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Cool Middle Names

Cool Middle Names
Hello, cool middle names, and bye-bye to the bland connectives of generations past, the ubiquitous Ann that almost sounded like and, because the middle name has now taken on a much more active part in the naming process. It's a place to honor the family, be creative or whimsical, use a name you're not quite brave enough to try as a first.

Among the most popular middle names today are Grace, Rose, and Marie for girls, and James, Lee, and Michael for boys. We’d coolify them as Gray, Roux, and Marais, and Jaz, Lane, and McCoy.

Single-syllable names are especially cool in the middle right now. Recent celebrity choices include Dove, Sage, and Wolf. You may want to look for a middle name with a cool initial, such as Ximena, Quebec, or Zane.

Here, some cool names that are perfect for middle place, mostly for girls but a handful for boys. Or explore beyond cool with our master list of more than 900 middle names of all kinds.

Cool Middle Names
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AureliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "the golden one"
  • Description:

    Aurelia is the female form of the Latin name Aurelius, an ancient Roman surname. Aurelius is derived from the Latin word aureus, meaning "golden," which was also the name of a gold coin used in Ancient Rome. Aurelius was a cognomen, a third name in Roman culture that often referenced a personal characteristic or trait, likely used for someone with golden hair.

MaeveHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "she who intoxicates"
  • Description:

    Maeve appears in Irish mythology in two forms, one as the powerful Queen of Connacht, the other as the queen of the fairies. Maeve of Connacht was a warrior queen, famous for starting a war in attempt to steal her ex-husband’s stud bull. Other spellings are Meabh, Medb and Meadhbh, which are connected to mead, a honey-based wine that was produced in many ancient cultures.

KaiHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "sea"
  • Description:

    Kai has many origins, but in the US is most commonly referred to as being of Hawaiian derivation, meaning “sea.” In Europe, Kai is largely considered to have Frisian origin as a diminutive of the name Kaimbe, meaning “warrior”, or as a short form of Gerard "brave spear". Kai is also found as an independent name in African, Chinese, Turkish and Native American cultures. Kai is a strong, evocative multi-cultural name that packs a lot of power in its single syllable.

OpheliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "help"
  • Description:

    Ophelia is a beautiful name that has long been hampered by the stigma of Hamlet's tragic heroine—for whom he seems to have invented the name—but more and more parents are beginning to put that association aside. There is also a gutsy Ophelia in Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin, which seems to have had some influence on baby namers at the time.

JudeHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin diminutive of Judah
  • Meaning:

    "praised"
  • Description:

    Jude is an example of a name whose image was turned on its head primarily by one appealing celebrity. So take a bow, Jude Law: You--in collaboration with the Lennon-McCartney song "Hey Jude"--have erased Jude's old connections to the traitorous Judas Iscariot and Thomas Hardy's tragic Jude the Obscure, and inspired a legion of new babies named Jude.
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WrenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "small bird"
  • Description:

    Wren, a lilting songbird name, could be the next Robin. It makes a particularly pleasing middle name choice, as does her newly discovered cousin Lark. Wren entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2012 and is among the new wave of popular English names for girls.

MaxHeart

  • Origin:

    English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
  • Meaning:

    "greatest"
  • Description:

    Max was derived from Maximilian, a Latin name that originated from the Roman family name Maximus. The character name Max in the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are had an impact on baby namers. Max is a widely used name internationally.

CelesteHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "heavenly"
  • Description:

    Celeste is a softly pretty and somewhat quaint name with heavenly overtones, which kids might associate with Queen Celeste of Babar's elephant kingdom. She's a light and lovely choice that's finally getting noticed.

KitHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Christopher
  • Description:

    Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son. For girls, it's an updated diminutive of Katherine.

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.
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PersephoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Persephone is the esoteric name of the Greek mythological daughter of Zeus by Demeter, the queen of the harvest. After she was kidnapped by Hades to be Queen of the Underworld, it was decreed by Zeus that she would spend six months of the year with her mother, allowing crops to grow, and six in mourning, thus accounting for the seasons.

DelilahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew or Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "delicate"
  • Description:

    Delilah has shed the stigma of its Biblical image, and is now appreciated for its haunting, melodic, feminine qualities. Checking out Delilah's popularity graph shows that Delilah's use is heading straight for the top. Right now, Delilah is among the most popular Hebrew names for girls in the US as well as the Number 1 girls' name starting with D.

CalliopeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Meaning:

    "beautiful voice"
  • Description:

    Calliope is the name of the muse of epic poetry -- and also the musical instrument on the merry-go-round. Bold and creative, it would not be the easiest name for a girl lacking such qualities. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2016. While Americans usually pronounce this name with a long I sound and the emphasis on the second syllables, Greeks pronounce it with the emphasis on the third syllable -- ka-lee-OH-pee.

KnoxHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "round hill"
  • Description:

    Knox is an old Scottish surname that Brad Pitt (whose great-great-grandfather was named Hal Knox Hillhouse) and Angelina Jolie took out of the back cupboard, dusted off, and elevated to coolness--to the point where it entered the popular baby names list in 2009. Knox now ranks among the most influential celebrity baby names.

FlynnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the red-haired one"
  • Description:

    Flynn, a charming Irish surname, is still used only quietly, despite its easygoing, casual cowboy charm, unlike Finn which is a star of this genre. Flynn was the choice of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr for their baby boy, and is also the middle name -- used as his first -- of a son of Miranda's fellow supermodel Elle Macpherson, of Gary Oldman's son Gulliver and Marley Shelton's daughter West.
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ZaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Possible variation of John
  • Meaning:

    "God is gracious"
  • Description:

    Western novelist Zane (born Pearl!) Grey made this name famous. Now, it's in tune with the style of our times, retaining that appealing cowboy image.

TheodoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Theodore
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Theodora is one of the most revival-worthy of the charmingly old-fashioned Victorian valentine names, softly evocative but still substantial, as is the reversed-syllable Dorothea. It was borne by several saints and by the beautiful ninth wife of the Emperor Justinian, who became the power behind his throne. A later royal was Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the older sister of the present Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

DelphineHeart

  • Origin:

    French from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "dolphin"
  • Description:

    Delphine is a sleek, chic French name with two nature associations—the dolphin and the delphinium, a bluebell-like flower, a well as to the ancient city of Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the womb of the earth. It is definitely a fresher choice than over-the-hill Danielle.

OctaviaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "eighth"
  • Description:

    Octavia began as the Latin, then Victorian name for an eighth child. While there aren't many eighth children anymore, this ancient Roman name has real possibilities as a substitute for the overused Olivia; recommended for its combination of classical and musical overtones. It was chosen for his daughter by Kevin Sorbo.

RainHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Among a small shower of rain-related names, this pure version can have a cool, refreshing image.
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AmaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "work"
  • Description:

    Amalia is a widely cross-cultural name, heard from Italy to Romania, Germany to Scandinavia. The current heir to the Dutch throne is Princess Catharina-Amalia of Orange. It can be pronounced ah-MAH-lee-a or ah-mah-LEE-a. Like Amelia and Emilia, this name is likely to continue to climb. Frequently in the US Top 1000 in the early twentieth century, it spent nearly eighty years off the list until rejoining in 2011.

EstelleHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "star"
  • Description:

    Maybe it's because she shares that winning -elle sound with Isabel and Bella, but Estelle is no longer seen as a muumuu-wearing canasta player of a certain age (think George Costanza's mother on Seinfeld or Joey Tribbiani's talent agent in Friends). This could be in part thanks to the young Royal Couple of Sweden, who chose it for their firstborn daughter, or the single-named British R&B singer. It reentered the US Top 1000 in 2012 after a nearly fifty-year absence.

FrancescaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Frances
  • Meaning:

    "from France or free man"
  • Description:

    Francesca is a lighter and much more feminine choice than the classic Frances, and one that is increasingly popular with upscale parents.

WolfHeart

  • Origin:

    Animal name or diminutive of Wolfgang
  • Meaning:

    "traveling wolf"
  • Description:

    Wolf is a name with a split personality. It can be seen as one of the fierce animal names, like Fox and Bear and Puma, with a touch of the werewolf, or it can be viewed as a quieter, Wolf Blitzer kind of name, fairly common in German (where is pronounced Vulf) and Jewish families, sometimes as a short form of Wolfgang.

ColetteHeart

  • Origin:

    French, short form of Nicole, feminine variation of Nicholas, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "people of victory"
  • Description:

    Like the French author with whom the name is most closely associated, Colette is a chic and charming name that is being rediscovered. After disappearing for nearly 30 years, Colette rejoined the Top 1000 in 2012 at Number 659 and has continued to rise since then.
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PearlHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin gem name
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Pearl, like Ruby, has begun to be polished up for a new generation of fashionable children after a century of jewelry box storage. The birthstone for the month of June, Pearl could also make a fresher middle name alternative to the overused Rose. Cool couple Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson named their daughter Pearl Minnie, followed by Jack Osbourne, and several celebs have put it in the middle spot, as in Busy Philipps's Cricket Pearl, Jake Owen's Olive Pearl and Caleb Followill's Dixie Pearl .

ScoutHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Scout, a character nickname from To Kill a Mockingbird (her real name was Jean Louise), became a real-life possibility when Bruce Willis and Demi Moore used it for their now grown middle daughter, followed by Tom Berenger a few years later. A unisex choice that is growing in popularity for both genders -- but given to girls about four times more often than to boys -- it was picked by skater Tai Babilonia for her son and Kerri Walsh for her daughter Scout Margery.

ValentinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valentina is a more romantic and artistic ballerina-type successor to Valerie; a pretty, recommended choice. Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek and husband Francois-Henri Pinault named their daughter Valentina Paloma.

FleurHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "flower"
  • Description:

    Fleur is a generic, delicate flower name that emigrated into the English-speaking world when John Galsworthy bestowed it on one of the Forsytes in his celebrated saga. More recently, there was Fleur Delacour, a French witch and the Beauxbatons champion for the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter.

MagnoliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from French surname
  • Meaning:

    "Magnol's flower"
  • Description:

    Magnolia, a sweet-smelling Southern belle of a name made famous via the iconic Edna Ferber novel and musical Showboat, is one of the latest wave of botanical names, along with unexpected blossoms Azalea and Zinnia. It is named for French botanist Pierre Magnol.
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JoaquinHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Joachim
  • Meaning:

    "God will judge"
  • Description:

    Actor Joaquin Phoenix (brother of River, Rain, Liberty and Summer) highlighted this one, then Kelly Ripa began talking about younger son Joaquin on her daily TV show, and presto—it's now one of the hottest and most appealing multicultural baby boy names.

GrayHeart

  • Origin:

    Color name, also diminutive of Grayson
  • Description:

    The girls have Violet and Scarlet and Ruby and Rose, but for the boys there's a much more limited palette of color names. Gray (or Grey), is one exception, which could make for a soft and evocative--if slightly somber-- choice, especially in the middle. Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney recently named their son Leo Grey.

JadeHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "stone of the side"
  • Description:

    As cool as the precious green stone said to transmit wisdom, clarity, justice, courage, and modesty, Jade has been rising in popularity since Mick and Bianca Jagger chose it for their daughter in 1971. Superchef Giada de Laurentiis chose it as the English translation of her own first name. Jade manages to strike the golden mean as one of the familiar-yet-unusual girl names starting with J.

ReeseHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "ardor"
  • Description:

    The sassy, steel magnolia appeal of Oscar-winning Reese (born Laura Jeanne—Reese is her mother's maiden name) Witherspoon has single-handedly propelled this formerly boys’ name into girls' popularity.

MatthiasHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic variation of Matthew
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    With Matthew sounding somewhat exhausted, and ancient endings sounding new again, this New Testament apostolic name makes an appealing and recommended choice. Both Mathias and Matias are well used in the Hispanic community, and throughout Europe. Will Ferrell and his Swedish wife chose Matias for their second son.
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AnoukHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch and French variation of Anna
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Anouk, made famous by French actress Anouk Aimée, is a singular name with a lovely sound and a Bohemian feel. Anouk Aimée was born as Francoise, but adopted the first name of the character she played in her debut film.

LuxHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    This name of a character played by Kirsten Dunst in the movie Virgin Suicides, originally a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, is gaining attention, also thanks to the heroine Lux, Lady of Luminosity in the League of Legends games. Luz is the Spanish version.

LaneHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a small roadway or path"
  • Description:

    Lane is a recent hit name, that could be used for either gender, but is much more popular for boys. It's a surname that projects the pleasant picture of narrow, tree-lined country roads.

ReedHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "red-haired"
  • Description:

    A slim, elegant, silvery surname, Reed could be a banker or a sculptor, and therein lies the appeal of this simple yet distinctive name. The versatile Reed can be seen as a grass-like nature name and a musical name.

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.
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LivHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "life"
  • Description:

    The fame of actress and Aerosmith daughter Liv Tyler helped to infuse life into this short but solid Scandinavian name that was chosen for her daughter by Julianne Moore.

PriscillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, diminutive of Prisca
  • Meaning:

    "ancient"
  • Description:

    Despite her somewhat prissy, puritanical air, Priscilla has managed to stay widely used for well over a century -- it reached as high as Number 127 in 1940 -- appreciated for its delicacy and solid history.

KeanuHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "cool breeze over the mountains"
  • Description:

    An evocative name brought from Hawaii to the mainland by Keanu Reeves, who was born in Beirut to a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese father. It moved into the Top 1000 for the first time in over a decade in 2016.

PalomaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "dove"
  • Description:

    Paloma is vibrant and ruby-lipped a la jewelry designer Paloma Picasso, but it also suggests peace, as symbolized by the dove. Paloma is a highly recommended striking but soft name, one of the best of the names that mean peace and girls' names starting with P.

IoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, a violet-colored stone
  • Description:

    This unusual Greek flower and color name has gained considerable recent attention via actress Ione Skye, who is the daughter of sixties folksinger Donovan.
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NeveHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized spelling of Irish Niamh or Italian and Portuguese
  • Meaning:

    "snow"
  • Description:

    Introduced to the American public by actress Neve Campbell; it was her Dutch-born mother's maiden name. Neve is an interesting and fresh new possibility, one which Conan O'Brien chose for his daughter.

LeonidasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lion"
  • Description:

    Leonidas is an ancient name that has started rising again along with centuries-old names such as Augustus and Cato. The original Leonidas was the most famous of Sparta's warriors, sacrificing his life at the Battle of Thermopylae; there is also a saint Leonidas.

SantiagoHeart

  • Origin:

    Place-name or Latin
  • Meaning:

    "Saint James"
  • Description:

    Santiago is a spirited Spanish name with great crossover potential: a place-name (it's a city in Chile), a surname, and the patron saint of Spain. It's a name on the rise in the charts.

LeilaniHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "a heavenly flower"
  • Description:

    Leilani is derived from the Hawaiian elements lei, meaning "flower," and lani, "heavenly." It can also be translated as "royal child," as lani is connected to high-birth and aristocracy, and leis—flower garlands worn around the neck—are associated with children. "Sweet Leilani" is an Academy Award-winning song by Bing Crosby.

ThiagoHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Tiago, diminutive of Santiago
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Some high-profile soccer stars, such as Thiago Silva, have contributed to its success. The correct Portuguese pronunciation is chee-AH-go.
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