25 Names With Positive Meanings for Your Boy or Girl

Most recommended names have been assembled because they are popular, fashionable or because they are associated with celebrities. I’ve assembled these names because they have meanings which may appeal to parents looking for names with substance. I’ve selected 25 fairly common boys’ and girls’ names that may inspire and guide your child in a positive direction.

Just for fun, I’ve listed them two ways: names before meanings and meanings before names—so you consider the names you like best and the meanings you like best. Hopefully, you’ll find a name you like that has a meaning you like too.

Boys’ Names (Origins) Meanings

Angus (Scottish) exceptional, outstanding
Aubrey (German) noble
Asher (Hebrew) happy, blessed
Brian (Irish) strong, virtuous, honorable
Casey (Irish) brave
Charles (English) strong, manly
Charif (Lebanese) honest
Chen (Chinese) great, tremendous
Gareth (Welsh) gentle
Gilbert (English) trustworthy
Habib (Arabic) beloved
Justin (Latin) just, righteous
Kevin (Irish) handsome
Kareem (Arabic) noble, distinguished
Kohana (Lakota) swift
Leif (Scandinavian) beloved
Lowell (English) beloved
Maximillian (Latin) greatest
Nolan (Irish) famous, noble
Riley (Irish) valiant
Rashad (Arabic) wise counselor
Sharif (Arabic) honest, noble
Tony (Latin) praiseworthy
Vijay (Hindi) victorious
Xavier (Arabic) bright

Meanings: Boys’ Names (Origins)

Beloved: Habib (Arabic)
Beloved: Lowell (English)
Beloved: Leif (Scandinavian)
Brave: Casey (Irish)
Bright: Xavier (Arabic)
Exceptional, Outstanding: Angus (Scottish)
Famous, Noble: Nolan (Irish)
Gentle: Gareth (Welsh)
Great, Tremendous: Chen (Chinese)
Greatest: Maximillian (Latin)
Handsome: Kevin (Irish)
Happy, Blessed: Asher (Hebrew)
Honest, Noble: Sharif (Arabic)
Noble: Aubrey (German)
Just, Righteous: Justin (Latin)
Noble, Distinguished: Kareem (Arabic)
Praiseworthy: Tony (Latin)
Trustworthy: Gilbert (English)
Strong, Virtuous Honorable: Brian (Irish)
Swift: Kohana (Lakota)
Valiant: Riley (Irish)
Victorious: Vijay (Hindi)
Wise Counselor: Rashad (Arabic)


Girls Names (Origins) Meanings

Amanda (Latin) lovable
Amelia (German) hard worker
Amy (Latin) beloved
Bonita (Spanish) pretty
Brisa (Spanish) beloved
Carina (Italian) dear little one
Carissa (Greek) beloved
Cher (French) beloved, dearest
Claire (French) clear, bright
Clarissa (Greek) brilliant
Gail (English) merry, lively
Grace (Latin) graceful, gracious
Hilary (Greek) cheerful, merry
Irene (Greek) peaceful
Joy (Latin) joyful, joyous
Jun (Chinese) truthful
Justine (Latin) just, righteous
Lara and Larissa (Greek) cheerful
Linda (Spanish) pretty
Olympia (Greek) heavenly
Qadira (Arabic) powerful
Taka (Japanese) honored
Yoko (Japanese) good girl

Meanings: Girls Names (Origins)

Beloved: Amy (Latin)
Beloved: Brisa (Spanish)
Beloved: Carissa (Greek)
Beloved, dearest: Cher (French)
Cheerful, merry: Hilary (Greek)
Cheerful: Lara, Larissa (Greek)
Clear, Bright: Claire (French)
Dear Little One: Carina (Italian)
Good Girl: Yoko (Japanese)
Graceful, Gracious: Grace (Latin)
Hard Worker: Amelia (German)
Honored: Taka (Japanese
Joyful, Joyous: Joy (Latin)
Just, Righteous: Justine (Latin)
Lovable: Amanda (Latin)
Peaceful: Irene (Greek)
Powerful: Qadira (Arabic)
Pretty: Bonita (Spanish)
Pretty: Linda (Spanish)
Truthful: Jun (Chinese)

9780684039992 100,000+ Baby Names is available in stores and online.

Consider the Alternate Meanings of These Eight Common Girls’ Names Before Choosing One

Bunny is a familiar form of Bernice, a Greek name that means bringer of victory. However, Bunny also means little rabbit, and a common impression about bunnies is that they are well known for their prolific “mating” behavior. (Hence the impression that a girl or woman named Bunny is likely to be a hot date.)

