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How to Name Your Baby in a Time of Crisis

April 4, 2020 Sophie Kihm
how to name your baby in a time of crisis

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way parents are naming their children.

The Philippines has already seen babies named Covid Bryant, Covid Rose, Covid Lorraine, and Coviduvidapap (all confirmed with birth certificate evidence). Even more recently, there were babies born in India named Corona and Lockdown.

Names No Longer Viable

Despite these notable cases, parents considering Corona and Covid are exceptions rather than the rule. More common are expectant parents who are now second-guessing their choice of baby name due to the impact of the coronavirus.

We talked to multiple parents who have eliminated Cove as an option because of its similarity to COVID. Nameberry reader Shealyn and her husband, who are expecting their second son in May, crossed it off their list.

“We were 90% decided on using Cove for his first name, we love how simple and calm it is,” said Shealyn. “But as soon as coronavirus hit North America it was quickly ruled out — it just feels wrong now!”

Even names like Cora are starting to be questioned. Olivia, due with a girl in July, is feeling unsure of her of her top choice.

“I do not want this baby to be forever associated with this pandemic — even more so that she will be a 2020 baby,” Olivia said. 

Alanna, expecting twins, takes a more extreme stance, rejecting all names beginning with C or K.

“As COVID-19 spread and we have spent the past few weeks listening to the news and reading about the uncertainty in the world, I began to strongly dislike hearing the ‘C’ or ‘K’ sound altogether,” said Alanna. 

Meaningful Names

However, the majority of parents we interviewed were not crossing names off their list but rather searching for names to add to it. Many expressed the wish for their child to have a name with a meaning that honors this significant time.

Evelyn, due with her third daughter in July, summed it up best: “My hope is that when this child grows up and someone asks about her name, she will be able to tell them that she was gestated during extraordinary, historic times of difficulty but also kindness, and that she will be one small part of a generation that learns from our mistakes as a society and celebrates and builds on our collective strength.”

There are many name meanings that could properly recognize this unusual time, including strength, sunshine, and yes, even crown.

Here, names with resonant meanings during a global crisis:

Names That Mean Home and Refuge

With shelter in place orders around the globe, a name that means home or refuge would be very appropriate for a child born or conceived during the pandemic. For many, home is a place associated with comfort and safety — names like Graham, Nydia, and Sutton have these warm and cozy qualities as well.

Aimar

Amparo

Bethany

Bingham

Estes

Graham

Hammond

Javiera

Lodge

Maison

Maxton

Nydia

Solveig

Sutton

Tatum

Treva

Xavier

Villa

Viveca

Worth

Names That Mean Healthy, Strong, and Resilient

By far and away, the names that parents are searching for the most during this crisis are ones meaning “strong.” Health, strength, and resiliency are qualities that are more valuable now than ever, and ones that are important to instill in children for the future.

Nameberry reader Nicole, who’s expecting her third child, wrote to us to say, “I would love this kid to have a name that resembles strength and resilience. Not to mention badass, since baby will be coming home to being quarantined with two- and four-year-old siblings!”

Among the more badass options in this list: Evander, Kenzo, and Zuly.

Adira

Amzi

Audrey

Brian

Denzel

Eloise

Ethan

Evander

Gabriel

Griffin

Imala

Kenzo

Marini

Millicent

Pacome

Quillon

Samina

Trudy

Valentina

Zuly

Names That Mean Courage and Bravery

Courage and bravery have been required by all of us to get through this global crisis.

Nameberry reader Evelyn explained why she’s looking for a name that means just that: “I started thinking that maybe by the time this baby is born, many acts of ordinary and extraordinary heroism may have occurred as the world bands together to stop or mitigate the virus, and it might be worth considering a name to honor that.” 

Names meaning courage and bravery speak to the acts of everyday heroism we are experiencing during this time, not the least of which by parents and parents-to-be. To be pregnant and deliver a baby during this unprecedented time is an act of courage and giving your child a name meaning brave or courageous could serve as a testament to your heroism as a parent.

Abir

Archie

Baldwin

Bernadette

Conrad

Donnelly

Everard

Farrell

Fergal

Harding

Howard

Kinga

Leopold

Odeda

Oz

Riley

Thorin

Valencia

Willard

Wyatt

Names That Mean Light and Sunshine

Many of our readers expressed that their babies were a “light at the end of the tunnel” during this dark time. Names meaning light and sunshine are uplifting and serve as a sign for better days on the horizon. Thankfully they’re easy to come by — almost every culture and language has a name relating to the concept of light, brightness, or the sun.

Anwar

Chiara

Clara

Cyrus

Deepak

Eilidh

Elio

Helena

Kalindi

Leocadia

Lior

Lucian

Mehri

Noor

Ori

Samson

Shaviv

Soleil

Sunniva

Uriel

Names That Mean Life

Even in a time when illness is constantly on the mind, babies remind us of all the potential of new life. This generation of babies is being born into a brand-new world, and a name that means life is a hopeful harbinger of improvements to be made and better things to come.

Ava and the Ev- names are popular names that mean life, and Scandinavian Liv is a hot name internationally.

Ava

Beathan

Bethoc

Bibiana

Chaim

Chava

Enid

Eshe

Eve

Evie

Jivanta

Karasi

Liv

Omaira

Selig

Shivani

Vida

Vidal

Vito

Viva

Names That Mean Crown

For the people who are set on naming a child after the virus (not recommended, but some parents will do it!), a name that means “crown” offers a more subtle nod than Corona or Covid.

Stephanie and Stephen are past their prime but remain the most classic names that mean crown. Atara, Kelilah, and Taj hit the right style note for a baby born today — uncommon but not too out-there, with a hit of international flair.

Ade

Adebayo

Atara

Etienne

Galadriel

Heirani

Katriel

Kayla

Kaylee

Kelilah

Kitron

Laureate

Negasi

Panya

Pollux

Sade

Stephanie

Stephen

Taj

Tiara

For more names with meanings you may want to consider, check out our lists of Names That Mean Hope, Names That Mean Faith, Names That Mean Good or Kind, Names with Uplifting Meanings, Names with Inspirational Meanings, and Names That Mean Warrior.

Has the pandemic changed the way you’re thinking about baby names?

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. 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. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

View all of Sophie Kihm's articles

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