Water Names: How To Pick A Name That’s All Wet
Not long ago, a couple I know—both serious swimmers—asked me if I could help them come up with a girl’s name that related to water. They didn’t want any site-specific water names —no actual names of oceans or rivers or seas, no Hudsons or Niles for them– but something with the feel or sense or literal meaning of water.
I put together a relatively short list for them of water-related words and names whose meanings reference water. Here’s a considerably expanded version of those water names, with some, of course, more usable than others. (By the way, my friends chose to name their daughter Tallulah, in large part because they loved its meaning—“leaping water”)
So if you’re a swimmer, a surfer, a snorkeler, a fisherperson, or just someone who likes to walk in the rain, here are some possible approaches.
1. FIND A WORD RELATED TO WATER:
2. FIND A NAME WITH A WATER-RELATED MEANING:
- Darya – means ‘seas’ in Iranian
- Hama – Japanese for ‘shore’
- Jurmala – Latvian, means ‘sea shore’
- Kendall –‘valley of the River Kent’ (unisex)
- Kai—‘sea’ in Hawaiian (unisex)
- Kyle – from a Scottish surname meaning ‘channel, strait’
- Marin,Marina — meaning ‘of the sea’
- Maris – ‘of the sea’
- Maya, Mayim—one definition is ‘water’ in Hebrew
- Meredith –one meaning is ‘sea lord’ from the Welsh
- Mira –‘ocean’ in Sanskrit
- Morwenna — ancient Cornish name meaning ‘waves of the sea’
- Nerida –Greek name that means ‘mermaid’.
Nerissa,–Shakespearean name with Greek pedigree—‘sea nymph’
- Tallulah – Choktaw Indian, ‘leaping water’
- Tulia –in Latin, one meaning is ‘heavy rain’
- Adrian—relates to the Adriatic Sea
- Aberdeen—‘mouth of the river’
- Bourne—‘lives by a stream’
- Clifford—‘river crossing near the cliff’
- Coburn—‘where streams meet’
- Deniz— Turkish boys’ name that means ‘sea’.
Conway – Welsh, ‘from the holy river’
- Douglas – Scots Gaelic for ‘dark water’
- Dylan — Welsh god’s name that means “son of the sea”
Lincoln – ‘settlement by the lake’
Kendall – ‘valley of the River Kent’ (unisex)
- Marlowe—‘from the hill by the lake’ (unisex)
- Marius—Latin, meaning ‘of the sea’
- Morrissey— Irish name that means ‘of the sea’ or ‘sea action
Muir — Celtic for ‘sea, moor’
- Murphy, Irish surname that means “descendent of sea warrior”
Murray—“settlement by the sea”
- Noelani – Hawaiian –‘mist of Heaven’
- Seaton, English surname meaning ‘farm or town by the sea’
3. EXPLORE GODS & GODDESSES WHOSE REALMS INCLUDED RAIN AND THE SEA:
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on November 12th, 2010 at 2:15 am
This is by and large a lovely array of names — but Briny? If I named a newborn Briny, I’d only be able to think about amniotic fluid for the rest of her life.
on November 12th, 2010 at 7:43 am
Meredith (or rather Maredudd) is still used on boys – as it was originally a medieval royal male name – in Wales. It is (‘properly’) pronounced ‘ma-RED-uth’.
A lot of Welsh rivers have been used as first names in Wales for centuries.
Some other Celtic ‘water’ names:
Afon (Avon) (m/f)- Welsh “river”
Afonwy (f)- Welsh “river”
Alwyn (m) – Welsh ‘a river in Clwyd’
Arthen (m) – Welsh river god.
Elan (f) – Welsh river valley
Eleri (f) – Welsh river
Gwennant (f) – Welsh “white stream”
Meriel / Meryl / Myriel (f) Welsh form of the Irish Muirgel “sea bright”
Morgelyn (f)- Cornish “sea holly”
Morvoren (f)- Cornish “maid of the sea”
Some Greek and Roman river and sea gods/goddesses:
on November 12th, 2010 at 8:24 am
Neosha means ‘still, deep water’ and is of Osage Native American origin. It was my husband’s great grandmother’s name.
on November 12th, 2010 at 8:26 am
I am aware of the trend of naming girls boys’ names, but I have to say that Kyle reads as incredibly masculine to me. I’ve never met or read about a female Kyle and would be somewhat surprised to meet one.
on November 12th, 2010 at 9:43 am
This is a fun list! My sister is “Delphine” which, although it is technically a flower name, has a certain dolphin-like quality to it!
on November 12th, 2010 at 11:51 am
Elea: Thanks so much for those additions!
on November 12th, 2010 at 2:10 pm
One of my all-time favorite names is Tallulah! I knew it’d be on there. I also love, from the list:
Good post, guys! I personally love water. 🙂
on November 12th, 2010 at 2:13 pm
pdxlibrarian–I actually know a female Kyle. Some people raise eyebrows when she says her name, others assume it’s for Kylie. Trendy names like Kyle I think are easier to bounce between genders. However, I know another girl named Michael–and that, I think, is stretching it. But I think it goes by a case to case basis
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on November 12th, 2010 at 2:13 pm
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on November 12th, 2010 at 8:42 pm
There is the combination of Aquamarine! Cute in its own way, well its perfect for a mermaid 🙂
on November 12th, 2010 at 9:41 pm
Great list, but Noelani is a girl’s name all the way!
on November 13th, 2010 at 1:28 am
I would like to add Lago and Aquarelle.
on November 13th, 2010 at 6:09 am
I need to add Mayim…
Hebrew girls name meaning ‘water’. It’s no even in the nameberry database!
