Water Names: Nameberry Picks 12 loveliest lakes

There’s probably no word in the English language that sounds quite so calm, cool, clear and refreshing than the word ‘lake’—even more than other water names like River and Bay and Brook.

Lake as a name came to the fore via the film and television actress Lake Bell, and could make an especially cool middle name.  But what about the names of individual lakes?  Looking through the atlas, we found plenty of inspiration there, and these are our Namebery Picks of the twelve best.

1.     Annecy—Lake Annecy is the second largest—and cleanest—lake in France, surrounded by mountains and quaint villages.  Annecy could make for a completely unique and charmingly dainty Ann or Annie namesake.

2.     Caspian—Considered a large lake, a sea, and even in ancient times an ocean, Caspian became a human name via the Prince in the fourth book of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series.  Strong and appealing, it’s become a recent Nameberry fave.

3.     ConstanceLake Constance, which has shores on three countries– Germany, Switzerland and Austria, is a center for water sports and is surrounded by picturesque castles and churches.  Constance, though one of the less obvious virtue names, nevertheless retains a somewhat prim and proper image.

4.     Elsinore—Lake Elsinore, the largest natural lake in Southern California, was a retreat for Hollywood stars in the 1920s. (another Elsinore serves as the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.) With its smoosh-elements of Elsa and Elinor, it could make a highly original choice.

5.     Galilee—With its religious connotations as being a body of water in the region of Israel where Jesus lived for thirty years, combined with a delicate feminine sound, Galilee becomes an interesting possibility as a girl’s name.

6.     GenevaLake Geneva, also known as Lake Léman, is a large, crescent-shaped lake in Switzerland and France.  As a girl’s name it has a lot going for it—the Gen as in Genevieve and the eva as in Eva, together with it being a long-used place name.

7.     Izabal—Lago de Izabal, the largest lake in Guatemala, is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.  One of the many variations on the name Isabel, this one leads naturally to the nickname Izzy.

8.     Lomond—known for its ‘bonnie bonnie banks’, the Scottish Loch Lomond is the largest lake in Great Britain. Lomond could make a plausible boy’s name, stronger than Raymond, more unusual than Desmond.

9.     LouiseLake Louise is a stunning glacial lake in Alberta, Canada, named for Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Louise Caroline Alberta.  Louise is a solid semi-classic, with the option of the lively Lulu nickname.

10.  Lucerne—A scenic Swiss lake encircled by mountains and crossed by vintage paddle boat steamers, Lucerne could conceivably be a new member of the Lucy, Lucia, Lucille family.

11.  Mabel—There’s a Mabel Lake in British Columbia, Canada, and there was one in Florida which seems to have changed her name to Port Everglades.  Once a Top 20 name (1884-95), sassy Mabel is seeking a comeback à la cousin Sadie, and has been chosen by several celebs, including Dermot Mulroney.

12.  Vida—This lake doesn’t have quite the refreshing image of the others, being in an isolated area of Antartica and under ice year round.  But the name, which means life, has lots to recommend it: the stylish opening letter ‘V’, and celebrity cred via Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey’s little girl.

Is there another lake name you particularly like?

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27 Responses to “Water Names: Nameberry Picks 12 loveliest lakes”

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Valentina Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 1:07 am

Love Caspian, and another spelling for Lucerne is Luzern. Geneva is also called Genf and Genéve. I’ve always thought Ontario, from the Great Lake, would be a nice name.

Annie Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 1:28 am

I LOVE ANNECY!! I would also suggest Hudson and Ontario and Huron 🙂

Ashley Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 2:31 am

I love water names. I’m all for the obvious (Bay, River, etc…even Marina and Coral), but I also like the idea of naming after a specific body of water. Most of the lake names near where we live, though, are English versions of French bastardizations of Native American words, so I probably won’t be naming a kid Winnepesaukah anytime soon.

Dani Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 8:09 am

I first thought that Elsinore read Elisnore…

Lola Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 9:08 am

I love lake Elsinore! We’ve been there, many times. Also love the Shakespearian link. Geneva’s pretty but I prefer Genevra, and Louise is lovely but I prefer Louisa. There are lots of lakes in MA, but none with names I’d use on a kid! So many Indian names up here. Not for this Scot.

C in DC Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 10:58 am

My first thought was Ontario, too. Some of the Finger Lake names could work: Otisco, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canadice, Cazenovia, Oneida, Waneta, and Lamoka.

