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Names That Mean Dawn

Baby names that mean dawn appeal on both a literal and a symbolic level. Dawn might mean a new beginning for your family or your child's emergence into the world. You might want a name that means dawn for a child that's born at sunrise or early in the morning. Dawn might mean a new attitude, a new realization, a new way of life.

Included here are also the names of gods and goddesses and other notable figures associated with the dawn, such as Aurora and Zorya. Of course, a name meaning dawn might simply relate to the newness associated with any brand-new life.

Along with Aurora, other names that mean dawn in the US Top 1000 include Aurelia, Daisy, Elena, Lucian, Noor, Sunny, Vihaan, and Zora. Rare morning-related names we recommend include Apollonia, Lior, Roxy, and Sunniva.

In this group of names that mean dawn, we also include names for girls and boys that mean sun, names that mean new day, names that mean light and names meaning bright, names that mean gold, names that mean morning, and names that mean early.
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AuroraHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Aurora is the name of the Roman goddess of sunrise whose tears turned into the morning dew. She was said to renew herself by traveling from East to West across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun each dawn. Aurora is also associated with the scientific term for the Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis.

AureliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "the golden one"
  • Description:

    Aurelia is the female form of the Latin name Aurelius, an ancient Roman surname. Aurelius is derived from the Latin word aureus, meaning “golden,” which was also the name of a gold coin used in Ancient Rome. Aurelius was a cognomen, a third name in Roman culture that often referenced a personal characteristic or trait, likely used for someone with golden hair.

XavierHeart

  • Origin:

    Basque or Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "new house or bright"
  • Description:

    Xavier originated is use as a given name after Saint Francis Xavier, cofounder of the Jesuit order, who got his name from the Spanish-Basque village where he was born. His birthplace was Javier, the name of which was derived from the Basque place name Etxeberria, meaning “castle” or “new house.” Many Americans pronounce the initial X, as in ex-ZAY-vee-er, but it's equally accepted to pronounce the name ZAY-vee-er, closer to the French pronunciation.

NovaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "new"
  • 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.

LucyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, variation of Lucia
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucy is the English form of the Roman Lucia, which derives from the Latin word "lux" meaning "light." Lucy and Lucia were at one time given to girls born at dawn. Lucy can alternatively be spelled Luci or Lucie.
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ElioHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian and Spanish from Greek sun god, Helios
  • Description:

    Elio is a sunny and spirited Italian and Spanish name that makes a great crossover prospect, which could catch on as Enzo has. Elio is also currently popular in France, ranking in the Top 250.

DaisyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Margaret or flower name, from English
  • Meaning:

    "day's eye"
  • Description:

    Daisy, fresh, wholesome, and energetic, is one of the flower names that burst back into bloom after a century's hibernation. Daisy is now second only to Delilah among most popular girl names starting with D. Originally a nickname for Margaret (the French Marguerite is the word for the flower), Daisy comes from the phrase "day's eye," because it opens its petals at daybreak.

ElenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish, Italian, German, Greek variation of Helen
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining light"
  • Description:

    Elena, a pan-European version of Helen, has roots in Spanish, Italian, Slavic, and Romanian, among others. Helen, the name from which it derives, came from the Greek word helene, meaning “torch.” Alternate spellings include Elaina, Ellena, and Alena.

LucianHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucian is a sleeker, more sophisticated version of Lucius that is climbing in tandem with other Lu-starting names.

ElianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "my God has answered"
  • Description:

    The Hebrew variation of Eliana was taken from the elements el, meaning “God” and ana, meaning “answered.” Eliana also has roots as a variation of the Late Latin name Aeliana, a feminization of the male given name Aelianus, itself derived from the Roman family name Aelius. Aelius is related to the Greek word helios, which refers to the Sun.
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TaliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew; Australian Aboriginal
  • Meaning:

    "gentle dew from heaven; by the water"
  • Description:

    Talia is derived from the Hebrew elements tal, meaning “dew,” and yah, in reference to God. In the mythology of one ancient sect, Talia was one of ten angels who attended the sun on its daily course. The occasionally homophonous name Thalia has unrelated Greek origins.

AureliusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "the golden one"
  • Description:

    Since Aurelius was given the supermodel seal of approval by Elle Macpherson, this is one of the Roman emperor names, like Augustus, now in the realm of possibility. Like the female Aurelia and Aurora, Aurelius has a particularly warm golden aura.

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.

AsaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew; Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "healer; born in the morning"
  • Description:

    A short but strong biblical name with multicultural appeal, Asa is enjoying new visibility thanks to hot young actor Asa Butterfield of Hugo fame.

NiamhHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish Gaelic
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    Niamh, derived from the Old Irish Niam, is an ancient Irish name that was originally a term for a goddess. In Irish myth, one who bore it was Niamh of the Golden Hair, daughter of the sea god, who falls in love with Finn's son Oisin and takes him to the Land of Promise, where they stayed for three hundred years. Niamh can be Anglicized as Neve, Nieve, or Neave.
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HelenaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinate form of Helen, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining light"
  • Description:

    Helena is a more delicate and dainty version of Helen, a favorite of Shakespeare, who used it in both All's Well That Ends Well and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Historically, Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great (and, supposedly, the daughter of Old King Cole), who became a fourth century saint--Evelyn Waugh wrote his only historical novel, Helena, based on her story.

ZoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Serbo-Croatioan
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

CeliaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "heavenly"
  • Description:

    Celia, splendidly sleek and feminine, is a name that was scattered throughout Shakespeare and other Elizabethan literature, but still manages to feel totally modern.

OrlaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "golden princess"
  • Description:

    Orla is an Irish name closely associated with the high king Brian Boru, as it was the name of his sister, daughter and niece. It was very popular in the Middle Ages – the fourth most popular name in twelfth century Ireland – and has become popular again in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales today. In Irish, the name is commonly spelled Orlaith or Orlagh.

DionHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "child of heaven and earth"
  • Description:

    In ancient Greece, a student of Plato; in modern America, a cool guy.
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XantheHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "golden, yellow"
  • Description:

    X marks the spot in names these days, usually at the middles or ends of names, but here is one that puts it squarely up front.

ChiaraHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian
  • Meaning:

    "light, clear"
  • Description:

    Chiara is a lovely and romantic Italian name that's familiar but not widely used here: a real winner. You might consider Chiara instead of Claire, Clara, Cara, or even Keira.

AlbaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "white"
  • Description:

    Alba is quietly making a behind-the-scenes comeback, perhaps thanks to actress turned baby-product mogul Jessica Alba. Last on the Top 1000 a century ago, the name was given to more than 150 baby girls in the US last year. Alba might be tomorrow's successor to Ava and Ella. In Spain, Alba ranks among the Top 10 girls' names. Alba is the name of a character in The Time Traveler's Wife.

LucilleHeart

  • Origin:

    French variation of Latin Lucilla
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Lucille is a name that had long been overpowered by its link to Lucille Ball, with an image of tangerine-colored hair, big, round eyes, and a tendency to stage daffy and desperate stunts. But with the newfound craze for double-L names like Lily and Lila, Lulu and Luna, and as the choice of Lucille by hipster parents Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson, Lucille is breaking free from its old clownish image, moving rapidly up the charts over the past decade after a long nap.

ClarenceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "bright"
  • Description:

    The name of the guardian angel in It's a Wonderful Life is rarely heard the rest of the year because of its studious, near-nerdy image, but this could change in the current naming climate.
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SunnyHeart

  • Origin:

    English nickname
  • 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.

AbnerHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "father of light."
  • Description:

    This neglected Biblical name--it was the name of the commander of Saul's army and appears twice in the New Testament--is ready to flee Dogpatch. It was regularly used in the nineteenth century, but was pretty much demolished by the long-running hillbilly comic strip L'il Abner, which began in 1934 and ran through 1977. A more respectable namesake is Abner Doubleday, who has been credited with inventing baseball.

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.

OrianaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Oriana is a dashing medieval name, with a meaning similar to Aurora. At this point, though, Oriana is much more unusual than Aurora and makes a unique choice if you're search for names that mean new beginnings or dawn.

CallahanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "bright-headed"
  • Description:

    Callahan, the simpler spelling of Callaghan, is a rhythmic jig of a name whose history harks back to the ancient King of Munster. In the Dirty Harry movies, the Clint Eastwood character is Harry Callahan.
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AarushHeart

  • Origin:

    Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "first ray of sun"
  • Description:

    A fiery Indian name used enough in the US to make it onto the Top 1000 list in 2010 and 2015.

GoldieHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicized form of Yiddish Golde or Golda
  • Description:

    More Sadie than Sadie, this old canasta player--somewhat modernized and energized by Goldie Hawn--looks like it could be making a comeback. It was recently chosen for her daughter by Ione Skye and Ben Lee, as well as by shoemeister Steve Madden.

RoxanneHeart

  • Origin:

    Persian
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Has a touch of the exotic from its Eastern origins, best known as the beautiful heroine to whom Cyrano de Bergerac says, "Your name is like a golden bell".

DawnHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    There are more substantial names with the same golden meaning: Aurora (Latin), Zora (Arabic), and Roxana (Persian).

SorchaHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "bright, shining"
  • Description:

    A popular Irish name virtually unknown here, but one that feels like it could follow in the footsteps of Siobhan and Saoirse. It's pronounced SOR-ka, but with a little hiccup between the 'r' and the 'c' that's difficult for non-Gaelic speakers to reproduce. Spelled (and pronounced) Sorsha, she is a major character in the movie Willow.
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RoxyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Roxanne, Persian
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Roxy, also spelled Roxie, is one of those high-stepping showgal names with plenty of moxie, among the many sassy nickname names on the U.K. popularity list--currently Number 398.

ElectraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "shining, bright"
  • Description:

    Though the tragedies of the Greeks and Eugene O'Neill that used this name are filled with incest and murder, Electra is still a brilliant choice. Isabella Rossellini chose the gentler Italian verson, Elettra, for her now grown daughter.

LiorHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "I have a light"
  • Description:

    Lior is a unisex name frequently heard in Israel, capturing the popular light theme through its meaning. For English speakers, the one down side is possible pronunciation confusion with "liar," though it's really lee-OR, with a long e sound and emphasis on the second syllable.

ApolloniaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, Feminine variation of Apollo, Greek sun god.
  • Description:

    This name of a third century Christian martyr has an exotic, appealing feel in the modern world. It first came to American attention via Prince's love interest in the film Purple Rain.

VihanHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Vihan is a popular male name in India. In America, around 50 boys a year receive this name, making it quite a rare choice.
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DanicaHeart

  • Origin:

    Slavic
  • Meaning:

    "Morning Star"
  • Description:

    While Danica may sound similar to Dana, Danielle, and Daniela, Danica is not a variation. Danica, a delicate and unique Slavic name meaning “Morning Star,” is synonymous with Venus in many countries. Though it's slipped down the charts a bit since its peak in 2007, we think Danica deserves even more attention given that it is at once feminine without being frilly, and easy to spell without being too common.

LuzHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    Pronounced LOOSE, this name that refers to the Virgin Mary—"Our Lady of Light"—is one of the most widely used Spanish name for girls. Its sleekness and stylish final z gives it a modern appeal, like sister name Lux. Nicknames and variations include Chitta, Lucecita, Lucelida, Lucelita, Lucha, Lucida, Lucila, Lusa, and Luzana.

BrigidHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Brighid
  • Meaning:

    "strength or exalted one"
  • Description:

    Brigid is the simpler Irish version of the name of the goddess of fire, which may also be spelled Brighid. Other variations include Bridget, the most usual spelling in the U.S., and the French Brigitte.

DiaHeart

  • Origin:

    Mbama, Sanskrit, Latin, and Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "love; lamp; heavenly; day"
  • Description:

    A sweet and simple multicultural choice which has several different meanings and origins.

NoorHeart

  • Origin:

    Arabic; Dutch variation of Eleonora
  • Meaning:

    "light"
  • Description:

    An interesting name associated with the elegant American-born Queen Noor of Jordan. Noor is very popular among modern Muslim parents around the world and is beginning to cross over, perhaps because of its simplicity and its resemblance to the stylish Western Nora. It appeared in the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2015.
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EleonoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, German, Dutch, and Polish variation of Eleanor
  • Description:

    Makes a serious name frilly and feminine, which, depending on your viewpoint, might be a good or a bad thing. In this case, we vote good.

EosHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "nightingale"
  • Description:

    Eos -- that's pronounced with a short e like eros without the r -- is the Greek Titan of the dawn. Any ancient name with a sleek modern feel has definite revival possibilities. Eos could be an inventive way to honor grandma Dawn. Eos is also a Welsh bird name that is occasionally given to girls in Wales — pleasingly the nightingale, so this name covers both morning and night.

SunnivaHeart

  • Origin:

    Scandinavian
  • Meaning:

    "sun gift"
  • Description:

    Sunniva was an Irish-born saint who fled to Norway, where she hid in an island cave with her followers and eventually died. After miracles were reported on the island, the cave was excavated and Sunniva's intact body was found. Sunniva is the patron saint of Western Norway. Her name would make a fascinating and unusual choice for a modern baby girl, and if her story is a bit grim, you can take refuge in the upbeat nickname Sunny or Sunni.

RaviHeart

  • Origin:

    Hindi
  • Meaning:

    "conferring"
  • Description:

    A title of the Hindu sun god, made cross-culturally famous by sitar player Ravi Shankar.

NeomaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek or Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "new moon; pleasantness"
  • Description:

    An obscure yet on-trend name with two wonderful meanings associated with it. Neoma is one of the freshest celestial girl names with moon-related meanings, rarer than Luna or Phoebe but with the same fluid sound.
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