Celebrity-Inspired Baby Names
Along with Mila and Khloe, other celebrity-inspired baby names in the US Top 1000 include Bristol, Dax, Elle, Forest, Isla, Kylie, Leighton, and Octavia. Unique names with strong ties to celebrities include America, Orlando, Rhianna, and Rooney.
Names inspired by celebrities can be taken from stars past or present. Here are the star-inspired names that are rising through the ranks.
Origin:Place-name, literary name, or short form of Carlo
Description:Arlo has many possible derivations: possibly a shortened form of Italian name Carlo, and in Basque-speaking regions it is the word for area. In English, Arlo was first used by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene and is thought to derive from the Celtic word Aherlow, meaning “between two highlands.” Arlo has become increasingly unisex, leading to the feminine variation Arlowe.
Origin:Scottish place-name or Spanish
Description:Isla, the Spanish word for island, is also the name of a Scottish river, an island (spelled Islay), and the red-haired actress Isla Fisher, married to Sacha Baron Cohen. A top girls' name in the US, Isla is also popular overseas, especially in England, Wales, and her native Scotland.
Origin:Latin diminutive of Judah
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.
Origin:Hebrew, Latin or Germanic
Meaning:"life; bird; water, island"
Description:In medieval times, Ava was a diminutive of Germanic names beginning in Av-, in particular Aveline, from which the name Evelyn would eventually arise. It may derive from a Proto-Germanic root meaning "island" or "water". However, the medieval name eventually fell out of use entirely, only to resurface in contemporary times. This suggests that today’s Ava may be a modern variation of Eva. Alternatively, Ava could also derive from the Latin avis, meaning “bird.” Ava has separate Persian roots as a name meaning “voice” or “sound.”
Description:Amelia is derived from the German name Amalia, which in turn is a variation of Amalberga. The root, amal, is a Germanic word meaning “work,” and in the context of female given names suggests themes of fertility as well as productivity. Aemilia, the name from which Emily is derived, is unrelated to Amelia.
Origin:English form of Milo
Meaning:"soldier or merciful"
Description:Miles, which took on a permanent veneer of cool thanks to jazz great Miles Davis, is a confident and polished boy name starting with M that has been appreciated in particular by celebrity baby namers, including Elisabeth Shue, Mayim Bialik, Larenz Tate, Joan Cusack and Lionel Ritchie.
Meaning:"bearer of good news"
Description:Evangeline is a romantic old name enjoying a major comeback, thanks to its religious overtones, Eva's popularity, and the star of the TV megahit Lost, Evangeline Lilly. Evangelia and Evangelina — two variants of Evangeline — are sure to tag along for the ride.
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.
Origin:Irish short form of William
Description:Liam originated as a nickname for Uilliam, the Irish variation of William. William is an English name from Germanic roots that was brought to Ireland when the British fled England following the Norman Conquest. The Irish began using English names, including William, which led to the development of Uilliam and its short form, Liam.
Description:The history of Zoe begins in the third century when the Alexandrian Jews translated Eve, which means 'life,' to the Greek equivalent Zoe. Zoe was in use as far back as the Roman classical period, and was popular with the early Christians, who bestowed it with hopes of eternal life, but it didn't migrate to the English-speaking world until the mid-nineteenth century. Alternate spellings include Zoey, Zoie, and Zooey.
Description:Emma originated as a diminutive for Germanic names beginning with the ermen root. A very old royal name well used throughout the centuries—Queen Emma married King Ethelred the Unready in 1002—Emma is also historically associated with Lady Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson and muse of painter George Romney.
Origin:Italian place-name from orange-red color clay
Description:The historic Tuscan city is spelled Siena, but the Sienna spelling, used by American-born English actress Miller, is rising even faster. Cable newsperson Campbell Brown chose Sienna for her daughter, as did Kevin James.
Description:Scarlett originated as an occupation surname, designating a person who sold scarlet, a luxury wool cloth produced in Medieval Europe. The word is thought to derive from the Arabic siklāt, referring to silks dyed with kermes. The fanciest, favorited color was scarlet red.
Meaning:"son of the sea"
Description:Dylan was derived of the Welsh components dy and llanw, meaning “sea.” In Welsh mythology, Dylan was a legendary sea god who prompted all the waters of Britain and Ireland to weep when he died. The name came to prominence via the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, whose name Bob Dylan adopted in tribute.
