Cool Baby Names That Start With I
Along with Isabella and Isaac, other cool baby names that start with I in the US Top 1000 include Ian, Idris, Imani, India, Ingrid, Ira, Ivy, and Isaiah. Intriguing I names with modern sensibilities include Ivo, Iolani, Indie, and Iker.
There are so many cool baby names that start with I that a parent in search of a name with that initial should have an easy time finding one to love. Below, our picks for the coolest baby names that begin with I.
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:Flower name; also Greek
Description:Iris is directly derived from the Greek word iris, meaning “rainbow.” In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, a messenger for Zeus and Hera who rode the rainbow as a multicolored bridge from heaven to earth. In ancient times, the Iris was considered a symbol of power and majesty, the three petal segments representing faith, wisdom and valor. This colorful image led to the naming of the flower and to the colored part of the eye.
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.
Description:The story goes that Imogen originated as a Shakespearean printer's misspelling of the traditional Celtic name Innogen, used by him for a character in one of his last plays, Cymbeline. The Innogen of legend, who Shakespeare’s character was based on, was the wife of Brutus of Troy, the first king of Britain. Earlier versions of her name, including Ennoguent, Innoguend, and Innoguent, were found in Brittany from the 9th-11th centuries. They are probably derived from the Gaelic word inghean, meaning "daughter" or "maiden," and possibly have a connection to the Proto-Celtic word for "white," from which the suffixes -gwyn and -gwen evolved.
Description:Isaac evolved from the name Yitzchaq, derived from the Hebrew word tzachaq, meaning “to laugh.” In the Old Testament, Isaac was the long-awaited son of the elderly Sarah and 100-year-old Abraham, so old that their news provoked laughter, giving the name its meaning. Isaac is used as a given name among Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.
Origin:Spanish and Italian variation of Elizabeth, Hebrew
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Isabella is the Latinate form of Isabel, a variation of Elizabeth which originally derived from the Hebrew name Elisheba. Variations Isabelle and Isabel are also popular, with the Scottish spelling Isobel another possibility. Newer alternatives include Sabella and Isabetta.
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:Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.
Description:Ignatius? Good gracious! This is a name making a truly surprising return, sparked by its selection by not one but two celebrities--Cate Blanchett and Julianne Nicholson.
Ignatius, the name of several saints including the founder of the Catholic Jesuit order, was considered more apt to be borne by churches and schools than babies in the recent past, though it was not unusual from the late nineteenth century to 1930; it ranked as high as Number 602 in 1913.
Meaning:"fair; Ing is beautiful"
Description:The luminous Ingrid Bergman's appeal was strong enough to lend universal charisma to this classic Scandinavian name, which has been somewhat neglected in the US. Even today, a child named Ingrid would be assumed to be of Scandinavian ancestry, signaling the name has never been fully integrated into the English lexicon the way other European choices from the same era like Danielle or Kathleen have.
Meaning:"gift of Isis"
Description:Why is Isabella megapopular while Isadora goes virtually ignored? Too close a tie with tragic modern dancer Isadora Duncan (born Angela Isadora), who was done in by her long flowing scarf, perhaps, or with fusty male version Isidore. But we think Isadora is well worth reevaluating as an Isabella alternative. Quirky couple singer Bjork and artist Matthew Barney did just that and named their daughter Isadora. Isidora would be an alternative, just as proper but not quite as charming spelling--the one used as the spelling of a fourth century saint's name.
Origin:Spanish variation of Elizabeth
Meaning:"pledged to God"
Description:Isabel derived from Elizabeth in southwest Europe during the Middle Ages. It was originally written as Elisabel, but the first syllable was dropped as it spread across the continent. In Spain and Portugal, Isabel and Elizabeth are considered to be variations of the same name, but they are treated as separate names in other European countries and the US.
Description:Ira is one of the shortest, non-biblical sounding Old Testament names, belonging to one of King David's thirty 'mighty warriors.' It was widely used in the US from the 1880s to the early 1930s (it was Number 57 on the Social Security list in 1881), but fell off completely in 1993. Although Ira is also a retirement-account acronym, it's back on the table for those seeking a short biblical name for their sons, and reentered the US Top 1000 in 2016. A musical namesake is lyricist Ira Gershwin (born Israel), a literary one is Ira Levin, and there are two prominent Iras hosting NPR radio shows..
