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Fairy Names are Magical for May Day

May 1, 2020 Clare Green
fairy baby names

Fairy baby names are perfect for May 1st. Today, in many traditions in Europe and North America, the boundaries with the magical world are just a bit thinner than usual.

To celebrate, we’re looking at the names of mystical, magical creatures, specifically the fairy-pixie-elf part of the spectrum. Even then, there’s quite a range. As fairy tale lovers are aware, there’s a world of difference between Hans Christian Andersen’s little folk and Disney fairies. What unites them is their fascinating, fantastical names.

Fairy Baby Names meaning magical creatures

Elvie Ellie meets Sylvie! This vintage nickname disappeared from the charts for decades, but has just started to see a little use again. Other names with “elf” in them include Alfred and Alfie, Aubrey, and the fairy king Oberon himself.

Faye — From the French word for fairy, sweet and simple Faye has recently returned to the Top 1000. 

Korrigan — This dwarflike creature from Breton folklore has a name that chimes in well with surname-style names like Sullivan. In fact, Corrigan with a C is an Irish surname that’s surprisingly little-used.

Peri — A benevolent spirit from Persian and Armenian folklore, with a spelling that feels more international than Perry.

Pixie — A mischievous Cornish spirit with a fun-sounding name. The singer Pixie Lott (full name Victoria) brought this name into the spotlight, and it’s now in the England and Wales Top 500.

Siofra — An Irish word for a fairy (pronounced Sheefra) that’s only become a name in modern times.

Fairy Baby Names of magical characters

Ariel Shakespeare’s ethereal spirit in The Tempest makes a gentle gender-neutral name. The mermaid association and alternative Hebrew roots don’t hurt it, either.

Arwen — The most usable elf name in The Lord of the Rings. For one thing, it’s short, simple and sounds like names that are popular right now, like Aria. Plus, it’s a bona fide Welsh name which even has a (traditionally) male form, Arwyn. Tauriel is another elf name, created for the Hobbit movies, that has seen a little use.

Bloom — Now for something completely different: Bloom is the heroine of the TV series Winx Club, who gets whisked off to fairy college. It’s surprising that this flowery word name isn’t more popular, especially as there’s a growing interest in similar Blossom.

Cian — A member of the Tuatha Dé Danann — the supernatural folk of ancient Ireland — and the father of the god Lugh. The spelling Kian is better known in the US, but Cian (or Cían) is more enduring in its homeland: it’s been in Ireland’s Top 50 since 1990. Could it ever be the next Liam?

Esterelle — In a medieval legend from the south of France, Esterelle was a fairy who granted fertility and guarded pregnant women. The name means “star” in the dialect of the time, and would be a romantic (and unique) elaboration of Estelle.

Flora — Our favorite fairy godmother name from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. (The other two,  Fauna and Merryweather, are rather more niche.) Vintage Nora and Cora are firmly back in style, and Flora is a lighter-sounding variation with just as much history behind it.

HollyHolly has double fairy credentials, but the fairies couldn’t be more different. Parents of young children may know it best from Ben and Holly’s Magical Kingdom. There’s also Holly Short, the badass elf in the Artemis Fowl books and soon-to-be-released movie.

Iolanthe — The title fairy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comedy opera, who draws the fairies into a tangle with the British government. If you like Xanthe but wonder if there’s more in the same vein, this could be for you.

JarethDavid Bowie’s glam Goblin King has appeared on the name charts ever since Labyrinth was released in 1986. It’s easy to see the appeal: so close to Gareth and Jared, but with a fantasy twist.

Link — The first children who played The Legend of Zelda are having children of their own now, and some of them have taken inspiration from the game’s elfin hero. There are probably more boys than we realise going by Link, with Lincoln on their birth certificates.

Maeve Queen Mab was the fairies’ midwife, according to Shakespeare. Some think that her name derives from Maeve, the legendary Irish queen. More substantial than Mae but less familiar than Ava, Maeve is in the Nameberry Top 10, a sure sign that it’s the height of style.

Morgan Morgana Le Fay was a fairy sorceress in Arthurian legend. The no-nonsense version Morgan isn’t as popular now as it was in the 1990s, but still has history, gravitas and a cool -an ending. It sounds especially evergreen for boys. The French feminine form Morgane another option.

Puck — The mischievous fairy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a unisex name that’s popular in the Netherlands… and may also appeal to hockey lovers. Huck is getting lots of love at the moment, so why not Puck too?

Tommelise: Remember Thumbelina, the tiny heroine who wants to find love with someone her own size (who’s not a literal toad)? In the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen, her name was Tommelise. Now there’s an offbeat alternative to Annelise.

Zarina — There’s a whole world of Disney fairies out there, but Zarina the Pirate Fairy is undoubtedly one of the coolest. Her name is rare but doesn’t feel surprising  — it’s like a slightly edgier Serena. Some of her fairy colleagues include Clarion, Iridessa, Vidia and Terence.

Want more names like these? We love Nameberry reader princesskitra’s list of fairy and elf names.

Or check out this article on Fairy Tale Names.

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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