Middle Names with Meaning
Middle names with meaning 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 significance 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 do much more than bridge the first name and the last. Get inspiration below.
Origin:English word name
Description:Even less subtle than Duke or Earl, this name shot up the popularity charts in 2013, the same year young Prince George was born and the craze for all things royal (and Royal) began. Today, it's a leading boys' name on Nameberry's own popularity charts. While Royal ranks on the US Top 1000 list for both girls and boys, It's rising more precipitously for boys. The gender count of baby Royals is currently running 2 to 1 in favor of boys. Pop culture references: the hit Lorde song "Royals.", the Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums (in which the paterfamilias was named Royal), and most recently, the Amazon Prime series Outer Range, a supernatural neo-Western starring Josh Brolin as Royal Abbott. The name's resemblance to the more classic Roy doesn't hurt either.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Origin:Word name; also diminutive of Cassius
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.
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.
Description:Among a small shower of rain-related names, this pure version can have a cool, refreshing image.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If it's king names you're after that aren't King itself, see our list of Names with Royal Meanings or other lists and blogs on royal names.