Modern Hero Names
Modern hero names send a powerful message about your values and the qualities you hope your child will one day embody. They might be inspired by stars of screen or sports or literature or politics. Modern hero names may also honor heroes and heroines of the past who still inspire us today, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or Duke Ellington.
The particular challenge of hero names is that they honor figures with complicated histories, just like the rest of us. Even among heroes who are long gone or even fictional, there remains the risk of their image becoming spotted after the baby has been named. This isn’t always a death knell — Atticus has remained in good standing despite the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird revealing him as a less progressive character.
Along with Eleanor, other modern hero girl names in the US Top 1000 include Audrey, Marley, Simone, and Stevie. In addition to Atticus, other modern hero boy names in the US Top 1000 include Baker, Ford, Iker, and Kenzo.
Unique modern hero names include Indira, Kehinde, Malala, and Noam.
A modern hero name gives your child an inspirational figure to look up to from the very beginning. Search our favorite modern hero baby names below, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.
Description:This gentle Scandinavian name, soft and sensitive, is being discovered in a major way by parents in the US. It's most closely identified with the nineteenth century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, but there have been modern fictional Sorens as well, in The Matrix Reloaded and the book series Guardians of Ga'Hoole, Charlie and Lola, and Underworld.
Description:Atticus, with its trendy Roman feel combined with the upstanding, noble image of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, is a real winner among boy names. Atticus entered the US Top 1000 in 2004 and is a firm Nameberry favorite.
Description:Amelia is one of the hottest girls' names, a successor to the megapopular Emma and Emily. Amelia, which spent several years at Number 1 in England, vaulted into the US Top 10 in 2017 and continues to rise.
Origin:English variation of French Provencal Alienor, meaning unknown
Description:Eleanor's straightforward feminine image combined with its royal medieval history is striking just the right note for parents in search of a girls' name that combines substance and style.
Description:Cassius, a Shakespearean name rooted in antiquity, is trending in a major way. It's one of a raft of Cas-starting names for both boys and girls, including Caspian, Cassian, and Cassia, that are enjoying a new moiment in the sun.
Origin:English form of Milo
Meaning:"soldier or merciful"
Description:Miles, which has a permanent veneer of cool thanks to jazz great Miles Davis, is a confident and polished boys' name that's an American classic. Always ranking in the US Top 1000, it's been drifting up the charts for the past half century but has never been TOO popular.
Description:Audrey is one of the girls' names that have been rising due to their connection to Old Hollywood glamour—in this case the eternally chic and radiant Audrey Hepburn. Audrey has another very different appeal as one of the elite group of girl names that mean strong, brave, or powerful.
Description:Florence is back, returning to the US Top 1000 girl names in 2017 after a nearly 40 year absence. Other English-speaking countries have been quicker to welcome Florence back into fashion.
Origin:English and Irish
Meaning:"bee hive, little brook or bee cottage"
Description:Beckett is one of the big baby name hits of the decade.
Meaning:"leaping water, lady of abundance"
Description:As memories of the outragrous actress Talullah Bankhead have faded, this hauntingly euphonious Choctaw name has re-entered the public domain. A modern hipster favorite, it's been chosen for their daughters by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patrick Dempsey, Damian Dash, Rachel Roy and Sara Rue, trail-blazed by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis for their now grown daughter. (Trivia tidbit: Bankhead's namesake was her paternal grandmother who, in turn, was named after the Georgia town of Tallulah Falls.)
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.
Origin:Old French form of archaic German Amal
Description:Emmeline is an Emma relative and Emily cousin that is destined for greater use in the wake of the megapopularity of those two names. A recommended Nameberry fave, Emmeline hopped onto the US Top 1000 in 2014 for the first time ever. While it is genuinely an old name, it was rarely used a century ago; only 17 baby girls were named Emmeline in 1915, the same number as were named Ernie!
Origin:Latin and English
Description:Orson has had in the past a rotund teddy-bear image, a la Orson Welles, who early on dropped his common given name of George in favor of his more distinctive middle one, and who seemed to own it during his lifetime. No longer a single-person signature, it's now an interesting possibility for any parent seeking an unusual yet solid name. It's started to appear to the celeb set--both Paz Vega and Lauren Ambrose have little Orsons.
Meaning:"of the brook"
Description:Surname name, nature name, and word name, with a more masculine slant than Brook or Brooklyn. Brooks Robinson was one of the greatest third basemen ever, playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 until 1977. Brooks might be considered one of the new wave of stylish English names for boys.
Description:You might think of Harper as the hottest name of the last decade, jumping from obscurity to the Top 10, where it remained until last year.
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.
Meaning:"town by the pool"
Description:Lincoln cracked the Top 50 for boys' names for the first time in 2016, more than 150 years after the death of its most famous bearer. This is especially remarkable because, as crazy as it seems now, Lincoln was deeply out of fashion as recently as the late 90s, consistently hovering near the bottom of the Top 1000.
Meaning:"by the ash tree"
Description:Nash is an English surname whose sound puts it right in step with currently trendy names like Cash, Dash and Ash. It first came to prominence via TV character Nash Bridges, portrayed by Don Johnson in the late nineties, and also via mathematician John Nash, played by Russell Crowe in the acclaimed film A Beautiful Mind.
Origin:Diminutive of Griselda
Meaning:"gray fighting maid"
Description:Classified as an early beauty, Zelda has long and often been used as such for characters in books and films. Since 1986, Zelda has been a prime Nintendo name, as in the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Meaning:"devotee of St. Colomba"
Description:Malcolm is a warm and welcoming Scottish appellation (originally Mael-Colium) that fits into that golden circle of names that are distinctive but not at all odd. A royal name in Scotland, Malcolm is also a hero name for many via radical civil rights activist Malcolm X.