Names That Mean Dark
Names that mean dark are excellent if you are expecting a baby with dark hair, or eyes, or skin, or simply looking for a name that means (or suggests) darkness. You could search for names that literally mean black, dark, or night. Or you might prefer to browse for names that suggest dark things, such as Jett or Raven.
Along with Raven, other girl names that mean dark in the US Top 1000 include Delaney, Kiera, Layla, and Melanie. Dark girl names that are currently under-the-radar include Darcy, Ginevra, and Skadi.
In addition to Jett, other boy names that mean dark in the US Top 1000 include Blake, Colton, Sullivan, and Kieran. Dark boy names that remain undiscovered include Donahue, Hadrian, and Smith.
Phoenix is the top unisex name that means dark. Many word names conjure images of darkness, such as Ebony, Mahogany, Sable, and Midnight itself.
Girl names that mean shadow and boy names that mean shadow also make this list, including '70s darling Jennifer and scientific Umbra.
The choices here are baby names that mean dark or reference dark things or nighttime and would be perfect for a brown-eyed baby girl or dark-haired baby boy.
You might also want to survey our full list of Name Meanings.
Meaning:"ghost, night monster"
Description:Lilith is derived from the Akkadian word lilitu meaning “of the night.” In Jewish folklore she is portrayed as Adam's rejected first wife, who was turned into a night demon for refusing to obey him. Lilith is unrelated to most other Lil- names, with the exception of Lilita, which is the Latvian variation.
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Long popular in Ireland and England, Kieran, the name of Ireland's first-born saint and twenty-five other saints, has been building its U.S. fan base thanks to its strong and attractive sound, and its fashionable Irish brogue. While Ciaran is the more authentic Irish spelling, Kieran is more popular this side of the Atlantic.
Description:Lila was derived from the Arabic word laylah, meaning "night." It has separate roots in Sanskrit with the meaning "play." In Hinduism, Lila is a conceptualism of the universe as a playground of the gods. Lilah and Lyla are variant spellings.
Description:Blake -- an early unisex option -- dropped out of the Top 100 in 2017 for the first time since 1988, but remains a sophisticated choice. And yes, both conflicting meanings of Blake are accurate. It originated as a surname in England derived from a nickname. Much of its masculine image was influenced by the wealthy, silver-haired character Blake Carrington in the massively popular 80s TV series Dynasty. Rosie O'Donnell has a son named Blake.
Meaning:"white shadow, white wave"
Description:Guinevere was the name of the beautiful but ill-fated queen of Camelot, for so many years eclipsed by its modern Cornish form Jennifer. Today, Guinevere could be a cool possibility for adventurous parents intrigued by this richly evocative and romantic choice.
Origin:Variation of Leila, Arabic
Description:Layla is derived from the Semitic element layl, meaning "night." It has roots in the Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian languages. In the Arabic story Qays and Layla, Layla is the subject of the poet’s unrequited love. Among the many alternate spellings are Leila, Laila, Laela, Laelah, Laylah, Leyla, Lejla, and Leighla.
Origin:Spanish version of Amaia or Japanese
Meaning:"mother city; the end; night rain"
Description:The Spanish form of Amaya is both a given name and a surname, originating from the Spanish mountain and village of Amaya. In this context it means "mother city" or "the capital." Amaya can also be considered a derivation of Amaia, a Basque name meaning "the end." In Japan, Amaya is a surname.
Meaning:"swarthy, coal black"
Description:Cole -- a short name that embodies a lot of richness and depth -- has long been associated with the great songwriter Cole Porter. It's quite popular in Scotland.
Description:Aviation enthusiast John Travolta put this fast-paced name in the lexicon when he used it for his late son, and George Lucas followed suit.
Description:Delaney has been a popular Irish surname name for a couple of decades, projecting buoyant enthusiasm plus a feminine feel.
Meaning:"little dark one"
Description:Kiera entered the American popularity list in 1988, though it lags behind the alternate spelling Keira, largely due to the fame of actress Keira Knightley.
Description:Bruno is a popular name throughout Europe and South America that deserves more attention here. Its color meaning makes it one of the perfect names for November babies, or really a boy born in any of the autumn months.
Description:Sullivan is a jaunty Celtic three-syllable name, with a real twinkle in its eye. It was immortalized in the 1930s classic film Sullivan's Travels and was chosen for one of Patrick Dempsey's twin boys. Nickname Sully is equally jaunty.
Meaning:"from the coal or dark town"
Description:Colton is a trendy two-syllable choice, with the popular 'on/en' ending.
Origin:Word and animal name
Description:Bird name Raven, once a symbol of pride for both African-American and Wiccan parents, is finding new life as a superhero name. Raven Darkholme is the real name of Mystique, heroine of the X-Men films played by Jennifer Lawrence. And there is another Raven superheroine in Teen Titans. Some parents may still choose Raven to signal black pride or mystical powers or maybe even Edgar Allan Poe fandom, but we are guessing most inspiration is coming from the comics.
Origin:English, diminutive of Jennifer
Meaning:"white shadow, white wave"
Description:Jenna was first noted on the 1980s TV series Dallas, later associated with one of the First Twin Daughters. Jenna is still being used, but no longer feels much fresher than Jennifer. You can also spell it Jena, but then many people will pronounce it jeen-a, as in Gina.
Description:Leila was popularized in the West by the poet Byron, who used it in his poem Don Juan for a ten-year-old Turkish girl. Leila also appears as a fairy in the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera Iolanthe.
Description:Keir is a single-syllable name that packs a lot of punch, might suggest -- thanks to its similarity to the word care -- a caring person. Sir Keir Rodney Starmer is a British politician and head of the Labour Party since 2020. Keir Dullea is an American actor who starred in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Origin:Irish or French
Meaning:"dark one, or from Arcy, or from the fortress"
Description:Delicate ballerina name with grace, charm, and heft courtesy of Jane Austen's Mr.