32 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
Drew (Welsh) wise
Ferdinand (Spanish) adventurous, daring
Felix (Latin) happy, fortunate
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
Shalom (Hebrew) peace, peaceful
Sharif (Arabic) honest, noble
Tony (Latin) praiseworthy
Valiant (French) valiant
Victor (Latin) victor
Vijay (Hindi) victorious
Vitas (Latin) lively, vital
Xavier (Arabic) bright

Meanings: Boys’ Names (Origins)

Adventurous, daring: Ferdinand (Spanish)
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)
Happy, fortunate: Felix (Latin)
Honest, Noble: Sharif (Arabic)
Lively, vital: Vitas (Latin)
Noble: Aubrey (German)
Just, Righteous: Justin (Latin)
Noble, Distinguished: Kareem (Arabic)
Peace, Peaceful: Shalom (Hebrew)
Praiseworthy: Tony (Latin)
Trustworthy: Gilbert (English)
Strong, Virtuous Honorable: Brian (Irish)
Swift: Kohana (Lakota)
Valiant: Riley (Irish)  Valiant (French)
Victor: Victor (Latin)
Victorious: Vijay (Hindi)
Wise: Drew (Welsh)
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
Dulcinea (Spanish) sweet
Dulce (Latin) sweet
Gail (English) merry, lively
Grace (Latin) graceful, gracious
Felicity (English) happy, fortunate
Fernanda (Spanish) adventurous, daring
Hilary (Greek) cheerful, merry
Irene (Greek) peaceful
Joy (Latin) joyful, joyous
Jun (Chinese) truthful
Justine (Latin) just, righteous
Keiko (Japanese) happy child
Lara and Larissa (Greek) cheerful
Linda (Spanish) pretty
Olympia (Greek) heavenly
Qadira (Arabic) powerful
Sonya, Sophia (Greek) wise
Taka (Japanese) honored
Valencia (Spanish) strong
Valerie (Latin) strong
Yoko (Japanese) good

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)
Happy, Fortunate: Felicity (English)
Happy child: Keiko (Japanese)
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)
Strong: Valencia (Spanish), Valerie (Latin)
Sweet: Dulce (Latin) Dulcinea (Spanish)
Truthful: Jun (Chinese)
Wise: Sonya, Sophia (Greek)

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.