Spanish Word Names Beyond Cruz and Cielo

September 25, 2020 Clare Green
spanish word names

Spanish word names celebrate the beauty of the Spanish language, and offer an alternative to the growing trend for English word names.

Spanish baby names are a big presence on the American charts, especially in states with a large Latinx community, such as California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Within that, word names are a relatively small but interesting group. As in other languages, the most popular Spanish choices include names with positive or spiritual meaning, and from nature.

In the States, some have taken off for thousands of parents who don’t speak Spanish at all. Top-ranking names like Luna, Aurora and Leon are crossovers that are not just Spanish but also Latin, Italian or pan-European. The fastest-rising specifically Spanish word names include celebrity-endorsed Cruz and starry Vega.

In Spain itself, word names are more popular for girls than boys. The only male word name in the Spanish Top 100 is Angel, while the girls’ Top 100 includes Alba, Alma, Vega, Abril, Candela, Victoria, Blanca, Rocio, Clara, Luna, and Mar.

There are a few gray areas in deciding what counts as a Spanish word name in the US. Salvador and Cielo clearly are. Rey for boys probably counts, but many Star Wars fans who gave it to their daughters may not know that it means king in Spanish. Meanwhile, names like Iman and Callista happen by coincidence to be Spanish words (meaning magnet and chiropodist!), but they were almost certainly chosen with other roots in mind.

Let’s look at some special categories of Spanish word names, then dive into the lists.

A note: I’ve omitted accents that are authentically Spanish but unfortunately don’t work accurately with our database — for example, Rubi is really Rubí. They also don’t appear in the official US data.

Names meaning love

Love is a many-splendored thing, and plenty of Spanish names celebrate it. Amor (love) is used for both sexes, and Miamor (my love) Amore (another term of endearment) for girls. There’s also Amado and Amada, both meaning beloved, and even some verb conjugations, like Amar (to love) and Amare (I will love).

Marian names

Names inspired by bynames for the Virgin Mary are a staple of traditional Spanish naming. Nowadays they’re less prevalent, although many parents might put them in the middle spot. Those in the charts today include:


Best Spanish word names in the charts

All of these names were given to at least five boys or girls in 2019  —  and in some cases, not many more than that.

Abril April
Alba — sunrise
Aleta — wing
Alma — soul
Alondra — lark
Ambar — amber
Angel — angel
Aurora — dawn
Avion — airplane
Azucena — lily
Azul — blue
Baya — berry
Blanca — white
Brisa — breeze
Celeste — light blue
Cielo — heaven
Cruz — cross
Delfina — dolphin
Dia — day
Domingo Sunday
Dulce — sweet
Esmeralda — emerald
Esperanza — hope
Estrella — star
Fausto — splendor
Fenix — phoenix
Flor — flower
Gema — gem
Haya — beech
Isla — island
Jacinto — hyacinth
Joya — jewel
Julio July
Lamar — the sea
Lareina — the queen
Leon — lion
Leona — lioness
Liviana — lighthearted
Lluvia — rain
Lucero — bright star
Lucio — pike
Luna — moon
Marea — tide
Margarita — daisy
Mariposa — butterfly
Maximo — maximum
Melisa — balm
Miangel — my angel
Milagro — miracle
Mira — sight
Monte — mountain
Ola — wave
Paloma — dove
Perla — pearl
Rana — frog
Reina — queen
Rey — king
Reyes — kings
Ria — estuary
Rico — rich
Rio — river
Romero — rosemary
Rosa — rose
Rubi — ruby
Salvador — savior
Santos — saints
Sena — sign
Serafin — seraph
Servando — serving
Sierra — saw / jagged mountains
Silvestre — wild
Sirena — siren
Sol — sun
Tierra — land
Vega — plain
Vela — candle
Vida — life
Zafiro — sapphire

Spanish word names beyond the charts

These are words that no one is using yet (or in some cases, anymore), but are potentially stylish names.

Alza — rise
Amapola — poppy
Cala — cove
Caricia — caress
Garbo — poise
Lago — lake
Leal — loyal
Matiz — shade
Orilla — shore
Sabio — wise
Velada — evening

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

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