Names That Mean Wise

names that mean wisdom

Names that convey wisdom may not, by themselves, be enough to make your child wise, but they can’t hurt.

Of all the qualities a name can suggest, to others as well as to the person who bears it, wisdom has to be one of the most desirable.

The names here either mean wise or intelligent or are associated with a figure renowned for his or her wisdom.  They may set a high bar for your child, but it’s one worth the leap.

The selection:

Alden – This English surname, quietly but historically used as a first, means “old wise friend”.

Alfred – The charts may show Alfred still in a century-long decline, but we say this name that means “wise counselor” is due for rediscovery.

Boman – This unusual-but-accessible Persian name has a stylish sound and means “great mind”.

CatoRoman statesman Cato the Elder was renowned for his wisdom; the name means “all-knowing”.

Ethan – Popular Ethan, the Number One name in many states, was an Old Testament figure praised for his wisdom.

Hugh or HugoBoth the English Hugh and his more dashing Latinate brother Hugo mean mind or intellect.

Kaya – This Hopi name means “elder sister” and suggests wisdom.

Minerva – This name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention means “intellect”.

Nestor – The legendary wise ruler whose advice helped the Greeks win the Trojan war.

Pallas – Name of the Greek goddess of wisdom and the arts.

RafikiRafiki was the wise elder in Lion King.

Raymond – This German name that means “wise protector” is a rising Geek Chic name.

Sage – This word name can suggest a wise person…or an herb.

Shanahan – This original Irish surname can work for either gender and means “the wise one”.

Solomon – Though this is technically one of the names that mean peace, Solomon was a biblical king renowned for his wisdom.

Sophia – The meaning “wisdom” is one reason behind Sophia’s super-popularity.

Wisdom – For those who don’t want to merely suggest wisdom, but come right out and say it.


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15 Responses to “Names That Mean Wise”

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sarahmezz Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 12:23 am

You know what? Name meanings mean nothing to me! I literally could not care less what my baby’s name means, even if it’s something horrible! As long as I like the name, that’s all that matters!

Gretel Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 12:24 am

Hugh/Hugo are both very neat names. Though Hugo is more in vogue, I’m partial to Hugh.

Cato shares that stylish -o ending for boys (Milo, Hugo, etc.), but I wonder if the Hunger Games association has changed its connotations? (Eh, probably not. He wasn’t a big enough character)

Speaking of pop culture associations, whenever I hear the name Minerva now, I automatically think: ‘McGonagall.’ That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. 🙂
It’s one of those names I’d like to see other people use more even if it’s not my style.

Although I wasn’t fond of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” it hasn’t dented my appreciation for the name.

Despite its ubiquity, I really do love Sophia. And Alfred is definitely due a comeback; I’ll be sad if it drops out of the Top 1000.

Louie Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 3:39 am

The wise mandrill from The Lion King is actually named Rafiki 🙂

Pam Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 7:05 am

I meant to write Rafiki, Louie — thanks for that correction!

diana2261 Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 11:51 am

for what it’s worth, Rafiki also means “friend” in Swahili 🙂

Pam Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Thanks, Diana. I will add that soon — at the moment, we can’t add or change names or lists while we update everything else on the site…

maggiefromcanada Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I love Minerva! It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. I love that it conveys a sense of wisdom, and Professor McGonagall is an awesome namesake too. 🙂

maggiefromcanada Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Hmm, not sure how my happy face ended up in the middle of a word. ^^ Oops!

Gretel Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

@maggiefromcanada: Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on with the smiley faces – they’re not popping up where they’re supposed to, haha.

nat108 Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I love Pallas & Sage

Pallas is unisex. It is the name of multiple males in Greek myth but only one female. Why is it only acknowledged as a girl name?

Magpie Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

I doubt anyone will see this since it’s so late in the day but there is alot of mistakes in the meanings for this post..
Alden means old friend (no wise involved)
Alfred means elf counsel not wise counsel
Hugh and Hugo meaning is better then just mind, it means heart,mind,spirit
Kaya isn’t Hopi and it doesn’t mean elder sister. It was used in the American Girl series as a shortening of the Nez Perce name Kaya’aton’my which means one who who arranges rocks.
Finally, Raymond comes from the elements which mean advice and protector (though I suppose advice would suggest wisdom but its not actually in the name)
Sorry I don’t want to come off as rude but inaccurate meanings really annoy me.

Dantea Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Pam, in Greek mythology, Pallas is the Titan of warcraft (born from the blood from a castration) who was killed by Athena! O_O
Pallas was, of course, also a TITLE for Athena as in Pallas Athena.
Probably derived from a Greek word meaning “maiden”. In Greek mythology this was the name of a friend of the goddess Athena. Athena accidentally killed her, and subsequently took the name Pallas in honour of her friend. This was also the name of a Titan and several other masculine mythological characters. In these cases the name may be derived from Greek παλλω (pallo) “to brandish”.

Beings associated with Wisdom — Metis (Titan and mother of Athena) and Athena
Beings associated with the Arts — Techne (personification of art and skill), Apollo (God of light, knowledge, music, healing, the sun, and the arts), and of course the muses.

Thank you!

ruolan Says:

May 7th, 2013 at 8:00 pm

My favorites are Minerva, Hugh, and Alden.

marinadancel17 Says:

May 12th, 2013 at 12:51 am

Athena isnt on there?! Its the Greek goddess of wisdom(she and Minerva are pretty much the same people…) I think its gorgeous and has lots of history too 🙂

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