There are the names you put on your baby name list, and then there are the names you wonder about. You hear them and can’t help but think: “What kind of name is that? Where does it come from? Do people actually name their kids that?”
All that wondering brings readers to our Namipedia, making the pages for names like Katniss and Django as popular as pages for trendy baby names. We’ve scoured our stats for the most wondered-about names—names with heavy Namipedia traffic that are rare-to-nonexistent in the baby name realm. Here are some of the girls’ names the American public is wondering about right now.
Zazie Beetz. Image: foxmovies.com
Zazie. Actress Zazie Beetz was the breakout star of the Marvel film Deadpool 2. As the superhero Domino she captured attention with her insouciance, her showstopping look, and her name. The name Zazie is a French nickname (sometimes short for Isabelle), but run through a German filter. Beetz was born in Germany, and her parents took her name from the 1960 French film Zazie dans le Métro and pronounced it with a German twist: ZAH-see.
Nymphadora. Even in the exotic naming realm of the Harry Potter books, the name of shapeshifter Nymphadora Tonks stands out. Nymphadora is an old saint’s name, from the Greek for bride/nymph + gift. Its resemblance to the word “nymphomania,” though, has helped keep parents away, and the Harry Potter character herself preferred to go by her surname Tonks.
Tully. In the 2018 film “Tully,” Tully is the name of a female nanny who helps out an overstressed mother. Outside the film, Tully is an occasional male nickname, an Irish and Scottish surname, and a name that was once commonly used to refer to the Roman orator Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero). It’s rare but familiar, and the movie usage could help it catch on for girls.
Stamatina. Tina has been familiar as a given name for decades, but it started out as a nickname. Most often it was short for Christina, Martina, or Katarina. In the case of comedian Tina Fey, though, Tina comes from Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. Stamatina is a Greek name coming from a root meaning “stop”; Fey was named after her Greek great-grandmother.
Nike. Ah, if it weren’t for the swoosh! Nike was a Greek goddess, the personification of victory. The name’s appealing roots, simple, spiky sound, and fashionable Grecian -e ending would likely make it a hot baby name today, if not for the sports apparel company. As it is, Nike remains much-researched but seldom-used.
Nymeria. In the Game of Thrones world, Nymeria is a legendary warrior queen. Her name became a classic in her native land, and is carried into the present in two suitably warrior-like namesakes: whip-wielding rebel Nymeria Sand, and a wolf companion of young swordfighter Arya Stark.
Cressida. The recent interest in Cressida was sparked by Cressida Bonas, a former girlfriend of Prince Harry who attended his royal wedding. Previously, the name was linked to the Toyota Cressida, a sedan sold from the 1970s-’90s. But before all that, Cressida was steeped in classic literature. Cressida is the medieval English form of Chryseis, a woman of Homer’s Iliad, and was immortalized by the Shakespeare play Troilus and Cressida.
Gamora. The green-skinned Guardian of the Galaxy, Gamora is called “the deadliest woman in the whole Galaxy.” As embodied by Zoe Saldana in a series of Marvel films, she is also one of the most charismatic. The smoothly sinister sound of Gamora’s name, fueled by the “mor” root, is echoed in other super-powered names like Amora the Enchantress.
Read More: past girls’ and boys’ names everyone wonders about