Could you you use a nearly totally unique name?

(94 Posts)
AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:21:39

I've thought of a girls name I really like. It is used as a surname, and is not on the 2011 baby name charts for England and Wales at all, but I googled it and found details of one person - a writer - with this name so it is 'out there'.

The name is gorgeous but I don't know whether I'm brave enough to use it! It sounds like a first name, can be shortened to a reasonably popular diminutive and I don't know why more people haven't used it, but I can imagine myself going to mother and baby groups, introducing my baby and being met with blank looks. There is a certain comfort in using a name that dozens of people have used before you.

Could you use a name like this?

Pendipidy Fri 30-Nov-12 10:24:17

you are going to have to tell us what the name is! don't worry, i doubt a million mn ers. are you going to beat you to it...

DawnOfTheDee Fri 30-Nov-12 10:25:42

Need to know what it is Alex....


We cannot pass comment before hearing the name!

Ah go on, go on, go on!

NotInMyDay Fri 30-Nov-12 10:26:07

It utterly depends on the name. You are going to get multiple requests to spill grin

So... spill...

I used to pull a cats bum face at 'our there' names but it really is more common now to be a bit original. An 'out there' name is preferable to a 'normal' name with a stupid spelling IMHO.


I would use a unique name as long as I couldn`t imagine any horrific derivatives or the initials didnt spell something odd.

I order for a true opinion you will have to share the name.

NotInMyDay Fri 30-Nov-12 10:27:24

Also my DD's name used to be an English surname before it was a girl's first name.

goralka Fri 30-Nov-12 10:27:34

how can a name be 'nearly totally unique' - it is either unique or it isn't!
c'mon, tell us what it is!

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:30:22

Ah, sod it - the name is Bettany (could be shortened to Betty or Betsy).

amck5700 Fri 30-Nov-12 10:31:04

Just because there is only one coming up on google doesn't mean to say that only one person has it and don't the england and wales lists only give you names that over 3 people have used?

Wouldn't bother me, my son has a rare-ish spelling of an uncommon name - kids don't bat an eyelid, adults get used to it and the name becomes them.

If you like it and it sounds nice then I would use it.

I'd also love to know what it is and wouldn't steal it, my baby days are past now.

Hmmm...I.forsee a lot of "No, not Bethany, Bettany. No....BETTany"

AlphaBeta82 Fri 30-Nov-12 10:32:41

My son is called Iden and I have a game to try and find it in name books etc! i love the fact it unique. Everyone thought it was unusual but are used to it now. Go for it!!

As in Paul?? confused

Nope. It kinda sounds like a Victorian gentleman's name. Not very feminine.

Or Bethany said incorrectly.

But Betty and Betsy are both fab. Is Elizabeth an option?

Just got for Betty or Betsy.

seeker Fri 30-Nov-12 10:33:53

The only problem i can see is that people will mishear Bethany. Particularly when she's little and if she has a lisp!

And I think you'd have to love Bet and Betty.

NotInMyDay Fri 30-Nov-12 10:34:07

I predict years of this:

Stranger: Hello. What's your name?
Your DD: Bettany
Stranger: Bethany?
Your DD: No. BeTTany!!!

If you can cope with that then go ahead. It's a pretty sounding name.

SavoyCabbage Fri 30-Nov-12 10:34:24

Elizabeth is a cracking name.

NotInMyDay Fri 30-Nov-12 10:34:44

X post. Stupid slow fingers grin

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:35:41

I like Elizabeth but it's one of the most common women's names ever! I would like to be a little more original if I can.

The Bethany/Bettany thing had occurred to me.

It's.common for a reason.

Look at names on last years list that have 20 or less - very rare but still.not totally unheard of.

There were 13 girls born last year with the same name as dd (sorry 12 as she was one of them).

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:37:11

Betty and Betsy just strike me more as nicknames? I'd like a more 'proper' sounding name to go on the birth certificate.

HullyEastergully Fri 30-Nov-12 10:37:58

Something can't be "nearly" unique. It either is or it isn't. And neither do you need "totally."

DawnOfTheDee Fri 30-Nov-12 10:38:15

Oooh I quite like Bettany. Unusual but not too out there. I'd go for it OP. smile

Hmm...well, i'm in the camp of putting on the BC the name you will use. DDs name is a potential NN for two longer names, both of which I don't like.and would never use but I love the nn.

akaemmafrost Fri 30-Nov-12 10:40:11

I like it.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:40:23

Regarding Bettany/Bethany and the possibility of them getting mixed up, when you think about it this is a possibility with lots of names. Rosalyn and Rosalind, just one example of the top of my head.

ohfunnyface Fri 30-Nov-12 10:41:36

I quite like it!

