By Emma Waterhouse
Celestial baby names are flying high right now, with the likes of Luna and Stella already firm starbaby favorites — used by the likes of Matt Damon, Ellen Pompeo, Uma Thurman, and more recently Chrissy Teigen and John Legend.
And it’s not just celebrity parents who are looking to the stars for baby name inspiration: fresher celestial choices like Lyra, Nova and Orion have also been shooting up the charts in recent years, as parents look further afield for novel nature-inspired names.
From Altair to Vega, we’ve already delved into the gorgeous array of names belonging to individual stars and constellations, but how about all of the brilliant baby names with “star” in their meaning?
Here are 20 of our favorites!
Astraea: Fresher than Aurora, but with the same pretty yet powerful appeal. In Greek mythology, Astraea is the goddess of justice, innocence and purity, but it was also the code name used by pioneering author, spy and modern-day feminist icon Aphra Behn.
Danica: The personification of the morning star in Slavic folklore, Danica sounds like a cross between Danielle and Monica, but feels far fresher than both. The Slavic pronunciation is “DAH-nee-tsa”. You may associate it with Danica McKellar, who played Winnie Cooper in the old The Wonder Years show.
Elanor: It looks like a modern variation on the classic Eleanor, but this spelling is actually a subtle literary pick: it belongs to a character in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, named after a beautiful golden flower. Its Sindarin meaning is “star sun”.
Estrella: Frilly and fiery in equal measure, Estrella is the Spanish word for “star”. It ranks in the Mexican Top 100 and the US Top 1000, just behind its slightly more popular sisters Estella and Estelle.
Hester: An underused vintage variant of Esther, steeped in literary history: Nathaniel Hawthorne used it for the heroine of his 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter, and more recently British authors Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) and Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines) have also created characters by the name.
Itri: This short and sparky boys’ name means “star” in the Berber languages of North Africa. It would make for a unique — yet uncomplicated and on-trend — choice for parents in other parts of the world.
Izar: Pronounced “ee-SAHR”, this striking celestial baby name comes from the historically isolated Basque region of northern Spain. It’s traditionally feminine, but could certainly work for a boy as well.
Maristela: Like the balletic Marianela, this elaborate Spanish and Portuguese name originated as a combination of Maria and Estela. It can also be a Marian name: from Stella Maris “Our Lady, Star of the Sea,” guide and protector of seafarers and coastal communities.
Namid: A solid-sounding Ojibwa name with the gloriously evocative meaning of “star dancer”.
Réaltín: Pronounced “RAYL-teen”, this intriguing Irish name, meaning “little star”, has become more popular in its homeland in recent years, following in the footsteps of Róisín (“little rose”) and other names ending in the diminutive suffix -ín.
Seren: Ranking at #32 in its native Wales, sweet Seren is a popular celestial choice which remains relatively unknown outside of the UK. The Cornish Steren, also meaning “star”, is a steelier alternative.
Sidra: This surprisingly international name lays claim to several different origins, from Arabic to Hebrew to Latin, in which it is derived from sidereus “of the stars”.
Sitara: A beautiful Urdu name related to the Persian Setareh or Setare “star”.
Sterling: The currency which shares this distinguished-sounding name is so called because some of the early Norman coins were marked with a small star symbol (Middle English: steorra “star” + diminutive suffix –ling).
Twila: One of the many proposed origins for this bewitching name is that it may be a Cajun corruption of étoile, the French word for “star”. It may also have arisen from the English word “twilight”, making this a double night-sky name with an influential namesake in dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp.
Vesper: Eva Green’s mysterious Bond girl Vesper Lynd put this one on the baby-naming map, but its origins are in Greek and Roman mythology, in which it belonged to the (male) personification of the evening star.
Yvaine: Although it was likely inspired by the masculine Yvain or by the similar Igraine, both from Arthurian legend, Neil Gaiman’s character in Stardust lends the name a celestial secondary meaning: “My sisters called me Yvaine, for I was an evening star”.
Which is your favorite star-spangled baby name for boys, girls, or both? And which others would you add? Let us know!
Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from pregnancy and birth to unique baby names from fiction and fantasy. As Nameberry’s head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England‘s smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at email@example.com.