Sci-Fi Baby Names
Along with Kylo, other sci-fi baby names in the US Top 1000 include Dash, Fox, Holden, Kira, Leia, Max, Serenity, and Trinity. Names that owe their success directly to a science fiction franchise include Ripley, Neo, and Mazikeen, a newly rising name from Neil Gaiman’s comic book Sandman.
If you are searching for a distinctive and cool name for your child, you should consider taking inspiration from sci-fi character names. From Star Wars to Blade Runner, here's a list of unique science fiction baby names.
Origin:English and German diminutive of Maximilian or Maxwell
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.
Description:Ada is derived from the German name Adelaide, which came from the ancient name Adalheidis. The root, adal, is a Germanic word meaning “noble.” Ada can also be considered a variation of the biblical name Adah, pronounced AH-da, one of the first girls’ names mentioned in the Book of Genesis.
Origin:Flower name, from Old English
Description:Clover is a charming, perky choice if you want to move beyond hothouse blooms like Rose and Lily, and it's recently become a new celeb favorite, chosen by both Neal McDonough and Natasha Gregson Wagner, who used it to honor her mother, Natalie Wood, one of whose most iconic films was Inside Daisy Clover.
Description:Holden is a classic case of a name that jumped out of a book and onto birth certificates--though it took quite a while. Parents who loved J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye are flocking to the name of its hero, Holden Caulfield -- not coincidentally in tune with the Hudson-Hayden-Colton field of names. (Trivia note: Salinger supposedly came up with the name while looking at a movie poster promoting a film starring William Holden and Joan Caulfield, though other sources say he was named after Salinger's friend Holden Bowler.) Another impetus was provided by a soap opera character introduced in 1985.
Description:Fox is one animal name backed by a longish tradition, and then popularized via the lead character Fox Mulder on X Files. Fox is simple, sleek, and a little bit wild, and could make an interesting middle name.
Origin:Latinized Greek variation of Hebrew Eleazar
Meaning:"God is my helper"
Description:Lazarus is a name that looks as if it could possibly be raised from the dead, just like its biblical bearer. Look for it in the next wave of Old Testament revivals that transcend their long-bearded images, the way Noah, Moses, and Abraham have for this generation.
Description:Its double role as the mother and daughter -- and even grandmother -- on TV's The Gilmore Girls modernized, humanized, and popularized a name previously associated with the mythic seductive siren and the gold digger portrayed by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Origin:Latin or Tswana
Meaning:"new or gift"
Description:This nouveau name of Keanu Reeves's character in The Matrix has not enjoyed the same burst of popularity as its female counterpart, Trinity, but it definitely sounds, well, newer. Neo Rauch is an interesting contemporary German artist.
Meaning:"round; or, barrel"
Description:Strong, ultramasculine, and modern, Cade shot up the popularity lists around the millenium—it was as high as Number 201 in 2001—along with cousins Caden and Cale, but has been in decline since. It's Like Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley, Melanie, and Beau; it was worn by a character in Gone With the Wind.
There's a Cade Skywalker in the Star Wars universe, and Keith Carradine named his now-grown son Cade.
Description:Most of the notable Rivers have been male, but this nature name certainly flows as well for a girl. Kelly Clarkson's choice of River for her newborn daughter further raised the profile of the name for girls.
Origin:Arabic feminine form of Ali
Description:Alia is most classic and feminine form of Ali, one of the 99 attributes of Allah. The name is used by Christians, Muslims and Jews; the word Aliyah means to make a pilgrimage to Israel and the words in both languages mean sublime, lofty, or exalted. Alia is also the name of the heroine of Frank Herbert's science fiction classic Children of Dune
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.
Origin:American variation of Kayla
Description:A widely used name, Kaylee pulls together something from Kayla and something from Hailey, yet somehow loses something in the process. It has surpassed cousin Kayla on the charts and is one of three girls' names starting with Kthat ranks in the US Top 100.