Cecilia is a Latin name that means blind. However, “Cecilia” is also the name of a calypso song that was originally popularized by Harry Belafonte. The lyrics go like this: “Cecilia/ you’re breaking my heart/ you’re shaking my confidence daily. Oh Cecilia/ I’m down on my knees/ I’m begging you please/ to come home.” The lyrics describe Cecelia as a difficult spouse or mate to keep or live with.

Dolly is an American name that is short for Dolores, a Spanish name that means sorrowful. However a doll is an inanimate object, often a girl, which can be dressed and undressed but doesn’t have feelings. ‘Nuff said.

Dotty is a nickname for Dorothy, a Greek name that means gift of god. However Dotty is a slang term that means crazy, insane or unbalanced.

Fifi is a familiar form of Josephine, a French, female form of Joseph. However Fifi is most commonly thought of as an appropriate name for a French poodle, which is the first impression people are likely  to think of when they hear the name.

Prissy and Priss are nicknames for Priscilla, a Latin name that means ancient. However, Prissy is an adjective that describes someone as priggish or prudish; and priss is a noun that means prig or prude. These impressions would be particularly difficult for a teenaged girl in high school who is beginning to enter the dating arena.

Sissy is a nickname for Cecilia a Latin name that means blind. However, sissy is a word that means scared, yellow or chicken.

Stormy is a name that refers to tempestuous weather, characterized by windy and wet or snowy weather which may be accompanied by thunder and lightning. However, Stormy also refers to tempestuous, impetuous or angry behavior.

5-Star Baby Name AdvisorReading this brief list of names with secondary meanings or associations is meant prompt you to brainstorm alternative meanings or associations for any name you like and think is worth serious consideration.  After “falling in like” with an name, the next step might be to look up the literal meaning as well as any secondary meaning or common impression that the name makes when you read it, hear it or think about it. Most baby name books don’t discuss this issue, which is why you might want to consult my book, 5 Star Baby Name Advisor, which discusses the literal meaning names as well as the impressions that names make.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Recently Popular Names

Every year we add the latest newly popular names to 100,000+ Baby Names, so people considering them for use can look them up and learn about their meaning and origin. Specifically, we add names which have gained enough popularity to be added to the Social Security Administration’s lists of the 1,000 most popular boys’ and girls’ names.

Many of the newly popular names are new variations of names already on the list, such as Lorelai, a variation of Lorelei. Some are familiar only to people who watch  certain TV shows, like Khaleesi, a name popularized by “Game of  Thrones”. (Needless to say, the problem with names like Lorelai and Khaleesi is that they are often difficult to spell and/or pronounce.)

Some newly popular names are place names, like Maylasia and Ireland. Some are the last names of celebrities and athletes, like Anniston, Lennon and Beckham. And some are combinations of two names that just sound good together, like Lillyana.

Just for fun, I thought you might enjoy a quick look at some of the most appealing newly popular names I’ve come across over the last few years. However, instead of giving you the precise origins and meanings I use in my book, I’ll just mention the reason I think some of these names might be of interest.

Newly Popular Boys’ Names Over the Past Few Years:

Baylor (the name of a great, Texas university)
Beckham (the last name of an English soccer star)
Dash (a name that implies speed and energy)
Nash (the name an old car brand and a game-theory expert featured in “A Beautiful Mind.”)
Ronin (a feudal Japanese samurai)
Rylee (a fun new spelling for Riley)
Tiago and Thiago (a Brazilian basketball star who plays in the NBA)
Xavi (a nickname for Xavier and the name a Spanish soccer star)

Newly Popular Girls’ Names Over the Past Few Years:

Anniston (the last name of the actress who played Rachael  in “Friends”)
Elliot (a boys’ name that’s now being used for  girls)
Everly (the last name of two famous brothers who made music in the ‘50s and ‘60s)
Henley (the location—on the Thames river—of a rowing race between Oxford and Cambridge)
Journee (the French word for day)
Juniper (an evergreen shrub whose aroma can be found in gin)
Lennon (the last name of one of the most famous Beatles)
Lillyana (a combination of two names that sound great together)
Malaysia (a country that has become a name for girls)
Oakley (a sporty and cool brand of sunglasses)
Sutton (an upscale street on Manhattan’s chic east side)

9780684039992 100,000+ Baby Names is available in stores and online.

 

A Quick Guide To Hipster Names

Lucy Thackray, writing in The Daily Mail Australia, is bound to generate a lot of buzz with her article about hipster naming trends.

