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Cool Baby Names That Start with P

Peter, Paul, and…uh…Patty are three of the names that made P such a ubiquitous first initial at the middle of the last century. It's been keeping a low profile for a while now, but there are a lot of cool baby names that start with P. The most popular P name for girls is Penelope, while Parker holds the title for boys.

Along with Penelope and Parker, other cool baby names that start with P in the US Top 1000 include Palmer, Paloma, Paxton, Pearl, Poppy, Pierce, Phoenix, and Preston. Vintage P names due for revival include Percy, Phineas, Polly, and Prue.

The initial P lends itself to many interesting names, most of them quite uncommon. Here, our picks for the coolest baby names beginning with P.
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PhoebeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "radiant, shining one"
  • Description:

    Phoebe is the Latin variation of the Greek name Phoibe, which derived from phoibos, meaning “bright.” In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of Artemis, goddess of the moon and of hunting. The masculine version of Phoebe is Phoebus.

PenelopeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "weaver"
  • Description:

    Penelope is a name from Greek mythology; she was the wife of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey. It has two possible origin stories—Penelope was either derived from the Greek pēnē, meaning “thread of a bobbin,” or penelops, a type of duck. Mythological Penelope was cared for by a duck as an infant, and later was known for delaying her suiters by pretending to weave a garment while her husband was at sea.

PhoenixHeart

  • Origin:

    Arizona place-name and Greek
  • Meaning:

    "dark red"
  • Description:

    Phoenix rolls a lot of cool trends into one: it's a place-name and a bird name, it ends in the oh-so-hip letter x, and as the mythic bird that rose from the ashes, it's a symbol of immortality. It's also got celebrity chops, via the acting family that includes Joaquin and the late River, and as the child of an ex-Spice Girl.

PersephoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Persephone is the esoteric name of the Greek mythological daughter of Zeus by Demeter, the queen of the harvest. After she was kidnapped by Hades to be Queen of the Underworld, it was decreed by Zeus that she would spend six months of the year with her mother, allowing crops to grow, and six in mourning, thus accounting for the seasons.

PoppyHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "red flower"
  • Description:

    Poppy, unlike most floral names which are sweet and feminine, has a lot of spunk. Long popular in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #5 in 2014, Poppy is just starting to catch on in a big way in the US, where it entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2016 and – just three years later – the Top 500 in 2019.
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PhineasHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "the Nubian"
  • Description:

    Phineas is the English variation of Phinehas, a Hebrew name likely derived from the Egyptian name Pa-nehasi. Pa-nehasi, meaning “the Nubian” can also be translated as “the bronze-colored one.” The Egyptians distinguished themselves from their Nubian neighbors through differences in skin tone.

PiperHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "pipe or flute player"
  • Description:

    Piper is a bright, musical name that entered the list in 1999, one year after the debut of the TV series Charmed, which featured a Piper, and it's been a consistent riser since. Piper Kerman is the memoirist whose prison experiences provided the basis for the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

PearlHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin gem name
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Pearl, like Ruby, has begun to be polished up for a new generation of fashionable children after a century of jewelry box storage. The birthstone for the month of June, Pearl could also make a fresher middle name alternative to the overused Rose. Cool couple Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson named their daughter Pearl Minnie, followed by Jack Osbourne, and several celebs have put it in the middle spot, as in Busy Philipps's Cricket Pearl, Jake Owen's Olive Pearl and Caleb Followill's Dixie Pearl .

ParkerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "park-keeper"
  • Description:

    One of the first generation of surname names, along with Porter and Morgan, Parker's still one of the most appealing and remains firmly in the Top 100 for boys. About three times as many boys as girls get this occupational name. The association with Charlie Parker gives Parker itself a jazzy edge, and it also has a nature-related meaning. Rosie O'Donnell has a son named Parker.

PrimroseHeart

  • Origin:

    English flower name
  • Meaning:

    "first rose"
  • Description:

    Still found in quaint British novels, and until recently considered a bit too prim for most American classrooms, some adventurous namers are suddenly beginning to see Primrose as an attractive member of the rose family.
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PatrickHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "noble, patrician"
  • Description:

    Patrick, long tied to a hyper-Irish image, is enjoying something of a renaissance as a stylish classic, as it has long been considered in England. Along with such choices as Charles and George, Patrick has escaped overuse in recent decades.

PippaHeart

  • 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.

