Unusual Baby Girl Names - Need Some Feedback

So we have decided not to tell a single person IRL what the name choices are because last time MIL's reaction was really hurtful and we just don't want to hear what anyone has to say about it.  But that doesn't mean I don't want SOME feedback.  We are considering some fairly unusual names and I'd like to hear what people think of them.  Baby is a girl.  Here goes:


  • Amalia
  • Ottavia
  • Huxley
  • Everleigh
  • Wylan


So what do you think? 


July 8, 2012 11:53 AM

Amalia (full name Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria ) is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands.  In the fullness of time (since Grandma Beatrix is still going strong), she is scheduled to be Queen Amalia.  Amalia is a fine and usable name, albeit there is likely to be some confusion with Amelia.  (However, almost any name is bound to confuse someone.)  Of these names, to my mind this is the standout.

Ottavia is also a good name.  Is the surname perhaps Italian, accounting for the choice of Ottavia over Octavia?

The others are not to my personal taste, unless Huxley and Wylan are family names, sur- or given.

July 8, 2012 12:16 PM

We also like Olive and Lola.


And yes, the surname is Italian, although I am of Irish ancestry.  We both prefer Ottavia over Octavia (plus Oct makes me think of Octomom) 


Amalia was a front runner last time and definitely still in the running this time. We much prefer it to Amelia, although I know that some confusion is inevitable. 

July 8, 2012 1:05 PM

De-lurking here to say I really like Ottavia and Olive.  

To me, Amalia is a strong second-tier contender, but in the age of Emily and Amelia, may not be all that distinct.  

Lola is super cute, but perhaps a bit too nicknamey.  I'd suggest thinking of a nice, formal full name that could have the nn Lola.  Loretta?  Viola? Marisol?--I feel like I'm missing a really obvious one here.  

The others are not my style, and seem a bit too on-trend.  But, really, if you like them, go for it!

edited to add:  A propos of Laura's Blog post this week, Huxley is one of those names that for me has one dominant, strong association:  Adolphus Huxley.  If you're a big fan of his writing, this would be a boon.  If not, I'd think twice about the name.  Everleigh, despite the different spelling, similarly evokes The Everly Brothers, which may or may not be what you're going for.  

Let me reiterate that you should go with what you like, though!

July 8, 2012 2:16 PM

Lola is the traditional nickname for Dolores.

Do you perhaps mean Aldous Huxley?  The Huxleys were a particularly accomplished family, other notables including Thomas and Julian.

July 8, 2012 2:31 PM

Yes!  Aldous!  Some sort of bizarre Freudian slip there.  Sorry about that.  

July 8, 2012 2:29 PM

Amalia is my favorite of your choices.  I think the confusion with Amelia might sometimes be annoying, but I don't think it would be all that serious of an issue.   

Ottavia would be my second choice, though I think the confusion between that and Octavia would be more likley to get annoying.  Ottavia isn't a name most people will be familiar with, increasing confusion with the more recognizable Octavia.  Unlike Amalia & Amelia, where both are established names with different popularity trends.

Everleigh would be my 3rd choice, though I do prefer the Everly spelling.

Huxley and Wylan seem very masculine to me and honestly just aren't my style.  

By Guest (not verified)
July 8, 2012 3:35 PM

Wylan sounds very male and is closely associated with male names peaking in popularity currently (such as Wyatt). Wylan also reminds me of the Wayan Brothers, who suck. 

By Guest (not verified)
July 8, 2012 3:44 PM

I love Amalia.

Unique and comopolitan but still has familiar and appealing sounds.

Ottavia isn't really my style, but it is interesting. I also like Olive, which always

strikes me as appealingly quirky.

Everleigh is actually a name I've seen on polls at other sites quite a lot, so it may not be as unique as you're after. I think it's a nautral transition for moms looking for a twist on Ava, Avery, Eva, etc...I think it has a pretty sound; it's just trendier than styles I usually prefer.

