Menu
ADVERTISEMENT

Virtue Names

Virtue Names
Virtue names, favored by the Puritans, represent qualities we should embody or at least aspire to. They are word names, such as Creed and Heavenly, that often speak to a parent’s values that they hope to pass on to their children.

Along with Heavenly and Creed, other virtue names in the US Top 1000 include Ace, Felicity, Grace, Haven, Journey, Justice, Legend, and Serenity. Rare virtuous names on the rise include Dream, Ever, Hero, and Pax.

While some of the Puritanical virtue names such as Obedience and Modesty might be a bit too outdated for a 21st century child, there are plenty of modern virtue names that would feel right at home on today’s playgrounds. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if names like Reverie and Zen or Loyal and True become downright mainstream in the coming years.

Here, consult our masterlist of virtue names.

Virtue Names
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

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.

AceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "one, unity"
  • Description:

    No longer tied to the hapless Ace Ventura, this jaunty, high-flying nickname name is starting to take flight among celebrity and other parents, with its countless positive references to doing well in tests and poker games, on the tennis court and golf course, and in the air.

FelicityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • 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.

SageHeart

  • Origin:

    Herb name and also Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wise and knowing"
  • Description:

    Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.

ChaseHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "to hunt"
  • Description:

    Chase, with its sleek and ultraprosperous aura, is redolent of the worlds of high finance and international banking. Chase has been well used during the last few decades, seen as a character on 24 and on several young-audience shows.
ADVERTISEMENT

BlytheHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "happy, carefree"
  • Description:

    Blythe originated as a nickname for an upbeat person, coming from the Old English word bliðe, meaning “merry” or “cheerful.” Today the homophone blithe shares the same meaning. Blythe was eventually adapted to a surname before it became a feminine given name.

LegendHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Legend joins cousins Story, Saga and Fable in the baby name pantheon of narrative words. Unlike Story and Fable, however, Legend comes with additional weight, being used for fame ("living legend") and to denote a person who is fantastic "what a legend"). Who can live up to that?

HopeHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Can a name as virtuous as Hope be cool and trendy? Strangely enough -- yes. But though this optimistic Puritan favorite is experiencing substantial popularity, Hope is too pure and elegant to be corrupted, a lovely classic that deserves all the attention it's getting.

ConstanceHeart

  • Origin:

    English version of Latin Constantia
  • Meaning:

    "steadfastness"
  • Description:

    Constance is one of the more subtle of the virtue baby names, but still has quite a prim and proper image. One impediment to its revival has been the decidedly dated nickname Connie, though modern parents might well opt for using the strong and dignified name in full.

VerityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "truth"
  • Description:

    If you love Puritan virtue names and want to move beyond Hope and Faith and Grace, this is a wonderful choice, both for its meaning and its sound. A rare find here, though occasionally heard in England. It was used in Winston Graham's Poldark novels, was Madonna's name as James Bond's fencing instructor in Die Another Day, and made a brief appearance in Harry Potter. Not to mention being a fixture on British and Australian soaps. Verity also appears in one of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries.
ADVERTISEMENT

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.

JoyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "joy"
  • Description:

    Joy is from an older generation of word names, which also included Merry, Bliss, and Glory -- all of which exert a certain amount of personality pressure on a child. One interesting name that means the same thing: Chara.

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.

BlazeHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "fire"
  • Description:

    Originally a form of the saint's name Blaise, though now more likely to be a hot word name used for both sexes, though heavily weighted toward the boys. It has been in the boys' Top 1000 since the year 2000.
    br>On the pop culture side of things, Blaze Bayley is a singer and musician who has been connected to the bands Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

ZenHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese, form of Buddhism
  • Description:

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

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.

CorneliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Cornelius, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "horn"
  • Description:

    In ancient Rome, Cornelia was considered the paragon of womanly virtue, making it a handsome name with an excellent pedigree. It's rare today, so if you want a name no one else is using, somewhat reminiscent of Amelia and the Shakespearean Cordelia, Cornelia should be on your list. Cornelia's short forms might include Cora, Nelia or Nell--anything but Corny.

HavenHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name, English
  • Description:

    Haven is a recently invented safe-harbor name that appeals to an increasing number of parents who don't want to voyage quite as far as Heaven.

AmityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "friendship"
  • Description:

    Amity--what nicer gift to give your little girl than a name that signifies friendship and harmony? This virtue name is also more rhythmic and feminine than the single-syllable Hope, Faith, and Grace.
ADVERTISEMENT

DreamHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

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

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.

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.

MoxieHeart

  • Origin:

    English slang
  • Meaning:

    "aggressive energy, know-how"
  • Description:

    Like Penn Jillette, you can have your own little brash babe.

RoyalHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Even less subtle than Duke or Earl, this name is leaping up the popularity charts, probably due in part to a boost from the hit Lorde song "Royals."
ADVERTISEMENT

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.

HeroHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "demi-god"
  • Description:

    Despite the possibility of gender confusion, the Hero in Greek myth was a woman. Myleene Klass got that when she chose Hero for her daughter, and Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson used it as their daughter's middle--and we wouldn't be surprised to see more girls with this heroic name.

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.

CreedHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Creed appeared on the US Top 1000 for the first time in over a century in 2016; it was the year's second-fastest-rising boys' name. It probably got a bump from the seventh movie in the Rocky series, called simply Creed. Some may know it from the character on the popular television show The Office.

ChanceHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Chauncey
  • Description:

    Once a cavalier Mississippi gambler type name, Chance has entered the mainstream since being endorsed by such celebrity dads as Larry King and Paul Hogan. Chance the Rapper has also boosted the name's popularity.
ADVERTISEMENT

ValorHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Honor and bravery are certainly virtues any parent would want to encourage, and this word itself is obscure enough that it manages to sound like a real name.

KarmaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "destiny, spiritual force"
  • Description:

    Some parents, including rapper Ludacris, are literally bestowing good karma on their children; it could just join the new spiritual name congregation.

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.

TemperanceHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Not too long ago, Temperance was found only on lists of Puritan baby names.

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.
ADVERTISEMENT

LibertyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Less common than other virtue names, Liberty is nonetheless a name with a long American heritage.

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?

CharityHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • 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.

LoveHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Love is best left as a middle name, as in Jennifer Love Hewitt. Love alternatives that carry a similar romantic sentiment, and may work better as first names, include Juliet and Valentina.

BlissHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    A sweet, uplifting and still fairly uncommon modern virtue name. Its single syllable makes it especially good as a middle name, but it would also make a big impact in the first spot.
ADVERTISEMENT

KeenHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Actor Mark Ruffalo honed this surname down to its basics when he chose it for his son. A more usable expansion might be the Irish surname Keenan/Keenen.

SecretHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Mysterious.

PromiseHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Promise is one of those word names with an uplifting meaning that is making inroads as a girls' name, like sisters Dream and Serenity. How promising is Promise as a first name? Our try at cleverness illustrates perhaps the biggest problem with naming your baby girl Promise: It will be difficult for people to resist making bad puns on the name. We promise (argh) you'll be tired of hearing them well before your baby Promise's first birthday.

PatienceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin virtue name
  • Description:

    Patience is a passive virtue turned engaging name, fresher than Hope, Faith, or even Charity. Its resemblance to the trendy Payton may be one reason for its recent spike in popularity.

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.
ADVERTISEMENT

DestinyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    If Destiny is your daughter's destiny, she probably won't be the only one in her school: until 2009, Destiny was in the Top 50, with three of its alternate spellings in hot pursuit. It has since dipped a bit in popularity but is still widely used. Destiny Hope was the birth name of Miley Cyrus and Destiny Jones is the daughter or rapper Nas.

JourneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    One of the new word names, appealing to parents attracted to the idea of a spiritual -- or even an actual -- voyage. The Journee spelling is also being used. Unisex alert: Jenna Jameson used Journey for one of her twin boys, as did the Black Eyed Peas rock musician known as Taboo.

TrueHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Inspirational, aspirational word name that would work especially well as a middle name; it was used by Forest Whitaker for his daughter, and more recently by Khloe Kardashian.

ProsperHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "favorable, prosperous"
  • Description:

    In France, pronounced PRO-spare, Prosper is a fairly common name; here it presents a worthy aspirational message for a child.

KismetHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Meaning:

    "fate"
  • Description:

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