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Butterfly Names

Butterfly Names
Butterfly-related baby names came to wider attention when it was rumored that Kylie Jenner would choose a butterfly name for her new baby girl, to symbolize her love of the fluttery species. Baby names that relate to butterflies can be literal word names, like Butterfly itself as in the name of Gone With the Wind actress Butterfly McQueen, or the names of stages of the butterfly or mother development such as Chrysalis, the rumored name of Jenner's baby. Other butterfly names include butterfly-related words or species names, such as Vanessa and Julia.

Along with Vanessa and Julia, other butterfly names in the US Top 1000 include Annabella, Duke, Edith, Hector, Laurel, Memphis, Pearl, and Valeria. Among the more exotic butterfly baby names are Cressida, Indra, Mariposa, and Yara.

But butterfly names are not just for girls—we have plenty of options for boys on this list as well. For more, take a look at our list of Names with Animal Meanings.
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CassiusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "hollow"
  • Description:

    Cassius, a Shakespearean name rooted in antiquity, is coming into fashion in a major way. There were two notable Ancient Roman figures named Cassius. Cassius Dio wrote an 80-volume history of Rome. Gaius Cassius Longinus, a senator who led the assassination plot against Julius Caesar, is the main figure in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. In more modern times, Cassius Clay was an abolitionist and also the birth name of boxer Muhammad Ali. It was chosen for their sons by singer Bobby Brown and Getty heir/actor Balthazar Getty. Vanessa Marcil and Brian Austin Green used the nouveau Kassius spelling for theirs. With these namesakes, it's no surprise this name has become popular in recent years.

IsabellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and Italian variation of Elizabeth, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "pledged to God"
  • Description:

    Isabella is the Latinate form of Isabel, a variation of Elizabeth which originally derived from the Hebrew name Elisheba. Variations Isabelle and Isabel are also popular, with the Scottish spelling Isobel another possibility. Newer alternatives include Sabella and Isabetta.

JuliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "youthful or sky father"
  • Description:

    Julia was an ancient Roman imperial name given to females in the house of a Julius, as in Caesar. Its origin is shrouded in history, but possible roots include Latin iuvenis, meaning "youthfu"; Greek ioulos, meaning “downy-bearded”; or Jovis, a form of Jupiter, which means "sky father".

EdithHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "prosperous in war"
  • Description:

    Edith was a hugely popular name a hundred years ago that's being revived among stylish parents in Stockholm and London. It's currently beginning to gain traction in the US among those with a taste for old-fashioned names with a soft but strong image.

AlexandraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, feminine form of Alexander
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    Alexandra is the feminine form of Alexander, which ultimately derived from the Greek components alexein, meaning “to defend,” and anēr, “man.” In Greek mythology, Alexandra was an epithet of the goddess Hera. International variations include Alessandra and Alejandra.
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ZephyrHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "west wind"
  • Description:

    If you're looking for a boy's name that's light and breezy, this could be it. A name from mythology: Zephyrus/Zephyr was the Greek god of the west wind-- with many European variations, it's a name that's frequently seen in computer and video games, is a character in the children's book Silverwing, and appears in the Babar books--as a monkey.

DianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "divine"
  • Description:

    Diana, the tragic British princess, inspired many fashions, but strangely, not one for her name. For us, Diana is a gorgeous and still-underused choice.

CressidaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "gold"
  • Description:

    Cressida is a pretty mythological and Shakespearean heroine name much better known in Britain than it is here — an imbalance the adventurous baby namer might want to correct. For although the Trojan heroine of that name in the tale told by Boccaccio, then Chaucer, then Shakespeare, didn't have the greatest reputation — she was faithless to Troilus and broke his heart — the name today sounds fresh, crisp and creative.

PearlHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin gem name
  • Meaning:

    "pearl"
  • Description:

    Pearl, like Ruby, has begun to be polished up for a new generation of fashionable children after a century of jewelry box storage. The birthstone for the month of June, Pearl could also make a fresher middle name alternative to the overused Rose. Cool couple Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson named their daughter Pearl Minnie, followed by Jack Osbourne, and several celebs have put it in the middle spot, as in Busy Philipps's Cricket Pearl, Jake Owen's Olive Pearl and Caleb Followill's Dixie Pearl .

AdonisHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, from Semitic Adonai
  • Meaning:

    "lord"
  • Description:

    The name of a figure from Greek mythology, Adonis is a high-pressure name often synonymous with masculine beauty. Nonetheless, many mythological names that would have previously been deemed off limits have made their way up the popularity charts—for instance, Penelope currently ranks highly for girls. And indeed, Adonis was one of the fastest-rising boys' names of 2016, moving up 307 spots on the U.S. popularity chart in just one year.
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CynthiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "moon goddess or, woman from Kynthos"
  • Description:

    Cynthia is an attractive name -- in classical mythology an epithet for Artemis or Diana -- that was so overexposed in the middle of the twentieth century, along with its nickname Cindy, that it fell into a period of benign neglect, but now is ripe for reconsideration in its full form.

UlyssesHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin variation of the Greek Odysseus
  • Description:

    Ulysses is one of the few U boys' names anyone knows -- with heavy links to the Homeric hero, eighteenth president Grant, and the James Joyce novel -- all of which makes it both distinguished and kind of weighty for a modern boy. Ulysses was on the US popularity list well into the twenty-first century; it's off now, but Number 684 on Nameberry.

HectorHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "holding fast"
  • Description:

    Previously used primarily by Latino families, this name of the great hero of the Trojan War as related in Homer's Iliad is beginning to be considered more seriously by others seeking noble ancient hero names as well--it was also the name of the knight who raised King Arthur as his own son.

YaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "small butterfly"
  • Description:

    The exotic Yara is also the name of a beautiful green-skinned Brazilian goddess and might make a more unusual spin on Mara or Sara.

AphroditeHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    The name of the Greek goddess of love has rarely descended to mortal use, though the Roman equivalent Venus, thanks to tennis star Williams, now seems completely possible. But with the new fashion for goddess names, we may see more little Aphrodites in the playground with Jupiter and Juno.
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VanessaHeart

  • Origin:

    Literary invention; also a species of butterfly
  • Description:

    Vanessa was invented by writer Jonathan Swift for a lover named Esther Vanhomrigh—he combined the first syllable of her last name with the initial syllable of her first. Swift used it in the poem Cadenus and Vanessa in 1713. A century later, Johan Christian Fabricius used Vanessa as the name of a genus of butterfly.

PosieHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Posy or short form of Mariposa
  • Description:

    Posie and its near-identical twins Posy and Posey are delicate old-fashioned flower names of the type that are stylish today: Think Poppy, Marigold, Clover. Posie might also be a short form for butterfly name Mariposa, or even of Josephine, Sophia, or Penelope. Plus it's the name of cosmetics line by Kylie Jenner, and a Posie might be what you do when you take a Selfie, right?

PhaedraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    This name of a tragic figure in Greek mythology, the daughter of King Minos, sister of Ariadne and wife of Theseus, has a mysterious and intriguing appeal, and would make a dramatic choice.

IcarusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Icarus, the mythological figure famous for flying too close to the sun, has a couple of negatives: his rash reputation, and those "icky" nicknames.

ConstantineHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "steadfast"
  • Description:

    This Roman Emperor's name has long been considered too grand for an American boy. But in this era of children named Augustine and Atticus, it just may be prime for an unlikely comeback.
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ValeriaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "strength, health"
  • Description:

    Valeria -- the original form of the name, used by early Christians -- is now more popular than the Franco-American Valerie.

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.

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.

AnnabellaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin variation of Annabel
  • Meaning:

    "loving"
  • Description:

    With the ascent of all names -ella, and even -bella, we predict that Annabella will rise as an alternative for such favorites as Isabella and Angelina. It's possible to spell the name Anabella. Annabel -- along with Anabel, Annabelle, Anabelle, and Annabell -- are potential alternatives.

LaurelHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "laurel tree"
  • Description:

    Laurel takes Laura back to its meaning in nature, resulting in a gentle, botanical option. Even more directly than Laura, Laurel relates back to the laurel wreath signifying success and peace in ancient Rome.
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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.

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.

