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All-American Names

by Pamela Redmond .

American baby names come from a range of sources as diverse as the U.S. itself, including American place names, hero names, and invented names.

The top American baby names are Savannah for girls and Jayden for boys. Along with Savannah and Jayden, other American names ranking in the US Top 100 include Brooklyn, Kennedy, Jace, Maverick, Sawyer, Serenity, and Lincoln.

Some popular All-American names carry a strong American image, such as Liberty or Lincoln. Native American names such as Tallulah and Dakota certainly are in the mix. Names that relate to American places, such as Sierra and Brooklyn, qualify as all-American names, as do names created here and rarely used anywhere else, from Beyonce to Blue.

Names with an all-American image may also be names inspired by American heroes like Lebron and Kennedy or names that evidence American ideals, from Indie to Apple. Here are some of the names with the most distinctly all-American image.
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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.

JuniperHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin tree name
  • Meaning:

    "young"
  • Description:

    Juniper is a fresh-feeling nature name -- it's a small evergreen shrub -- with lots of energy. A new favorite of fashionable parents, Juniper joins such other tree and shrub names as Hazel, Acacia, and Willow.

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.

ScarlettHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "scarlet, red"
  • Description:

    Scarlett originated as an occupation surname, designating a person who sold scarlet, a luxury wool cloth produced in Medieval Europe. The word is thought to derive from the Arabic siklāt, referring to silks dyed with kermes. The fanciest, favorited color was scarlet red.

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.
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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.

ShilohHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "tranquil"
  • Description:

    Cool meets Born Again meets Brad and Angelina, who made Shiloh an instant star when they chose it for their daughter. While Shiloh has risen from obscurity thanks to its celebrity baby use, it hasn't become a star the way brother names Maddox and Pax have. It entered the Top 1000 in 2007, one year after the birth of Ms. Jolie-Pitt.

GeorgiaHeart

  • Origin:

    English, feminine variation of George
  • Meaning:

    "farmer"
  • Description:

    Georgia is so rich, lush and luscious, it's almost irresistible. Georgia's now a rising star among the feminizations of George, helped by associations with the southern state (named for British King Geogre II) and painter Georgia O'Keeffe, with the Ray Charles song "Georgia On My Mind" or maybe "Sweet Georgia Brown" playing in the background.

LincolnHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "town by the pool"
  • Description:

    Lincoln cracked the Top 50 for boys' names for the first time in 2016, more than 150 years after the death of its most famous bearer. This is especially remarkable because, as crazy as it seems now, Lincoln was deeply out of fashion as recently as the late 90s, consistently hovering near the bottom of the Top 1000. This admirable presidential choice with a stylish two-syllable sound projects the tall, rangy, upright, image of Honest Abe. Bill Murray is father to a son named Lincoln, and Kathryn Erbe's boy Carson has Lincoln for his middle name. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard gender-bent it for their daughter.

HoldenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "hollow valley"
  • Description:

    Holden is a classic case of a name that jumped out of a book and onto birth certificates--though it took quite a while. Parents who loved J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye are flocking to the name of its hero, Holden Caulfield -- not coincidentally in tune with the Hudson-Hayden-Colton field of names. (Trivia note: Salinger supposedly came up with the name while looking at a movie poster promoting a film starring William Holden and Joan Caulfield, though other sources say he was named after Salinger's friend Holden Bowler.) Another impetus was provided by a soap opera character introduced in 1985.
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SavannahHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "flat tropical grassland"
  • Description:

    A place name with a deep Southern accent, the once-obscure Savannah shot to fame, with others of its genre, on the heels of the best seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was set in the mossy Georgia city of Savannah. Originally a substitute for the overused Samantha, Savannah is now becoming overused itself, long among the top girls' names starting with S.

JaxHeart

  • Origin:

    Modern invented name
  • Description:

    Jax is the Dex-Jex-Pax type of x-ending cool -- possibly too cool -- variation of Jack or nickname for Jaxon or Jackson.

LeilaniHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "a heavenly flower"
  • Description:

    Leilani is derived from the Hawaiian elements lei, meaning “flower,” and lani, “heavenly.” It can also be translated as “royal child,” as lani is connected to high-birth and aristocracy, and leis—flower garlands worn around the neck—are associated with children. “Sweet Leilani” is an Academy Award-winning song by Bing Crosby.

CamdenHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "winding valley"
  • Description:

    Camden is a surprise hit, probably as a result of some star baby cred: it has been chosen by no less than four celebrity parents since 2012. Camden is a Jersey Boy name, along with equally popular Trenton -- these are two cases where the names are more attractive than the places that inspired them.

KeanuHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "cool breeze over the mountains"
  • Description:

    An evocatively exotic name brought from Hawaii to the mainland by Keanu Reeves, who was born in Beirut to a part-Hawaiian, part-Chinese father. It moved into the Top 1000 for the first time in over a decade in 2016.
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HendrixHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch and German, from first name Hendrik
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Hendrix is one of those hip rock and roll names, like Lennon, Jagger and Presley, that have been used by fellow celebs and others, to honor the seminal guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi. And this one has the trendy 'x' ending, as well -- making it no surprise it's on the rise.

SierraHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "saw"
  • Description:

    Sierra is a name borrowed from the western mountain range, with Latin rhythm and cowboy charm, that has led to many offshoots: Cierra, Cyara, and so on. It is now probably past its peak but retains its pretty-yet-strong sound. The meaning refers to the sharp, irregular peaks of some of the Western mountains such as the Sierra Nevada.

DenzelHeart

  • Origin:

    Cornish
  • Meaning:

    "from the high stronghold"
  • Description:

    This old Cornish name took on a whole new identity via Denzel Washington, who has inspired several thousand namesakes. The actor was named after his father, who was named for a Dr. Denzel, who delivered him.

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.

BoHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse nickname
  • Meaning:

    "to live"
  • Description:

    A popular name in Denmark, in this country Bo has some cowboy swagger and a lot of substance in its minimal two letters. In Mandarin Chinese, Bo means "wave".
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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.

IndieHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of India, Indigo etc
  • Description:

    Indie is an independent-sounding nickname name that is in the Top 100 in Wales. As a diminutive, it's growing in popularity -- along with indie films, indie publishing -- and the reason some parents are choosing names like India and Indigo. The Indie version seems more feminine, while Indy as in Indiana Jones tends toward the boyish.

KennedyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "misshapen head"
  • Description:

    This attractive surname name still projects that Kennedy family charisma. While it didn't come into widespread use until long after the deaths of martyred heroes President John F. or Senator Robert Kennedy, Kennedy is now one of the most popular unisex names for girls as well as the top girls' name starting with K. This is one name that manages to sound trendy and classic at the same time.

FlintHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "born near outcrop of flint"
  • Description:

    Flint is one of the new macho names on the rise today, part old-school tough guy, part rebel. You won't find a tougher, steelier-sounding name; it's part of a genre on the rise along with cousins Slate, Stone and Steel.

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.
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AlaskaHeart

  • Origin:

    Native American
  • Meaning:

    "great land"
  • Description:

    State name Alaska stems from an Aleutian word for the land mass itself. The number of baby girls named Alaska has doubled in the past five years, and is sure to continue increasing as more place names are annexed as baby names. Wilder but as habitable as Dakota or Cheyenne, Alaska is a girls' name choice for the future.

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.

ZaydenHeart

  • Origin:

    Modern invented name
  • Description:

    The most popular spelling of the fast-climbing member of the Aiden-rhyming clan is used by parents who love the first initial Z. Zaiden is nearly as popular, and Zaden is a ways behind.

JetHeart

  • Origin:

    Mineral and word name
  • Description:

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

AzureHeart

  • Origin:

    Color name
  • Description:

    Azure is a colorful choice for a blue-eyed child. Among other blue-toned color name possibilities: Indigo, Cerulean, and Blue itself.
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MessiahHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic word name
  • Meaning:

    "expected savior or deliverer"
  • Description:

    A handful of years ago, a judge in Tennessee ruled that parents could not name their son Messiah, "because there's only one." That decision has since been overturned.

MemphisHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek and Coptic place-name
  • Meaning:

    "Enduring and beautiful"
  • Description:

    A place name with so much history, from Ancient Egypt, where so many pyramids were built, to the US blues southern city. The name also has a great meaning. Although it's being given to babies of both genders, Memphis (unlike most place names) is much more common for boys than girls.

DixieHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin or French
  • Meaning:

    "I have spoken or tenth"
  • Description:

    A saucy showgirl, wisecracking waitress kind of name, Dixie can also be considered a place name, one that has become problematic because of its association with the antebellum South. The Dixie Chicks recently dropped Dixie from their band name because of its association with slavery and white privilege.

KehlaniHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "sea and sky"
  • Description:

    This name first entered the US Top 1000 in 2016, probably because of R&B singer Kehlani, whose full name is Kehlani Ashley Parrish. It was the fastest-rising girls' name of the year. Kehlani may be a variation of Kalani. Hawaiian or Hawaiian like names are particularly popular for girls, with the lani suffix appending to a range of prefixes.

DenverHeart

  • Origin:

    English or French place-name and surname
  • Meaning:

    "from Anvers"
  • Description:

    Before there was Aspen, Denver was the Colorado city name of choice, and it reentered the US Top 1000 in 2015 after a 14 year absence as a stylish two-syllable boys’ name with its trendy -er ending. Its decade of greatest use was the 1920s, when it reached as high as Number 422.
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MaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian variation of Mary
  • Meaning:

    "bitter"
  • Description:

    Makes Grandma Mary or Maria's name fresh and modern. A fairly unusual name made more familiar by one of Barack and Michelle Obama's young daughters.

CheyenneHeart

  • Origin:

    Sioux
  • Meaning:

    "people of a different language"
  • Description:

    The name of a courageous tribe, Cheyenne became quite popular in the 1990s, inspiring a wide range of spelling variations—Shyanne is one example that's still on the rise.

ZumaHeart

  • Origin:

    American place-name and Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Zuma was entered in the American name lexicon when musicians Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale chose it for their son. Californians will recognize Zuma as the name of a beautiful beach in Malibu, and it's also the surname of a South African president. With the lovely meaning of peace and its place-name associations, Zuma is one of those American names that literally sprang from the earth.

ZumaHeart

  • Origin:

    American place-name and Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "peace"
  • Description:

    Zuma was entered in the American name lexicon when musicians Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale chose it for their son. Californians will recognize Zuma as the name of a beautiful beach in Malibu, and it's also the surname of a South African president. With the lovely meaning of peace and its place-name associations, Zuma is one of those American names that literally sprang from the earth.

SaylorHeart

  • Origin:

    Surname-name or spelling variation of Sailor
  • Description:

    Saylor jumped into the Top 1000 in 2013 and is given to three times as many girls as the Sailor version. That may be because Saylor feels more like a name and less like an occupation or a word. Its spelling near-echoes the hugely popular Taylor, plus Saylor is a traditional surname in its own right. Recorded in the medieval times in Germany, it's related to the word seil which means rope and was an occupational name for a ropemaker, which also relates to sailor.
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PennHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "enclosure"
  • Description:

    This simple, elegant name offers something for many kinds of parents, from writers and history buffs to photographers to Pennsylvania dwellers. Most famous bearers are comedian Penn Jillette and Gossip Girl hottie Penn Badgley, both of whom were given this distinctive name at birth. Long obscure, Penn seems destined for greater usage.

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.

LandryHeart

  • Origin:

    French and English
  • Meaning:

    "ruler"
  • Description:

    St. Landry was a seventh century bishop of Paris, founder of the city's first hospital. The name is more familiar in recent years thanks to legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, an association that makes this a sports hero name, as well as a thoroughly masculine one. Landry is also in use for girls in the US. Landry is one of the oldest surnames in France, dating back to the medieval period, and is particularly popular among Cajun-Americans. It has been on the Social Security list since 2010.

LibertyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Less common than other virtue names, Liberty is nonetheless a name with a long American heritage.

MoxieHeart

  • Origin:

    English slang
  • Meaning:

    "aggressive energy, know-how"
  • Description:

    Like Penn Jillette, you can have your own little brash babe.
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CarolinaHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Caroline; also place-name
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Languid, romantic, and classy, this variation heats up Caroline and modernizes Carol, adding a southern accent.

ColbyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "coal town"
  • Description:

    Colby Donaldson on Survivor made this a cool name in the early 2000s

HuckleberryHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name and literary name
  • Description:

    Everybody knows Huckleberry Finn, the Mark Twain character named, Twain said, for the 19th century slang term for "humble." A few modern parents have put it on a birth certificate, including "Man Vs. Wild" star Bear Grylls, who, like many parents, will call the boy the much more manageable Huck. It was also the name of a child on TV's West Wing,

PeytonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fighting-man's estate"
  • Description:

    Peyton is the most-used spelling of this popular name, thanks to football star Peyton Manning, but it's playing increasingly for the girls' team. The Manning family excels in all-star names, with brothers Eli and Cooper and dad Archie.

TrumanHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "loyal one"
  • Description:

    Truman is an upstanding presidential name that radiates an aura of integrity and moral truth, values any parent would want for a child. It seems definitely headed for a revival.
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