Origin:German and Swedish
Description:Name with connotations both mystical and tragic, newly popular in Europe. For English speakers, though, this name might be ruined by its homonym ruin.
Origin:Russian feminine variation of Cyrus
Description:Though such cognates of Kira as Keira, Kyra, and Ciara are evermore popular throughout Europe and in the U.S., this Cyrus relative has a different root. Variations include Keera, Kiera, Kierra, Kirah, Kiri, Kiria, Kiriah, Kiro, Kirra, Kirrah, Kirri, Kirya, and Kyra.
Origin:French word name
Meaning:"large claw of a bird of prey"
Description:Despite its somewhat menacing meaning, this name has been widely used in recent years, probably due to the appeal of its trendy on ending.
Origin:Place-name, nature name, or Hebrew
Meaning:"under God's rule"
Description:Exotic and lovely -- and much more distinctive now than Samantha or Tamara. Samara is a city in western Russia, a winged seed like the whirlygigs that fall from maple trees, as well as a bona fide first name that could make a more unusual update on Samantha or Mara.
Origin:Diminutive of Dashiell, meaning unknown
Description:Dash is a nickname that can stand on its own and sounds, well, dashing. Connected these days with Kardashian enterprises.
Description:Many will associate this name with Galen of Pergamon, the second-century physician considered to be the founding father of medicine. A more recent reference is Star Wars character Galen Erso. The name still projects a gentle, scholarly image, while sharing sounds with more popular names like Aiden and Nathan. Bonus: it's also an anagram of Angel.
Meaning:"water lily, lotus"
Description:Though in Japan the lotus is the Buddhist symbol of purity and perfection, most Westerners would prefer Wren.
Origin:Variation of Kyle
Description:Kylo Ren is the villain played by Adam Driver in the seventh Star Wars movie, released in December 2015. The original Kyle has sparked many variations, including Kylie and Kyler. Kylo, which takes on the fashionable o ending, is sure to follow for those who don't mind crossing to the dark side. It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2016 -- and indeed, was the year's fastest rising boys' name.
Origin:Spelling variation of Leya
Description:This spelling variation of Leya was popularized by the Star Wars films, but is still firmly in the US Top 1000 many years later. This spelling is also probably preferred as it is clearer in pronunciation to the original Hindi name, Leya (which sometime gets pronounced Lee-ah).
Origin:From Italian word brio meaning "vigour, liveliness"
Description:Sweet but spirited name.
Description:Stately Gaius (pronounced GUY-us) was in the name of many ancient Romans, including Julius Caesar. Little-used before the year 2000, it now feels like a fresh possibility in the revival of Latin boys' names like Atticus and Cassius. Caius and derivatives like Caio come from the same root. You could also see Gaius as a male version of the earth-goddess name Gaia.
Origin:French "king,"; Celtic "red-haired"
Description:We've seen Ray regain his cool, but could this country/cowboy name epitomized by Roy Rogers (born Leonard Slye), Acuff, and Clark, do the same?
Roy came into use in the late nineteenth century, probably influenced by the main character of Sir Walter Scott's novel Rob Roy, in which the historical character Robert M'ac Gregor is nicknamed Roy for his red hair.
There have been lots of notable non-country namesakes, including baseball's Roy Campanella, humorist Roy Blunt, Jr., Walt's brother and partner Roy Disney, singer Roy Orbison and pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Hobbs was the protagonist of the Malamud novel The Natural, played in the film by Robert Redford.
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.
Origin:Feminine variation of Joel, Hebrew
Meaning:"Jehovah is his God"
Description:Joel is one of those boys’ names that's never been super-popular yet has never been UNpopular either -- it's been in the Top 400 in the US since we started keeping statistics in 1880. So it's inevitable that its female form Joelle would gain visibility too, and indeed Joelle was used most widely during Joel's reign in the Top 100, from the late 1960s through the early 1990s.
Description:Neil Gaiman invented this name for a character in his comic book Sandman. It can now be seen on the TV show Lucifer.