Description:Audrey is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Aethelthryth, the name that later evolved into Ethelred. St. Audrey was a seventh century saint who was particularly revered in the Middle Ages. Her name led to the term tawdry, as cheap lace necklaces were sold at the St. Audrey fair. Shakespeare bestowed her name on a character in As You Like It.
Description:Jonah, the name of the Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by the whale, only to emerge unharmed three days later, is increasingly appreciated by parents looking for a biblical name less common than Jacob or Joshua, yet not too obscure. Plus, Jonah comes with a ready-made nursery-decorating motif.
Description:Logan originated as a Scottish surname which was derived from a place of that name in Ayrshire. The place name came from lagan, a Scottish Gaelic diminutive of lag, meaning “hollow.” Alternate spellings include Logon, Logen, and Logyn, which is more common among girls.
Origin:Latin form of Eve, Hebrew
Description:Eva is found in many different languages as a variation of Eve—the Old Testament name recognizable as the first woman in Abrahamic religions. Short forms of the name include Evie and Evita. The diminutive Evita is still strongly associated with Evita Peron, wife of the Argentine President Juan Peron.
Description:Mila is a given name with Russian and Slavic provenance. It began as the diminutive form for names such as Ludmila, Milena, and Milica. Mila can be a nickname for any name containing the element mil, meaning “gracious” or “dear.”
Origin:English, Scottish, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian, diminutive of various names ending in lena
Description:This pet form of Helena and other ena-ending names, long used as an independent name, is attracting notice again as an option both multicultural and simple. Lena was a Top 100 name from 1880 to 1920.
Description:Naomi was once a primarily Jewish name from the Old Testament that referenced the mother-in-law of Ruth. Because of this, it is a symbolic name given to girls on Shavuot when the story of Ruth is read in the synagogue. The French version is Noemie, in Italian Noemi. Naomi also has separate Japanese origins as a unisex name meaning “straight and beautiful.”
Meaning:"son of Harry"
Description:Harrison, a name made viable by Harrison Ford, is increasingly popular with parents who want an H name that's more formal than Harry or Hank but doesn't veer into the stiff Huntington-Harrington territory.
Meaning:"good fortune, happy"
Description:Felicity is as accessible a virtue name as Hope and Faith, but much more feminine -- and dare we say, happier. The hit TV show did a lot to soften and modernize the once buttoned-up image of Felicity, and it got further notice as the red-haired Colonial doll, Felicity Merriman, in the American Girl series. A current bearer is actress Felicity Huffman.
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.
Description:Iconoclasts though we may be, we like Fred, we like Frank, and we like George, which was among the Top 10 from 1830 to 1950, when the number of little Georges started to decline. Solid, strong, royal and saintly, yet friendly and unpretentious, we think that George is in prime position for a comeback, especially since it was chosen by Britain's royal couple.
Origin:Latinate form of Helen, Greek
Meaning:"bright, shining light"
Description:Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.
Origin:Short form of names that end in -nina
Description:Nina is as multiethnic as you can get: Nina is a common nickname name in Spain and Russia, a Babylonian goddess of the oceans, and an Incan goddess of fire. Here and now, it's a stylish possibility that's been underused. "Weird Al" Yankovic chose this decidedly nonweird name for his daughter.
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.
Origin:French variation of Russian Natalia
Meaning:"birthday of the Lord"
Description:Natalie is the French variation of Natalia, a name originally derived from the Latin phrase natale domini, meaning “birthday of the Lord.” It was historically given to girls born around Christmas for this reason. Nathalie is an additional, though less common, spelling of the name.
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.
Description:Combine the charming heroine of the movie Legally Blonde with supermodel Elle Macpherson and the trend toward all names beginning with "el"—Ellie, Ella, Eleanor—and you have one hit name.
Origin:English diminutive of Alana
Meaning:"rock or handsome"
Description:Popularized in the 1940s by Lana (born Judy) Turner, today Lana is synonymous with American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey. Although it has been rising steadily since the early 2000s, Lana still sits in the popularity "sweet spot" – familiar, but not overused. Simple, sleek and seamlessly international, it makes a great choice.
Description:Serena, a name used since Roman times, was given fresh life by tennis star Williams, and then again with the leading character on Gossip Girl, Serena van der Woodsen. There have also been Serenas on soap operas and other shows from Bewitched to Law & Order.
