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Arctic Baby Names are Ice-Cool

Arctic Baby Names are Ice-Cool

If the north calls to you, and you dream of long nights, midnight sun and frozen wilderness, Arctic baby names could be perfect for you.

Arctic names relate to the climate and nature of the most northerly regions, and also include place names and plenty of choices from the languages of the Arctic and neighboring areas. They’re ideal for winter babies, for wild-spirited children, and as a pledge that we’ll do better to protect the natural environment.

Here are 20+ of the best, from crowd-pleasers to undiscovered treasures. You’ll find even more in our list of Arctic baby names.

Arctic climate names

Andri — so similar to Andrew and Andrea, yet refreshingly different in origin. It means “snowshoe” in Old Norse, and is used throughout Scandinavia. (Thanks to our friends at Nordic Names for this, and several other factoids here.)

Blaer — if you recognize this name, meaning “breeze”, it’s probably from the young woman who won a legal battle to have her name recognized by Iceland’s naming committee. In Icelandic it’s spelled Blær and rhymes (more or less) with fire. But to English speakers it could be an alternative spelling of Blair. Or an elven spelling, if you’re Grimes.

Icelynn — for such a chilly name, Icelynn and Icelyn are looking pretty hot. Both were given to under 30 girls each last year, but they doubled from the previous year, which could be the start of an upward trend. The appeal comes from the fashion for adding -lynn to cool words, especially if they sound like words ending in “land”. (Others to compare include Scotlynn, Irelynn, Copelynn and Lakelynn.)

Lumi — a name lovers’ favorite that’s finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. Meaning “snow” in Finnish, Lumi combines a wintry meaning with the stylish “Lu” sound found in rising names like Luna and Louisa.

Suvi — it isn’t always winter in the Arctic (it’s not Narnia)! The Finnish word for Summer is almost unknown in the English-speaking world, but really deserves more love. Sound-wise, it feels like an update on well-worn Susie. (For those wondering, Winter is another girl name: Talvi.)

Arctic celestial names

Aurora — the most popular name here, Aurora is enjoying a well-deserved moment. At number 40 nationally in the USA, it ranks at number 6 in Alaska, where the aurora borealis — the northern lights — are visible in the sky.

Faina — meaning “shining”, this was a suitably sparkly name for the mysterious girl from the Alaskan woods in Eowyn Ivey’s novel The Snow Child.

North — where Kim and Kanye went, not many parents have followed. The idea of North — wild, wintry and the pinnacle of the earth — is appealing, but if you prefer something more namelike, you might like Norris or Norman.

Orion — when Orion rises in the northern hemisphere, it’s a sign that winter is on the way. The Ancient Greek hunter has seen a lot more use in recent years, both as part of a growing trend for mythological names, and as a similar-yet-different successor to Ryan.

Valo — meaning “light” in Finnish, this would be a cool rare addition to the trend for boy names ending in O.

Arctic nature names

Fox — several of the most popular wild animal names are creatures found in the far north: not only the fluffy-yet-deadly Arctic fox, but also Bear, Wolf and Lynx.

Moss — the moss of the tundra may not be showy, but it’s tough and hardy, has healing properties and is essential to the ecosystem as a food source for caribou. All strong values to celebrate in a child’s name (ok, maybe not the being eaten by reindeer part).

Nauja — a Greenlandic name meaning “gull”, Nauja is unknown in English-speaking parts but not so different-sounding from names like Maya and Aria.

Taiga — it sounds like Tiger, and is equally dramatic, but this is a completely different nature name. Taiga is the coniferous forest that runs in a band through the land south of the Arctic: Canada, Alaska, Russia, Scandinavia and even Scotland.

Ursula — a polarizing name which some love, some don’t, but few dare to use. Ursula’s connection to the Arctic is twofold: as a name meaning bear, it reflects the wild bears of the Arctic, and also the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor in the northern sky.

Arctic place names

Alta — located on the coast of Norway, and home to the circular Northern Lights Cathedral, Alta is considered the northernmost city in the world. Once in the Top 200, this name is now all but forgotten, but like vintage Alba and Alma, it could be time to bring it back.

Brooks — a mountain range in northern Alaska, named after the geologist Alfred Hulse Brooks. A lot of parents are using surnames ending in S right now, and Brooks is one of the hottest.

Denali — did somebody say Alaskan mountains? Although it’s in the subarctic, Alaska’s highest peak deserves a mention. From a Koyukon Athabaskan word meaning “high”, Denali was rising in popularity for both sexes even before it became the mountain’s official name in 2015. It has been used lightly but steadily since then… but interestingly, it’s never made the charts in Alaska itself.

Hudson — another popular surname name. Hudson Bay is the English name for the vast sea bay in northern Canada, after the explorer Henry Hudson (who also gave his name to the New York river).

Inari — a lake and region in the Sámi homeland of Finland (which fans of His Dark Materials may know as Enara, the witches’ home). Inari is something of a chameleon: it’s used for both sexes, and has unrelated Japanese roots as well as the similarity to the middle-eastern name Inara.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from the next high-rising names to how to choose a multilingual name, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. She has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and lives in England with her husband and toddler. You can follow everything she reads about names on Twitter or Scoop.it, or reach her at clare@nameberry.com