16 Enchanting Gothic Baby Names That Are Totally Overlooked

Emily Cardoza | Oct 3, 2017 Pregnancy
16 Enchanting Gothic Baby Names That Are Totally Overlooked
Image: iStock.com/ChristopherBernard

baby with angel wings

Baby name trends have embraced inspiration from new gothic literature -- from Belle to Esme to Coraline, names with a tinge of darkness are all the rage. So why not look to classic gothic literature for some baby name inspiration? Names from the minds of beloved authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley provide the perfect starting point. And they are sure to impress fellow literary-minded parents.

Gothic literature is defined by its legendary themes of the supernatural, terror, madness, and sometimes, yes, even romance. It's classic but combined with a bit of otherwordly mystique, which makes it the perfect fodder for finding captivating baby names that touch on the macabre and are infused with magic and passion.

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Some of the names on this list are already trendy, thanks to gothic classics and newer works like Twilight. Others are still relatively unknown in the world of modern baby names. But one trait they all share is a tinge of whistful romance, beauty, and subtle darkness. From the naming experts at BabyNameWizard.com, here are 16 evocative gothic baby names inspired by classic literature and poised to take the trending lists by storm.

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  • Delora

    Little girl by flowers
    Olga Shlyakhtina/Shutterstock

    The melodic sound and innocent look of Delora hides a darker meaning -- it's originally from Dolores, Spanish for "sorrow." This deception adds mystery to an ostensibly suitable alternative for Laura or Dahlia. As for its origin, writer HP Lovecraft was raised by his aunt, Lillian Delora Phillips, and during his childhood was exposed to elements of gothic stories that came out later in his books. The name Delora wasn't used in the US until the decade Lovecraft's work was published. It exudes a sense of secrecy and mystery.

  • Edgar

    baby playing on floor

    Twilight's popularity has helped the name Edward rise, but Edward's dark and brooding brother may be a bit more enticing. Edgar is synonymous with the deviant hero in old romance novels, or their all-too-attractive villains. Of course, it's Poe's first name, but there are dozens of other namesakes: the gentlemanly husband of Catherine in Wuthering Heights, the Impressionist artist Degas, and a few kings of England. Edgar may rank in the top 500, but it's a one-of-a-kind choice for fans of mystery.

  • Christabel

    little girl laughing

    Originally coined in medieval times, Christabel gained familiarity in the nineteenth century through the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge -- a puzzling, fantastical poem that was never finished. The poem apparently influenced much of Edgar Allan Poe's writing -- and why not, since the name is so enchanting. Christabel sounds like a modern amalgamation, but its history and literary basis is pure classic splendor.

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  • Sebastian

    Baby smiling
    Tatiana Chekryzhova/Shutterstock

    The most popular name on this list, Sebastian is recognized far and wide for its refined sound and dashing aura. But even its trendiness can't undermine its elegance! There are plenty of heroic Sebastians in classic literature, and dozens of real-life namesakes from all walks of life -- actors, royalty, athletes. In this case, the positive traits in Sebastian will last a long while.

  • Amabel

    little girl playing

    Another -bel name, Amabel never made the top 1,000 in its history. Short form Mabel took over early on, but while Mabel is adorably vintage, Amabel has a delicate gravitas. Like the similar Annabel, the name was adored in the late nineteenth century, and lends itself to rhythm in poetry and prose ... The softness and solemnity in this name make it fitting for inclusion in a gloom-tinged list.

  • Algernon

    little boy with pumpkins

    One hears the name Algernon, and one thinks of a Victorian gentleman. Even Oscar Wilde counted it as a well-to-do name in The Importance of Being Earnest: "In fact, it is rather an aristocratic name. Half of the chaps who go into the Bankruptcy Court are called Algernon." With Albert and Alfred getting popular in the UK, it shouldn't be long before the Al- names cross the pond. Quite a few noble Brits have been named Algernon in the past, and it's a lovely choice for first or middle placement.

