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Spiritual Baby Names and Meanings

Spiritual Baby Names and Meanings
Spiritual baby names suggest qualities we'd all like our children to aspire to and fit our new definition of cool. While they seem as if they can work for both genders, most spiritual baby names have been veering toward the feminine side. A few, such as Trinity, Destiny, Sky, and Genesis, are already staples on the girls' popularity lists.

Along with Genesis and Trinity, other spiritual baby names in the US Top 1000 include Bodhi, Eden, Haven, Justice, Mercy, Messiah, Miracle, and Saint. For less common but still stylish spiritual baby names, you might consider Galilee, Honor, Loyal, or Sunday.

Spiritual names deriving from a range of religions and beliefs are, for many parents, a modern substitute for biblical or saints' names. Here, some spiritual names that might be right for your baby.

AtlasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology
  • Meaning:

    "bearer of the heavens"
  • Description:

    Previously thought too powerful for a baby boy – who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders – Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names now in the realm of possibility, along with Mars, Zeus and Apollo. It was one of the fast-rising names on the list in recent years in the USA, jumping from oblivion in 2012 into the Top 500 in 2015, and climbing several hundred places higher since then. Anne Heche was one of the first to make this audacious choice, but several celebrity parents have followed suit.

GraceHeart

  • Origin:

    English, virtue name
  • Description:

    Grace is derived from gratia, the Latin word for "grace." It existed as Gracia in the Middle Ages but was not in common use until the Puritans adopted it along with other Christian attribute names in the sixteenth century. It was used as a virtue name, in reference to divine grace — the love and kindness of God.

BodhiHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "awakening, enlightenment"
  • Description:

    Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as "enlightenment" or "awakening" which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego. The Bodhi tree is a large fig tree under which the founder of Buddhism received enlightenment. Spelling variations include Bodie and Bode.

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.'

EdenHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "place of pleasure, delight"
  • Description:

    Eden is an attractive, serene name with obvious intimations of Paradise, one of several place names drawn from the Bible by the Puritans in the seventeenth century.

ZephyrHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "west wind"
  • Description:

    If you're looking for a name that's light and breezy, this could be it. A name from mythology: Zephyrus/Zephyr was the Greek god of the west wind-- with many European variations, it's a name that's frequently seen in computer and video games, is a character in the children's book Silverwing, and appears in the Babar books--as a monkey.

ZionHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "highest point"
  • Description:

    Zion has taken off in recent years, especially after singer Lauryn Hill used it for her son in 1997 and incorporated the name into a hit song. It combines a user-friendly Ryan-Brian sound with the gravitas of religious significance. The Hebrew pronunciation is 'tzeeyon'.

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.

ShilohHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "tranquil"
  • Description:

    Cool meets Born Again meets Brad and Angelina, who made Shiloh an instant star when they chose it for their daughter. While Shiloh has risen from obscurity thanks to its celebrity baby use, it hasn't become a star the way brother names Maddox and Pax have. It entered the Top 1000 in 2007, one year after the birth of Ms. Jolie-Pitt.

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.

ArielHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "lion of God"
  • Description:

    Ariel is a male Biblical name, seen there as the messenger of Ezra, and also used as a symbolic name for the city of Jerusalem, while Shakespeare used it for a (male) sprite in The Tempest.

ShepherdHeart

  • Origin:

    Occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "sheep hearder"
  • Description:

    Shepherd is an occupational surname with a pleasant pastoral feel. It was chosen for their son by the Jerry Seinfelds, which might inspire others to follow their lead.

SalemHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name or Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "safe"
  • 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.

ZenHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "meditation"
  • Description:

    A spiritual word name used by actor Zoe Saldana for her son.

RumiHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "beauty, flow, lapis lazuli"
  • Description:

    Rumi is a Japanese girls' name that sounds like a couple of other choices more familiar in the West -- Rumer and Remi -- that is achieving notice because of its choice by two celebrities, including Beyonce and Jay-Z.

DeaconHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "messenger, servant"
  • Description:

    This name was transposed from the word for a church officer to a baby name when Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe chose it for their son, after a baseball player ancestor, and Don Johnson followed suit. Its popularity also got a boost from Nashville character Deacon Claybourne -- only to fall a bit in recent years.

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.

EverHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Ever's timeless quality would make this evocative word a positive middle name choice for a boy or girl. Alanis Morissette and Souleye named their son Ever Imre.

    Ever also seems to have ties to a Scandinavian name meaning "wild as a boar" and a Hebrew name meaning "beyond,"-- a variation of the name Eber.

JerichoHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name
  • Description:

    A biblical place name with trumpeting verve and strength.

ArcadiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "region offering peace and contentment"
  • Description:

    Arcadia, a name for an unspoiled paradise, makes an attractive secular alternative to Nevaeh or Eden. For parents who want an unusual name with a friendlier nickname, Arcadia has the advantage of cute Cady.

SkyHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Sky is an ambigender nature name that was first legitimized as the character of Sky Masterson in the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls, played in the film version by Marlon Brando. It's a name we appreciate for its clear, wide-open feel, less hippyish than others like Rainbow and Starlight, and makes an appealing middle name possibility.

SerenityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful"
  • Description:

    Serenity's a pretty virtue choice, having risen quickly since entering the Social Security list in 1997. It was also the title of the 2005 movie spinoff of the Joss Whedon TV show Firefly.

SaintHeart

  • Origin:

    American word name
  • Meaning:

    "saint"
  • 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.

VesperHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "evening star"
  • Description:

    This Latin word used for evening spiritual services was introduced to baby namers by the Eva Greene character Vesper Lynd in the modern James Bond film Casino Royale in 2006, based on the Ian Fleming novel, and is just now beginning to provoke interest among namers, with its spiritual reference and soft, whispery sound.

JupiterHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "godfather"
  • Description:

    Jupiter's partner Juno has entered the mainstream, so it's possible that her divine mate could follow. But not necessarily for boys — Jupiter is over 75% female, thanks to its similarity to Juniper. Actress Ashley Tisdale welcomed a daughter named Jupiter Iris in 2021, which could shift the balance even more towards the girls.

MoonHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    The original oddball celebrity baby name, via Frank Zappa's daughter Moon Unit, who claims she's always liked it.

ClementHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "mild, merciful"
  • Description:

    Clement, the name of fourteen popes and several saints, has a pleasantly, positive, slightly antiquated feel, like the phrase "clement weather."

PaxHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful"
  • Description:

    Pax, one of the variations of names meaning peace that are newly popular in these less-than-peaceful times, got a lot of publicity when chosen by Brad & Angelina for their Vietnamese-born son. Parents attracted to Pax may also want to consider Paz, the unisex Spanish version, or Paxton, a growing-in-popularity surname choice that shares that magical X-factor.

MercyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "compassion"
  • Description:

    The quality of mercy makes this lovely Puritan virtue name a quiet favorite today. Although it was most popular in the late nineteenth century, Mercy is on its way to a comeback -- it rose 143 spots between 2012 and 2013, making it one of the year's fastest-rising names. Right now, it's still stylish and distinctive, a rare and wonderful combination.

ZeusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    The supreme Olympian god represents a mighty image for a little fella to live up to, but more and more parents are beginning to consider it seriously. The Roman equivalent Jupiter has also come down to earth. And Zeus wasn't just the supreme god, he was also the god of the sky, thunder, lightning, and fate, among other weighty responsibilities.

FaithHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Faith is one of the most straightforward of the virtue names popularized by the Puritans in the seventeenth century, many parents still choosing it as an indicator of their religious conviction. Faith peaked in 2002 at Number 48.

DreamHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Singular and serene noun name that's been used by a couple of celebs.

TrinityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "triad"
  • Description:

    Trinity bounded up the charts after the release of The Matrix, whose heroine was named Trinity. Country singer Trace Adkins used it for his daughter.

SundayHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Sunday is among the most usable of the day names, with its sunny opening syllable, made famous when Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban chose it for their newborn daughter. Although it had been widely written that Kidman and Urban named their baby after art patron Sunday Reed, Kidman recently was quoted saying that was a myth, they just liked the name. There were 34 baby girls named Sunday last year, but perhaps more parents will be inspired by the Kidman-Urban choice.

LourdesHeart

  • Origin:

    Basque
  • Meaning:

    "craggy slope"
  • Description:

    This name of the French town where a young peasant girl had a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1858 vaulted into the spotlight when Madonna chose it for her daughter, but few other families except for devout Roman Catholics have followed her lead (any more than they've used Rocco for their sons).

HarmonyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    If Melody and Lyric are on your style sheet, the peaceful Harmony, popularized by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, should be too.

HonorHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Honor is a somewhat more pressured virtue name than Hope or Grace, placing a high standard on any girl carrying it, but it's a goal worth setting. By choosing Honor for her daughter, Jessica Alba brought it very much into the modern world.

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.

GenesisHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Genesis -- the name of the first book of the Bible -- is not nearly as original for babies as you'd think; Genesis has been quite popular for several years now. Genesis entered the Top 1000 girl names in 1988 and the Top 100 names for girls in 2008, though it only entered the boys' Top 1000 in 2018.

NobleHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "aristocratic"
  • Description:

    With parents beginning to show an interest in virtue names for boys, this Puritan favorite just might be revived, for what could be more admirable than nobility in terms of having strength of character, dignity, and high moral ideals?

LotusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lotus flower"
  • Description:

    Lotus is one of the most languorous of the flower names, with intriguing significance in both Buddhism and Hinduism, symbolizing purity, grace and spiritual growth — not to mention a familiar yoga position.

ReverieHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Reverie is a strong-sounding word for an ethereal, dreamlike state -- a perfect contrast and meaning for a word that intends to become a first name. Popular mommy blogger Rebecca Woolf of Girls Gone Child named one of her twin daughters Reverie, setting off a groundswell of interest.

AngelHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and English
  • Meaning:

    "angel"
  • Description:

    Angel is a perennial Hispanic boys’ name, but it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer that brought it into the Anglo-male camp, where it's now heard more frequently, though it still poses some gender confusion. Angel is very popular, and very traditionally masculine, in the Latino community.

LeelaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "play"
  • Description:

    While Leela may be a spelling variation of Lila or Leila, it's also an Indian name in its own right with a playful meaning. And unlike it's more popular Western sisters, Leela does not create pronunciation confusion.

MerrittHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname
  • Meaning:

    "boundary gate"
  • Description:

    Merritt is an old-style surname name that could be seen as a positive virtue name. It was used in the late 19th and early 20th century for boys, reaching the Top 400 in 1899, and is notable today for being one of the names most evenly divided between boys and girls. Emmy winner Merritt Wever helped popularize it for girls.

JusticeHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Justice, one of the rare virtue names for boys, entered the popularity ranks in 1992, and has remained on the list ever since. Parents' search for names implying virtue has led to a mini-revival of this long-neglected name in both its German homonymic form, Justus, and as the word itself. Steven Seagal was ahead of the curve when he used it back in 1976.

CanaanHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place name
  • Description:

    Pronounced KAY-nan, this Old Testament place name has a strong modern feel. It was one of the fastest-rising names of 2015, breaking into the Top 1000.

CharityHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "charity"
  • Description:

    Charity is one of the Big Three abstract virtue names, along with Hope and Faith, though far less widely used than the others. But as Faith, Grace and Hope grow more common, some parents are beginning to look at the more unusual three-syllable choices like Verity, Amity, Clarity and Charity, which sound much fresher and also have that pleasingly rhythmic 'y'-ending sound.

KismetHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Meaning:

    "fate"
  • Description:

    The next Destiny? Kismet seems like it might be fated for increased use.

MessiahHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic word name
  • Meaning:

    "expected savior or deliverer"
  • Description:

    A handful of years ago, a judge in Tennessee ruled that parents could not name their son Messiah, "because there's only one." That decision has since been overturned.
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