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125 Baby Names Headed for Harvard

Some baby names sound so intelligent, so serious, so destined for success that we can just see them on the Harvard acceptance letter. These are conservative cool baby names — popular among suburban yuppies and private school parents. These parents give their children smart baby names such as Helen and Holden that carry with them presumptions of intellect and work ethic.

Along with Helen and Holden, other baby names headed for Harvard in the US Top 500 include Arthur, Barrett, Colette, Dante, Esther, Fernanda, Solomon, and Willa. Many smart-sounding baby names are connected to intellectuals or noted thinkers of history, such as Alcott, Langston, Isaac, and Marie.

You could always name your child Harvard, or choose a name inspired by another upper-echelon institution, such as Yale, Carleton, or Reed. Not all college names qualify — one rising name you won’t see on this list is Princeton, which is too trendy to fall into the conservative cool category. Besides, he’s hopefully headed for, well, Princeton.

If you’re looking for a studious and intelligent name for your child, browse our list of baby names headed for Harvard, here.
  1. EleanorHeart
    • Origin:

      English variation of French Provencal Alienor, meaning unknown
    • Description:

      While some think Eleanor is a variation of Helen via Ellen, it actually derives from the Provencal name Aliénor, of highly-debated meaning. It may come from the Germanic name Adenorde, meaning "ancient north" or "noble north". Another theory is that it derives from the Latin phrase alia Aenor, meaning "other Aenor," used to distinguish some original Eleanor, who was named after her mother Aenor. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine brought it from France to England in the twelfth century. Other spellings include Elinor and Eleanore.
  2. TheodoreHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "gift of God"
    • Description:

      As unlikely as it may seem, Theodore is a hot new hit name, vaulting into the Top 10 in 2021 for the first time ever. Friendly nickname Theo may be responsible for some of that, though there are plenty of baby boys given Theo as their full name too. Add their numbers together, and the two names jump to Number 6.
  3. AtlasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek mythology
    • Meaning:

      "bearer of the heavens"
    • Description:

      Previously thought too powerful for a baby boy – who would have to be strong enough to carry the world on his shoulders – Atlas has joined the pantheon of Greek and Roman god and goddess names now in the realm of possibility, along with Mars, Zeus and Apollo. It was one of the fast-rising names on the list in recent years in the USA, jumping from oblivion in 2012 into the Top 500 in 2015, and climbing several hundred places higher since then. Anne Heche was one of the first to make this audacious choice, but several celebrity parents have followed suit.
  4. JasperHeart
    • Origin:

      Persian
    • Meaning:

      "bringer of treasure"
    • Description:

      Jasper originated as a variation of the Latin Gaspar, which ultimately derived from the Persian word ganzabara, meaning "bringer of treasure." As a given name, Jasper’s etymology is unrelated to that of the gemstone, which comes from a Semitic word meaning "speckled stone." Jasper is the usual English form for one of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to the infant Christ according to medieval tradition and appears in the Bible as a reference to the stone itself in Revelations 4:3.
  5. NoraHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish, diminutive of Honora, or Greek
    • Meaning:

      "light"
    • Description:

      Nora has two separate origin stories, as a derivative of both Honora and Eleanor. The Irish and Anglo-Norman version derives from Honora, based on the Latin word honor. The Hungarians spawned Nora as a short form of Eleonora, a variation of Eleanor.
  6. ElliotHeart
    • Origin:

      Anglicization of Elijah or Elias
    • Meaning:

      "Jehovah is God"
    • Description:

      Elliot (which boasts several spellings depending upon how many 'l's or 't's you want to use) is a winner -- it has the ideal quality of being neither too common nor weirdly unique. Elliot had a style boost back in the early 1980s via the young hero of the movie E.T. , who was named Elliot. Since then there have been Elliots on Law & Order: SVU and Mad Men.
  7. CyrusHeart
    • Origin:

      Persian
    • Meaning:

      "sun"
    • Description:

      Very popular in the Iranian community, this name of the founder of the Persian Empire has had a more down-home, corncob pipe-smoking image for most Americans in the past, but this has begun to change.
  8. ArthurHeart
    • Origin:

      Celtic
    • Meaning:

      " bear"
    • Description:

      Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by some stylish parents, emerging as a top contender among names for the new royal prince.
  9. TobiasHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek from Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "God is good"
    • Description:

      Tobias is the Greek form of the Hebrew Tobiah, which was derived from the name Toviyah. Toviyah was created from the elements tov, meaning "good" and yah, representing the Hebrew God. Tobias is the name of several biblical figures but is primarily associated with the story of Tobias and the Angel.
  10. PhoebeHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "radiant, shining one"
    • Description:

      Phoebe is the Latin variation of the Greek name Phoibe, which derived from phoibos, meaning “bright.” In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of Artemis, goddess of the moon and of hunting. The masculine version of Phoebe is Phoebus.
  11. RonanHeart
    • Origin:

      Irish
    • Meaning:

      "little seal"
    • Description:

      Ronan is the compelling legendary name of twelve Irish and Scottish saints that is now drawing some deserved attention; this cousin of the ascending Roman and Rowan was chosen by actor Daniel Day-Lewis and his writer-director wife Rebecca Miller in 1998, and more recently by actress Catherine Bell.
  12. BeatriceHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "she who brings happiness; blessed"
    • Description:

      Beatrice is derived from Beatrix, a Latin name meaning "she who brings happiness." In the earliest sources it is also recorded as Viatrix, meaning "voyager", so there is some weight in both meanings.
  13. MagnusHeart
    • Origin:

      Scandinavian from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "greatest"
    • Description:

      Magnus is a Latin name, literally meaning “greatest,” that has a Scandinavian feel. It dates back to Charlemagne being called Carolus Magnus, or Charles the Great. Norwegian king Magnus I, named after Charlemagne, introduced it to his culture, and thus Magnus was the name of six early kings of Norway and four of Sweden. It is still a highly popular name in Denmark and Norway.
  14. MatildaHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "battle-mighty"
    • Description:

      The comeback of this sweet vintage name, one of the most stylish girls' names starting with M, has been prompted by a boomlet of starbaby Matildas, beginning with chef Gordon Ramsey's in 2002 and Moon Unit Zappa's two years later. But the renaissance of this name of the charming Roald Dahl heroine was assured when Michelle Williams and the late Heath Ledger chose Matilda for their daughter.
  15. EmmettHeart
    • Origin:

      English masculine variation of Emma, German
    • Meaning:

      "universal"
    • Description:

      Emmett, honest and sincere, laid-back and creative, is on the rise as a male cognate of the megapopular Emma and Emily, not to mention being a character in the popular Twilight series.
  16. ArchieHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Archibald, Teutonic
    • Meaning:

      "truly brave"
    • Description:

      Archie made global news as the surprise first name of the newborn royal baby, son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aka Harry and Meghan. Archie has now officially transcended Archie Bunker and Riverdale's Archie to take the, um, throne as the quintessential retro nickname name.
  17. 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.
  18. ClaireHeart
    • Origin:

      French form of Clara
    • Meaning:

      "bright, clear"
    • Description:

      Claire is the French form of Clara, a feminine derivation of the Latin masculine name Clarus. The French word for "clear," Claire’s meaning, is clair, and was traditionally a male name. Now the spelling is used mainly for girls, along with Clare, and occasionally Klaire or Klare.
  19. OrionHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek mythology name
    • Description:

      Orion is a rising star, with both mythical and celestial overtones.
  20. WillaHeart
    • Origin:

      Feminine variation of William
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      Willa has become increasingly fashionable, with its combination of Willa (born Wilella) Cather-like pioneer strength and the graceful beauty of the willow tree.