January Names Feel Fresh

January Names Feel Fresh

January names celebrate the New Year with names related to fresh starts and new beginnings. This month is the heart of Winter, so names connected to cold weather are particularly meaningful for a January-born child.

Symbols of the month may inspire baby names such as Camellia, Garnet, Eirlys, and even Constance. Depending on when your child’s birthday falls, Capricorn names or Aquarius names would be suitable to match their zodiac sign.

Heroic namesakes born in January include Zora Neale Hurston, David Bowie, Joan of Arc, and, of course, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

View our guide to naming your January baby, below.

Top January Names

The most popular January baby names are New Year names. Aurora, meaning “dawn,” and Nova, meaning “new,” are the top two choices for girls and represent the fresh start that comes with the changing of the calendar. Names that mean hope, including Nadia and Hope itself, are also common names for January girls.

January names for boys tend to be rarer, but some of the top choices for boys include those connected to famous figures born this month, such as Alexander Hamilton and Edgar Allen Poe.

A seasonal option for either sex is Winter, although it is much more common for baby girls. Winter ranks at Number 304 for girls and outside the Top 1000 for boys.

Below, January names within the US Top 600:

January Girl Names

The names of January’s floral symbols would make rare and evocative choices for a daughter born this month. Camellia splits the difference between Camila and Amelia — both Top 15 names — but itself was given to fewer than 100 baby girls at last count.

Snowdrop has never made it above the five-name threshold to rank on the US popularity charts, making it a truly unique name. The Welsh equivalent, Eirlys, is just as rare in the US.

There are many namesake-worthy historical figures born in January, such as French writer, feminist, and activist Simone de Beauvoir (January 9) and Joan of Arc (January 6). Joan ranked in the Top 100 from the mid-'20s to the early ‘60s and fell out of the Top 1000 at the end of the century. It is starting to feel fresh again, along with the sweet nickname Joanie.

Author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was born on January 7, 1891, and her name would be a fashionable choice for a daughter born this month. The name Zora connects to January on multiple levels as it means “dawn,” relating it to the New Year.

Here, our picks of the best January names for girls:

January Boy Names

As the first month of the year, any of the number names related to "one" would be perfect for a January baby (bonus points if it’s your firstborn!). There are many stylish options from around the world — some of our favorites include the Turkish Ilkin, Finnish Ensio, and Hebrew Aleph (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet).

January’s birthstone is the garnet, which is a rare gender-neutral baby name. Etymologically, garnet means “pomegranate” (the gem and fruit match in color), but the gem symbolizes constancy, making Constance a subtle but meaningful January baby name as well.

Wolf, besides being one of the coolest animal names for babies, has significant connections to the month of January. The Saxons called January “Wulfmonath,” meaning “wolf-month,” and Wolf Moon is the term for the full moon that occurs in January — this year on January 6.

Important January-born men that may inspire a name for your son include The Catcher in the Rye author J.D. (born Jerome David) Salinger (January 1), iconic musician David Bowie (January 8), and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15).

Any one of King’s three names would be a powerful tribute to the civil rights hero, and each has a different flavor. Martin is the most classic, while King is the most modern. Luther is the rarest but has considerable style with its “lou” sound and -er ending. It’s on the rise and could break the Top 1000 within the decade.

Below, our recommendations for January names for boys:

Unique January Names

Name trivia! January was the tenth-most-popular month name last year. It was only given to 20 baby girls at last count — fewer than every other month name besides March and February. It’s familiar as a name via actress January Jones, yet rare enough that your daughter may never encounter another. International options include the French Janvier and, for boys, the Italian Gennaro.

The zodiac signs of the month are Capricorn and Aquarius. Capricorn is the sign of the goat — rare goat-related names include Cheever and Haviland. Aquarius is an air sign, but symbolized by the water-bearer, making names that mean water or names that mean air appropriate for a child born under the sign. Tempest and Makani are two unusual but usable options.

A good place to turn for unique January baby names is saints with feast days during the month. For girls, Cera, Marcelina, and Dwynwen are striking possibilities, while Clarus, Fintan, and Cyprian are among our favorites for boys.

These unique January baby names were given to fewer than 90 babies in 2022. Here, 20 unique names for January babies:

About the Author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top 2020s names, Gen Z names, and cottagecore baby names. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest.

Sophie Kihm's articles on names have run on People, Today, The Huffington Post, and more. She has been quoted as a name expert by The Washington Post, People, The Huffington Post, and more. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.