Scandinavian names are a hot group, attracting new interest from parents beyond the Scandinavian countries. The Scandinavian names here include names with origins in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, but not Finland, since Finnish is not a Scandinavian language. We also include Norse names here, many of them from Nordic mythology.
Scandinavian names that have found favor in the wider world include, for girls, the royal Astrid, the botanical Dahlia, the mythological Freya, and the short form Mia. For boys, popular Scandinavian names include the hard rock Axel, the gentle Anderson, and the expansive Magnus.
Scandinavian names trending now include Leif, Signe, and Sunniva. Names from Norse mythology such as Thor and Odin will also become more popular.
Meaning:"a noble woman"
Description:Freya has long been popular in the U.K. but has only taken off in the US in the last decade, along with the entire category of mythological names. Derived from the Old Norse name Freyja, meaning "Lady, noble woman", Freya is the name of the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility.
Description:Astrid is derived from the name Ástríðr, which is made up of the Old Norse elements that mean "god" and "beautiful." Astrid has been a Scandinavian royal name since the tenth century, and many people associated it with the Swedish author of the Pippi Longstocking stories, Astrid Lindgren. Related names include Asta, a diminutive used throughout Scandinavia, and Astride, the French form. Despite their similarities, Astrid is unrelated to Astra, a Latin name meaning "of the stars."
Origin:Italian word name or Scandinavian short form of Maria
Meaning:"mine or bitter"
Description:Mia originated as a short form of Maria, which ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Miryam. In modern times, Mia has been used as a nickname for names including Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam. Mia is also an Italian and Spanish word meaning 'mine.'
Origin:Latin, Scandinavian, or Hawaiian
Meaning:"to rejoice or sea"
Description:The new Maia, the next Kayla, Kaia has been on the charts since the year 2000. You might see it as a female form of the also-rising Kai, which means sea in Hawaiian and is sometimes used for girls as well, or as a Kardashianization of the ancient goddess name Caia.
Origin:Dutch form of Jasper, Persian
Meaning:"bringer of treasure"
Description:This ancient name, also spelled Caspar, is finally shedding its ghostly image and moving into the 21st century. Popular in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where it's sometimes shortened to Cas, Casper could ride the style coattails of cousin Jasper. Casper was one of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the infant Jesus along with Melchior and Balthasar.
Meaning:"fair; Ing is beautiful"
Description:The luminous Ingrid Bergman's appeal was strong enough to lend universal charisma to this classic Scandinavian name, which has been somewhat neglected in the US. Even today, a child named Ingrid would be assumed to be of Scandinavian ancestry, signaling the name has never been fully integrated into the English lexicon the way other European choices from the same era like Danielle or Kathleen have.
Meaning:"dweller at the meadow by the manor"
Description:Hallie -- it rhymes with alley and is not to be confused with Halle or Hailey or Holly -- is one of those comfy nicknamish names that are in favor in these complicated times.
Origin:Flower name, from Swedish surname
Description:One of the flower names, used occasionally in Britain (where it's pronounced DAY-lee-a). It seems to have recovered from what was perceived as a slightly affected la-di-dah air. The flower was named in honor of the pioneering Swedish botanist Andreas Dahl, which means dale.
Origin:Scandinavian variation of Absalom
Meaning:"father of peace"
Description:A classic in its native Scandinavia, Axel has a cool rock 'n' roll flavor in the US, thanks to Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose (born William). Axel is a popular Scandinavian form of the Biblical Absalom, who was a son of King David, and is the name of the title character of William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom.
Origin:Variation of Óðinn, Old Norse
Meaning:"god of frenzy; poetic fury"
Description:Odin is the name of the supreme Norse god of art, culture, wisdom, and law — who was handsome, charming, and eloquent into the bargain. The name projects a good measure of strength and power and has excellent assimilation potential.
Description:Though to most Americans Viggo is a one-person name attached to intense actor Mortensen, it is actually an old Norse name dating back to the Vikings, and is currently the 32nd most popular appellation in Sweden. Viggo Mortensen is a Jr., sharing his name with his Danish father. We think this name is so, well, vigorous, that it might appeal to others as well. Taylor and Natalie Hanson seemed to agree when they chose it for their fourth child.
Origin:English from Norse
Description:A strong single-syllable surname with a joyful meaning, Tate is finding a place on more and more birth certificates.
Origin:Spelling variation of Cara or Norse mythology name
Meaning:"wild stormy one"
Description:Kara and the soundalike (though not necessarily related) Cara are among the most multi-cultural names around. Cara has roots in Latin, Italian, Irish, Spanish, and Portuguese, and Kara can be viewed as simply as K-starting version of Cara. But Kara is also uniquely a Norse mythology name, drawn from the name of a valkyrie meaning "wild stormy one".. Kara was a Valkyrie, lover of Helgi, who charmed his enemies in battle by enchanting them with song. Both Cara and Kara peaked in the 1980s but Kara remains more popular than the Cara variant.
Description:Leif is one of the most recognizable Scandinavian names, thanks to Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson, and is still one of the best, with a pleasant aural association with the word leaf.
Description:Eric is derived from the Old Norse name Eiríkr, from the components ei, meaning "ever," and ríkr, "rule." It was adopted by English speakers in the mid-nineteenth century, who were already familiar with the exploits of the tenth century Viking navigator and discoverer of Greenland, Eric the Red. Erik is an alternate spelling and the preferred form of the name across much of Europe.
Description:Fairly popular a hundred years ago but out of sight now, the quirky Roscoe deserves a place on every adventurous baby-namer's long list. It joins Rufus, Roman, Remy, Romulus, and Ray as one of the R names that sound fresh again after too many years of Robert, Richard, and Ronald.
Origin:Scandinavian variation of Andrew
Meaning:"strong and manly"
Description:Friendly, unusual, but a decidedly Old Country version of Andrew and one of the classic Scandinavian names. It made a brief appearance in the US Top 1000 in 2006 and then reentered in 2010. Its rising popularity could be attributed to the interest in Anderson, which has been gaining steadily over the last fifteen years.
Trivia tidbits: The patronymic Andersson is the second most popular surname in Sweden, and in Denmark, Donald Duck is called Anders.
Description:The fame of actress and Aerosmith daughter Liv Tyler helped to infuse life into this short but solid Scandinavian name that was chosen for her daughter by Julianne Moore.
Origin:Scandinavian from Latin Laurentius
Meaning:"crowned with laurel"
Description:Lars is a perfect candidate for a cross-cultural passport: it has been heard often enough here to sound familiar and friendly, yet retains the charisma of a charming foreigner.
Description:A popular name in Denmark, in this country Bo has some cowboy swagger and a lot of substance in its minimal two letters. In Mandarin Chinese, Bo means "wave".