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Get Inspired by These 25 Unique and Outstanding Baby Names

Get Inspired by These 25 Unique and Outstanding Baby Names

Naming a new baby sounds fun, but it’s actually kind of a high-pressure situation. After all, the name you slap on that birth certificate is their name for life (or at least until they’re 18 and can legally change it). If you don’t want to go along with the overwhelming number of Twilight names — which are still going strong, with Jacob #5 for boys and Isabella #4 for girls in 2013 — it can be hard to know where to turn for something that’s distinctive but not, you know, kooky. Case in point, celebrity baby names that sometimes sound like they’ve been drawn from a basket containing slips of paper with either places (Bronx, Morocco, Zuma, Egypt) or random nouns (Bear, Apple, Pilot, Sparrow).

So what’s a parent to do? Well, you don’t need to resort to the ever-popular “just make something up” option (Kazzideee? Tscharly? North?!). There are already plenty of perfectly good names out there that are just waiting to be rediscovered. Take some inspiration from this list of outstanding baby names with vintage provenances.

Ambrose

This pleasingly old-timey boys’ name — which has the same Latin and Greek roots as ambrosia, the immortality-providing nectar of the gods — is just begging for a revival. There’s a Saint Ambrose, but it’s probably most known from the late 19th century author Ambrose Bierce. It doesn’t even rank in the U.S. as a baby name, making it even more ripe for the picking.

Aurelia

This gilded girls’ name is the feminine version of the Roman Aurelius, a name most notably held by the emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. More recently, Aurelia is the name of the maid character in Love Actually. After not showing up on the charts for decades, this one currently comes in at #833 among American baby names.

Basil

While you could use (and pronounce) this unisex name like the spice, the more classic pronunciation is “BAH-zul” — it actually comes from a Greek word meaning “king.” Either pronunciation is lovely though, and this name isn’t even on the radar in the U.S.

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Baxter

Here’s the thing with names: There are always going to be lots of different associations people have with them. In the case of this boys’ name, it might be Anchorman. But sometimes a name is just too wonderful, and you have to get past it. Plus by the time your kid is 20, are people still going to be quoting Ron Burgundy? (Okay, maybe they will be. But Baxter’s still a terrific name.)

Blaise

This boys’ name (pronounced “BLEZ,” from the French, rather than “BLAZE”) is a classic saint name, and also the first name of the famed French mathematician for whom a unit of pressure, a programming language, and lots more are named. This one just cracks the top 1,000 American boys’ names, at #912.

Carlisle

Though this is commonly a boys’ name (well, insofar as it is common — it’s a pretty rare name), it would also be perfect for a girl. It sounds debonair, but, oh, the nickname possibilities! Carly or Lila, Carl or Lyle… this one is just spoiling for a comeback. Despite having a Twilight provenance, it’s never been in the top 1,000 U.S. baby names.

Clement

The female version of this name — Clementine — has revived in popularity, but Clement hasn’t been so fortunate. Yet, that is. This name, from the Latin for merciful or gentle, has been the name of saints, at least one pope, and Clement Moore, the author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (aka “The Night Before Christmas”). Plus how terrific is “Clem” as a nickname?

Cleo

This girls’ name sounds quite modern, but it’s actually very ancient. Often attributed as a shortening of Cleopatra (the Greek “kleos” means “glory”), it’s also one letter off from Clio, who was the Greek muse of history. In the past it’s also gained some traction as a boys’ name, but as of now it’s been unranked among popular U.S. baby names for decades.

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Dashiell

Boys’ names with a vaguely literary provenance — no, not just Twilight, think “Atticus” and “Gatsby” — are popular right now. Dashiell remains off the radar though, despite lending itself to the most, well, dashing nickname ever (Dash!). It’s the name of basically one person, author Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and many more classic detective stories. (If we’re going to get technical too, though he authored books under it, Dashiell was actually his middle name.) Nonetheless, this unusual moniker might be about to blow up.

Delphine

This is a French version of a Greek name, which though some say is related to “dolphin” is more likely related to “Delphi,” the site of a famed oracle in Greek mythology. It shares this derivation with the flower Delphinium. Why’d it make this list? This obscure name — pretty much last seen in Balzac’s novels — deserves a comeback!