Although I’d hate to see a little Skaneateles (skinny atlas).

romanticism Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Geneva is just lovely! I think it sounds so beautiful and feminine when pronounced with a soft ‘g’ sound a la Genevieve, and Gen, Eve, Eva and Evie are all plausible nicknames. I hadn’t considered that before.

Sabrina Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I Have Caspian on my list as well as Galilee but Galilee is a boy. I like Elsinore too. I also like Lake for either, River for either, and Brook for a boy, and bay for boy.

pennylark Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I love Galilee for a girl, and Lake as a middle name. Lakes close to where I live, that could be used as names, include:
Sylvan – like Sylvie, or Sylvia, for a boy? I kind of like it!

Malk Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Lake Inari in Finland. Inari is a gorgeous name and my DD’s middle name.

tavn Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I expected Tahoe to be on this list.

spotlightstarlit Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Caspian is making me fall in deeper and deeper, pun intended. This might go on my FN list.

Blessings, <3

moxielove Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Personally I’m a huge fan of using Lago, esp. for a boy, and don’t understand why it isn’t used more.

Olivia Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

My beloved Mabel! I think I love her even more now; if that’s possible. We have family in British Columbia 🙂

aimvonb Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I have a special place in my heart for all those Finger Lakes, especially Seneca!!

Leila Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I know a woman named Chelan, for Lake Chelan in Washington. I’ve always thought it was a distinctive, beautiful name!

stephanie_elizabeth Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I love the idea of using a lake name, as we love to camp by the lake in our family. However, I live in a state where all of our “lakes” are actually resevoirs, created to irrigate crops when we don’t get enough rain. Subsequently, they are named either after the river that was dammed up (Medicine Creek, Red Willow) or after people (Enders), and thus not the greatest of namesakes. I would like to offer up the name of Nebraska’s most famous “lake”, Lake MacConaghey for a namesake. We all call it Big Mac!

BALI & RENO (round-up) | FOR REAL BABY NAMES Says:

July 9th, 2011 at 4:55 pm

[…] Somerset, Roane, or Mingo are just a few examples from her list.  And Nameberry blogged about names of lakes to consider.  Annecy, […]

Sunday Summary: 7/10/11 | Appellation Mountain Says:

July 10th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

[…] I love the idea of Annecy, and pretty much all twelve of these water names at Nameberry; […]

Macy Says:

July 11th, 2011 at 9:43 am

I’d prefer Galilee on a boy.

Kaye Says:

July 11th, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Sylvan lake is possibly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It’s in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Not a big or internationally known lake, but it has a lot of personal meaning for me!

Emily Says:

July 23rd, 2011 at 5:36 am

My friend lived in Lake Louise and when she had a baby girl she named her Jessica Louise after the lake. I think it’s beautiful!

sarah Says:

July 29th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I have a nephew named River, and it was incredibly difficult coming up with a middle name for him, because everything ended up sounding like the name of the river. Or something on a river, or something. Wouldn’t be a problem perhaps if you chose a more traditional name name (like Michael or Tyler or something) as the 2nd name. But if you choose another word name — it becomes challenging. I think this is also true for Lake. Just a thought…

mckennaberry Says:

January 23rd, 2012 at 5:16 pm

i have some like from mississippi or ohio and navada or italyee
and mine mckenna ( like mckenna beach in hawii )

soontobemomof3 Says:

February 10th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

My second son’s MN is Lakelin. It means beautiful lake, and I made it up. 🙂 I don’t know if its listed anywhere as a name, and I didn’t find it anywhere when I was looking. At 7 years old, he loves that its different from other names – even writes his full name on his papers at school sometimes. 🙂

GrecianErn Says:

September 12th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

The funny thing about water names… the people from that country think it’s funny choice.

My name is Erin, and I have a sister Shannon. My Irish friend Sorcha (sor-hah, like sara) said that few people in Ireland name their children Erin because it’s the Celtic name of Ireland itself. (Like living in the USA and naming your child America. It happens, I know.) And no one names their daughters Shannon, because it’s a river. She said it would be like naming your child “Mississippi” after our river. 🙂

Just a thought.

On a place note – I met an Ireland at my son’s swim lesson, and her parents call her “Ily” (eye-lee) I thought that was really cute.

spring13 Says:

July 16th, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Kinneret (kee-NEH-reht), the Hebrew name for the sea of Galilee, is a fairly popular Hebrew name for girls. It comes from the Hebrew word “kinor,” meaning “harp,” a reference to the lake’s shape. So it has both musical and water connotations.

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