Broody, Intellectual Baby Names Are on the Rise: Here Are 25 Examples That Highlight the Trend

We have written about the rise of maximalist baby names this year and it’s one of the biggest trends at the moment. These appellations are often lengthy and sound overindulgent and over-the-top. SheKnows, a parenting website and blog, has also noted this shift towards dramatic names and has identified a subset of appellations that are on the rise that follow what they call a “dark academia” aesthetic.

Hallmarks of the vibe include broody and intellectual appellations that would be home in a prep or boarding school 100 years ago. These names often come from classic literature or even Greek and Roman mythology. Think elegant but with an edge. We have some suggestions for baby names that fit the aesthetic to share with you and these fine names are ripe for the picking. We’ll kick of the list with names for girls, then for boys, but be sure to read through all as there are some unisex options peppered throughout.

Moody Baby Names for Girls That Fit the ‘Dark Academia’ Aesthetic


Intellectual Baby Names

Antigone might seem like a name that’s out of touch, but we think the traditional nickname associated with the appellation makes it feel fresh. Tig is such an energetic and playful nickname for a girl today. In Greek mythology, Antigone is the compassionate daughter of Oedipus who aids him after he blinds himself.


Intellectual Baby Names

You will encounter the name Cressida in the UK far more often than in the US where it goes virtually unused. We think this name has so much potential not only because of the cute British nickname associated with it, Cressy, is as sweet as they come. Aside from its upper-crusty sound, Cressida has a Greek root that makes it perfect. It means “gold.”


Intellectual Baby Names

Emeline is a French name that shares the same German root as Amelia. Thus, the name means “work” or “industrious.” If this name is giving you vintage vibes, it’s because it was once a popular name in the US but that has not been the case for over 100 years! Let’s bring this intellectual baby name back!


Intellectual Baby Names

Esmeray is a gorgeous name for girls of Turkish origin that is properly pronounced ESS-mer-eye. It has the delightfully romantic meaning of “dark moon.”


Intellectual Baby Names

Euphemia was last popular as a baby name in the US in 1903! The name is of Greek origin and means “fair speech.” If you love the nickname Effie, this would be a great vehicle to get you there.


Intellectual Baby Names

Most American parents prefer the Georgia form of this name but we think Georgina has something so special to it. It’s an English feminine form of George and we love the Gina ending which gives yet another nickname possibility to this name. Gina, Ginny, George, Georgie, and even Ina can all work here. The Greek root of the name means “farmer.”


Intellectual Baby Names

Last popular in the late 19th century in the US, Honora is an intellectual baby name that should definitely be brought back. The name is of Latin origin and indeed means “woman of honor.” Nora makes for a fine nickname.


Intellectual Baby Names

Iolanthe is a French name for girls from Greek that means “violet flower.” You will want to pronounce this one yo-lan-thuh. If you love violet flowers but feel the name Violet is too plain, you know what to do.


Intellectual Baby Names

From Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus to Downton Abbey, Lavinia is a storied name with serious literary and pop culture credentials that have spanned centuries. The name is so old that it can be found in Roman mythology and its meaning refers to a place that no longer exists. Lavinia means “from Lavinium.” The preferred upper-crusty nickname tied to this given name is Vinnie.


Intellectual Baby Names

Ottoline is a French and English diminutive form of Ottilie, a German name that means “prosperous in battle.” Sienna Miller chose it as the middle name of her daughter Marlowe. Unique celebrity baby names tend to catch on.


Intellectual Baby Names

Persephone has been quietly on the rise in recent years. It first landed in the top 1000 for girls in 2019. The name is associated with the Greek myth that finds the character with the same name as the Queen of the Underworld. Thus, the name is taken to mean “bringer of death.” That’s not stopping new parents from choosing this broody baby name.


Intellectual Baby Names

Rosamund has been a name almost exclusively used in the UK but that’s starting to change thanks to actor Rosamund Pike‘s star power. Rosamund is a name from German and means “horse protector.” Nothing says “boarding school” like horses. As you might guess, the preferred nickname for it is Rosie.


