Place Names for Babies
Meaning:"son of Jack"
Description:Jackson is one of those names that's much more popular than you think, coming in near the top of our annual Playground Analysis, which ranks names by grouping all their spellings together. There were nearly 17,000 baby boys named Jackson -- along Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxxon, Jaxen, Jaxyn, Jaxsen, and Jaxsyn -- which counted together makes it the Number 3 boys' name.
Meaning:"island of apples"
Description:Avalon, an island paradise of Celtic myth and Arthurian legend--it was where King Arthur was taken to recover from his wounds-- and also the colorful capital of the California island of Catalina-- makes a heavenly first name. Actress Rena Sofer and British musician Julian Cope used it for their daughters.
Origin:English diminutive of Ann
Description:Nancy originated as a contraction of "mine Ancy," with Ancy being a nickname for Annis, a Medieval English variation of Agnes. In the 18th century it began being used in its own right, as well as a nickname for Ann. Related names include Nan, Nance, Nanette, Nanny, and Nanou.
Description:Nola, a name with a sleek, enigmatic quality, was used for the much-pursued heroine of Spike Lee's 1986 breakout film, She's Gotta Have It, and again by Woody Allen in Match Point. It's a short form of the traditional Irish name Fionnuala. Nola reentered the US Top 1000 in 2008, for the first time in 50 years.
Description:A strong Greek name with pan-European charm, Petra is a relatively recent feminization of Peter, though it relates back to an incredible ancient city in Jordan that was rediscovered in the early nineteenth century.
Description:Alba is quietly making a behind-the-scenes comeback, perhaps thanks to actress turned baby-product mogul Jessica Alba. Last on the Top 1000 a century ago, the name was given to nearly 200 baby girls in the US last year. Alba might be tomorrow's successor to Ava and Ella. In Spain, Alba ranks among the Top 20 girls' names. Alba is the name of a character in The Time Traveler's Wife.
Origin:Place-name: the capital of Austria
Description:Vienna is one of the more popular of the European place-names, with a particularly pleasant sound, evoking elegant images of the Blue Danube, of castles and cafes, sweets and sausages and Strauss waltzes—and Sigmund Freud. It could be a possible substitute for the popular Sienna.
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.
Description:Eugene is a classic that has rather lost its way. On the one hand, it's a grandpa, even great-grandpa name that hasn't been one of the cool kids recently—or to quote Jim Carrey, who bears this name in the middle spot, "You can never get too cool with a name like Eugene." The hero of Disney's Tangled felt the same way, when he changed his birth name of Eugene to the more romantic Flynn.
Meaning:"flat tropical grassland"
Description:A place name with a deep Southern accent, the once-obscure Savannah shot to fame, with others of its genre, on the heels of the best seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in the mossy Georgia city of Savannah. Originally a substitute for the overused Samantha, Savannah is now becoming overused itself, long among the top girls' names starting with S.
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'.
Origin:Italian and Spanish form of Mark
Description:Simple and universal, Marco is a Latin classic that would make a much livelier namesake for an Uncle Mark. It was used for her son by actress Jill Hennessy and goes well with surnames of any nationality.
Description:Haunting biblical and Civil War place-name; now unisex—especially after the mega-high-profile Brangelina couple picked it for their daughter. It debuted in the Top 1000 for boys in 2015.
Description:In the early 1990s, Cody was in the Top 25 most popular boys' names in the USA; but it has been in decline since then. It retains a greater degree of popularity in the UK, however. Cody might be short for Dakota but despite its nickname feeling, it's a name of its own.
Description:Judah is the strong, resonant Old Testament name of the son of Jacob who was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, and from whom the word Jew is derived. Some of the names' popularity might be attributable to the similarly named Jude Law.
Description:Camden is a surprise hit, probably as a result of some star baby cred: it has been chosen by no less than four celebrity parents since 2012. Camden is a Jersey Boy name, along with equally popular Trenton -- these are two cases where the names are more attractive than the places that inspired them.
Description:This lovely surname of the three novel-writing sisters, now used as a baby name, makes a fitting tribute for lovers of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. While the original name took an umlaut over the e, modern English speakers may find that more trouble than it's worth. Trivia note: The Anglo-Irish clergyman who was the father of Charlotte, Emily and Anne changed his name from the original Brunty. According to scholars, the family pronounced the name brun-tee, though in the 21st century world it's commonly pronounced bron-tay. In Australia, the name is more likely to take inspiration from Bronte Beach in Sydney. It was named after Lord Nelson, the 1st Duke of Bronté. He got his title from a town in Sicily, itself named after a mythological Cyclops.
Description:Odessa, a Ukrainian port city, was given its name by Catherine the Great, who was inspired by Homer's Odyssey. It would make an original and intriguing choice.
Description:This name of a small island off the coast of Scotland is trending upwards along with other I names.
Origin:Japanese place name or Celtic
Description:Soft, simple, and far more unusual than Tara or Farrah. As a Japanese place name, it's been used occasionally as a surname and is beginning to be used as a first. Nara is also the name of a Hindu (male) God and the name means "man" in Hindi.