Updated: Mar 8
We have all been there, you see a name on a list, you know you’ve got to say it out loud and you’re praying you pronounce it right, you invariably don’t, and profuse apologies and copious sweating follows. I am one of those mums who enjoyed naming my children things that will give the next generation ‘the fear’. Though I stuck with old biblical names, branching out into mythology with my third child, they just weren’t that common. In fact, my first and second son were one of less than three people in the UK born in their respective birth years with that name. The trend for finding unusual names means people are reaching further and further afield for them- taking inspiration from television shows, nature, folklore and food…
On the hunt to find our favourite unusual baby names, we looked through thousands of submissions to select twenty we can’t keep off our lists for next time. Before we get onto the superstars of the naming world though, we wanted to tip our hats to the best of the rest. Some of the quirkiest girl’s names included Payton, Luella, Dotty, Darla, Bambi, Thalia, Ida, Blossom and Aurelia. Boy’s names were just as wild, including Kingston, Cassius, Roman, Jaxon, Jessop, Magnus, Harbour and Odin. High five mums and dads, unafraid of challenging the norm!
So here we are, the twenty names we can’t get off our minds! Did your baby’s name make the list? Let us know!
UNUSUAL BOYS NAMES
Far-reaching and fast, Jett sounds like a holiday. George Lucas and John Travolta certainly felt It was a name worthy of their sons. It is punchy, it’s fun, and it’s a name any little dude would be proud to have written on his pencil case.
Earthy and full of stealth, Fox conjures up ideas of misty winter mornings; the silent hero, Fox is cunning, clever and cute. A name fit for any prince of the wild.
Dating back to medieval times and meaning ‘strong in war’, Wyatt was a strange choice for Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ daughter, but Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell get the crown for being so in style, before it was even in style, back in the 1980’s. Wyatt is tough, trendy and just unusual enough to make our list.
Before its surge in popularity after Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne dared to Bear, only few baby Bears were popping up. Cute, cuddly but strong and a little bit dangerous; Bear is the kind of name that you have to really own.
Move over Hunter, there is a new baby in town, and he’s bringing his quiver! Archer lends itself to super cute, and totally normal, nicknames- giving him the chance to have a say in his name as he grows. Archer is quick, he is skilled and he’s a little bit lovely.
OK, okaaay… we know. It’s not that unusual, you know a kid called River, but it is on a downward slide- so you should catch the back of this trend before the horse has truly bolted, and here is why! River is fast, he’s adaptable and he is unstoppable.
Ebenezer Scrooge might not sell this affectionate abbreviation, but Charles Dickens sure wrote a compelling character, didn’t he? Focused, driven and self-sufficient, Eben is a move-mountains kind of guy- don’t stand in his way.
Hebrew in Origin, Asher is old school cool. Modernised in fiction, Asher is the fantastically handsome master vampire in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton, it is a name truly worthy of biblical proportions of awesome.
It is the name that knocks, against your skull, repeatedly, while you try to name your baby boy. Brought back to life by the epic Breaking Bad series, but capable of a very easy transition from flailing drug lord to cutesy pootsey baby… we won’t judge you for this one.
Naming your child after the third most popular American President of all time is pretty much the ultimate win (well… it is in third place!). Franklin stood for strength, he led the American people through The Great Depression and World War II, courageous and capable- Franklin is everything you could want your little boy to be.
UNUSUAL GIRLS NAMES
So perhaps Siren would be a more obvious choice for a girl, but that is why we are all aboard for Sailor! Taking some inspiration from 90’s classic Sailor Moon and Christie Brinkley’s daughter, sticking with the original spelling (over the surprisingly popular Saylor) Sailor is just about as unusual as it gets- and we are loving it.
Right, we cheated a little bit, because we just couldn’t decide. Game of Thrones has given us many things, namely knowing that even in adulthood there are still some things you don’t watch with your parents, but also- the beauty that is Daenerys Tangaryen. Sounding almost Welsh, Daenerys is a play on the Greek Eris- Goddess of discord and strife, mixed with the Hebrew name Daen, meaning God is my Judge. So, like the character, it’s pretty badass. In contrast; Khaleesi, which actually sounds like a legitimate branch of the Lacey/Kacy tree, is not a name at all. I could waffle on about the Dathraki language but that is for another time- suffice to say, either name is fit for a queen.
Blue eyes, chunky thighs and a smile to light up the skies. Bonnie screams ultra-cute, and despite its Scottish origin, it’s more widely used in the US than anywhere else, but still only ranked at #895 back in 2016. While we love a wee Bonnie, Bonnie isn’t a name that ages so well- so perhaps a better nickname to complement the beautiful Bonita would see it standing the test of a lifetime.
Perfect for the Sabbath day baby who is bonnie, blythe and good and gay; Bliss conjures up dreamy, gentle and delicate imagery… and for us kids of the 80’s and 90’s, it may also conjure up images of the local newsagents and choosing between Smash Hits with the free CD or Bliss with the free lippy that smelt like chips. Whatever you envision, we see Bliss as a super-cool alternative to the more popular Joy, Hope and Faith.
Creative, colourful and trendy. Like the pattern, Paisley has seen a recent upswing in its popularity. Sitting comfortably in the ultra-cool unisex section, next to Spencer, Blake and Elliot; Paisley is in style.
‘E names’ have never been more popular, and more and more sib-sets are sticking rigorously to E’s. While the Amelias, Amelies, Arias and Avas of 2010-2014 are getting older, the slightly outdated but classic Amber has been modernised to fit the E upswing. Bright, glowing and gentle, Ember is a sure thing for now.
Pronounced Lay-LAH-nee, Hawaiian in origin, Leilani sounds almost celestial. Loosely translated to Heavenly, she is the embodiment of all things ethereal and good. How much more convincing do you need?
Why this name has lain dormant since the 1800s still has us scratching our heads. A name fit for a Goddess, Greek Thea (or Theia) is gentle and graceful while, according to mythology, she also gave birth to the sun, the moon and the dawn- so you know this little girl will be capable of greatness.
In my research I have come to the conclusion that we don’t hear Welsh names enough- and with the likes of Carys, Ffion, Seren and Mai (pronounced ‘MY’) dominating the Welsh market, pure gems like Eleri have hit the bench. Though mostly known for the river Eleri, Welsh history also talks of Eleri and Bethan, Princess daughters of Welsh King Brychan 5th. Long, unspoilt roots, Eleri flows like water and is both beautiful and super stylish.