Naming things is one of my greatest joys in life, and may be partly responsible for why I have two dogs [Puddle + Salaami], a cat [Optimus Prime], and 1.5 kids [Theory Adler + Pax Wilder]…because the more family members we amass, the more cool names I get to make up.
When one of those mostly-forgotten Facebook acquaintances gets knocked up, I always feel a slight sense of disappointment when they announce a generic baby name because I feel like it’s a missed opportunity. That being said: dude, I know- my kid has a weird name. It’s not your cup of tea. I get it. When we first shared my daughter’s name, we got a ton of pushback from family and friends, but honestly, we knew long before I got pregnant for the first time that if we ever had a girl, her name would be Theory. Our genius plan to quell the naysayers? We made up an even weirder name and told people we chose that instead [Numbers, in case you were wondering]. So by time Theory Adler was born, everyone was just so relieved her name wasn’t actually Numbers that the haters calmed down a bit. Checkmate.
So, if you’re a weirdo, too, and are gestating or otherwise expecting a tiny human [or even just thinking about cool names for your Sims- whatevs], behold my Master List of Off the Beaten Path Baby Names.
Ransom: A little bit dangerous, the classic “bad boy” deserves a name like Ransom.
Atlas: Compass is another great option for a navigational name that positively reeks of wanderlust and a life promising heaps of adventure.
Bragg: I grew up a military dependent, and the name Bragg recalls a childhood home of mine. The double letters at the end put it in league with names like Jett and Tripp, but the spin is new.
Wells: H.G. Wells is one of my all-time favorite authors, but also, The 100 is a crazy-good TV series and if you don’t watch it, you should. RIP Wells.
Arrow: Straight and true, this kid is sure to toe the line [yeah, right].
Cove: How insanely cute would Cove and Harbor be for boy/girl twins?! Hippie mom: new level unlocked!
Rifle: For the bad little dude nobody wants to mess with- a future in the military sounds fitting.
Aram: The Biblical name for Syria, but also just a badass alternative to Aaron.
Romani: One of my best friends in college was named Romani, and from the second we met, every time I said it, I thought “Damn, that’s a cool name!” It’s also not a leap to believe that this near-mirror of Romeo makes for quite the charmer.
Faust: It means lucky, but also harkens back to Goethe’s classic protagonist and gives you some hardcore academic cred.
Bowie: Apparently since the late, great David Bowie [of Labyrinth, the single greatest movie of all time, fame] died, this name’s popularity has been on the rise for boys. I think it’s delightful for a girl, and what better way to pay homage to the king of androgyny?
Fair: This is seriously the cutest name, and so unexpected. Pair it with one of the “new unisex” middle names, like Instafamous mom @karlaquiz’s daughter Fair James, for a sweet surprise.
Gosling: My husband thinks I’m nuts for this one, but I love it. It reminds me of delicate gossamer fabric, but also a tiny fluffy goose baby. Plus there’s the added perk of the adorable nickname Gossie.
Garland: Whether this name calls to mind a festive Christmas swag or the indomitable Judy Garland, you can’t go wrong.
Harbor: A nautical twist on the overplayed Harper, Harbor conjures up cliché but inspirational quotes about perseverance and skilled sailors that are sure to make for a gritty little girl.
Plum: Plum gets me. It pops out of your mouth and just sits there looking adorable [added bonus: the nursery pretty much decorates itself]. Just make sure you don’t give her a middle name that starts with a p, b, or d, or said together, they run the risk of sounding like “plump”, and schoolyard kids are the worst.
Sweden: It’s obscure favorite Eden with a sweet prologue. Looking to raise a world traveler? This is the name for you.
Effie: The Hunger Games gave us so many great names [can we talk about how many more Pru and Primroses there are nowadays?], but Effie is light, cheery, and intentionally frou-frou.
Prairie: If you’re looking for nature-related names, but find even Briar and Thistle aren’t rare enough for you anymore, Prairie is reminiscent of Laura Ingalls and also gives you an excuse to give her braided pigtails for life.
Lulua: Lulu’s slightly more serious cousin. Still sing-song with that pleasant repetition of sounds, but also refined [Lulua means “pearl” in Arabic!].