She starts by describing hipsters as bearded, kale-munching, green juice-drinking, cardigan-wearing, bike-pedaling, glasses-wearing non-conformists who shop in thrift stores and hope to raise non-conforming children (by giving them the same oddball names that other hipsters give their children). Then she describes hipster names and provides lots of examples.

Here’s how to recognize hipster names when you see them or hear them:

-vintage names like Edna, Mabel, Edie and Ramona for girls; Ray, Stanley, or Ignatius for boys

-plant and food names like Clover, Juniper, Magnolia and Olive for girls; Kale for boys

-nickname-names like Frankie and Lulu

-names from To Kill a Mockingbird: Atticus, Scout; Catcher in the Rye: Holden, Salinger; or Gulliver’s Travels: Gulliver

-names from “The Simpsons,” like Homer, Mo, Maggie or Lennie

-names that start with the letters X, Q or Z which produce oddball names like Xena, Zola or Zeus

-names that honor musicians like Everly, Elvis, Jagger or Buddy (for children of either gender)

-masculine names for baby girls and vice versa

-place names to commemorate great trips to Arizona, Aspen, India or Brooklyn

-names descriptive of personality traits their children may display from Serenity to Rebel or Truant

I’m glad my parents weren’t hipsters. How about you?

P.S. Notice how different Thackray’s definition of “hipster names” is from the definition in my first post on the subject, which defined “hipster names” as a reflection of the culture (athletes, comic strips, authors, movie stars and music) of the ’40s and ’50s, when the term “hipster” referred to a “hip cat” rather than a contemporary, juice-guzzling thrift-store shopper who wants to name her son after Homer Simpson, Ignatius J. Reilly (protagonist of A Confederacy of Dunces) or call him Truant.

Consider the Alternate Meanings of These Nine Common Boy’s Names Before Choosing One

Dick is a short form of Richard (English) and Richart (German), names that mean “rich and powerful ruler.”
But dick is a slang term for penis. It also carries a dishonest implication because of the phrase “tricky dick” which refers to a dishonest individual (for example, a used-car salesman who changes the odometer before selling a car). Dick is also used in unflattering terms like “dickhead” to refer to stupid, hurtful, disrespectful people.

Hector is a Greek name that means “steadfast.” In Homer’s Illiad, Hector was the prince of Troy; a leading figure in the Trojan War.
But hector is also a term the refers to bullying, teasing, harassing or annoying behavior.

John is a Hebrew name that means “God is gracious.” The name honors John the Baptist in the New Testament.
But john is a common term used for the bathroom or a toilet. John is also the term used by police to describe the customer of a prostitute. Finally, john is also used as a generic term for a man, hence the term John Doe–perhaps because John was the most popular name fur boys during the 20th century.

Johnson is an English name that means “son of John.”
But johnson is yet another slang term for penis.

Josh is a Hebrew name that means “God is my salvation.” In the Old Testament, Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land.
But josh is also a word that means a joke or witticism that should not be taken seriously.

Peter is a Greek and Latin name that means “rock.” In the Bible, Simon (renamed Peter) was the leader of the 12 apostles and is often referred the “rock on whom the church was built.”
But Peter, like dick, is also a slang term for penis.

Randy is a short form of Randolph, an English and German name that means “shield wolf.”
But randy is also a word that means lascivious or lecherous. (The kind of man who can’t keep his peter in his pants.)

Romeo is an Italian name that means “pilgrim to Rome.” Romeo is the title character in Shakespeare’s famous play, Romeo and Juliet.
But a romeo has come to mean a “lady’s man” or “womanizer” who has trouble keeping his peter in his pants.

Stew and Stu are short forms of Stewart and Stuart, English names that mean “caretaker” or “steward.”
But stew refers to a dish prepared by boiling meat or fish and vegetables in broth. And stewing refers both to the boiling process and to a person who is brooding or worrying, for example, “What are you stewing about?”

5-Star Baby Name AdvisorReading this brief list of names with secondary meanings or associations is meant prompt you to brainstorm alternative meanings or associations for any name you like and think is worth serious consideration.  After “falling in like” with an name, the next step might be to look up the literal meaning as well as any secondary meaning or common impression that the name makes when you read it, hear it or think about it. Most baby name books don’t discuss this issue, which is why you might want to consult my book, 5 Star Baby Name Advisor, which discusses the literal meaning names as well as the impressions that names make.

Baby Center’s Hottest 2014 Naming Trends

Here’s a quick summary of Baby Center’s “Hottest Naming Trends of 2014.” In it I’ve included the hottest themes and the hottest names. (Click on the link if you want all the delightful details.)