Wylan seemes totally masculine to me and very country. I supposed I'm stuck on Waylong Jennings. In any case, it just doesn't appeal to me one bit.

Huxley seems even more masculine, and I immediately thought of the writer and also of the Cosby Huxtable family. I suppoose I'm really showing my age now!

Hope that helps! Perhaps you could use your mil's name in the mn slot. That tends to work wonders!

By mk
July 8, 2012 6:36 PM

Amalia and Ottavia are moy two favorites. Not really a fan of the other three. Of Olive and Lola, I guess I'd choose Olive even those it's really not a personal favorite. But that's mainly because I seem to know a ton of baby Lolas so the name seems very common to me.

July 8, 2012 7:27 PM

I agree with most of the other posters here. Amalia and Ottavia are fine, great choices if you want something unusual. I had thought about Huxley before, but it and Wylan read male to me. Everleigh doesn't feel all that unusual, because it matches up with a number of trends.

July 8, 2012 8:16 PM

Amalia: very on trend, like Malia Obama with an extra syllable. How are you pronouncing it?  I know one born in the 90's: ah-MALE-eeya.

Ottavia: looks like mispelled Octavia.  How is this pronounced? 

Huxley: masculine.  The last name as first name trend is not necessarily unisex, and most of them lean masculine.  This one also sounds a lot like Husky.

Everleigh: destined to be on Toddlers and Tiaras.

Wylan: see Huxley.  People will want to spell it Wayland.


July 8, 2012 8:44 PM

Esther E., Ottavia is not misspelled.  It's properly spelled Italian.  Where Latin has -ct- (and Greek the equivalent of -kt-), Italian has -tt-.  So Hector is Ettore and Electra Elettra.

July 9, 2012 8:33 PM

hmm I didn't know that!  I assumed it was kre8yv spelling.  You always teach me something new. 

By EVie
July 8, 2012 11:22 PM

Amalia is pronounced uh-MAH-lee-ah, not like Malia Obama. I don't know where the ah-MALE-eeya you know got her pronunciation, but that sounds like a mistake to me. Actually, it's the same mispronunciation that's being discussed over on the Adelaide thread—Amalia is a German name, and -a- in German is never pronounced -ay-.

Another Italian name in which -ct- becomes -tt- is Victoria/Victor -> Vittoria/Vittorio—as in the last King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele III. 

July 8, 2012 11:59 PM

Because I like it, I'll share that the Hebrew pronunciation of Amalia is uh-MUHL-ya. (Wow, that's a hard one to write.) Basically, Molly would not be a nickname to derive from Amalia because it does not contain that first vowel sound at all. Personally, I'd make it four syllables, but I would also use that vowel in the stressed syllable.

For those who can read Hebrew: עֲמַלְיָה


By EVie
July 9, 2012 1:15 PM

Does Amalia have a Hebrew derivation too? I've only ever seen the German one, from the Germanic root amal meaning "work" or "vigor." One of my great-great-grandmothers was named Amalia, born in West Prussia in the 1800s; I've also known another who I believe was Argentinian of German descent, and then of course there's the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas (named after the Queen of Denmark, and pronounced with the -e as an -a, same as Amalia). All of them are pronounced with the middle syllable like MALL, so Molly could definitely be a plausible nickname.

July 9, 2012 1:49 PM

Yes, it does, but it's a modern-day name. The meaning given to the name is "work of god", deriving from "Amal", meaning work, and "ya", meaning pertaining to god (the same ending found on many, many Biblical Hebrew names, such as Zachariah and Nechemia/Nehemiah).

I know that it was a popular name during the early Zionist movement because they believed that they were doing the work of god. Today, it's not a name given to children, (secular Israelis ot today often gravitate towards unisex nature names,) but I know of several mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers of Israelis who have this name.

I think that it's really beautiful.

