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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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