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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