By EVie
July 9, 2012 1:55 PM

Cool, I didn't know that—thanks for that info! I think it's beautiful, too, though I would stick with the German pronunciation as it's a family name for me and I like the nn Molly. Too bad DH has unpleasant associations with it and says no :(

July 9, 2012 2:12 PM

My pleasure :) Isn't that one of the best thing about frequenting this site?!

That is too bad! I think that for me, the different pronunciations and liking other lia-ending names a tiny bit more mean that I likely won't use it either, but I really do think that it's a lovely name.

It's interesting that the Germanic and Hebraic roots are the same. Can someone with more ancient language background than I have explain how common this is?

(For interest, here is a link about the use of "amal", meaning "work", in the Bible.)

July 9, 2012 8:36 PM

The child I knew of named Amalia might have had her name derived from this root.  The mother had a very pronounced, sub culture specific New York accent (like Fran Drescher).

July 8, 2012 9:41 PM

I like both Ottavia and Olive.  Ottavia is likely to get occaisionally confused with Octavia but I don't see it as a big deal. Olive is lovely and a bit underused. I've only ever come accross one Olive, although it does get a lot of mentions in hipster circles.

Amalia is pretty but I agree it is on-trend. I have seen a few announcements for Amalia/Amahlia's in recent months and I know an Amahlia that was born last month.  With all the Amelias and Marleys around it won't feel that different. It is a nice name though.

Lola is not a name I love. I just find it too cutesy. As a nickname for something else though I'd be on board. I know lots of people love Lola, so feel free to ignore me!

Everleigh is ok. I kind of like the sound but it does seem VERY trendy right now. If you don't want to be caught up in a craze I'd give it a miss.

Huxley and Wylan are just not my style. If they were a family surname or had signifcant meaning I could maybe come around but both read male and a bit creative to me. 

July 8, 2012 11:51 PM

Wow, thanks for all the great feedback! I tend to agree with you all.  DH really likes Huxley for a boy or girl, but I only like it for a boy.  When we found out we were having a girl, I let it go but he still wanted it on the list.  Wylan is masculine too but I do like it.  We both like Ottavia and Amalia, but I'm not sure if they are the right fit.  I should say that Deirdre is the middle name no matter what, and I'm not sure how those two names would go with Deirdre. 

I'm totally open to other suggestions that are unusual without being crazy or trendy. I don't want my daughter to constantly correct people but I also don't want her to be one of 3 in her class. 

By hyz
July 9, 2012 10:29 AM

I agree with pretty much everyone else.  I love Amalia and Ottavia, and Olive as well.  All beautiful, interesting, and unusual.  Lola is cuter and less substantial than these first 3--I don't love it as a full name for a girl (although I did have a dog named Lola, and it seems to be very popular for pets).  Even so, I would still pick Lola over Everleigh, Huxley, or Wylan.  Everly is ok with this spelling, but is pretty trendy now, but I think the -leigh spelling knocks the name a bit more "downmarket".  Huxley and Wylan also sound male to me, so those are my least favorite. 

July 9, 2012 12:46 PM

I agree with all of this!  Amalia, Ottavia, and Olive are all great.  Which one of them I'd pick depends on the sound of your last name.

I'd also want a more substantial name with Lola as a nickname. I know Dolores is traditional, but I can't get over the meaning of sadness (as in the word dolorous). It's kind of a stretch, but what about Gloria, nicknamed Lola?

I wouldn't choose Everleigh, Huxley, or Wylan.

By Guest (not verified)
July 9, 2012 12:56 PM

I think Ottavia and Olive are lovely (O names are so appealing!).  Olive would be my first choice though, just to avoid the eventual confusion between Octavia/Ottavia.