PercyHeart

  • Origin:

    French surname from place name Perci-en-Auge
  • Description:

    Percy is an adorable old name that is finally shedding its pampered Little Lord Fauntleroy image in this new era of boys with soft yet traditionally male names like Jasper and Elijah. Originating as an aristocratic Norman name, Percy became fairly widespread in England--and to some extent in the US--as an offshoot of the fame of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

PandoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "all gifted"
  • Description:

    Pandora has occasionally been used by the British gentry (for girls with brothers who might be called Peregrine) but is rarely heard here, probably because Pandora was the mythological first woman on earth whose curiosity caused her to lift a forbidden box and inadvertently unleash all the evils of the world.

PriscillaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin, diminutive of Prisca
  • Meaning:

    "ancient"
  • Description:

    Despite her somewhat prissy, puritanical air, Priscilla has managed to stay widely used for well over a century -- it reached as high as Number 127 in 1940 -- appreciated for its delicacy and solid history.
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PetraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine variation of Peter
  • Meaning:

    "rock, stone"
  • Description:

    An exotic Greek name with something of a Slavic feel, Petra is a relatively recent feminization of Peter, though it relates back to an incredible ancient city in Jordan that was rediscovered in the early nineteenth century.

PriyaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "beloved"
  • Description:

    Priya originated in India as a name derived from the Sanskrit word for “beloved.” In India, where names are often given based on one’s birthday and horoscope, Priya is traditionally given to girls born in August. Priya is used in Hindu mythology as the name of a daughter of King Daksha—known for fathering 146 daughters.

PalomaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "dove"
  • Description:

    Paloma is vibrant and ruby-lipped a la jewelry designer Paloma Picasso, but it also suggests peace, as symbolized by the dove. Paloma is a highly recommended striking but soft name, one of the best of the names that mean peace and girls' names starting with P.

PeregrineHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "traveler, pilgrim"
  • Description:

    Peregrine is considered to be an elegantly aristocratic name in England, but has never made it to the U.S., where it has been seen as extravagantly eccentric. In the new naming climate, though, it's not beyond consideration — in fact it's already been chosen by at least one Berry.

PercivalHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "one who pierces the valley"
  • Description:

    There are several Percivals scattered through the Harry Potter series, which might help transform the old-fangled, fussy image it has accrued. Actually, the original Percival was the one perfectly pure Knight of the Round Table, a worthy hero. The name was invented in the twelfth century by a poet named Chretien de Troyes, for his ideal knight in the poem Percevale, a Knight of King Arthur.
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PaxtonHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin and English
  • Meaning:

    "peace town"
  • Description:

    Paxton stands out from a lot of other two-syllable surname names for two reasons: the dynamic letter X in the middle, and its admirable peace association, providing the great nickname Pax.

PaisleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "church, cemetery"
  • Description:

    For a name related to a Scottish town, a richly patterned Indian fabric, and a country singer named Brad, Paisley has been a remarkable success story. She entered the Top 1000 in 2006, and broke into the Top 50 for the first time in 2015, and is now one of the most popular girl names that start with P.

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.

PhaedraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    This name of a tragic figure in Greek mythology, the daughter of King Minos, sister of Ariadne and wife of Theseus, has a mysterious and intriguing appeal, and would make a dramatic choice.

PrestonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "priest's estate"
  • Description:

    Britney Spears put this old-fashioned surname name back on the map when she chose it as her son Sean's middle name, which the family uses as his first.
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PollyHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Molly
  • Description:

    An alternative to the no-longer-fresh Molly, the initial 'P' gives Polly a peppier sound, combining the cozy virtues of an old-timey name with the bounce of a barmaid.

PhilippaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine variation of Philip
  • Meaning:

    "lover of horses"
  • Description:

    Philippa is a prime example of a boy's name adapted for girls that was common as crumpets in Cornwall, but rarely heard stateside, never having appeared in the Top 1000. That was before the advent of royal sister-in-law Philippa Middleton, who goes by the lively nickname Pippa.

PascalHeart

  • Origin:

    French; English
  • Meaning:

    "of the Passover; Easter"
  • Description:

    The French-accented Pascal was historically used for sons born at Easter, and can make an interesting choice for a boy with Gallic roots arriving around that holiday.

PhilomenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "lover of strength"
  • Description:

    Philomena is an earthy Greek name now used in various Latin countries. While it has felt simply clunky for many years, it's starting -- along with such sister names as Wilhelmina and Frederica -- to sound so clunky it's cool.

PortiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "pig, hog or doorway"
  • Description:

    Portia is a perfect role-model name, relating to Shakespeare's brilliant and spirited lawyer in The Merchant of Venice, and is now also a Hunger Games name .
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PoseyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a bunch of flowers"
  • Description:

    Posey is fashionable in England, a country of gardeners, but this pretty bouquet-of-flowers name is rarely heard here. A possible alternative to Rosy or short form for Josephine. Posey (or Posy or Posie) could also work as a nickname for a range of other names, from Penelope to Sophia. Other P-beginning flower names you may want to consider along with Posey: Poppy, Petal, Primrose. Girl names that start with P are definitely cool again.

PhelanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "wolf"
  • Description:

    Phelan, pronounced FAY-lan or FEE-lan, is an appealing Irish surname name, with a rich history in Irish myth and religious and secular life. One bearer was a fiercely loyal follower of the legendary warrior Finn MacCool, another was a missionary saint.

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.

PennyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Penelope
  • Description:

    Like Peggy and Patsy, the kind of zesty moniker young Judy Garland would sport in her early let's-put-on-a-show flicks. It fell out of favor (and the Top 1000) for a while, but has recently rebounded by reentering the charts in 2013. Expect it to continue gaining traction as a result of surprise hit Penelope.

PhiloHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "loving"
  • Description:

    Could Philo be the next Milo?
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PabloHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish variation of Paul
  • Description:

    Pablo, the commonly used Spanish version of Paul, has the added bonus of some fantastic artistic bearers: painter Picasso, cellist Casals, and poet Neruda.

PennHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "enclosure"
  • Description:

    This simple, elegant name offers something for many kinds of parents, from writers and history buffs to photographers to Pennsylvania dwellers. Most famous bearers are comedian Penn Jillette and Gossip Girl hottie Penn Badgley, both of whom were given this distinctive name at birth. Long obscure, Penn seems destined for greater usage.

PixieHeart

  • Origin:

    Swedish or Cornish
  • Meaning:

    "fairy"
  • Description:

    Pixie is a cute -- quite possibly too cute -- name that suddenly feels possible thanks to the craze for names that contain the letter x. Though its origin may be uncertain, a pixie is internationally recognized as a sprite or fairy: tiny, sometimes green, usually pointy-eared.

PoeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "peacock"
  • Description:

    An evocative unisex one-syllable name, Poe is most distinguished by its literary reference. Edgar Allan Poe was an influential American author and poet, credited with inventing the genres of detective and science fiction, which might provide inspiration for parents who are fans. And now its choice as the name of the hero played by Oscar Isaac in the new Star Wars movie is sure to catapult it from literary choice to major favorite.

PlumHeart

  • Origin:

    Fruit name
  • Description:

    British-born novelist Plum Sykes has taken this rich, fruity name out of the produce section and put it into the baby name basket. It's more appealing than Apple, more presentable than Peaches. The French equivalent, Prune, is very fashionable there but would not fly with English speakers.
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PolluxHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "crown"
  • Description:

    Castor's twin in the constellation Gemini. That final x makes this name modern and cool.

PepperHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "berry"
  • Description:

    Parents are beginning to scan the whole spice shelf for inspiration, picking up on Saffron, Sage, and Cinnamon -- and opening up a chance for this spiciest possibility of all; used for peppy TV characters.

PiersHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "rock"
  • Description:

    Piers was the first version of Peter to reach the English-speaking world, via the Normans, but it's never made it in the US, despite its large measure of understated panache. This might change due to the high visibility of TV personality and former news editor Piers Morgan.

PresleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "priest's meadow"
  • Description:

    For those not ready to name their daughters Elvis; and used more often than you might think ever since Tanya Tucker chose it for her little girl.

PalmerHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname and occupational
  • Meaning:

    "he who holds the palm"
  • Description:

    Palmer is one of the many boy names for girls that's climbing the popularity ladder. It could make a very modern honor name for grandma Pamela.
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PilarHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "pillar"
  • Description:

    The fact that this Spanish classic, which honors the Virgin Mary, does not end in the conventional letter 'a' gives it a special sense of strength, elegance, and style, making it a worthy choice.

PikeHeart

  • Origin:

    American animal name
  • Meaning:

    "pike, a fish"
  • Description:

    The field of nature names is constantly expanding to include all species of flowers and trees and animals and birds and even fish. In addition to its appeal for anglers, Pike recalls Zebulon Pike, the explorer who discovered and gave his name to Pike's Peak.

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.

PersisHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "Persian woman"
  • Description:

    Parents seeking a distinctive New Testament name might consider this one. Adopted by some Puritans in the seventeenth century, Persis was used in the William Dean Howells novel The Rise of Silas Lapham for the wife of the protagonist.

PeridotHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "a green gemstone"
  • Description:

    Peridot is the gem of the month of August, a vibrant green mineral, said to be good for helping people put the past behind them, and an interesting, undiscovered jewel name. It was regarded in ancient times as the symbol of the sun.
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