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Olympic Baby Names

Olympic Baby Names
Take a peek at these Olympic baby names dating from the 1896 games until now. The Olympics spotlights global choices that might not otherwise attract our attention. Olympians are to thank for introducing names such as Bode, Usain, and Picabo into public consciousness.

Along with Bode, other Olympic baby names in the US Top 1000 include Anais, Bruno, Duke, Florence, Harry, Jules, Madden, and Thiago. Among the most distinctive Olympic names with strong ties to Olympians are Babe, Commodore, English, and Knute.

Names of Olympians range from trendy and well-used to never-before-seen picks, but we’ve chosen to feature some of more unique Olympian names here. These gold medal baby names show real promise:

FlorenceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "flourishing, prosperous"
  • Description:

    Florence is back, returning to the US Top 1000 girl names in 2017 after a nearly 40 year absence. Other English-speaking countries have been quicker to welcome Florence back into fashion.

CloverHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from Old English
  • Meaning:

    "key"
  • Description:

    Clover is a charming, perky choice if you want to move beyond hothouse blooms like Rose and Lily, and it's recently become a new celeb favorite, chosen by both Neal McDonough and Natasha Gregson Wagner, who used it to honor her mother, Natalie Wood, one of whose most iconic films was Inside Daisy Clover.

DelphineHeart

  • Origin:

    French from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "dolphin"
  • Description:

    Delphine is a sleek, chic French name with two nature associations—the dolphin and the delphinium, a bluebell-like flower, a well as to the ancient city of Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the womb of the earth. It is definitely a fresher choice than over-the-hill Danielle.

HarryHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Henry
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning “estate ruler.” Harry was the nickname of all eight King Henrys; it is also a diminutive of Harold and Harrison.

LeifHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "heir, descendant"
  • Description:

    Leif is one of the most recognizable Scandinavian names, thanks to Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson, and is still one of the best, with a pleasant aural association with the word leaf.

LinusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "flax"
  • Description:

    Can Linus lose its metaphorical security blanket and move from the Peanuts page onto the birth certificate? We think it has enough charm and other positive elements going for it for the answer to be yes.

IdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious one"
  • Description:

    Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.

AnaisHeart

  • Origin:

    Catalan and Provencal pet form of Hebrew Anna
  • Meaning:

    "grace"
  • Description:

    Anais is an unusual, alluring name forever attached to the daring French-born American novelist and diarist Anais Nin (born Angela, with Anais as one of her middle names), who became the inspiration for the naming of the daughter of musician Noel Gallagher. Anais is also the name of a popular perfume.

PetraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "rock, stone"
  • Description:

    A strong Greek name with pan-European charm, 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.

SaskiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch
  • Meaning:

    "Saxon"
  • Description:

    From the first time we saw the name Saskia attached to a portrait of Rembrandt's wife (her full name was Saakje van Uylenburgh, but she was always called Saskia), we have found it utterly charming and wondered why it hasn't attracted more fans In this country--she's appreciated by the Brits, who have moved her to Number 392. Saskia is one of those names that's been used in Europe since the Middle Ages, but has never crossed the ocean.

FleurHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "flower"
  • Description:

    Fleur is a generic, delicate flower name that emigrated into the English-speaking world when John Galsworthy bestowed it on one of the Forsytes in his celebrated saga. More recently, there was Fleur Delacour, a French witch and the Beauxbatons champion for the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter.

SeamusHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of James
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Parents who have tired of Sean are now contemplating Seamus, the Irish form of James, which has a lot more substance and verve.

WolfgangHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "traveling wolf"
  • Description:

    Chef Wolfgang Puck has helped soften this thunderous Germanic name; music-lovers will appreciate its association with Mozart, though the composer's middle name Amadeus is more appealing.

JulesHeart

  • Origin:

    French form of Latin Julius
  • Meaning:

    "youthful; soft, downy"
  • Description:

    Though Jules hasn't been on the US popularity list in fifty years, it is a current hit in its native France—where it's currently in the Top 10—and we can definitely see it making a comeback here, being far more romantic than, say, Jim.

RhiannonHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "divine queen"
  • Description:

    Most of us had never heard this lovely Welsh name with links to the moon until we heard the 1976 smash hit Fleetwood Mac song of that name, with lyrics by Stevie Nicks. That same year it popped onto the U.S. Top 1000 at Number 593.

HectorHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "holding fast"
  • Description:

    Previously used primarily by Latino families, this name of the great hero of the Trojan War as related in Homer's Iliad is beginning to be considered more seriously by others seeking noble ancient hero names as well--it was also the name of the knight who raised King Arthur as his own son.

