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Names That Mean Wise, Intelligent, and Smart

Names That Mean Wise, Intelligent, and Smart
Baby names that mean wise or intelligent or smart have a contemporary feel, with wisdom is a more valuable quality than ever.

One of the top girl names, 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 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.

These names meaning wise represent 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.
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HugoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized form of Hugh
  • Meaning:

    "mind, intellect"
  • 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.

PhoebeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • 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.

EthanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong, firm"
  • 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.

SageHeart

  • Origin:

    Herb name; Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wise"
  • 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.

AthenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Meaning:

    "from Athens"
  • 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.'
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HudsonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "Hugh's son"
  • Description:

    Hudson has risen quickly up the charts after emerging at the bottom of the list in 1995, now solidly in the Top 100.

SophieHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Sophia
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • 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.

SageHeart

  • 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.

OdinHeart

  • 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.

ApolloHeart

  • 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.
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SophiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • 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.

RayHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Raymond
  • Meaning:

    "wise protector"
  • Description:

    Ray, still and forever, is one of the all-time hippest boys' names, with its jazzy Ray Charles biopic overtones. It's one of the coolest middle names), but works perfectly fine as a first.

AlfieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alfred, English
  • Meaning:

    "wise counselor"
  • 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.

AlfredHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "wise counselor"
  • 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.

SofiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • 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.
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HughHeart

  • Origin:

    English from German
  • Meaning:

    "mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Patrician to the core, Hugh was firmly in the Top 100 until 1903. Now it's used very quietly, though the name is still in the Top 1000.

MinervaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "of the mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength, one of the mythology names for girls that might appeal to adventurous feminist parents.

WilburHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "resolute, brilliant"
  • 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.

SolomonHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Solomon, a name that evokes wisdom and peace, is an Old Testament name that, along with other patriarchal classics, is finally beginning to shed its long white beard and step from the pages of the Old Testament into modern nurseries.

ConradHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brave counsel"
  • Description:

    Conrad has a somewhat intellectual masculine image, a solid name that has been consistently on the popularity lists, especially well used in the 1920s and 30s, and given a pop of rock energy by the Elvis-like character of Conrad Birdie in Bye, Bye, Birdie--("We love you Conrad, oh yes we do!").
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AldenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • 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.

RaymondHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wise-protector"
  • 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.

RamonaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, feminine variation of Ramon
  • Meaning:

    "wise protector"
  • Description:

    Ramona is a sweet spot name – neither too trendy nor too eccentric. Kids will associate it with the clever Ramona Quimby character in the series of books by Beverly Cleary, also seen on TV. It was chosen by starcouple Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard for their little girl, who would be joined by sister Gloria.

CatoHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "all-knowing"
  • Description:

    Cato conjures up images of ancient Roman statesmen and southern antebellum retainers; it could have revival potential, with its 'O' ending and the current interest in the names of Greek and Roman antiquity.

MinnieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Minerva
  • Meaning:

    "of the mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Minnie was wildly popular at the turn of the last century—it was the fifth or sixth most popular name throughout the 1880s—but is completely obscure today. Blame Mickey's girlfriend. Regardless, it's possible that the up and coming trend toward old-fashioned nickname-names—think Maisie, Mamie, Millie—may give Minnie (all on its own, not as a short form of anything) a new moment in the sun. Minnie Driver (born Amelia) has given it some modern celeb cred.
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HeliosHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "sun"
  • Description:

    The name of the young Greek sun god, brother to the moon goddess Selene, who rode across the sky each day in a chariot pulled by four horses.

VedaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "knowledge"
  • Description:

    A name with religious resonance, as the Vedas are the most sacred texts of Hinduism. Outside of that religious context, Veda has the makings of a modern popular name, with its sharp V initial, two syllables, and feminine a ending. This is evidenced by it reentry into the US Top 1000 in 2015, after fifty-five years off the list. Similar names on the rise are Vera and Vada.

SiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Old Norse
  • Meaning:

    "Victory"
  • Description:

    Mia, Gia, and now Sia!

SoniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian and Scandinavian variation of Sophia
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • Description:

    Early European import, well known in the 1940s via Norwegian skating movie star Sonja Henie, that has sailed back across the Atlantic, despite the rising popularity of other Russian names.

ReinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, Yiddish or Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "queen; pure; wise"
  • Description:

    An appellation for the Virgin Mary, "Queen of the apostles." After three years off the US popularity charts, Reina rejoined the list in 2014, though it lags behind alternate spellings Raina, Rayna, and Reyna. It is also used in Yiddish and in Japanese.
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AldoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian from German
  • Meaning:

    "old and wise"
  • Description:

    A spirited German name very popular in Italy and occasionally used here, Aldo is one of the unique baby names with international flair. And names that mean wise have an enduring appeal.

ZellaHeart

  • Origin:

    African, Bobangi
  • Meaning:

    "lacking nothing, one who knows the way"
  • Description:

    This is an African name that would fit into any culture.

IsisHeart

  • Origin:

    Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "throne"
  • Description:

    Isis has gone from magical, feminist name on the rise to the forbidden list because of the extremist terror group called ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Unsurprisingly, Isis was one of the fastest-falling names in 2014, dropping 130 ranks to reach #706.

PrudenceHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Meaning:

    "caution"
  • Description:

    Prudence, like Hope and Faith, is a Puritan virtue name with a quiet charm and sensitivity that is slowly returning to favor, though it hasn't yet registered on the charts.

HermesHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Meaning:

    "the messenger god"
  • Description:

    These days, more people will relate to Hermes -- pronounced ayr-MEZ -- as an upscale brand name like Chanel and Porsche than as a Greek god. Actress Kelly Rutherford took on the challenge when she bestowed the name on her son. Hermes is the god of travel, writing, athletics, and thievery, among many other things.
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AkiraHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "bright, intelligent"
  • Description:

    A popular Japanese name for both sexes that's migrated to the West because of its appearance in manga and video games.

BrigidHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Brighid
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    Brigid is the simpler Irish version of the name of the goddess of fire, which may also be spelled Brighid. Other variations include Bridget, the most usual spelling in the U.S., and the French Brigitte.

ElvisHeart

  • Origin:

    Meaning unknown
  • Description:

    When the King was alive, and for years afterwards, few people (except Declan McManus who became Elvis Costello) dared use his singular name, but now it's very much up for grabs.

RainierHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "wise army"
  • Description:

    European royal name, and to Americans a place-name evoking the majestic mountain in Washington state.

SagaHeart

  • Origin:

    Swedish word name
  • Meaning:

    "story; seeress"
  • Description:

    Apt name for a little drama queen with a long future ahead of her. Saga is a Top 30 girls' name in Sweden.
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FeivelHeart

  • Origin:

    Yiddish
  • Meaning:

    "brilliant one"
  • Description:

    This comes from Faivish, the Yiddish form of Phoebus, the Greek sun god...and it's also the little mouse in "An American Tail."

HubertHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining intellect"
  • Description:

    A name that sounds so old-fashioned some parents out there might conceivably find it quirky enough for a comeback, along with other one-time fuddie-duddies like Oscar and Homer.

DanaHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Slavic, Persian, Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "from Denmark, gift, or wise"
  • Description:

    This name found in both Celtic and Scandinavian mythology has gone from all-boy to almost all-girl, retaining a strong, unisex quality. However, it has dropped following its three-decade heyday from the 1960s to the 1990s.

SenanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, variation of Seanan
  • Meaning:

    "old, wise"
  • Description:

    St. Senan was a famed founder of monasteries, whose ruins can still be seen. Legend has it that before he could found it, he had to banish a great monster. Other versions are Sionan, Sinan, Synan and Sinon. Seanan is also a pet form of Sean.

KeenHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Actor Mark Ruffalo honed this surname down to its basics when he chose it for his son. A more usable expansion might be the Irish surname Keenan/Keenen.
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AldrichHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "old, wise ruler"
  • Description:

    In an era with so many created, modern names, Aldrich oozes history and substance. But it is also fit for modern times, given its surname-as-name status and the nickname potential (Al, Richie, etc).

IsmeneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "knowledgeable"
  • Description:

    Sister of Antigone and daughter of Oedipus in Greek mythology, Ismene's name is unlikely to make it in modern times because of its teasability factor. Ismay or Esme would be better bets.

HecateHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology
  • Description:

    In Greek mythology, Hecate is associated with witchcraft and magic. The name may mean "willpower" or "far-reaching". She was often associated with the moon and with storms, making this name a good alternative to more familiar names like Selena, Luna and Tempest.

ZosiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variant of Sophia, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "wisdom"
  • Description:

    This unusual and alluring choice was used by David Mamet for his daughter, who is now grown and an actress on the hit show Girls.

ShannonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "old and wise"
  • Description:

    Irish place-name -- it's a river, a county, and an airport -- once popular but now supplanted by such newer immigrants as Saoirse and Seanan.
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