Names That Mean Wise, Intelligent, and Smart
Names that mean wise or intelligent or smart have a contemporary feel, with wisdom a more valuable quality than ever. One of the top girl names not only in the US but in many other Western countries, Sophia, means wisdom. Along with Sophia, other girl names with smart meanings in the US Top 1000 include Athena, Phoebe, Ramona, Sage, plus Sofia and Sophie. For boys, the top name in the US meaning intelligence or wisdom is Ethan. Along with Ethan, other boy names with wise meanings in the Top 1000 include Apollo, Alfred, Conrad, Hudson, Raymond, and Solomon.
Names that mean wise or intelligent are found in a range of cultures and styles. Also included here are names that symbolize wisdom through their association with wise figures. Here are some baby names that confer wisdom and intelligencer by their meaning.
This list includes both girl and boy names with wisdom-related meanings in order of their current popularity with Nameberry visitors. Many of the top names meaning wise are mythological names, including Odin and Athena. Hugo is another international favorite meaning intelligence.
To expand your search of names by meaning, go to our main Name Meanings page.
Origin:Latinized form of Hugh
Description:Hugo, the Latin form of Hugh, has more heft and energy than the original -- and of course we love names that end (or begin, for that matter) with an o. This one is especially appealing because it's backed up by lots of solid history and European style.
Description:Ethan derives from the Hebrew name Eitan. There are several Ethans in the Old Testament, the most prominent of whom, Ethan the Ezrahite, is praised for his wisdom. International variations include Etan and Izan.
Meaning:"radiant, shining one"
Description:Phoebe is the Latin variation of the Greek name Phoibe, which derived from phoibos, meaning “bright.” In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of Artemis, goddess of the moon and of hunting. The masculine version of Phoebe is Phoebus.
Origin:Herb name; Latin
Description:Sage is an evocatively fragrant herbal name that also connotes wisdom, giving it a double advantage. It entered the Top 1000 at about the same time for both genders in the early 1990s, but it has pulled ahead for the girls. Toni Collette named her daughter Sage Florence.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:The given name Athena was derived from the city name Athens, which is of uncertain origins. In Greek mythology, Athena is the name of the daughter of Zeus who was the goddess of wisdom, warfare, handicrafts, mathematics, and courage, among others. She was the great patroness-goddess of the city of Athens. In the Odyssey, Homer describes her as 'sparkling-eyed Athena.'
Description:Hudson has risen quickly up the charts after emerging at the bottom of the list in 1995, now solidly in the Top 100.
Origin:French variation of Sophia
Description:Sophie is the French form of the Greek Sophia, for which it is also commonly used as a nickname. Sophies are scattered throughout European royal history, including Sophie of Thuringia, Duchess of Brabant, Princess Sophie of Sweden, and in modern times, Sophie, Duchess of Wessex, the wife of Britain's Prince Edward. German-born Catherine the Great was born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, but changed her name to Catherine upon her conversion to Russian Orthodoxy.
Description:Sophia was derived from sophia, the Greek word for wisdom. The name was first famous via St. Sophia, venerated in the Greek Orthodox church—St. Sophia was the mother of three daughters named Faith, Hope and Love. It was first used in England in the seventeenth century and was the name of George I's both mother and wife.
Origin:Diminutive of Alfred, English
Description:Alfie is a Top 20 name throughout the British Isles, where retro nickname names are mega-popular, but it hasn't really been picked up in the US yet. Both Alfie and rising star Archie are spunky nickname possibilities with a bit of an English accent.
Origin:Variation of Óðinn, Old Norse
Meaning:"god of frenzy; poetic fury"
Description:Odin is the name of the supreme Norse god of art, culture, wisdom, and law — who was handsome, charming, and eloquent into the bargain. The name projects a good measure of strength and power and has excellent assimilation potential.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:With mythological names rising, the handsome son of Zeus and god of medicine, music, and poetry among many other things might offer an interesting, if high-pressure, option. But if Romeo and Venus are now deemed baby-appropriate, why not Apollo? Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno might inspire some parents. And now that it's been chosen by Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, it could take off as their first son's name—Kingston—has.
Origin:Herb name and also Latin
Meaning:"wise and knowing"
Description:Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.
Description:Alfred is up off his recliner! If you're looking for a path to Fred, you can go directly to Frederick or take the long way around with the so-out-it's-in-again Alfred. Alfred is quite popular in several European countries, especially England and Wales, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Origin:English from German
Description:Patrician to the core, Hugh was firmly in the Top 100 until 1903. It's never achieved those heights again, though it has always managed to remain in the Top 1000, scraping bottom at literally Number 1000 in 2006 before reversing course and heading back upwards.
Origin:Diminutive of Raymond
Description:Sofia is a variation of the Greek name Sophia, which was derived directly from sophia, the Greek word for wisdom. It was the name of a Roman saint—the mother of Faith, Hope, and Charity—and queens of Russia and Spain. Sonya is the Russian form of Sofia.
Description:Wilbur is a stylish name in the UK whose merits are just starting to be discovered in the US. Wilbur, the loveable pig who Charlotte of the Web called Some Pig, is an inspirational hero. And Wilbur and Orville Wright were early aviationists.
Meaning:"old, wise friend"
Description:Hot young actor Alden Ehrenreich, the new Han Solo, gives this formerly-stodgy surname name an attractive new image, making it a fresh successor to Aiden or Holden. Before it got this fresh shine, Alden was among the classic Thanksgiving baby names.
Description:Now that the show has gone into reruns, does anybody still love Raymond? Though it's been long dormant, some parents -- including Jack Nicholson -- are finding its cool name component, largely through the nickname Ray.