The Netflix Effect
Orange is the New Black
a) for girls: Galina, Piper, Gloria, Dayanara, Nicky
b) for boys: Alex, Larry

House of Cards
a) for girls: Claire, Zoe, Remy, Robin;
b) for boys: Larry, Frank, Wright;

Southern Charm
a) for girls: Magnolia, Beulah, Virginia, Charlotte, Macon, Clementine
b) for boys: Rhett, Vernon, Deacon, Jefferson, Atticus, Lee, Tennessee

“Frozen” Names
a) for girls:Elsa, Kristen
b) for boys: Hans, Santino

The Influence of TV Producer Shonda Rhymes
Grey’s Anatomy names
a) for boys: Arizona, Mark, Owen, Jackson, Avery;
b) for girls: Callie, Miranda

Scandal Names
for boys: Fitzgerald, Huck, Cyrus, Bellamy, Scott, Jeff, Darby, Guillermo

How to Get Away with Murder name:
for girls: Viola

Exotic Destination Names
for boys: Everest, Rome, Milan, Cairo, Israel
for girls: Aspen, Geneva, Verona, Persia, Kenya

Great Grandma Names
for girls: Carol, Helen, Shirley, Judith, Frances, Ruth, Margaret, Betty

Newsmaker Names
-N.Y. Yankees’ great Derek (Jeter)
-Comedy great Joan (Rivers)
People’s “Most Beautiful” Lupita (Nyong’o)
-“Parks and Rec” star Aziz (Ansari)
-Aussi rapper Iggy (Azalea; real name: Azalea Amethyst Kelly)
for boys: Iggy
for girls: Amethyst, Kelly

Nameberry’s 12 Hot Baby-Naming Trends for 2015

 

Natalie Boog has listed 12 hot trends for 2015 that are well-worth considering. In this post I will summarize them and consider the timeliness and value of Nameberry’s predictions.

1. Word Names

Natalie Boog defines “word names” as being different from traditional names (like Olivia and William). Word names include: virtue names (like Noble and Honor), nature names (like Sage and River), title names (like Royal and Saint), personality names (like Rowdy and Rogue), sound names (uzz) and tech names (like Lazer) and claims they will abound in 2015.

Comment: Nothing new about this trend, it’s been going on for years. Boog forgot to mention place names (like Hudson and Paris) and food names (like Coco and Brie). Honestly , this is ancient history. They also forgot to mention trade names (like Harper and Miller)—which they refer to as “er” names in trend #2, below. However, personality names, sound names and tech names have not been mentioned much per se. So that’s a helpful insight. (Although Maverick, a personality name, popped up as a name around the time that Sara Palin was running for VP with John McCain.)

2. Girls’ Names that End in “ella”; Boys’ Names that End it “ett”

Boog points to the popularity of girls’ names like Isabella, Arabella, Mirabella and Rosabella. She also mentions the popularity of boys’ names like Emmett, Everett and Bennett. Up-and-coming name endings Boog mentions are “er” names (like Harper and Miller) and “as” names like (Silas and Zacharias).

Comment: Endings or “suffixes” are what I commonly refer to in my annual trend report. I’ve referred to “ella,” “ett” as well as “trade names” in my trend reports over the last five years. Isabella has been extremely popular for at least five years. Nothing new about this “prediction.”

3. Gender-Bending with Boys on Top

Boog reports a growing number of “unisex” names that have been used by both genders. She claims that some unisex names previously used mainly for boys were being abandoned as names for boys. But now, she claims, that trend is reversing, “with statistics showing boys are already reclaiming popular unisex names such as Alexis, Casey, Devon, Elisha, Jamie, Jordan, Kai, Milan, Robin, Rory, Rowan, Sidney, Tatum, and Tracy.”

Comment: This is new information that will be of great interest to parents who pick unisex names for their child before they know its gender and to parents who are worried that some “unisex” names are no longer used by boys. (See trend # 12, below).

4. Names Are Heading South

It makes sense that the use of southern states and cities as place names would become more popular as the population of southern cities and states increase (in comparison with the population of northern cities and states). Boog mentions the growing popularity of state names like Georgia, Tennessee, Carolina and Alabama and coastal names like Ocean, Dune and Beach.

Comment: This trend has been going on for years. In 2013, girls’ place names that increased in popularity included Georgia, Virginia, Charlotte and Dallas–as did Dakota, Londyn, Ireland and Milan. (Consider the fact that North Dakota is booming due to the discovery of huge quantities of fossil fuels there–and that Ireland’s status as a tax haven has brought in lots of new businesses and people. This “trend” may reflect changes in population more than anything else.