Intellectual Baby Names

Wednesday will enjoy some popular years thanks in no small part to the smash hit Netflix series of the same name. Wednesday is of English origin and belonged to a pagan god in the form of Woden. Wednesday translates to “Woden’s Day.”

RELATED: We’ve Entered the Era of Maximalist Baby Names Discover Which Ones Are Heating Up

Broody, Intellectual Baby Names for Boys


Intellectual Baby Names

Alistair finally ranked in the US top 1000 most popular names for boys in 2016 and it’s been slowly climbing ever since. We’re thrilled about it! Alistair is a name of Scottish origin, a form of the Greek name, Alexander. The root of this name means “defender of men.” This name also has notable alternative spellings that include Alasdair (which is closer to the Scottish form) and Alastair.


Intellectual Baby Names

Amadeus is a baby name for boys of Latin origin, meaning “lover of God.” Unsurprisingly, this name has never been popular in the US, but that is likely to change. Both Mia Farrow and Boris Becker have used the name for their sons.


Intellectual Baby Names

Photography lovers have long been in love with the name Ansel as the name belonged to the famed American landscape photographer Ansel Adams. A new generation is being introduced to the name by actor Ansel Elgort. It’s tracking to land in the US top 1000 for boys in the next year or two. The name is of German origin and means “divinely protected.”


Intellectual Baby Names

Aurelian is a derivative of Aurelius, the name of a Roman Emperor. In ancient Rome, the name was associated with Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, the last of the “Five Good Emperors.” Aurelian is merely a softer form of the name that we prefer but go with Aurelius if it suits you. Aurelian means “the golden one.” Not bad for an old money name, right?


Intellectual Baby Names

Hale is a unisex baby name but it has gone almost exclusively to boys through the years. It’s an English name for someone “from the hollow.” Hale is commonly seen as a surname and we think it’s got tons of potential as a no-frills given name.


Intellectual Baby Names

The thing about surnames becoming given names is that they are versatile and can work for any baby. Hutton is no exception. The name is of English from Scottish origin and means “ridge settlement.” This one is just beginning to bloom in the US as it is a perfect alternative to Hunter or Hudson.


Intellectual Baby Names

Lysander is a baby name for boys of Greek origin with the great meaning “liberator.” Lysander has historical connections as it was the name of an esteemed Spartan naval commander. It’s got potential!


Intellectual Baby Names

Names for boys that start with Leo all sound strong and established. However, the broody one, Leopold, has not garnered the same amount of love as Leonardo, Leon, and just plain Leo. That makes it a distinguished choice. The name is Germanic and means “brave people.”


Intellectual Baby Names

Morpheus is a baby name for boys of Greek origin that names the god of sleep and dreams. Thus, the meaning of this name is “shape” or “form.” Although the name is well-worn in pop culture and literature, it has yet to land on many birth certificates in the US.


Intellectual Baby Names

Do not let Piers Morgan ruin the name Piers for you. If you can’t get past the Morgan connection, go with Pierce instead. Both names come from a Greek root that means “rock.” We love this dusty old favorite for a baby boy born today.


Intellectual Baby Names

Perseus is a storied Greek name that means “destroyer.” According to the myth, he was a great hero and destroyer of beasts. He is even credited with slaying the gorgon Medusa. With names like Atticus and Orion taking flight, this one could follow their trajectory.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Old Money Baby Names Are Making a Comeback in a Big Way


Intellectual Baby Names

We started with Amadeus, and we will end with Wolfgang for a fun little Mozart twist. Wolfgang is a name for boys of German origin, meaning “traveling wolf.” The name has fallen out of fashion in its country of origin, but Nameberry thinks it will have its day in the US in the coming years.

There you go! What did you think of these broody intellectual baby names for girls and boys? Do you think they all fit the “dark academia” vibe? We certainly hope you found some colorful appellations to consider for your little one on the way. We think each of these names is a winner!

About Mamas Uncut

Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.

Baby Name Generator

No baby name sounding good? Want a quick way to generate unique baby name ideas? Try our baby name generator below!

Set your terms (sex of the baby, number of letters, popularity, etc.) and then get a list of names that meet your criteria. Maybe the perfect name is just waiting to be generated for you.

Start Baby Name Generator
Scroll to Top