Unusual names are good....

You’re very wise to note this. Some near-kin just adopted a little girl. In their feverish anticipation they picked and discarded names, finally settling on Medea, just because they liked the sound. It took some tactful footnoting to point out that a vengeful, tortured woman who killed her own children wasn’t exactly a happy choice.

Sidenote: the baby is Chinese and without comparison the most perfect, happy, bubbly little heartbreaker who ever wrapped doting adults right around a few tiny fingers. Her name is Jade.–>BIG smile assumed here<–

I like unusual, old fashioned names. Have one myself. (No, not TVeblen; IRL, you doofuses. Doofi?) Took a while to grow into it but it isn’t soooo eccentric that I blamed my parents much beyond 8th grade for landing me with it.


Ok, I wanna know.

I need to know. What do you think:


Is that like sever? Or seven? Severing is just a tad too close for comfort :slight_smile:

I seem to be this thread’s party pooper… D’oh! And here I was thinking I was more open minded than that!

As a sort-of unusually-named person, I have to chime in myself. My real name is Kinsey (no imagination for picking a board name, sorry).
It was my maternal grandmother’s name, and her mother’s name, and my aunt’s name. Somewhere along the line it was someone’s last name.
Oddly enough, (and fortunately for me) there was another Kinsey two years ahead of me in school, all the way through from elementary to high school. She basically “broke the ground” for me, since most of the teachers already knew the name. Within the last 12 years or so, there is also the Kinsey Millhone character in the Sue Grafton books, which has helped, especially since she’s a likeable character.
Just because you have a different name doesn’t mean people will remember it. When people can’t remember it, I usually get called Kimberly or Lindsey.

I still get weird looks, lots of “Huh?” when giving my name, and lots of questions (“Is it made-up?” “What kind of name is that?”). People can sometimes be incredibly rude. I like it better now, but there were times when I would have loved to be among the many Jennifers and Kathys.

There’s different-good, and then there’s different-weird.
Foolsguinea, I’m sorry, but most of the names you like fall into the different-weird category. Are you married? Your wife will have some input into this naming thing, too, so have you discussed these names with her? How will you feel if the first thing little Euphrosyne does on her 18th birthday is go to the courthouse and change her name to “Mary”?

Most of the names on the list might be grounds for a coming-of-age lawsuit. (“How do you THINK I turned out this way?? My parents named me Euphrosyne, for crissake!”)

Regarding your smirky reference to some of us perhaps needing to get out more: I know three Alexas, a Clarice (named after the Jodie Foster character, disgustingly enough), two Sterlings, a Gawain, and a Corin. All but one are under 10 years old; the other is 12. So these may not be as unusual as you think.

Actually, I’ve thought about Severin, too. Not sure about dropping the middle e, though. Or are you not getting it from the Latin name (Severus, Severinus, etc.)?

Similarly, I considered Seraphin (or Serafin) for a while. But the poor lad might end up as “Sera” or “Finn”!

While everyone is giving their opinions of unusual names, what do you think of Chamomile for a girl? Is it just too cruel? I’ve also thought about Camilla (but my dad thinks it sounds like Prince Charles’ girlfriend). Also I kind of like Chloe but my mom thinks it’s ugly. Other than these I would probably go with a traditional name, and I know for a boy I will definitely go traditional (most non-traditional ones sound pretty fruity but I do like Gawain, foolsguinea - none of the other boy’s names though. Also I don’t like any of the girls’ except Alexa - first thing I thought of w/Clarice was Silence of the Lambs, not a nice connotation but it’s still a pretty name I guess)

I am a male with an unusual first name – “Brannon.” I don’t like it very much. People insist on turning it into “Brendan” or “Brandon” or whatever. Even when they’re looking at it clearly written down, they still, for unknown reasons, put a D in it. :mad: Lately, when I introduce myself, I say, “Brannon, it rhymes with the yogurt.” That eliminates most of the hassles, but now I occasionally get people who equate “rhymes with” to “is,” and they call me “Dannon.” :mad: :mad:

Please, please, do not give your child a strongly unusual first name. Euphrosyne? Pelagian? A lifetime of hell awaits the child who is given a name like this in 21st-century America. Well, with the exception of kids who grow up with billion-dollar trust funds; if your family owns the private school you attend, you can get away with any name you like.

