How to Choose an Unusual Baby Boy or Baby Girl Name
Are you tired of the most popular baby names? Do you want your baby boy or baby girl to have an unusual and distinctive baby name, and not be just another kid in a classroom full of Emmas, Ethans, Madisons and Michaels?
Celebrities select some of the weirdest baby names. You could follow the lead of Brad and Angelina, with Maddox, or go with what David Duchovny and Tea Leoni named their kid, er, Kyd. But with a bit of research and some creativity, you can come up with your own original, unusual baby name! Here are a few suggestions to get you on the track.
Last name as first name – In some cultures, it is traditional to give a baby his mother’s maiden name as his middle name. But you can use the mother’s last name—or any last name that you like—as a first name instead. Some last names—Spencer, Campbell, Mackenzie, Brody or even Burns—work very well as first names. You may want to mine your family tree for a good ideas. What about the baby’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name?
Literary leanings – Books are filled with names, so why not pull out your favorites and see if anything strikes your fancy? If you have a favorite character of all time, decide if the name is timeless enough that it will work for your offspring.
Science Fiction – You probably don’t want to copy Nicholas Cage and name your son Kal-El (Superman’s Krypton name), and Spock will insure a lifetime of teasing (especially if the kid is saddled with less-than-small ears). Even so, science fiction media, including books, movies and television shows, is filled with fun and interesting names. Orson Scott Card created some of my favorite kid’s names, with Ender, Bean and Valentine, although Valentine originated in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land with the Man from Mars, “Valentine Michael Smith.”
Foreign words – You can pay tribute to your heritage through your child’s name, by thinking about foreign words from your ancestral country, or even another country that you like? Browse through foreign language-to-English dictionaries, or simply the surf the Web. You can Google “[your favorite language], baby names,” too, to find ethnic selections that suit your tastes.
Combine names – Recent years have seen an influx of names like Ashlynn (combination of Ashley and Lynn) and Brandilynn. You can combine two girls (or boys) names to make one name. If your name and your spouse’s name is conducive to it, you can combine your own first names to create your offspring’s moniker. This technique can also solve problems if you’re struggling with the question of who the baby should be named after.
Cities as names – Bono named his daughter Memphis Eve, and then Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz named their child Bronx. Austin, Dayton and Dallas have actually crossed the line from being unusual baby names to being relatively common. So why not name your baby after your favorite city or a faraway place you long to visit? Given the infamy of a certain Hilton, however, Paris is probably a bad choice.
Alternate spellings – Rebecca can become Rebekah, right out of the Bible. Jacob can be Jakob, Jaycob, or even Jakub. A famous football player is named Andru. If you choose an alternate spelling of a common name, remember that your child will spend a lifetime correcting people. Some alternate spellings, like Jayson instead of Jason, have become so popular, they are almost the norm now, so in a few years, your unusual name may not be as unusual as you had hoped.
It’s symbolic – It’s not unprecedented to give your child a symbol as a name. Of course, then you need to decide how you’d like to pronounce that symbol. My favorite? In 2007, a Chinese couple named their child @, pronounced “ai ta” in Chinese, which translates into “love him.” Cute. Keep in mind, however, many courts will not accept a symbol as a legal name.
Use your imagination – When you’re choosing an unusual name, really, anything goes. (Think about Gwyneth Paltrow and Apple!) Fruit is fair game, historic figures, trees, geographical and natural elements (such as Sun, Moon, and Rain), common pet names, and even cars. After all, the Mercedes-Benz creator named the car after his daughter, why not work backward and have a little Honda, Toyota or Chevy? Whatever name you select, make sure it’s a good fit with your last name.
Think about the future – Names that seem cute in the abstract, when you’re talking to your baby bump, may sound silly when that little fetus you’re carrying becomes a child enrolling in kindergarten. Be kind.
Be careful of names that sound awkward or create a bad pun when combined with your last name. You might also want to look at initials to avoid names that would give your child initials like A.S.S. or P.O.O.
As a general rule, girl’s names with the same syllable twice (Coco, Fifi) and many names ending in “Y” or “ie” (Bambi, Candy) will not treat your daughter well as she grows up and takes on a career. Boys seem to have less difficulty in this area, but watch out for dated names or names that have negative connotations.
Author: Dawn Allcot
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