Origin:English, diminutive of Katherine
Description:Kate, in the headlines via Catherine Middleton, has been as pervasive as Kathy was in the 1950s and 1960s, both as a nickname for Katherine and Kaitlyn and as a strong, classic stand-alone name. Kate has an image that's independent, smart, and energetic, recalling Kate Hepburn, the heroine of The Taming of the Shrew/Kiss Me Kate, and contemporary Kates Winslet, Hudson, Moss, Spade and Beckinsale. Cate Blanchette has helped popularize that spelling of the name.
Origin:Diminutive of Henry
Description:Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning “estate ruler.” Harry was the nickname of all eight King Henrys; it is also a diminutive of Harold and Harrison.
Origin:English, diminutive of Philippa
Meaning:"lover of horses"
Description:Pippa, a peppy condensation of Philippa that turns it from serious to sprightly, has come into the public eye in a big way via the former Kate Middleton's sister.
Description:Dean may sound to some like a retro surfer boy name, but it is once again climbing up the popularity chart in the USA. For decades it was associated with Dean (born Dino) Martin; more recent representatives include Dean Cain, Dean McDermott and Dean Koontz -- not to mention Jared Padalecki's dreamy Dean Forester in Gilmore Girls.
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Keira is an attractive girls’ name that's gotten a huge boost from the meteoric rise of Keira Knightley. Original spelling Kiera, which relates more directly to the male Kieran, was the more popular form until the rise of Keira Knightley reversed the order. Both are Anglicized versions of the Irish Ciara.
Origin:Variation of Aliya, Arabic
Meaning:"heavens, highborn, exalted"
Description:Aaliyah is the feminine variation of Aali, a masculine Arabic name meaning “high” or “exalted.” There are many additional spellings of the name, including Alia, Aliyah, Aleah, and Aleia. In Hebrew, aliyah (pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable) means “rising,” and refers to Jewish immigration to Israel.
Origin:French occupational name
Meaning:"woodsman or woods"
Description:The Forest variation of Forrest, used by actor Whitaker, nudges the meaning more toward the woods and away from the woodsman.
Description:The appealingly energetic Dax, with its trendy X-ending, re-entered the Top 1000 in 2007. Its somewhat sci-fi vibe emanates from his appearance as a fictional being in the Star Trek universe, seen on the TV show "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." The Power Rangers character Dax Lo was the Blue Ranger.
Description:Viola has several positive elements going for it: the rhythm of the musical instrument, the association with the flower, the trending 'Vi' beginning and its leading role in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Origin:Dutch and German, from first name Hendrik
Description:Hendrix is one of those hip rock and roll names, like Lennon, Jagger and Presley, that have been used by fellow celebs and others, to honor the seminal guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi. And this one has the trendy 'x' ending, as well, helping to propel it up the charts and into the spotlight.
Origin:English, diminutive of Edith
Meaning:"prosperous in war"
Description:Edie is part of the Evie-Ellie et al family of cute and friendly short forms that sometimes stand on its own. Briefly popular in the 1960's, it could well be due for rediscovery.
Origin:Scottish from French
Description:One-time beach-boy compadre of Glenn, Greg, and Gary that originated as a nickname for a tall person, Grant has become a no-nonsense, career-oriented grown-up and one that is seeing new appreciation. It was chosen for his son by actor Morris Chestnut. It has cultural cred via artist Grant Wood, whose best known painting is 'American Gothic.'
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.
Origin:Latinized variation of Greek Selene
Description:Selena is smooth, shiny, and sensual, a nineteenth-century name that found new life in the Latino community, following the biopic of slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla, starring Jennifer Lopez. But you don't have to be Latin to love Selena, which is both distinctive yet in step with stylish modern names such as Seraphina and Celia.
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.
Origin:Greek, Italian, Spanish, Russian diminutive of Angela
Description:The gorgeous Angelina Jolie has promoted the star power of her name and changed Angelina's image from delicate to intense, from older Italian mama to stylish multi-cultural child. Kids might relate to the dancing mouse in the series of charming children's books, Angelina Ballerina, or to the Harry Potter character, Angelina Johnson Weasley, a member of Dumbledore's army.
Origin:French diminutive of ADELAIDE
Description:Credit the award-winning single-named British singer for taking the girls’ name Adele from a quiet semi-retirement back into currency. Adele reentered the US Top 1000 popular baby names in 2011 and has remained there ever since.
Adele is both a saint's and a royal name, having originated as the French version of the German Adela. It's one of the most stylish girl names starting with A.
Molly Ringwald chose Adele for one of her twins, and Fred Astaire's first dancing partner was his older sister Adele.