5. “O” is the Now Vowel

Boog mentions that Milo, Theo and other “o-ending” boys’ names have been popular for a while. Now Nameberry predicts that Juno, Marlow, Harlow, Margo(t), Willow, Indigo and Shiloh will all prove popular.

Comment: Willow made a big upward move in popularity 2013. It’s a reasonable bet that “o-ending” girls’ names will follow Milo and Theo.

6. “X” is the Now Consonant

Boog claims that “x” gives names an element of cool whether it comes at the end of a name, like Felix, Hendrix, Beatrix and Lennox or in the middle of a name like Axel, Baxter, Dexter, Maxine, Pixie and Roxana.

Comment: “X-names” have been hot for the last five or more years—a trend that may have been launched by Brangelina’s name choices. When Boog writes that “this may result in seeing a few Jaxsen or Jaxsons along the way too” she is admitting that the “X-name” trend is extremely well established—already.

7. Short & Simple

Boog has spotted a trend in Europe. Short and snappy names are becoming increasingly popular; she thinks that trend is coming to the U.S. “Popular in Europe, the top contenders for girls include Isa, Eva, Ida, Lou, Lia, and Tess, while for boys Nameberry’s picking Ben, Finn, Jack, Leon, Max, and Tom.”

Comment: The above-mentioned boys’ names are already growing at a fast pace in the U.S. Nothing new about that trend. I’d welcome short, informal names that are easy to spell and pronounce for girls, too.

8. Colorful Names

Boog points out that Violet, Blue and Scarlett are already in common use. Her prediction: “get ready for a color explosion in 2015 with more extreme shades coming into play. Think Indigo, Azure, Cerulean, Magenta, Fuschia, Crimson, Lavender, Lilac and even Mauve.”

Comment: I would welcome this trend, if it actually occurs, because some of the colors are quite lovely (I’m partial to Indigo), but I’d be surprised (and disappointed) if hard-to-spell and/or pronounce names like Cerulean, Fuschia, and Mauve make much of a move in 2015.

9. Save the Middle Name for a Hero

Boog notes that middle names are often used for family favorites, but Nameberry has discovered that “more people are looking to heroes for naming inspiration”–referring to favorite authors, musicians, athletes or political heroes. She ends with this noble sentiment: “And why not use the middle name to give your child someone to look up to?”

Comment: Why not indeed! I’ve been urging parents to pick names that will inspire their children for years and have complained about pundits who recommend (or promote) impractical and unwise names likely to inconvenience their children and in some cases result in derision and ridicule (like Cerulean, Fushia, Mauve, Lettice, Fenella, Rowdy and Rogue) to name seven examples that come readily to mind. I’m glad that someone at Nameberry is starting realize that promoting names that give children “someone to look up to” is a good thing to do. Now they need to realize that promoting impractical, silly and demeaning names is a bad thing to do.

10. Veggie Names

Boog is jumping on the good-for-you name bandwagon by identifying a veggie-name trend. Kale and Cale are both on the rise and so are Lettice and Romaine.

Comment: Kale (or Cale) sounds like they might work for boys; Romaine might work even better for girls. I don’t think much of Lettice (or Lettuce) as names. Nameberry must realize that publishing articles about naming trends is likely to create attention for the names they publish and cause people to consider using them. Why not point out which names are worth choosing and which should be avoided? Why suggest Lettice if the name will subject any child who bears that name to ridicule?

11. Celtic Names

Liam is currently on North American top-ten lists; now parents are looking for “other Celtic choices.” Boog predicts parents will turn to Scottish names like Fiona, Flora, Fenella, Greer, Isla and Elspeth as top picks for girls, while Finlay, Angus, Duncan, Ewan and Lachlan for the boys.

Comment: I was surprised when Boog left Isla off the short & simple list. Here it is now as a “Scottish” pick along with several other Scottish names likely to take hold, including Greer and Duncan. Some of the other predictions: Fiona, Fenella Elspeth Angus and Lachlan are less likely to catch on in “the states” by 2015. Ian is an example of a British name that took a while to get a toehold on this side of the Atlantic—which is why I think Ewan is likely to catch on too—eventually.

12. Distinctly Gendered “Unisex” Names

The unisex names referred to in prediction # 3, above, are used fairly evenly between girls and boys, but other names that may seem unisex are, in reality, distinctly gendered. Boog reports that Addison, Bailey, Kendall, Kennedy, McKenzie, and Sloane are mainly used for girls; while Cameron, Grayson, Jayce, and Kellen are mainly used for boys.

Comment: If true, this is very helpful information–though it doesn’t read like a prediction for 2015, does it?