There were 10,000 Zacharys born last year and almost 5,000 Zoes, but that was about it for Z-starting names in the Top 100. This doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of other names with this distinctive initial worth considering, from the contemporary sounding Zayden to the ecclesiastical Zebediah. Here’s a categorical breakdown:
ZELDA –The longest running American Z-girl, in the Top 1000 for most of the years from 1880 to 1967, the now dated sounding Zelda was long attached to the troubled wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, though that could change through its association with a Nintendo game character.
ZOE — Sharing mega-popularity with cousin Chloe, the Greek Zoe–which means life–is currently at #56, with offshoots ZOEY and ZOIE following behind. Though it sounds and feels modern, its use dates back to the third century.
ZARA –This name entered the mainstream in the early 1980s when England‘s Princess Anne bestowed it on her daughter.
ZACHARY –In the Top 100 for a quatrter of a century, peaking at #12 in 1994, Zachary is the one classic Z name. The English version of the Hebrew Zahariah, it also has historic cred via 12th President Zachary Taylor, and several coolizing spellings and short forms.
ZANDER — Diminutive of Alexander on the rise as an independent name, frequently heard as movie and TV characters
ZAZA, ZSA ZSA –Hungarian
ZUZU –heard annually via It’s a Wonderful Life
ZABANA –Native American
ZAFIRA — Arabic
ZAHARA — Multicultural name chosen by Angelina Jolie for her Ethiopian-born daughter
ZAHRA — Arabic name used for several starbabies
ZALA — African
ZANNA — Polish
ZARIA — Arabic
ZENA — Greek
ZETA — Greek
ZILLA — Hebrew
ZINA — African
ZINAIDA — Russian
ZITA — Greek
ZAFAR — Arabic
ZAHAVI — Hebrew
ZAHIR — Arabic
ZAHN — German
ZAIRE — African place name
ZAKI — Aracic
ZAMIEL — German
ZARED — Hebrew
ZEVI — Hebrew
ZIV/ZVI — Hebrew
ZOLTAN/ZOLTEN — Hungarian
ZURI — African
Z VARIATIONS OF S NAMES
ZELIG — Yiddish name made famous by the eponymous Woody Allen movie
ZENO — Ancient Greek philosopher name
ZENOBIA — Greek name appearing in Hawthorne and Edith Wharton novels
ZEUS — Supreme Greek Olympian god
ZHIVAGO — Russian literary name
ZION — Hebrew unisex name now rising for both girls and boys
ZINNIA — An appealing floral choice with more zest than most.
ZOLA — French literary name used by Eddie Murphy for his daughter
ZOOEY — Male Salinger name now growing in popularity for girls
ZORA — Slavic name associated with writer Zora Neale Hurston, a leader of the Harlem Renaissance
ZULEIKA — Arabic name of the fatally attractive heroine of Max Beerbohn’s Zuleika Dobson
Yes, some celebrity parents do seem to be intent on making little gods and goddesses–instant objects of worship– of their infants right from the get-go. Names that were previously considered too powerful for a baby to bear (after all, Atlas did carry the weight of the heavens on his shoulders, and Mars was the Roman god of war) now seem to have descended from Mt. Olympus into the realm of mortal possibility.
And there are lots of other names of ancient Greek and Roman gods, goddesses and muses that could work for a contemporary American baby, some of which are still commonly used in Greece, such as:
AJAX (beware the foaming cleanser)