But then I'm 7 months pregnant and thinking Oak is a pretty cool name after laughing at someone's story of their heightened hormonal state making them determined to name their son it.

Go for it, if you like it, you like it. .

amck5700 Fri 30-Nov-12 10:41:58

My Aunt was an Elizabeth called Bunty - that's a bit more unusual.

I think the Bethany thing would annoy me (and Bethany is not a name I poarticularly like) I prefer Bettany to be honest but I wouldn't use it just because of the Bethany thing.

That's me though, if you like either and it doesn't bother you then go for it.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:42:25

There's no need to get snitty, Hully.

Monthlyfestivities Fri 30-Nov-12 10:42:57

I really like the sound of bettany. Doesn't sound to out there go for it. As with the whole Bethany/bettany I see that as no problem. I have had to spell my first and surname my whole life but it really doesn't bother me. I like that my name is unique

HullyEastergully Fri 30-Nov-12 10:43:16

That's not snitty, that's helpful guidance.

orangepudding Fri 30-Nov-12 10:45:40

The child will forever be saying 'Bettany not Bethany' to any new people she meets.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:45:41

hmm, Hully.

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 10:45:50

I've heard of it - well it doesn't sound that odd or unusual to me iyswim. I'd totally get it if someone told me their child was called it.

No problem that I can see.

Ds3 is due in a few weeks and his name is pretty unusual - but I love it and will be using it even if no one else does (my other sons want to use his middle name, so I've said that's fine)

So yes I could do it. It's that or use a name I don't really like iyswim - I really struggled with boys' names, having used the ones I liked already!

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 10:46:26

Hully is being silly with you...don't worry about her grin

HullyEastergully Fri 30-Nov-12 10:47:15

No I'm not. These things matter.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Fri 30-Nov-12 10:48:58

I thought it was going to be something much more erm audacious; but when I saw Bettany my first thought was that it was sweet...I really like it.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:49:11

I have a first name I constantly have to spell out because it has an alternative spelling, and I never realised 'til I started thinking about baby names how much that bugs me (though I think that's mainly because the way I spell is by far the most common way of spelling it - people are just so thick!).

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:49:42

Sorry, spell it.

bigbluebump Fri 30-Nov-12 10:50:01

Bettany sounds beautiful and people will quickly learn how to say/spell it. Think of the names Catherine/Katharine/Kathyrn/Cathryn and many others that constantly need to spelled out! At least with Bettany you spell it like you say it.

Great choice, OP, go for it!

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 10:50:38

I think we need a Pedant Pendant. Instead of a string of pearls to clutch.

I'd wear one.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:51:21

It is nice, isn't it, FlipFlops? You see what I mean about not understanding why more people haven't used it.

DinosaurSchool Fri 30-Nov-12 10:52:59

I think some of it depends on what her surname will be. Both my surnames have been unusual and needed spelling. Luckily my first name is fairly straightforward. But my brother has an unusual Christian name too and he has spent his whole life spelling his whole name.

I've given all 3 dc's easy to spell names because of this. My friends surname is Jackson so she gave her ds a verrrry unusually spelt name.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 10:55:08

Our surname is very common. Another reason for not wanting use Elizabeth or anything like that as she'd be one of hundreds.

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Fri 30-Nov-12 10:58:16

I know, it is funny that more people haven't used it...but great news for you - go for it.

ChestnutsRoastingonaWitchesTit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:03:29


Sounds similar to lots of things. I suppose you can make lots of nearly unique names if you change one letter.

I always thought Crayon would make a good name.

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 11:04:42

Unless people don't like Paul. (who is he anyway?)

I always liked the name Celery, if we're talking about odd stuff. grin

I know a Betony, like the herb, and think it's a lovely name - similar sound but maybe slightly easier to explain the spelling?

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 11:06:24

Tad harsh, Chestnuts.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 11:06:58

Paul Bettany, the actor.

Leafmould Fri 30-Nov-12 11:08:46

Like it.

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 11:09:07

How was she harsh?

amillionyears Fri 30-Nov-12 11:09:25

My DDs best friend at school had a made up name, which had a letter added to a more common girls name. Both mother and daughter still like the name.
though I have had times and moments, when I just cannot remember the name for the life of me, as have no other reference

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 11:11:46

I think Bettany is a bit better than Crayon!

