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Baby Names That Mean Red

October 27, 2019 Pamela Redmond
baby names that mean red

by Pamela Redmond 

Baby names that mean red are an elite group, and one that has a lot of personal meaning for me.

When I was having my first child, my then-husband and I had a boys’ name (Henry) picked out from the very beginning.  But when it began to occur to us eight months into the pregnancy that this baby might be a girl, we were stumped for a name.

We had very different ideas about style in girls’ names.  Family names seem to create more problems than they solved. So when we found a way to focus our search that we could both agree on, we were delighted.

Our mission: To find a name that means red.  I love the color red, my hair is reddish, and my last name is Redmond, so red incorporated a lot of potent symbols for me. And a first name meaning red would help balance the fact that our child would carry my husband’s surname.

We ended up naming our daughter Rory, but there are a lot of other wonderful boy and girl baby names that mean red.  If red is a meaning that catches fire with you, consider these scarlet-hued options.

Girl Names That Mean Red

Crimson — Love Scarlett but want a more distinctive alternative?  Then crisp and luscious Crimson might be the choice for you.  The word comes from the Old Spanish kermes, an insect whose shell created deep red dye.

Maple — Maple is an adorable new tree name, chosen by Jason Bateman for his daughter.  Maple turns from green nature name to red name by virtue of its brilliant fall foliage. Though theoretically unisex, Maple was used only for girls in 2018, when the name was given to nearly 150 babies.

Poppy This bright red flower name has been hotter in England and Australia for many years. Now it’s also finding lots of fans in the US. Poppy entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2016 and currently stands in at Number 592.

Ruby — Ruby is a sassy, sparkling favorite, now in the Top 100 for the first time since the late 1940s.  A perfect themed twin name for Poppy!

ScarlettColor name Scarlett oddly languished for years after the huge popularity of Gone With The Wind, until actress Scarlett Johansson made it a megastar.

Boy Names That Mean Red

Adam — Adam stands out on this list as a true classic boys’ name — Adam‘s meaning is “son of the red earth.”  Though a bit overused in recent years, Adam is still and forever a solid choice that remains in the Top 100.

Jasper — One of the few gem names for boys, Jasper is the name of a rusty-red stone and a fashion favorite. Jasper now ranks at Number 154, its highest point since the 1800s.  Jasper doesn’t literally mean red, it means “bringer of treasure” and an alternate form is Casper.

Redmond We have a soft spot for this strong Irish surname, which was taken not-so-attractively from French invader Raymond Le Gros. Yes, that means Raymond The Fat, and I blame all my weight struggles on his genetic legacy. A handful of baby boys were named Redmond in the US last year.

Reed — Sleek, sophisticated Reed strikes the Golden Mean between being familiar and stylish but not too popular. It has always remained in the Top 1000 but has remained steady in this era at around its current Number 375.  The name can also be spelled Reid, which is more confusing but oddly more popular.

Rufus — The ancient Roman Rufus has new cool thanks to musician Rufus Wainwright along with the hot dad on Gossip Girl.  Rufus was a Biblical name, the name of several saints,  and the nickname of red-haired King William

Unisex Names That Mean Red

Clancy — This Irish surname name meaning “red-haired warrior” can work for both boys and girls. It does have a masculine ring, perhaps thanks to the musical Clancy Brothers and author Tom.  Clancy is an unusual baby name for either gender, used for only 20 boys and 10 girls in the US in 2018.

Flannery — Interesting that  Harper Lee‘s first name has become so popular while sister name Flannery — related by being the androgynous surname-name of a celebrated midcentury female author — is still waiting in the wings.  But Flannery O’Connor was arguably the greater writer and her name is more appealing on many levels too. Energetic and distinctive, Flannery means red-haired and relates to other Irish Flann names.

Flynn — Flynn is rising fast behind Finn after being chosen by beautiful couple Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom for their adorable son.  For Breaking Bad fans, Flynn is the dashing name that Walter White Jr. tries to claim for himself.  It means “son of the red-haired one” so could make a perfect honorific for the child or grandchild of a redhead. Flynn entered the US Top 1000 for boys for the first time in 2011, where it now stands at Number 779.

Garnet — The name of this deep red stone, birthstone for January babies, has never been as well-used as some other jewel choices. Still, Garnet has a rich, serious feel that seems more stylish now than even a handful of years ago. Rare for both girls and boys, it’s nevertheless given near-evenly to both. Nine girls and eight boys were named Garnet in 2018.

Radley — Recently rising thanks to To Kill A Mockingbird mania, Radley means “red meadow” and fits in with the stylish -ley ending group of baby names. It was used in 2018 for about six times as boys as girls.

RoryThis Irish name meaning “red king” has had a meteoric rise since I chose it for my daughter in the 1980s. Now standing in the US Top 600 for girls and the Top 400 for boys, it’s gone from quirky import to stylish-but-not-overused unisex choice.

Rowan — Rowan and Rowen and Rohan and even Roan work well for either gender, though after a swing toward the girls’ side in the 1990s, Rowan is becoming more boyish again, used two-thirds of the time for boys. In the US Top 300 for both genders,  Rowan means “little redhead.”

Sorrell — Sorrell is another unisex name that has a literal color meaning: It’s the signifier of a reddish-brown-hued horse.  Like other choices here, Sorrell has never been in the US Top 1000 and so is included in our e-book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names.

Need more options?  Check out our master list of Names That Mean Red or Redhead (not for redheads only).

Photo by Georgia Brizuela.

Pamela Redmond is the cofounder and CEO of Nameberry. With Linda Rosenkrantz, she is the coauthor of ten landmark books about names, including Beyond Jennifer & Jason and The Baby Name Bible. She has been widely quoted as an expert on baby names by such media outlets as The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, and CNN. Along with Nameberry pieces analyzing baby name gender switches and predicting future name trends, Redmond is the author of the novel Younger, the basis for the hit TV show.

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show of the same name.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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