Devilish Baby Names: Lilith and Loki
By Emily Cardoza
This past weekend I went to see Robert Eggers’ The Witch, an excellent (albeit scary and really unusual) film about a Puritan family dealing with the supernatural. The references to the Devil got me thinking – are there any devilish names in use out there? Here are the ones I found. The names have been ordered by popularit, greatest to least (the numbers in parentheses show how many babies were given the name).
The popularity of cheerful Lily has given this name a boost, but the original Lilith was Adam‘s first wife in Jewish folklore. She refused to be subservient to him and left him, turning into a demon (I’m personally on her side in this debate). The connotation is preserved mostly in the Jewish tradition, but it’s interesting to see such an innocent-looking name with such a diabolic origin story.
The popularity of the Avengers character has surely boosted this name for both boys and girls. Loki is a trickster god in the Nordic tradition, but his name is attached to certain interpretations of the devil. Aurally and visually, it’s a stand-out choice, and it will probably get even bigger as the Marvel movie universe grows.
I can see why this name is especially appealing today – it looks like a mash-up of Levi and Jonathan. The name literally means “twisted”, and often references sea monsters (some translate Leviathan as “whale”). In the Old Testament, or Tanakh, Satan appears in the form of a whale, hence the connection. I do like the name, though it’s a lot to live up to!
Literally meaning “scapegoat”, the name is associated with sacrificial rites in Judaism, and some traditions refer to Azazel as a fallen angel. I’m sure a lot of parents choose the name for the cool double-z sound – like Aziz or Aziza – and many are unaware of the demonic link. Still, the name hasn’t been used enough for me to predict how it will fair in the future.
The first name I thought of on this list, Lucifer has been recorded almost annually since 2002. The auditory similarity to Lucy or Lucian probably has more to do with its popularity than any devilish reasons. I tend to associate this name with the cat from Cinderella, but the name does have a positive meaning: “light-bearer”.
I’m surprised at the longevity of this name – Demon has been recorded as far back as 1969. It’s similar to Damon or Damian – the name of the cursed child in The Omen – but Demon more directly references evil than any of the other names on this list. If anyone has a theory of how this name stayed on the books so long, tell me in the comments!
The name of the god of the dead in both Hindu and some East Asian mythologies, Yama also translates to “mountain” in Japanese. I’d advise against any Western parents using it – see cultural appropriation – but it’s a lovely, friendly name.
I’m including Diablo on the list, since it was recorded in 1975 – 5 babies were born that year named Diablo. Recently screenwriter Diablo Cody has jumped on the scene – she picked her name – and it’s up for debate whether the name is okay to use.
I have to say, I’m relieved the following names never showed up in data: Satan, Devil, or Beelzebub.
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on February 29th, 2016 at 2:35 am
Glad Lucifer and Lilith are in use- they’re my favourite names. If usage continues, maybe they won’t be considered so taboo by the time I can have kids. c:
on February 29th, 2016 at 5:16 am
I have met boys named Demon. African-American and pronounced dih-Mahn, in one case spelled with an apostrophe – De’mon. The male name Devon is similarly pronounced dih-Vahn.
on February 29th, 2016 at 11:36 am
No matter how beautiful Lilith is, I just cannot get around the fact that she was a demon whore who had a thousand babies a day and willingly sacrificed them (that last bit you seem to have conveniently left out). Admittedly, I’m nowhere near religious, nor do I have anything to do with the Jewish faith, so technically it should be fine. But in my own mind, naming a daughter Lilith is like naming a daughter Jezebel – it’s got that nasty connotation to it that I could never appreciate or overlook. Still, it is lovely.
Having said that, Loki is a decent choice because not many people really know about the god’s mythology (not that it’s that bad), but everyone loves him in the comics and movies. As for Azazel and Lucifer, I also think that they are appropriate as they are actually quite moral characters. Plus, two holy men Saint Lucifer of Cagliari, and Lucifer of Siena, bore the name, so it’s definitely not all-evil, and makes for an interesting saints name. And as for Leviathan, I think it’s OK. Not my favourite by any means but it does sound like a cross between the commonly accepted Levi and Jonathan, and in terms of the English language it’s not a very commonly used word that we encounter in every day speech, so its use as a name shouldn’t cause much of a stir. Yama is also fine as, while a bit morbid, there’s nothing wrong with naming your child after a god of the dead. And if you don’t live in an Asian community with ties to said god, no one will know of the connection.
As for Diablo and Demon… no. Just, no.
on February 29th, 2016 at 3:43 pm
I wonder how many people don’t know the legend behind Lilith and actually found the name by watching ‘Cheers’/’Fraiser’?
on March 1st, 2016 at 5:33 am
I love Lilith, like Loki and can see the appeal of Leviathan. Diablo would be a GP – such a cool sound!
I can’t see Lucifer working, ever. It may have a pretty sound and a lovely meaning, but it’s like calling your child Satan. It’s not an obscure name for the devil like some of the others – it’s a pretty blatant reference and therefore off-limits, IMO.
Jezebel is another one with a lovely sound but just too too too many negative connotations, despite the feminist world trying to “reclaim” it. Unlike Lilith and Delilah, it’s actually entered the English lexicon as a word meaning “immoral woman” or “traitress”, making it a no-go for me.
Some other great ones:
on September 1st, 2016 at 8:05 am
Lilith is my favourite! It has been for a while, although I go back and forth between pronouncing it as Lil-ith or Lye-lith. They’re both stunning, though. I’m actually thinking about changing my name to Lilith because I love it that much. I like Luciver better as a variation to Lucifer. The “f” just seems too strong in the name while the “v” makes it just roll off your tongue like a sweet and deadly poison. Like a lullaby. Asura’s also a very pretty name with demonic origin, and I love Leviathan and it’s sibling Leviadan. Also, a couple of Lilith’s 17 names Eilo (and Ailo,) Amizo and Abiza. And Azazel. I don’t know, I just have a thing for names of demonic origins. They just have an allure to it. Soft and sweet, beautiful but hard as ice. Like Frost seeping through a window. My name is too common anyway. Who’s Emma? My name’s Lilith.
It also doesn’t hurt that many devilish names start with an “l” which makes you lull and just sounds beautiful.
Also, Cain. ’nuff said.
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on October 20th, 2016 at 10:45 pm
[…] on, it must be noted that trendy Ella features in her first name. And check out this past post on Devilish Names (also featured on Nameberry) for more sizzling […]
on May 1st, 2017 at 3:45 pm
My daughter (now 15) is named Lilith, so clearly I like the name as I gave it to her. She also loves it, and has never had any negative feedback about it for the “devilish whore” connotation. She does, however, get a lot of compliments about having a lovely/cool name.
As a side note, I’ve found most people associate it with feminism/strong women more than anything else, as the Lilith of folklore is considered by many to be the first feminist for her defiance of Adam and the eponymous “Lilith Fair.”
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