11 Baby Names With Totally Unexpected Meanings

There are few things people who aren't actually parents like ruminating over more than hypothetical baby names. Basically, you get all of the fun of planning for an imaginary baby without any of the responsibility (or the mess). When we pick names for real babies though, it might be worth considering a few baby names with unexpected meanings — because sometimes, standing out from the crowd is a very good thing indeed.

For some people, choosing a name that isn't super common or popular is a priority, while others don't pay any attention at all to how popular a name is at the time. Regardless to a a name's popularity, however, the original meaning of the name can easily be swept around the rug — for better or for worse. 

I'm not one to think that the meaning of a name dictates anything about a person, but you never really know what forces go into the world or into shaping people; you can make some pretty strong arguments that when you choose someone's name, you're choosing more than just the word they use in their signatures. Regardless to what meaning you personally find in names, or how much you think is "passed on" through being someone's namesake, it's always cool to learn more about the history and origins of a name you're giving someone that they'll (likely) have their entire lives. 

Here are 11 names that I think have particularly cool and unexpected meanings, because it's always fun to learn a little more trivia. And hey, maybe it'll be useful for some of you!

1. Salome 

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"Salome" is a gorgeous name meaning "hope." It's a Hebrew name with biblical origins and often tied to dances and operas throughout history.

2. Rosalia

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"Rosalia" sounds like a cute and upbeat name, but it has a slightly darker history: It's of Spanish and Italian descent, and goes back to the annual Roman celebration of hanging roses on tombs. Lovely, but somber.

3. Cassandra 

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"Cassandra" is a lovely name of Greek origin that has a few different meanings. Pretty much everyone agrees Cassandra means "prophetess," but many others link Cassandra to "she who entangles men"; the name Cassandra was often associated with adultery in historical Greek dramas.

4. Logan

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"Logan" is an awesome name that traditionally works for both men and women; it translates to "small hollow" (as in, "a small valley or basin"; think Godric's Hollow).  It's of Scottish origin, with its popularity rising and falling over the years for both girls and boys.

5. Leah

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I've always seen "Leah" as a gentle, sweet name, but it actually translates to "weary," which has a more somber, reflective touch than I anticipated. Leah is a Hebrew name that appears frequently in the Old Testament. 

6. Saul

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"Saul' is another Hebrew name on the list that translates to "wished for, prayed for." Historically, Saul was the first King of Israel and in Judaism is associated with a quiet, peaceful disposition.

7. Ralph

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"Ralph" is one of my favorite names for little kids because I think it's adorably retro. It apparently translates to "wolf counsel" in its orginal German form. The French version of Ralph is "Raoul," which also means "wolf counsel."

8. Valentina

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"Valentina" is a Latin name that means "strength" or "health" and is the feminine form of the name "Valentine." It's closely related to the more popular version of the name, "Valerie."

9. Linnea 

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"Linnea" is a lovely name of Swedish descent that translates to "lime tree" or "twinflower." Today, Linnea is very popular in both Norway and Sweden, but hasn't picked up a ton in the United States — yet!

10. Cameron

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"Cameron" is a name that's commonly used for either boys or girls. It's of Scottish descent and translates into the phrase "crooked nose" or "bent nose" — which is, I think, pretty specific and unusual, given how popular it is!

11. Theo

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"Theo" as a girl's name used to be quite popular, but is rarely heard nowadays in the United States. It's derived from "Theodera," which is the feminine version of the more popular "Theodore." Theo means "divine gift" and comes from Greek originally. 

Images: Pixabay/Pexels; Giphy (12)

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