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Animal Names for Babies

  1. BearHeart
    • Origin:

      Animal name
    • Meaning:

      "bear"
    • Description:

      Bear has suddenly lumbered onto the baby name landscape. Perhaps inspired by British adventurer Bear Grylls (born Edward Michael), first celebrity chef Jamie Oliver used it as the middle name for his boy Buddy, and more recently Alicia Silverstone called her son Bear Blu., followed by Kate Winslet's Bear Blaize. It's part of a current trend normalizing once aggressive animal names like Wolf and Fox. Bear is now Number 218 on Nameberry and in the Top 900 in England.
  2. WolfHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "wolf"
    • Description:

      Wolf is a name with a split personality. It can be seen as one of the fierce animal names, like Fox and Bear and Puma, with a touch of the werewolf, or it can be viewed as a quieter, Wolf Blitzer kind of name, fairly common in German (where is pronounced Vulf) and Jewish families, sometimes as a short form of Wolfgang, or even Wolfram or Wolfhart.
  3. RaeHeart
    • Origin:

      English, diminutive of Rachel
    • Meaning:

      "ewe"
    • Description:

      All the old ae/ay middle names for girls are back--Kay, Fay, Mae/May, --and Rae is one of the coolest, used as such by celebrities as Mark Wahlberg and Daniel Baldwin. Even more popular in the celebrisphere is the jazzy Ray spelling: among those who used it as their daughters' middles are Bruce Willis, Dermot Mulroney, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman and Lee Lee Sobieski.
  4. OrsonHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin and English
    • Meaning:

      "bear cub"
    • Description:

      Orson has had in the past a rotund teddy-bear image, a la Orson Welles, who early on dropped his common given name of George in favor of his more distinctive middle one, and who seemed to own it during his lifetime. No longer a single-person signature, it's now an interesting possibility for any parent seeking an unusual yet solid name. It's started to appear to the celeb set--both Paz Vega and Lauren Ambrose have little Orsons.
  5. ColinHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Nicholas or Irish and Scottish
    • Meaning:

      "pup"
    • Description:

      Thanks to its dashing Anglo-Irish image--due partly to Colins Firth and Farrell-- and its c-initialed two-syllable sound, Colin and its cousin Collin have enjoyed a long run of popularity, reaching as high as Number 84 in 2004.
  6. FoxHeart
    • Origin:

      Animal name
    • Description:

      Fox is one animal name backed by a longish tradition, and then popularized via the lead character Fox Mulder on X Files. Fox is simple, sleek, and a little bit wild, and could make an interesting middle name.
  7. GavinHeart
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      "white hawk"
    • Description:

      Gavin, a name with Scottish roots, has stepped into the spotlight, replacing the dated Kevin, thanks in part to pop-rock sensation Gavin DeGraw and Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale.
  8. JayHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "jaybird"
    • Description:

      Though this feels like a modern invention, Jay has been in use for centuries. Early Jays often were named in honor of founding father John Jay, whose surname derived from the jaybird. A popular mid-century choice, Jay was in the Top 100 from 1956 to 1970. In the last couple of decades he was replaced by such more elaborate forms as Jayden, Jaylen, and Jayce. But Jay could make a comeback in tandem with cousins May, Kay, Fay, and Ray.
  9. RalphHeart
    • Origin:

      English from German
    • Meaning:

      "wolf-counsel"
    • Description:

      Ralph has two diametrically different images: there's the suave Ralph Fiennes-type Brit (often pronounced Rafe), and then there's the Jackie Gleason blue-collar, bowling blowhard Ralph Kramden bus driver. It's all in the eye of the beholder, though its hip factor did rise when it was chosen for his son by cool U.K. actor Matthew Macfadyen.
  10. RoscoeHeart
    • Origin:

      Norse
    • Meaning:

      "deer forest"
    • Description:

      Fairly popular a hundred years ago but out of sight now, the quirky Roscoe deserves a place on every adventurous baby-namer's long list. It joins Rufus, Roman, Remy, Romulus, and Ray as one of the R names that sound fresh again after too many years of Robert, Richard, and Ronald.
  11. 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. Heard far more in the UK (where it's currently just outside the Top 100) than the US, Pippa has been used on its own since the nineteenth century, popularized by Robert Browning's dramatic poem, Pippa Passes. A recent book and film was titled The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.
  12. LeanderHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "lion-man"
    • Description:

      Leander is an almost unknown name with great potential as a possible alternative to the overused Alexander. In Greek legend, Leander was the powerful figure who swam across the Hellespont every night to visit his beloved Hero, a priestess of Venus.
  13. AltairHeart
    • Origin:

      Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "falcon"
    • Description:

      The eleventh brightest star in the sky has a celestial feel, but also could be the name of a commercial airline.
  14. AyaHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "colorful, bird, sign"
    • Description:

      Simple names have their appeal, but Aya, barely more than a breath, maybe be too simple. It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2012.
  15. RavenHeart
    • 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.
  16. CirceHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "bird"
    • Description:

      In Greek myth, Circe, daughter of Helios, the sun, was a sorceress living on the island of Aeaea, who could turn men into animals with her magic wand, which is just what she did to Odysseus's crew in Homer's Odyssey, transforming them into swine. All was forgiven, however, as Circe and Odysseus later had a child together—Telegonus. The name and legend have appeared in countless forms, from a section of James Joyce's Ulysses to short stories by Julio Cortazar to Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon to films to DC comics to a dance by Martha Graham. So is Circe's seductive legend too powerful for a modern little girl to carry? Your call.
  17. MavisHeart
    • Origin:

      French
    • Meaning:

      "songbird"
    • Description:

      Mavis, another word for the song thrush, is also a relative of the Welsh word for strawberries, mefus. Mavis has something of a British World War II feel, a friend of Beryl and Doris, but it was quite popular in the U.S. a couple of decades earlier, peaking in the Roaring Twenties. With the renewed interest in names ending in 's'--and in bird names-- Mavis could make a return, especially with the new interest in Maeve, and in fact it reentered the US Top 1000 after a 50 year absence in 2016.

      Some noted bearers of the name are r&b singer Mavis Staples, a member of the Staple Singers, Canadian writer Mavis Gallant and the feminist activist Mavis Leno.

  18. JonasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek variation of Jonah
    • Meaning:

      "dove"
    • Description:

      Jonas has a slightly more grandfatherly image than the English version of his name, but that only adds to its retro appeal. And though it may lag behind Jonah in this country, Jonas is riding a huge wave of popularity in Europe, where it ranks highly in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Norway.
  19. YaraHeart
    • Origin:

      Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "friend, helper"
    • Description:

      The multicultural Yara is also the name of a beautiful green-skinned Brazilian goddess and might make a more unusual spin on Mara or Sara.
  20. ConnorHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "lover of hounds"
    • Description:

      Connor, the appealing name of an early semi-legendary king of Ulster in Irish mythology, sits firmly in the Top 100 and taken together with its alternate spellings would rank even higher. In its native Ireland the Conor version is one of the highest charting boys’ name.