Description:Serene Irene, the name of the Greek goddess of peace and one of the most familiar Greek goddess names, was hugely popular in ancient Rome and again in the United States a hundred years ago.
Meaning:"Salvation of the Lord"
Description:Isaiah derives from the Hebrew Yesha’yahu, containing the elements yasha’, meaning “to save,” and yah, in reference to the Hebrew god. The biblical Isaiah, son of Amos, was the most important of the major prophets, with an Old Testament book named for him. He prophesized that the Children of Israel would be exiled from their homeland, but that God would bring the back.
Description:Indigo is one of the most appealing and evocative of the new generation of color names. Color names have joined flower and jewel names -- in a big way -- and Indigo, a deep blue-purple dye from plants native to India, is particularly striking for both girls and boys. Indigo is the name of a character in the Ntozake Shange novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and was used for his daughter by Lou Diamond Phillips.
Origin:Greek, a violet-colored stone
Description:This unusual Greek flower and color name has gained considerable recent attention via actress Ione Skye, who is the daughter of sixties folksinger Donovan.
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.
Origin:Short form of India, Indigo etc
Description:Indie is an independent-sounding nickname name that is in the Top 100 in Wales. As a diminutive, it's growing in popularity -- along with indie films, indie publishing -- and the reason some parents are choosing names like India and Indigo. The Indie version seems more feminine, while Indy as in Indiana Jones tends toward the boyish.
Description:A common Welsh name virtually unknown before the emergence of the charismatic Idris Elba, first on The Wire and then depicting Nelson Mandela in the acclaimed film.
Idris Hawr "the Giant" was a legendary seventh century Welsh giant and magician who gave his name to a well known mountain, "Idris's Fort"
Idris also exists in Arabic, meaning "to learn, study" and is the name of a prophet mentioned twice in the Koran. Idris Shah was a prominent Sufi writer.
Origin:Basque, medieval Spanish variation of Ignatius
Description:Inigo, almost unknown in the U.S., is an intriguing choice, with its strong beat, creative and evocative sound, and associations with the great early British architect and stage designer Inigo Jones. The sixteenth-seventeenth century Jones shared his name with his father, a London clockmaker, who received it when Spanish names for boys were fashionable in England, especially among devout Roman Catholics.
Origin:Greek mythology name
Description:Icarus, the mythological figure famous for flying too close to the sun, has a couple of negatives: his rash reputation, and those "icky" nicknames.
Origin:Spanish variation of Agnes
Description:Also spelled Ines, this name of the prudish mother of Don Juan in the Byron poem has a touch of mystery, but has also been fully integrated into the American name pool.
Origin:Russian variation of John
Meaning:"God is gracious"
Description:Though some might find it a bit heavy-booted, Ivan is one of the few Russian boys' names to become fully accepted into the American naming pool.
Description:Like Violet, Lavender and Lilac, Ianthe is a purple flower name. Chosen by the poet Shelley for his daughter, Ianthe has a poetic, romantic, almost ethereal quality. In the ancient myth, she was the daughter of Oceanus, supreme ruler of the sea, and also a Cretan woman so beautiful that when she died the Gods made purple flowers grow around her grave.
Origin:Latin, diminutive of Ignatius
Description:Iggy is the quintessential pop star name, though it's the nickname Cate Blanchett uses for son Ignatius. Iggy does bring any grander-sounding name down to earth.
Meaning:"gift of Isis"
Description:Isabel and Isadora are back: could it now be time for a more widespread revival of Isidore? In 2014, both Isidore and Isadore were on the list of fastest-rising names in the US.
Origin:Russian variation of Elijah
Meaning:"the Lord is my God"
Description:A rare example of an a-ending boy's name that sounds masculine, Ilya has a large measure of creative Slavic charm. >p>Ilya Ilyich Oblomov is the central character in Goncharov's novel "Oblomov." Unfortunately, he spends most of his life in his bathrobe and slippers.
Meaning:"green river, sea friend"
Description:It might be surprising to know that this name originated as a Scottish place and surname name, as in Washington Irving. It became a popular choice for first-generation Jewish-American boys, such as best-selling authors Irving Stone and Irving Wallace, whose parents looked to surnames from the British Isles to confer a measure of assimilation and class. Irving Berlin changed his name from Israel; actor Ving Rhames streamlined and coolized it. Irving was a Top 100 name during World War I, and though we don't envision it reaching those heights again, we can see some hipster parents having their own little Ving.