SimoneHeart

  • Origin:

    French, feminine variation of Hebrew Simon
  • Meaning:

    "hearkening"
  • Description:

    Simone, the elegant French feminization of Simon, strikes that all-important balance between unusual and familiar, and it's oozing with Gallic sophistication. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has a daughter named Simone; Chris Rock used it in the middle place for his daughter, as did Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates

AshaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit; Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "hope; life"
  • Description:

    Asha is an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit word for hope or desire, but it is also a Swahili name derived from Aisha, meaning life. Since the ascendance of Ashley through the 1980s and 90s, all baby names Ash-related have been used in the U.S. for both girls and boys, from Ashlyn to Ashby, Ashton to Asher. Despite its separate roots, Asha is part of this group. Asha is finding new life through its Game of Thrones connections.

BrunoHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brown"
  • 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.

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.

BernadetteHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brave as a bear"
  • Description:

    Although feminizations ending in "ette" are not particularly popular now, Bernadette is a pleasant, feminine, but strong name that doesn't feel prohibitively dated. And though strongly associated with the saint who saw visions of the Virgin Mary—Saint Bernadette of Lourdes—it is now no longer strictly inhabiting the Catholic diocese.

BryonyHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin flower name
  • Meaning:

    "to sprout"
  • Description:

    Bryony is an unusually strong plant name --the bryony is a wild climbing vine with green flowers --that caught on in the U.K. before sprouting here. The name of the young character in the Ian McEwan novel Atonement is spelled Briony, which is the variation and Bryony the original.

CorinneHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Greek Korinna
  • Meaning:

    "maiden"
  • Description:

    Corinne is one of the names that, it might surprise you to learn, has never been off the US popularity charts. Its most popular year was 1926, when it ranked Number 249. Corinna is another pretty ancient form of the name, technically a diminutive.

EeroHeart

  • Origin:

    Finnish variation of Eric
  • Meaning:

    "eternal ruler"
  • Description:

    Creative gem perfect for an architect's son, in tribute to modern Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.

CorneliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of Cornelius, Latin
  • Meaning:

    "horn"
  • Description:

    In ancient Rome, Cornelia was considered the paragon of womanly virtue, making it a handsome name with an excellent pedigree. It's rare today, so if you want a name no one else is using, somewhat reminiscent of Amelia and the Shakespearean Cordelia, Cornelia should be on your list. Cornelia's short forms might include Cora, Nelia or Nell--anything but Corny.

BodeHeart

  • Origin:

    Possible diminutive of Bodhi
  • Description:

    Bode is a short and sharp name that re-entered the Top 1000 in 2014 after a few years off the list. However, with its flat sound and omen-related meaning, we do not think naming your son Bode bodes very well.

BrodieHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish surname
  • Meaning:

    "little ridge"
  • Description:

    This geographic Scottish surname is more often spelled Brody in the US. Both forms have seen decreasing popularity, which may be linked to its association with club-hopping Hills star Brody Jenner.

ThiagoHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Tiago, diminutive of Santiago
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    Some high-profile soccer stars, such as Thiago Silva, have contributed to its success. The correct Portuguese pronunciation is chee-AH-go.

SabinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "Sabine"
  • Description:

    Sabina is a sleek but neglected name (possibly due to The Rape of the Sabine Women) from an ancient Roman tribal name that's well worth consideration. The equally alluring Sabine is heard in France. Related names include the more popular Sabrina or Serena. All are equally lovely. There have been characters named Sabina in Thornton Wilder's play The Skin of Our Teeth and the Milan Kudera novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

NikitaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian or Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "victor; house"
  • Description:

    Nikita – a masculine Russian name deriving from the Greek name Niketas, meaning "victory" – has come a long way from portly post-Stalin Soviet leader Khrushchev to the female spy/assassin in the movie and TV series La Femme Nikita.

MaddenHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dog"
  • Description:

    Madden is an Irish surname relative of Madigan rising through the charts thanks to its trendy two-syllable, -en ending sound along with its appeal to Madden Football video game-playing dads. John Madden is a former pro football player who went on to coach the Oakland Raiders and become a popular NFL commentator. Madden is also the surname of groovy Nicole Richie baby daddy Joel Madden.

CoralineHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Coral
  • Description:

    Coraline may not be original to Neil Gaiman's wonderful book of the same name, but it might as well be. Gaiman's young heroine Coraline Jones is constantly called Caroline but as a name Coraline is more distinctive and has a more mysterious feel. The 2002 novel Coraline was made into a 2009 animated film voiced by Dakota Fanning and nominated for an Academy Award.

SeverinHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Severus; Latin
  • Meaning:

    "stern, serious"
  • Description:

    Severin is an ancient Roman family name borne by several early saints. It's still alive throughout Europe, and could be ready for import here. Severin Winter is a wrestling prodigy character in John Irving's The 158-Pound Marriage and, in its original Latin form, Severus Snape appears in Harry Potter.

LowellHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "young wolf"
  • Description:

    Lowell is an upstanding and somewhat conservative name that calls to mind the genteel patrician families of nineteenth century New England, such as the one poet Robert Lowell was born into. Two other Lowell-surnamed poets are Amy and James Russell.

