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English Word Names

English Word Names
English names might be easiest to define when they're actual word names drawn from the English languages and transformed into baby names. This genre has grown tremendously in the past decade, to the point that now parents are creating names from words they love or that have a symbolic meaning in English along with other languages such as Spanish, French, or Italian.

Of course, there is also a long tradition of English names that were originally flower or place or inspirational or other word names, most notably practiced by the Puritans. At this point, words like Iris or Mercy or Christian have been used so long as names that they are solid entries in the name lexicon apart from their original connection to the words that inspired them.

Today, celebrities are often coining names from English words — think North, Saint, Bear — and so helping to popularize not just the specific names but the whole concept. And stars from Drake to Rebel Wilson have driven the word name idea home. Now, almost any English word is fair game for transformation to a baby name. And if you're not adventurous enough to use these new word names as first names, you might want to consider them as middle names to add uniqueness and meaning. Newer English word names finding wide favor include the following.
  1. ClementineHeart
    • Origin:

      French feminine version of Clement, Latin
    • Meaning:

      "mild, merciful"
    • Description:

      Clementine is a Nameberry favorite that has finally broken back into the US Top 1000 after more than half a century off the list. Still, its style value may mean there are more Clementines than you might guess in your neighborhood—it may be a name that raises Mom's eyebrows, but it won't surprise your friends.
  2. WrenHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "small bird"
    • Description:

      Wren, a lilting songbird name, could be the next Robin. It makes a particularly pleasing middle name choice, as does her newly discovered cousin Lark. Wren entered the Top 1000 for the first time in 2012 and is among the new wave of popular English names for girls.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. BearHeart
    • Origin:

      Animal name
    • Meaning:

      "bear"
    • Description:

      Bear has suddenly lumbered onto the baby name landscape. Perhaps inspired by British adventurer Bear Grylls (born Edward Michael), first celebrity chef Jamie Oliver used it as the middle name for his boy Buddy, and more recently Alicia Silverstone called her son Bear Blu., followed by Kate Winslet's Bear Blaize. It's part of a current trend normalizing once aggressive animal names like Wolf and Fox. Bear is now Number 218 on Nameberry and in the Top 900 in England.
  6. BriarHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "a thorny patch"
    • Description:

      Fairy-tale memories of Sleeping Beauty inspire some parents—such as Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen—to call their daughters Briar Rose. But Briar plus a different middle name might work even better. It's one of the newly popular nature-word names, charting in the US for the first time in 2015 for both genders.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. BirdieHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "bird"
    • Description:

      Birdie was until recently a middle-aged Ladies' Club member wearing a bird-decorated hat --but now it's just the kind of vintage nickname (think Hattie, Josie, Mamie, Millie) that's coming back into style in a big way. Actress Busy Philipps named her baby Birdie (inspired by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson), as did soap star Maura West.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. OnyxHeart
    • Origin:

      Gem name
    • Description:

      Unlike Pearl and Ruby, this is one gem name suited for boys, the final x making it sound strong and virile. Musician Iggy Azalea chose the name Onyx for her son.
  15. PixieHeart
    • Origin:

      Swedish or Cornish
    • Meaning:

      "fairy"
    • Description:

      Pixie is a cute -- quite possibly too cute -- name that suddenly feels possible thanks to the craze for names that contain the letter x. Though its origin may be uncertain, a pixie is internationally recognized as a sprite or fairy: tiny, sometimes green, usually pointy-eared.
  16. AzaleaHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "azalea, a flower"
    • Description:

      Azalea is one of the fresher flower names, along with Zinnia and Lilac, that are new to the name bouquet — in fact, it entered the Social Security list for the first time in 2012. So if Lily and Rose are too tame for you, consider this brilliant pink springtime blossom with a touch of the unusual that has been growing in popularity.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. SundayHeart
    • Origin:

      Day name, English from Latin
    • Meaning:

      "day of the Sun"
    • Description:

      Sunday is among the most usable of the day names, with its sunny opening syllable, initially made famous when Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban chose it for their daughter. Although it had been widely written that Kidman and Urban named their baby after art patron Sunday Reed, Kidman was quoted saying that was a myth, they just liked the name.
  20. BlueHeart
    • Origin:

      Color name
    • Description:

      Blue suddenly came into the spotlight, as the unusual color name chosen by Beyonce and Jay-Z for their baby girl Blue Ivy. Blue is also a starbaby middle name du jour, used for both sexes in different spellings and forms, from John Travolta and Kelly Preston's Ella Bleu to Alicia Silverstone's Bear Blu. Dave 'The Edge' Evans named his daughter Blue Angel back in 1989.