This has come up as my wife and I discuss naming the children we will eventually have. Her younger sister was named Diana (she died tragically a few years ago), and we both like the idea of referencing the name. However, Diana had a nickname growing up, one I think is quite pretty. When my wife was very young, and looking at her infant baby sister, she couldn’t say “Diana,” turning it instead into “Nyah.” (Choose your spelling. Rhymes with a British pronunciation of “dryer,” sort of.) I love the sound of this. It is, however, a little odd, and I wouldn’t wish an odd name on a kid, due to my own experience. (Years on the playground of having “Brannon” turned into “Bran-buds.”)

Although the sound of the name is beautiful, spelling comes into question. If you spell it “Nyah,” which is probably the simplest, it also looks like a playground taunt – a one-syllable “ñaa,” instead of the two-syllable “ny-uh.” If you spell it “Naia,” sort of suggestive of “Gaia,” you get mystified people trying “nay-uh? nuh-ee-uh?” and such. “Nia,” of course, is “nee-uh.” And so on.

So we’ll probably stick with “Diana,” and try to get “Nyah” to stick as a nickname, same as with her sister.

But please, stay away from oddball names. Your child will thank you later.

P.S. Kids are cruel, yes, and any name can be turned into an insult. Isn’t “John” a toilet? Isn’t “Peter” a penis? Isn’t “Mary” what kids say boyfriend and girlfriend want to do? This happens no matter what your name. The point is, you don’t want to make the kid an easy target.

Cervaise, there’s an odd but honorable solution: one of the great mystery writers was Dame Ngaio (“NIGH-oh”) Marsh, a New Zealander whose first name is Maori. Of course, this violates my no-names-requiring-phonetic-renderings, but since it has precedent I’ll make an exception (he says, generously).

Chamomile is a bit much. Does your last name start with a “T” ? Chamomile T. would just be mean.

I like Camilla, but it does have a somewhat negative connotation because of Prince Charles.

I also like Chloe.

Hi, foolsguinea.

I’m in the camp that recommends against giving a child an unusual name.

I figure that no matter what name you provide, somebody somewhere is going to hassle the child about it.

But a common name may result in slightly less hassle.

My parents chose just about the most common name they could for me: Jennifer Leigh. While it was a pain having such a common name, the worst it got made into was “Jenny” and the inevitable donkey comparisons. Oh, and when I was very young, spelling “Leigh” was a pain. (For a humorous take on not naming children “Jennifer”, see the Society for Preventing Parents from Naming Their Children Jennifer.)

However, I am emphatically, fundamentally not a “Jennifer Leigh” by personality. I chose my own name (Jeyen Chevenga) as an adult, and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to have that name as a child. I would have caught all kinds of crap for it. Not to mention I’m much more able to calmly explain about my name, its history, and its pronunciation as an adult. When I was a child I would have found it embarrassing and frustrating to talk about.

I always figured that if I had a child to raise (don’t be alarmed: it ain’t gonna happen :wink: ), I’d provide the child with a use-name. This is a name that I and the rest of the world could call the child. But the child could pick its own name when it decided what name that was (if it decided that way). I would pay for one, and only one, official name change. Further name changes would be the child’s financial responsibility.



Thanks Kinsey. Fortunately my last name starts with an S. :slight_smile:

In my opinion the boys names you are thinking of sound lame and efeminate and the girls names sound stuck up. Except for echo, but that is a silly name and a tragic greek figure. They will be teased and probably resent you for it later.