Origin:Russian from Greek
Description:Irina is a Russian ballet-inflected classic, one of the Three Sisters in the Chekhov play. While some Americans will pronounce this like Irene with three syllables, the pronunciation used throughout Europe, where it's widely used, starts with a short i as in it or if and a strong emphasis on the second syllable.
Origin:Word name meaning the hard, white material from the tusks and teeth of animals; can also mean "pale, white"
Description:Ivory was last popular a hundred years ago. In 2013, it finally began to regain some momentum in the female rankings, reentering the Top 1000.
Description:This name, stemming from the Mayan mythological figure of the Rainbow Lady, is a surprising pop hit, primarily among Hispanic parents.
Description:This name of a small island off the coast of Scotland is trending upwards along with other I names.
Origin:Place name, from the River Indus
Description:Euphonious and long stylish in England, India was one of the fastest-rising names on the 2013 list, after jumping 240 spots back into the Top 1000.
Description:Long an extremely popular name in Spain, Iker (usually pronounced EE-kuhr in the English speaking world) is the rare Basque name that's starting to make it big in the States also, thanks to soccer player Iker Casillas. Indeed, it's been one of the fastest growing boys' names of the decade.
Meaning:"from the island"
Description:A simple name occasionally heard a couple of generations back.
Description:Isa is a name unto itself but might also be a short form of Isabel or Isadora. With the new popularity of Isabel and Isabella and even Bella, Isa may become more familiar.
Origin:Scottish variation of Welsh Ifor
Description:Ivor, a favorite choice for upscale characters in Brit Lit novels by authors like P.G. Wodehouse and Evelyn Waugh, is an interesting and unusual name just waiting to be discovered by parents in this country.
Meaning:"yew wood, archer"
Description:Part of a small group of similar names with similar roots — Ivor, Iver, Ivo, Ives — which are all worth looking at. Used throughout Scandinavia, Ivar is currently a Top 100 name in Sweden. In the Willa Cather novel O Pioneers!, there is a character known as —oops —Crazy Ivar.
Meaning:"behold the sun"
Description:A pretty, if unusual choice for a summer baby, particularly a girl with an ancestor named Ida. An epithet of the goddess Aphrodite, Idalia is derived from the Greek place name Idalion
Meaning:"the glory is gone"
Description:Ichabod, an eccentric Old Testament name, is forever tied to the character of Ichabod Crane -- and worse, the teasing possibilities of "icky bod." Even its original meaning is a negative. Skip Ichabod, as if you were ever tempted.
Origin:Diminutive of Isaac
Description:Ike, once the quirky one-person nickname of President Dwight Eisenhower, has morphed into a cool kid nickname of the early 21st century. The rise of Isaac and the stylishness of short down-to-earth nicknames like Max and Gus means that many parents like Ike once again. In the Top 200 (!) at the end of the 19th century, Ike fell off the Social Security Top 1000 by the end of Eisenhower's presidency in the late 1950s but may rise again -- though our guess is that more modern parents will put Isaac or Isaiah on the birth certificate.
Meaning:"God will hear"
Description:Ishmael is most familiar through "Call me Ishmael," the opening line spoken by the youthful narrator of Moby-Dick. Few American parents have followed that advice, though the Spanish and Arabic spelling, Ismael, ranks at Number 362. With its warm and pleasant sound, though, we could see Ishmael tagging along behind Isaiah and Isaac.
Origin:English variation of Yves
Description:Smooth and sleek one-syllable name, sometimes suggested for Sagittarius boys.
Origin:Latin, feminine suffix
Description:This suffix is used as an independent name, but doesn't your little girl deserve more?
Meaning:"land of the Indians"
Description:Indiana is one of those place-names (think Camden and Trenton) that sounds cooler than the place that inspired it. Its fashionable -ana ending certainly sounds eminently name-like, and Indie/Indy/Indi is one of the hottest nickname names for girls right now.
Meaning:"from the river island"
Description:Innis is the name of an island (and Gaelic word for island) which became a Scottish surname and clan name before being used as a first. It hasn't been heard much in the U.S., but could attract more attention with the growing popularity of Latin s-ending boys' names such as Atticus.
Meaning:"he who struggles with God"
Description:Though it was used by the Puritans in the sixteenth century, the founding of the modern Jewish state in 1948 transformed Israel from a traditional favorite into an icon of Judaism.