Lion King Baby Names: Simba, Nala, Timon

Lion King Baby Names: Simba, Nala, Timon

By Nancy Man

Disney princesses often influence the baby name charts. But what about Disney animals? Let’s see what effect they have had.

The Lion King movie, released in 1994, and still running on Broadway, was a Hamlet-influenced, coming-of-age story that focused on a lion cub named Simba. So it’s no surprise that Simba was the first Lion King-inspired baby name to debut on the charts.


The name Simba, which comes from the Swahili word for ‘lion’, first appeared in the data in 1994:

1997: unlisted

1996: unlisted

1995: 9 baby boys named Simba

1994: 5 baby boys named Simba [debut]

1993: unlisted


Sarabi, the name of Simba’s mother, first appeared in 1995:

1997: 5 baby girls named Sarabi

1996: 9 baby girls named Sarabi

1995: 12 baby girls named Sarabi [debut]

1994: unlisted

1993: unlisted

Sarabi comes from the Swahili word for “mirage.”


Mufasa, the name of Simba’s father, also first appeared in 1995:

1997: unlisted

1996: unlisted

1995: 7 baby boys named Mufasa [debut]

1994: unlisted

1993: unlisted

It was a one-hit wonder on the charts.


Nala was the name of Simba’s childhood best friend (and, later, love interest). Her name saw a big boost in usage in the mid-1990s:

1997: 55 baby girls named Nala

1996: 51 baby girls named Nala

1995: 85 baby girls named Nala

1994: 24 baby girls named Nala

1993: unlisted


Timon, the name of Simba’s meerkat friend, also saw increased usage in the mid-1990s:

1997: 17 baby boys named Timon

1996: 19 baby boys named Timon

1995: 19 baby boys named Timon1994: 9 baby boys named Timon

1993: 7 baby boys named Timon


Kiara wasn’t in the original Lion King movie, but she was the main character of the direct-to-video sequel The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, released in October of 1998. She was Simba and Nala’s daughter. The name Kiara, already popular, saw a massive spike in usage in 1999:

2001: 2,289 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 144th]

2000: 2,559 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 130th]1999: 4,023 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 78th]

1998: 1,733 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 172nd]

1997: 1,263 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 238th]

So which of these names do you like best? Would you consider using a Lion King-inspired name for your own baby?

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.