Ondine/Undine, Merlin and Caspian also needs to be on the list, especially if Adrian is…
on November 13th, 2010 at 8:30 am
I also know a female Kyle and a female Michael. Both names took a while for me to get used to thinking of a girl when I heard them. Kyle seems to be infinitely easier to get used to than Michael.
on November 13th, 2010 at 11:30 am
Dearest: Mayim has now been added to the database. Thanks for suggesting!
on November 13th, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Kyle is definitely all male for me. Kendall also reads more male than female to me, as it should be
on November 13th, 2010 at 6:40 pm
Great post! I love water names. I thought I would add some that i’ve been collecting. They’re from many different sources so please let me know if you think any are incorrect.
Calder – English, Rocky Water
Dorian – greek, from the sea (unisex)
Hurley – gaelic, ocean tide
Jalarka – Sanskrit, the sun reflected in water
Jalendra – Sanskrit, king of the water
Jordan – Hebrew, to flow down
Lamarr – French, of the sea
Hali – greek, sea
Jalanili – Sanskrit, blue as the water/ water nymph
Jennifer – Cornish, white wave
Jora – Hebrew, autumn rain
Kailani – Hawaiian, the sea and sky (using Kai as listed above)
Laine – finnish, wave
Marea – latin, of the sea
Pela – greek, o fthe sea
Pelunia – greek, of the sea
Picabo – native American, shining waters
Riva – french, coast
Vailea – pacific islander, water that speaks
Ulara or Iara (pr Yara)– brazilian, water lady
on November 13th, 2010 at 7:32 pm
Sabrina is the goddess of the river Severn, and could be abbreviated to Briny 🙂
on November 14th, 2010 at 11:55 am
Those are some really nice names! Now what about Maria?
on November 16th, 2010 at 12:27 am
What about Genevieve’s alternate meaning “white wave”?
on November 18th, 2010 at 6:49 pm
How about Pur and Britta 😉
But really, here is a pretty one: Marimar.
It’s short for Maria del Mar.
on November 25th, 2010 at 1:30 am
My favourites: Rain, Aqua, Meredith, Tallulah and Indra (but for a girl, not a boy). I know a girl named Indrah. She’s 20 and occasionally called Indi for short. I also know two Indahs (means “princess” in Indonesian). Unfortunately, one has passed away.
on June 15th, 2011 at 12:47 am
I’d like to add that Marilla means “shining seas.”
on June 15th, 2011 at 12:53 am
And I forgot to mention, Cordelia means “daughter of the sea.”
on June 18th, 2011 at 3:50 am
Whereas it means Fire, most people assume that it means water due to blue being the predominate color,
Sapphire perhaps due to that should be added to th elist. Along with that the names that go with it, Saphira , which means Sapphire and other writtings of the same.
Ren is Japanese for water lily
on October 2nd, 2011 at 5:30 pm
My favourite names mostly contain a water connotations. I thought it was just by chance, but I have lived by the sea since I was born, maybe it has something to do with it. My list includes:
Lachlan (favourite name from year dot. Name of my son)-“Land of Loughs/Lochs”, also a river name.
Lincoln (again love, but too similar to Lachlan to use)
Faro-“Lighthouse” (ok, not technically water-related but close enough)
Noah-“rest”(rained or fortdays and nights-screams water)
Jonah-“Dove” (see Noah-Jonah & the giant whale)
Aragon-a river in europe
Dylan-from the sea
Moses-drawn ou of the water
Alice (Alice Springs)
Marianne/Marian/Marion-“Star of the sea” (Beautiful)
Molly/Mary-sea of bitterness
on June 29th, 2012 at 1:54 am
Delmer means “of the sea”
on June 29th, 2012 at 1:56 am
Great list by the way!! I really like Morrissey. Probably because I like the band too. I also like Caspian, Tallulah, and Hali
on July 30th, 2012 at 1:33 am
There are also some Finnish girl names that are related to water:
Meri – “sea”
Sade – “rain”
..and hali (or “halaus”) means “a hug” in Finland, btw 🙂
on July 31st, 2012 at 7:23 pm
Here’s one. This is a name that I have always loved, partially because it reminds me of water, and partially because it’s just a beautiful name. I looked it up, and I realized that it actually means “of the sea”. The name: Marissa. Marissa has 14 variant forms: Maressa, Maricia, Marisa, Marisabel, Marisha, Marisse, Maritza, Mariza, Marrissa, Maryssa, Meris, Merissa, Meryssa and Morissa.
on January 17th, 2014 at 6:41 am
I knew someone who named their child Hydro
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on October 14th, 2016 at 1:58 pm
[…] sounds quite so calm, cool, clear and refreshing than the word ‘lake’—even more than other water names like River and Bay and […]
on January 22nd, 2018 at 1:33 pm
if anyone can suggest me about Hindu baby girl names
on September 11th, 2018 at 11:06 pm
If you want a water-themed name for a boy … how about Wade?
on September 21st, 2018 at 5:08 pm
Meaning: gem of the sea
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