Description:The girls have dibs on Spring, Summer, and Autumn, leaving this name evocative of snowy landscapes as the one possible seasonal choice for boys. And naturally, it's one of the most obvious names for winter babies.
Origin:English variation of Diana
Description:Though still being used, Deanna peaked many decades ago.
Meaning:"strip of clearing in the woods"
Description:The name Ripley reflects the powerful character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien films; it was chosen by actress Thandie Newton for her daughter.
Description:This early Scottish title -- known to us via Shakespeare's Macbeth -- has recently surfaced as a baby name possibility, familiar sounding through its similarity to names like Zane and Wayne.
Description:Comedian Roseanne Barr chose this for her son...which seems in character. In the 18th century it was used to describe a dashing, fashionable dressed man.
Origin:English occupational name
Description:Reese Witherspoon's Deacon has opened this churchy direction for occupational names. It reentered the US Top 1000 in 2015.
Origin:Literary and botanical name
Description:Katniss Everdeen is the heroine of the popular Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, whose name comes from the (very real) edible aquatic plant of the genus Sagittaria. Katniss's father tells her that if she "finds herself," she'll never go hungry. Other unusual botanical names in the series include Primrose, Posy, Rue, and Clove, all for girls. Several of the boys' names come from ancient Rome: Cato, Seneca, Flavius, Caesar. Katniss the name has less appeal than Katniss the heroine, though it's definitely more attractive than Renesmee.
Description:Sela is a Biblical place-name, the original term for the city of Petra, which is finding new life through actress Sela Ward, star of several TV series. The young daughter of singer Lauryn Hill is named Selah, pronounced the same but with a different derivation and meaning. Found on early African-American slave lists, it was sometimes spelled Cela or Cella.
Description:Once unique to the Zappa family, now you can have your own little prima donna.
Description:This unusual name might be a possibility for musical families: Jubal was credited in Genesis with the invention of the lyre, flute, harp, and organ. It also has a jubilant feel through its sound and meaning, and has had some southern popularity via Confederate general Jubal Anderson Early. George Eliot wrote a poem called The Legend of Jubal.
Origin:African, Swahili; Hebrew; Berber
Meaning:"hatred, messenger, moonlight"
Description:Attractive but uncommon name, mostly found in African cultures.
Zira has been used as a character name in several movies, including The Lion King II and Planet of the Apes.
Origin:Diminutive of Zedekiah
Description:Newer than Zac, cooler than Ed, Ned, or Ted.
Description:This rarified Greek name -- in classical mythology Pallas Athena was the goddess of wisdom and the arts -- might appeal to literary-minded parents. Among the raft of stylish girl names that start with P, Pallas is one rare choice that is often overlooked....but shouldn't be.
Description:If Holland works for a girl, why not Dutch for a boy? Gavin Newsom, Lt-Governor of California, kept up his geographical baby name theme when he called his 4th child Dutch William, (his other children are named Hunter, Montana and Brooklyn.)
Origin:Diminutive of Elizabeth
Description:Buffy was a one-time sorority girl with a roommate named Muffy, then a fearless vampire slayer, though still basically fluffy. You might think of Buffy as the feminine version of Chip or Bud -- an all-purpose nickname now buried in a mid-century time capsule.
Meaning:"Jehovah is God"
Description:Rarely used in the last two centuries, but might be worth dusting off and holding up to the light.
Origin:Word and comic book name
Description:Flash Gordon makes this a superhero name, but Flash might just appeal to modern parents looking for one of the new active boys' names, ala Ace and Breaker and Ranger. We'd recommend something more pulled-together as a proper name with Flash as a nickname or middle name.
Meaning:"someone who lived near wet ground"
Description:When actress Deborah Kerr entered the scene, there was a great debate over her name's pronunciation. Car or Ker. Your choice.
Description:An attractive enough name, but for die-hard Star Wars fans only.
Origin:Diminutive of Tucker, English
Description:Sharp and preppy.