RooneyMara Fri 30-Nov-12 11:15:18

I think she was just musing!

AWimbaWay Fri 30-Nov-12 11:18:36

I really like it.

hf128219 Fri 30-Nov-12 11:21:37

There was a thread on this! Sept.

booklava Fri 30-Nov-12 11:23:08

I like it as well, my dd1 has a very unusual name which I also try to find in baby name books same as AlphaBeta82. Problem with dd's name is nn is Matty and teachers at school (esp supply) used to think she was a boy. 1 even asked if she was sure it was her!

ChestnutsRoastingonaWitchesTit Fri 30-Nov-12 11:25:58

I think Bettany is nicer than Crayon too!

I wasn't being harsh, just offering an alternative opinion.

tilder Fri 30-Nov-12 11:30:42

I don't think the link to the herb was harsh. Betony is a herb. You did ask what people think of the name and for some, like me, it will remind them of the plant.

I do appreciate that choice of a child's name can be sensitive, but I think if you choose an unusual name you may need to be prepared for people having a different take on it than you do. Although doesn't need to be unusual for that either.

If it worries or upsets you that people may have a different take on your chosen name now, will it worry you when your child is born?

Floggingmolly Fri 30-Nov-12 11:34:14

Bettany instead of Bethany and you reckon it's "totally" unique? confused
It really is not out there, if this is your first criteria.

AlexanderS Fri 30-Nov-12 11:43:06

Flogging, when I said it was out there I meant it has been used, i.e. it is out there in the world, not that it was weird and wonderful!

It's fairly unique in that in seems not to have been used by anybody except this one person, though there probably are a few others floating around somewhere.

Pixieonthemoor Fri 30-Nov-12 13:25:46

I think Betony is rather sweet!

In answer to your original question, we named our dd a name that is, using your phrase, almost totally unique. It doesn't shorten to anything usual either but I have never regretted it for a minute, even though I quite often have to spell it and we do get some unusual interpretations!! Therefore I would say go for it esp as I think you say somewhere upthread that you have a common surname (as do we). Lovely to be a bit different.

Puremince Fri 30-Nov-12 13:51:34

As a fan of the Chalet School books, it makes me think of the wonderful Joey Bettany. So I like it. If I met a little Bettany, I might ask if her mother was a fellow Chalet School.

However, I think unusual names work better as middle names. (DD has a top 20 first name and a unique middle name.)

TuftyFinch Fri 30-Nov-12 13:59:02

I've been in a film with Paul Bettany.
Just saying.
At least I'm not being snitty.
I like Betsey.

Puremince Fri 30-Nov-12 13:59:22

* a fellow Chalet School enthusiast.

There's Bettany Hughes, though the first time I saw her name written I was surprised, because I'd thought she was a Bethany.

Snowflakepie Fri 30-Nov-12 17:44:29

I thought of Bettany Hughes too, which is fine as she is an intelligent woman and I enjoy her tv shows.
Couldn't use it myself as we have the same surname though, that's taking hero worship a step too far.
People might mishear it but then they can mishear anything, I have to say my own name, surname and DDs name repeatedly and they are not weird in anyway. So don't worry about that. I think it's a lovely choice.

seeker Fri 30-Nov-12 17:51:00

How about Maynard- shortened to Maynie?

LegArmpits Fri 30-Nov-12 17:54:41

I actually really like it. I'm not even sure it's that unusual, although I don't know anyone named it, if that makes sense.

BikeRunSki Fri 30-Nov-12 17:57:05

I have a unique middle name (I check periodically, but it has never appeared on name lists in the UK since I was born) and loathed it. Children don't like unique, children like to blend it. I used to tell people my middle name was Laura.

As for Bettany - I agree with the potential for Bethany confusion and that it doesn't sound very feminine.

LittleBearPad Fri 30-Nov-12 19:13:41

Seeker grin

If you had a boy OP you could call it Russell

pinkposey Sat 01-Dec-12 18:33:35

I like it and think that it sounds beautiful. My son's name is totally unique. I made it up. Reddon. It sounds like a name but it isn't, or wasn't. It isn't really that out there, people always tend to think that it must be an old family name. He suits it and everyone (now) loves it.

jellyrolly Sat 01-Dec-12 18:41:39

I like it.

I have a first name that sounds like a more common one and always have to correct people. It doesn't really annoy me because I spend most of the time with people I have met more than once, not total strangers.

