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Wonderful Word Names

Wonderful Word Names
Word names — basically, words used as names — are a growing class as parents rush to find truly unique baby names for their children. Now, formerly one-of-a-kind names such as Maverick and Serenity can be found in Kindergarten classrooms around the country! But don’t worry — there are still plenty of undiscovered choices.

Along with Serenity and Maverick, other word names in the US Top 500 Include Crew, Genesis, Major, Meadow, Baker, Sage, Melody, and Ember. Cool, one-of-a-kind word names used for fewer than 5 babies at last count include Whimsy, Ballad, Reader, and Flair.

While you'll find word names among nature names and day names and occupational names and color names and spiritual names, most of those collected on this list don't fit neatly into any category. You'll find even more word names in our lists of Nature Names, Place Names, and many other lists in the category Nature, Place, and Word Names.

Finally, a word on gender: English words are not gendered and so most of these word names can work for both boys and girls, even if we have only one gender noted here.

Word Names for Babies

IvyHeart

  • Origin:

    Botanical name
  • 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.

DangerHeart

  • Origin:

    American word name
  • Description:

    Prime example of the aggressive word names that are an off-the-grid branch of the new macho names. Makes Cannon, Maverick, and Ranger feel almost soft and sensitive by comparison.

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.

GraceHeart

  • Origin:

    English, virtue name
  • Description:

    Grace is derived from gratia, the Latin word for "grace." It existed as Gracia in the Middle Ages but was not in common use until the Puritans adopted it along with other Christian attribute names in the sixteenth century. It was used as a virtue name, in reference to divine grace — the love and kindness of God.

SageHeart

  • Origin:

    Herb name; Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wise"
  • Description:

    Sage is an evocatively fragrant herbal name that also connotes wisdom, giving it a double advantage. It entered the Top 1000 at about the same time for both genders in the early 1990s, but it has pulled ahead for the girls. Toni Collette named her daughter Sage Florence.

MaverickHeart

  • Origin:

    American
  • Meaning:

    "independent, nonconformist"
  • Description:

    At the rate it's growing, Maverick soon won't seem like such a maverick anymore. Heard first in a 1950s James Garner western TV series, and then as the Tom Cruise character in Top Gun, Maverick symbolizes an unfettered, free spirit.

WilderHeart

  • Origin:

    Surname or word name
  • Description:

    New to the US Top 1000 in 2015, Wilder is on many parents' possibility lists, one of the new generation of bad boy names growing in popularity. Wilder got a big boost in interest through Goldie Hawn's grandson, born in 2007, via son Oliver.

HunterHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "one who hunts"
  • Description:

    Hunter has been dropping a bit for the past few years but is still one of the leaders of a distinctive band of boys' names that combines macho imagery (Hunter, Austin, Harley) with a softened masculinity. Hunter was for years attached to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson; Josh Holloway used it for his son.

AriaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian and Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "air; song or melody; lion"
  • Description:

    Aria has origins in both Italian and Hebrew. In the former, Aria's literal meaning, air, is meant as a musical term denoting a kind of song or melody. Hebrew Aria is a variation of Ari, meaning "lion." In Persian, Aria is a male name, and in Indian it is considered unisex. Arya is an alternate spelling.

BriarHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a thorny patch"
  • Description:

    Fairy-tale memories of Sleeping Beauty inspire some parents—such as Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen—to call their daughters Briar Rose. But Briar plus a different middle name might work even better. It's one of the newly popular nature-word names, charting in the US for the first time in 2015 for both genders.

RueHeart

  • Origin:

    Botanical names or word name
  • Meaning:

    "herb; regret"
  • Description:

    Rue has gone from Golden Girls actress to Hunger Games heroine. This botanical name is also a coincidental double word name, meaning "regret" in English and "street in" French. Despite these unfortunate secondary meanings, Rue has real potential to be one of the most popular new middle names for girls.

SageHeart

  • Origin:

    Herb name and also Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wise and knowing"
  • Description:

    Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.

RainHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Among a small shower of rain-related names, this pure version can have a cool, refreshing image.

ScoutHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Scout, a character nickname from To Kill a Mockingbird (her real name was Jean Louise), became a real-life possibility when Bruce Willis and Demi Moore used it for their now grown middle daughter, followed by Tom Berenger a few years later. A unisex choice that is growing in popularity for both genders -- but given to girls about four times more often than to boys -- it was picked by skater Tai Babilonia for her son and Kerri Walsh for her daughter Scout Margery.

AutumnHeart

  • Origin:

    Season name
  • Description:

    Crisp and colorful, Autumn is the most popular season name now -- the only one in the Top 100 in recent years -- with Autumn's coolness only surpassed by Winter. Jennifer Love Hewitt named her daughter Autumn James.

OnyxHeart

  • Origin:

    Gem name
  • Description:

    Unlike Pearl and Ruby, this is one gem name suited for boys, the final x making it sound strong and virile. Musician Iggy Azalea chose the name Onyx for her son.

BirdieHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • Description:

    Birdie was until recently a middle-aged Ladies' Club member wearing a bird-decorated hat --but now it's just the kind of vintage nickname (think Hattie, Josie, Mamie, Millie) that's coming back into style in a big way. Actress Busy Philipps named her baby Birdie (inspired by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson), as did soap star Maura West.

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 .

EmberHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Amber
  • Description:

    Unlike Amber, which is in decline, this name still has a bit of a glow left -- though confusions between the two will inevitably arise.

CashHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name; also diminutive of Cassius
  • Meaning:

    "hollow"
  • Description:

    Whether it's due to its economic connotations, or its link to American legend Johnny Cash, this name is widely used, and has been used by several celebrities including Annabeth Gish and Joshua Morrow.

WinterHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Fresher, brisker and, yes, cooler than Summer or Autumn or Spring, Winter is now a full-fledged female choice, especially since Nicole Richie and Joel Madden used it for daughter Harlow's middle name, and Gretchen Mol picked it as her daughter's first, as did media mogul Sean Parker. Winter continues to be the preferred spelling and has risen in popularity significantly over the past few years.

ChaseHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "to hunt"
  • Description:

    Chase, with its sleek and ultraprosperous aura, is redolent of the worlds of high finance and international banking. Chase has been well used during the last few decades, seen as a character on 24 and on several young-audience shows.

ReedHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "red-haired"
  • Description:

    A slim, elegant, silvery surname, Reed could be a banker or a sculptor, and therein lies the appeal of this simple yet distinctive name. The versatile Reed can be seen as a grass-like nature name and a musical name.

AmberHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name, English
  • Description:

    Though perhaps not as currently stylish as Ruby, Jade, or Pearl, Amber has a colorful history (remember the notorious Forever Amber heroine?). Unfortunately, it does come with the "Amber Alert" connotation for modern parents (and their children).

ForestHeart

  • Origin:

    French occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "woodsman or woods"
  • Description:

    The Forest variation of Forrest, used by actor Whitaker, nudges the meaning more toward the woods and away from the woodsman.

KingHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "monarch"
  • Description:

    King is a name that sends a mixed message. While some might think of it as more fitting for a canine, others see it as a strong name with offbeat style and a full court of rich associations, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Elvis. King Vidor was an important early Hollywood director; King Camp Gillette invented the safety razor.

ReignHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Reign is one of a new, ahem, kingdom of word names that suggest a high-born child, joining Royal, Lorde, Titan, Saint, King, Princess, and Noble. We predicted this kind of defining name to be the Number 1 baby name trend of 2015...two weeks before Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick named their third child, a boy, Reign. Reign is as appropriate for girls as for boys. The female version is often spelled Rain -- or Raine or Rayne -- though that makes is more nature and less royal word name. Reign entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2016.

LegendHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Legend joins cousins Story, Saga and Fable in the baby name pantheon of narrative words. Unlike Story and Fable, however, Legend comes with additional weight, being used for fame ("living legend") and to denote a person who is fantastic "what a legend"). Who can live up to that?

HopeHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Can a name as virtuous as Hope be cool and trendy? Strangely enough -- yes. But though this optimistic Puritan favorite is experiencing substantial popularity, Hope is too pure and elegant to be corrupted, a lovely classic that deserves all the attention it's getting.

TrippHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    The extra p makes Tripp more of a name and less of a Trip. Usually a nickname of a boy who's a third, but Tripp is sure to get more attention in its own right now as the name of Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol and Levi Johnston's son.

CrewHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Crew is yet another word name that was added to the baby name lexicon when this one was chosen by The Young and the Restless star Joshua Morrow for his son. It debuted on the Top 1000 in 2010. We've also heard spelling variations Cru and Crue.

JoyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "joy"
  • Description:

    Joy is from an older generation of word names, which also included Merry, Bliss, and Glory -- all of which exert a certain amount of personality pressure on a child. One interesting name that means the same thing: Chara.

OceanHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Nature names like Ocean and River are flowing back into favor, especially with nature lovers and green-oriented parents.

RavenHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Make that bird name, and while it does work for both genders, it's far more popular for girls, via Raven Symone.

MeadowHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    How perfect was it that Tony Soprano's daughter's name was Meadow, suggesting that the TV mobster was once a kinder, gentler young dad.

BlazeHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Meaning:

    "fire"
  • Description:

    Originally a form of the saint's name Blaise, though now more likely to be a hot word name used for both sexes, though heavily weighted toward the boys. It has been in the boys' Top 1000 since the year 2000.
    br>On the pop culture side of things, Blaze Bayley is a singer and musician who has been connected to the bands Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden.

ClayHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name; diminutive of Clayton
  • Description:

    Clay is a rich, earthy one-syllable name with a southern-inflected handsome-rogue image, featured on soap operas and reality TV. Its longer forms are Clayton and Clayborne.

MelodyHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "song"
  • Description:

    A melodious choice big in the sixties, Melody is now starting to pick up tempo again. It cracked the Top 150 for the first time ever in 2015.

PhoenixHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "dark red"
  • Description:

    Phoenix is a New Age name symbolizing rebirth and immortality; Scary Spice chose Phoenix for her daughter.

LarkHeart

  • Origin:

    English bird name
  • Description:

    Lark is getting some new and well-deserved attention as a post-Robin and Raven bird name. Although it was first recorded as a name in the 1830's, it has never appeared on the Social Security list.

ColtHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Meaning:

    "young horse"
  • Description:

    Colt is the kind of unconventionally macho name that is so trendy right now, because of or in spite of its association with horses and guns.

StormiHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name, variation of Stormy and Storm
  • Description:

    Stormi is like Sunni, with angst. If naming your child Storm or Stormy is asking for trouble, naming her Stormi -- as Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott did -- is asking for trouble of several different kinds. But we're sure she'll be adorable and as celebrity baby names go, this one is nearly normal.

DashHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Dashiell, meaning unknown
  • Description:

    Dash is a nickname that can stand on its own and sounds, well, dashing. Connected these days with Kardashian enterprises.

EverHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Ever's timeless quality would make this evocative word a positive middle name choice for a boy or girl. Alanis Morissette and Souleye named their son Ever Imre.

    Ever also seems to have ties to a Scandinavian name meaning "wild as a boar" and a Hebrew name meaning "beyond,"-- a variation of the name Eber.

SummerHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    The temperature is definitely rising for this popular seasonal name, which began being used in the seventies, and has been heard consistently ever since.

StoneHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Though some may find such names rather harsh and severe, increasing numbers of parents are gravitating toward this kind of flinty, steely, stony single-syllable name.

PierceHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Piers"
  • Description:

    Actor Pierce Brosnan brings a strong helping of charm to this name.

SkyHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Sky is an ambigender nature name that was first legitimized as the character of Sky Masterson in the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls, played in the film version by Marlon Brando. It's a name we appreciate for its clear, wide-open feel, less hippyish than others like Rainbow and Starlight, and makes an appealing middle name possibility.

BlueHeart

  • Origin:

    Color name
  • Description:

    Blue suddenly came into the spotlight, as the unusual color name chosen by Beyonce and Jay-Z for their baby girl Blue Ivy. Blue is also a starbaby middle name du jour, used for both sexes in different spellings and forms, from John Travolta and Kelly Preston's Ella Bleu to Alicia Silverstone's Bear Blu. Dave 'The Edge' Evans named his daughter Blue Angel back in 1989.

SerenityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful"
  • Description:

    Serenity's a pretty virtue choice, having risen quickly since entering the Social Security list in 1997. It was also the title of the 2005 movie spinoff of the Joss Whedon TV show Firefly.
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