Unique Baby Names From Literature
Bookish Baby Names
Some of the best names out there have the best stories. On the other hand, some of the best stories have the greatest names. There is no end to the baby names for boys and girls that can be found in literature. Whether you are looking to name your new child after a favorite author or character, I've put together a list of unique baby names from literature to help inspire you.
If you are having a tough time deciding on a name for your baby, maybe try hosting a naming party where friends and family can put different options up for a vote.
Author Names for Girls
For hundreds of years, there have been some pretty impressive female authors that have produced some of the greatest literary works of all time. Here are five well known women writers with some pretty interesting names that can make for a unique baby girl's name from literature.
Beatrix Potter is a famous English author known for her children's books. Born Helen Beatrix Potter, she published about 23 books total, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902).
The name Beatrix most likely came from Viatrix, a feminine form of the Latin name Viator, which meant "voyager" or "traveler." The spelling was later altered with association with the Latin term beatus, which means "blessed."
CharlotteBrontë was yet another English author and poet. She is most well known for her classic, Jane Eyre (1847).
Charlotte is the feminine form of the name Charles. Charles simply means "man" or "manly," so Charlotte is more like "feminine manly."
The first American author to make this list is Harper Lee, who is known for her classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). While her real name is Nelle Harper Lee, Harper still makes for a great potential name for a baby of either gender, since it is considered gender neutral even though it is mainly given to girls.
Harper simply means "harp player."
One of my personal favorite female American authors is Toni Morrison. Morrison's works include Beloved (1987) and The Bluest Eye (1970).
In English, Toni is simply an abbreviated version of Antoinette or Antonia. In French, it means "beyond praise."
Willa Cather is another American female novelist, known for novels about frontier life, such as My Ántonia (1918).
Willa is the feminine form of William and means "resolute protection."
Baby Name Spellings
Almost every name out there has a different variation on how it's spelled. Don't be afraid to take your favorite name inspired by literature and choose a different spelling if you don't like how it looks.
Author Names for Boys
Of course, there is also no end to the amount of boys names that can be found in the list of male authors over the centuries. Just like women writers, the men can inspire some unique baby boy's names as well.
Bram Stoker was an Irish author whose best known work, Dracula (1897), continues to inspire Hollywood and entertainment today.
It's no surprise to learn that Bram Stoker's real first name was Abraham, since Bram is the short form of Abram or Abraham. The meaning of Bram is "bramble" or "raven."
For those looking for inspiration from authors a little more kid friendly, C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-1956) is one of the best. Ever wonder what that C and S stand for? Clive Staples Lewis.
The meaning of Clive is "cliff" or "slope."
Elie Wiesel is a Romanian-born author of 57 books, including the infamous Night (1960).
Elie is a variant form of Eli, which means "high."
Yet another of my personal favorites, Aldous Huxley was a British author, best known for Brave New World (1932).
Huxley is an Old English name, meaning "Hugh's meadow,"
Jules Verne was a French novelist who wrote science fiction and adventure novels. His best known works include Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864).
Jules is a Latin name that means "youthful."
Choosing a Baby Name
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Literary Character Names for Girls
Whether they are the main heroine, the best friend, or any one of the minor characters within a novel, authors come up with some of the best names that only make their most interesting characters all the more memorable. Here are a few more unique names from literature based on a few popular literary characters.
Victor Hugo's Les Miserables (1862) features Cosette, a child that is left by her mother to be exploited and victimized by those that are supposed to care for her. Despite this, she grows up to be a beautiful girl that is also smart, brave, and positive.
Cosette means "little thing."
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter is most admirable for her smarts, bravery, and loyalty to her friends. She's a bit of a know-it-all but you can't help but admire a young girl who loves books.
The origins for Hermione aren't really very clear. It is derived from Hermes and some say it means "traveller" and "messenger."
Hester Prynne is the protagonist in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850). She's considered one of the most important female protagonists in American literature. Condemned by her neighbors, Hester is defiant, full of contradictions, and a clear example of a good girl gone bad.
Hester is a Greek name, meaning "evening star."
Okay, so maybe Lolita isn't the most admirable of characters, since most might associate the name with underage sex. She's overly sexual for her age, vulgar, and childish but if you're willing to take a leap with this name, go for it. If it helps, the character's real name is Dolores.
Lolita is the Spanish variant of Lola and means "sorrow."
Scarlette O'Hara is the protagonist in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind (1936). She's a little vain and spoiled but highly intelligent and independent.
Scarlett simply means "red" or "one who sells or wears scarlet cloth."
Baby names don't always have to be inspired by an author or literary character's first name. Even last names can make for some unique baby names, like a few of them featured on this list.
Literary Character Names for Boys
Just like girl's names, there are plenty of boy's names that can be found in literature inspired by your favorite literary characters. Here are just five unique baby names for boys.
Published in 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, This Side of Paradise, features Amory Blaine. Amory is handsome, egocentric, and has great literary ambitions.
The meanings behind Amory include "brave," "hard working," and "powerful."
Atticus Finch is one of many characters in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird with a pretty awesome name. Finch represents morality and reason and never changes his position on an issue in the story.
Atticus is a Latin name that means "from Athens."
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890) features a protagonist named Dorian Gray. He is young, extremely good looking, and a bit vain.
Dorian is used as both a boy and girl's name and means "descendant from Dorus."
Lemuel Gulliver is the storyteller and main character of Jonathan Swift's satire Gulliver's Travels (1726). Gulliver isn't described as being very extraordinary. He is respected, unimaginative, and a bit gullible.
It's difficult to find the name meaning for Gulliver, since it is usually an English surname.
Holden Caulfield is the unforgettable protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Discontented, vulgar, and a questionable narrator, Holden still manages to be one character many readers can't help but relate to.
Ironically, Holden means "gracious."
Shakespearean Baby Names
While it may be pretty modern to come up with very unique names, going back to the classics like Shakespeare is a great way to find names you may have never heard of before. Here are two unique girl's names and two boy's names from Shakespeare.
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, poor Ophelia is beautiful, sweet, and innocent, but a little crazy.
Ophelia comes from the Greek word ophelos meaning "help."
In Twelfth Night, Viola disguises herself as a man. She has the purest love and, like many of Shakespeare's female characters, she doesn't have many faults, which makes her very likeable.
Viola means "flower" or "violet."
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Demetrius isn't a very developed character but he does have a few insensitive moments toward Helena.
Demetrius is a Latin name, meaning "of Demeter."
Fabian is another character from Twelfth Night and also isn't very developed. He is Olivia's servant and plays a pretty minor role.
Fabian is an English name derived from the Roman clan name Fabius.
Baby Names From Shakespeare
Baby Names From Literature
Whether you want to go with a unique baby name from literature or something a bit more simple, there is no end to the inspiration that can be found on a bookshelf. Good luck!
Please feel free to share any of your favorite names from literature in the comments section below.
© 2013 LisaKoski