Nameberry Picks: 15 enchanted island names

A few blogs back, we talked about lake names, and what an evocative word that is. Another, similarly appealing word is island, calling up images of calm, peaceful, isolated places surrounded by the sea.  We’re not suggesting you name your baby Island (though Isla comes close), but here are the Nameberry Picks of 15 favorite island names.

  1. Aranthe Aran Isles are a group of three islands off the Irish coast, at the mouth of Galway Bay, known for uniquely-patterned sweaters and the iconic 1934 documentary, Man of Aran.  Aran would make a nice Irish-accented name, but would it be confused with Aaron?  ‘Fraid so.
  2. Catalina—Santa Catalina is one of the California Channel Islands and is a popular tourist destination for Angelinos and others.  A Spanish version of Catherine that is more delicate and feminine than the English one, Catalina has been rising in popularity since the late eighties.
  3. Cayman—the Caymans consist of three islands in the western Caribbean south of Cuba. Peaceful and beautiful, they are also a major offshore banking hub.  The name Cayman would fit right in with Cayden & Co.
  4. Corsica, famed as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, is a mountainous Mediterranean island, part of France but closer to Tuscany than the French coast.  The name could be thought of as a Cora-elaboration with a feminissima ‘ica’ ending.
  5. DevinDevin Island, in Baffin Bay, Canada, is the largest uninhabited island on Earth.  The Irish-inflected Devin is Number 140 for boys, while the Devon and Devan spellings are also used.
  6. ElbaAnother island with Napoleonic ties—it was to this Italian Mediterranean isle that the French emperor was exiled.  Elba could be a possibility for parents who want to move beyond Ella and Elsa into less chartered seas.
  7. Guernseya charming but civilized component of the Channel Islands, sitting between England and France (closer to France) in the English Channel.  Sometimes heard as a surname, even more rarely as a first, Guernsey has a quirky appeal—although yes, there could be some cow jokes.
  8. Jamaicapart of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean, Jamaica is an eminently usable place name.  Writer Jamaica Kincaid was born not in Jamaica but on another Caribbean island, Antigua, and her birth name was the more prosaic Elaine Cynthia.
  9. Lucia—St. Lucia (pronounced LOO-sha) is a lovely member of the Caribbean Virgin Islands.  An increasingly popular name, this Italian and Spanish version of Lucy has been steadily climbing up the list, reaching Number 265 in 2010.
  10. Majorca one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, Majorca (my-OR-ca) is a long-time tourist destination (it now has about 2,400 restaurants); the capital city PALMA is another name possibility.
  11. Malta—actually an archipelago near the center of the Mediterranean, the name derives from the Greek word for honey.  Malta has been heard as a girl’s name in the past, but it has a somewhat dated-bohemian feel now.
  12. Martinique is a Caribbean island with a decidedly French accent, first sighted by  Christopher Columbus in 1502. Could make an exotic female namesake for an ancestral Martin, à la the more common Dominique.
  13. Sanibel—An island off the Gulf coast of Florida, a tourist destination noted for its colorful history and variety of birds and seashells.  Another possible addition to the bel family of names.
  14. SkyeThe Isle of Skye is the largest island in the rocky Inner Hebrides of Scotland, and has a strong folk music tradition.  Skye is currently the 490th most popular girls’ name in the US, while the slightly more hippie-ish Sky lags far behind.
  15. TrinidadTrinidad, an island off Venezuela in the southern Caribbean, is Spanish for ‘trinity’ and is a common unisex name in Latin America—and was also as high as Number 451 in the U.S. in 1922.  Performers Trini Lopez (male) and Trini Alvarado (female) were both born Trinidad.

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9 Responses to “Nameberry Picks: 15 enchanted island names”

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Nook of Names Says:

August 18th, 2011 at 4:06 am

Malta’s Latin name Melita slips into name-land with even more ease!

Scottish islands make for quite a few names, off the top of the head there’s Islay, Ailsa, Tiree, Coll, Harris, Lewis, Canna — and not forgetting probably the most famous of them all, Iona! Some lesser known ones have potential too, such as Eriska, Rysa, Fara, Lunna, Kilda (from St Kilda), Fidra, Colonsay, Ornsay and Gilsay…

As for others, I have heard Seychelle…

Sxia Says:

August 18th, 2011 at 11:56 am

My daughter’s middle name is Skye, not necessarily after the isle, but because a friend had the name. However, I love the name Avalon after the mythological island from the King Arthur legend. Unfortunately, it’s also a car model. But so are Sierra and others, so why not?

dublin Says:

August 18th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I love Elba! My sister had a Panamanian friend by this name in College and she was such a beautiful and sweet young lady that I fell in love with the name. It is also the name of the little girl in The Time Traveler’s Wife, so that adds some bonus points as well. I would love to hear it used more often.

Mischa Says:

August 18th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

My fave is Lucia and I do love the island pronunciation of “LOO-sha” the best of all. I like Elba too but as an island for Napoleon’s exile I wouldn’t use it. I don’t know if I would choose any of the others for first names but I think Skye is lovely in the middle spot.

mjeezy13 Says:

August 18th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Love Sanibel! Great idea! I really like Lucia and Skye as well. How about….

Aruba (possible nn Ruby?)
Croix (silent X too much?)

2 islands names for holidays – Worldwide Vacation Destinations – Worldwide Vacation Destinations Says:

August 25th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

[…] Nameberry Picks: 15 enchanted island names – Baby Name Blog …Description : A few blogs back, we talked about lake names, and what an evocative word that is. Another, similarly appealing word is island, calling up images of calm, peaceful, isolated places surrounded by the sea. … .. […]

bostonian girl Says:

September 13th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

My favorite by far is Skye. I fell crazy in love with this one after reading a rather lurid romance novel entitled “Skye O’Malley” by Bertrice Small. It was the first place I had ever seen Skye used as a person’s name, and now it’s among my top-ten favorite girls’ names.

I also used Catalina for a minor character in my stories.

Namenutt Says:

August 2nd, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I am also crazy-in-love with the name Skye for a girl, also since I saw it as a character name in a book I read as a young teen – nearly 20yrs ago! I have been lucky enough to have been to the Isle of Skye (because of my love of the name!) & it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It is my no.1 name for a girl. Lucia is the name of a dear friend who passed away tragically. Her full name was Andalucia after the place in Spain, not sure if it is also an island?

laurakatex Says:

September 13th, 2012 at 11:03 am

I love Iona and Skye as in the names of the Scottish Isles, and also Islay! Scottish places with beautiful names.

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