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Middle Names with Meaning

Middle Names with Meaning
The meanings of names in middle place have become important to more and more parents, as middle names are seen less as connective tissue and more as a way to invest extra meaning in your child's name. A middle name with strong personal meaning may be the name of a beloved friend or family member, a surname rescued from your family tree, or — in the case of the meaningful names here — a choice with an inspirational feel.

Of course, even the most common of middle names can be meaningful if they carry special significance. Be it Grace or Glimmer, Lee or Legacy, the most important thing is that it has a connection to you and your family.

Meaningful middle names for babies that do much more than bridge the first name and the last. For more, see our lists of middle names for girls and middle names for boys as well as our master list of more than 900 middle names of every type.
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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.

RiverHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    River shares the tranquil feeling of all the water names, and seems to have pretty much escaped its past strong association with River Phoenix and his unfortunate fate. Keri Russell and the Taylor Hansons both have sons named River, Natasha Henstridge used it as the middle name of her boy Tristan, and Jason Schwartzman pluralized it for daughter Marlowe Rivers.

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.

NovaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "new"
  • Description:

    Nova is a name that has the feel of both newness, from his meaning, and great energy from being an astronomical term for a star that suddenly increases in brightness, then fades.

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.
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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.

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.

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.
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EchoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Echo, the pretty, resonant name of a legendary nymph, was the heroine of Joss Whedon's sci-fi series Dollhouse. Nick Hexum, of the band 311, named his daughter Echo Love.

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.

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.

ZenHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "meditation"
  • Description:

    A spiritual word name used by actor Zoe Saldana for her son.
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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.

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.

ArcadiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "region offering peace and contentment"
  • Description:

    Arcadia, a name for an unspoiled paradise, makes an attractive secular alternative to Nevaeh or Eden. For parents who want an unusual name with a friendlier nickname, Arcadia has the advantage of cute Cady.

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.

SaintHeart

  • Origin:

    American word name
  • Meaning:

    "saint"
  • Description:

    Saint as a descriptive word name was first chosen by rocker Pete Wentz for his younger son (baby brother is Bronx), and now Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have catapulted the name into the celebrity stratosphere by choosing it for their baby boy. The couple called their baby "Saint" throughout the pregnancy because his conception had been so difficult. Saint was named in our predictions for the top baby name trends of 2015, on descriptive word names which also include Royal and Noble, King and Rogue. Saint is moving beyond the group of names that are only celebrity baby names and into the general lexicon.
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QuillHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, diminutive of Quillan or Quiller; also English word name
  • Description:

    Quill is a unique possibility for the child of writers -- even if they do use computers rather than pens; could also serve as a rhyming tribute to an ancestor named Gil, Phil, or Bill (or Jill).

SunnyHeart

  • Origin:

    English nickname
  • Description:

    Upbeat nickname-name that can't help but make you smile. You might want to use it as a short form for a more "serious" name such as Sunniva, but Sunny is undeniably, well, sunny.

HoneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    A term of endearment turned cute British celebrity baby name, used by actress Kate Winslet, chef Jamie Oliver, and TV presenter Fearne Cotton, among others. Honey was given to only 40 girls in the US in 2017, but it's relatively popular across the pond, where it ranks in the current Top 500 baby names for girls.

RoyalHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Even less subtle than Duke or Earl, this name is leaping up the popularity charts, probably due in part to a boost from the hit Lorde song "Royals."

ArrowHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Words are not always easy to translate into baby names, but the implications of being straight and swift lend this one great potential as a name. It also has the popular o-sound ending, which brings it further into the realm of possibility. Rising rock star Aja Volkman pulled a gender switch when she named her daughter Arrow Eve.
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SevenHeart

  • Origin:

    English word and number name
  • Description:

    Only if your preceding children are named One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and Six. Erykah Badu and Andre 3000 broke that rule when naming their son.

MoonHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    The original oddball celebrity baby name, via Frank Zappa's daughter Moon Unit, who claims she's always liked it.

PaxHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "peaceful"
  • Description:

    Pax, one of the variations of names meaning peace that are newly popular in these less-than-peaceful times, got a lot of publicity when chosen by Brad & Angelina for their Vietnamese-born son. Parents attracted to Pax may also want to consider Paz, the unisex Spanish version, or Paxton, a growing-in-popularity surname choice that shares that magical X-factor.

MercyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "compassion"
  • Description:

    The quality of mercy makes this lovely Puritan virtue name a quiet favorite today. Although it was most popular in the late nineteenth century, Mercy is on its way to a comeback -- it rose 143 spots between 2012 and 2013, making it one of the year's fastest-rising names. Right now, it's still stylish and distinctive, a rare and wonderful combination.

StormHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Windswept and dramatic, but perhaps asking for trouble. Quite popular in Denmark and Sweden, where it derives from Stromr, which is a fairly common surname. Storm Thorgerson is a famous bearer of the name - he designed iconic album covers for Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, the Cranberries, Anthrax, and Pink Floyd.
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StoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    An imaginative choice with an uptempo Cory/Rory/Tori sound, perfect for the child of a writer — or anyone with a good story to tell. Story has been finding some appreciation among celebs like Minnie Driver and others as a middle name. This is just one of the literary word names that have recently entered the realm of possibility, such as Fable, Sonnet and Poem.

JetHeart

  • Origin:

    Mineral and word name
  • Description:

    This super-charged variation of Jett is on the rise -- along with the unlikely newcomer Jetson.

FaithHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Faith is one of the most straightforward of the virtue names popularized by the Puritans in the seventeenth century, many parents still choosing it as an indicator of their religious conviction. Faith peaked in 2002 at Number 48.

HavenHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name, English
  • Description:

    Haven is a recently invented safe-harbor name that appeals to an increasing number of parents who don't want to voyage quite as far as Heaven.

DreamHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Singular and serene noun name that's been used by a couple of celebs.
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DawnHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    There are more substantial names with the same golden meaning: Aurora (Latin), Zora (Arabic), and Roxana (Persian).

EverHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Ever is a name we first heard via the now grown-up Ever Carradine, daughter of Robert. It's a truly unusual and simple name with an evocative meaning. Milla Jovovich and Paul Anderson chose it for their daughter.

HarmonyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    If Melody and Lyric are on your style sheet, the peaceful Harmony, popularized by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, should be too.

SnowHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    There's definitely a cold front of names for winter babies moving in, with Summer, Spring and Autumn giving way to Winter--plus North, January, Frost--and Snow. This name feels brisk, fresh, pure, evocative -- and magical. A haunting middle name choice.

LeafHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    The nature boy version of the Scandinavian Leif, which actually means "heir". In the creative-naming Phoenix family, Leaf is the former name of the actor we know as Joaquin.
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LoveHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Love is best left as a middle name, as in Jennifer Love Hewitt. Love alternatives that carry a similar romantic sentiment, and may work better as first names, include Juliet and Valentina.

ValorHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Honor and bravery are certainly virtues any parent would want to encourage, and this word itself is obscure enough that it manages to sound like a real name.

HeroHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "demi-god"
  • Description:

    Despite the possibility of gender confusion, the Hero in Greek myth was a woman. Myleene Klass got that when she chose Hero for her daughter, and Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson used it as their daughter's middle--and we wouldn't be surprised to see more girls with this heroic name.

ChanceHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Chauncey
  • Description:

    Once a cavalier Mississippi gambler type name, Chance has entered the mainstream since being endorsed by such celebrity dads as Larry King and Paul Hogan. Chance the Rapper has also boosted the name's popularity.

OceanHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Ocean is a nature name that comes right out and states its meaning and association. Full of power and depth, Ocean is rising in usage as a baby name, given to 116 baby girls and 166 baby boys in 2018. Oceane, the version that's trendy in France, was used for only nine baby girls in the US in the same year. Ocean-lovers who want to be less obvious can choose such subtler names that mean ocean as Jennifer or Marissa, but coming right out and using Ocean is a perfectly valid way to go.
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RogueHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Now that names like Cannon and Gunner, fit for comic book heroes, are rising up, Rogue may fit right in.

HonorHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Honor is a somewhat more pressured virtue name than Hope or Grace, placing a high standard on any girl carrying it, but it's a goal worth setting. By choosing Honor for her daughter, Jessica Alba brought it very much into the modern world.

StarHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Most parents today would prefer the softer-sell Stella. But Star has symbolic power related to Christmas, so this could make one of the perfect names for December babies.

NobleHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "aristocratic"
  • Description:

    With parents beginning to show an interest in virtue names for boys, this Puritan favorite just might be revived, for what could be more admirable than nobility in terms of having strength of character, dignity, and high moral ideals?

JourneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    One of the new word names, appealing to parents attracted to the idea of a spiritual -- or even an actual -- voyage. The Journee spelling is also being used. Unisex alert: Jenna Jameson used Journey for one of her twin boys, as did the Black Eyed Peas rock musician known as Taboo.
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