Nature Names in Disguise

Nature names — our topic in honor of Earth Day — today usually come right out and announce themselves.  Popular categories of nature names include flower names — Daisy, Lily; tree names — Oak, Acacia; animal names — Fox, Wren; and water names — Bay, Lake.

And then there are those nature names that are not obviously nature names but on the surface seem more like surnames or place names or even, stunningly, actual name names.  What makes them nature names is their root meaning, a factor that sometimes gets lost in the more contemporary associations of a name.

Parents in search of a name that connotes sun or star, land or water without being too blatant about it might want to consider one of these lovely secret nature names.  We picked a selection suiting varied tastes for girls, boys, and either.   And there are hundreds more to be found by searching for nature names on nameberry’s supersearch page.




  • Adair, “oak tree ford”
  • Ainsley, “one’s own meadow”
  • Arden, “valley of the eagle”
  • Beck, “living beside a small stream”
  • Blair, “dweller on the plain”
  • Brady, “broad meadow”
  • Dylan, “son of the sea”
  • Hayden, “heather-grown hill”
  • Logan, “little hollow”
  • Murphy, “hound of the sea”
  • Perry, “dweller near a pear tree”
  • Raleigh, “meadow of the roe deer”
  • Ripley, “strip of clearing in the woods”
  • Seren, “star”
  • Yardley, “fenced meadow”

Tomorrow, look for a Nameberry first: An all new blog on Saturday — Elisabeth Wilborn’s new Nameberry Style column, this week looking at Earth Day goodies.

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13 Responses to “Nature Names in Disguise”

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anneNY Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 1:20 am

I LOVE this post! I have a friend that used 2 of these names for her daughter. Her daughter’s name is Jessamy Bryn 🙂 They call her Jessie for short 🙂 I think Jessamy is prettier than Jessica and I LOVE Bryn a whole lot more than the usual Lyn and Quin. Do you think Bryn would be a better middle name or first name though?

KO Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 1:39 am

I’d also like to recommended Rocio which means covered in dew and is also a Marian appellation.

PK Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 am

I adore the name Bryn as well – love it as Brynhild, and Bryn for short. It is so strong and beautiful!

Lola Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 8:44 am

Oh, I’m warming to Guinevere. It’s always seemed “too much” before now. Keziah’s my Confirmation name and I adore Roxana. Cassius is on our boys list, Nash is a family surname used by one of my boys and both Samson & Perry appeal to me very much!

Love the less obvious nature names! Great post!

Jasmine Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 11:39 am

Wow I actually love most of these names!

corsue Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 11:40 am

I think Todd meaning fox needs to make a comeback. It feels like Jack or Max to me.

Em Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I have always been a fan of Bronte and Elodie…. but I think the name Seren is gorgeous – way nicer than the over-used Stella.

Elle Says:

April 22nd, 2011 at 9:55 pm

So many names I love!

Bronte, Daphne, Guinevere, Jessamy, Cassius, Crawford, Cyrus, Nash, Silas, Adair, Arden, Perry and Seren!

babynamesrule Says:

April 23rd, 2011 at 12:15 pm


Bryn, Cordelia, Elodie, Hadley, Nash, Radley, Shaw, Ainsley, Arden, Logan, Ripley, Seren.

I also am warming to Danica strictly because of the meaning…

Macy Says:

April 24th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Bryn is male, why is it even not considered on the “either” choice?

Nature Names: Fresh fruit names beyond Apple and Banana – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

May 12th, 2011 at 12:10 am

[…] the never-ending search for fresh green nature names, prospective parents have dug all around the flower garden, looked up at tree names and swum […]

heather Says:

June 23rd, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I am planning on naming my son hayden, my middle name is shawn and i saw shaw and it happens to mean what my maiden name was how adorable!

mariahsweet Says:

January 17th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Splendid list! Adair and Roscoe are currently on my short list for baby #3.

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