By EVie
July 9, 2012 1:40 PM

I adore Amalia, and it would have been #1 on my list if my husband hadn't vetoed it. Yes, it might get confused with Amelia, but you can have the comfort of knowing that Amalia is the older name; Amelia seems to have arisen sometime in the 17th century or so as a hybrid of Amalia and Emilia (both ancient but unrelated names). Amalia Deirdre is a stellar combo—I really like how the two-syllable meter and more low-key feel of Deirdre complements the flowiness of Amalia. 

I also really like Ottavia, and it will fit beautifully with an Italian last name (though it will then make the whole thing sound very, very Italian—is that something you want?) My one concern would be pronounciation confusion. Ottavia is pronounced oh-TAH-vee-ah—not like Octavia minus the c, aw-TAY-vee-ah. I don't know how you are pronouncing it, but you will probably get a mix of people who realize what the name is and how it's pronounced, and people who don't, so either way there will be mistakes. On the upside, Tavia (TAH-vee-ah) or Tavi make really pretty and highly distinctive nicknames (I've never known an Ottavia, but I did know an Ottavio who went by Tavo). Ottavia Deirdre also sounds great—Ottavia has the same meter and flowy quality as Amalia, so Deirdre balances it in the same way.

I like Olive next best, though I find it less interesting than the first two; it always makes me think of olive green, which is kind of a drab color. Still, if you decide you want to go with something less showy and feminine than Amalia or Ottavia, I think this is the best choice. Lola is cute, but better as a nickname—it tends to make me think of Lolita, which is not a good association. I don't realy care for the combos Olive Deirdre or Lola Deirdre—they both sound choppy, particularly Lola.

Huxley, Everleigh and Wylan are just not my style. I do find Everley appealing as an example of the surname style, and I could get on board with it spelled this way (or possibly Everly, though I think the -e- balances it better), but the -leigh, while etymologically justifiable, just makes it look too trendy and kreative. Everley Deirdre does sound nice as a combo. Honestly speaking, I just don't find the other two to be attractive names—specifically, the syllables Hux and Wy. Hux in particular sounds like a retching sound to me, and Wylan sounds whiny when I say it aloud (and I'm so sorry if that offends you—I'm just trying to fully explain my negative reaction to these names).

July 11, 2012 9:11 AM

Knowing this pronunciation has sold me on the name.  At first I wasn't sure, but the more I say it, the more I like it.  And I love the nn Tavia or Tavi.  Who wouldn't want to be a Tavia?  And with your Italian lastname you can easily pull it off.  It's unlikely that anyone who knows your Ottavia will also know an Octavia, so name confusion seems less likely to me.

The question is if you plan more children, would you like this style?  I could see Amalia as a sister to Ottavia, but I couldn't see Everleigh or Brayden as siblings. 

By Guest (not verified)
July 9, 2012 4:24 PM

Amalia and Everleigh are the best. 


July 9, 2012 10:20 PM

I so appreciate all of the thoughtful responses! DH and I both love Ottavia and Amalia and it's nice to see that so many others agree.  I just keep feeling like we need to keep looking though - not sure why.  None of the names on our list seem like THE name. 

July 10, 2012 10:19 AM

Another vote for Amalia or Ottavia here!

But if you're not convinced that either is 'the' name for you daughter, maybe one of these might appeal for your shortlist? They're all outside the top 1000 (by a longish way, for the most part).

In the spirit of Amalia and Ottavia: Saskia, Flavia, Leonora, Fiorella, Genoveva, Verena, Christabel, Zenovia, Ginevra, Jessamyn, Xanthe, Ornella, Cosima, Nerissa.

In the spirit of Huxley, Everleigh, and Wylan: Afton, Bellamy, Everil/Averil, Lux, Flannery, Halcyon, Ever.

July 13, 2012 5:44 PM

So it's looking good for Ottavia.  I love the NN Tavi/Tavia.  And it's definitely DH's very favorite.  I would feel better if we had one more strong contender that was Irish/Celtic, but I suppose since our DD1's name is Irish and DD2's middle name will be Celtic, I don't need to hoard all of them!