Names Meaning Freedom Celebrate Independence Day
We’re celebrating this Fourth of July with names meaning freedom and independence.
These values are as important today as they were when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Because we know that long after the revolution was over, some Americans were — and are — still fighting for freedom.
The virtue name Liberty has a long history of use in the USA, with peaks after the Civil War, First World War and Vietnam War. But it’s only since the year 2000 that it’s come into steady use, helped by several on-screen characters (such as in Degrassi and the movie Chasing Liberty). Today, in a landscape where many baby names rise and fall, Liberty is remarkably steady in the rankings. Give her a few more years, and she could be a modern classic.
Beyond Liberty, there are plenty more names with the same meaning. Here are 15 of our favorites — have you heard of them all?
Charlie — All the Charl/Carl/Karl names come from an ancient word for a man of free status, and Charlie is the most fun, friendly and relaxed. Ever-popular for boys, it’s recently taken off for girls too, making it one of the most gender-neutral baby names.
Dermot — Ok, so we’re slightly stretching the theme here, but Dermot (meaning “free from envy”) is too good to miss. It’s a classic in its native Ireland, although it’s now in dad/grandpa territory there: the spellings Diarmuid and Diarmait are more popular on the younger generation. In the States it has great potential, being solid and understated in the same way as Desmond and Declan.
Eleftheria — A striking Greek heritage choice: Greece’s national motto is eleftheria í thanatos, “freedom or death”. If you love musical, dramatic names like Evangeline and Ophelia but want something further off the beaten track, Eleftheria fits the bill.
Frank — Like the Carl names, Frank is associated with a word meaning a free person. Nowadays, you might also see it as a virtue name. The golden age of Frank was a hundred years ago, giving it a vintage vibe, but it’s never fully gone away. It has namesakes galore, from Sinatra to Herbert to Bruno.
Freeman — Part-surname, part-word name, Freeman conveys a strong message of freedom. Namesakes (as a surname) include actors Morgan Freeman and Martin Freeman, and in the movie Django Unchained, Django takes it as a last name after he gains his liberty.
Indie — It’s a quality many people value in music and businesses, so why not as a virtue name for a child you hope will tread their own path? As a standalone, Indie has recently shot up in popularity for girls, while the spelling Indy is more unisex in use. If you prefer it as a nickname, fuller options include Indiana, Indigo, and more.
Lysander — Straight out of ancient Greek history and Shakespeare, Lysander is one of the alternative -ander names that many name-lovers swoon over. Unlike Leander and Evander, Lysander has the option of Sasha and Sandy as nicknames. On the Nameberry chart it’s in the Top 300, but in real life it’s way below the radar.
Malaya — The Filipino word for “free” has a liquid sound found in many popular girls’ names, like Maya, Amelia and Aaliyah. The country name Malaysia (which comes from the same root) has seen a rise in recent years, and Malaya feels like a more subtle alternative.
Moksha — Could this be the next Bodhi? Moksha comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “liberation”, and is the ultimate goal in Hinduism: release from the cycle of rebirth. With its distinctive sound, it doesn’t risk getting lost among similar names. Although very rare, it has started to appear on the US name chart in the last 15 years.
Quispe — Did someone say distinctive sound? Quispe (“Kees-peh”), which means “freedom” in Quechua, isn’t quite like any other name either. Its most famous wearer was Sisa Quispe, a 16th-century Incan princess who married two conquistadors.
Saoirse — Saoirse Ronan proves that the right person can make even the most unexpected name popular. Saoirse, meaning “freedom”, was first used in the 1920s in newly-independent Ireland, and it’s been a Top 50 name there for over 20 years. It’s also the name of the political party Sinn Féin’s newsletter, and of the fridge in the true story Round Ireland with a Fridge.
Scheherazade — Let’s finish where we began, with a Persian name. Its origins are disputed, but one possible meaning is “world-freer” — how’s that for a strong name? Scheherazade was the storyteller of the 1001 Arabian Nights, and her name makes a pretty bold statement on a child. But if parents have been loving other dramatic heroine names recently, why not this one?
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on July 6th, 2020 at 10:25 am
I love Indigo with the nickname Indie. I have an uncle named Freeman, so it’s hard for me to see that on a child. :p
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