In general, I like the idea of giving children unusual names, provided they have a nice sound to them and won’t bring too much grief to the kids in school. I’m totally against unusual spellings-I saw “Brittonee” once in a newspaper and wondered what possessed their parents to do that. It just looks wrong.
That said, I have to warn anyone against giving any child a seasonal name. I don’t mind “Summer, what a pretty name” but I got tired of “Do you have a sister named Autumn?” and “Have a nice summer, Summer” when I was five and I’m still hearing them.
I’m glad my parents gave me an unusual name, though, because my Italian last name apparently just scares the hell out of everyone who has to say it aloud. Thus my last name gets dropped whenever, say, a TA has to pass back papers. “John Smith, Mary Baker, Joe Martinez, Summer…”
That just wouldn’t work if I was one of ten Jennifers in a class.

… I concur with the general sentiment that giving your children strange names are a bad idea. My own name, mentioned in the above posts, is Reuben. Yes it is the name of a sandwich which is bad enough (but not here in the UK thankfully).

The annoying thing is that almost no-one, just a tiny handful of all the hundreds of people I’ve met throughout my life, can spell it correctly. And the other annoying thing is that nearly everyone I meet for the first time thinks they heard it as “Rupert”. Another annoying thing is people assuming I’m Jewish. “No I’m not circumcised”, “Yes I can eat pork were it not for the small fact I’m vegetarian”. Ad nauseam.

But the most annoying thing is that it JUST PLAIN SUCKS!

It’s possible to refrain from naming your children John and Jennifer (or Brianna and Tyler) without giving them (sorry, foolsguinea) pretentious-sounding names.

My parents named their four daughters Cassandra, Tracy, Leslie, and Erica. Not terribly odd names but not terribly common or prosaic, either. Particularly Cassandra, which I think is a lovely name. (for what it’s worth, within the family they’ve been abbreviated to, respectively: Casey, Trace, Lulu, and Ricky). As for my name, I’ve met a handful of Ericas. Maybe a dozen. Not bad, I don’t think, and no one has trouble pronouncing my name (although they ALWAYS spell it with a “k”).

My son’s name is Alan Joseph (my father’s middle name + Joseph because I liked the way it sounded with Alan). While I was pregnant with him I thought of all kinds of names. The worst was, if he was a girl, Delphinia. I thought it would be cool to call her Del. Uh, yeah. If you’re naming a kid for the sake of a cool nickname, why not just name it the nickname? Anyhoo, the female name I settled on was Elena Celeste. Elena, the Spanish version of my mother’s name, I still like. Celeste, enh, I’m not so sure. Luckily, I’m not having any more babies for a long time.

On the whole, in theory, I really like the idea of using names from Classical mythology and lore. That way they’re less usual, but still have a solid, real tradition behind them. They do this a lot in Italy. But in practice, that’s assuming that modern Americans will actually have some familiarity with the ancient Greek and Roman classics, which is unfortunately assuming too much any more. :frowning:

Thalia–sounds nice, the name of a Muse is a lovely idea for a girl. But “Thalia” takes me back to thallo-, Greek for ‘sprout’, a word frequently used in the “Mushroom Planet” series of juvenile science fiction/fantasy by Eleanor Cameron, which I read back in the 1960s. The Mushroom Planet was peopled by intelligent humanoids whose biology was evolved from fungus, not Animalia. They were called the “Spore People” because they reproduced through spores (no sex! perfect literature for kiddies!).

Tempest–While I dig the Shakespearean allusion, tis is best known as a stripper’s name. Tempest Storm. (I am not making this up.)

Chamomile–Greek for ‘earth apple’. Too close to “road apple,” I’m afraid.

Heron–“Makes me think of ‘hair on’” – Why not “hard-on”? :wink:

Because everything makes me think of “hard-on”…:smiley:

When I was young (68) my girlfriend’s older sister’s boyfriend was named Stirling.
I loved it so when my son was born in 93, I named him Sterling.

That doesn’t sound exactly right.
In case someone gets smart about it, I was young in 1968; I wasn’t 68…