By Linda Rosenkrantz
One subtle way to celebrate Father’s Day is to give a future Daddy’s girl or boy a name with ‘father’ in its meaning, especially if the baby is due around this time of year. These baby names stretch across many cultures, some of them with religious significance and, as you will notice, the majority starting with the letter ‘A’..
Abba—a masculine name derived from the ancient Aramaic meaning “father,” Abba has been in use since the first century. Abba Eban (born Aubrey) was a noted Israeli diplomat and scholar, onetime ambassador to the US and to the UN. The name of the 70s Swedish pop group ABBA is an acronym of the members’ names–Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid.
Abbott, which means father in Hebrew, is a somewhat neglected male surname, related to the head of a monastery. We think it has real possibilities, especially with the trendiness of other double T-ending names like Bennett and Everett and Elliott.
Abiel (“God is my father”)—an Old Testament name that was used by the Puritans and was borne by a few early American politicians.
Abigail—(“My father is joyful” or “father’s joy”)—is the most well used of all these names, now ranking at Number 8 and given to almost 12,000 girls last year. It’s both a biblical and First Lady name. Nicknames Abbie and Abby of course share the meaning—and you could even stretch it to Gail.
Abraham (“father of multitudes”) Now at Number 180, this Old Testament patriarch is now a full-fledged baby name (as is Lincoln). There are plenty of interesting offshoots and nicknames as well, including Ibrahim, Aram, Abram, Abramo, Avrum, Abe and Bram.
Absalom (“father of peace”)—Another Old Testament Hebrew name, Absalom has impressive literary cred via the Faulkner novel, Absalom, Absalom—and, on a lighter note, it’s also the name of the caterpillar in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
Adanna—A Western African (Igbo) name meaning “she is her father’s daughter, ” Adanna would blend right in with all the other current anna-ending names.
Av means father and is followed by a long list of Av-prefixed father-related names, including boys’ names Avi, Aviel, Avigal (“father of waves”), Avishua, Avner “father of light”), and Avtalyon (“father of dew”). For girls there are Avirama (“my father is strong”), and the pretty Aviella (“God is my Father”)
Axel—Although it’s the Scandinavian form of Absalom, Axel deserves a place of his own here because of its viral popularity—it’s now at Number 145, 48 on Nameberry and Number 9 in its native Sweden. American use started with Axl (born William) Rose of Guns N’Roses, then was picked up by Will Ferrell and other starbaby-naming parents. And now you can also find Axels all over the small and big screens and in video games.
Cleopatra (“glory of the father”)—a Greek name that became a famously royal name in Egypt, forever associated with the towering Queen of the Nile. Less daunting variations include Clea, Cleo, Cleona and Clio.
Jupiter—The name of the supreme god in Roman mythology and the largest planet in the solar system contains the Latin element “pater,” meaning “father.” Jupiter hasn’t taken off the way his partner Juno’s has, but with the ascendance of sound-alike Juniper and of various other Roman god names, it just might.
Zaci—This African name is related to the mythological god of fatherhood.