CliffHeart

  • Origin:

    Topographical name or short form of Clifford or Clifton
  • Description:

    Cliff is a familiar, timeless short form -- never too popular, yet widely known -- that you might also think of as a geographical name ala Vale or Field.

DukeHeart

  • Origin:

    English rank of nobility
  • Description:

    While John Wayne and Duke Ellington are worthy role models, the reason Duke is currently enjoying a revival and returned to the Top 1000 in 2013 as one of the year's fastest-rising boys’ names is more likely due to the name given to high-profile TV couple Giuliana and Bill Rancic. Christened Edward Duke, he has always been called by his middle name, just as Edward Duke Ellington was. Duke is just one of several aristocratic titles being increasingly used by ordinary citizens.

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?
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BindiHeart

  • Origin:

    Australian Aboriginal
  • Meaning:

    "butterfly"
  • Description:

    In the Noongar language of Western Australia, Bindi means butterfly. Bindi is usually seen as a girls' name, as seen in Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin.

IndraHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "possessing drops of rain"
  • Description:

    In the ancient Hindu religion, Indra is the warrior god of sky and rain, though in modern America, this might make a better girls' than boys' name. You can spell it Indre, like the French river, if you prefer.

NarcissusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "daffodil"
  • Description:

    Mythological young man who fell in love with his own image: the first narcissist.

MariposaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "butterfly"
  • Description:

    Mariposa is a rare, romantic choice with an intriguing meaning.

AcadiaHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Greek
  • Meaning:

    "idyllic place"
  • Description:

    Acadia, the French name for Nova Scotia and the name of a gorgeous national park in Maine makes a fresh, rhythmic choice for your little girl. Acadia is an original yet accessible member of the stylish girl names starting with A.
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RustyHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Russell
  • Description:

    Though as a formal name Rusty is a little, well, rusty, it spent half a century among the Top 1000, departing only in 1995. Only 45 baby boys received the name in the US in one recent year and it's difficult to imagine it as the winning choice of many modern parents. Whether you want an informal name or a spin on a traditional name or even a word name or a name that means red, there are simply too many better options.

AtalantaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    Atalanta was a beautiful mythological maiden who refused to marry any man who couldn't beat her in a footrace -- quite a role model. This myth is found in Ovid's Metamorphoses and later in Swinburne's Atalantis in Calydon.

ButterflyHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Fluttery and flighty. But there are a couple of names that mean butterfly you might consider, such as Yara and Farasha.

MelaniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and Greek variation of Melanie
  • Meaning:

    "black"
  • Description:

    The current Mrs. Donald Trump, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, brought this pretty version to the fore. Saint Melania was an heiress who freed thousands of slaves.

PineHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Worthy sibling for Oak, Elm, Juniper, and Spruce.
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TurquoiseHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "Turkish stone"
  • Description:

    Turquoise is similar in hue to Aqua, which is one of the cool new color names on the palette. Other blue-hued options: Cerulean, Cyan, Indigo, or Blue itself.

BeataHeart

  • Origin:

    Swedish, German, Italian, from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "blessed"
  • Description:

    Beata, a Latinate saint's name, has been widely used primarily by Roman Catholics in several European countries, but is rarely heard in English-speaking countries. Playground alert: could be mispronounced Beeta.

KimanaHeart

  • Origin:

    Native American, Shoshone
  • Meaning:

    "butterfly"
  • Description:

    Kimana, the name of a resort in the foothills of Mountain Kilimanjaro in Kenya, would make an exotic path to the nickname Kim.
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ChrysalisHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name and nature name
  • Description:

    Chrysalis is a girls' baby name derived from the state of a butterfly or moth between larva and adult. A chrysalis is a hard-shelled pupa in which the transition of the butterfly or moth takes place. As a baby name, Chrysalis came to the fore as the rumored name of the baby girl of Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott, who reportedly love butterflies. Chrysalis does certainly have potential as a new word name or nature name for babies, with the simple familiar nickname Chrys.

FarashaHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "butterfly"
  • Description:

    Farasha is butterfly in Arabic, which means that to English-speakers, it feels more like a soft feminine name and less like a fluttery animal. Pretty without feeling flighty.

SkipperHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "captain"
  • Description:

    Sure, and we hope he has a good time playing with Buster and Buddy.
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