DukeHeart

  • Origin:

    English rank of nobility
  • Description:

    While John Wayne and Duke Ellington are worthy role models, the reason Duke is currently enjoying a revival and returned to the Top 1000 in 2013 as one of the year's fastest-rising boys’ names is more likely due to the name given to high-profile TV couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic. Christened Edward Duke, he has always been called by his middle name, just as Edward Duke Ellington was. Duke is just one of several aristocratic titles being increasingly used by ordinary citizens.

XeniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "hospitable, welcoming"
  • Description:

    The name of a Christian saint and a city in Ohio, Xenia is one of the more accessible and intriguing x names. It is the name of one of the Bond Girls--played by Famke Janssen in the film "GoldenEye."

EilishHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized variation of Eilis, Irish form of Hebrew Elizabeth
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Eilish is one of those Irish names that, thanks to a celebrity, has suddenly become much more familiar to English speakers. Irish-American singer Billie Eilish (Eilish is actually one of her middle names) introduced the wider world to this Irish name as actress Saoirse Ronan did with hers. Interestingly, Saoirse Ronan's character in Brooklyn, based on the novel by Colm Toibin, was named Eilis, pronounced AY-lish.

WilmaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Wilhelmina
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    In the US, Wilma is appears to be eternally fossilized in Bedrock as Fred Flintstone's wife, but in Sweden it's a Top 10 hottie. It did have its moment in the US--from 1912 to 1940 it was a Top 100 name. One notable namesake: track and field star Wilma Rudolph.

GiadaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "jade"
  • Description:

    Giada is a fresh spin on Jade, which has been quietly and stylishly used in English-speaking countries for several years now. Popular cook Giada De Laurentiis made this a possibility, then semi-subtly self-referenced when she named her daughter Jade.

KailaniHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "sea and sky"
  • Description:

    This name's similarity to Kalani and pretty Hawaiian origin helped catapult it into the Top 1000 for the first time in 2013.

TenleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "burnt clearing"
  • Description:

    This name is currently best known on The Bachelorette's Tenley Molzahn. In the 1950s, it was attached to the Olympic figure skating champion Tenley Albright, and Jessica Biel played a Tenley in the movie Summer Catch. For our part, even with its trendy "ley" ending we think there are far better options.

AntonellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "first born"
  • Description:

    Antonella is an Italian version more feminine and unusual than Antonia. Antonina is a similarly appealing possibility, heard in Poland and Russia.

ThaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "clan chieftain"
  • Description:

    This early Scottish title -- known to us via Shakespeare's Macbeth -- has recently surfaced as a baby name possibility, familiar sounding through its similarity to names like Zane and Wayne.

EspenHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "god bear"
  • Description:

    Strong and unusual Scandinavian name, but with two possible pitfalls: people might mis-hear it as Aspen, or associate it with sports network ESPN.

AlixHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "noble type"
  • Description:

    A chic and sassy French choice, popular in France but likely to be confused with the more prosaic Alex in English-speaking countries. Although sometimes used in the US as a variant spelling of Alex, the French name Alix actually derives from a medieval French form of the name Alice or Adelaide.

NellyHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Nellie and Nell
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Nelly or Nellie is an adorable nickname name that can be short for a wide range of more formal appellations or that can stand on its own, and is typical of the vintage nickname genre that is growing in popularity. While Nelly can be used for several different names, from Helen to Eleanor to Cornelia, it has stood on its own for more than a century. It was one of the most popular names – spelled as Nellie – in the U.S. at the end of the 1800s.

GregorHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish form of Gregory
  • Meaning:

    "vigilant, a watchman"
  • Description:

    Two prominent literary namesakes make Gregor a somewhat risky choice. On the highbrow side, there's Gregor Samsa, the Kafka character who woke up one day to find himself turned into a cockroach. And then there's Gregor Clegane, one of the most feared and purely evil characters in the world of Game of Thrones.

LotteHeart

  • Origin:

    German, Scandinavian diminutive of Charlotte
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Lotte is a short form of Charlotte and a name used in its own right in Scandinavia as well as Dutch- and German-speaking countries. It’s unlikely to catch on in the US, where even Lottie hasn’t reached its full potential. Unisex Charlie will remain Charlotte’s nickname of choice for the foreseeable future.

OksanaHeart

  • Origin:

    Russian from Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "praise to God"
  • Description:

    Ukrainian figure-skating champion Oksana Baiul made it known here.

SanneHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch, diminutive of Susanne
  • Meaning:

    "lily"
  • Description:

    Sanne is hugely popular in the Netherlands, but almost unknown here — which makes it an interesting prospect for the parent in search of an unusual name. Pronounced sah-na, Sanne is in keeping with the Dutch taste for nicknames plucked from the middle or end of a name vs. the beginning, such as Bas for Sebastien or Bram for Abram.
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