Andrew- Derived from the Greek word for “manly,” Andrew has been worn by men from Jesus’ disciples to US Presidents. It’s perennially popular in the US, never falling out of the top 100 names for boys.
Arezoo- This exotic name comes from the Persian word for “wish,” making it a great option for a long-awaited child. Variant spellings abound- Arzu, Arezou, and Arezu are all used.
Bijou- Although it’s French for “jewel,” Bijou isn’t used often in France. It may be a bit too precious- something akin to “Honey” or “Princess.”
Malou and Lilou- Both names are fairly popular in France, and the two have similar origins. Malou is a smoosh of Marie Louise and Lilou is either a smoosh of Lili and Louise or a nickname for names containing the “lee” sound. They’re among the most wearable -oo names for girls.
Ioannu- This old Slavic form of John makes for a very unusual spin on a very familiar name.
Bayou (pictured)- This nature name describes the unusual bodies of water (typically slow-moving streams or marshy wetlands with poorly defined shorelines) found along the Gulf Coast. The name is derived from a Native American word to describe those natural features. Bayou makes for a unique unisex choice that could honor a Louisiana heritage.
Matthew- Like Andrew, this classic name worn by a biblical disciple has always been popular in the United States. Matthew comes from the Hebrew Mattiyahu, meaning “gift of Yahweh.” Latinate variants Mateo and Matteo could give Matthew a run for its money- they rank #85 and #191 and are rising quickly.
Netanyahu- Although it’s famous as the surname of Israeli prime minister Benjamin, Netanyahu is also a variant of the Old Testament name Nethaniah. Netanyahu (or Nethaniah) could be an option for daring parents tired of the similar sounding but unrelated Nathaniel.
Peru- Legend has it that the name of the country came from either a random local the Spaniards came across early in their travels or the name of a 16th century ruler. But Peru as a name isn’t just South American; it’s also a Basque variant of Peter.
Bartholomew- Derived from a Greek name that was itself from an Aramaic name, Bartholomew is a classic name that’s fallen decidedly out of fashion. I’d be surprised if it’s revived on a major scale any time soon, but I could see it or variants like Bartow, Parthalan, or Barthelemy appealing to adventurous parents.
Zuzu- A sweet and zippy nickname for Susan and its variants, Zuzu was the name of George Bailey’s daughter in the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life.