State Capital Baby Names
Literary baby names can be inspired the characters in books or, in the case of the baby names on this list, by the first and last names of authors ranging from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Zora Neale Hurston.
Along with Emerson and Zora, other names inspired by authors in the US Top 1000 include August, Blake, Cooper, Ellison, Hadley, Langston, Walker, and Willa. Unique literary surnames inspired by female authors include Brontë, Morrison, Didion, and Munro. If you’re looking to make a statement, distinctive literary surnames such as Thackeray or Kerouac, Salinger or Hemingway are dramatic yet name-worthy. You may even consider using the name Author itself, which, believe it or not, ranked in the US popularity charts until WWII. An author-related baby name may inspire a lifelong love of reading in your child. In this category, as always, feel free to look to your personal favorite writers for your baby names inspiration. Here, our selection of literary baby names inspired by authors.
Origin:Latinate form of Helen, Greek
Meaning:"torch; shining light"
Description:Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.
Origin:Arizona place-name and Greek
Description:Phoenix rolls a lot of cool trends into one: it's a place-name and a bird name, it ends in the oh-so-hip letter x, and as the mythic bird that rose from the ashes, it's a symbol of immortality. It's also got celebrity chops, via the acting family that includes Joaquin and the late River, and as the son of Paris Hilton.
Meaning:"by the ash tree"
Description:Nash is an English surname whose sound puts it right in step with currently trendy names like Cash, Dash and Ash. It first came to prominence via TV character Nash Bridges, portrayed by Don Johnson in the late nineties, and also via mathematician John Nash, played by Russell Crowe in the acclaimed film A Beautiful Mind.
Meaning:"town by the pool"
Description:Lincoln cracked the Top 50 for boys' names for the first time in 2016, more than 150 years after the death of its most famous bearer. This is especially remarkable because, as crazy as it seems now, Lincoln was deeply out of fashion as recently as the late 90s, consistently hovering near the bottom of the Top 1000. This admirable presidential choice with a stylish two-syllable sound projects the tall, rangy, upright, image of Honest Abe. Bill Murray is father to a son named Lincoln, and Kathryn Erbe's boy Carson has Lincoln for his middle name. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard gender-bent it for their daughter.
Description:To the thousands of girls who screamed the name of their favorite Beatle in the 1960s, the boys' name Paul had a thrillingly unique image, but to the rest of the world, then and now, it's a name that's so simple and yet so widely diffuse that it could belong to almost anyone. Paul is an ancient name for boys -- popular in Roman and medieval times -- that's not very fashionable now, which can work in its favor, scarcity balancing simplicity.
Origin:English, shortened form of Augustine
Description:Austin is one of the most attractive city names for babies, with an attractive southwestern feel, place-name panache and the solid base of having long been an Anglo-Saxon surname and a first name since medieval times. Austin reached the Top 10 in the 1990s, but has been gradually slipping down the list.
Meaning:"son of Harry"
Description:When Harrison is too much, but Harry isn't enough, try this stylish surname name with a touch of British flair. It briefly reentered the US Top 1000 for the first time since 1988 in 2016, but has since dropped just below the radar again.
Origin:Diminutive of Louise or Lucy, or Arabic
Description:Lula has a firecracker personality, a singing and dancing extrovert. Interesting that Lulu was a Top 100 name when the Social Security list was born in 1880, but it's been sliding ever since and has not been in the Top 1000 for decades. Modern parents in love with Lulu might well reverse that trend.
Meaning:"son of Jack"
Description:Cool name Jackson is one of the celebrisphere's top favorite boy names, having been chosen by, among others, Spike Lee, Poppy Montgomery, Carson Daly, Maria Bello, Natalie Maines, Scott Wolf, Maya Rudolph, and Katey Sagal. After a spectacular rise, this stylish presidential name has been in the Top 25 since 2010, overtaking John as one of the most popular boy names starting with J.
Origin:English and Scottish surname
Meaning:"son of the marsh dwellers"
Description:Carson is one of the most long-running popular androgynous baby names, with a dash of the Wild West via the legendary Missouri frontiersman Kit Carson. Dating back to when it was the name of Nancy Drew's Dad, Carson is still steadily in the Top 100 baby names.
Current Carsons include TV personalities Carson Daly and Carson Kressley, and Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer. Carson Wells was the bounty hunter character played by Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, and Carson is the name chosen by actress Kathryn Erbe for her son.
Meaning:"from Mount Olympus"
Description:With its relation to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek gods, and to the Olympic games, this name has an athletic, goddess-like aura, making it the perfect Olivia substitute.
Origin:Feminine variation of Augustus
Description:Augusta is a dignified name reminiscent of wealthy great-aunts, but with the fashion for both August and Gus for boys, Augusta could get some fresh energy.
Origin:Biblical place-name or Arabic
Description:Salem is a Biblical place name in Canaan, believed to be the same as Jerusalem, as well as the Massachusetts town famous for its late 17th century witch trials. Salem is also a popular first name in its own right throughout the Arabic world.
Description:This image of this distinguished Anglo-Scottish surname, drawn from the French place name of the ancient castle of Saint Foi de Montgomery, is rapidly shifting from fusty and formal to cool. And dashing short form Monty (or Monte) nudges it to cute.
Origin:English word name
Description:Saint as a descriptive word name was first chosen by rocker Pete Wentz for his younger son (baby brother is Bronx), and now Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have catapulted the name into the celebrity stratosphere by choosing it for their baby boy. The couple called their baby "Saint" throughout the pregnancy because his conception had been so difficult. Saint was named in our predictions for the top baby name trends of 2015, on descriptive word names which also include Royal and Noble, King and Rogue. Saint is moving beyond the group of names that are only celebrity baby names and into the general lexicon.
Origin:English or French place-name and surname
Description:Before there was Aspen, Denver was the Colorado city name of choice, and it reentered the US Top 1000 in 2015 after a 14 year absence as a stylish two-syllable boys’ name with its trendy -er ending. Its decade of greatest use was the 1920s, when it reached as high as Number 422.
Origin:French variation of Peter
Description:One of the most familiar—if not stereotypical—Gallic names.
Meaning:"land of the Indians"
Description:Indiana is one of those place-names (think Camden and Trenton) that sounds cooler than the place that inspired it. Its fashionable -ana ending certainly sounds eminently name-like, and Indie/Indy/Indi is one of the hottest nickname names for girls right now.
Description:There's only one Trenton, New Jersey, but it's a widely used name, more for its fashionable -on ending than the reference to the city. Since 2007, however, Trenton has been on a steady decline. Trenten is another popular spelling.
Description:Unseen in the USA since 1901, Boston rocketed back into the Top 1000 in 2004 and, like other place-names such as Brooklyn, London and Paris, is now a reliable presence on the list.