(I know someone who had a fling with Paul Bettany, just saying)

Journey Sat 01-Dec-12 18:50:50

I don't think it sounds very unusual because it is so like Bethany. I think some people might think you're trying too hard to be a bit different though by using a slightly different version of a very well known name.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 19:24:34

Sounds like a surname to me.

Or someone not saying Bethany properly.

diddlediddledumpling Sat 01-Dec-12 19:35:21

There's a tv presenter called Bettany Hughes, I'm surprised nobody has mentioned her yet.

diddl Sat 01-Dec-12 19:38:20

Two posters have!grin

MoelFammau Sat 01-Dec-12 21:52:27

I like Bettany. Isn't it a flower? It's a proper name.

Look, almost EVERY name causes confusion amongst strangers. Our DD is Robin and every bloody time it's 'oh, with a Y or an I?'. Sara/Sarah, Lisa/Liza, Rachael/Rachel, Claire/Clare, Cath/Kath.... Whatever the name you can guarantee a stranger getting muddled.

The thing is, it doesn't matter. My own name is pretty out there - I'm the only one on Google if you add surname (maiden or married) - and I've never ever met another in 34 years. I spell it constantly. People get in wrong constantly. But people REMEMBER it and that's a positive. It's not the end of the world if people can't spell it or pronounce it right the first time (or 20).

I wanted Ronja or Phlox for DD. Parental pressure pushed us into Robin. Funnily enough, I confessed to DP today that I wish we'd picked Ronja and he agreed. At the end of the day, you have to use the name. Everyone else will adjust. Wish we'd been stronger.

Bettany is lovely.

diddlediddledumpling Sat 01-Dec-12 22:36:48

Sorry, diddl, scanned through the posts, must have missed it. Am a bit dopey at the minute.
I like the name, btw.

EmpressOfTheNorthPole Sat 01-Dec-12 22:49:57

I thought Chalet School fan too. DD has a fairly unusual name that has 2 different spellings. It annoys her when people don't get it right but she says she stilll wouldn't want to change it, so if you really like Bettany I'd go for it, and use whichever short works for you.

I'm not a fan of cutesy nicknames on BCs though, but that's just me.

ScumbagCollegeDropout Sun 02-Dec-12 12:45:23

I like it.

Love Betty as a nickname.

1978andallthat Sun 02-Dec-12 16:12:01

As a rule I don't like made up names but this is actually rather nice

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sun 02-Dec-12 16:19:11

I like it but I wouldn't use it because of the lifetime of correcting it from 'Bethany'.

In RL I really wanted to call DD Amabel but she would constantly have had to correct people back from 'Annabel' so we went with the nn spelling. And now have to spell it out every time as there are so many spelling variations grin

MrsEdinburgh Sun 02-Dec-12 16:28:21

Lovely name, go for it.

AuntieShirley Mon 03-Dec-12 16:29:24

I went to school with a Betony, which is practically the same name, so it seems perfectly ordinary to me. I like the nn potential, and it is close enough to Bethany not to seem to weird.

EcoLady Mon 03-Dec-12 16:34:35

I thought of the flower Betony. One of its other names is Woundwort, as in Gneral Woundwort in Watership Down.

Bettany is a pretty name though - I can see why you like it.

Chelvis Tue 04-Dec-12 14:15:20

I was considering Bettany, when my friend randomly mentioned that she was considering it for her baby... I don't think it will be unique for long!

SirBoobAlot Tue 04-Dec-12 14:20:36

Its okay. I prefer Bethan, though.

delilah88 Tue 04-Dec-12 16:39:04

I went to school with a Bettany! I never liked the name though, as a young girl.

OkayHazel Wed 05-Dec-12 01:42:02

I knew a Brettony, if that helps?

TheCatInTheHairnet Wed 05-Dec-12 02:05:53

I know 2 Bettany's!!

AlexanderS Wed 05-Dec-12 07:27:31

What ages, TheCatInTheHairnet?

TheCatInTheHairnet Wed 05-Dec-12 14:16:12

One is a toddler and the other is in her teens and goes to school with my son. She's American, but the toddler is in the UK.

Ciske Wed 05-Dec-12 14:31:46

I wanted Ronja or Phlox for DD.

As in Ronja the Robber's Daughter? I love that name!

With regards to original names, I think taking a normal name and giving it an alternative spelling is just being original for the sake of it, rather than trying to give the baby a genuinely nice name. If you like the sound of Bethany, just use that.

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