letter in a square. Other than that, it sounds the way it is spelled, so it is easy on people.
If you are into archeology, you might have heard this name, except that it was spelled Myrtis. When the Greek city of Kerameikos was building a subway station in 1994, it came across a mass grave for people who had died during a typhoid fever epidemic that happened in 430 BC.
The archeologists were called in and they removed the bodies, including that of an 11-year-old girl. They pieced her together and created a bust of what she might have looked like in life, and then they called her Myrtis. According to thinkbabynames.com, this is a name of Greek origin (which seems fitting) that means Myrtle, as in the tree.
This name was once fairly popular. In the 1910’s, it was 525 on the popular name charts of the United States, but it has dropped precipitously since. It ranks 1406 now, and there are less than 5 baby girls with the name in the United States with the name.
Perhaps that was why a contributor on the nameberry.com forum for rare names felt proud that her aunt was one of those infrequent bearers of the name. The name is also supposed to be English and mean ‘victory,’ though it is possible that the British picked it up from the Greeks since there was a famous lyric poet by the name in Greece in the 6th century BC.
A contributor to the ‘names that belong to only one person that you know’ forum on nameberry.com revealed that this was an older woman that she had known back when she was a little girl. It may have been a variant on the slightly more common Darylene. And by slightly, I mean very slightly. According to babycenter.com, it is ranked 92,927th on name rolls. The last (and only) there were more than 5 little girls being given this name was in 1937. In fact, the woman might have actually been called Darylene, but the contributor misspelled or misheard her name.
Darylene or Dorolyene doesn’t have much of a track record. Darylene first appeared on the Social Security records on May 19th, 1923. It had a few moments of use in the 1930’s and then almost completely disappeared. It sounds like it might be a variant on the French and English name Darlene, which would mean that it means ‘little darling.’
That is sort of a generic name for a baby girl, but perhaps the spiced up spelling makes it stand out. Darlene isn’t much in fashion right now, either, so if you name your child any of these names, she will always be the only one wherever she goes.
Someone named their kid after Lord Alfred Tennyson, the English poet who lived from 1809 to 1892. I give them props for the literary allusion and the ever-popular ‘son’ ending. Names.org lists it as a gender-neutral name and reveals that it appeared as a given name for the first time in 2001.
It has risen and fallen in popularity for the past 17 years, and now it ranks as the 7655th most popular name for girls. It is 5431st in popularity for baby boys.
It does have a hip vibe to it, as many last names that are used as first names frequently do. Plus, it is sure to impress English teachers. And like a lot of last names, it indicates parentage. Tennyson is a name of English origin that means ‘son of Dennis.’ Dennis comes from the French form of Dionysius, which comes from the Greek god of wine and generally partying down. The name was used quite a bit as a family name in ancient times and crowned at least two emperors, Dionysius did.
Tennyson is one of those gifts of a rare name that is easy to spell and pronounce. Teachers, relatives, and friends won’t be confusing a kid with this name with anyone else or regularly mangling the name. The only drawback is that it is long. If you have an aversion to long names, you might want to go for Dennis.
A contributor to nameberry.com’s ‘names that belong to only one person that you know’ forum mentioned a friend named Vahli. It is possible that the parents of little Vahli wanted to call him Valley but couldn’t bring themselves to stick him with a geographic name. However, it is very close to a few Norse names. According to nordicnames.com, there are a few candidates. The Swedish Vali, the Dutch Wale, and the widespread Vale. Vali was the son of Odin and Rindr, the name of a dwarf mentioned in the Volspa epic, and was also the son of Loki and Lokasenna.
The names come from Old Norse words that meant ‘the arguing one,’ ‘foreign,’ and ‘the slain.’ If the parents had Norse ancestry, that might have been reaching for one of these names and was trying to make it pronounceable for Americans. Of course, if the parents were going for Valley, the name is even less common.
In any form, it isn’t particularly common here in the United States. There are less than 5 recorded in the whole of the country between 1880 and 2015. In Germanic countries, it is a little more popular. And why not? It is a short, strong name that is easy to use.