Short Baby Names
Short baby names are some of the most stylish around. They’re versatile, friendly, and many are rising in popularity.
The top short name for girls is Ava, one of the defining names of the past decade, while the most common short name for boys is Leo — more popular than it may seem, as it is often used as a nickname for longer names such as Leonardo and Leonidas.
Along with Ava and Leo, other short names for babies in the US Top 150 include Mia, Zoe, Eli, Eva, Ian, Ivy, Kai, and Max. Some of the rarest short names are those with two letters, but choices such as Io, Oz, Cy, and Lu may be substantial enough for your son or daughter.
Sometimes — when your last name is long and elaborate, when you simply believe in simplicity — what you want most from baby names is that they be short. Sweet, maybe; mono-syllabic, possibly. But the most important quality: short.
Here are some short baby names that fit the bill, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.
Description:Kai is an internationally flexible name with many possible origins and meanings, growing in popularity in the US and a diverse range of European countries.
Origin:Hebrew, Latin or Germanic
Meaning:"life; bird; water, island"
Description:Ava is one of the prime examples of a modern classic name, rising thought the course of a generation into the Top 10, where it has lingered for nearly 20 years.
Origin:Diminutive of Mary or Margaret
Meaning:"bitter or pearl"
Description:Mae, a sweet and springlike old-fashioned name, hadn't been on the national charts in forty years, but finally made it back in 2010. Mae is derived from May, the month name that was chosen for its connection to Maia, the Roman goddess of growth and motherhood.
Description:Leo was derived from the Latin leo, meaning “lion.” Thirteen popes have carried the name, including St. Leo the Great. In Germanic languages, Leo has historically been used as a nickname for names including Leon and Leopold. In Latinate languages, Leonardo is considered a full form for Leo.
Origin:German or Turkish
Meaning:"noble, nobility, or island"
Description:Ada is one of the classic baby names for girls that is suddenly super stylish again. A favorite at the end of the nineteenth century, Ada is an alternative to the over-popular Ava. Ada is also part of the trend toward simple, old-fashioned names beginning with a vowel, like Ivy and Ella.
Origin:English, diminutive of Christopher
Meaning:"bearer of Christ"
Description:Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son.
Origin:Italian word name or Scandinavian short form of Maria
Meaning:"mine or bitter"
Description:Mia originated as a short form of Maria, which ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Miryam. In modern times, Mia has been used as a nickname for names including Amelia, Emilia, and Miriam. Mia is also an Italian and Spanish word meaning 'mine.'
Origin:Latin form of Eve, Hebrew
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.
Origin:Diminutive of Ariel, Hebrew
Meaning:"lion of God"
Description:Ari, the short form of Ariel (or any other Ari- beginning name, such as Aristotle) stands up better as a boys’ name than its progenitor does. It is also short for Aristotle, as in Onassis, and is a prominent character on TV's Entourage -- the uberagent Ari Gold.
Description:Ivy is derived from the name of the ivy plant, which got its name from the Old English word ifig. Ancient Greeks presented an ivy wreath to newlyweds as a symbol of fidelity. In the language of flowers, Ivy signifies faithfulness.
Meaning:"yew wood, archer"
Description:Ivo is an unusual, catchy name with the energetic impact of all names ending in 'o'. Hardly heard in the U.S., it is used a bit more frequently in England, as is the related Ivor, a favorite of such novelists as Evelyn Waugh and P.G. Wodehouse. Ivo is currently most popular in the Netherlands.
Description:This Old Testament female name has been one of the most popular girls’ names in Israel over the last decade. Also highly popular in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, and a new entrant to the US Top 1000, it may be misunderstood here as an attempt to streamline and feminize the more familiar Noah – although it's a separate name with a separate derivation.
Description:Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.
Origin:Scottish version of John
Meaning:"the Lord is gracious"
Description:Ian is Scottish form of John, derived from the Hebrew name Yohanan. It is an Anglicization of the Scottish Gaelic Iain, which is also a viable spelling. Ian was introduced to Americans by Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.
Description:This concise one-syllable name, has two possible derivations and two positive meanings associated with it. In Hebrew, it means "heart", while in Russian it means "lion". So strong and simple Lev has both a soft and a fierce side.
Meaning:"healer; born in the morning"
Description:A short but strong biblical name with multicultural appeal, Asa is enjoying new visibility thanks to hot young actor Asa Butterfield of Hugo fame.
Origin:Scottish or Irish
Description:In Ireland and Scotland, Mac and Mc mean "son of"; here, Mac is a generic fella, or a short form cooler than either Matt or Max. Mac can be a nickname of any longer Mac or Mc starting name such as McCoy or Macalister. If you want to make it feel more complete, you can always spell it Mack.
Origin:Diminutive of Raymond
Description:Amy is the English variation of the Old French name Amée—Aimée in modern French. Amée was a translation of the Latin name Amata, which derived from amatus, meaning "beloved." Other spelling variations include Amie and Ami.