Flannery

Another literary name, most famously attached to the acclaimed southern author Flannery O’Connor. (Another case where it was technically her middle name.) Though baby names that are Irish last names (or at least sound like them, courtesy of the Cullens of Twilight) are super-popular, somehow Flannery isn’t. Pre-O’Connor, it was actually more common as a boys’ name, but now it’s firmly in the girls’ camp. And how sweet (literally!) of a nickname is Flan?

Frances

Thanks to the Pope’s popularity, the name Francis is making a solid comeback. Somehow though, the girls’ version is not — yet anyway (it’s in the top 1,000 baby names for girls, but hardly popular). Meaning, more or less, “French,” it’s the name of people from author Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden) to Kurt Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain.

Gideon

Biblical names (think Michael and David) are consistently popular for boys, and Gideon is just beginning to get up there. If you’re looking for a truly classic boys’ name that hasn’t been overdone, look no further.

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Griffith

This boys’ name sounds masculine and rugged, yet sexy (and okay, yes, no one thinks of their baby that way, but remember the name needs to fit for life). It’s derived from the definitely unsexy Welsh name “Gruffudd,” which was a common name among Welsh royals back in the day — well, way back in the day. This name seems like it would be popular, but it’s never charted in the U.S.

Heathcliff

You may think of the irascible cartoon cat, but what you should think of is the ultimate swoonworthy romantic hero from Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte created the name for the character, thus dreaming up possibly the best made-up name of all time. Despite awesome nickname possibilities — Cliff or (double swoon!) Heath — this name has not made it into the top 1,000 baby names in the U.S.

Hugo

Henry has become super-popular for boys, but why not Hugo? Most commonly associated with the French author Victor Hugo (Les Miserable, The Hunchback of Notre Dame), this name was originally a variant of Hugh. An extremely common name overseas, it’s unclear why this moniker — cute on a little boy, manly on an adult — hasn’t caught on here.

Jasper

Jasper is more commonly a boys’ name, but it would also be terrific for a girl (it’s definitely got plucky and resourceful connotations, like Scout). We often associate it with the gemstone, but it actually comes from Persian (“treasurer”) — it’s sometimes given to one of the three Magi. Of all the names in this list, this is the only one that currently has any traction on the top baby names listings.

Lavinia

The actual origins of this name are unknown, but this name quite the literary pedigree. Lavinia is the last wife of Aeneas in Homer’s Aeneid (a role which was expanded upon in Ursula K. Le Guin’s 2008 novel Lavinia), who also shows up in Dante’s Divine Comedy. There’s also a Lavinia in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. Also: The potential nickname Vinnie. Vinnie!

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Marcella

Though this pretty girls’ name sounds Spanish, it’s actually derived from Latin — the feminine form of the Roman name Marcellus, which is a diminutive of Marcus, which is a name that comes from Mars, the Roman god of war. But still Marcella — such a beautiful name, and almost never heard in the United States.

Millicent

Girls’ names that had gone out of fashion (like Harriet and Penelope) have made strong comebacks, but somehow Millicent hasn’t. And why not? Face it, Milly (or Millie) is a delightful nickname. This name traces its roots back quite far, all the way to the Germanic name “Amalsuintha” (now there’s an old-fashioned name), which combines words that mean “work” and “strength.”

Orson

Originally derived from an English last name that started out as a nickname meaning “bear cub” — seriously, how cute is that? And yet this name is most strongly associated with a famed pillar of American cinema, Orson Welles.

Otis

So you like the name Owen, but you’d like to be a bit different. Why not give this boys’ name a go? Popular in England but exceedingly rare on this side of the pond, it’s a variant on a medieval German term for wealth or fortune. Though it doesn’t rank in the U.S., this name has a great pedigree with famous folks like soul singer Otis Redding sharing it.

Roscoe

This adorable and old-fashioned boys’ name is just begging to be brought into modern times. Originally derived from an English last name, it’s never cracked the name charts in the U.S.

Sidra

Depending on the pronunciation, this lovely girls’ name finds its roots in the Middle East or North Africa. As “SID-ra,” it’s an Islamic name referring to what is often translated as the lotus tree, which Muhammad saw when he ascended to the highest level of heaven. Pronounced “SEE-dra,” it’s a Hebrew-derived name meaning order. However you say it, it’s an interesting and unusual moniker.

Theodora

This lovely name, which has Greek origins, belonged to several Byzantine empresses. Though the male version, Theodore, is in the top 200 of boys’ names, the girls’ version has never been in the top 1,000, despite lending itself to adorable nicknames. Teddy, Dora, … or what about a girl Theo? You’ve got plenty of possibilities.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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