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  • Olympia

    baby in polka dots

    Dramatic and powerful, Olympia conjures visions of goddesses and queens. One can picture a rich and influential Olympia ruling over a gothic villa. There have been a few notable Olympias throughout history, but none so distinguished that the name belongs only to them. The sound is similar to Olivia or Cynthia, and there are quite a few nickname options: Ollie, Pia, or Polly, for example.

  • Montague

    little boy glasses
    iStock.com/Nikhil Patil

    The last name of doomed Romeo, Montague has an air of passion and courage. The name is originally French, but the British have most definitely claimed it -- from Shakespeare to Wodehouse to Sayers, English authors have promoted Montague thoroughly. It has accessibility potential through the vintage nickname Monty, as well as the namesake character in the Thomas the Tank Engine series. Montague may raise a few eyebrows, but it more than stands on its own.

  • Isidora

    little girls giggling

    The name of the tragic heroine of Melmoth the Wanderer, a gothic novel, Isidora is a fascinating and gorgeous alternative to popular Isabella. It's familiar, but just unique enough to make an impression. So far Isidora hasn't graced the top 1,000, but its pretty sound and vague connection with darkness -- see Isadora Duncan or Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events -- will definitely help it to gain followers in the next decade.

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  • Alistair

    Little boy in crib

    This sophisticated, dignified name has an "airy" quality to it, but it's easy to imagine an Alistair inhabiting a dark manor, involved in some sort of romantic intrigue. The name is an English variant of Alexander, and could comfortably displace its more popular cousin. Alistair currently ranks at #391 in England and Wales, and like Algernon, it could conceivably get popular here in the United States.

  • Elinor

    little girl in parent's arms

    This spelling of elegant Eleanor saturates classic literature -- from Melmoth the Wanderer to Sense and Sensibility to Inkheart, Elinors abound. The name has a much more distinguished, noble air than the popular variation, but lends itself to the adorable nicknames Ellie or Nora.

  • Holmes

    little boy running along path

    The most famous detective in Victorian England, Sherlock Holmes is known for prowling around gothic neighborhoods, solving impossible crimes. Though Sherlock might be a bit of a stretch, Holmes is a great literary name in itself. It's not far from Hayes or Hugh in sound, and it's been bestowed upon more than a few people, real and imagined. Holmes toes the line smoothly between mysterious literary honorific and accessible, wearable moniker.

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  • Gregoria

    Little girl with bubbles

    A deviant alternative to sweet Georgia, Gregoria balances an aristocratic sound with an unusual, dynamic strength. Perhaps it's the rare double-g notes, or the middle two syllables that sound like "gory" or Edward Gorey, the neo-gothic author. However, Gregoria does have an intensity that can stop people in their tracks. Gregoria was also the name of a Byzantine empress -- not a bad namesake at all.

  • Jasper

    Little boy giggling with mom

    There's something about Jasper that speaks to mischievous namesakes. The name comes from a type of gemstone, but unlike Ruby and Pearl, Jasper is all boy. It has been rising up US popularity charts recently, probably due to the trend toward everything British, but its acclaim hasn't harmed its quirkiness one bit!

  • Desdemona

    Little girl outside in jean skirt
    Maria Evseyeva/Shutterstock

    The ultimate tragic name, Desdemona literally means "ill-fated." There have been very few real-life Desdemonas, but the name flourishes in literature: Shakespeare's Othello, Toni Morrison's Desdemona, Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex. However, the tragedy of the name might be a draw in itself -- and who wouldn't love a dramatic middle option?

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  • Thatcher

    Little boy laughing being picked up by mom

    Maybe it's the aural connection to a thatched roof, but Thatcher seems like a perfect outdoorsy name to counteract dreary gothic interiors. One can picture a Thatcher exploring the moors in Wuthering Heights or befriending the raven from Poe's eponymous poem. As other occupational names have gained followings -- Mason, Parker, Bailey -- Thatcher will merge seamlessly from the moors to the playground. It's also nearly nickname-proof, and has enough gravity to withstand changing fashions.

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