In 2008, movie and television actress Lisa Bonet made headlines for naming her baby son — Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa. Other celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon, including Gwen Stefani with Zuma Nesta Rock, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise with Suri, and Gwyneth Paltrow with Apple. Whether you search through folklore and ancient mythology for your inspiration, or just create your own combination, giving your baby a special, one-of-a-kind name will shape his entire life.
Family names remain an inspiration for many uncommon baby names. Some people mix together different parts of family names to result in a winning combination. Classic literature and folklore inspires epic names such as Titan and Moses. Nature has prompted names such as Rainbow, Waterfall, Oceana, Flower and Leaf. Rock star Frank Zappa earned notoriety for nonsensical names, such as Dweezil, Moon Unit and Diva Muffin.
When on the search for an unusual baby name, be wary of any popular books, movies, songs or celebrities of the moment who have a form of the name. In general, popular baby names go in waves, with many people drawing from contemporary culture for inspiration.
Go beyond the United States in your quest for a singular baby name. Look to your families’ past, the places their ancestors came from, the languages their ancestors spoke, to spark some ideas. The Alternative Baby Names website sorts baby names by continents, countries, languages and cultures, with options such as African, African-American, Arabic, Brazilian, Filipino, Gaelic, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hindu, Indian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Sikh, Spanish and Telugu baby names.
You can make a classic or traditional baby name more original by playing with name combinations or by altering the spelling. Try Jaine instead of Jane, for example, or Xander as a shortened form of Alexander. Combing a single-syllable first name, such as Lee, with a longer, more inventive, middle name like Parsifal or Ofelia.
In an article on the LiveScience website, Jeanna Bryner reports that more parents are bestowing one-of-a-kind names on their offspring, reflecting an urge to focus on the child’s individuality rather than a need to fit in.