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Place Names

In This Article:

Page 3

Specks on the Map

These names are very rare or very out of date and are definitely for parents wanting to find something that's really out of the ordinary.

Boys' Names:

  • Clifford: An English place name meaning "ford near the cliff." Probably a poor candidate for a comeback, thanks to the character Cliff Claven on the television show Cheers.
  • Clyde: This is a Scottish place name derived from the River Clyde. Clive sounds similar to it, but it is an English place name meaning "cliff."
  • Denholm: A Scottish place name that has gained some recognition thanks to urbane English actor Denholm Elliott.
  • Holden: English place name meaning "hollow valley."
  • Lincoln: English place name meaning "poolside town." Even though a famous president bore it and it's the name of a western city, it's not in wide use and probably not destined for it.
  • Nash: English place name meaning "cliff" or "headland." Although its monosyllabic style is preferred by many parents of boys, this name isn't widely used, perhaps because it makes people think of an old car.
  • Mead: An English place name meaning "meadow."

Girls' Names:

  • Arcadia: A pastoral district of ancient Greece, it has come to mean any place of rural peace and simplicity.
  • Hadley: English place name meaning "meadow of heather."
  • Iona: Iona is a small island in the Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. Although this name has Greek overtones, it probably came from an early Gaelic name for the island that was misspelled on a map – a fairly common occurrence.
  • Kenya: Country name as first name. It's used more often than you may think – for example, actress Natassja Kinski and composer Quincy Jones' daughter is named Kenya Julia Miambi Sarah – but it's still uncommon outside of African-American families, and not widely used there, either.
  • Oceania: From the Greek word for "ocean," it's also used to describe an island group in the Pacific.
  • Sevilla: This Spanish city name has Greek roots, and is based on the word sibyl, which means "oracle" or "seer."
  • Tiberia: A Latin place name derived from the river Tiber. Tiberius was also a famous Roman clan name, and it was the middle name of James T. Kirk, the captain of the Starship Enterprise.
  • Tosca: Maybe better known as the name of an opera, it relates to the town of Tuscany in Italy.


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More on: Choosing a Name

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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